Past & Present of Platte County, Nebraska - Volume II


 

522PAST AND PRESENT OF PLATTE COUNTY

his first investment in property, to which he has added from time to time until he is now the owner of four hundred and forty acres in Bismark township and forty acres in Columbus township, his home being situated on section 6 of the latter township. Upon his farm he has one of the best barns to be found in the county. All of the outbuildings are equally good, furnishing ample shelter to grain, stock and farm machinery. His home is attractive, the building being thoroughly modern in every respect. He raises the various cereals best adapted to soil and climate and he feeds hogs for the market, making a specialty of Duroc-Jerseys. He also does a good dairy business, milking a number of cows, and he likewise feeds cattle. In a word, his business is carefully systematized, well managed and ably conducted, so that substantial results accrue.

  On the 18th of October, 1888, Mr. Ahrens was united in marriage to Miss Louisa Wurdeman, by whom he has six children, namely: Edward H. and E. Arthur, who follow farming in Bismark township; and Emil H., Anna A., Bertha W. and E. Melton, all of whom are attending school.

  Mr. Ahrens is an independent democrat, usually voting with the party yet not hesitating to follow an independent course if his judgment so dictates. He has served as township treasurer of Bismark township and yet is not an office seeker in the usually accepted sense of the term. However, he is not neglectful of the duties of citizenship and does not hesitate to give his time and energies for the benefit of the public. He and his family belong to the German Evangelical Lutheran church and his interest in the moral development of the district is shown in his generous support of the church and his cooperation with its lines of work.


HECTOR BLASER.

  An excellent farm of three hundred and five acres situated on section 22, Loup township, is the property of Hector Blaser, who for forty-six years has lived in this county, an interested witness of its growth and development and an active factor in its agricultural progress. He was born in Switzerland on the 3d of February, 1862, and came to the United States with his parents, John and Rosa Blaser, in 1867 when a little lad of five summers, the family home being established in Kane county, Illinois, where they remained for two years. In 1869 they arrived in Nebraska and the father homesteaded eighty acres in Platte county. He carried on general farming, converting a tract of wild land into richly cultivated fields, in which he annually gathered good harvests. He died October 28, 1886, while his wife passed away November 11, 1888.

  Hector Blaser was a lad of but seven years when the family came to this county and throughout the intervening period he has here remained, having the usual experiences of the farm-bred boy who worked in the fields through vacation periods and attended school in the winter seasons. He early acquired habits of industry and thrift and learned many practical lessons in the school of experience. He has never sought to change his occupation but has always continued active along agricultural lines and is now successfully engaged in general farming and to some extent in stock-raising. He has three hundred and five acres of rich and productive land, the greater part of which is planted to the crops best adapted to soil and climate, and he

 

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annually gathers rich harvests. He also has good improvements upon his place, which is one of the desirable farm properties of the county.

  In November, 1888, was celebrated the marriage of Mr. Blaser and Miss Ida Martin, a daughter of J. G. Martin, and they have become parents of six children: Clara, the wife of Charles Schmid, living in Platte county; and John, Hector, Samuel, Otto and Edward, all at home. In his political views Mr. Blaser is a democrat, always voting for the men and measures of the party. His fraternal relations are with the Ancient Order of United Workmen and the Tribe of Ben Hur, and he is a member of the German Reformed church, a fact which indicates the principles that govern his life and control him in all of his relations with his fellowmen.


FRED G. STENGER.

  For an extended period Fred G. Stenger was one of the most prominent and extensive farmers and stock-raisers of Platte county, carefully conducting his business affairs along well defined lines of labor, his efforts being most intelligently directed. He is now living practically retired save for the supervision which he gives to his interests. He still resides in Columbus township, occupying one of the beautiful homes of the county. He was born in Alsace-Lorraine, June 15, 1857, and in his native country pursued his education save for one term, during which he attended school after coming to the new world. He accompanied his parents to the United States and lived for a brief time in Cleveland, Ohio, after which they made their way to Columbus, Nebraska, where they arrived on the 4th of March, 1873.

  Fred G. Stenger continued at home until he reached the age of twenty-nine years and during that period had ample training in all the work of the farm, so that he became thoroughly familiar with the best methods of tilling the soil and caring for the crops. When he started out in life independently he began farming on section 10, Columbus township, having three hundred and twenty acres of land, which constituted the nucleus of his present extensive possessions now aggregating fifteen hundred acres. This he purchased at prices ranging from eight and a half to sixteen dollars per acre. He has always been one of the extensive stock-raisers of the county and in earlier years was accounted the largest stock feeder in his locality. He has displayed excellent judgment in buying and selling stock and has thus added materially to his financial resources. He also bought lands when all was raw prairie and when there were few substantial improvements made in the entire community. He performed the arduous task of converting these wild tracts into productive fields and highly improved farms, his labors being attended with excellent results which added immeasurably to the attractive appearance of the county and contributed much to its wealth. In 1900 he retired from the active work of the farm and removed to Columbus, where he owns a nice home, the purpose of his removal being to educate his children in the Columbus high school. In 1915 he returned to the farm where agricultural interests are extensively conducted, with the raising of shorthorn cattle as the feature of his place.

  In 1886 Mr. Stenger was united in marriage to Miss Caroline Benning, and they have become the parents of seven children: Matilda; Fredericka, the wife of O. L.

 

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Baker, of Columbus; Martin, in the Columbus State Bank; Ernest, who is a graduate of the Nebraska Agricultural College; and Fritz, Edward and Margaret, all high school students in Columbus.

