Past & Present of Platte County, Nebraska - Volume II


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took up his abode in Columbus, Nebraska, where he has resided continuously since. He held the position of bookkeeper in the First National Bank for five years and subsequently acted as deputy county clerk for two years, while for a period of twelve years he ably discharged the duties of deputy county treasurer of Platte county. In 1911 he was elected treasurer, making such a creditable record in that connection that he won reelection in 1914, so that he is serving in that capacity at the present time.

  In 1886, in Platte county, Nebraska, Mr. Heuer was united in marriage to Miss Lena R. Loseke, a daughter of Henry Loseke. To them have been born four children, namely: William A., Otto G., Walter H. and Ernest G., all residents of Columbus. Mr. Heuer gives his political allegiance to the democracy and fraternally is identified with the Modern Woodmen, while his religious faith is that of the German Reformed church. He is a popular member of the Maennerchor and enjoys an enviable reputation as an able public official of the county which has been his home during the past third of a century.


RICHARD OLMER.

  Richard Olmer owns and occupies an attractive home in Humphrey, about one block from the business center of the town, and here he is living retired, richly meriting the rest which has come to him as the reward of many years closely devoted to agricultural pursuits. He still has valuable farm property yielding to him a gratifying annual income. A native of Wisconsin, he was born March 16, 1852, a son of John and Frederica (Degenhart) Olmer, both of whom were natives of Germany, whence they came to America in 1851, making their way to Wisconsin, where the father purchased government land. He met the usual experiences of pioneer life while developing and improving his farm but in time converted the wild prairie into a valuable property and resided thereon throughout his remaining days, his death occurring in February, 1891, while his wife survived until December 8, 1894, when she, too, was called to her final rest.

  Richard Olmer was reared and educated in Wisconsin and remained with his parents on the old homestead farm through the period of his minority, during which time he gained a fair English education in the public schools. In 1873 he arrived in Nebraska, settling in Platte county, where he preempted land, but after two years he sold that property and returned to the Badger state, where he engaged in farming from 1875 until 1878. He then again came to Platte county and purchased a homestead right of eighty acres. With the change in the land laws he secured eighty acres more situated in Granville township and at once began the task of breaking the sod and converting the place into productive fields. It was not long before his labors wrought a marked transformation in the condition of his land, which year by year yielded him good crops as a reward for the care and labor which he bestowed upon it. In 1910, however, satisfied with the success which he had already achieved and which placed him among the men of affluence in the county, he retired and removed to Humphrey. Later he bought another one hundred and sixty acres of land and now owns three hundred and twenty acres constituting a splendidly improved property. When he took up his abode in Humphrey he pur-

 

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chased a good home about a block from the main street and has remodeled and added to it until he now has a very attractive residence. While upon the farm he made a specialty of raising shorthorn cattle, this being one of the principal features of his business. He is now a stockholder and director of the Farmers Elevator of Humphrey and a stockholder and director in the First National Bank of the town.

  In February, 1873, Mr. Olmer was joined in wedlock to Miss Mary Pfeifer, a daughter of George and Frances (Wieser) Pfeifer, both of whom were natives of Austria. The father there followed general agricultural pursuits throughout his active life and passed away in 1864. His widow and children subsequently emigrated to the United States, taking up their abode in Wisconsin, in which state Mary Pfeifer became the wife of our subject. Mrs. George Pfeifer came to Nebraska in 1873 and here died the following year. To Mr. and Mrs. Olmer have been born eleven children, as follows: Frederica, who is the wife of Joseph Fangmann, an implement dealer of Humphrey; William, who operates the old home farm; Mary, who is the wife of Joseph Schaefer and resides in Texas; Frances, who is the wife of Killion Ottis and resides on a farm in Platte county; John and Annie, both at home; Joseph, whose demise occurred in 1909; and Julia, Robert, Bryant and Cecelia, who died in infancy.

  For several years Mr. Olmer served as assessor of Granville township, discharging his duties with promptness and fidelity. He has always been a democrat since age conferred upon him the right of franchise and in religious faith he is a Catholic, also holding membership with the Catholic Order of Foresters. It has been earnest work that has brought him his success, while a well spent life has gained him the favorable regard of his many friends.


HENRY SCHMIDT.

  Henry Schmidt, a resident farmer of Burrows township, his home being on section 28, was born in La Salle county, Illinois, October 4, 1889, a son of Peter and Anna (Koebbemann) Schmidt. The father was born in Germany, September 1, 1863, and was a son of Matthew and Sybilla (Schwamborn) Schmidt, who were also natives of the fatherland, where they resided until 1873, when they came to America, making their way to Peru, Illinois, where Matthew Schmidt worked for several years in the coal mines. In 1886 he arrived in Nebraska and his remaining days were spent in this state, his death occurring in 1889.

