Past & Present of Platte County, Nebraska - Volume II



an early day and located in Kentucky. The father was a cigar maker by trade and became the owner of a cigar factory and store in Kentucky, where he resided until he removed to Nebraska, settling in Omaha, where he engaged in the same business. He afterward came to Platte county and purchased land, which he cultivated for several years and then retired, at which time he removed to Humphrey, where he has since resided, being now eighty-five years of age. His wife died in September, 1913, at the age of eighty-three years. Their daughter, Mrs. Brockhaus, passed away March 18, 1909, after an illness of only four days, her death being a matter of deep regret to her many friends as well as to her relatives and immediate family. She had become the mother of nine children: Mary, the wife of John Wemhoff, a resident farmer of Idaho; Annie, the wife of August Weiser, who follows farming in Humphrey township; Gertrude, the wife of Edward Weiser, a resident farmer of Grand Prairie township; and Lizzie, Katie, Johanna, Frank, Ferdinand and Theresia, all at home.

  The Catholic church claims the allegiance of Mr. Brockhaus, who has been a lifelong member thereof. He gives his political support to the democratic party but aside from casting his ballot in defense of its principles is not an active politician, for he does not seek nor desire office as a reward for party fealty. On the contrary, he prefers to concentrate his energies upon his business affairs and, working persistently along the lines of modern farming, he has become one of the most prosperous and progressive agriculturists of his part of the county.


  Dr. Frank H. Morrow is an able and successful representative of the medical profession in Columbus, where he has practiced continuously for the past seven years, specializing in surgery. His birth occurred in Turin, New York, on the 5th of February, 1880, his parents being Thomas and Mary (McDonald) Morrow. The father, born in County Sligo, Ireland, in 1839, emigrated to the United States with his mother in boyhood and was married in the Empire state. In 1881 he removed with his family to Holt county, Nebraska, and in 1905 took up his abode in Scotts Bluff county, this state, where he has since resided.

  Frank H. Morrow acquired his early education in the country schools of Holt county, Nebraska, afterward pursued a high-school course in Atkinson and subsequently entered the University of Nebraska at Lincoln, from which institution he was graduated with the degree of Bachelor of Science in 1906. He prepared for a professional career in the medical department of the same institution, winning the degree of M. D. in 1908. He then opened an office in Columbus and has here remained during the intervening years, specializing in surgery and being accorded an extensive and gratifying practice in recognition of his superior skill. That he keeps in close touch with the work and progress of his profession is indicated in his membership in the Columbus City Medical Society, the Platte County Medical Society, the Nebraska State Medical Association and the American Medical Association.

  On the 4th of November, 1914, in Columbus, Nebraska, Dr. Morrow was united in marriage to Miss Marie Catharine Rusche, a daughter of F. H. Rusche. He gives his political allegiance to the democracy and fraternally is identified with the



Royal Highlanders, the Ancient Order of United Workmen, the Knights of Columbus, the Catholic Knights of America and the Benevolent Protective Order of Elks. He is also a devout communicant of the Catholic church. Both the Doctor and his wife are well known in social circles of Columbus and have a host of warm friends.


  Jacob Olk is proprietor of the only hardware and implement store at Cornlea and is conducting a gratifying and growing business. He was born in Germany, October 12, 1859, and is a son of Nicholas and Angella Olk, who were also natives of that country. The mother died there thirty-five years ago, but the father is still living in Germany at the very advanced age of eighty-seven years.

  Jacob Olk remained at home until, according to the laws of his native land, he joined the army, serving for two years. On coming to America in 1884 he settled in Carroll, Iowa, and for a year thereafter was employed as a farm hand by the month. He next removed to Earling, Iowa, where he worked at farm labor for two years and then went to Council Bluffs, spending a year as a farm hand near that city. On the expiration of that period he entered the shops of the John Dersk Manufacturing Company, in which he continued for two years, after which he came to Nebraska, settling at Pilger, where he established a blacksmith shop, which he conducted for fifteen years, gaining a liberal patronage, so that his business yielded him a fair profit. In 1901 he removed to Cornlea, where he now makes his home, and in that year he opened a hardware and implement store, which he has since conducted, covering a period of fourteen years. He has built up a large trade, for his is the only store of the kind in the town and in addition to shelf and heavy hardware he carries a general line of farm implements and is ready to meet any demands in his line. He is obliging and ever courteous to his patrons and his carefully directed interests are bringing to him substantial success.

  On the 18th of October, 1889, Mr. Olk was united in marriage to Miss Lydia Rustermyer, a daughter of John and Charlotte (Swebach) Rustermyer, who were natives of Holstein, Germany. The father was an agriculturist by occupation and on emigrating to the United States located first in Wisconsin, while subsequently he took up his abode in Stanton county, Nebraska, where both he and his wife spent the remainder of their lives. John Rustermyer passed away on the 31st of July, 1907, having for a number of years survived his wife, who died in August, 1898.