  Fraternally Mr. Stenger is connected with the Modern Woodmen, the Ancient Order of United Workmen and the Benevolent Protective Order of Elks, all of Columbus. He has no political aspirations but has always been interested and active in affairs for the benefit of the community. He belongs to the Congregational church and is in hearty sympathy with every movement that relates to the moral as well as the material progress of the district in which he lives. In all his business affairs he has been thoroughly reliable as well as enterprising and he maintains an unassailable reputation among those with whom he has had dealings in any way.


ALFRED SIVERS.

  Alfred Sivers, who is living retired in Newman Grove, Madison county, this state, was formerly engaged in farming and stock-raising in Walker township, this county. His birth occurred in Sweden, and he remained in that country until June, 1881, when he emigrated to the United States. He first settled in Dodge county, Nebraska, where he rented land until 1891, in which year he went to Platte county and took up his residence upon a farm on section 4, Walker township, where he carried on general farming for two years. At the end of that time he removed to section 15, that township, purchasing two hundred and forty acres on excellent land which he cultivated until 1906. In addition to growing the usual crops he raised considerable stock and both branches of his business have proved profitable. In 1906 he retired and removed to Newman Grove, where he is now living.

  Mr. Sivers was married to Geraldine Johnson, who passed away in 1899. His political views are independent and he has always taken the interest of a good citizen in public affairs. The period of rest and leisure which he is now enjoying is richly deserved, as for many years he labored diligently.


EDMOND HIGGINS.

  Edmond Higgins, who follows general farming on section 23, Lost Creek township, was born in County Cork, Ireland, on the 27th of October, 1849, a son of John and Elizabeth (Upton) Higgins, who were also natives of County Cork, where the father followed the occupation of farming. The son, Edmond Higgins, the only one of the family that ever came to America, worked upon the home farm until April, 1871, and at the age of twenty-one years left Ireland for the new world, making settlement in Middletown, Connecticut, where he engaged to drive a team for a contractor. After a brief period, however, he went to Portland, Connecticut, spending two months in the quarries, and later he made his way to New Haven, Connecticut, where he drove a team for a brewery. He also worked in a tin shop or a time. He next went to Pittsburgh, where he was employed in the steel mills

 

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for seven months, on the expiration of which period he made his way westward to Chicago, being sent by the firm to work in the steel mills of that city. But the widespread financial panic of 1873 caused a delay in the work of the company and Mr. Higgins proceeded to Seneca, Illinois, and worked on the Rock Island Railroad that winter. In 1874 he secured a position in a general store in Seneca and in 1876 he was there married, after which he removed to Oskaloosa, Iowa, and worked for the Rock Island Railroad Company as foreman of a fencing gang. In 1877 he tried to get work at fifty cents per day but could not get any even at that. Finally he obtained employment in the car repair department and later he determined to try his fortune in Nebraska. On the 22d of June, 1877, he reached this state. having only five dollars left after paying for his ticket. He gave half of that amount to his wife and with the other met his expenses.

  From Columbus he made his way out to the home of an uncle, Michael Upton, who lived in a house that was partly of sod. It was this uncle who owned the one hundred and sixty acres which the Union Pacific Railroad Company bought for the Platte Center townsite, and after working for him for a short time Mr. Higgins began work as a farm hand. Later he took up farming on his own account. He found that the neighbors were good to him, being ever ready to extend a helping hand. He bought eighty acres of railroad land without money, agreeing to make payments on the installment plan, becoming the owner of the property in March, 1878, the transfer being made by James E. North, of Columbus, who was agent for the former owner. He acknowledges his indebtedness to his kind neighbors, who assisted him to raise a small amount of money to make his first payment on his land. There was nothing on the eighty acre tract but weeds and prairie grasses, but with characteristic energy he began to develop the place. He built a small house, hewing the sidings and rafters himself, and he performed the most arduous labor in order to make his start as a farmer. At times hard luck seemed to follow him, but he kept on and his perseverance, industry and energy at length overcame all difficulties and obstacles that confronted him. After making his first payment of forty-eight dollars three years passed before he felt able to make another payment. He farmed with oxen in the early days, turning the first furrows in the fields, harrowing the land and getting the soil in condition for planting. The closest economy was practiced and his work was of the hardest kind, but he utilized every possible moment to the best advantage and prosperity has at length rewarded his efforts. He now has two hundred and forty acres of rich and valuable land on section 23, Lost Creek township, one hundred and sixty acres east of the home place, twenty acres of valuable hay land west of Platte Center, and also one hundred and twenty acres of pasture near the river. Today his farm is splendidly improved and the value of his land has constantly increased. His fields now put forth rich crops and he also has high grade stock upon his place. He is likewise president of the mill at Platte Center and is accounted one of the substantial citizens of his community.

  Mr. Higgins was united in marriage in Illinois in 1875 to Miss Kate Conley, who was born in New York, of the marriage of John and Katherine (Kelly) Conley. Mr. and Mrs. Higgins have become the parents of eight children: Bessie, the wife of John Thomas Gleason, a resident farmer of Monroe township, by whom she has two children; Abbie, who was educated in the St. Francis Academy and is at home; Edward, living on the home farm; Fannie, at home; William P., who is a graduate of the Creighton College of Omaha and is now practicing dentistry at Atchison,

 

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Nebraska; John; Grace, who is a graduate of the schools of Hastings; and Loretta, who is a graduate of St. Mary's Academy at O'Neill, Nebraska. All of the children have been given good educational advantages, for Mr. Higgins realizes how valuable is mental training as a preparation for life's practical and responsible duties.