  Peter Schmidt began his education in the schools of Germany but was a lad of only ten years when the family came to the new world, so that his education was continued in the schools of Peru, Illinois. In his boyhood days he went to work in the mines and later he was employed as a farm hand, earning his living from an early age. He afterward came to Platte county, Nebraska, in the year 1894 and took up his abode near St. Mary, where he rented land for one year and then located near where his widow now lives. During that period he carefully saved his earnings, practicing close economy as well as industry, and at the end of seven years he had a sum sufficient to enable him to purchase one hundred and sixty acres of land on section 28, Burrows township. He then bent his energies to the further development and improvement of that place until his death, which

 

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occurred May 31, 1911. On the 27th of November, 1888, he had wedded Alma Koebbemann, a daughter of Henry and Maria M. (Lenz) Koebbemann, both of whom were natives of Germany. During his active life Peter Schmidt added one hundred and sixty acres to his original farm. He displayed sound business judgment, was diligent and persevering and won the legitimate rewards of labor. His widow still resides upon the old homestead with her children, who are five in number, namely: Henry, of this review; William, who operates a part of the home place; and Hilda, Otto and Albert, all at home.

  The eldest son, Henry Schmidt, was reared to farm life and early took up the active work of the fields. He now carries on general farming and stockraising, renting from his mother one hundred and twenty acres of land which he carefully and systematically cultivates. His work is seen in well tilled fields which return golden harvests. Everything about the place is kept in good condition and his enterprise and careful management are continuously in evidence.

  On the 4th of June, 1912, Mr. Schmidt was united in marriage to Miss Lizzie Pillen, a daughter of William and Gertrude (Ripp) Pillen, the former a native of Germany and the latter of Platte county, Nebraska. Mr. Pillen first purchased eighty acres of land near Tarnov and subsequently bought a tract of one hundred and twenty acres in Burrows township, whereon he still makes his home. His wife passed away in the year 1897, leaving the following children: Mrs. Lizzie Schmidt, Agnes, Annie and Henry. In 1900 William Pillen was again married, his second union being with Josephine Wans, by whom he has three children, namely: Jacob, Johanna and Gertrude.

  Mr. and Mrs. Schmidt have but one child, Harold, born April 10, 1914. The parents are consistent communicants of St. Anthony's Catholic church, and in his political views Mr. Schmidt is a democrat. His time and attention, however, are mostly taken up with his farm work and, busily employed, he is making steady progress along the path of affluence.


MELCHIOR JENNY.

  Melchior Jenny, a well known representative of farming interests in Sherman township, living on section 24 was born in Canton Glarus, Switzerland, on the 29th of January, 1852, a son of Rudolph and Magdalena (Aebli) Jenny. The parents always remained residents of the land of the Alps, although the maternal grandfather, Henrich Aebli, became a pioneer settler of New Glarus, Wisconsin.

  Melchior Jenny spent the first twenty years of his life in his native country and then crossed the Atlantic to the new world, arriving in February, 1872, making his way to New Glarus, Wisconsin, in company with his twin brother, Rudolph. When a lad he had learned the cheese making trade and after arriving in the United States he worked upon a farm and engaged in the manufacture of cheese. After a year spent in Wisconsin he came to Nebraska in 1873 settling in Platte county, where he entered eighty acres of land. He has since engaged in general farming, and as the years have passed on he has purchased property from time to time, until he is now the owner of six hundred acres of rich and valuable land in Sherman township. He has brought his fields under a high state of cultivation and has

  MELCHIOR JENNY AND FAMILY

 

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an excellent property, equipped with all the accessories and conveniences of a model farm. He makes stock-raising an important feature of his business, handling Holsteiin cattle and Jersey Red hogs.

  On the 4th of December, 1880, Mr. Jenny was united in marriage to Miss Anna Maria Marty, who was born in Switzerland on the 10th of February, 1864. They became the parents of six children, of whom one daughter, Rosie, died ere the mother's death. The others are: Mrs. Anna Dasenbrock, Mrs. Lena Weber, Mrs. Mamie Weber, Rudolph and Benedict. The family circle was again broken by the hand of death when, on the 3d of April, 1915, Mrs. Jenny passed away at the age of fifty-one years, one month and twenty-three days. She had been ill of pneumonia for only a few days and her death was a great shock to the community. She was widely known and greatly loved, and her first interests were ever her family and her home. She was also most loyal in friendship and was a kind and helpful neighbor whose place will be hard to fill and whose kindly influence will live long in the memory of those with whom she came in contact. She had many admirable traits of character and her life was filled with good deeds, endearing her to all.

  In his political views Mr. Jenny is a democrat and has been called to a number of public offices. He served as road overseer for several years and for many years had the postoffice at Neboville. He was also a school director for twenty-six consecutive years and did everything possible to advance the interests of public education in the district. His life is guided by the teachings of the German Lutheran church, of which he is a devoted member, and his many sterling traits of character are attested by his friends, who recognize in him a progressive farmer and stock-raiser and a loyal and publicspirited citizen who in every relation of life is upright and reliable.


