Past & Present of Platte County, Nebraska - Volume II


 

PAST AND PRESENT OF PLATTE COUNTY 563

age and then, in 1860, emigrated to America, making his way to Mayville, Wisconsin. His sympathies were entirely with the north and accordingly at the outbreak of the Civil War he enlisted in Company E, Third Wisconsin Volunteer Infantry. He made an excellent record as a soldier, never faltering in the performance of his duty, and he is justly proud of the fact that he offered his life if need be to preserve the Union. During his military service he had many narrow escapes from death and can relate a great many interesting stories of army life.

  In 1869 Mr. Lueschen came to Platte county, Nebraska, and homesteaded one hundred and sixty acres of land, which he at once began to improve and cultivate. He has since added eighty acres and his place, which is known as the Oldenburg Valley Stock Farm, is one of the valuable farm properties of Bismark township. His work has been well planned and his labors have returned to him a gratifying annual income so that he is now living largely retired.

  In 1867 Mr. Lueschen was married to Miss Mary Brandes, who died in 1905 at the age of sixty-eight years. They were the parents of nine children, of whom five survive. Mr. Lueschen is a republican with independent tendencies, voting according to the dictates of his judgment when he believes that the public welfare will be best served by so doing. In times of peace he manifests the same devotion to the general good that in the '60s led to his enlisting in the Union army. He is a man of wide knowledge, as he has always read a great deal, and he also has the power of thinking independently, arriving at his own conclusions rather than blindly accepting the opinions of others. His religious faith is that of the German Lutheran church, and his life has always measured up to high standards of manhood.


VINCENT WIESER.

  At the age of twenty-one years Vincent Wieser began farming for himself on section 17, Grand Prairie township, where he still makes his home. With the passing years he has won success and at one time was the owner of eight hundred acres of rich and valuable land in this county but has since divided with his children. He is a native of Austria, his birth having there occurred on the 14th of December, 1865, his parents being August and Mary (Kohler) Wieser. The father owned a farm in Austria and continued to make his home in that land until 1870, when, attracted by the favorable reports which he heard concerning business conditions and opportunities in the new world, he made his way to the United States, arriving in Madison, Wisconsin. He there bought eighty acres of land which he cultivated for about three years but in 1873 he made his way to Nebraska and established his home in what is now Grand Prairie township, Platte county. His farm was on section 8 and was an undeveloped and unimproved tract of land when it came into his possession. His first home was a sod house -- one of the early primitive dwellings of the locality. Few improvements had been made in the entire township and there were many hardships and difficulties to be borne that are incident to pioneer life. He resolutely set to work to develop his land and after a time removed from section 8, where he had first taken up his abode, to section 17 of the same township, making that place
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his home farm. To his holdings he added from time to time until he was the owner of six hundred and forty acres of valuable land which he brought to a high state of cultivation. He also built one of the first frame houses of the township and took the initial step along many lines in the way of making modern improvements. He was actuated at all times by the spirit of progress and upbuilding and deserved much credit for what he accomplished. He helped to organize the school district near his home and was also one of the charter members of St. Mary's Catholic church on section 5, Grand Prairie township and donated the land on which the church edifice was erected. He continued his residence upon the old home farm until death called him in 1905, when he was eighty-two years of age. His wife, who was born in 1824, passed away in 1897, and thus the community lost two of its worthy pioneer people.

  Vincent Wieser was but five years of age when his parents brought their family to the new world and was a little lad of eight summers at the time of the removal to Nebraska. He attended school which was held in the home of John Brown on section 6, Grand Prairie township, afterward was a pupil in district school No. 30 and also for three months attended a sisters' school in Omaha. When twenty-one years of age he began farming on section 17, Grand Prairie township, where he still resides. He inherited two hundred acres of land from his father but he added to his holdings from time to time until he became the owner of eight hundred acres of valuable land, of which four hundred acres is situated on section 17. He has since divided with his children, giving farms to his boys, but still owns a valuable property from which he derives a gratifying annual income. His fields are carefully tilled and he has placed good improvements upon his land. He has ever manifested the spirit of modern progress and advancement that has characterized farm work and revolutionized methods of agricultural development. His farm presents a neat and well kept appearance and everything about his place is indicative of careful supervision. He is a director and vice president of the Farmers State Bank of Humphrey and one of the directors of the Farmers Elevator Company there. In addition to tilling the soil upon the home farm he raises stock and this constitutes an important and remunerative branch of his business.

