Past & Present of Platte County, Nebraska - Volume II


 

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conveniences, for the conduct of the banking business. The building would be a credit to a town of much larger size. The bank is in a very prosperous condition and its business is constantly increasing. In May, 1912, its deposits amounted to eighty-two thousand seven hundred and seventy-four dollars and on the 20th of August, 1915, the bank had over two hundred and six thousand eight hundred and ten dollars on deposit. This increase is due to the courteous treatment of patrons, liberal loans to farmers during hard times and a safe but progressive business policy. Mr. Svoboda still owns a farm of one hundred and sixty acres in St. Bernard township and is accounted one of the leading business men of his part of the county.

  On the 22d of January, 1901, was celebrated the marriage of Mr. Svoboda and Miss Barbara Marik, a daughter of Anton Marik, one of the early settlers of Colfax county, who came from Bohemia and established his home in Nebraska in early life. Four children have been born to Mr. and Mrs. Svoboda, Lillian, Adolph, Lumir and Ernest.

  In his political views Mr. Svoboda has long been a democrat but is not an active party worker. He belongs to the Holy Name Catholic church and to the Lindsay Commercial Club, cooperating in all the movements of the latter organization to advance the material welfare of the community and extend its business connections. He is a progressive man, wide-awake and enterprising, and all who know him speak of him in terms of high and enduring regard, appreciating his uniform courtesy and his sterling worth.


JAMES L. BROWN.

  Among Creston's representative citizens is numbered James L. Brown, who is now living retired. For a long period he was the popular and efficient postmaster of Creston, and his public and private record is above suspicion and reproach. He was born in Leavenworth, Indiana, April 26, 1846, and is a son of Bryant and Delilah (Carnes) Brown, who were also natives of the Hoosier state. The father engaged in farming for a number of years in Indiana and in 1853 removed with his family to Illinois, where he carried on general agricultural pursuits until 1858. He then became a resident of Kansas, where he followed farming for two years, after which he returned to Indiana and after the outbreak of the Civil war enlisted as a member of Company H, Forty-ninth Indiana Infantry, with which he served for two and a half years. In 1865 he went to Marion county, Iowa, where he purchased land, which he owned and cultivated for a decade. On disposing of that property he came to Nebraska but after a year removed to Kansas in 1876 and there engaged in farming until 1880. He then returned to Iowa, where he carried on general farming until 1907, when he retired from active business life and removed to the state of Washington, where he spent his remaining days in the enjoyment of a well earned rest, his death occurring in 1910. For four years he had survived his wife, who died in Colorado in 1906.

  James L. Brown largely spent his youthful days in Iowa, remaining with his parents until he reached the age of seventeen years. He then put aside all personal considerations to aid in the defense of his country and, like his father, demon-

 

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strated his loyalty at the front, enlisting in Company D, One Hundred and forty-fourth Indiana Infantry, with which he served for fifteen months. He returned to Indiana, where he was employed as a farm hand for nine months, after which he again went to Iowa, renting land in Marion county. He operated that farm from 1866 until 1876 and then came to Platte county, Nebraska, where he secured one hundred and sixty acres of land in Humphrey township. He at once set about improving the property and bent his energies to its further cultivation and development until 1884, when he sold out and removed to Creston, investing in one hundred and sixty acres adjoining the town of Creston, on section 18, Creston township. He cultivated that place until 1886, when he sold all but forty acres, and later he also disposed of that tract, save the two acres upon which he now resides. He rented some land, however, but abandoned farming in 1905, when he was appointed postmaster at Creston, in which position he capably served for nine years and nine months, when he retired from the office as he had entered it -- with the confidence and goodwill of all concerned. He has since engaged in no business and is enjoying a well earned rest.

  On Christmas day of 1879 Mr. Brown was married to Miss Martha L. McNeill, a daughter of Orin and Eliza (Darrow) McNeill, natives of Ohio. The father, who carried on farming as a life work, went to Iowa at an early day, arriving there about 1846. The state was then a pioneer district, and he entered land and farmed in Lee county until 1858, when he removed to Marion county, Iowa, where he carried on general farming until his death in 1870. His wife survived until 1879, when she, too, passed to the home beyond.

  Mr. and Mrs. Brown became the parents of eleven children: Etta, the wife of Fred Davis, who resides at Creston; Effie, the wife of A. W. Bearss, living in Creston township; Cora, the wife of F. P. Sorrick, a farmer of Creston township; Perry, who was accidentally killed March 4, 1908; Stella, the wife of R. D. Jackson, residing in Madison county, Nebraska; Elmer, living in the state of Washington; Nellie and Edgar, at home; Muriel, a trained nurse living in Omaha; and Newton and Orin, twins, who died in infancy.