FRANK ANSON.

  Frank Anson, a well known and worthy citizen of Creston, who contributes much to the business development of the town, is now engaged in buying cream, butter, eggs and poultry, in which connection he has built up a business of large and gratifying proportions. His undertaking furnishes a market for producers and the enterprise and diligence which he displays in the conduct of his interests has made the business one of the foremost commercial enterprises of this part of the county.

  Mr. Anson was born in New York, August 21, 1847, a son of Leonard and Sarah (Lord) Anson, who were natives of New York. The father was a farmer and followed that occupation in the Empire state until his removal to the middle west, at which time he took up his abode in Mills county, Iowa, where he remained for three years. In 1872 he brought his family to Platte county and secured a homestead claim in Creston township which he developed, improved and operated for many years. His wife died upon that farm in 1880, after which he sold the place and removed to Creston, living with his children until his demise, which occurred in 1890.

  Frank Anson was reared and educated in New York, remaining with his parents until after he attained his majority. He went to Mills county, Iowa, with his
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father and in 1871 arrived in Platte county, coming a year prior to the removal of his parents. In 1872 he also secured a homestead on the same section with his father and improved and developed the property, carefully cultivating the fields until 1885, when he left the farm and went to Columbus, where he turned his attention to the hotel business, becoming proprietor of the Lindell Hotel, which he conducted for six years. He then sold out and went to Georgia, where he carried on farming for two years, after which he returned to Platte county and engaged in the hotel business at Creston for two years. He also operated a dray line for a year and on the expiration of that period turned his attention to the business in which he is now engaged--buying cream, butter, eggs and poultry. In this connection he has won substantial success, handling a large amount of such produce annually. He owns a nice home which he erected. He hauled the lumber thirty-two miles from Schuyler county in order to put up the buildings upon his farm. In all that he has undertaken he shows a spirit of unfaltering enterprise and perseverance and in his business affairs has ever been prompted by laudable ambition.

  In January, 1881, Mr. Anson was united in marriage to Miss Sarah Felt a daughter of William and Matilda (White) Felt, natives of Ohio. At an early day in the development of Iowa the father removed to that state and for many years engaged in farming in Muscatine county. Subsequently he took up his abode at West Liberty, where he conducted an elevator for several years. He then went to Lee, Colfax county, Nebraska, where he made his home for some time and later, retiring from active business, he went to live with his children, with whom he spent his remaining days, passing away in 1898. His widow now makes her home with Mr. and Mrs. Anson at the age of eighty years. Eight children have been born to Mr. and Mrs. Anson, namely: Robert, a resident farmer of Humphrey township; Nellie, the wife of Clarence Hogle, living in Rising City, Nebraska; Frank R., a farmer whose home is in Keith county, Nebraska; Arthur, employed by the Crowell Elevator Company at Creston; William, who died in February, 1891; Mina the wife of J. P. Schmidt, living in Benson, Nebraska; and Ruby and Edward, both at home.

  The family are widely and favorably known and the hospitality of the best homes of Creston is freely accorded them. Mr. Anson is a republican in his political views, having firm faith in the principles of the party, yet never desiring office as a reward for party fealty. His religious faith is that of the Methodist church and in its teachings he finds the guiding principles of his life, which make him at all times observant of the rights and privileges of others and find expression in consideration, kindliness and business integrity and justice.


GERHARD LOSEKE.

  Gerhard Loseke, a retired farmer living in Columbus, was born in Oldenburg Germany, May 6, 1852, his parents being John H. and Anna M. (Grotelueschen) Loseke, who were also natives of Oldenburg. Both have now passed away, the father having died March 18, 1891, at the age of eighty-one years and three months, while the mother's death occurred August 8, 1879, when she had reached the age of sixty-nine years and twenty-two days. The father worked as a farm hand in Ger-

 

PAST AND PRESENT OF PLATTE COUNTY 113

many and devoted three years of his early manhood to military service. In 1858 he brought his family to the new world and after landing in the east traveled by rail to Iowa City and thence across the country to Platte county, Nebraska. He settled on a stream that is now called Loseke creek, in Bismark township, being one of the first settlers of that district. All around him was the unbroken prairie. Indians were still to be seen in the neighborhood and there were a few buffaloes and much wild game. Railroads, however, had not yet been built in this section of the state. He settled on government land and built a dugout, the family beginning life in America in that crude pioneer home. He was a member of the German Lutheran church and after he had resided in the county for some time a house of worship for that denomination was erected on land which he owned. His political allegiance was given the democratic party. In his family were three sons and a daughter, Henry, Herman, Anna and Gerhard, and it was at the home of the last named that the parents passed away. The mother's brother, Henry Lueschen (the name being Grotelueschen in Germany) built one of the first log cabins in Columbus in 1856.

