Past & Present of Platte County, Nebraska - Volume II


 

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years on the home farm and then in April, 1906, took up his abode in Columbus and began buying and shipping hogs and cattle, having engaged in the stock business continuously since that time. In recent years, however, he has given his attention exclusively to buying hogs and is meeting with splendid success in this business venture.

  Mr. Burke is a democrat in his political belief and is a communicant of the Catholic church. His fraternal relations connect him with the Knights of Columbus. For four years he acted on the board of supervisors of Platte county and also served on the school board of districts Nos. 12 and 4. He may truly be called a self-made man, for in his earlier life he was obliged to perform the hardest kind of physical labor on the farm, but he has gradually worked his own way up in the business world until he is numbered among the prominent stockmen of this section and is looked upon as a shrewd business man, who fully merits the confidence and esteem of his fellow citizens.


TONEY SCHMITZ.

  Toney Schmitz is proprietor of the only dray line at Cornlea and, having no competition, is doing an extensive business, while his honorable and reliable method commend him to the confidence of all. Platte county numbers him among her native sons, for he was born within her borders September 21, 1891, being a son of Joseph and Margaret Schmitz, natives of Germany. The father came to the new world in an early day and when a young man took up his abode in Wisconsin. He was a blacksmith by trade, having learned the business ere coming to the new world. After living for some time in Wisconsin he removed to Platte county, Nebraska, and purchased a farm of one hundred and sixty acres which he at once began to develop and improve, continuously and successfully operating the land until 1906, when he rented his farm and retired. He now lives with his son on the old home place and has reached the age of sixty-eight years. His wife passed away June 1, 1906.

  There were nine children in the family, namely: Peter, a resident farmer of Boone county; Mary, the wife of George Shacher, living in Boone county; Annie, the wife of Henry Besch, of the same county; Joseph who is cultivating the old homestead farm; Matt, who follows merchandising at St. Bernard; Kelly, a resident farmer of Platte county; John, who is engaged in farming near Petersburg; Nicholas, who is residing in Cedar Rapids, Nebraska; and Toney.

  The last named was reared on the old homestead farm and at the usual age became a pupil in the district schools, thereby acquiring an education which fitted him for life's practical and responsible duties. He remained at home until his mother died in 1906 and then went to work as a farm hand in the neighborhood being employed in that manner for eight years. On the 21st of June, 1915, he came to Cornlea and bought out the dray line. This is the only business of the kind in the town and he is accorded a liberal patronage, so that he derives a good annual income from his labors.

  On the 7th of September, 1915, Mr. Schmitz was united in marriage to Miss Mary Thieman of Phillipsburg, Nebraska. Politically he is a democrat, while his

 

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religious faith is that of the Catholic church. He is well known in the county, having spent his entire life here, and his friends, and they are many, speak of him in terms of confidence and warm regard.


CARL F. EWERT.

  Among the representative citizens whom Germany has given to Platte county is Carl F. Ewert, who is dealing in agricultural implements in Columbus. He was born on the 26th of September, 1879, a son of Carl and Caroline (Boettcher) Ewert, who were married in Germany and continued to reside there until 1884, when they crossed the Atlantic to America. They located on a farm in Platte county, Nebraska, where they have since lived, their home being at present in Columbus. The father served in the German army during the Franco-Prussian war. To them were born six sons and seven daughters but four of the daughters have passed away.

  Carl F. Ewert was but five years of age when brought to this country and the greater part of his life has been passed in Platte county. He remained under the parental roof until 1910, when he went to Monroe and established a general store, which he conducted for two years. At the expiration of that period he sold out and came to Columbus, where he has since resided. He is engaged in the agricultural implement business and has been accorded a large patronage. He understands thoroughly the needs of the farmers in the county and as he is also familiar with the various lines of implements upon the market he always has in stock the machines and implements which his customers desire.

  On the 7th of May, 1905, Mr. Ewert was married in Platte county to Miss Minnie Hake, a daughter of Henry Hake, a native of Germany, who also served in the Franco-Prussian war. To this union have been born six children, Esther, George, Walter, Margaret, Oscar and Eleanora.

  Mr. Ewert casts his ballot in support of the democratic party but has never been an aspirant for public office. His religious faith is indicated in his membership in the Lutheran church, in the furtherance of whose work he takes a great interest. He ranks among the successful business men of Columbus and his prosperity may be attributed entirely to his capacity for hard work, his wise management of his affairs and his earnest desire to satisfy his customers.


JOHN PETER BECKER.

  No history of Platte county would be complete were there failure to make reference to John Peter Becker, who was one of the founders of Columbus and for many years an active and prominent business man, his enterprise and industry contributing in marked measure to the development and upbuilding of the city. He also left his impress upon the history of Nebraska as a member of the territorial legislature and as a member of the constitutional convention. In fact his efforts

 

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were far-reaching and at all times proved beneficial to the community and to the commonwealth.

