Past & Present of Platte County, Nebraska - Volume II



patriotic spirit was aroused by the attempt of the south to overthrow the Union and he offered his services to the government, enlisting in Company B, One Hundred and Third Illinois Infantry. He was wounded in the shoulder in the battle of Atlanta, but served throughout the remainder of the war without getting a scratch. He participated in various hotly contested engagements and met all the experiences incident to hard campaigning in the south. He is now the only old soldier living in Lost Creek township and he deserves the honor and respect which should ever be accorded to the preservers of the Union. When the war was over he came to Nebraska and homesteaded one hundred and sixty acres of land in Burrows township, Platte county, becoming one of its earliest pioneers. The township was named in his honor and with its development he was closely associated for a long period. He carried on general farming, bringing his land to a high state of cultivation and adding to it many modern equipments and improvements. At length he retired from active life and removed to the little progressive city of Platte Center, in which he now makes his home. For many years he had been closely associated with agricultural interests and his well directed efforts have brought to him the substantial success which now enables him to live retired.

  On the 15th of July, 1866, Mr. Burrows was married to Miss Rachel Wolf, a daughter of Jacob and Barbara Wolf, of Illinois, and they have become parents of ten children: Charles, of Ida, South Dakota; May, the wife of Willard Hopkins, of Lincoln, Nebraska; Sarah Jane, the wife of William Gokin, of Neligh, Nebraska; Clara Ellen, the wife of John Burns, of Denver, Colorado; James, at Daisy, Washington; Joseph and Albert, both deceased; Ada Isabelle, the wife of Henry Schidel, of Platte Center; Lulu Marion, the wife of E. J. Mackin, of Platte Center; and George Whitmore, town marshal at Platte Center.

  The religious faith of the family is that of the Methodist church, while in political belief Mr. Burrows is a democrat. He has served as justice of the peace and his decisions while in office were strictly fair and impartial. He has also been county commissioner and assessor and for twenty-seven years was a member of the school board, doing everything in his power to advance the interests of education, for he believes in the establishment of good schools and the employment of competent teachers that the young may be well qualified by educational training for the practical and responsible duties of life. Fraternally he is connected with the Knights of Pythias and with the Grand Army of the Republic, and he proudly wears the little bronze button which indicates that he was once one of the boys in blue. In days of peace he has ever been as true and loyal in matters of citizenship as when he followed the old flag upon the battlefields of the south.


  Joseph Melcher is a farmer and stockman living on section 4, Granville township, where he owns and controls tvo hundred acres of rich and productive land. He is also conducting a growing business as a dealer in live stock and he is numbered among the pioneer threshers of the county. His birth occurred on the upper peninsula of Michigan, August 19, 1863, his parents being John and Frances (Smeltzer) Melcher. The father, who was a native of Macheden, Germany, born



September 8, 1833, was a farmer in his native land. At the age of sixteen years, however, he came to America and for twenty-four years worked in the mines. In 1872 he arrived in Nebraska and took up his abode in Granville township, a quarter of a mile from the place where his son Joseph now lives. He secured both a homestead and a timber claim and thereon resided for an extended period but later retired from active farm life and removed to St. Bernard, where his wife passed away November 21, 1908. She was a native of Germany and for many years they traveled life's journey happily together. After losing his wife Mr. Melcher came to the home of his son Joseph and there died on the 13th of November, 1913.

  Mr. and Mrs. John Melcher became the parents of twelve children, eight of whom survive, as follows: Martin, who was born March 24, 1862, and is a resident of Granville township; Joseph, of this review; Caroline, whose birth occurred August 29, 1865, and who lives in Cedar Rapids, Nebraska; John, who was born May 13, 1867, and is a farmer of Granville township; Frances, who was born July 14, 1870, and lives in Shell Creek, Nebraska; Fred, who was born May 13, 1872, and follows farming in Granville township; Henry, who was born November 25, 1875 and is a farmer living near Lindsay. and Benjamin. who was born October 30, 1882, and follows farming in Granville township.

  Joseph Melcher attended school in Madison county, Nebraska, and worked upon the home farm for his father until he reached the age of thirty years, when he was married and took up his abode upon the farm where he now resides. He bought this place from the estate in 1907, previous to which time he had rented it from his father. He today owns and cultivates two hundred acres of well improved land, his fields readily responding to the care and labor which are bestowed upon them. He breeds also a good grade of stock and he feeds both cattle and hogs. For the past five years he has been engaged in breeding Jersey Red hogs, raising from one hundred and twenty-five to one hundred and fifty head each year and shipping a car load each spring to Omaha. He also feeds a car load of cattle annually and he is an excellent judge of stock, so that he knows how to make judicious purchases and profitable sales. He also became one of the pioneer threshers of Platte county, carrying on business with Frank Schwartz as a partner for five years, during which they operated an old-time horse power outfit. For sixteen seasons Mr. Melcher threshed over the territory between Humphrey, St. Bernard, Madison, Creston and Lindsay.