  Gerhard Loseke was a little lad of but six summers when brought by his father to the United States. He attended the district schools in Bismark township, in district No. 2, which was one of the first schools established in the township, the schoolhouse being built of logs. The methods of instruction, too, were somewhat primitive, but there were also many lessons to be learned in the school of experience, as he assisted in the arduous task of developing a new farm. Being the youngest son, he remained at home and assisted in the work of the farm. At the age of seventeen years he began farming for himself with ox teams, and his parents lived with him until they were called to their final rest.

  As his financial resources increased as the result of industry and economy Gerhard Loseke kept adding to his farm, making purchases of land at from four to one hundred and twenty-five dollars per acre. In this manner he acquired over one thousand acres in the county, being numbered among the most extensive landowners. He has since given all of his children good farms, retaining only one hundred and twenty acres for himself. He concentrated his efforts upon the development and cultivation of his fields and to his farms added many modern improvements so that all became valuable properties. In addition to tilling the fields he engaged extensively in stock-raising and whatever he undertook he carried forward to successful completion, for industry and determination enabled him to overcome all of the difficulties and obstacles in his path. He raised high grade Hereford cattle and always topped the market. He was one of the first in the county to begin shipping stock and his success in that undertaking constituted an example that others profitably followed. When a boy he used to see many Indians, the redskins far outnumbering the "palefaces" in his locality. There were few of the comforts and none of the luxuries of life to be enjoyed and existence on the Nebraska prairies at that time meant earnest, persistent labor in order to gain a living. Mr. Loseke continued to make his home by the side of the creek which was named in honor of his family until 1913, when he retired from active business and took up his abode in Columbus. He started out emptyhanded, but by hard work won a gratifying measure of success.

  On the 11th of July, 1873, Mr. Loseke was united in marriage to Miss Eliza Mueller, who was born in Hanover, Germany, May 2, 1855, and died June 2, 1893. Her father, Henry Mueller, came to Platte county in pioneer times and took up

 

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a homestead in Bismark township, remaining upon his farm until his death. To Mr. and Mrs. Loseke were born eight children: E. Wilhelmina, is the wife of Charles Wurdeman, an architect of Columbus, and has three children. Emeline Josephine is the wife of Adolph Frese, of Bismark township, by whom she has six children. Edward Gustave, who was born December 23, 1881, and is engaged in farming and the raising of Hereford cattle on the home place, married Emma Luers and has three children. George E. was born February 17, 1884, and married Lillie Korte, who died February 25, 1909, leaving a daughter, Violet. Edwin Gerhard, who was born May 4, 1886, and follows farming, married Alma Huntemann and has three children. Emma Eliza is the wife of William Luckey, a farmer. and has two children. Emil Gottfried, a farmer by occupation, was born January 21, 1891, and married Anna Mueller, by whom he has one child. Ernst Walter, who was born March 19, 1893, and after attending the Lincoln School of Agriculture began farming, married Martha Arnold. All are now residents of Bismark township. In 1913 Mr. Loseke was again married, his second union being with Miss Emma Hanstadt.

  In his political views Mr. Loseke is a republican and while never an active party worker has always been a progressive citizen and is a broad-minded, intelligent man. His activity has been a source of public benefit as well as of individual success, for his efforts demonstrate what can be accomplished by the utilization of the natural resources of the county. He is one of the honored pioneer settlers and his memory forms a connecting link between the primitive past and the progressive present, for. he has lived in the county through fifty-seven years, during which a marvelous change has occurred, for the wild prairie, dotted with millions of flowers in June and covered in winter by a dazzling, unbroken sheet of snow, has been converted into rich and productive fields, in the midst of which stand substantial farmhouses, while here and there towns and villages have sprung up and all of the evidences of modern civilization are to be found on every hand.


WILLIAM S. EVANS, M. D.

  Dr. William S. Evans is a prominent physician of Columbus who has practiced his profession in this city continuously since 1905, devoting special attention to surgery. His birth occurred in Tarentum, Allegheny county, Pennsylvania, on the 17th of October, 1863, his parents being John C. and Nancy A. (Gilliford) Evans, the former born in Butler county, Pennsylvania, October 22, 1838, and the latter in that state on the 29th of July, 1840. Their marriage was celebrated on the 23d of December, 1862. The year 1879 witnessed their arrival in Columbus, Nebraska, where John C. Evans passed away in 1914 and his wife in 1903. More extended mention of them will be found on another page of this work.