  Mr. Becker was a native of Warsau, Hesse-Darmstadt, Germany, born on the 29th of May, 1833. His parents, Mr. and Mrs. George Phillip Becker, born on the 13th of March, 1804, and on the 4th of June, 1809, respectively, were married in 1828. In the year 1837 they emigrated with their family to America, settling in Columbus, Ohio, where the father worked at the carpenter's trade. There John Peter Becker attended a private school, receiving instruction in English and German in the common branches. When he was fifteen years of age his textbooks were put aside that he might learn the more arduous and difficult lessons in the school of experience. He was apprenticed to the carpenter's trade, at which he served for three years, after which he was employed at his trade and at nineteen years of age, when his father became ill, he took his place and superintended the erection of a four-story brick building known as the Quyne block, which is still standing at the corner of Town and Third streets in Columbus, Ohio. It is a monument to the marked ability, expert workmanship and enterprise of Mr. Becker and displayed one of his strong characteristics -- his willingness to undertake any duty that came to him and to carry it forward to successful completion. During the years 1854 and 1855 he worked as a journeyman carpenter in the middle west and in October, 1856, became one of the original members of the Columbus Company that came to Nebraska and founded the city of Columbus.

  For miles around stretched the wild, unbroken prairie, hardly a settlement having been made in this section of the state, which was still the hunting ground of the Indian. The most farsighted could scarcely dream of the changes which were to occur and transform this into a populous, prosperous district. Mr. Becker lived in a sod house and walked to Omaha for supplies. He experienced all of the hardships and privations attendant upon life in a new country without railroad connection and with no towns upon which to draw for the necessaries of life. The early settlers had to depend upon what could be raised and amid ungenerous surroundings they fought conditions of pioneer life but at length won the victory. In 1860 Mr. Becker went to the mountains in search of gold but was unsuccessful and, returning home, he resumed work at his trade, utilizing every means at hand that would promote legitimate advancement in a business way. He entered all the land for the Columbus Company and at one time was the owner of the tract from Olive street west that was laid out as Becker's addition. In 1863 he opened a grocery and general mercantile store in Columbus and also began dealing in grain. He never feared to venture where favoring opportunity led the way and continually broadened his activities, while at all times his business interests were of a character that contributed to general prosperity as well as to individual success. In 1869 he entered into partnership with Jonas Welch and built the first grist mill in the central part of the state. This proved a blessing to the isolated frontier community and was patronized by farmers who came from one hundred miles in every direction. It proved a profitable undertaking and was conducted by them until 1886, when they sold out. They also bought cattle, hogs and sheep and as dealers in live stock also won prosperity, the firm of Becker & Welch continuing its existence until 1892 and ranking throughout the entire period as one of the foremost business combinations of the county.

  Mr. Becker was most happily situated in his home life and was devoted

 

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welfare of his family. At Columbus, on the 15th of April, 1875, he wedded Miss Phillipina Schram, by whom he had four children, two of whom died in infancy. The surviving children are: Minnie Fredericka, the wife of Professor Weaver of the Morrison (Ill.) schools; and Albert D., assistant cashier of the Commercial National Bank of Columbus. Mr. Becker took the greatest interest in the welfare of his children and gave to them every possible advantage, educational and otherwise, thus qualifying them for the responsibilities that come with mature years. The family still own lands near the town which were entered from the government by Mr. Becker.

  In his political views Mr. Becker was an earnest democrat, recognized as one of the leaders of his party in the state. He was the first recorder of deeds in Platte county and in 1864 was chosen a member of the territorial legislature, thus aiding in shaping the policy of the state during its formative period. In 1866 he was appointed by President Johnson to the position of Pawnee Indian agent, serving in that capacity for a year. In 1875 he was made a member of the constitutional convention, in the work of which he took a very active part, leaving the impress of his individuality and ability upon the organic law of the state. His opinions carried weight in democratic councils, his advice being listened to by those who were most active in directing the interests and policy of the party. For one term he served as mayor of Columbus and was called to various other positions of honor and trust. He was a charter member of Lebanon Lodge, No. 59, A. F. & A. M., and was a devoted, faithful and generous member of the Lutheran church. His cooperation could always be counted upon to further any plan or project for the public good and he measured up to the highest standards of citizenship. He also held friendship inviolable and was a great lover of home and family. He delighted to recount to the members of his household the story of pioneer days, and all must needs honor him for the part which he played in bringing about the present development. He died January 14, 1892, when in the fifty-ninth year of his age, and thus ended a life of great usefulness and worth. Time gives the perspective which places all things in their true value and relation, and time has but served to heighten the fame and win recognition of the worth of John Peter Becker, long one of the foremost citizens of Platte county.


PETER J. TERNUS.

  The name of Ternus has become a synonym for business enterprise and progress in Platte county and in his life record Peter J. Ternus displays the substantial qualities of industry, close application and firm purpose. He is one of the native sons of Platte county, his birth having occurred in Granville township, April 10, 1888, his parents being John and Rose (Maier) Ternus, of whom mention is made elsewhere in this volume. His youthful experiences were those which usually come to the farm lad. He acquired his education in the district school near his father's home and in the parochial school at Humphrey and finished his course in the Omaha Commercial College. He then entered the Cornlea State Bank, where he served in the capacity of bookkeeper for a year and a half. He next became bookkeeper in the First National Bank of Humphrey, where he remained

 

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for a year, and afterward entered the Otis & Murphy Bank at Humphrey, in which he served as assistant cashier for three years. He afterward went to Tarnov and organized the Bank of Tarnov, in which he accepted the position of cashier, continuing in that connection for three and one-half years, or until May, 1915, when he sold out and came to Humphrey, where he organized the Farmers State Bank, which was opened on the 1st of October in a new building erected on Main street especially for the purpose and splendidly equipped for the conduct of a modern banking business. The institution is capitalized for fifty thousand dollars and the officers are: P. L. Kelly, president; Vincent Weiser, vice president; and Peter J. Ternus, cashier. These officers, together with Oliver Alderson and Frank Ternus, constitute the board of directors.