  On the 18th of April, 1893, Mr. Melcher was joined in wedlock to Miss Mary Van Ackeren, daughter of John and Anna (Van Ackeren) Van Ackeren, who, though of the same name, were not related. They were natives of Germany and in 1881 emigrated to the United States, locating in Pierce county, Nebraska, where they remained for one year. Subsequently they removed to West Point and later took up their abode in Granville township, Platte county, where the father purchased land and carried on general agricultural pursuits during the remainder of his life. His widow now makes her home in Humphrey. To Mr. and Mrs. Melcher have been born nine children, as follows: Rudolph John, whose birth occurred February 25, 1894; Ella Francisco, whose natal day was March 21, 1895; Joseph Martin, born August 22, 1896; Anna Carolina, born March 31, 1898; Arthur Paul, whose birth occurred October 6, 1899; Angela Elizabeth, born June 13, 1901; Eleanora Theresa, born April 20, 1903; Loretta Lucile, born July 26, 1906; and a daughter who died in infancy.



  Mr. Melcher and his wife and children are members of St. Francis Catholic church of Humphrey and he belongs to St. Joseph's Men's Society of that church. His political indorsement is given to the democratic party but he never seeks or desires office. All of his life he has been connected with farming and stock-raising and, continuing in this business, he is now meeting with substantial and well deserved success. He has worked diligently along a single line of business and the effectiveness of his labors is seen in a substantial bank account and a valuable farm property.


  Valtin Gehr was well known in the business circles of Humphrey, where for a long period he successfully conducted a meat market. His business worth and other substantial qualities gained for him high regard, so that his death was a matter of deep regret to those who knew him. He was born in the province of Rimpar, Germany, September 12, 1868, a son of Joseph and Justina (Emerling) Gehr, who in 1880 came to America with their family, settling on a farm in Humphrey township, Platte county, Nebraska, where the father purchased land and carried on general agricultural pursuits for four years. He afterward removed to Humphrey, where he opened and conducted a butcher shop, remaining an active factor in business circles of the town until he was called to his final rest. His wife has also passed away.

  Valtin Gehr attended school in Germany and continued his education in Humphrey township after coming with his parents to the new world when a youth of twelve years. In his boyhood days he worked upon the home farm and in the butcher shop with his father, his time being thus passed until he attained his majority. He then married and opened a shop of his own, which he conducted until 1894. In that year he removed to a farm on Shell creek in Burrows township and purchased eighty acres of land, to which he devoted his energies for a year. At the end of that time he rented the place and returned to Humphrey, where he again conducted a meat market until 1904. He then entered into partnership with Joe Schmidt and the connection was continued for six years, or until his death, which occurred January 26, 1910.

  Mr. Gehr was married on the 28th of April, 1891, to Miss Georgiana Wolf, who was born near Canton, Fulton county, Illinois, February 19, 1870, a daughter of Frederick and Martha (Yerion) Wolf. The father was also born in Fulton county, Illinois, and the mother in Virginia, but both were of German descent. In September, 1870, they came to Platte county, settling on a farm on Shell creek in Burrows township, the father homesteading eighty acres, to which he afterward added forty acres, which he still owns and now rents. He resided upon his farm until 1897 and following the death of his wife, on the 2d of February, of that year, he went to live with Mrs. Gehr. To Mr. and Mrs. Gehr were born three children: Joseph Anton, who was born December 14, 1891, and died in infancy; Louisa May, who was born January 15, 1893, and is the wife of R. J. Hall, a drayman of Humphrey; and Walter E., who was born July 24, 1895, and is a clerk in Humphrey.

  Mr. Gehr was a member of St. Francis Catholic church, to which his wife and




children still belong, and he also held membership in the Catholic Order of Foresters. His name was likewise on the membership roll of the Woodmen of the World at Humphrey and his political allegiance was given to the democratic party. In 1900 he made a visit to his old home in Germany. He was a man well liked and highly respected in the community where he lived. In all of his business relations he was strictly honorable and reliable, and in his social relations he was considerate of the feelings and of the privileges of others. In a word, his qualities were most commendable and measured up to high standards, so that when death called him the community mourned the loss of a representative and valued man.