  After completing the high-school course in Columbus, Nebraska, William S. Evans went to Baltimore, Maryland, for professional training, being graduated from the College of Physicians and Surgeons in 1903. During the years of 1903 and 1904 he was resident surgeon of the Baltimore City Hospital and subsequently practiced in Pittsburg for a year. In 1905 he returned to Columbus and has here remained continuously since, largely specializing in surgical work. With the con-

 

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stant progress of the profession he keeps in close touch through his membership in the Columbus Medical Society, the Platte County Medical Society, the Nebraska State Medical Association and the American Medical Association.

  Dr. Evans has been married twice. In 1890, in Salt Lake City, he wedded Miss Imogene Williams, who passed away in 1907, leaving four children, namely: Robert G., Leland H., Imogene W. and Ira Kenneth. In 1908, in Los Angeles, California, he was again married, his second union being with Miss Florence Whitmoyer, a daughter of Colonel Michael Whitmoyer, of Columbus, Nebraska. In politics Dr. Evans is a progressive and his religious faith is that of the Federated church. He is a worthy exemplar of the Masonic fraternity, being identified with the York Rite and also belonging to the Mystic Shrine. He is past commander of the commandery at Salt Lake City, Utah, and he is likewise a member of the Benevolent Protective Order of Elks.


BERNARD LOHAUS.

  Many of the residents of Platte county have had their nativity in or trace their ancestry to Germany, among which number is Bernard Lohaus, who was born in Humphrey township on the 1st of January, 1878, a son of Henry and Mary (Elpers) Lohaus, natives of Germany. The father came to America in early life, crossing the Atlantic about 1865, at which time he took up his abode in Baltimore, Maryland, where he remained for two years. He then went to Iowa, where he engaged in farming for a decade, at the end of which time he came to Platte county, Nebraska, and purchased one hundred and twenty acres in Humphrey township. He then concentrated his energies upon the cultivation and improvement of his farm, which he operated throughout his remaining days. He also secured a timber claim of one hundred and sixty acres and thus became the owner of two hundred and eighty acres of rich land, which he converted into a valuable farm property. He died in March, 1906, while his wife survived for seven years, passing away in March, 1913.

  Under the parental roof Bernard Lohaus spent the days of his boyhood and youth and his education was acquired in the parochial schools at Humphrey. As his age and strength increased he assisted more and more largely in the work of the home farm and upon the death of his father he came into possession of the old home place by purchasing the interest of the other heirs in the property. His farm comprises one hundred and twenty acres on section 18, Humphrey township' and one hundred and sixty acres on section 13, Granville township. For the past nine years he has been in entire control of the place, which he is now carefully and systematically cultivating. He has wrought a marked change in its appearance by the many improvements that he has put upon it. He has but recently completed a five thousand dollar residence, modern in every respect, and he has other good buildings upon his farm, providing ample shelter for grain and stock. Well kept fences divide the farm into fields of convenient size, and he uses the latest improved machinery to facilitate the work of developing and caring for his crops. He makes a specialty of raising Polled Durham and Shorthorn cattle, Duroc Jersey hogs and White Orpington chickens, and his work in this direction sets a standard

 

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for others. He is also a stockholder in the Farmers Elevator Company of Humphrey.

  In May, 1903, Mr. Lohaus was united in marriage to Miss Cunnigunda Braun, a daughter of Joseph and Eva (Scheidemantel) Braun, who are represented elsewhere in this volume. Mr. and Mrs. Lohaus have become parents of six children: Alphonse, Henry, Lucy, Leander, Syra and Mary, all at home.

  The family attend the Catholic church, of which the parents are members, and Mr. Lohaus is also identified with the Catholic Order of Foresters and the Knights of Columbus. Since age conferred upon him the right of franchise he has voted with the democratic party, and he has served as township committeeman, taking a deep interest in political affairs and keeping well informed on the questions and issues of the day at all times. His life has been one of well directed industry and thrift, and along clearly defined lines of labor and business integrity he has won his success.


HENRY C. LACHNIT.

  Henry C. Lachnit for a number of years occupied public office in Platte county and is now engaged in the retail liquor business in Humphrey. He was born in Columbus township April 7, 1878, a son of Frank and Josephine (Meir) Lachnit, both of whom were natives of Germany. The father, a farmer by occupation, came to the United States in 1874 and settled on a farm near Columbus, Nebraska, renting land for a time but afterwards purchasing farm property which he owned and cultivated until 1900. He then retired and removed to Columbus, spending his remaining days in the enjoyment of a rest which he had truly earned and richly deserved. His wife passed away February 2, 1910, and he survived her only twenty-six days, his death occurring on the 28th of February.

  Henry C. Lachnit attended the district schools and remained at home to the age of twenty-one years, when he enlisted as a member of Company A, Thirty-ninth United States Volunteers for service in the Spanish-American war. He was with that command for two years in active service in the Philippines, and, although he joined the army as a private, he was promoted to the rank of corporal October 1, 1899, and was mustered out as sergeant on the 4th of March, 1901. He took part in a number of the engagements in the Philippines, including the battle of Colomba, January 1, 1900; Lipa, January 13th; San Diego Hill, January 21st; Majaijay, January 23d; Santa Cruz Bridge and San Diego Hill, March 16th; and again in the engagements at Colomba, August 29th and September 12, 1900. He enlisted on the 27th of September, 1899, and was discharged at San Francisco May 6, 1901, with the creditable record of "honest and faithful."