  On the 20th of October, 1909, Mr. Ternus was joined in wedlock to Miss Mary Fangmann, a daughter of Anton and Kate (Brachle) Fangmann, who were born in Illinois. The father came to Platte county at an early period in its development in company with his parents and here was reared to manhood. He purchased land in Granville township and cultivated and developed it for a long period but in 1899 removed to Humphrey, where he was proprietor of a store for some time. He is now acting as manager for the Nye-Schneider-Fowler Company, dealers in lumber, grain and coal, and he and his wife are well known and highly respected in Humphrey. Mr. and Mrs. Ternus have two children: Mildred, born February 20, 1911; and Alvin, born in June, 1913.

  Politically Mr. Ternus is a democrat and while living at Tarnov served as chairman of the board of trustees. He belongs to the Catholic church, to the Catholic Order of Foresters and to the Knights of Columbus. Throughout his entire business career he has been identified with banking and is thoroughly acquainted with the business in every phase, so that his experience well qualifies him for his present position and gives to the patrons of the bank a sense of security and satisfaction.


CHARLES W. TALBITZER.

  Charles W. Talbitzer is a retired farmer living at Monroe and is also one of the prominent members of the Grand Army of the Republic, proudly wearing the little bronze button that proclaims him a veteran of the Civil war, and still maintains friendly and cordial relations with his comrades who wore the blue. He has always been actuated by a spirit of patriotism from early youth, although he is an adopted son of America. His birth occurred in Canton Bern, Switzerland, November 13, 1841, his parents being Charles J. and Anna (Haggar) Talbitzer. The father's birth occurred at Heyday, Schleswig-Holstein, Germany, in 1806 and the mother was born near Bern, Switzerland, in 1816. The father learned the trade of a miller and millwright and built and operated wind and water mills. He traveled quite extensively over Europe, at length reaching Switzerland, where he lived for some time. He rebuilt and operated a mill about six miles from Neuchatel and for some time also conducted a hotel, but was forced to leave that country because of a political entanglement and came to the United States in 1846. For a brief period he tarried in New York and then went to Pittsburgh, Pennsyl- 

 CHARLES W. TALBITZER AND FAMILY

 

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vania, after which he was employed in the salt works near Tarentum, Pennsylvania, for about two years. While there he took out his first naturalization papers. He afterward removed to Niles, Ohio, and in 1856 took out his final papers at Warren, Ohio, thus becoming a citizen of the American republic. He worked in the rolling mills at Niles, being employed in the old McKinley furnace works at that place, but in 1857 he turned his attention to gardening near Niles, following that pursuit until the outbreak of the Civil war, when he offered his services to his adopted country, enlisting in September, 1861, as a member of Company C, Nineteenth Ohio Volunteer Infantry, which command was at Camp Denison. From that point they proceeded to Louisville, Kentucky, where they arrived about Christmas, 1861, being attached to the brigade commanded by General Mitchell. Later they Proceeded to Columbia, Kentucky, where the winter of 1861-2 was spent. Mr. Talbitzer was wounded at Shiloh on the second day of the battle. April 8, 1862, and was sent home, for the government did not have hospital facilities to take care of the troops. Hospital boats conveyed the wounded to Cincinnati and from that point Mr. Talbitzer made his way home, where he arrived on the 4th of May, his death occurring the following day.

  His son, Charles W. Talbitzer of this review, was the eldest in a family of eight children. He attended school at Niles, Ohio, from 1854 until 1857, when he was a classmate of President William McKinley. He then began working in the mills and through the winter seasons continued his education. From 1857 until 1861 he was employed in a nail factory. He would contract for machines and hire the men to feed the machines, while he acted as overseer of the floor. His youth was a period of earnest and unremitting toil and responsibilities devolved upon him at an early age, but with the outbreak of the Civil war all personal interests and ambitions were put aside and on the 27th of April, 1861, at Warren, Ohio, he enlisted for three months. When it was seen that the war was not to be speedily ended he reenlisted on the 17th of September, 1861, at Niles for three years in the same company, joining the army as a private and coming out as a corporal. He and his father were in the same company. He served until October 12, 1864, when he was honorably discharged from Company K, Fifth Regiment of the Veteran Reserve Corps, to which he had been transferred in 1863. He participated in the battle of Rich Mountain in 1861, Shiloh in 1862, Perryville, Kentucky, and Murfreesboro and on the 2d of January, 1863, was wounded in the left leg. He had kept a diary up to that time but when he was captured the book was rifled by the enemy. When his three years' term had expired he returned to Niles in 1864.

  The following year Mr. Talbitzer was married and resumed work in the mills. From 1883 until 1888 he was night manager of the Falcom Iron & Nail Works and then withdrew from active connection with industrial interests and made his way to Oconee, Nebraska, purchasing land on what was then section 5, Lost Creek township. At that time the town of Monroe had not been established. He engaged in farming, carefully tilling his fields year after year with good success until 1906, when he retired from active business and is now enjoying a well earned rest.