  Fritz R. Lips, who is engaged in merchandising in Columbus, where he is conducting a successful business as a dealer in paints, wall paper and mouldings and also takes contracts for interior decorating, was born in Canton Basel, Switzerland, October 14, 1889, a son of Rudolf and Adele (Boss) Lips. A common-school education qualified him for life's practical and responsible duties. He also attended the art school at Basel, Switzerland, and served an apprenticeship of three years and then worked at his trade for seven years in his native country. In 1911 he came to America, making his way at once to Columbus, where he was employed at his trade for two years. He then formed a partnership with a brother and opened his present store, carrying a large line of paints, oils, varnishes, wall paper, glass and mouldings. They are prepared to furnish everything of this character and they also do interior decorating, their handiwork being now seen in some of the fine structures of Columbus. Laudable ambition caused Mr. Lips to cross the Atlantic, seeking opportunities for business advancement, and he has made good use of his time and talents in the upbuilding of a business that is now bringing to him substantial profit and at the same time is proving one of the important commercial enterprises of the city.

  Mr. Lips is a leader of the Swiss Maennerchor, numbering one hundred and fifty members, including a chorus of twenty-four singers and a children's chorus of fifty voices. He also has a mixed choir at Duncan, this county, which has a membership of twenty. He is also identified with the Swiss Society of the Sons of Herman. In his political views he is a democrat and his religious faith is that of the German Reformed church. He has the goodwill and confidence of colleagues and contemporaries and has already made for himself a creditable place in social and business circles.


  Dr. Emil Herman Naumann is a prominent representative of the dental fraternity in Columbus, where he has practiced his profession continuously and successfully for almost a quarter of a century. His birth occurred in Saxony, Germany, on the 17th of February, 1868, his parents being Adolf and Henrietta (Herring)



Naumann, who spent their entire lives in Saxony. The former passed away in 1886 and the latter in 1912. The paternal ancestors of our subject, as far back as they have been traced, lived in Saxony.

  Emil H. Naumann acquired his education in the schools of Saxony and there spent the first twenty-one years of his life. In 1884 he crossed the Atlantic to the United States, locating at Mount Pleasant, Iowa, and six years later was graduated from the College of Dentistry of the State University of Iowa at Iowa City. He followed his profession at Oxford Junction, Iowa, for one year and in May, 1891, came to Columbus, Nebraska, where he has remained continuously to the present time, being accorded a liberal and lucrative practice.

  In June, 1894, in Columbus, Nebraska, Dr. Naumann was united in marriage to Miss Clara Martin, her father being Joseph Martin, who was born in Pennsylvania and still resides in that state at the venerable age of ninety-three years. Charles Martin, the great-grandfather of Mrs. Naumann, was a soldier of the Revolutionary war, while her grandfather, William Martin, participated in the War of 1812.

  Politically Dr. Naumann is a republican and he has served for nine years as a member of the Columbus school board, the cause of education ever finding in him a stanch champion. He is also a director of the Columbus West End Sewer Company, the Young Men's Christian Association and the Columbus Commercial Club. His religious faith is that of the Presbyterian church, while fraternally he is known as a Master Mason. In all life's relations he conscientiously discharges the duties that devolve upon him and his many sterling traits of character have won for him high regard.


  Germany has furnished a large quota of citizens to Platte county, among which number is August Cloeters, who was born in the fatherland April 1, 1874, his parents being Albert and Marv (Schnitzel) Cloeters, who were also natives of Germany and are mentioned in connection with the sketch of Albert Cloeters on another page of this volume. After pursuing his education in the schools of his native country he worked in a tanning factory there until he reached the age of seventeen years, when he came to America with his brother Albert, they making their way to Platte county, Nebraska.

  Here August Cloeters worked as a farm hand for ten years, after which he rented land which he cultivated for two years. He then removed to Boone county, Nebraska, and purchased one hundred and sixty acres upon which he spent four years. He then sold that property and returned to Platte county, settling in Granville township, where he rented a farm for a year. He next bought eighty acres on section 28, Granville township, and has improved the place to a large extent. He also cultivates three hundred and twenty acres of rented land, so that he is now busily engaged in farming, meeting with good success in his undertakings. He knows the best time and methods of planting and of cultivating the fields and shows equal wisdom in the care and sale of his crops. In addition to this property his wife owns one hundred and sixty acres in Boone county, Nebraska, and



also a house and lot in Cedar Rapids, Nebraska, while Mr. Cloeters is a stockholder in the Farmers Elevator Company of Cedar Rapids.