  Mr. Brown holds membership with the Ancient Order of United Workmen and the Degree of Honor, and he still maintains pleasant relations with his army comrades as a member of the Grand Army of the Republic. In politics he is a republican, and his religious faith is that of the Methodist church. He stands as a high type of American manhood and chivalry, loyal to the best interests of his community, faithful to his friends, devoted to his family and devout in his church relations.


EMIL POHL.

  Emil Pohl was a well known citizen of Platte county, where he took up his abode in 1872, and through the intervening period until his death was closely associated with business interests and the public life of the community, and in every connection displayed sterling traits of character which firmly established him in the high regard of his fellow citizens. He was born in Germany, March 24, 1833, and attended Catholic schools of. that country until he reached the age of eighteen years, when he joined the German army as a musician. He acted as band master

 

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with the army during the war with Schleswig-Holstein, and the Austrian war, serving altogether for eight years.

  In 1867, when a young man of twenty-four Mr. Pohl came to the United States and established his home in Calumet, Wisconsin, where he worked in a store in order to learn the English language and acquaint himself with American life and customs. He afterward engaged in the implement business at New Holstein, Wisconsin, on his own account and then removed to Platte county, Nebraska, following the same business in Columbus in partnership with Gerhard Schutte, for ten years. In 1882 he became a partner of Gust Schroeder in the ownership of a hardware business on Eleventh street, where they remained for about five years. On the expiration of that period Mr. Pohl turned his attention to the grocery business, conducting a store with success until 1896, when he retired from commercial life, having been elected clerk of the courts of Platte county, in which position he served for two years. He then retired from active life, spending his remaining days in the enjoyment of a rest which he had truly earned and richly deserved, the fruits of his former toil supplying him with all the necessities and comforts and some of the luxuries of life.

  In 1872 Mr. Pohl was united in marriage to Miss Anna Hoppe, a native of Germany and a daughter of Henry Hoppe, who served in the German army during the revolution of 1848. He never came to the United States but followed farming throughout his entire life in his native land. To Mr. and Mrs. Pohl were born five children: Otto; Arthur; Emil; Meta, the wife of Frank Wurdeman, mentioned elsewhere in this volume; and Elsie, the wife of W. A. Boettcher, who is also mentioned in this work.

  In his political views Mr. Pohl was an earnest republican and took an active interest in politics, doing all in his power to promote the growth of the party and to secure its success, because of his firm belief in its principles. Nature endowed him with marked musical talent and for more than twenty years he led the Maennerchor and did much to advance musical taste and interest in Columbus. He died in California in 1900, at the age of fifty-seven years, and the community mourned the loss of a representative and valued citizen who had become well established as a representative resident of the county and one whose labors had contributed in no small measure to its material, political and cultural progress and upbuilding.


FRED LAUN.

  Fred Laun is a member of Reilly, Laun & Company, hardware merchants and plumbers of Platte Center, and he occupies a prominent position in commercial circles because of the spirit of enterprise and reliability which actuates him in all of his trade relations. He was born in Aurora, Indiana, September 17, 1868, a son of Joseph and Katherine (Gatter) Laun. The father came from Germany, and departed this life in Newport, Kentucky. Following his death the mother came to Nebraska, settling in Bismark township, Platte county, while subsequently she removed to Grand Prairie township.

  Fred Laun was reared to the occupation of farming and continued to follow that pursuit until 1908, when, thinking to find other business more congenial, he

 

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accepted the position of manager for the telephone company at Platte Center, acting in that capacity for three years. He then formed a partnership with Frank Reilly for the conduct of a plumbing business and in the spring of 1915 they purchased the hardware store and stock of James Keating and are now conducting business under the firm style of Reilly, Laun & Company as plumbers and hardware merchants, both departments of their business having a liberal patronage. They carry a well selected stock and are putting forth every effort to please their patrons, knowing that satisfied customers are the best advertisement. Mr. Laun is also one of the stockholders in the Farmers Independent Telephone Company and is still the owner of eighty acres of good farm land in Grand Prairie township.

  In 1900 was celebrated the marriage of Mr. Laun and Miss Lena Siems, a daughter of Fred Siems, of Shell Creek township. She died in 1904 and Mr. Laun afterward married Miss Anna Smidt, a daughter of Matthew Smidt, of Grand Prairie township, and a representative of one of the pioneer families of this section of the state: They have one child, Cora.