  On the 28th of September, 1915, Mr. Talbitzer celebrated his golden wedding, for on that date fifty years before he had wedded Susan A. Morris, who was born in Allegheny City, Pennsylvania, a daughter of William S. and Charlotte (Otterson) Morris. The former was born in Philadelphia and the latter in the north of

 

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Ireland. When a maiden of ten years Mrs. Morris was brought by her parents to the United States. Mr. Morris was a cigar maker and always lived in Pennsylvania save for a short period which he spent in Niles and Warren, Ohio, during which time he was employed as a nailer in a nail factory. He died at Butler, Pennsylvania, at the age of eighty-four years, while his wife passed away at the age of seventy-five. To Mr. and Mrs. Talbitzer were born nine children. William W., the eldest, is doing expert work in the pumping department of the Union Pacific Railroad Company at Council Bluffs. He is married and has three children. At the time of the Spanish-American war he joined Company K, First Nebraska Infantry, at Columbus and went to the Philippines, where he saw active service for a year. Charles John died in infancy. Sarah is the deceased wife of Charles Potter of Platte county, and was the mother of four children. Alice is the wife of Saxe Percy, of Valley, Nebraska, and has two children. Anna is the wife of Frank Crowshaw, of Washington, and has four children. John, who remains upon the home farm, is the leader of the gymnasium with the Monroe Athletic Association. Susan is the wife of Lester Kelley, postmaster of Monroe, and they have two children. Lydia became the wife of Oliver Ifland, of Columbus, and died leaving two children. Frank H. died when five years old.

  Mr. Talbitzer is a prominent representative of Masonry in this county, having been affiliated with the order since 1875. He demitted to Columbus and now belongs to Lebanon Lodge, No. 58, A. F. & A. M.; Orient Chapter, R. A. M.; and Gethsemane Commandery, K. T. He has also been commander of Atlanta Post, No. 275, G. A. R., for several years and is one of the leading members of that organization. In politics he has always been a stalwart republican and was appointed postmaster of Monroe, filling that position for six years and one month. He has always been more or less active in politics and stands fearlessly in defense of his honest convictions. All of his life he has been active in the Presbyterian church and for the past twenty years has been one of its elders. His wife, an equally loyal member, has been an earnest worker in the Sunday school and in the Ladies' Aid Society of that church and both are held in the highest regard wherever known, their circle of friends being coextensive with the circle of their acquaintance.


CHAUNCEY H. SHELDON.

  Chauncey H. Sheldon, of Columbus, is an honored veteran of the Civil war who during the past third of a century has been actively identified with farming and stock-raising interests in Platte county. His birth occurred in Jefferson, Ohio, in August, 1841, his parents being John B. and Sarah Ann (Seely) Sheldon, who were natives of Vermont and New York respectively. Their marriage was celebrated in the Empire state and the year 1837 witnessed their removal to Ohio. In 1862 they established their home in Clifton, Illinois, there spending the remainder of their lives.

  Chauncey H. Sheldon attended the district schools of his native state until fifteen years of age and worked on the farm in Ohio until April, 1861, when he responded to President Lincoln's first call for troops to defend the Union, enlisting as a private of Company B Twentieth Ohio Volunteer Infantry. With that com-

 

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mand he served until mustered out in August, and in August, 1862, he reenlisted as a member of Company D, Eighty-eighth, Illinois Volunteer Infantry, remaining therewith until honorably discharged in February, 1863, on account of physical disability caused by wounds received at Perryville. In February, 1865, he again enlisted for service in the Union army, joining the One Hundred and Fiftieth Illinois Volunteer Infantry and serving as adjutant of his regiment until February, 1866, when he was mustered out at Springfield, Illinois. He had made a most creditable military record, never faltering in the performance of any duty whether it took him into the thickest of the fight or stationed him upon the lonely picket line. Returning to the home farm in Illinois, he remained thereon until 1882 and then came to Columbus, Nebraska, and purchased three thousand acres of land in Platte county. The highest price paid was ten dollars per acre for land some of which later sold for one hundred and seventy-five dollars an acre. Farming and stock-raising interests have claimed his attention throughout the intervening third of a century and his undertakings in this connection have been attended with success. He acts as vice president of the German National Bank and is the chief executive officer of the Columbus Sewer & Drainage Company.

  In 1868, in Oxford, Ohio, Mr. Sheldon was joined in wedlock to Miss Mary McDill, by whom he has two children, namely: Charles C.; and Elizabeth, who is the wife of Reuben M. Campbell, superintendent of schools at Columbus, Nebraska. He gives his political allegiance to the republican party and fraternally is known as a Master Mason, while his religious faith is that of the Federated church. Mr. Sheldon is of ideal physical development, being over six feet tall and still as vigorous and alert in body and mind as many men only half his age. His fellow citizens honor and respect him and wherever he is known he has an extensive circle of friends.


JOHN BUNKER.

  John Bunker, residing on section 15, Granville township, is the owner of a valuable farm, his landed possessions in this county embracing four hundred acres. His property constitutes the visible evidence of an active and well spent life. He was born in Muscatine county, Iowa, September 6, 1858, and is a son of Andrew and Sarah (Howe) Bunker, who were natives of Pennsylvania. In 1856 they became residents of Iowa, where the father, who was a farmer by occupation, purchased land in Muscatine county and improved a farm, devoting his attention to its further development throughout his remaining days. He died in December, 1896, having for about nine years survived his wife, who passed away in 1887.