  On June 21, 1887, Mr. Wieser was united in marriage to Miss Mary Brockhaus, who was born near Green Bay, Wisconsin, a daughter of Gerhard and Gertrude Brockhaus, the former born in Hanover and the latter in Westphalia, Germany. Gerhard Brockhaus came to the United States when a youth of eighteen years and worked for a time as a laborer at Boston, Massachusetts. He afterward married and made his way to Wisconsin, where he carried on farming until 1875. He then came to Platte county, Nebraska, establishing his home on Grand Prairie, where he became the owner of a good farm. Later he removed to Humphrey township, where the remainder of his life was passed. He was an active and influential resident of his township, not only along agricultural lines but also in relation to public affairs. He served as assessor and tax collector for many years and was always loyal to his public duties and responsibilities. His religious belief was that of the Catholic church. Prospering in his undertakings he became the owner of seven hundred acres of land.

  Mr. and Mrs. Wieser have become the parents of nine children, who are yet living: Mary, the wife of T. Wemhoff, a farmer of Grand Prairie township, by whom she has three children; Frank, who is farming one hundred and sixty acres of land, is married and has two children; John M., who is also engaged in the operation of one

 

PAST AND PRESENT OF PLATTE COUNTY 565

hundred and sixty acres; and Henry, Agnes, Clara, Joseph, Barbara and Frances, who complete the family.

  Mr. Wieser exercises his right of franchise in support of the men and measures of the democratic party but does not seek nor desire office, preferring to concentrate his energies upon his business affairs, in which he has won substantial and well merited success. He is, however, a very active member of St. Mary's Catholic church, doing all in his power to further its work and promote its growth. Almost his entire life has been passed in Platte county, where he has now lived for a period of forty-two years -- a period that covers the greater part of the growth and development of this section, so that he is familiar with its history from pioneer times down to the present.


GEORGE WHITTAKER GALLEY.

  George Whittaker Galley, a farmer residing on section 27, Columbus township, was born at the place where he now resides, September 6, 1863, and has therefore for more than a half century been a witness of the growth and development of this part of the state, which he has seen converted from a western pioneer district into a populous and prosperous region. His parents were George W. and Mary (Pyatt) Galley, both of whom were natives of Macelesfield, England, the former born in 1830 and the latter in 1828. In his native land the father worked as a weaver. and afterward served a five years' apprenticeship to the trade of plumber and glazier. On the 10th of January, 1851, his twenty-first birthday, he sailed from Liverpool for the new world and after landing on American shores made his way to St. Louis, Missouri where he later joined an emigrant train and went to Salt Lake City, Utah, being a Josephite Mormon. The trip was an exciting one, fraught with many interesting incidents, while at the same time the Indians were a constant menace. For several years he lived in Salt Lake City and then, retracing his steps eastward, took up his abode in Platte county, Nebraska, where he homesteaded on section 27, Columbus township. When the homestead law was repealed, he preempted one hundred and sixty acres and upon the tract built a log cabin. He began farming under the usual pioneer conditions, meeting all the hardships and privations incident to the establishment of a home on the western frontier, where the work of development and progress seemed scarcely begun. He was a very active and progressive man, these qualities being manifest not only in his business affairs but in his public relations. He carried on general farming and raised a large amount of stock for the size of his farm. He was also one of the founders of the Commercial National Bank of Columbus and wars serving as a director at the time of his death. Ten years prior to his demise he retired from active business life, spending that decade in well earned ease. In his political views he was a republican and his religious faith was indicated in the active interest which he took in the work of the Mormon chapel during its existence in Columbus. He was instrumental in organizing school district No. 9 and served as one of its directors for many years. His entire life was actuated by a spirit of progress and advancement and his public service was a benefit to the community in which he lived. He died in Columbus in 1907, having long survived his wife, who passed away upon the farm in 1866.