  The religious faith of the family is that of the Catholic church, their membership being at Platte Center, and Mr. Higgins is also a member of the Knights of Columbus. In politics he is a democrat, recognized as one of the active party workers in his locality, yet, without aspiration for office. He has served, however, as assessor and has been a member of the school board. He is interested in all that pertains to public progress and improvement in his locality and cooperates in many movements that have been beneficial. His life should well serve to inspire and encourage others, showing what may be accomplished through energy and determination in spite of obstacles and difficulties. Arriving in this county with a cash capital of but two dollars and a half, he has steadily worked his way upward until he is now the possessor of a handsome competence as the reward of his persistent, earnest efforts.


NORIS S. FIFIELD.

  One of the most progressive farmers of Platte county is Noris S. Fifield, owner of The Maples, a highly improved farm that is the expression of modern progress along agricultural lines. The place embraces one hundred and fourteen acres of rich and productive land which he purchased in 1912 and its excellent buildings, its highly cultivated fields, its rich pasture lands and all of the equipments upon the place indicate his practical and progressive methods -- methods that are bringing substantial and gratifying results. This place is situated on section 1, Oconee township. Mr. Fifield has always lived in Nebraska, his birth having occurred upon a farm in Merrick county, June 27, 1880, his parents being Richard W. and Mary R. (Beadle) Fifield. The father was born in Ontario, Canada, in 1846 and died March 13, 1912. He came to Nebraska in 1880 and before the advent of railroads was a stage driver for sixteen years. He afterward engaged in threshing through the summer months and in work in the woods in the winter. His wife was of Irish lineage and they were married at the age of eighteen years. She, too, has passed away.

  Noris S. Fifield acquired a common-school education, completing the work of the eighth grade in Monroe. His practical training was in the line of farm work and the school of experience brought to him many valuable lessons. As soon as old enough he began work in the fields and as the years passed constantly gained a broader knowledge of farm duties. He found the work congenial and at the age of twenty-one years rented a farm west of Monroe, upon which he lived for a year and a half. Later he occupied a rented farm north of Monroe, on which he lived for a year, and subsequently cultivated a farm east of Monroe for two years, during which period he also ran the school wagon. At the end of that time he took up his abode in the town, living there for four months, when he turned his attention to the real-estate business as agent of a company, with which he was connected for about a year, and during that period he sold over sixteen hundred acres of land in six months. He then removed to the George S. Truman farm west of Monroe, on which

 

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he lived for three years and for three years previous to engaging in the real estate business he had lived on the Sutton farm north of Monroe. In 1912 he became the owner of his present property known as The Maples. It is a tract of land of one hundred and fourteen acres on section 1, Oconee township, all of which is improved. It is devoted to general agricultural pursuits, including the production of crops and the raising of grain. He also makes a specialty of growing asparagus and has large, fine beds, his annual sale bringing to him a gratifying return each spring. He is a believer in the use of cement and employs it liberally in improving his farm. In fact, he is progressive in all of his methods, which is evidenced in the appearance of his place. He has erected upon his farm a new barn, a large silo and a cement hog house, and has one hundred and twenty-five head of high grade hogs. He also specializes in raising chickens and ducks -- the Rhode Island Reds and the Indian Runner ducks. The various features of his farm are winning for him well deserved prosperity, for he is very industrious, energetic and resolute and carries forward to successful completion whatever he undertakes.

  On the 20th of March, 1900, Mr. Fifield was married to Miss Lulu Belle Nunnally, who was born in Missouri in December, 1875. The three children of this marriage are: Lulu, who is attending high school; and Raymond and Charles, who are pupils in the schools of Monroe.

  Mr. Fifield is independent in politics, voting according to the dictates of his desire and judgment. He was reared in the Quaker faith, of which he is still an adherent, paying dues to the church, although there is no congregation in his locality. He therefore attends the Methodist Episcopal church and is a teacher in its Sunday school, while his wife is secretary of the Bible class. They are governed by high principles and exemplify in their lives true nobility of character, being kindly, considerate, honorable and in all things thoroughly reliable.


JOHN KRZYCKI.

  John Krzycki, who resides on section 35, Columbus township, was born in Posen, Poland, near the village of Usaz, January 20, 1847, a son of Antone and Mary (Stopierzynski) Krzycki. The father owned a farm of considerable proportions and always made his home in Poland. His son John was the fourth in order of birth in a family of ten children and in the schools of his native country pursued his education, eventually becoming a teacher in the public schools at Chodzicz, Poland, but the reports which he heard concerning the opportunities and advantages of the new world led him to bid adieu to his native country and sail for the United States in 1870. He first settled in Indiana, where he remained for one year engaged in farming with a brother. In 1871 he arrived in Columbus, Nebraska, and secured work on the railroad. He afterward obtained a homestead in Polk county, Nebraska, becoming owner of eighty acres of raw prairie, on which he built a house, set out trees and otherwise improved the property. He carefully and systematically developed his fields and, adding to his farm, became the owner of one hundred and sixty acres in Polk county, where he lived for about twelve years. In 1885 he removed to section 35, Columbus township, Platte county, where he has since made his home, and all of the improvements upon this place are his work and indicate his

 

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progressive spirit. His farm comprises two hundred and forty acres of land, which he carefully tills, and he likewise has one hundred and sixty acres in Sherman county. In addition to developing his fields he raises a large amount of stock and feeds many cattle annually. His business affairs are carefully and wisely conducted and success in gratifying measure attends his efforts.