  John Bunker was reared and educated in Muscatine county, remaining with his parents until he attained his majority, when he started out in life on his own account by renting land. After living upon that place for two years he purchased the property, which he continued to cultivate for two years longer. In 1893, however, he sold out and came to Platte county, where he invested in one hundred and sixty acres of land on section 15, Granville township. He paid thirty dollars per acre for that tract, which is today worth two hundred dollars per acre. He lost no time in beginning the work of cultivation and improvement and soon converted his fields

 

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into a productive section bringing forth good crops annually. The ready sale of his harvests supplied him with a capital that enabled him to add to his possessions and he now owns four hundred acres of land on sections 10 and 21, Granville township, his attention being given to the continued cultivation and improvement of his property. He is also a stockholder in the Farmers Elevator Company of Humphrey.

  In February, 1883, Mr. Bunker was united in marriage to Miss Eva Wunder, a daughter of John and Sybil (Miller) Wunder, both of whom were natives of Germany. They emigrated to the United States in an early day, locating in Scott county, Iowa, where Mr. Wunder followed farming during the remainder of his life. Mrs. Wunder passed away in Boone county, Nebraska, in 1913. Mr. and Mrs. Bunker became the parents of six children, as follows: Laurence J., who operates one of his father's farms; Mary, Ralph B. and Elsie, all at home; Nettie, who gave her hand in marriage to Moses Choat and resides in Boone county, Nebraska; and Walter, at home. The wife and mother was called to her final rest in May, 1910, passing away after a three years' illness, her death being deeply regretted by many friends as well as her immediate family, for she was ever loyal to those to whom she gave her friendship and at the same time was a devoted wife and mother. Mr. Bunker exercises his right of franchise in support of the men and measures of the republican party and keeps well informed on the questions and issues of the day.


HENRY C. BENDER.

  The student of history cannot carry his investigations far into the records of Platte county without learning how prominently and actively the Bender family have been connected with agricultural and other business interests. Moreover, the name has long been synonymous with business enterprise and reliability. A representative of this family and one who in his business career fully sustains the family reputation is Henry C. Bender, proprietor of the White Lawn Stock Farm situated on section 30, Granville township.

  He was born on a farm near Henry, in Marshall county, Illinois, and is a twin brother of Joseph Bender, born June 7, 1866. Their parents were Peter and Catharine (Mallmann) Bender, natives of Germany. The father was born in Menamebach, October 3, 1825, and the mother's birth occurred in Wenhausen, February 17, 1832. According to the laws of his native country concerning military service, Peter Bender was for three years connected with the German army and in 1856 he crossed the Atlantic to the new world, settling in Marshall county, Illinois. There he rented land and engaged in general farming for three decades or until the spring of 1886, which year witnessed his arrival in Humphrey, Nebraska. He made extensive investments in land in Humphrey and Granville townships, becoming owner of at least one thousand acres, and to each of his eight children he gave eighty acres of land as they attained their majority. Mr. Bender established his home in the town of Humphrey and with the aid of his sons cultivated his extensive landed interests. Both in Illinois and Nebraska he was known as a prominent farmer and stockman. He possessed excellent business judgment, unfaltering energy and indomitable perseverance and his judicious investments brought

 

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to him substantial success. At the death of his wife, which occurred on the 29th of December, 1906, he put aside active business cares and retired to private life, making his home with his son Joseph to the time of his death, which occurred on the 7th of November, 1910. His business interests placed him among the most substantial citizens of Platte county and his sterling worth was recognized by all who knew him. The most envious could not grudge him his success, so honorably was it won and so worthily used. He had a family of nine children, namely: Peter, who was born June 12, 1853, and died on the 9th of April, 1915; Phillip, whose birth occurred June 24, 1855, and who passed away November 3, 1912; John William, who was born May 11, 1858, and follows farming in Humphrey township; Mary, whose natal day was July 5, 1859, and who died on the 17th of September, 1863; Catharine, who was born March 23, 1862, and gave her hand in marriage to Edward Leible, of Elgin, Nebraska; Annie, who was born July 11, 1863, and is the wife of Stephen L. German, a farmer of Granville township; Joseph, who was born June 7, 1866, and is a retired agriculturist residing in Humphrey; Henry C., of this review; and Lizzie, who was born February 22, 1876, and is the wife of Fred Van Ackeren, of Cedar Rapids, Nebraska.

  Henry C. Bender pursued his education in the public schools of Marshall county, Illinois, and during the periods of vacation worked in the fields, being thoroughly trained in the labors of the farm until he was acquainted with every phase of the business. He remained upon the old home place with his parents until he reached the age of twenty years, after which he rented a farm from his father for a year and at the end of that time was given a tract of eighty acres. He sold that to his brother Peter and bought one hundred and fifty-two acres on section 30, Granville township, taking possession of it in 1888 and making his home thereon to the present time. He has added another tract of one hundred and fifty-two acres to the place and with the aid of his sons now cultivates the entire tract, covering a little more than three hundred acres. He breeds shorthorn cattle and these are thoroughbred and are eligible to registration. He feeds both cattle and hogs and is most successfully and energetically carrying on general farming and stock-raising, having one of the best improved farms in Granville township. His place presents a most neat and thrifty appearance and the farm methods which he follows are thoroughly up-to-date in every particular.