  In his political views Mr. Laun is independent. After studying the questions and issues of the day he does not care to bind himself by party ties but votes according to the dictates of his judgment. He has membership with the Fraternal Order of Eagles at Columbus and with the Highlanders Lodge of Platte Center, and he has attractive social qualities which render him popular in these organizations and in social and business circles as well. He has closely applied himself to his commercial interests since starting out along mercantile lines and his persistency of purpose and unfaltering energy are the strong forces in his growing prosperity.


CHARLES KOPIETZ

  Charles Kopietz, living at Lindsay, where he is engaged in the conduct of a feed, grain and flour business, was born December 27, 1844, at Morelia, Austria. The days of his boyhood and youth were spent in that land and in 1867 he came to the United States, seeking the opportunities offered in the new world. He first made his way to Nemaha county, Kansas, where he was employed as a farm hand by the month and also worked at the butcher's trade. Subsequently he engaged in the grain and feed business and in 1898 he came to Platte county, where he opened a feed, grain and flour house at Lindsay. He has since conducted this business and is now meeting with fair success in his undertaking.

  On the 5th of June, 1871, Mr. Kopietz was married to Miss Magdalena Hrncer and they have become parents of five children: Josie, who is now the wife of Fraz Sarney, of Omaha, Nebraska; Mary, the wife of John Malotey, living in Omaha; Arness, who married Edward Lindsay, also of Omaha; Joseph K., who is a resident of Hay Springs, Nebraska; and Edward, living at Coleridge, this state.

  The religious faith of the family is that of the Catholic church, to the support of which they generously contribute. In his political views Mr. Kopietz is a democrat, having adhered to that party since securing his naturalization papers. He has filled the office of justice of the peace for fourteen years and bases his decisions upon the law and the equity of the ease, his opinions being strictly fair and impar-

 

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tial. He was a young man of twenty-three years when he came to the new world and today he is in his seventy-first year. His life has been one of activity and his energy and determination have brought to him the success which he has won.


JOHN ANDREW KEHOE.

  At the time of his death John Andrew Kehoe was engaged in the grain and implement business at Platte Center and worked earnestly and persistently to gain a start in that direction and build up a trade which would enable him to provide liberally for his family. He was born in Kilkenny, Ireland, June 7, 1832. His father died before his birth and when he was two years of age he was brought to the new world by his mother, who settled in Kentucky. He was educated in the Dominican College at Cincinnati, Ohio, and when his textbooks were put aside he turned his attention to the milling business and in 1878 came to Nebraska, taking charge of the Norfolk Mills at Norfolk for two years. He also spent a short time in Omaha before coming to Platte Center in September, 1882. At this place he engaged in the grain business and remained active therein up to the time of his demise, which occurred on the 13th of September, 1896. In the meantime the settlement of the county and the development of the farms were increasing the opportunities along the line of the grain trade and he kept in touch with the onward march of progress.

  In politics Mr. Kehoe was a democrat and was one of the leaders of his party in Nebraska. He was a close friend of W. J. Bryan and was the first man to suggest Mr. Bryan's name for the presidency. In 1885 he represented his district in the state legislature. He was a communicant of the Catholic faith. On the 24th of October, 1876, Mr. Kehoe was united in marriage to Miss Kate Coffee, a native of Warsaw, Wyoming county, New York, and a daughter of Dennis and Katherine Coffee.

  Following the death of her husband Mrs. Kehoe continued the grain and the implement business and also established a drug business. Her connection with the grain trade was at times spectacular because of the fight into which she was forced with the grain trust. For ten years she waged this contest with the Nebraska grain trust which the New York Herald termed "the most nefarious combination in the west." She won her final victory at the time the Interstate Commerce Commission made its investigation at Omaha and at its close the commission congratulated Mrs. Kehoe upon the remarkable fight which she had made against the big combination. When her husband died, he left to her what is known in grain trade parlance as a "shovel house" -- the dealer buying from the farmer, shoveling the grain into a warehouse and afterward into a railroad car instead of handling the business through an elevator. The grain trust saw in her a formidable competitor and made it known that they wished her to quit buying grain from the farmers. She refused and then the trust began its "work" against her. Her customers in the cities were coerced in refusing to buy from her, but she met this attack by obtaining new customers in Memphis, St. Louis, and other cities. Then the trust raised prices on her, until prices at Platte Center were several cents above the selling prices at Omaha and Chicago. Then she closed her business temporarily, but just as soon as prices

 MR. AND MRS. JOHN A. KEHOE

 