  On August 1, 1871, Mr. Krzycki was married to Miss Barbara Borowiak, a native of Wyszyn, Posen, Poland, and a daughter of Martin and Anna (Wleczych) Borowiak. Her father was a farmer of Poland, where he had extensive landed interests, and he was quite active in public affairs of his village, where he filled the office of mayor. He was a very popular and well known man, energetic and persistent in all that he did, and thus he carried his plans forward to successful completion. In 1872 he came to the United States and settled in Polk county, where he became the owner of valuable farm property, but eventually he disposed of his agricultural interests and became proprietor of a general store in Duncan, Nebraska. At length he retired from active life and removed to Columbus, where he passed away in 1895. He was a devout adherent of the Catholic faith.

  Mr. and Mrs. Krzycki have become parents of thirteen children: Frank, a farmer living near Elba, Nebraska, who is married and has six children; Salome, the wife of John Lassek, a farmer living near Elba, Nebraska, by whom she has three children; Alex, who followed farming near Farwell, Nebraska, and died in June, 1914, leaving a wife and four children; John, who is a member of the Franciscan Fathers, now known as Father Vincent, and has charge of a parish in Cleveland, Ohio; Dumecella, now Sister Loretta, filling the position of Sister Superior in the Catholic church at Hammond, Indiana, where she teaches music; Barbara, now Sister Seraphia, teacher of music in a school at Tarnov, Nebraska; Laudislaus, who died leaving a wife but no children; Anton, deputy county treasurer of Platte county, who is married and has two children; Vincia, who died in infancy; Anna, the wife of Loni Jaw, a policeman of Columbus, by whom she has two children; Elizabeth, at home; Theodora, the wife of Theodore Stolinski, of Omaha, by whom she has two children; and Phillip, who is upon the home farm.

  As has been indicated, the family are adherents of the Catholic church and Mr. Krzycki gives his political support to the democratic party. He has served as road supervisor for four years and has been active in township affairs, taking a helpful interest in promoting the welfare and advancing the upbuilding of the community.


GEORGE H. MORRIS, M. D.

  A thorough collegiate training and independent study have well qualified Dr. George H. Morris for the onerous and responsible duties that devolve upon the physician and surgeon and his work in Creston has been of such a nature that he is accorded a liberal practice. Throughout the entire period of his professional career he has remained in Creston. A native of Wisconsin, he was born in Wyoming Valley, June 6, 1878, a son of John T. and Mary (Joiner) Morris, who were also natives of the Badger state. The father, a civil engineer, was connected in his professional capacity with the Chicago, Burlington & Quincy Railroad for some time. For many years he resided in Wisconsin and afterward

 

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removed to southwestern Nebraska, where he remained until 1888, when he came to Platte county, where for three years he conducted a store. He then purchased land in Creston township and carried on farming until 1902, when he removed to California, purchasing a fruit ranch in the southern part of that state. He is still conducting business there and is meeting with most creditable success

  Dr. Morris was reared in Creston, pursuing his early education in the public schools here and afterward attending the Fremont Normal College and the Lincoln Normal, thus establishing a broad foundation upon which to rear the superstructure of his professional knowledge. Going to Chicago, he entered the Illinois Medical College, in which he spent one year, after which he returned to Omaha and pursued a three years' course in the University of Nebraska, from which he was graduated with the class of 1905. He then returned to Creston, where he has since practiced. He is the only physician of the town and enjoys a very liberal patronage from his fellow townsmen and from people of the surrounding country. He at all times makes his professional duty his first interest and he keeps in touch with modern scientific research and investigation through wide reading of medical works.

  In September, 1905, Dr. Morris was joined in wedlock to Miss Maren C. Smith; a daughter of Peter and Sena Smith, both of whom were natives of Denmark. The father emigrated to the United States in an early day, locating in Omaha, Nebraska, where he was for a time engaged in the liquor business and subsequently became a brick manufacturer. He is now living in southern California but lost his wife in 1911. To Dr. and Mrs. Morris have been born four children, namely: Jean D.; whose birth occurred July 31, 1906; Robert B., born December 18, 1908; George W., whose natal day was October 18, 1911; and John S., born November 2, 1914.

  Dr. Morris is a public-spirited citizen interested in the welfare of the community and is now serving as president of the Commercial Club of Creston. His political faith is that of the republican party, his religious belief that of the Methodist church, while fraternally he is connected with the Knights of Pythias, Ancient Order of United Workmen, Modern Woodmen of America and the Highlanders. Along strictly professional lines his connection is with the Platte County Medical Society, the Elkhorn Valley Medical Association, of both of which he is the vice president, the Nebraska State Medical Society and the American Medical Association. He is actuated in his professional duties not only by the laudable desire to gain financial success but also by a deep interest in the scientific phases of his calling and by broad humanitarian principles.


AUGUST OSTEN.

  August Osten, a large landowner and successful farmer of Grand Prairie township, is one of the excellent citizens whom Germany has given to Nebraska. He was born in Pomerania, October 26, 1839, and remained in his native land until 1868, when he emigrated to the United States. Six years later he came to Platte county, Nebraska, and homesteaded eighty acres of land in Sherman township. At that time conditions were those of the frontier and there were many inconveniences and even privations to be endured. His first home was a dugout and his second a sod house

 

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ten by ten feet, in which the family lived for two years. He added to his farm in Sherman township until it comprised two hundred acres and continued to live there until 1894, in which year he took up his residence upon his present home place on section 14, Grand Prairie township. Altogether he holds title to several hundred acres of land and has also helped his sons to purchase farms.