  On the 24th of July, 1888, Mr. Bender was united in marriage to Miss Margaret M. Rossbach, a daughter of John Adam and Catharine (Miller) Rossbach, both of whom are natives of Germany. Both emigrated to America and were married in Illinois, while subsequently they took up their abode in Iowa and in 1888 came to Granville township, Platte county, Nebraska. Mr. Rossbach conducted a general mercantile establishment in Cornlea for fifteen years and later went to Madison, where he retired from active business life. Both he and his wife now make their home in Omaha, Nebraska, being eighty-four and sixty-seven years of age respectively. To Mr. and Mrs. Bender have been born eight children. Joseph, whose birth occurred August 13, 1889, wedded Miss Mary C. Dohman and follows farming in Granville township. Catharine, born May 20, 1891, became the wife of Guido Gilsdorf, an agriculturist of Granville township, by whom she has one child, Marie. John A., who was born June 8, 1893, is still at home but is engaged in farming on his own account. George H., whose natal day was December 28, 1895. is also on

 

278PAST AND PRESENT OF PLATTE COUNTY

the home farm. Frederick J., who was born December 4, 1897, was graduated in 1915 from the commercial department of the Fremont Normal College and now acts as assistant cashier of the Cornlea State Bank. Moxalinda, who was born December 8, 1900, attends the Cornlea parochial school of the Sacred Heart Catholic church. Henry W., whose birth occurred February 9, 1903, is at home and attends the same school. Edwin, whose natal day was October 23, 1908, is also a student in that school.

  Henry C. Bender exercises his right of franchise in support of the men and measures of the democratic party and is now serving for the eighth year as justice of the peace, in which position he has rendered decisions that are strictly fair and impartial and have won for him golden opinions. He also served for four years as a member of the school board and the cause of education has found in him a stalwart champion. He helped to organize the Cornlea State Bank and for years was one of its stockholders. He and his family are all members of the Sacred Heart Catholic church of Cornlea, which Mr. Bender aided in organizing eight years ago and throughout the entire period he has been one of its trustees. He and his twin brother, Joseph, challenge any twins in Nebraska to beat their combined weight, for Joseph weighs two hundred and forty pounds, while Henry C. Bender tips the scales at three hundred. They are not only big men physically but also mentally and morally -- broad-minded, upright and honorable. Their worth is widely recognized by all and their lives bear the test of long acquaintance, for their staunchest friends are those who have known them throughout the entire period of their residence in this county.


GUSTAVUS R. PRIEB.

  Gustavus R. Prieb is successfully engaged in business at Columbus as a dealer in paints and wall paper and is also serving for the third term as a member of the city council. His birth occurred in South Bend, Indiana, in 1874, his parents being Louis and Matilda (Henning) Prieb, both of whom were natives of Germany, the former born about 1840. Their marriage was celebrated in South Bend, Indiana. Louis Prieb passed away in 1875 and five years later his widow, together with her three daughters and son (Gustavus) and her parents, came to Columbus, Nebraska, where she had a brother, Fred Henning, who is now a resident of Platte Center. Mrs. Prieb has lived in Columbus during the intervening period of thirty-five years and enjoys an extensive and favorable acquaintance in the city.

  Gustavus R. Prieb, who was a little lad of six years when he came to this state with his widowed mother, acquired his education in the country schools of Polk county, just across the river from Columbus. His opportunities in this direction were very limited, however, for he spent only one month each season in school. During one winter he attended a German school in Columbus. When thirteen years of age he put aside his textbooks and started working at the painting and wall paper business, making his home with his mother in Columbus, and he has since engaged in that business. In 1902 he opened a paint and wall paper store in Columbus, which he has conducted to the present time in addition to working at the painter's trade, being now accorded a gratifying and well merited patronage.

 

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  On the 29th of November, 1899, in Columbus, Nebraska, Mr. Prieb was joined in wedlock to Miss Mary White, her father being Robert White, a native and resident of Scotland. They now have four children, namely: Lorena, Louis R., Mary and Carroll. Mr. Prieb is a democrat in politics and is now serving for the third term as a member of the city council, having made a most creditable and commendable record in this connection. He is known as a Master Mason and also belongs to the Independent Order of Odd Fellows, the Sons of Herman, the Benevolent Protective Order of Elks and the Fraternal Order of Eagles, as well as to the Maennerchor and the Orpheus Society. His religious faith is that of the Episcopal church. He is a progressive citizen, an able business man and one whose life has always been in keeping with high standards, so that he deserves the full measure of confidence and respect entertained for him by all who know him.


PATRICK M. McDONALD.

  Patrick M. McDonald, who is engaged in general farming on section 15, Granville township, is one of the worthy citizens that New England has furnished to this state. He was born in Vermont in January, 1848, a son of Patrick and Margaret (Haley) McDonald, who were natives of Ireland. In early life the father crossed the Atlantic to the new world and settled in Vermont, where he engaged in railroad work for several years. He afterward went to Indiana and purchased land in Montgomery county which he cultivated throughout his remaining days. He was drafted for service in the Civil war but hired a man to go in his place. He died in 1887, while his wife, surviving for many years, passed away in 1911.

  Although born in New England, Patrick M. McDonald largely spent the days of his boyhood and youth in Indiana and remained at home with his parents until September, 1879, when he made his way to Columbus, Nebraska. He then went to work for the Union Pacific Railroad, with which he remained as a track man until 1898, when he took up his abode upon a tract of land of one hundred and sixty acres that he purchased upon his removal to the west. His farm is situated on section 15, Granville township, and when he determined to take up farming in 1898 he resolutely set to work to develop and improve the place and now has one of the best farms in the county. He has given his attention to it for seventeen years and its well kept appearance indicates his practical, progressive methods and far-sighted business judgment. He has two fine orchards upon his land which he set out and there are many modern improvements which indicate his progressive spirit. He makes a specialty of raising Poland China hogs and in his fields produces good crops of grain.