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were reduced to the normal she started in the grain trade again and her old customers went back to her. That course of raising prices was pursued for some time, and at each time she would drop out of the business temporarily only to enter it again. At length the trust, finding that they could not force her to quit business, invited her to join them, which she indignantly refused to do; and she turned this last effort of the trust to good account by showing the farmers in her vicinity that the trust raised prices only to eliminate competition, after which the price of grain would fall below the regular market. She won the cooperation of the farmers, who continued to sell grain to her at the regular quotations. Then the railroads began shutting off her supply of freight cars, until she was compelled to sit idly by and watch her competitors load car after car, while none were given to her. Even this did not deter her, for she took up the matter directly with President Burt of the Union Pacific Railroad and cars were accordingly allotted her. The next move in the drama was the burning of her shovel house, but within forty-eight hours she had begun the erection of a fine new grain elevator along the railroad track and after a year or two she built another elevator in Tarnov, thus embarking in the grain trade on an extensive scale. The trust kept up its fight against her, but her business methods were so honorable and her affairs were conducted so sagaciously that she continued in spite of the combine and the attacks ceased at the time of the investigation by the Interstate Commerce Commission, leaving her the owner of two elevators, a large grain business and a big implement and seed house. She continued to manage the business until 1909 and she now conducts a drug store at Platte Center.

  That well deserved success has come to her is indicated in the fact that she is today the owner of the finest residence in Platte Center, and business men say with a smile and mean it as a compliment that "she is the biggest business man in Platte Center." Her course proves that honesty will eventually win and is after all the best policy. Her intelligence, which is keen and strong, was applied to the solution of difficulties such as few women face and all who know her rejoice that hers is the victory.


JOHN HENRY BROCK.

  John Henry Brock is a well known contractor of Columbus, living at Twentieth and Olive streets. He was born in Osage county, Missouri, March 12, 1874, and is a son of J. R. and Louisa (Moesch) Brock, who are mentioned elsewhere in this volume. The family lived upon a farm, and during his early boyhood John H. Brock assisted his father in the work of the fields. He afterward went to St. Louis, where he was employed at different occupations and soon became active in the line of carpentering. In 1890 he removed to Platte county, Nebraska, where he resumed work at the carpenter's trade, and for the past ten years he has conducted business as a general contractor. In this connection he has erected some of the finest buildings of the town, including the Carnegie library, the Masonic Temple and numerous residences which add to the architectural adornment of the city. He thoroughly understands every phase of the business in its practical and technical relations and is thus able to direct the efforts of those whom he employs.

 

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  There is an interesting military chapter in the life history of Mr. Brock, who on the 5th of May, 1898, following the outbreak of the Spanish-American war, enlisted at Lincoln, Nebraska, becoming a member of Company K, First Nebraska Volunteers. His regiment was sent direct to the Philippine islands, landing at Camp Dewey. Mr. Brock is credited with active service in twenty-two engagements between Manila and Cavite, and he went through all of the hardships and experiences of campaigning on the islands. He has a fine collection of relics from the Philippines and relates many interesting tales concerning the people and their mode of living as well as their methods of warfare. Mr. Brock joined the army as a private and when discharged in the fall of 1899 had reached the rank of first sergeant.

  In August, 1894, was celebrated the marriage of Mr. Brock and Miss Emma Smith, a daughter of Henry Smith, one of the old settlers of Colfax county, Nebraska. They now have five children; Julius, George and Ida, twins; Ruth; and Margaret.

  In his political views Mr. Brock is a republican and he keeps well informed on the questions and issues of the day but has never aspired to office. He belongs to Columbus Tent, No. 55, K. O. T. M., and to Columbus Encampment of the Spanish War Veterans. He ranks with the most active and energetic residents of Columbus and is numbered among the most progressive contractors, his work not being confined to the city in which he lives but also extending over the surrounding territory. Opportunity has always been with him the open road to advancement. He has ever readily and carefully utilized the chances which have come to him and by the exercise of his native powers and talents has reached a most creditable position among the business men of his town.


RAY P. BURCH.

  Ray P. Burch, a well known representative of newspaper interests, owning and publishing the Creston Statesman under the name of the Burch Printing Company, was born in Anamosa, Jones county, Iowa, September 25, 1888, a son of L. G. and Nell (Patterson) Burch, who were also natives of that county. The father was a farmer, devoting his life to the tilling of the soil in Iowa until 1905, when he went to Cedar county, Nebraska, where he followed farming for a short time. He then retired and now makes his home at Magnet, Nebraska, where he and his wife are pleasantly situated.

  Ray P. Burch, spending his youthful days in his native town, acquired his education in the public schools, but at the early age of thirteen years started out in the business world by securing employment in a newspaper office, and he has continued in the same line since, covering a period of fourteen years. In 1913 he went to Magnet, where he published the Magnet Mail, but afterward removed the plant to Creston and has since continued newspaper publication, his paper being known as the Creston Statesman. It is the property of the Burch Printing Company and in connection with the publication of the paper they conduct a general job printing business and make a specialty of bank work. Their work is of the

 

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highest character of the printing art and is highly satisfactory to their patrons, who are constantly growing in number.