  Mr. Cloeters was united in marriage to Mrs. Ingaborg Schack, a daughter of Hans and Anna M. Petersen, who were natives of Germany. The father followed farming in that country for many years and never came to the new world, passing away in Germany in September, 1914. He had long survived his wife, who died in 1880. Their daughter Ingaborg was first married to Peter Schack, who died in March, 1907, leaving three children, John, Anna and Mabel, aged respectively nineteen, seventeen and thirteen years. By the marriage of Mr. and Mrs. Cloeters two children have been born: Martha, five years of age; and Albert H., now in his first year.

  Mr. Cloeters votes with the republican party, being a firm believer in its principles. He holds membership with the Modern Woodmen of America and with the Ancient Order of United Workmen, while his religious faith is that of the German Baptist church. He is possessed of many sterling traits of character and that he has led a busy life is indicated in his present possessions, for all that he has is the reward of his persistent and intelligently directed energy.


  Humphrey proudly claims Sylvester V. Schurr as one of its citizens and his business enterprise has been a contributing factor to the commercial activity and development of the town. Moreover, he is a self-made man and his example should well serve to inspire and encourage others, showing what may be accomplished when laudable ambition points out the way and energy perseveres therein. Mr. Schurr is a native of Page county, Iowa. He was born in October, 1881, of the marriage of John and Carrie Schurr, natives of Germany. The father came to the new world when a young man of eighteen years, settling at Rock Island, Illinois, where he worked as a farm hand, receiving eight dollars per month through the summer seasons, while in the winter he worked for his board. He was ambitious to engage in business on his own account, however, and finally rented land in Illinois which he cultivated for some time. Later he removed to Page county, Iowa, where he carried on general agricultural pursuits, and in 1892 he came to Nebraska, buying land in Platte county. He immediately undertook the task of further developing and cultivating the tract, which he improved and operated until l912, when he sold out, since which time he has lived retired, now making his home with a son in Knox county, Nebraska. His wife died in 1885.

  Sylvester V. Schurr spent his youthful days in Malvern, Iowa, where he attended the public schools. He continued to assist his father in the work of the home farm until he reached the age of twenty-two years and then rented land, carrying on farming on his own account in that way for two years. He next went to Leigh, Nebraska, where he was employed in a general store for three years and in a hardware store for two years, after which he came to Humphrey in July, l910, and opened a restaurant. He has since been very successful in its conduct, the visible evidence of his prosperity in business being the twelve-thousand-dollar



business block which he has just completed and is now occupying. The structure is thoroughly modern in every respect and is a credit to the city.

  On the 5th of October, 1904, Mr. Schurr was united in marriage to Miss Anna Held, a daughter of Jacob and Anna Held, both of whom are natives of Germany. The father, an agriculturist by occupation, emigrated to the United States at an early day, locating in Platte county, Nebraska, before the city of Columbus had sprung into existence. He worked out as a farm hand for some years and subsequently purchased and improved a tract of land in Sherman township, this county, which he successfully cultivated util 1909, since which time he and his wife have lived retired in Columbus.

  Mr. Schurr is independent in politics, voting according to the dictates of his judgment and the demands of public welfare. His religious faith is that of the Lutheran church. He deserves all the credit and praise implied in the term a self-made man for he started out empty-handed, realizing that if he enjoyed success he must win it. Accordingly he closely applied himself to every task which he undertook and, working his way steadily upward, at length became the proprietor of the profitable business which he is now conducting. In all his undertakings he has displayed good judgment, careful management and unfaltering industry.


  Among the substantial citizens of Shell Creek township is numbered Henry Kluever, living on section 32. He is still actively engaged in farming, although he has passed the Psalmist's allotted span of three score years and ten. He was born in East Friesland, Germany, February 13, 1844, a son of Herman and Harriet (Johnson) Kluever. His education was acquired in the common schools of his native country and in accordance with its military laws he served for three years in the army. He afterward took up the occupation of farming, which he there followed until 1882, when he bade adieu to friends and fatherland and sailed for America. On reaching the new world he established his home in Macon county, Illinois, where he engaged in farming for four years. In l888 he arrived in Platte county and sixteen years ago purchased his present farm, comprising one hundred and sixty acres of good land on section 32, Shell Creek township. He has enclosed the farm and divided it into fields of convenient size by well kept fences and has upon it a good residence and substantial barns and outbuildings. He is engaged also in raising stock, which branch of his business is proving remunerative.

