As a biography of the representative men of LaSalle county, Illinois, this book would be decidedly incomplete without more than a passing notice of the gentleman whose name appears at the head of this sketch. He has been one of the prominent men of Miller township for years, and is known throughout the entire county for the efficiency with which he has performed his duties as a public officer. He was born in the township in which he now resides, near Danway, on March 15, 1846, and is a son of Oliver and Julia (Elefson) Hayer.
Oliver Hayer was born in Tillimarken, Norway, March 22, 1820, and there grew to manhood, learning the trade of shoemaker in that country. He sailed for the United States when he was twenty-two years of age and first located in Rock county, Wisconsin, where he lived two years, coming from there to this county in 1844. He purchased a farm in section 16, and remained upon it for eight years, finally disposing of it to advantage and buying two hundred acres on an adjoining section. He was a good farmer and derived a neat income from the product of his farm. He was a man of deeply religious nature and a member of the church of the Latter Day Saints. He was married in the township of Rutland, this county, on April 18, 1845, to Miss Julia Elefson, who was born in Norway April 1, 1821, and is now residing on the homestead. She is a bright, cheerful lady, whose declining years are spent in scattering sunshine by kind deeds and words to those about her. Five sons and three daughters were born to this union, all of whom are living, namely: Lars, who is the eldest and the subject of this sketch; Christian, a resident of Eagle Grove, Wright county, Iowa; Ann Hanson, of this township; Oliver, a resident of Lamoni, Decatur county, Iowa, as is Eli, the brother next in age; Matilda, wife of C. Wickwire, of Kentland, Newton county, Indiana; Mrs. Caroline Lysinger, of Wright county, Iowa; and Charles, a resident of Seneca, this state. Their father reached the age of sixty-seven years when the angel of death called him to his reward, October 31, 1886.
Lars Hayer is a product of LaSalle county who reflects credit upon it by his honorable life and upright dealings. His education was obtained in the public schools and his early years spent upon his father's farm, where he assisted in the work. He has one of the most attractive homes in the coimty, with pleasant, commodious buildings, beautiful and refreshing shade-trees, and well cultivated fields. This land was purchased by him in 1873, and has well repaid the care and labor expended in its improvement.
On March 22, 1878, Mr. Hayer and Miss Fena Johnson were made man and wife. Mrs. Hayer is a native of Norwegian land, where she was educated and received the teaching that has made her peculiarly adapted to become the helpmeet of an energetic, frugal farmer like Mr. Hayer. She arrived in this country in July, 1872, first living in Minnesota, and in January, 1876, came to LaSalle county. Her father, Thomas Johnson, died October 10, 1887; her mother is a resident of the United States, making her home with her children in this vicinity. Six children have blessed the union of this worthy couple, to whom they are an inspiration and aid. They are Dollie J., born November 30, 1878; Orin T., April 6, 1882; Lottie, September 20, 1885; Cora. August 8, 1888; Maggie, October 18. 1890; and Francis, July 28, 1893.
Probably no man in the township has taken a greater interest and more prominent part in the work of the Republican party than has our subject. He has served in many offices, was assessor for three years, township collector for a time, and in 1894 was elected township supervisor, an office in which he is still retained. His public life has been above reproach and has given the most perfect satisfaction to his constituents, while his jovial, kindly disposition makes him a favorite with all who meet him and his life well worthy of emulation.
Extracted by Norma Hass from Biographical and Genealogical Record of LaSalle County, Illinois published in 1900, volume 1, pages 104-106.