  On January 8, 1884, Mr. MeDonald was united in marriage to Miss Theresa Mayberger, her father being Carl Mayberger, a native of Germany, who was an agriculturist by occupation and emigrated to the United States in an early day. He purchased a tract of land in Platte county, Nebraska, and cultivated the same during the remainder of his life, passing away In 1906. To Mr. and Mrs. McDonald have been born three children, namely: James P., who is twenty-seven years of age and is a practicing attorney of Seattle, Washington; Katherine, the wife of Benjamin Van Ackeren; and Carl, whose demise occurred in 1895.

 

280PAST AND PRESENT OF PLATTE COUNTY

  The religious faith of the family is that of the Catholic church and Mr. McDonald also holds membership with the Ancient Order of United Workmen. In politics he is a republican, giving stanch support to the party, but he does not seek nor desire public office, preferring to concentrate his attention upon his farming interests. He has never regretted the fact that he severed his connection with the railroad to take up agricultural life, for therein he has found good opportunities and won success and he now agrees with George Washington, who said that farming is the most useful as well as the most honorable occupation of man.


GEORGE J. HAGEL.

  George J. Hagel, who owns two finely equipped billiard and bowling halls in Columbus, was born in Middletown, Wisconsin, May 16, 1869, a son of William and Matilda Hagel, who in 1875 removed with their family to Columbus, Nebraska.

  George J. Hagel was educated in the common schools but when eleven years of age began working on a farm, so continuing for nine years. He was then connected with the saloon business for twelve years, after which, on the 6th of May, 1901, he established a bowling alley on Twelfth street, the first in the town of Columbus. He remained at that location for a year and a half and then erected a two story business block on West Thirteenth street, where he had three alleys, to which he subsequently added pool tables and a fountain. He sold out there in December, 1910, but on the 12th of July, 1912, opened a billiard parlor and bowling alley in the basement of the Thurston Hotel, the furniture and fixtures being the finest in the city. He also has a similar place in the basement of the Evans Hotel and derives a good income from his business.

  Mr. Hagel was married in May, 1899, to Miss Lucy Kuenzli. He is independent in politics, voting for the man rather than the party, and he is a veteran member of the Columbus fire department. Fraternally he is connected with the Royal Highlanders. He takes the interest of a good citizen in public affairs and is willing to cooperate in movements seeking the business expansion of Columbus.


ERNEST C. BERGMAN.

  Ernest C. Bergman has been engaged in the monument business at Columbus since 1907 and has built up an extensive enterprise in this connection. His birth occurred in Sweden on the 2d of March, 1866, his parents being Gustaf J. and Gustava (Ceasar) Bergman, both of whom passed away in that country. The former died January 24, 1892, while the latter was called to her final rest on the 24th of June, 1914.

  Ernest C. Bergman acquired his education in the schools of his native country and there spent the first twenty years of his life. In 1886 he crossed the Atlantic to America, making his way to Concordia, Kansas, where he worked for some time at the trade of marble cutting. Subsequently he spent a year on the Pacific coast and then returned to Concordia, Kansas, where he again worked at his trade for 

 ERNEST C. BERGMAN

 

PAST AND PRESENT OF PLATTE COUNTY 283

two years. On the expiration of that period he removed to Hastings, Adams county, Nebraska, and two years later to Schuyler, Colfax county, this state. At the end of another year he embarked in the marble business on his own account, conducting an enterprise of that character at Schuyler for fifteen years or until 1908, when he came to Columbus. Here he has been engaged in the monument business to the present time and has built up an enterprise of profitable proportions.

  On the 24th of June, 1893, in Hastings, Nebraska, Mr. Bergman was united in marriage to Miss Anna H. Peterson, of Chicago, by whom he has two children, namely: Gustaf E., who was born May 10, 1894; and Ethel Florence, whose birth occurred May 9, 1896.

  In his political views Mr. Bergman is a stanch republican and for two years has served as a member of the city council in Columbus. His religious faith is that of the Lutheran church, while fraternally he is identified with the Benevolent Protective Order of Elks. His life has been above reproach in all relations and he is widely recognized as one of the substantial, esteemed and representative citizens of Columbus and Platte county.


JAMES E. COSSAIRT.

  James E. Cossairt was one of the organizers of the Platte Center Milling Company, which is one of the most extensive and important productive industries of this part of the state. Its ramifying business connections now cover a wide territory and the enterprise and careful management which have always characterized the conduct of the business have resulted in bringing substantial success to the stockholders. Moreover, the undertaking is of a nature that contributes to general prosperity as well as to individual success and every resident of the county is proud of the record that has been made by the Platte Center Milling Company during the five years of its existence.