  On the 18th of May, 1871, Mr. Kluever was united in marriage to Miss Johanna Bargmann, who was born January 11, 1849, in the grand duchy of Oldenburg, Germany. They became the parents of ten children, two of whom passed away ere the mother's death, while eight still survive. Twenty-five years prior to her death Mrs. Kluever joined and was baptized in Rev. Papenhausen's church and remained thereafter one of its faithful members. She was a devoted wife and mother and all who knew her loved her. She took a very active interest in all the affairs of the community and was constantly extending a helping hand to those who needed assistance. Her Christian faith and spirit constantly found exemplification in kind acts and good deeds. A week prior to her demise she went to the




home of a daughter in Columbus, where she became ill, and in spite of tender care and good nursing she passed on to the home beyond July 12, 1911, her remains being laid to rest on the 14th of July. Her loss was deeply regretted by all who knew her and most of all by her own family.

  Mr. Kluever has led a very active and useful life and his success is attributable entirely to his perseverance and industry. Aside from his farming interests he is a stockholder in the Columbus Independent Telephone Company and the Monroe Independent Telephone Company. His political allegiance is given to the republican party but he has never been an office seeker. He belongs to the German Baptist church, guides his life according to its teachings and for the past ten years has served as deacon in the church.


  Thomas Klassen, whose home is located on section 7, Granville township, was born in McHenry county, Illinois, September 16, 1861, a son of John and Catharine (Schmidt) Klassen, both of whom were natives of Germany. The father, who took up the occupation of farming, came to America with his parents during his boyhood days, the family home being established in McHenry county, Illinois, where he was reared and married. The lady of his choice had come to the new world with her parents and also took up their abode in McHenry county. There Mr. Klassen is still living, but his wife passed away eighteen years ago.

  Thomas Klassen attended the common schools of Illinois and remained upon the home farm until he attained his majority, after which he earned his living by working out as a farm hand for one year. He then came to Nebraska and took up his abode in St. Bernard township, Platte county, where he was employed for three years. At the end of that time he was married, after which he rented land in St. Bernard township for seven years. Throughout that period he carefully saved his earnings, practicing economy as well as industry until he was able, in 1901, to purchase his present farm comprising one hundred and sixty acres. Upon this place he has since resided, covering a period of fourteen years, and in the interim he has extended its boundaries by the additional purchase of eighty acres. With the assistance of his sons he now cultivates the entire tract of two hundred and forty acres and has made it an excellent farm property equipped with many modern conveniences and accessories. There are good buildings upon the place, well kept fences and the latest improved farm machinery, and in addition to tilling the soil Mr. Klassen breeds and raises good grades of stock, feeding all of his grain to his stock.

  On the 19th of October, 1886, Mr. Klassen was united in marriage to Miss Annie Gilsdorf, a daughter of Matthias and Elizabeth (Hassling) Gilsdorf, both of whom were natives of Germany. Following their marriage they emigrated to the United States in 1848 and took up their abode near Milwaukee, Wisconsin, where the father worked at the carpenter's trade. In 1884 they came to Nebraska, locating in Granville township, Platte county, wkere Mr. Gilsdorf purchased land and made his home until called to his final rest on the 29th of March, 1900. His wife died at the home of our subject on the 9th of February, 1914. To Mr. and



Mrs. Klassen have been born four children, as follows: Elizabeth, whose birth occurred July 9, 1890, and who died on the 27th of the same month; Matthias, who was born August 27, 1892, and follows farming in St. Bernard township; John, whose natal day was December 25, 1894, and who assists his father in the operation of the home farm; and Petronilla, who was born December 15, 1897. The family are all communicants of the St. Bernard Catholic church and Mr. Klassen is a member of the Sacred Heart of Jesus Society of that church. His wife is also a member of the Christian Mothers' Society and the sons belong to the young men's society of that church and the daughter to the young ladies' sodality. In politics Mr. Klassen is a democrat but is not ambitious to hold office. He would rather work upon his farm, for he finds this labor profitable, and although his life has been one of unremitting industry, it has also been one in which hard work has brought to him gratifying prosperity.


  Frank Thelen has gained a measure of success in business that places him among the successful merchants of Humphrey. He was born at Shelby, Polk county, Nebraska, January 19, 1882, a son of Gustav and Josephine Thelen, both of whom were natives of Germany, whence they came to the new world in 1870. Journeying across the country, they established their home in Polk county, Nebraska, where the father purchased land and improved a farm, continuing its cultivation for eighteen years or until 1888, when his life's labors were ended in death. His widow and the family afterward removed to Humphrey, where she resided throughout the remainder of her days, her death occurring on the 13th of March, 1915.