  To Mr. and Mrs. Olk have been born nine children, as follows: Mollie, who was born March 29, 1892, and is the wife of George A. Wittler, a retail liquor dealer of Cornlea, by whom she has two children, Jay and Sedona; William, who was born October 26, 1893, and is the assistant cashier of the Cornlea State Bank; Otto, who was born May 1, 1895, and clerks in his father's store; Ella, whose birth occurred July 12, 1896, and who is employed as clerk in the store of Albert Pilger at Pilger, Nebraska; Emma, whose natal day was January 16, 1899; Anita, whose birth occurred April 11, 1902; Leo, born August 4, 1903; Ivan, born November 21, 1906; and Angella, whose birth occurred July 18, 1908, and who died in infancy.



  On becoming an American citizen Mr. Olk indorsed the principles of the republican party, of which he has since been an earnest advocate. He is now serving as a member of the town board and of the school board of Cornlea and is interested in every plan and measure for the general good, cooperating in many projects which have greatly benefited the community. He and his family are communicants of the Catholic church. Mr. Olk is a self-made man and deserves much credit for what he has accomplished. He now owns a section of good land in Cheyenne county, Nebraska, and its rental brings him a gratifying financial return. He devotes the major part of his attention, however, to his hardware and implement business and is accounted one of the progressive merchants of the county and one of the most highly respected citizens of Cornlea.


  Henry Behle, carrying on general farming on section 26, Shell Creek township, has been a resident of Platte county for forty years and is therefore entitled to mention with its pioneer settlers -- the men who have laid broad and deep the foundation upon which has been built the present progress and prosperity of the county. A native of Germany, he was born in Waldeck, January 7, 1850, a son of John and Mary (Rohmer) Behle, who were also natives of Waldeck, where the father became the owner of a farm and spent his entire life, giving his attention to general agricultural pursuits. He was an active worker in and a faithful member of the Lutheran church and his life was guided by its teachings. He died in 1880, at the age of seventy years, having for two years survived his wife, who passed away at the age of sixty-five.

  Henry Behle was the fifth in order of birth in a family of seven children. He left home at the age of fifteen years, after having attended the schools of Germany, and, crossing the Atlantic, became a resident of Decatur, Illinois. He soon secured work in that locality as a farm hand and was thus employed until 1875, when he came to Nebraska at the age of twenty-five years. Since that time he has been identified with agricultural pursuits in Platte county. His first purchase of land made him the owner of an eighty acre tract, for which he paid ten dollars per acre. The improvements upon it consisted of a sod house and sod barn, but with characteristic energy he began to till and develop the fields and soon the eighty acre tract was converted into a productive farm, bringing forth good crops annually. As he found ready sale for his crops he was able to add to his holdings from time to time and is now the owner of four hundred acres of rich land in Shell Creek township, in the midst of which stands a nice country residence, large barns and other equipment of a model farm. Mr. Behle is still active in business and may well be numbered among the representative farmers of the district. He has always raised a good grade of stock and feeds and ships cattle and hogs. When he first took up his abode in Shell Creek township there was only one house between his home, on section 26, and Columbus. All was open prairie and the conditions of pioneer life had to be met. While Mr. Behle is now a prosperous farmer not all days in his career have been equally bright. In fact, during the early part of his residence here he had trouble in getting started. There were droughts and grasshoppers in



addition to the usual hardships of frontier life, but he had courage and perseverance and his close application and unfaltering energy brought him success in due time.

  Mr. Behle was united in marriage to Miss Amelia Babbler, who was born in Beardstown, Illinois, a daughter of Allen Babbler, a native of Hesse-Darmstadt, Germany. The father was a farmer by occupation and on coming to the new world settled in Cook county, Illinois, where he resided upon a farm until his death. He held membership in the German Methodist church. To Mr. and Mrs. Behle have been born eight children: Louise, who is the wife of Fred Wille, mentioned elsewhere in this work; Nora, the wife of Henry Claussen, a resident farmer of Iowa; Adam, living upon the home farm; and Henry, Amelia, Olive, Gretchen and Erick, all at home.

  Mr. Behle belongs to the German Lutheran church and assisted in organizing the German Lutheran parochial school. He has served as moderator in his church and is interested in all that furthers its welfare and extends its influence. In a word, he has contributed to the moral progress of the community, as well as to its agricultural development and his aid and influence are always to be counted upon to further the cause of right, justice, improvement and progress.