 

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  George Whittaker Galley was the youngest of their children. He began his education at a school which was held in the home of his uncle, J. H. Galley, and afterward attended district school No. 9, in Columbus township. In the school of experience, too. he has learned many valuable lessons, becoming a well informed and most capable business man. He started out in life independently as a renter when twenty-three years of age and from his father he afterward inherited a farm, having now two hundred and twenty acres of land in Columbus township. He owns land in both Monroe and Oconee townships. He has made a specialty of feeding and shipping cattle and hogs and that branch of his business has become an important factor in his growing success. He is also a director of the Commercial National Bank of Columbus and is interested in many other business enterprises of the community, including farmers' elevators and the Fair Association. He became financially interested in farmers' elevators in order to assist in their successful establishment, and at all times his interest in the welfare of the community has been manifest in many tangible ways. As a stock-raiser he has made a specialty of handling Hereford cattle and has done not a little to improve the grade of stock raised in this part of the state.

  On December 15, 1892, Mr. Galley was united in marriage to Miss Caroline E. Welch, also a native of this county and a daughter of Jonas Welch, who is mentioned elsewhere in this work, and to this union four children have been born, Clyde A., Edith C., Milton G. and Roy E.

  Mr. Galley belongs to the Modern Woodman camp at Columbus. He has long been interested in educational progress in his community and has served as director of school district No. 9, Columbus township, for fifteen years. He stands at all times for progress and improvement but has never sought public office. His undivided attention has been given to his business affairs and his careful direction of his interests has led to his growing prosperity and at the same time he has cooperated in the development of business concerns which have aided materially in the prosperity of the community.


A. ED MATSON.

  A. Ed Matson, residing on section 2, Oconee township, was for some years identified with commercial interests, but is now giving his attention to general agricultural pursuits, in which he displays good judgment and unfaltering energy. He has lived in Platte county since 1871 but is a native of Illinois, his birth having occurred near Oneida, Henry county, that state, on the 1st of January, 1870, his parents being William and Martha (Wickblom) Matson. The father, a native of Sweden, died on the 28th of August, 1909. The mother, who was also born in the same country, has passed away.

  Reared under the parental roof, A. Ed Matson acquired a common-school education and worked upon the home farm to the age of twenty-one years, when he started out in life on his own account. Through the intervening period he has largely been connected with commercial and agricultural pursuits in Platte county, although for a brief period he lived elsewhere. He opened the first hardware and implement store in Monroe in connection with A. N. Hollingshead, but after a year sold out, although

 

PAST AND PRESENT OF PLATTE COUNTY 567

he continued to work for a year for his successor. At the end of that time he and his brother, Frank Matson, purchased the business, of which they remained proprietors for several years, conducting a well appointed hardware store and enjoying a liberal patronage. At the end of that time A. E. Matson returned to farm life, to which he devoted the ensuing seven years. He then established his home in Columbus, Nebraska, where he remained for a year, and on the expiration of that period removed to Pawnee City, Nebraska, where he was connected with the general mercantile house of Bogle Brothers for three and a half years. He afterward returned to the farm and is now living on section 2, Oconee township, where he carries on general agricultural pursuits in a capable, progressive manner, his fields annually returning to him substantial harvests.

  On the 1st of October, 1892, Mr. Matson was married to Miss Mable Strother, and they have one child, Audrey. In politics Mr. Matson may be termed an independent republican, for, while he usually votes with the party, he does not feel himself bound by party ties and casts an independent ballot if he so desires. He has filled several local offices, including that of road supervisor. He has also been a member of the school board and treasurer of the cemetery association. Fraternally he is well known as a member of Interior Lodge, No. 9, I. O. O. F., of which he was treasurer for a number of years, and he also belongs to the Ancient Order of United Workmen. His religious faith is that of the Presbyterian church and his has been a well spent life, in harmony with his professions. He has attractive social qualities which render him popular wherever he goes and he has gained many friends in this county.


ALBERT AERNI.

  Albert Aerni is a representative of a prominent, old and well known family of Platte county. He makes his home on section 9, Columbus township, where he is engaged in general farming and stock-raising, his place being appropriately named the Valley View Farm. He was born in Canton Solothurn, Switzerland, September 16, 1875, his parents being Frank and Magdalena Aerni. The father is still living and is the owner of an excellent farm of three hundred and twenty acres on section 11, Columbus township. The history of his life is given at length on another page of this work.