  Frank Thelen was a little lad of six summers when his mother removed to Humphrey and in consequence he was reared and educated in this town, pursuing his studies in the public and parochial schools. He afterward went to Fremont Normal, of Fremont, Nebraska, where he pursued a commercial course and then returned to Humphrey. where he engaged in the plumbing business, also handling pumps and windmills. He has since continued in this line, covering a period of about nine years, and has gained a patronage of gratifying proportions, being now classed with the leading merchants of the town. He also owns two residence properties in Humphrey, one of which he occupies.

  On the 9th of November, 1906, Mr. Thelen was united in marriage to Miss Catherine Gilsdorf, a daughter of Joseph and Mary (Weiand) Gilsdorf, both of whom were born in Wisconsin. They became early settlers of Platte county, Nebraska, locating in St. Bernard township, where Mr. Gilsdorf followed farming for about ten years. On the expiration of that period he disposed of his property and took up his abode in HUmphrey, where he was engaged in the saloon business for about twenty years. He is now living retired in Humphrey.

  Mr. Thelen votes with the democratic party and is one of the active workers in its local ranks. He was a member of the town board for two years and is now serving for the third year as a member of the school board, of which he is chairman. He has membership in the Catholic church, in the Knights of Columbus council



and in the Modern Woodmen camp. Almost his entire life has been spent in Humphrey, where he has gradually worked his way upward to a creditable and enviable position in commercial circles.


  George Rambour, a representative and successful business man of Columbus, has served as secretary, treasurer and manager of the Columbus Brewing Company since its organization in 1904. His birth occurred in Würzburg, Germany, on the 2d of October, 1876, his parents being Michael and Magdalena (Fick) Rambour, both of whom passed away in that country, the former in 1905 and the latter in 1904.

  George Rambour acquired his education in his native land and there spent the first twenty-two years of his life. In 1898 he crossed the Atlantic to the United States and five years later came to Columbus, Nebraska. In 1904 he was made secretary, treasurer and manager of the newly organized Columbus Brewing Company, which he has since served in those capacities, the concern prospering under his able and intelligent direction.

  On the 27th of November, 1902, in Munich, Germany, Mr. Rambour was united in marriage to Miss Matilda Schleifer, by whom he has four children, namely: George, Ludwig, Walter and Erna. In politics he is independent, supporting men and measures rather than party. His religious faith is that of the Catholic church, while fraternally he is identified with the Sons of Herman, the Benevolent Protective Order of Elks, the Fraternal Order of Eagles and the Owls. He is likewise a popular member of the Maennerchor and the Orpheus Society. Mr. Rambour has been characterized as a genial, whole-souled gentleman, in the prime of life, who loves his children, has a host of friends and is a good citizen. The hope that led him to leave the fatherland and seek a home in the new world has been more than realized, for here he found the opportunities which he sought and in their utilization he has won a most gratifying measure of prosperity.


  Thomas F. Ham is conducting a produce business under the name of the Humphrey Produce Company, buying and selling butter, eggs, poultry and cream. He is a young man but has already made for himself a place in business circles that many a one of twice his years might well envy. He was born in Somersetshire, England, June 26, 1891, a son of John and Mary (Parker) Ham, who were natives of the same country, in which they resided until 1894, when they bade adieu to friends and native land and sailed with their family for America, making their way to Omaha, Nebraska, where the father secured the position of watchman with Armour & Company. He continued in that position until his death, which occurred in September, 1904, and his widow is still living in Omaha.

  Thomas F. Ham was reared and educated in that city, attending the public



schools, for he was but three years of age when brought to the United States. When his textbooks were put aside he, too, entered the employ of Armour & Company, remaining with that corporation at their Omaha plant for some time. He next entered the employ of Marsh & Marsh, wholesale dealers in produce, with whom he continued until June, 1914, when he came to Humphrey and embarked in the produce business on his own account, conducting his interests under the style of the Humphrey Produce Company, although he is the sole proprietor. He buys butter, eggs, poultry and cream, and his business has created a good market for the farmers and has been the means of bringing him substantial sueeess. He pays good prices and his trade is constantly increasing. He also handles the Primrose cream separator and the Queen incubator. His trade is largely of a wholesale character, and he buys from both merchants and farmers.

  Religiously Mr. Ham is an Episcopalian and politically a republican. He has no time to seek office, however, for he is busily engaged in an attempt to build up a good business and in the effort is succeeding.


  Evan Robert Bisson is a retired farmer living in Columbus and has attained the eightieth milestone on life's journey. It is fitting that he should have this period of rest in the evening of his days, for his life has been an active and useful one and his retirement from business has been well earned. He was born June 7, 1835, in Montgomery county, Pennsylvania, a son of Hilliary B. and Rebecca (Jenkins) Bisson. The father, who was also born in Montgomery county, was a farmer by occupation and was of Welsh descent, while his wife was of English lineage.