  During the years in which he was actively engaged in farming William Haferland, of Humphrey, won a comfortable competence that now enables him to live retired. His name indicates his German lineage. He was born in Hanover, Germany, on the 25th of July, 1840, a son of Henry and Annie (Gannan) Haferland, who were also natives of that country, where the father followed the occupation of farming, spending his entire life there. He died in 1874, while his wife, who survived for fourteen years, passed away in 1888.

  The Public schools of Hanover afforded William Haferland his educational opportunities. He remained with his parents to the age of fourteen years and then started out to earn his own living by working on a farm, being employed in that manner until twenty-six years of age, when he bade adieu to friends and fatherland and sailed for the new world, believing that he might have better opportunities on this side the Atlantic. He made his way to Cincinnati, Ohio, and was employed in a packing house there for twelve years, after which he removed to Carroll county, Iowa, and invested the capital that he had gained through his industry and economy in a farm. This he operated with continued success until 1899, when he sold that property and made his way to Humphrey. Soon afterward he completed arrangements whereby he became the owner of a farm in Humphrey township, and immediately began its further development and improvement, converting it into a very productive tract of land which he continued to operate until 1905, when he retired and took up his abode in Humphrey, purchasing a nice home that he has since occupied. He is now a stockholder in the Farmers Elevator Company but otherwise has no business connections.

  In June, 1869, Mr. Haferland was united in marriage to Miss Caroline Bölling, a daughter of Lucas and Elizabeth Bölling, who spent their entire lives in Germany. To Mr. and Mrs. Haferland have been born eleven children, as follows:



Henry who passed away on the 13th of December, 1914; Annie, who is the wife of Anton Hoffman and resides in Carroll county, Iowa; Lizzie, who is the widow of Frank Rinard and makes her home in Humphrey; Frank, a resident of Granville township, this county; William, who operates his father's farm in Humphrey township: Kate, who gave her hand in marriage to Charles Maximan and makes her home in Colorado; Caroline, who is a Catholic sister at La Crosse, Wisconsin; Mary, who is the wife of Peter Shoemaker, of Granville township, Platte county; and Katie, Louis and George, all of whom died in infancy.

  Mr. and Mrs. Haferland belong to the Catholic church. In politics he is a democrat and while living in Carroll county served as road supervisor, but he has never sought or desired public office, preferring always to concentrate his time and energies upon his business affairs, in which he has met with growing and well merited success, bringing him at length to a financial position that enables him to live retired and yet enjoy many of the comforts and luxuries of life.


  The productive soil of Platte county has yielded rich rewards to those who had the courage to begin its development in pioneer times and who with the passing years continued the work of cultivating the fields. Many of the farmers have won prosperity in considerable measure and are now able to rest from further labor. Among these is Diedrich Harms, who is now living retired in Columbus. His life record had its beginning in Oldenburg, Germany, on the 20th of July, 1853, his parents being Gerhard and Elina (Behrens) Harms. The father was born in 1820 and was a farmer and sheep rancher of his native country. He served as an infantryman in 1848 and was decorated with a medal by the Kaiser for his gallantry at Duppel in the war with Denmark. His entire life was passed in Germany, his death occurring when he had reached the advanced age of ninety-one years and six months. His wife, who was born in 1823, died at the age of seventy.

  Diedrich Harms attended school in Germany and there worked upon a farm until he came to the United States with his wife and one child, establishing his home in Columbus in 1884. They left their elder son in Germany with his paternal grandfather that he might attend school there. In 1885 the family removed to Bismark township and in the year 1892 Mr. Harms purchased one hundred and sixty acres of land in Joliet township, for which he paid thirty-two hundred dollars. In the meantime he had returned to Germany in 1887 and brought his son back with him to the United States. The family home was maintained in Joliet township for a time but afterward he sold that property and purchased other lands, carrying on farming in connection with his sons in Lost Creek and Burrows townships, where they had three hundred and twenty acres. Their labors resulted in bringing the fields under a high state of cultivation, rich crops being annually gathered. They also raised shorthorn cattle and Poland China hogs and also fed both cattle and hogs for the market. Business affairs were carefully and systematically managed and the farm work was conducted along practical and progressive lines, resulting in the attainment of substantial success. In addition to his




farming interests Diedrich Harms became a stockholder of the Platte County State Bank at Platte Center and is still serving as one of its directors.

  In 1875 Mr. Harms wedded Miss Helena Rippen, a native of Oldenburg; Germany, and a daughter of Gerhard and Mary Rippen. Her father, who was the owner of a small sheep ranch, was born in 1819 and died at the age of eighty-six years. Her mother was born in 1821. Mr. and Mrs. Harms became parents of two sons. Gerhard is married and resides on the farm in Lost Creek township. Diedrich is still with his parents.

