A Narrative History of The People of Iowa with SPECIAL TREATMENT OF THEIR CHIEF ENTERPRISES IN EDUCATION, RELIGION, VALOR, INDUSTRY, BUSINESS, ETC. by EDGAR RUBEY HARLAN, LL. B., A. M. Curator of the Historical, Memorial and Art Department of Iowa Volume IV THE AMERICAN HISTORICAL SOCIETY, Inc. Chicago and New York 1931
PAUL N. HARKSEN has been one of the most constructive factors in the business and civic affairs of the town of Gooselake, Clinton County, where he has lived most of his life. Among other affiliations that mark him as an outstanding citizen of that community is his position as postmaster and as head of the lumber and hardware firm of Paul N. Harksen & Son.
Mr. Harksen was born in Germany, September 18, 1877, and four years later his parents, Ludwig and Paulina (Petersen) Harksen, came to America and settled in Clinton County, Iowa. The family for nearly half a century have been well known for their industry and thrifty habits. His father was a wagon maker by trade, and worked in that line for two years near Lyons, then lived two years at Bryant and for eight years had his home at Gooselake. He then rented a 160 acre farm near Low Moor and was engaged in farming on that place until his death in 1912. The widowed mother now lives with her daughter, Mrs. Henry Peterson, of Low Moor. The children of the parents were Paul N., Peter, Johannas, Alvin, Louis, Harry, Alfred, Ida, who became the wife of Hugo Reimer of Elvira, and Lena, wife of Henry Peterson, of Low Moor.
Paul N. Harksen had the advantages of the public schools at Gooselake. When he was eleven years of age an arrangement was made with a neighboring farmer that he should live with him and work for him for three years at a salary of $6.25 per month. When this contract was finished at the age of fourteen he began an apprenticeship at the carpenter's trade. Mr. Harksen has been a factor in the building industry of this locality ever since. Form journeyman work as a carpenter he entered into the business as a general contractor, and still carries that on. For the purpose of facilitating his work in this business of contracting he started a lumber yard in 1901. In 1914 an addition was made to his enterprise by the purchase of Charles Buech's hardware store. This combined the lumber and hardware business, together with general contracting, all three of which lines are embraced in the business of the firm of Paul N. Harksen & Son.
Mr. Harksen has continuously officiated as postmaster of Gooselake since 1914. The post office is oused in his store building. He owns two other town properties. Mr. Harksen has given much other public service to his community, having served six years as mayor and for six years as president of the school board. He is a Republican in politics, a member of the German Lutheran Church and is affiliated with the Masonic fraternity and Woodmen of the World.
Mr. Harksen married, February 5, 1902, Miss Ida Kruse, daughter of Peter and Lena (Glese) Kruse. Her parents were natives of Germany and her father came to this country when about fifteen years of age and spent his active life on a farm near Gooselake. Both her parents are now deceased. The only child of Mr. and Mrs. Harksen is Harold, now business partner with his father. Harold Harksen married Emma Dimesley, of Keota, Iowa.