  Spending his youthful days under the parental roof, Evan R. Bisson acquired a common-school education and then in preparation for the practical duties of life learned the carpenter's trade. He followed that pursuit for two years in New Orleans and thence proceeded up the Mississippi river, making settlement at Stillwater, Minnesota, where he resided until September 26, 1861. His spirit of patriotism was aroused by the continued attempt of the south to overthrow the Union and at that date he enrolled as one of the boys in blue of Company D, Forty-fifth Illinois Volunteer Infantry, with which he remained for three years, participating in many of the hotly contested engagements of the war, including the battles of Fort Henry, Fort Donelson, Shiloh, the siege of Vicksburg, Baker's Creek and the siege of Atlanta. He reenlisted as a member of Company A, Sixth Regiment of Hancock's Veteran Corps. He was slightly wounded at Vicksburg and contracted chronic inflammation of the liver. He was on detached duty in Washington, D. C., and had charge of Captain Wirtz of Andersonville prison on the day that he was hung. He became familiar with every phase of military life in the long, hard marches, the campaigning through the cold winters and the active duty on battle line, and when the war was over he participated in the grand review in Washington, D. C.; where the Union troops marched through the streets of the capital, while over broad Pennsylvania avenue there hung a banner inscribed



with the words, "The only debt which the country owes that she cannot pay is the debt that she owes to her soldiers."

  When the war was over Mr. Bisson returned to the north and for eight years was a resident of Tama, Marshall and Hamilton counties of Iowa. In 1872 he arrived in Columbus, Nebraska, and homesteaded one hundred and sixty acres of land in Bismark township, which he still owns. With characteristic energy he began the development and cultivation of the fields, breaking the sod and turning the furrows until good crops rewarded his efforts. Year after year the work was carefully and persistently carried on by Mr. Bisson until 1908, when he retired and established his home in Columbus.

  On September 27, 1865, Mr. Bisson was united in marriage to Miss Emily E. Mudget, of Tama county, Iowa, who passed away December 27, 1908. To them were born seven children, as follows: Sylvester S., who is a resident of South Dakota; Levi N., living in Colorado; Chalkley J., who operates the old homestead farm; .Jesse H. and Emily S., who live in Columbus; Bertha S., who is the wife of George Camp a school teacher; and Lenora, who gave her hand in marriage to Otto Schmidt, of Columbus township.

  Mr. Bisson has ever been an advocate of the republican party since its formation, being a firm believer in its principles as factors in good government. While living in Bismark township he served as justice of the peace. He belongs to the Grand Army of the Republic and in his association with his comrades at arms enjoys recounting incidents and experiences of the tented fields. He has ever been most loyal to his country, having true reverence for the stars and stripes. Moreover, he is entitled to mention in this volume as a pioneer settler, having for forty-three years lived in the county, during which time he has witnessed a notable change, bearing his part in transforming this region into a great and prosperous agricultural district.


  Dr. Christian Alexander Allenburger is a prominent surgeon of Columbus, enjoying an enviable reputation as a skilled and successful representative of his profession in Platte County. His birth occured in Saratov, Russia, his parents being Henry A. and Katharine Marguerite (Webber) Allenburger, likewise natives of that country. Following the father's death, the mother emigrated to the United States with her son Christian in 1883, taking up her abode in Friend, Saline county, Nebraska.

  He acquired a high-school education, later graduated in pharmacy and acquired his more advanced education in Lake Forest University at Lake Forest, Illinois, and subsequently entered Rush Medical College at Chicago, Illinois, which institution conferred upon him the degree of M. D. in 1895. After receiving his hospital training, he then began practice in Shelby, Nebraska, and a few years later came to Columbus, where he has remained continuously since, confining his attention to surgery, in which branch of the profession he is recognized and has demonstrated special skill. Dr. Allenburger is on the staff of, and surgeon to, St. Mary's Hospital in Columbus, Nebraska, and is a member of the Platte County Medical Society,



the Nebraska State Medical Association, a fellow of the American Medical Association, and a fellow of the American College of Surgeons.

  On the 6th of June, 1906, in Columbus, Nebraska, he was united in marriage to Miss Emma Wake, a daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Charles H. Wake. To them has been born a son, Christian Alexander. The Doctor has attained a high rank in Masonry. He was made a Knight Templar, also a thirty-second degree Mason in the Scottish Rite, and in his life exemplifies the teachings of the craft. He is recognized as a man of well balanced character and abilities, and his talents have gained him preeminence in his chosen profession, while his strongly marked personal characteristics have won for him the warm friendship and kindly regard of those with whom he has been associated.