  In March, 1911, Mr. Harms was called back to his native town on account of his father's death. He made the trip of three thousand and eighty miles on the George Washington of the North German Lloyd Line, and though they encountered very severe weather, the voyage was completed in six days. This is the only trip which Mr. Harms has made back to the fatherland since leaving there more than three decades ago. His life has been actuated by his Christian faith. He has long been a devoted member of the German Lutheran church, in which he has taken a deep and helpful interest. In 1902 he served on the building committee that erected the church in Lost Creek township at Platte Center and he contributed largely to the work. Since taking up his abode in Columbus he has been very active in the German Lutheran church in this city and aided liberally in the erection of the school and church buildings, being on the building committee that made the additions to the church. He is now serving as senior steward and he co-operates heartily in all plans to promote the growth of the church and extend its influence. He has never regretted his determination to come to America, for in this country he has found the opportunities which he sought and by utilizing business conditions and advantages he has won prosperity, being now numbered among the men of affluence in Columbus.


  Sebastian E. Marty has lived in Columbus for nearly a third of a century and has been long and successfully identified with business interests here, while at present he is the efficient incumbent in the office of postmaster. His birth occurred in New Glarus, Wisconsin, on the 28th of March, 1862, his parents being Friedolin and Anna (Blumer) Marty, who were married in Switzerland. The father, born in Glarus, Switzerland, in 1808, emigrated to the United States in 1854 and for four years resided in Chicago, Illinois. He then removed to Wisconsin, where his demise occurred in 1869, while his wife passed away in that state in 1877. Our subject has one living sister, Salome, who is the widow of Jacob Eierdan and resides in Chicago.

  In the acquirement of an education Sebastian E. Marty attended the schools of his native town, but his advantages in that direction were limited, as he attended during only three months in the year. When about fourteen years of age he put aside his textbooks and subsequently worked at various occupations including railroading. He was telegrapher for the Chicago & Northwestern Railroad at Brooklyn, Wisconsin, whence in 1883 he came to Columbus, Nebraska, being here employed as clerk in a meat market for two years. He then embarked in that line of busi-
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ness on his own account and for a period of twenty-eight years remained proprietor of a meat market in Columbus, enjoying an extensive and profitable patronage. In October, 1913, he sold out and the next year secured a position as bookkeeper in the Reaming mill at Columbus, being thus employed until April, 1915. On the 9th of February of that year he was selected for the position of postmaster at a primary held by the citizens of Columbus. There were five candidates for the office and he received seven hundred votes, being thus chosen by a flattering majority, as the next highest vote was three hundred and ninety. In this capacity he is making an excellent record, discharging his duties with ability and promptness.

  On the 4th of May, 1885, in Columbus, Nebraska, Mr. Marty was united in marriage to Miss Anna C. Marti, a daughter of Jacob Marti, who has passed away. To them have been born four children, namely: Louise M., who is the wife of Clayton C. Stafford, of Los Angeles, California; Anna C., who gave her hand in marriage to Sophus C. Pedersen; Frederick J.; and Carl Sebastian.

  Since age conferred upon him the right of franchise Mr. Marty has supported the men and measures of the democracy, while his religious faith is that of the German Reformed church. Fraternally he is identified with the Modern Woodmen of America, the Ancient Order of United Workmen and the Sons of Herman. He is a man of progressive spirit and of high principles and his genuine personal worth commends him to the confidence and goodwill of all with whom he comes in contact.


  Joseph N. Smith is proprietor of a meat market in Humphrey and is also engaged in buying and shipping cattle to Omaha. Industry and determination are numbered among his salient characteristics and these qualities have gained him a creditable place in the business circles of his town. His residence in Platte county dates from 1883 or from the time that he was eleven years of age. He was born in Illinois in November, 1872, his parents being Benedict and Richartia (Wendling) Smith, who were natives of France. The father was but three years of age when he was brought by his parents to the United States in 1840, the family settling where Chicago now stands. The paternal grandfather owned land now included within the loop district of that city.

  Benedict Smith was reared and educated in Illinois and after reaching man's estate turned his attention to farming. He became the owner of a tract of land in Dupage county, which he developed and improved, continuing its cultivation until 1877, when he removed to Arkansas, where he again carried on farming for six years. On the expiration of that period he arrived in Platte county, Nebraska, and for a time resided in Columbus but afterward rented a farm near Platte Center. which he continued to cultivate until he removed to Lindsay, where he purchased a place. He afterward retired from active business and became a resident of Humphrey, where his remaining days were passed, his death occurring in October, 1913, when he was about seventy-six years of age. His widow still survives and now makes her home with her son Joseph.