  Mr. Osten was married in St. Louis, Missouri, in 1872, to Miss Anna Hagelmann, who was born in Oldenburg, Germany, on the 26th of May, 1841. She came to the United States the same year as her husband, arriving in this country in June within a week of his arrival here. To their union have been born six children: Augusta, now Mrs. William Brockmann of Sherman township; Herman, who also resides in that township; Louis; Mary, the wife of Henry Brandt, of Lost Creek township; Otto, of Sherman township; and Johann, who is at home. All of the children are married and there are thirteen grandchildren.

  Mr. Osten casts his ballot in support of the democratic party and his religious faith is that of the Lutheran church. The success which he has gained is the direct result of his industry, his knowledge of farming and his wise management of his affairs, and in gaining his individual prosperity he has also contributed to the agricultural development of the county.


FRED A. READ.

  Fred A. Read is the proprietor of a general mercantile establishment at Monroe and is also one of the extensive landowners of western Nebraska. In all of his business affairs he displays sound judgment and unfaltering enterprise and his activities are bringing to him well deserved success. He was born in Winterset, Iowa, March 15, 1878, a son of Z. S. and Hester (Bishop) Read. The father, a native of England, is now deceased, while the mother is still living in Winterset, Iowa. Z. S. Read came to the United States during his boyhood days and became identified with agricultural interests. At the time of the Civil war he responded to the country's call for troops, enlisting in the First Iowa Cavalry at Creston. After the war he returned to Madison county, that state, and there engaged in farming for a considerable period and was living in Winterset at the time of his demise.

  It was there that Fred A. Read attended the public schools and between the ages of fifteen and nineteen years he worked as a farm hand in his native county. He then went to Adair county, where he worked on a ranch, and from 1897 until 1899 he was foreman of the Southwick Brothers' ranch in Guthrie county, Iowa. In the latter year he began farming on his own account near Pleasant Hill, Missouri, but in 1901 removed to Grand Junction, Colorado, where he owned and cultivated a fruit ranch for four years. In 1905 he arrived in Monroe, Nebraska, and, joining his brother, organized the firm of Read Brothers, dealers in implements, hardware and furniture and also engaged in the undertaking business. In 1912, however, he broadened the scope of his activities along commercial lines by becoming a general merchant of the town and is now conducting a well appointed store of that character, having a large stock and enjoying a liberal patronage owing to his progressive methods, his reasonable prices and his fair dealing. He also owns an interest in eight hundred and forty acres of land in Keyapaha county, Nebraska, and

 

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in the management of his business affairs displays sound judgment and unremitting industry.

  Mr. Read was united in marriage to Miss Gertrude M. Burrus, who was born in Madison county, Iowa, a daughter of Nathaniel Burrus, a native of Indiana, who in his boyhood days went to Illinois. Physical disability prevented him from going to the front in the Civil war and he began farming for himself in Madison county, Iowa, becoming one of the early residents of that part of the state. He was an active, progressive farmer and while living in that locality he took a prominent part in politics as a supporter of the democratic party and he had charge of the Maple Grove postoffice for several years. In 1900 he removed to Pleasant Hill, Missouri, where he now lives retired, but is still the owner of considerable land. To Mr. and Mrs. Read have been born four children, Gertrude Leone, Alice, Marion Jeanette and Lois Geraldine. The eldest daughter stands very high in her classes at school and is an active member of the Young People's Christian Endeavor society of the Presbyterian church.

  In his political views Mr. Read is an earnest republican and has been chairman of the central committee of his township. He stands at all times for progress and improvement, has served as township treasurer and has been a member of the village board. There is no one who takes a more helpful interest in advancing the public welfare and he is found in the front ranks of every movement which he believes to be for the good of the community regardless of what others think. He never places partisanship above the general good and in local elections casts an independent ballot, yet his position is never an equivocal one, as he stands firmly in support of whatever he believes to be right. He is a valued member of Mystic Lodge, No. 321, I. O. O. F., in which he has filled all of the chairs. He was the first man taken into the order after this lodge was organized and he has several times been a delegate to the grand lodge. His worth is widely acknowledged by all who know him and his example in matters of progressive citizenship is frequently a matter of inspiration to his associates.


FRED NYFFELER.

  Fred Nyffeler, devoting his time and energy to general farming on section 11, Butler township, was born July 4, 1869, in Canton Bern, Switzerland, a son of John and Elsie Nyffeler. The father was a farmer by occupation and also operated a threshing outfit. He likewise had another business pursuit, that of coloring yarns, and thus his life was passed in activity in order to provide for his family. Both he and his wife are now deceased.

  Fred Nyffeler spent the first fifteen years of his life in his native country and during that period attended its public schools. He then came to the United States, making his way to Columbus, Nebraska. He had made the voyage in order to enter the employ of Jacob Tschudin on his farm in Loup township and with him remained for four years. He afterward entered the employ of William Ernst, of Columbus township, with whom he also spent four years. On the expiration of that period he journeyed to the northwest and was engaged in herding sheep for four years in Washington and in Oregon. He then started out in business independently and spent

 

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four years in carrying on pursuits in his own interest, after which he returned to Switzerland on a visit, spending five months in his native land. He made the voyage on the French steamer, La Bourgoyne, which was wrecked sixty miles off Sable islands in a collision with another steamer on the 4th of July, 1898, and Mr. Nyffeler was one of the one hundred and fifty out of the eight hundred passengers who were saved. After visiting relatives and friends and renewing the acquaintances of his boyhood and looking again upon the scenes in which his early youth was passed he returned to the United States and for two years was employed as a farm laborer, after which he rented land of his father-in-law, on section 11, Butler township, where he now resides.

