Cottonwood County MN Biographies-Herman Fast
"History of Cottonwood and Watonwan Counties of Minnesota, 1916"



Herman J. Fast was born in Russia, June 5, 1860. He is a son of John and Sarah (Peters) Fast, both natives of Germany, from which country they removed to Russia, he with his parents when only nine years old, she with her parents when sixteen years of age. They were married in Russia and lived there until 1875, when they came to America and located in what is now Midway township, Cottonwood county, Minnesota, purchasing a farm of a homesteader four miles north of the village of Mountain Lake, in section 18, the place consisting of one hundred and sixty acres, also bought one hundred and sixty acres of railroad land some months later. John Fast worked hard and improved his land and became very comfortably situated and there his death occurred, after which his widow re-married, her last husband being Henrick Regier. They moved to a place near the village of Mountain Lake, where she died. Mr. Fast lived only a few months after coming to America, arriving here in June and dying the following December. He was twice married, the following children having been born by his first wife: Anna and Lena both remained in Russia, John, Katherine and David all came to America. By his second wife, mother of the subject of this sketch, the following children were born: Henry, Sarah, Gerhardt, Herman and Elizabeth, all came to America; Agatha died in Russia.

Herman J. Fast spent his boyhood in Russia, where he attended school, and after coming to America went to school two years to the Mankato Normal, and one year at the Rochester Seminary, Rochester, New York, after which he took up farming, remaining on the homestead until his marriage in 1886, when he removed to the farm on which he now lives and has since resided here, owning one of the best farms of Mountain Lake township, Cottonwood county, which place consists of four hundred acres, well improved and under a high state of cultivation. Part of the land lies in Odin township, Watonwan county. This land was taken in its wild prairie state. He has put on all the improvements, including the present attractive and substantial buildings. He carries on general farming and stock raising successfully, also takes some interest in the breeding of fullblood Percheron horses. He is president of the Farmers Elevator at Mountain Lake, and is director and treasurer of the Mountain Lake Creamery Association. He is a man of sound judgment and excellent business ability and is one of the well-to-do men of his locality. Mr. Fast was married to Aganetha Becker, who was born in Russia. She is a daughter of John Becker, and came to Watonwan county, Minnesota, in 1878. To their union seven children have been born, namely: Herman, Aganetha, John, Sarah, Henry, Mary and Olga.

Mr. Fast has long been one of the most influential men in public affairs in his community. He is a director in. school district No. 62, treasurer of Mountain Lake township, secretary of the Evangelical committee of the Northern District Conference of the Mennonite church. He is secretary of Bethel church, and is one of a committee of three to look after the welfare of the same. He is statistician of the general Mennonite conference. He is superintendent of the Ebenezer Sunday school, which he organized some time ago. From 1886 to 1911 he served continuously, twenty-five years, as township clerk. He has done much for the general upbuilding of his community, especially in a moral and civic way, and has also encouraged better farming and the raising of a better grade of live stock.