  After spending the first five years of his life in his native state Joseph N. Smith



was taken by his parents to Arkansas and at the age of eleven years became a resident of Platte county, where he has since made his home. He attended the schools of Columbus and afterward went to Lindsay, where he operated a lumber yard and elevator for twelve years in connection with a partner. He next came to Humphrey and occupied the position of bartender with his brother for five years. His brother was also owner of a butcher shop in Humphrey and in 1903 Joseph N. Smith purchased the business which he has since conducted. He devotes much of his time to buying cattle and hogs, which he ships to Omaha, and this branch of his business is proving very profitable, for he is an excellent judge of stock and his purchases are therefore judiciously made, enabling him to realize handsomely on his sales. He is likewise a stockholder in the Farmers Elevator Company of Humphrey and in the First National Bank, his business interests being thus extensive and important.

  In August, 1899, Mr. Smith was united in marriage to Miss Alma Anderson, her father being August Anderson, a native of Sweden. Emigrating to the United States in an early day, the latter established his home in Platte county, Nebraska, and for twenty years was employed as section foreman by the Chicago & Northwestern Railroad Company. He is now living retired at Newman Grove, where he owns two farms. To Mr. and Mrs. Smith have been born six children, namely: George, who is fourteen years of age; Pearl, a maiden of eleven summers; Eugene, Florence and Raymond, who are eight, five and two years of age respectively; and Eldina, who passed away in 1900.

  The religious faith of the family is that of the Catholic church and Mr. Smith also holds membership with the Knights of Columbus, the Catholic Order of Foresters, and the Eagles. He exercises his right of franchise in support of the men and measures of the democratic party but is not an aspirant for office, preferring to concentrate his energies upon the business interests which now claim his time and attention and which are proving a substantial source of revenue. He has a wide acquaintance in the county in which the greater part of his life has been passed and where he is now well established in the regard and esteem of many friends.


  Among the excellent citizens whom Germany has given to Platte county is John Frederick Feye, who is successfully engaged in farming on section 9, Sherman township. He was born in Ahlhorn, Oldenburg, Germany, July 22, 1873, a son of J. Herman and Louisa (Leiszner) Feye. The father owned a small farm and devoted his time to its operation. Both parents were lifelong residents of Germany. Their religious faith was that of the Lutheran church, and they were highly respected in their community.

  John Frederick Feye attended school in his native village but as his father died when he was a small boy he was early compelled to provide for his own support. He worked upon the home farm until 1890, when he emigrated to the United States and made his way to Platte county, Nebraska. He was employed as a farm hand here for two years and also learned the carpenter's trade which he followed for about 9 years. At the end of that time he was married and began farming on



his own account. He has gained a gratifying measure of success and now owns three hundred and twenty acres of land which formerly belonged to his father-in-law. He is energetic and, as he plans his work carefully, he receives a gratifying income from his land.

  On July 26, 1900, Mr. Feye was united in marriage to Miss Alma Wurdeman, further mention of whose family is made in the sketch of J. H. Wurdeman which appears elsewhere in this work. Mr. and Mrs. Feye have three children, Otto Frederick, Walter Hellmuth and Arthur William.

  Mr. Feye is a republican but confines his political activity to the exercise of his right of franchise. He is a member of the Lutheran church, to the support of which he contributes, and he co-operates with movements seeking the moral advancement of his community. Since becoming a resident of Platte county he has gained the respect and esteem of his fellow citizens and has made many personal friends.


  Augustus W. Clark is a retired farmer living in Columbus and also one of the veterans of the Civil war, as is indicated by the fact that he wears the little bronze button of the Grand Army of the Republic. That he has been a loyal and patriotic citizen in times of peace as well as in times of war entitles him to representation in this volume. He was born in Ashtabula county, Ohio, June 11, 1838, and is a son of W. O. and Lois (Greene) Clark, natives of New York. The father, who devoted his life to agricultural pursuits, removed from the Empire state to Ohio and for fifteen years lived in Ashtabula. In 1848 he went to La Salle county, Illinois, where he found pioneer conditions, but on the prairies of that state he took up general farming and became the owner of valuable land, winning a place among the representative agriculturists of his district. He was also active in neighborhood affairs, gave his political allegiance to the democratic party and upheld the Universalist church as one of its members. He continued to reside upon his farm in Illinois until his death, which occurred when he was seventy-two years of age, while his wife passed away in La Salle county at the very advanced age of ninety-five years.

  Augustus W. Clark acquired a common-school education in that county and remained at home until October 16, 1861, when he enlisted as a member of Company B, Fifty-third Illinois Infantry, the regiment being formed at Ottawa. The command was with Cushman's Brigade. Mr. Clark enlisted first as a musician and was promoted from principal musician to sergeant major. The troops left Ottawa for Camp Douglas, Chicago, relieving General Sullivan's command that was guarding prisoners from Fort Donelson. After about two months they were relieved by newer troops and reported at Pittsburg Landing, Tennessee, in the early part of 1862, remaining at that place for some time. With his regiment Mr. Clark participated in the siege of Corinth, the siege of Vicksburg and that of Atlanta and went with Sherman on the march to the sea. He was slightly wounded in the face and again in the back. The Fifty-third, because of the heavy losses which had decimated its ranks, was consolidated with the Forty-first Illinois Infantry, and with



that command Mr. Clark was mustered out at Savannah, Georgia, December 29, 1864.