  On the 8th of July, 1913, Mr. Burch was married to Miss Carrie Clark, a daughter of F. P. and Carrie (Rooth) Clark, the former a native of Massachusetts and the latter of Canada. The father engaged in farming for a considerable period in Gage county, Nebraska, but is now living at Royal, Nebraska. There has been one child born of this marriage, Gwenneth E., born May 31, 1914.

  Mr. Burch has membership with the Modern Woodmen of America and with the Knights of Pythias and is loyal to the teachings and purposes of those organizations. In politics he is a democrat, strong in his advocacy of the party and supporting its measures through the columns of his paper. He stands at all times for progress and improvement, and his labors have been an element in advancing the civic interests of Creston, particularly those things which promote its welfare along material, intellectual, social and moral lines.


FRANK WURDEMAN.

  Frank Wurdeman is now living on section 8, Sherman township, and his birth occurred on section 10, the same township, his natal day being February 3, 1873. He represents one of the old pioneer families of the county, established here in 1869. Through the period of his boyhood he was a pupil in district school No. 23, in Sherman township, and he remained at home until he reached the age of fifteen years, when he became a pupil in the high school at Columbus, there continuing his studies for two years. At the end of that time he secured a position in the old Commercial Bank at Columbus, entering the institution as a bookkeeper and filling the position of assistant cashier when, at the end of seven years, he severed his connection with the bank.

  Called to public office, Mr. Wurdeman was the efficient city treasurer for two years, capably guarding the public funds. Upon his retirement from that position he joined Bey Martin in the real-estate and insurance business under the firm style of Wurdeman & Martin and when he retired from that connection he resumed his residence in Sherman township, where he is now cultivating three hundred and sixty acres of land, a part of which came to him from his father's estate. His farm comprises eighty acres on section 8, two hundred acres on section 9 and eighty acres on section 16. It is a valuable farm property, well developed and highly improved, and stock-raising is made a special feature of his business. He has recently turned his attention to shorthorn cattle and feeds four or five carloads annually. He raises full blooded stock of the Lavender and Cumberland breeds and sells considerable to people of this part of the state. He also handles Duroc Jersey hogs and makes a specialty of fine poultry, raising Rhode Island Red chickens and Mammoth Bronze turkeys. He has splendid equipment for the care of his stock and has studied out the best methods to produce the desired results. His work is done in a systematic, methodical manner and he understands fully both the practical and scientific phases of stock-raising and farming. In addition to his home interests he is a stockholder in the Columbus Telephone Company and in

 

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the Blau Gas Company of Creston, and he helped to organize the Boheet Local of the Farmers Union of Platte county, of which he is treasurer and secretary.

  In 1900 Mr. Wurdeman was married to Miss Meta Pohl, a daughter of Emil and Anna Pohl, who were natives of Breslau, Prussia. The father died in 1899 but the mother is still living in Columbus. They came to the United States in 1867, the father having previously served as a member of the German army in the war of 1866, acting as musical director of the regimental band. On crossing the Atlantic he settled in Wisconsin but afterward removed to Columbus, where he engaged in the implement business in partnership with Gerhard Schutte for several years. He afterward turned his attention to the grocery business and was recognized as one of the foremost merchants of the town. His political allegiance was given to the republican party and upon its ticket he was elected to the office of county clerk. He belonged to the German Reformed church and was active in all affairs relating to the material, intellectual, political and moral welfare of his community, so that his death was the occasion of deep regret in the community where he lived and where he was recognized as a representative citizen.

  Mr. and Mrs. Wurdeman have become the parents of a son, Richard, who was born May 21, 1905. The family are members of St. Paul's Evangelical Lutheran church, and Mr. Wurdeman is also identified with the Benevolent Protective Order of Elks at Columbus, the Modern Woodmen of America at Creston, the Woodmen of the World at Columbus and the Knights of Pythias and the Sons of Veterans. In both the Woodmen and Pythian lodges he has filled the office of treasurer. He has served as director of his school district and has ever been a cooperant factor in all plans and measures for the public good and has worked along those lines which advance material progress and promote individual and community uplift. He displays many sterling traits of character and is justly accounted due of the foremost residents of Sherman township.


ADOLF JAEGGI.

  Adolf Jaeggi was born August 2, 1848, in Canton Bern, Switzerland, and in the year of 1869 emigrated to the United States, homesteading one hundred and sixty acres of land in Platte county, Nebraska, eight miles southwest of Columbus, where he lived for several years, later entering the real estate firm of Sam Schmidtt, with whom he was employed for two years. A few years later he entered the Columbus State Bank as the first bookkeeper, which position he held for a number of years.