  When the country no longer needed his military aid Mr. Lachnit returned home and assisted in the further development and improvement of his father's farm for two years. In 1904 he was appointed deputy sheriff under Sheriff C. J. Carrig, with whom he served for four years. He then resigned and entered the retail liquor business at Lindsay, where he remained for two years, when, in 1909, he was elected on the democratic ticket to the office of sheriff of Platte county, assuming the position in 1910 and serving for five years and three months, having been twice

  HENRY C. LACHNIT

 

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reelected. At the close of his term he came to Humphrey, where he has since engaged in the retail liquor business.

  On the 21st of August, 1907, Mr. Lachnit was married to Miss Mary Griffin, a daughter of Morris and Margaret Griffin. Their children are: Ramona, born June 24, 1908; and Morris and Margaret, twins, born July 26, 1910. Mr. and Mrs. Lachnit are members of the Catholic church and he is identified with the Knights of Columbus, with the Elks Lodge, No. 1195, of Columbus, and the Columbus Aerie of Eagles, in which he has filled all of the chairs and is a past worthy president. He is likewise a member of the Sons of Herman and belongs to the Spanish War Veterans Association and the Maennerchor. In these different organizations he has gained many friends, and that he made a creditable record in public office is indicated in the fact that he was three times chosen by popular vote for the position which he filled.


JOHN T. STEFFES.

  No history of Humphrey would be complete without extended reference to the members of the Steffes family, who have borne so important and prominent a part in promoting the business activity and material development of the town, their labors being of farreaching effect and benefit. John T. Steffes is engaged in the real-estate and insurance business as a recognized leader in that line and he is also a member of the firm of Steffes Brothers, general merchants. His enterprise is of the character that brooks no obstacles or difficulties that can be overcome by persistent, earnest effort and gradually he has advanced along business lines until in this connection he is recognized as one of the foremost residents of Humphrey.

  Mr. Steffes is a native of northern Michigan. He was born July 25, 1870, a son of Jacob and Mary Catharine (Wagner) Steffes, who were natives of Germany, the father having been born on the Rhine, while the mother was a native of Saxenburg. Jacob Steffes, who followed the occupation of mining, came to America on attaining his majority and settled in Michigan. His wife had been brought to the new world when but three years of age by her parents, who located in the upper peninsula of Michigan. It was to the mining regions of that district that Jacob Steffes made his way and found employment, and after his marriage his wife conducted a tavern and saloon while Mr. Steffes followed mining, their united labors thus contributing to their success. In 1875 they came to Nebraska, settling in Madison county, where their earnings were invested in two hundred and forty acres of land on sections 33 and 34, Green Garden township, on Union Creek. They occupied that farm until 1880, meeting with good success in its cultivation and improvement, and then removed to Humphrey, where Mr. Steffes engaged in the hotel, livery and saloon business, continuing his activity along those lines until his death, which occurred in 1888. His wife survived him for many years, passing away in 1904.

  John T. Steffes attended the Humphrey parochial schools and also the school at St. Bernard and made his initial step in the business world as a clerk in the store of William Eimers in Humphrey, spending four years in that connection. In 1895 he turned his attention to the live-stock business, buying and selling live stock

 

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and also operating a butcher shop until 1904, when he entered the employ of P. McKillip and for several years worked for him in the real-estate business. In 1909 he established a real-estate agency on his own account and today is enjoying a substantial success in that field. In 1914 he extended the scope of his business to include general insurance and in that department has won a liberal clientage. Even this does not cover the scope of his activities, for in 1907, in partnership with his brothers, Jacob, Henry and Nicholas, he opened the largest general mercantile store in Humphrey and they also own and conduct a similar establishment at Cedar Rapids, Nebraska, of which Henry Steffes is acting as manager.

  On the 9th of March, 1898, Mr. Steffes was united in marriage to Miss Lena M. Edwards, a daughter of Dr. William and Lena (Schneider) Edwards, the former born near London, England, and the latter in Erie county, New York. They were married in Omaha, Nebraska, where for a number of years Dr. Edwards was actively engaged in the practice of medicine and surgery. Subsequently he removed to Platte Center, this county, and here followed his profession until his death in 1892, when he was fifty-seven years of age. His widow then removed to Humphrey and now makes her home with our subject. Mr. and Mrs. Steffes have the following children: Leona, Viola, Florence, Cecelia, Leonard, John and Francis. Death also claimed two of their children, Catharine and Marian.