  He then returned to Illinois and began farming in La Salle county, where he lived for about fifteen years, owning land in that state until 1880, when he sold out and came to Platte county, Nebraska, where he purchased property and engaged in farming until 1900. His home was in Columbus township, where he had two hundred acres, upon which he extensively engaged in raising stock. His business affairs were carefully and systematically conducted and success in gratifying measure attended his efforts. When he put aside all business cares in 1900 he took up his abode in Columbus, where he has since enjoyed a well earned and well merited rest.

  In February, 1886, Mr. Clark wedded Miss Elizabeth C. Westcott, who was born in New York, a daughter of George W. and Miriam (Eddy) Westcott, also natives of the Empire state. During the greater part of his life her father followed blacksmithing. Removing to Illinois, he lived for a time in Aurora and afterward followed his trade in different towns in La Salle and other counties. He lived for a time at Marseilles, Illinois, but in 1879 came to Platte county, settling on a farm two miles north of Columbus, where he owned one hundred and sixty acres of land. He was a very active and progressive citizen of his township and served as assessor, to which position he was elected on the republican ticket. Mr. and Mrs. Clark have become the parents of eight children, five of whom are still living: Addie L., who became the wife of J. F. McGill, a farmer of Platte county and died in April, 1914, leaving four children; Otis, of Columbus, who is married and has four children; Clarence J., a carpenter of Columbus, who is married and has one child; Eugene A., who is married and is a carpenter and millwright of Columbus; and Hazel, at home.

  Mr. Clark has been an active member of the Masonic fraternity for many years and belongs also to the Modern Woodmen of America. His political allegiance is given the democratic party and he was active in politics in Columbus township, where he served as clerk for eight years, as township supervisor for a similar period and as township assessor. He also filled the office of assessor in the city of Columbus, and he served as councilman for seven years, during which period he was also a bailiff of the Platte county district court. He has long been a devoted member of the Grand Army post at Columbus, of which he has served as commander and is now chaplain. He proved a valiant soldier when he followed the nation's starry banner on southern battlefields and he has also been equally loyal to the best interests of the country in times of peace, and stands as a splendid representative of American manhood and chivalry.


  George H. Bender is an enterprising general merchant of Cornlea, where he now conducts a business of large and gratifying proportions. He was born in Henry, Marshall county, Illinois, February 11, 1879, a son of Peter and Kate (Hatzbuehler) Bender, the former a native of Menamebach, Germany, born June 12, 1852. When four years of age he was brought to America by his parents



the family home being established near Henry, Illinois. He became a farmer, devoting his life to that occupation.

  George H. Bender attended school in the home district until he had mastered the branches of learning therein taught and subsequently he entered the normal school at Fremont, Nebraska, from which he was graduated in 1901. In 1903 he came to Cornlea, where he established a general mercantile store of which he has since been the proprietor. In 1907 he was joined by his father in a partnership that has since been maintained under the firm name of Bender & Son. They enjoy a large patronage and carry an extensive stock of dry goods and general merchandise. Their store is well appointed and tastefully arranged and the reasonable prices and honorable business policy of the firm bring to them a constantly increasing patronage which makes the undertaking a profitable one.

  On the 15th of February, 1901, Mr. Bender was united in marriage to Miss Celia Ratterman, a daughter of John and Kate (Zavadil) Ratterman, the former a native of Germany and the latter of Bohemia. John Ratterman is now serving as judge of Platte county, but his wife has passed away. To our subject and his wife have been born six children, as follows: Elnora, who attends the school of the Sacred Heart church at Cornlea; Francis; Theodore; Margaret; Ethel and Celia.

  In his political views Mr. Bender is a democrat and for the past ten years has served as secretary of the democratic conventions held in Platte county. He has long been recognized as an active worker in party ranks and his opinions carry weight in the local democratic councils. He is now clerk of the town board and has also served as clerk of Granville township. He and his family are all members of the Catholic church of Cornlea and he belongs also to Humphrey Council of the Knights of Columbus and the Modern Woodmen camp of Cornlea. His time and attention, however, are given in largest measure to his business affairs and he is an alert, energetic business man who early in his career recognized the eternal principle that industry wins and has made industry the beacon light of his life.