  James E. Cossairt, at the head of the business, was born at Oakdale, Antelope county, Nebraska, February 19, 1872, a son of David A. and Mary A. Cossairt. The father was born in Canada and came of French ancestry, while the mother was born in Danville, Illinois, and was of English descent. They were married in Danville in 1865 and in March, 1869, removed to St. Clair valley, Antelope county, Nebraska, J. E. Cossairt being the first white child born in that valley. His youthful surroundings were indeed those of a pioneer existence, for the district in which the family lived was one in which the work of civilization and improvement had scarcely been begun. Time and man, however, wrought many changes and brought increasing advantages and opportunities. James E. Cossairt, having mastered the elementary branches of learning, continued his education in the high school at Battle Creek, Nebraska, from which he was graduated in June, 1894. He then turned his attention to the milling business and one of the secrets of his success is undoubtedly the fact that he has always continued to direct his energies in the line in which he embarked as a young tradesman. He thoroughly acquainted himself with every phase of the business and prepared to assume responsibilities in that connection. He established a mill on Shell creek a short distance from Platte Center in 1902 and in 1910 he organized the Platte Center Milling Company, in which he
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remains one of the large stockholders. This company erected the new mill in Platte Center, which was the first complete ball-bearing roller mill in the United States. From the beginning their product met with popular favor and their trade now covers a large territory, shipment being made to thirty-five points in Nebraska, also to Kansas City, to Chicago and to Colorado. In 1914 they utilized forty-one thousand six hundred bushels of wheat and in that year furnished to the United States government Indian service two hundred and sixty thousand pounds of flour. The business is now an extensive and important industry, ranking as one of the chief enterprises of this part of the state. Aside from his milling interests at Platte Center Mr. Cossairt is connected with other business at Battle Creek, Nebraska.

  On the 28th of November, 1898, in Madison, Nebraska, occurred the marriage of Mr. Cossairt and Miss Mary Moore, a daughter of J. A. Moore, of Battle Creek, Madison county, Nebraska. They are highly esteemed in the community where they reside and the hospitality of the best homes is cordially extended them. In his political views Mr. Cossairt is a republican and keeps well informed on the questions and issues of the day but does not seek nor desire office, preferring to concentrate his energies upon his business affairs with the result that his close application and indefatigable industry have made him one of the foremost representatives of manufacturing interests in this part of the state.


LOUIS D. DICKE.

  Louis D. Dicke is living on section 25, Bismark township, where he owns an excellent farm of one hundred and eighty-five acres well improved. It was in this township that he was born on the 10th of June, 1880, and he comes of German ancestry. His parents, John and Gesine (Plugge) Dicke, were both natives of Germany and, coming to America, settled in Bismark township at an early period in the development of Platte county, the father homesteading land. That this was a frontier district is indicated by the fact that much of the land was still in possession of the government. The father bent his energies to the development and improvement of his place, which he persistently and successfully cultivated until his death, which occurred in 1886, when his son Louis was but six years of age. The mother afterward married again, becoming the wife of C. G. Koch, and she now makes her home in Bismark township.

  Louis D. Dicke was reared on the old homestead farm and when twenty years of age started out in life on his own account, earning his first money by working as a farm hand. He was employed in that way by the month and by the year and when he had saved a sum sufficient to enable him to purchase land he began farming independently. He is today the owner of one hundred and eighty-five acres, constituting an excellent property pleasantly situated on section 25, Bismark township. He has added to his farm needed modern improvements and in fact it is lacking in none of the accessories, equipments and conveniences of the model farm of the twentieth century.

  In 1911 Mr. Dicke was united in marriage to Miss Helena Oltmann, who was born in Colfax county, Nebraska, a daughter of Herman and Gesine (Schutte) Oltmann, the former now deceased. Mr. and Mrs. Dicke have become parents of

 

PAST AND PRESENT OF PLATTE COUNTY 285

a son and a daughter, John and Mabel. They hold membership in the Lutheran church and are guided in all their relations by its teachings. Mr. Dicke is recognized as a man of honorable purpose and stalwart character, and both he and his wife have gained warm friends in the community in which they make their home.


FREDERICK WALTER LEONARD, D. D. S.

  Dentistry is unique among the professions in that it demands three-fold skill. The successful practitioner must not only have a broad knowledge of the scientific principles of the profession, but most possess also marked mechanical ingenuity and skill, combined with that business sense which will enable him to so direct his efforts as to win an adequate financial return. Competent along all these lines, Dr. Frederick Walter Leonard, with offices in the Commercial National Bank building is now regarded as one of the foremost dentists of Columbus. He was born in St. Paul, Minnesota, September 21, 1892, a son of Charles E. and Margaret R. (Schabert) Leonard.

  After attending the parochial schools Dr. Leonard continued his education in the high school of St. James, from which he was graduated with the class of 1911. After that he worked for the Standard Oil Company and subsequently went to Creighton University, where he prepared for dental practice, being graduated with the class of 1915. Immediately afterward he came to Columbus and bought out Dr. Solomon, having now the finest and most completely equipped dental office in the state. Here are to be found all the delicate instruments for doing every kind of dental work and his skill in their manipulation places him among the foremost representatives of his calling in western Nebraska.

  Dr. Leonard is a Catholic in religious faith and in his political affiliation is a democrat. He is a wide-awake, progressive young man and his social qualities are winning for him personal popularity, while his ability has gained him professional success.


JAMES BURROWS.

  James Burrows, who is now living retired in Platte Center, was for many years actively engaged in general farming in Burrows township. Moreover, he is one of the honored veterans of the Civil war and is now the only old soldier living in Lost Creek township. He was born February 14, 1841, in London, England, and came to the United States with his parents, Joseph and Marie Burrows, when but a year old, the family home being established in Johnstown, Pennsylvania. The father had previously learned surveying and there worked as an assistant surveyor for thirteen years, after which he removed westward, establishing his home in Illinois; In October, 1869, he drove through from that state to Platte county, Nebraska, and secured a homestead claim of eighty acres, whereon he engaged in general farming.

  James Burrows was a boy when the family went to Illinois and in the public schools of that state pursued his education. At the outbreak of the Civil war his

 

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