This is the fourth in a series of biographical sketches written by Thomas M. Dunshee between 1903, when he collected the material, and 1910, when he finished entering the sketches in a small blue "tablet" notebook now in the Lucas County Historical Society collection. The subjects all were fellow pioneers in the Newbern neighborhood of English Township, Lucas County.
By T.M. Dunshee
Henry Karn was born in Carroll County, Ohio, March 1832 of Geman and Scotch parentage, was married Feb. 8, 1855, to Mary Malinda Best, who was born in Columbiana County, Ohio, Sept. 6, 1827.
Mr. and Mrs. Karn have had four children born to them, three boys and one girl, David Frederick, Emma, William O. and John C.
They emigrated to English Township, Lucas County, Iowa, March 31, 1861. Chariton was a small place at that time. The brick house built by Eugene Edwards was the last house coming north on the Newbern road.
Mr. Karn says, "We lived in the Township three years before we were able to own a cow. We bought what was known afterwards as the widow Myers' place. This farm we sold and bought my present farm of 160 acres, situated east of Newbern one mile and a quarter.
"The team that I moved to Iowa with consisted of one old horse twenty-four years old and a two-year-old colt. The wagon was old, such as could be picked up for about eight dollars. We camped out as everybody did. There were but four school houses. The dwelling houses were nearly all built of logs. There was lots of unimproved land. The markets were poor for stock and grain. All stock had to be driven east to some railroad or river town. We had to go to Palmyra and Pella to mill.
"The settlers enjoyed themselves as well or better than they do today. We have had our health fairly good since coming to Iowa. While in Illinois some of us were sick all the time. We have always raised enough to live on, have never regretted coming to Lucas County."
Mr. and Mrs. Karn are among the many good people that early in life sought a home in the Hawkeye State. They are spending their declining years as many of the early settlers are, doing in home of their own with enough to make life comfortable. He is a Democrat, and as many othes have done, has hoped for the triumph of Democratic principles.
Mr. Karn has since died.
Henry and Mary Karn are buried in the Newbern Cemetery. This photo of their tombstone was taken from the Find A Grave Web site.