  In 1882 Mr. Jaeggi visited his native land, where he was married to Constance Chiffelle, of Canton Bern, Switzerland, returning a few months later to what is now the city of Columbus. Here he engaged in the lumber and grain business for a number of years, but disposed of the lumber business a little later on, and in 1885 was one of the organizers and builders of what is now known as the Elevator Roller Mills Company, which he operated and managed successfully until his death on the 18th of January, 1910. The period of his residence in this county covered four decades, and in his passing the community lost one of its substantial business men and esteemed citizens.

 ADOLF JAEGGI

 

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  His widow, who still makes her home in Columbus, also enjoys an extensive and favorable acquaintance in the city. To the above couple were born three sons, Paul A., Walter C. and Ernest L. Jaeggi, all residents of Platte county. They received their education in the public and private schools of Columbus, later on graduating from business colleges.

  In January, 1910, Paul A. and Ernest L. Jaeggi succeeded their father in the ownership and management of the Elevator Roller Mills Company, Inc., the former holding the position of president and manager, and the latter as secretary and treasurer. They have conducted the business with splendid executive ability and good judgment, which have been the factors of its continued success.

  Walter C. Jaeggi, after completing his common school education, entered the State Agricultural School of Lincoln, Nebraska. After completing his course in agriculture he chose the life of farmer and is now the owner and manager of a well improved one hundred and twenty-acre farm four miles northeast of Columbus.

  In 1870 the Jaeggi family were among the organizers and charter members of the German Evangelical Protestant church of Columbus, in which they have held various offices and to which they have ever given their loyal support. Being upright and honorable in all relations of life, they enjoy the confidence and respect of all those who come in contact with them in either church relations or social affairs.


JOHN A. ZAVADIL.

  John A. Zavadil is one of the owners and editors of the Democrat, published at Humphrey, and the greater part of his life has been devoted to the printing business. He was born at Yankton, South Dakota, June 21, 1886, a son of I. W. and Blanche (Latimer) Zavadil, who were natives of Bohemia and Pennsylvania respectively. At an early period in the development of Nebraska they came to this state, I. W. Zavadil making the journey with his father during his childhood days. The paternal grandfather was a farmer by occupation and devoted the remainder of his life to general agricultural pursuits in this state. I. W. Zavadil learned the tinner's trade and afterward went to Yankton, South Dakota, where he was employed along that line for several years. He afterward patented and manufactured a music rack, the sale of which brought him a very handsome income. He removed to Portland, Oregon, where he engaged in the hardware business for a year and a half, but was unable to stand the climate there and returned eastward, settling at Wahoo, Nebraska, where he again worked at the tinner's trade for some time. He afterward came to Humphrey and entered into partnership with Judge Ratterman in the hardware business, this connection being maintained until 1893 when Mr. Zavadil traded his interest for a farm in Boone county. He then removed to Hamilton, Missouri, where he worked at his trade for two years, when he went to Washington, Missouri, spending six years at his trade there. On the expiration of that period he once more became a resident of Humphrey, where he passed the remainder of his days. He was accidentally killed by a train at Platte Center on the 24th of July, 1912. His widow survives and yet makes her home in Humphrey.

  Because of the various removals of his parents John A. Zavadil pursued his

 

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education in many places and when fourteen years of age began to learn the printer's trade, which he mastered. He was afterward employed in a wholesale dry goods house in Minneapolis for a year and then went to South Dakota, where he again worked at his trade for a time. Later he returned to Humphrey, where he was employed at the printing business until 1910, when he went to Fremont, Nebraska, where he had charge of the Herald office until the fall of 1913. He then purchased the plant of the Post at Lindsay, Nebraska, continuing the publication of that paper until February, 1914, when he again came to Humphrey and took charge of the office of the Democrat, which he had previously purchased in October, 1913. He has since continued the publication of this paper, in which he has as a partner Mrs. Louise Karthaus, their business being conducted under the firm style of Zavadil & Karthaus. The paper has a circulation of one thousand and is an attractive sheet in its mechanical construction and in the character of the news furnished the public. The office is splendidly equipped with all modern improvements known to the printing business and contains a unitype machine.