  On the 11th of June, 1901, Mr. Nyffeler was married, the lady of his choice being Miss Mary Tschudin. They have become parents of three children: Rosa, who was born April 19, 1902; Teddy, born October 16, 1905; and Mary, March 77 1908. All three are now in school.

  In his political views Mr. Nyffeler has been a republican since becoming a naturalized American citizen and, while he does not seek nor desire office, he is ever willing to cooperate in movements for the benefit and improvement of the community in which he lives. He belongs to the German Reformed church and guides his life according to Christian teachings, being an honorable, upright man, who enjoys and merits the respect and good-will of those with whom he has been brought in contact.


WILLIAM MASON POLLARD.

  William Mason Pollard, an agriculturist residing on section 17, Monroe township, has lived in Platte county for nearly three decades and is now the owner of six hundred acres of valuable and productive land. His birth occurred in Indiana on the 21st of November, 1861, his parents being George Washington and Eliza Jane (Hord) Pollard. The father passed away in Arkansas about 1884 and the mother, a native of the Hoosier state, died when our subject was but twelve years old. At that early age William M. Pollard was thrown upon his own resources. He was married on attaining his majority and carried on farming in Coles county, Illinois, until 1886, when he came to Platte county, Nebraska. Here he purchased a quarter section of unimproved land in Monroe township and rented an improved tract for one year. On the expiration of that period he erected the necessary buildings on his own property and as the years passed augmented his holdings by additional purchase until he now owns six hundred acres of rich and arable land. The place is now attractive and valuable and all of the improvements thereon stand as monuments to his thrift and industry. In connection with the cultivation of the cereals best adapted to soil and climate he feeds three ear loads of cattle annually, this branch of his business materially augmenting his income. His is the honorable record of a self-made man who has worked his way steadily upward unaided to a position among the substantial and representative citizens of his community.

  On January 25, 1883, Mr. Pollard was united in marriage to Miss Nora Owens, who was born in Bartholomew county, Indiana, July 23, 1866, her parents being William and Julia (Tuley) Owens, natives of Ohio. The father passed away in

 

PAST AND PRESENT OF PLATTE COUNTY 535

Indiana and the mother in Douglas county, Illinois. Mr. and Mrs. Pollard have become the parents of six children, as follows: Maud, who is the wife of Benjamin Baker, a farmer of Monroe township, and has two children; Edward and Andrew, both at home; Anna, who gave her hand in marriage to Louis Stenzel, a farmer of Woodville township; and Albert and May, at home.

  Mr. Pollard is a democrat in politics and for seven years has done able service as a member of the county board of supervisors, while for many years he has been a school director. His religious faith is indicated by his membership in the Baptist church, to which his wife also belongs. His strong and salient characteristics are such as endear him to all who come within the close circle of his friendship, while wherever he is known he is respected and honored.


JOSEPH VAN ACKEREN.

  Germany has furnished a large percentage of substantial citizens to Platte county -- men who have become most loyal to their adopted land and whose efforts in promoting the general welfare indicate a public-spirited citizenship. Among this number is Joseph Van Ackeren, who is one of the most prominent farmers of Platte county, owning on section 11, Granville township, what is probably the best improved farm in the entire county.

  He was born in Germany in May, 1848, a son of John and Mary (Berns) Van Ackeren, who were also natives of that country. The father followed farming in Germany, where he spent his entire life, his labors being terminated in death in 1876. His wife survived for four years, passing away in 1880. Their son Joseph was reared and educated in Germany and remained with his parents to the age of twenty-four years, when he began farming on his own account, following that pursuit in his native land from 1872 until 1881. He then crossed the Atlantic to the new world and, continuing his journey westward, at length reached Westpoint, Nebraska, where he was employed for a few months. He then went to Pierce county, Nebraska, where he cultivated rented land for three years, after which he returned to Westpoint, where he lived for a year. Removing to South Dakota, he secured a homestead and timber claim, which he improved, spending seven years in the development and cultivation of that property. He then disposed of his South Dakota land and came to Platte county, where for eight years he engaged in the cultivation of a rented tract of two hundred acres. He next went to Cedar Rapids, Nebraska, where he engaged in farming for six years, after which he traded two sections of land for one hundred and sixty acres in Platte county and three hundred and twenty acres near Cedar Rapids. In 1911 he purchased his present place of one hundred and sixty acres on section 11, Granville township, and since that time has wrought a marked transformation in the appearance of the place. No finer improvements can be found upon any farm in the county. There is a large and commodious residence, substantial outbuildings for the shelter of grain and stock, well kept fences and the latest improved farm machinery. He is most careful in cultivating his fields and practical experience has brought him a knowledge of scientific farming, for he has learned to know the needs of the crops, the conditions of the soil and other things

 

536PAST AND PRESENT OF PLATTE COUNTY

which are now taught in the agricultural schools. He is extensively engaged in stock-raising, feeding about two carloads of sheep or two carloads of cattle annually.

  In October, 1872, Mr. Van Ackeren was united in marriage to Miss Lena Oenting, a daughter of John and Catherina (Mertens) Oenting, who were natives of Germany, where the father followed the occupation of farming until his death, which occurred in 1887. He had long survived his wife, who passed away in 1854. Mr. and Mrs. Van Ackeren have become the parents of six children: John, a resident farmer of Humphrey township; Edward, who follows farming near Cedar Rapids, Nebraska; William, who is also engaged in farming in Humphrey township; Ben, at home; Louise, the wife of Jim Gordon, a farmer residing near Cedar Rapids; and Cecelia, at home.