  Charles F. Jansen was for a considerable time identified with agricultural interests of Creston township, where he owned an excellent farm and was recognized as one of the valuable citizens of the county. His birth occurred in Germany on the 9th of October, 1850, and in that country his parents passed their entire lives.

  Mr. Jansen was reared and educated in his native land but when sixteen years of age emigrated to America and located at Davenport, Iowa, where he worked as a farm hand for several years. He then removed to Douglas county, Nebraska, and engaged in farming on his own account, at length buying eighty acres of land, which he cultivated until 1895, when he came to Platte county. He bought two hundred and eighty acres of land on section 16, Creston township, on which he made many improvements and to the cultivation of which he devoted his time until his health failed. He passed away in December, 1902, after an illness of two years, and his demise was widely and deeply regretted. He was progressive and energetic. and his well directed labors returned to him a good income.

  On October 9, 1876, Mr. Jansen married Miss Anna Laschansky, a daughter of August and Katherine (Lenfer) Laschansky. both natives of Germany. Her father farmed in that country and there spent the greater part of his life, but in his old age came to America and made his home with his children until his demise, which occurred in 1874. Mr. Laschansky died when Mrs. Jansen was but five years of age. To Mr. and Mrs. Jansen were born twelve children, namely: Emma, the wife of Luverne Cunningham, of Creston; Maggie, who gave her hand in marriage to John Carstens and lives near Genoa, this state; Minnie and Clara, twins, the former the wife of John Barrett, a farmer of Creston township, and the latter the wife of Vic Palmateer, of Creston; Rose, the wife of Julius Engle, a farmer of Creston township; Dora, now Mrs. Fred Henry, of Creston; Henry, at home, who married Laura Summer, who passed away leaving three children, Charles, Raymond and Norman; Herman, Lillian and Harry, all at home; Anna, who died in infancy; and Mary, who died in 1895, when two and a half years old.

  Mr. Jansen was a republican in his political views, a Presbyterian in his religious faith and fraternally was identified with the Sons of Herman and the Modern Woodmen of America. in all relations of life he measured up to high standards of manhood and was not only respected for his ability but honored for his integrity\




and his regard for the rights of others. Mrs. Jansen, who is an excellent business woman, has made further improvements upon the home farm, and she, too, has gained the esteem of all who know her.


  Gustav William Viergutz, the period of whose residence in Columbus covers more than a quarter of a century, has been successfully engaged in the lumber business here since 1908, building up an extensive enterprise of that character. His birth occurred in Germany on the 31st of December, 1868, his parents being August Carl and Wilhelmine (Krueger) Viergutz, who were likewise natives of that country, the former born on the 31st of December, 1838, and the latter in 1836. They emigrated to the United States in 1870; locating first in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and in 1876 took up their abode in Polk county, Nebraska. In 1910 they came to Columbus, where Mr. Viergutz passed away in 1913 and where his widow still makes her home. The paternal grandfather of our subject spent his entire life in Germany.

  Gustav W. Viergutz acquired his education in the public schools of Polk county, Nebraska, and in 1888 came to Platte county, this state, continuing his studies in Columbus for one year. Here he learned the carpenter s trade and subsequently followed that occupation as a contractor, etc., until 1898. In that year he entered the employ of G. A. Hoagland, a lumber merchant of Columbus, remaining in his service for nine years. On the expiration of that period, in 1908, he embarked in the lumber business on his own account and has since conducted an enterprise of that character with gratifying and growing success. He is likewise the vice president of the Columbus Land, Loan & Building Association and enjoys a reputation as one of the substantial and representative business men of his adopted city.

  On the 26th of February, 1891, in Columbus, Nebraska, Mr. Viergutz was united in marriage to Miss Anna Catharine Huntemann, a daughter of Henry H. Huntemann. To them have been born five children, namely: Walter A., Arthur H., Vera E., Alva E. and Gustav W., Jr. In politics Mr. Viergutz is a republican while his religious faith is that of the German Lutheran church.


  Bert LeRoy Parker, well known in the business circles of Columbus, was born at Kingman, Kansas, January 1, 1887. His parents are Joseph and Anna (Moore) Parker, the former a native of Kansas, while the latter was born near Millersburg, Ohio. They are now residing in Kansas City, where the father is engaged in business as a building contractor.

  Bert L. Parker acquired a fair education while spending his youthful days in his parents' home and entered the workaday world as an employe of the Wells Fargo Express Company in Kansas City, with which corporation he remained for
Vol. II-15


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