  In January, 1910, Mr. Zavadil was married to Miss Lillie Karthaus, a daughter of Casper and Lillie (Reiss) Karthaus, the former a native of Germany and the latter of Elgin, Illinois. On coming to the new world her father settled at Westpoint, Nebraska, which was then a frontier town, and in that locality worked as a farm hand for some time, but later removed to Humphrey, where he engaged in the liquor business throughout his remaining days, his death occurring in 1901. Mr. and Mrs. Zavadil have one child, I. Wayne, who was born March 9, 1911. The religious faith of the family is that of the Catholic church and Mr. Zavadil is a member of the Knights of Columbus. He is prominent in local political circles and is now serving on the democratic central committee in his district. His paper is published in the interests of that party and he does all in his power to secure the adoption of its principles.


JOSEPH A. BELLER.

  Joseph A. Beller is accounted one of the most progressive real-estate men in his part of Platte county and is also actively and successfully engaged in the livery business, having purchased a livery barn in 1912. Energy and progressiveness have enabled him to carry forward to successful completion whatever he undertakes and his plans of business are always well defined and promptly executed. Mr. Beller is a native of Iowa, his birth having occurred in Lee county, April 19, 1875. His father, Ignatz Beller, removed with his family to St. Bernard township, Platte county, Nebraska, in 1879 and there purchased eighty acres of land, for which he paid five hundred dollars. Since that date the family have been closely connected with the development and upbuilding of the county.

  Joseph A. Beller acquired a common-school education and in his youthful days worked upon the home farm. Later he engaged in farming on his own account for a year, but felt that commercial pursuits would be more congenial and in 1903 took up his abode in Lindsay, where he opened a hardware store in connection with M. J. Weidner, remaining active in that business for four years, at the end of which time he sold out. In 1907 he took up a homestead of one hundred and sixty

 

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acres in South Dakota and there resided for sixteen months, receiving title to that property, which he still owns. Seeing a good opening for activity in the real-estate business, he began dealing in property in South Dakota and afterward transferred his activities to Platte county, where he has since dealt in farm lands. In 1909 he established a record for real-estate transactions, when in a short time he sold nineteen quarter sections of land, a record which has not been equaled since. He still owns considerable land in Colorado and in Texas in addition to his holdings in Nebraska. He is a progressive young man and his industry and progressiveness enable him to overcome many obstacles and difficulties that bar the path to prosperity. He now has an office in the Lindsay State Bank building and is familiar with all phases of the real-estate business. He places a correct valuation upon property and has handled many important realty transfers.

  In October, 1913, Mr. Beller was married to Miss Marilda Miller and they have one child, Imogene. In politics he is a democrat, but while he votes with the party he is not an active worker in its ranks. He holds membership in the Catholic church. He finds recreation in baseball, being an enthusiast concerning the national sport, and is now acting as manager of the Lindsay baseball team. He never allows outside interests, however, to interfere with his business affairs and his enterprise and thorough reliability are well known features of his active career.


OSCAR LOUIS BAKER.

  Oscar Louis Baker is proprietor of the North Theatre, in which connection he has ever given to the public attractive and high-class entertainments, including moving pictures, vaudeville and the drama. He closely studies the public taste and, catering to public opinion, has made his house very attractive.

  Mr. Baker is a native son of Columbus, born March 7. 1892, his parents being Oscar and Laura Belle (Paynter) Baker, the former a native of Columbus, Ohio. O. L. Baker completed his more specifically literary education by two years' study in the local high school and afterward devoted two years to a commercial course in the Columbus Business College. He entered the workaday world as a clerk in a clothing store in Omaha and for two years thereafter was connected with the picture show business in Shenandoah, Iowa, and in Nebraska City.

  Mr. Baker then returned to Columbus, where he conducted a moving picture house for a year and through the succeeding year and a half was proprietor of the Oxford Hotel and Cafe. He next leased the North Theatre and also bought out the H. & G. Poster Advertising Company. The theatre is situated at the corner of West Thirteenth and Murray streets and has a stage thirty-seven feet in depth, sixty feet in width and forty-five feet in height. The capacity of the theatre is one thousand and many attractions tax the house to its utmost. In the winter seasons he secures the high-class road shows in addition to attractive vaudeville features and the best pictures that are making the film the best patronized entertainment of the country. He is constantly upon the alert to secure the new and novel as well as the purely entertaining or instructive films and his business management leads to growing success.

  On the 16th of June, 1915, Mr. Baker was united in marriage to Miss Fred-

 

342PAST AND PRESENT OF PLATTE COUNTY

erica Stenger. Mr. Baker is a member of the Orpheus, a local German musical society, and of the Maennerchor. He is also connected with Columbus Lodge, No. 1195, B. P. O. E., and his religious belief is indicated in his connection with the Congregational church. He votes with the democratic party nor is he neglectful of the duties of citizenship, yet he does not seek nor desire public office, preferring to concentrate his energies upon his business affairs, which are bringing to him growing and well merited prosperity.