  Rudolf Friederich Leopold Jaeggi is the owner and editor of the Nebraska Biene, the only German paper published in Platte county. He is well known to the German-American citizens of the district and is one whose efforts have been a forceful factor in upholding the standards of citizenship and in advancing public progress in his part of the state. He was born July 29, 1850, in Bueren, Canton Bern, Switzerland, and by inherited right became a full citizen of the city of Bern. He belonged to the Guild of Pfistern (bakers and millers). His parents were Carl Ludwig, a minister of the state church of Switzerland, and Margarethe Rosina (Kistler) Jaeggi. The paternal grandfather was also a minister. He had a coat of arms and the genealogical history of the family can be traced back for six centuries, one of the original ancestors having aided in building the city of Bern. The maternal grandfather was a military man and was captain of the Swiss guards of Napoleon. Mrs. Jaeggi was a granddaughter of Colonel Von Tillier, who was the commander of one of the three regiments of Swiss guards that defended the Tuil-




leries in the French revolution in the last decade of the eighteenth century and was saved by a French nobleman when laying unconscious on the sidewalk suffering from twenty-two wounds. One of his ancestors was Schultheiss, of the old republic of Bern in the middle ages, who was the chief officer of the town, his position being practically that of head of the republic. Medals, scepters and other rewards of bravery were adornments on the walls of the home of Carl Ludwig Jaeggi. He in turn, when a young man, before becoming a minister of the gospel, was stenographer at the great council in Bern for a number of years. He afterward became a higher grade teacher at the gymnasium at Burgdorf, Switzerland, and for a time was one of the political leaders of the country, aiding in the overthrow of the old patrician government in Switzerland in the '30s. At that time Switzerland was not a democratic republic and the common citizen did not have equal rights with the nobleman. After becoming a clergyman Carl Ludwig Jaeggi did not take part in politics and never discussed political questions, but at one time he was candidate for the national council but was defeated by the party of Jacob Staempfli, who became a most brilliant president of Switzerland and famous as international judge in the settlement of the Alabama question between England and the United States.

  Leopold Jaeggi pursued his education at Bueren on the Aare river, passing through eight grades of the primary schools and two grades of the secondary school. Later he pursued the work of the fifth grade of the leading cantonal school in Bern, the capital of the county, and in Neueville, the French part of the canton of Bern, where he finished his education in a boarding school or college. After serving a two years' apprenticeship in a wholesale business house in Burgdorf, Canton Bern, Switzerland, he also spent two years as an apprentice in a confectionery establishment at Geneva, Switzerland, where he continued from the spring of 1869 until the 1st of March, 1871. Subsequently he was employed at Bex, in the canton de Vaux, Switzerland, in Bern, in Strausburg and Weissenburg in Alsace, and in Aarau, Switzerland. While in Geneva he witnessed the war between Germany and France and registered as a volunteer to help protect the Swiss neutrality but was not called upon for active military service. The next fall, however, he had to enlist in the regular army, as it was the law that every young man must serve in the Swiss militia. In that connection he advanced to the rank of sergeant and in that capacity served for two or three terms of from seven to eight weeks each with new recruits. He was ordered for another term, with the possibility for advancement to the rank of lieutenant, but in 1873 he left his native country for the United States, arriving at Columbus, Nebraska, on the 1st of November, of that year.

  When the family came to this state the mother and two brothers each secured an eighty acre homestead in Polk county near the Platte river, their tracts adjoining, but the grasshoppers destroyed their crops in 1873 and again wrought devastation in 1874. Leopold Jaeggi then returned to Omaha to work in a confectionery establishment, but, not liking the methods of conducting the business, he left the position and established a flour store on Thirteenth street between Farnum and Harney, handling the flour of the Sarpy county and other mills. He did not earn more than a living in that connection however, and, accordingly, accepted a position as clerk in the Columbus State Bank, where he remained for four years. On the expiration of that period he entered the lumberyard of Jaeggi & Schupbach and later managed a yard for them at Genoa and afterward in Humphrey, Nebraska. 


  In January, 1880, he purchased an interest in the business of Gus G. Becher & Company, insurance and loans, and in 1883 he was called back to Bern by a relative, who wished to enter into business relations with Mr. Jaeggi's firm and who assisted him to enter into a like business relation with a leading bank in Basel, Switzerland, for which the firm of Becher, Jaeggi & Company, loaned money to the farmers until the year 1897. For a time the company did a large and satisfactory business, never losing a dollar for the Switzerland firm which they represented, but finally interest became so low that Europe could not compete.