  The religious faith of the family is that of the Catholic church, and Mr. Steffes belongs to the Catholic Order of Foresters. In politics he is a democrat but not an aspirant for office. He ranks with the substantial young business men of Humphrey, guided in all he does by a laudable ambition that has prompted him to put forth the most earnest and persistent efforts for the attainment of creditable success. His business activities, too, have been of a character which have contributed to general prosperity and to the upbuilding of the community as well as to individual advancement.


GEORGE FAIRCHILD.

  George Fairchild, of Columbus, was a prominent figure in connection with the annals of Nebraska as well as in local affairs of his home locality and thus it was that his death proved not simply a private bereavement but a public misfortune. He was born in Danbury, Connecticut, September 21, 1854, and was a youth of about seventeen years when he removed from Columbus, Ohio, to Platte county, Nebraska, in the year 1871. Here he accepted a position in the Arnold jewelry store of Columbus, in which he learned the trade and in which he remained for several years. He was for some time in the employ of the Union Pacific Railroad, was an accountant with the firm of Spiece & North and for several years was associated with W. A. Way in the coal business. Each step in his career marked an advance in his business interests and responsibilities. He became the first local manager for the Bell Telephone Company at Columbus and afterward he was appointed to the responsible position of accountant in the office of the state auditor. So efficient was his work in that connection that his services were retained for some time, his last duties being those of examiner of the county treasurer's books. He

 

PAST AND PRESENT OF PLATTE COUNTY 121

always regarded a public office as a public trust and it was well known that no trust reposed in him was ever betrayed in the slightest degree.

  On the 6th of May, 1885, occurred the marriage of Mr. Fairchild and Miss Elenora Bremer, a daughter of Charles and Mary Bremer. She was born in Omaha, February 16, 1864, and they became the parents of a daughter, Mary, now the wife of Frank Justus, of Columbus.

  The family circle was broken by the hand of death when on the 7th of October, 1914, Mr. Fairchild passed away at Wilbur, Nebraska. He was a consistent member of Grace Episcopal church and he belonged to various fraternal organizations, including the Odd Fellows, the Knights of Pythias, the Royal Arcanum, the Royal Highlanders and the Modern Woodmen. His political allegiance was always given to the republican party and he did everything in his power to further its legitimate success. In Columbus he long figured as a prominent and influential citizen and was the first chief of the fire department, while with many other concerns of public importance he was actively and helpfully associated. He enjoyed the confidence and goodwill of colleagues and contemporaries in business life and in public office and thus it was that his sterling qualities made his death a matter of deep and sincere regret.


ARTHUR A. BENHAM.

  Arthur A. Benham, manager for the T. B. Hord Grain Company at Humphrey, where he also buys live stock and handles coal, has through close application and unremitting energy made for himself a creditable position in business circles. He was born at Wautoma, Wisconsin, August 15, 1870, his parents being Allen B. and Mary (Trufant) Benham, natives of New Hampshire. The father became a merchant in early life. On leaving New England he went with his parents to Wisconsin, his father becoming a farmer of the Badger state. Allen B. Benham was then a young lad. When he had attained a sufficient age he began learning the tinner's trade, which he followed for about twelve years. In 1872 he removed to New Windsor, Illinois, where he established a hardware store, conducting business at that point and at Kewanee, Illinois, for several years. Success attended his efforts and he finally retired with a substantial competence. He then removed to Omaha, where he now resides at the age of sixty-eight years, while his wife is still living at the age of sixty-seven.

  Arthur A. Benham was reared and educated in Cedar Rapids, Nebraska, where his father was working as a tinner. He continued with his parents to the age of twenty-seven years and when his education was completed and his textbooks put aside he began buying grain and hogs in the employ of others. He was thus engaged in Cedar Rapids for nineteen years, at the end of which time he came to Humphrey as manager for the T. B. Hord Grain Company, which he still represents. He displays sound judgment in buying grain and has developed a good business at this point. He also buys stock and handles coal and his business interests are carefully and systematically managed.

  In June, 1897, Mr. Benham was united in marriage to Miss Lena Beggs, a daughter of A. J. Beggs, who was engaged in farming in Illinois at an early period

 

122PAST AND PRESENT OF PLATTE COUNTY

and subsequently removed to Iowa, in which state he was actively identified with general agricultural pursuits until 1894. In that year he took up his abode in Boone county, Nebraska, and there followed farming for several years but at the present time is living retired in the enjoyment of well earned rest. His wife passed away in 1910. Mr. and Mrs. Benham have two sons, Ralph B. and Howard B., who are sixteen and fourteen years of age respectively.

  The parents belong to the Episcopal church and in his political views Mr. Benham is a republican but not an aspirant for office. He exemplifies in his life the beneficent spirit of the Masonic fraternity, to which he belongs, and his course has ever been an upright, honorable one, gaining for him the high regard of all with whom he has been brought in contact through business or social relations. He has attractive social qualities which have won him popularity and throughout the community he has a host of warm friends.