  The religious faith of the family is that of the Catholic church and Mr. Van Ackeren gives his political allegiance to the democratic party, but has no desire for office, preferring to concentrate his energies upon his business affairs, which have ever been capably directed, and his industry, close application and sound judgment have made him one of the prosperous agriculturists of Platte county.


PETER LUCHSINGER.

  Peter Luchsinger is a representative farmer of Columbus township, his home being on section 9, and the diligence and determination with which he carries on his farm work are manifest in his growing success. A native of Switzerland, he was born in Canton Glarus on the 23d of November, 1868, and is a son of Franz Luchsinger, who resides at No. 105 East Eighth street, Columbus. He was born in the same locality of Switzerland, his parents being Peter and Susan (Hefte) Luchsinger. Peter Luchsinger was employed in cotton mills in Switzerland and he also rendered to his country the full military service. He died in 1869, having for thirteen years survived his wife, who passed away in 1856.

  Franz Luchsinger attended the common schools for five years, which was the extent of his opportunities along educational lines, yet in the school of experience he learned many valuable lessons. He entered the workaday world as a factory employe, in which connection he spent two years. He afterward learned the baker's trade, which he followed for twelve years, and during the last five years of that period he was proprietor of a bakery establishment. He, too, rendered military aid to his country, serving as an adjutant in the Seventy-third Battalion of Switzerland. The year 1873 witnessed his arrival in the United States, at which time he made his way to Schuyler, Colfax county, Nebraska, where he homesteaded eighty acres which he developed and improved, living thereon for six years. He next bought three hundred and twenty acres of school land in Bismark township, Platte county, and also one hundred and sixty acres of railroad land. Taking up his abode upon that farm, he continued its cultivation until 1910, when he retired and removed to Columbus, where he now has a very comfortable home and is enjoying the fruits of his early labor. His many good traits of character have won him high and enduring regard. He is a member of the Switzer Verein and in politics is an independent democrat, while his religious faith is that of the Lutheran church.

  On the 15th of April, 1867, Franz Luchsinger was united in marriage to Miss

 

PAST AND PRESENT OF PLATTE COUNTY 537

Katerina Luchsinger, who was born on the 25th of December, 1845. To them were born seven children, as follows: Peter; Susan, who is the wife of Henry Heits, of Pleasant Hill, Missouri; Katie, who gave her hand in marriage to Mathew Schmidt, of Columbus township; Henry, of Bismark township; Mary, who is the wife of Charles Welch, of Colfax county, Nebraska; Magdalena, the wife of John Klug, of Colfax county, Nebraska; and Frank, living in Bismark township.

  Of this family, Peter Luchsinger had but limited educational opportunities. His entire life has been devoted to farming and he now owns and cultivates one hundred and sixty acres of land on section 9, Columbus township. There he raises shorthorn cattle, having a fine bull at the head of his herd. He makes stock-raising a special feature of his place and it returns to him a gratifying annual income. In addition to his home property in Columbus township he has one hundred and sixty acres of pasture land in Merrick county, eighty acres of land in Columbus township, Platte county, one hundred and ninety acres in Nance county, of which twelve acres is slough pasture, and a half interest in one hundred and sixty acres in Greeley county. His wife is also owner of four hundred acres in Antelope county and their holdings are increasing in value with the settlement of the western part of the state.

  On the 5th of February, 1895, Mr. Luchsinger was joined in wedlock to Miss Emma Ernst, by whom he has seven children, namely: Frank, Ernst, Samuel, Eliza, Ida, Paul and Anna, all of whom are attending school. Mr. and Mrs. Luchsinger hold membership in the German Lutheran church and thus manifest an interest in the moral progress of the community. In politics he is independent, voting for men and measures rather than party. His interest in citizenship is that of a man who desires the best for the community and therefore cooperates heartily in plans and measures for the general good. With little opportunity at the outset of his career, he has worked steadily as the years have gone on and he is today one of the substantial citizens of his county, deserving all that he has achieved and won.


FRANK S. GERMAN.

  Frank S. German, a well known farmer and stockman of Grand Prairie township, was born in Buffalo, New York, February 12, 1849, a son of Bacillius and Gertrude (Sager) German, both of whom were natives of Baden. The father was a cloth weaver by trade and in 1847 crossed the Atlantic to the new world, settling in Buffalo, New York, where he conducted a six-loom shop, devoting some time to the weaving of cloth. Later he purchased ten acres of land near Niagara Falls and carried on farming until 1852, when he left the Empire state and removed to Peoria county, Illinois, where he again engaged in farming. He first purchased sixty acres, to which he afterwards added a twenty-acre tract and still later bought eighty acres more, so that his farm comprised one hundred and sixty acres. The property is still in possession of the family. Both he and his wife passed away at Princeville, Illinois, to which place they removed when Mr. German retired from active farm life.

  Frank S. German attended school in Stark county, Illinois, and remained upon the home farm until he reached the age of twenty-two years, when he began farming on his own account in Peoria county, Illinois. The first land that he ever owned

 

538PAST AND PRESENT OF PLATTE COUNTY

was a tract of eighty acres which he cultivated from 1871 until 1885. He then sold out and removed to Platte county, Nebraska, on the 28th of November, 1885, establishing his home in Burrows township, where he purchased two hundred acres. He lived upon that farm on section 2 for eighteen years and carefully developed and improved the place, which in 1903 he traded for two hundred and forty acres of land on section 4, Grand Prairie township. He removed to that farm and is living there today. He cultivates it all with hired help, carrying on general agricultural pursuits and also making stockraising a feature of his business. He feeds both cattle and hogs and also breeds a good grade of stock. In 1905 he erected a new residence and he has a farm equipped with many excellent improvements and modern accessories. Aside from his farming interests he is a shareholder in the Farmers' Elevator Company of Humphrey.