  Mr. Jaeggi is now the owner and editor of the Nebraska Biene, which commenced its twenty-first year with the issue of May 15, 1914. It has celebrated the thirty-sixth anniversary of its origin under the name of the Columbus Wochenblatt, which makes it the oldest paper of Columbus still in existence. Thirty-seven years ago a young German-Pole of culture and education by the name of Robert Lange established the Columbus Wochenblatt with three patent pages that were furnished him and, adding the front page of local news, addressed it to his subscribers. Emil Pohl, then a well known musician and director of the Columbus Maennerchor, the first German singing society in Columbus, was his assistant editor and wrote his political articles. Although Platte was in those days already considered one of the prominent German counties of Nebraska, still the county was just in the making, was not thickly settled and the German homesteaders could not afford to spend much time in reading newspapers and they needed their money in order to gain a start, so that Mr. Lange sold his paper to Dr. Schonlau, an old German physician with a large family, who conducted the paper until his death in 1890. Up to that date the Wochenblatt had been a democratic paper, but after the death of Dr. Schonlau the late Major J. N. Kilian bought the paper and in 1893 changed its politics as well as its name and made it a republican paper under the style of the Nebraska Biene. In 1898 Mr. Kilian was made captain of Company K, of the First Nebraska Militia Regiment and went to the Philippine islands to participate in the war. His local agent, J. H. Johannes, became his successor as owner and manager of the Nebraska Biene. Having been raised on a farm among the German settlers on Shell creek, understanding the needs of the paper and being a hard worker, he succeeded in raising the subscription list above the two thousand mark and made it a well established journal. He also changed its politics back to democratic. On the 12th of February, 1908, Mr. Johannes died after a brief illness and Henry Wilkens became owner of the paper but left its management and publication to Otto Kinder, now on the staff of the Omaha Tribune, who remained for a while as foreman after E. A. Harms, now a real-estate dealer of Norfolk, became its owner and made the paper independent as to politics.

  On the 11th of January, 1913, Leopold Jaeggi became the owner through purchase of the paper, which he continues as an independent journal, not interfering with the political views of his subscribers who represent different political parties. It is his effort to further the interests of the German speaking citizens of the community and of the state regardless of political or religious creeds. As he comes from the oldest republic -- the republic of Switzerland -- a country widely respected and composed of three different races, using as many languages, all having learned in past centuries to unite as true citizens of the one country, beloved by all for its splendid organization of free and human institutions, he hopes to make the Nebraska Biene a true servant of this great land of the brave and the free by helping its citi-



zens to better understand each other when prejudice and false national pride threaten to disturb their harmony. He holds to the viewpoint of the former very patriotic secretary of state, Carl Schurz: "My country, right or wrong; if right to be kept right, if wrong to be set right."

  In October, 1885, Mr. Jaeggi was married in Aarburg, Switzerland, to Miss Bertha Meyer, a daughter of Dr. Arnold Meyer, a citizen of Herisau in the canton of Appenzell, Switzerland, whose father was also a minister. Mrs. Jaeggi possesses considerable musical skill as a pianist and also displays talent in painting and in household arts. To Mr. and Mrs. Jaeggi have been born three daughters: Gertrude, now the wife of Dr. F. Conrad Kruger, of the State University of California at Berkeley; Hedwig, a well known violinist and the wife of Maurice Fontein, a dealer in pianos, violins and player pianos; and Else, who has engaged in teaching school and is now soliciting manager and bookkeeper for the Nebraska Biene.

  For the past thirty years Mr. Jaeggi has been a notary public, his commission expiring January 9, 1918. In former years he was a member of the Omaha lodge of Odd Fellows and he now holds membership with the Woodmen of the World. He is also a charter member of the Columbus Maennerchor Singing Society and is still one of its active representatives. He possesses musical talent which has made him a valued factor in the musical circles of the city. He is somewhat independent in thought along religious and political lines but holds membership with the Evangelical German church. He does not hold to any political party but is a believer in personal liberty and that education alone makes men wise and moral.


  M. E. Cooney is the owner of one of the model farm properties of Burrows township, his home being on section 33, where he has two hundred and fifty acres of valuable and productive land. He was born in Chicago, Illinois, March 14, 1854, a son of John and Ann (Murray) Cooney. The father was a native of Ireland and in 1846 bade adieu to the Emerald isle and to his friends of that country and sailed for the United States, with Chicago as his destination. There he engaged in teaming and continued to make his home throughout his remaining days, his death occurring in 1880. His wife, who was also born in Ireland, died in Cook county, Illinois, in 1890.

  M. E. Cooney attended school in Chicago and afterward worked upon a farm in Lake county, Illinois, which his father had purchased. His time was thus spent until he reached the age of twenty-four years, when he began working for other farmers, continuing in that employ until 1878, when he removed to Nebraska, settling in Platte county. Later, however, he returned to Chicago and drove a bobtail car for the Chicago City Railway Company. In 1881 he once more came to Platte county and invested his earnings in one hundred and sixty acres of land on section 33, Burrows township, where he now lives. Later he extended the boundaries of the place by additional purchase until he now has two hundred and fifty acres of valuable land devoted to general farming and stock-raising. He keeps good grades of stock but feeds hogs only. His place has undergone a marked transfor-


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