JOHN M. HEFLEY.

  John M. Hefley is the well known editor of the Post published at Lindsay, Nebraska. He is a western man by birth, by training and by preference and he possesses the spirit of enterprise which has characterized the development of the middle west. He was born at Emmetsburg, Iowa, April 14, 1883, a son of William and Mary Hefley, and his grandfather was one of the first settlers west of the Boone river.

  Reared in his native town, John M. Hefley there pursued his education and afterward learned the printer's trade on the Emmetsburg Tribune. He subsequently worked on various papers while traveling over the country and on the 1st of September, 1914, purchased the Lindsay Post, which was an independent sheet and which has a good subscription list and liberal advertising patronage. In addition to publishing this paper, which is a bright, newsy journal, he does a job business, his excellent work and reasonable prices gaining for him good support in that branch of his chosen occupation.

  On the 4th of April, 1910, Mr. Hefley was united in marriage to Miss Neva Stemets, a daughter of J. T. and Nettie Stemets, of Emmetsburg, who were also early settlers of Iowa. Mr. and Mrs. Hefley have two children: Mary Ellen, born December 7, 1911; and John, born July 8, 1914. The religious faith of the parents is that of the Catholic church. Mr. Hefley stands at all times for improvement in public affairs and personally, as well as through the columns of his paper, champions any movement for the general good.


CLAUS PETERSON.

  Claus Peterson, who has won a gratifying success as a farmer and stockraiser in Walker township, was born in Vesterjorland, Sweden, July 7, 1865. His parents, August and Johanna Peterson, came with their family to the United States in 1867 and first settled in Kane county, Illinois, where the father engaged in agricultural pursuits for eleven years. Removal was then made to Platte county, Nebraska, the family home being established on section 19, Walker township, where the father engaged in farming and in raising cattle and hogs until 1905, when he retired to Genoa.

  Claus Peterson received his education in the common schools of Kane County, Illinois, and of this county, and since putting aside his textbooks has devoted his

 

PAST AND PRESENT OF PLATTE COUNTY 343

entire time to farming. He operates the home place and gives considerable attention to stock-raising, selling a large number of cattle annually. He owns a half section of land in Cheyenne county, Nebraska, and also holds title to a good residence in Newman Grove, his prosperity indicating his enterprise and business ability.

  On the 31st of October, 1891, Mr. Peterson was united in marriage to Miss Minnie Borg, a daughter of G. A. Borg, an early settler of Platte county. To this union have been born five children: Wallace, a resident of Minnesota; and Edward, Leonard, Reuben and Goldie, all at home.

  Mr. Peterson gives his political allegiance to the republican party, and his religious faith is indicated by the fact that he holds membership in the Methodist church. His public spirit is one of his salient qualities, and he has the esteem of all who have been associated with him.


WILLIAM R. NEUMÄRKER, M. D.

  Dr. William R. Neumärker is a prominent physician residing in Columbus. Broad study, thorough investigation and experience have brought him prominently to the front in professional connections and his record is one of which he has every reason to be proud, as it has gained for him the high regard and confidence of his professional brethren as well as of the laity.

  He was born in the city of Luxemburg, in the principality of Luxemburg, Germany, May 18, 1878, and is a son of Rev. Richard and Elizabeth (Roth) Neumaerker, who were married in Prussia in 1875. They came to the United States in 1884 and settled in Richardson county, Nebraska, where they lived for about fifteen years, removing to Columbus in 1899. Here they still make their home and throughout the period of their residence in this state, Rev. Richard Neumaerker, who is a minister of the Lutheran faith, has done much to further moral progress. He is still active in the pulpit and is recognized as the leading minister of his faith in this city.

  Dr. Neumärker was fortunate in that his environment in his youth was that of a cultured home, in which high value was placed upon education as a preparation for the responsible duties of life. He attended the public schools of St. Joseph, Missouri, and afterward became a student in Midland College at Atchison, Kansas  He then determined upon the practice of medicine as a life work and in 1900 was graduated from the Ensworth Central Medical College at St. Joseph, Missouri. Having thus qualified for active practice he opened an office in Edgemont, South Dakota, where he remained for about nine years, or until 1909, when he came to Columbus, where he has since continued. In the intervening period of six years he has gained wide and well merited recognition as an able physician and one who is most conscientious in his practice. He is continually studying and reading in order to keep in touch with the advanced work of the profession and his sound judgment enables him to readily discriminate regarding new ideas advanced. He spent one year abroad, taking a post-graduate course at the University of Berlin.

  On the 26th of February, 1908, in Columbus, Dr. Neumärker was united in

 

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