  On the 16th of November, 1869, Mr. German was united in marriage to Miss Elizabeth Messing, a daughter of Matthew and Elizabeth Messing, both of whom were natives of Germany. Emigrating to the United States, they took up their abode near Peoria, Illinois, and there purchased a farm on which they spent the remainder of their lives. To Mr. and Mrs. German have been born the following children: Gertrude, who is deceased; Katie, who is the wife of George Fehringer, a farmer of Grand Prairie township; Mary, the wife of Joseph Fehringer, who is engaged in the livery business at Rockville, Minnesota; Bacillius, who wedded Miss Annie Wemhoff and follows farming in Grand Prairie township; Margaret, who gave her hand in marriage to William Bender, an agriculturist of Granville township; Christina, who is the wife of Frank Ternus, a farmer of Humphrey township; Barbara, who is the wife of William Braun, a merchant of Humphrey; Matthias, who wedded Miss Annie Braun and is an agriculturist of North Dakota; Leo, who married Miss Annie Hamling and follows farming in Humphrey township; Eddie, who is at home with his parents; and a daughter who died in infancy. Mr. German has fifty living grandchildren and three are deceased.

  Politically Mr. German is a democrat and has served as road supervisor of Burrows township for eighteen years, a fact which is certainly indisputable proof that he has been a capable and efficient officer. He belongs to St. Mary's Catholic church of Grand Prairie township, of which he has served as a trustee, and he is a member of St. Joseph's Men's Society of that church. For thirty years he has lived in Platte county and throughout the entire period has been identified with its farming interests. He has never been afraid of hard work and his close application and persistency of purpose have been salient features in winning for him the success which is today his.


HENRY LUERS.

  Henry Luers, conducting business at Columbus as a cement manufacturer, dates his residence in this state from 1874 and in Columbus from 1875. An ably managed and successful business enterprise is always a valuable asset to any community and as a representative business man Mr. Luers is classed with the worthy citizens of the county. He was born in Oldenburg, Germany, December 8, 1848, a son of Dirk and W. Margaret (Ebken) Luers, who were also natives of Germany,

 HENRY LUERS

 

PAST AND PRESENT OF PLATTE COUNTY 541

where the father owned and cultivated a small farm, never coming to the United States. He served in the German army and was a member of the Lutheran church.

  After attending school in Germany, Henry Luers began learning the wagon maker's trade at the age of sixteen years and followed that business in his native land until 1872, when he made the voyage across the Atlantic to the United States, settling in Quincy, Illinois. After working at the carpenter's trade there for a time he removed to Missouri and for eight months was a resident of Shelbina, where he was employed in a furniture store. In 1873 he went to Denver, where he worked at the wagon maker's trade and in 1874 he became a resident of Schuyler, Nebraska, where he continued at his trade, conducting a shop of his own. In 1875 he arrived in Columbus and started a wagon and blacksmith shop, becoming a member of the firm of Elliott & Luers, dealers in farm implements. After three months he purchased his partner's interest and conducted the business alone, handling implements, pumps and windmills. After a year he was joined by his brother-in-law, William Hoeffelman, in a partnership that was continued for two years. He was afterward again alone in business for six years on Eleventh street and at the same time he owned and conducted a farm in Bismark township. His family always lived in the town but for fifteen years he carried on general agricultural pursuits carefully and systematically, cultivating his farm with good results. In 1913 he turned his attention to the cement business and is now one of the firm of Meyers & Luers, which is engaged in the manufacture of curbing, gutters, cement blocks and also does cement ornamental work. They take contracts for sidewalks and have also taken contracts for cement work outside of Columbus. They thoroughly understand cement construction and have built up a good business in that line.

  In 1876 Mr. Luers was united in marriage to Miss Gesiene Kunnemann, a native of Oldenburg, Germany, and a daughter of Henry Kunnemann. The latter, an agriculturist by occupation, emigrated to the United States in 1869 and settled in Shell Creek township, Platte county, Nebraska, where he took up a homestead claim. He was a Lutheran in religious faith and took an active part in the work of his church. Mr. and Mrs. Luers have five children, as follows: Adolph, a resident of Columbus, who is identified with the Building & Loan Association and is connected with the Becher, Hockenberger & Chambers Company; Elwina, who is a graduate of the University of Chicago, Drake University and the Nebraska State Normal School at Peru and is now a teacher in the kindergarten department of the Nebraska Normal College at Wayne; Emma, who is a graduate of the Nebraska State Normal School at Peru and is now the wife of Edward Loseke, an agriculturist, by whom she has three children; Walter, who pursued a course in the Columbus high school and the Columbus Commercial College and is now a bank cashier residing in Glenville, Nebraska; and Elsa, who is a graduate of the Nebraska Normal College at Wayne and now follows the profession of teaching in Osceola, Nebraska. All of the children are graduates of the Columbus high school, it having been Mr. Luers' aim in life to give his children good educational opportunities and thus fit them for practical and responsible duties.

  In his political views he has always been a democrat and for seven years filled the office of street commissioner, making an excellent record in that connection by his able public service. He belongs to the Lutheran church and has guided his life according to its teachings. Diligence and determination have ever been numbered
Vol. II-26

 

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