REV. HERMAN MIESSLER.

  Rev. Herman Miessler, pastor of the German Lutheran church at Columbus, has done splendid work for the moral development in the community in which he lives, his influence being a direct and tangible force for uplift in many lives, not only in Columbus, but in various sections of Nebraska. A native of Michigan, he was born in Isabella county in 1861. His father, Gustav Miessler, now living at Crete, Illinois, went to Michigan as a missionary among the Chippewa Indians but on account of ill health resigned his position there in 1869 and removed to Chicago, where he studied medicine at Hahnemann College. In due tine he was graduated and entered upon practice in Chicago but is now living in Crete.

  Rev. Miessler obtained a common school education in Michigan and attended high school in Chicago. He afterward entered Concordia College at Fort Wayne, Indiana, from which he was graduated with the class of 1880 and then entered Concordia Seminary at St. Louis, Missouri, where he completed his course in 1883. Immediately afterward he came to Columbus, at which time the congregation of the German Lutheran church consisted of only ten families. He also had charge of two smaller churches in the district until they became self-sustaining. He entered with zeal and enthusiasm upon his work and his efforts were soon manifest in tangible results. Under his guidance the church has steadily grown until there are now one hundred families connected with the Columbus church and a parochial school is also maintained. He is actively identified in establishing churches throughout this section of Nebraska and also in founding various parochial schools, and his influence has been an immeasurable force for good. He is a member of the Missouri synod of the German Lutheran church and also of the teachers' board of the seminary at Seward, Nebraska.

  On the 5th of October, 1884, Rev. Miessler was united in marriage to Miss Clara Wurmb, a daughter of Theobald von Wurmb, who was born in South Africa, his father being a missionary to the Hottentots. Through family connections Mrs. Miessler is related to the great German Schiller. To Rev. and Mrs. Miessler have been born the following children: Walter, who wedded Emma Schreiber and is

  REV. HERMAN MIESSLER

 

PAST AND PRESENT OF PLATTE COUNTY 125

engaged in the drug business in St. Louis, Missouri; Adela; Olga; Eugene, who is assisting his brother Walter in the drug store in St. Louis; Elmer; and Marcella.

  In his political views Rev. Miessler is a democrat and keeps well informed on the issues of the day, being not unmindful of the duties and obligations of citizenship, yet he never seeks nor desires preferment in that connection. He is recognized as a man of marked ability, of strong intellectual force and effective power as a speaker. He is a man of large physique and commanding personality and of keen sympathy and is well liked not only by people of his own congregation but by representatives of all denominations.


EDWIN AHRENS

  Edwin Ahrens, directing his attention entirely to farming interests, belongs to that class of representative business men who win success through perseverance, laudable ambition and unfaltering energy. He has been a lifelong resident of Platte county, for he is one of her native sons, his birth having occurred on the old home farm of the family in Bismark township, September 24, 1884, his parents being Edwin and Anna (Loseke) Ahrens. The father was born in Oldenburg, Germany, June 21, 1831, and acquired a fair education in that country. He also worked on a farm there and for about two years served in the German army. Coming to America, he made his way to Nebraska and homesteaded one hundred and sixty acres in Platte county. The entire district was then largely undeveloped and unimproved and on the tract which came into his possession not a furrow had been turned. He met the usual experiences and hardships of pioneer life when one has to break the sod and prepare the fields for cultivation before crops can be planted. He was energetic and resolute, however, and he bravely met the difficulties which confront the settler upon the frontier. In time his labors brought about a marked change in the appearance of his farm, which was converted into productive fields, bringing forth abundant harvests. In April, 1861, he had wedded Miss Anna Loseke, also a native of Oldenburg, Germany, who is now living in Leigh, Nebraska. To them were born the following children: John, who is a resident of Columbus; Minnie, who is the wife of Fritz Loseke, of Bismark township; Margaret, who gave her hand in marriage to Henry Sander; Herman, living in Bismark township; Anna, who is the wife of Louis Groteluschen, of Audubon county, Iowa; Bertha, who is the wife of Erich Wurdeman, living south of Leigh; Edwin, of this review; and Ella, at home with her mother.

  The death of Edwin Ahrens, Sr., occurred on the 11th of January, 1892, and was the occasion of deep and widespread regret, for during the years of his residence in Platte county he had won a place among the substantial and highly respected citizens of the district. In politics he was a democrat and for a number of years was treasurer of his township, making an excellent officer, which fact is indicated by his frequent reelections. He belonged to the German Evangelical Lutheran church and guided his life according to its teachings.

  Edwin Ahrens, whose name introduces this review, obtained a public-school education while spending his youthful days under the parental roof and through periods of vacation he worked upon the home farm, early becoming familiar

 

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