  Albert Aerni began his education in the public schools of his native country, where he remained until he reached the age of nine years and then accompanied his parents on their emigration to the new world. The journey was continued from the Atlantic coast across the country to Platte county, and here Albert Aerni became a public-school pupil. He started out to earn his own living by working as a farm hand by the month and was thus employed for five years. He afterward engaged in the cultivation of the home farm until 1904, when he began operating land on his own account and in 1912 purchased his present farm, which comprises one hundred and eighty-two acres worth one hundred and fifty dollars per acre. The Valley View Farm is one of the valuable properties of Columbus township, conveniently located, well improved and highly cultivated. In addition to raising the cereals best adapted to soil and climate Mr. Aerni is also extensively engaged in raising cattle and hogs for the market.

 

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  On the 16th of June, 1904, Mr. Aerni was united in marriage to Miss Louisa Mueller, a daughter of Fred and Magdalena (Karlin) Mueller. They now have two sons, Albert, Jr., and Frederick. The religious faith of the family is that of the German Evangelical Lutheran church, while in his political belief Mr. Aerni is a democrat. He does not seek nor desire office, however, for he feels that his business affairs make ample demand upon his time and energies. He was early trained to habits of industry and his diligence enables him to overcome all obstacles and difficulties in his path and work his way steadily upward to success. He is regarded as one of the representative agriculturists of his community and his sterling traits of character have gained him warm personal regard.


GEORGE J. LOUIS.

  George J. Louis follows farming in Columbus township, which is the place of his nativity, his birth having occurred on the 3d of August, 1870. While spending his youthful days in the home of his father, Jacob Louis, he attended school in Columbus and when his textbooks were put aside he continued to devote his time and energies to the work of developing and improving the home farm, upon which he remained until he reached the age of thirty-two years. He then removed to section 24, Columbus township, and began farming on his own account, his father's estate being at that time divided and bringing to him two hundred and forty acres of rich and arable land. The tract was, however, but slightly improved and the work of development and cultivation has been practically carried forward by George J. Louis, who has wrought a marked transformation in the appearance of the place. He has erected thereon a fine farm residence and has a splendidly improved property which embraces two hundred and sixty-five acres. His farm is an expression of his own personality. It represents the spirit of industry, determination and progressiveness which he manifests in everything that he undertakes. It is now well improved according to the most modern methods and the most modern ideas and as time goes on he further develops the property and also raises stock of higher and higher grade. It was in 1902 that he took up his abode upon his present place and his efforts in the intervening years have resulted in the development of one of the fine farms of the county.

  In 1901 Mr. Louis was united in marriage to Miss Isis Tripp, a native of Kansas and a daughter of O. L. and Rachael (Lee) Tripp, the former a native of Ohio and the latter of Iowa. Both survive and they now make their home in Nebraska. Her father was one of the pioneer settlers of Kansas, living near Council Grove for a time, after which he established his home near Fremont, Nebraska, where he remained for a year and then returned to Kansas. Still later he again came to Nebraska and engaged in farming and buying horses in Platte county. He became a resident of Columbus in 1897 and is now living in Fremont. He has never had political aspirations but is a devoted member of the Baptist church and his wife is a very faithful and consistent member of the same church, being highly regarded as an earnest, Christian woman. To Mr. and Mrs. Louis have been born the following children: Ruth; George, who was born December 24, 1904; Katherine, born in 1905; Edward H., who was born September 8,1908; Charles J.; Helen; and Lucile.

 

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  The family attend the church over which the Rev. Neumaerker presides. They are well known residents of Columbus township, where they have an extensive circle of warm friends, who esteem them highly because of their many excellent traits of character and their principles, which find expression in upright living and in consideration for others.


SAMUEL CARVEL TERRY.

  Samuel Carvel Terry, who is now living in Monroe, is the owner of valuable land, having extensive holdings in Platte and Merrick counties. He was born upon a farm in Cecil county, Maryland, September 13, 1853, a son of Thomas and Margaret (Cone) Terry. The father's birth occurred in the same county in 1809 and there he passed away in 1878. Through the years of his active business career he was engaged in farming and in woolen manufacturing. His wife, who was born in 1817, survived him for more than a quarter of a century, passing away in 1906.

  Samuel C. Terry had such educational advantages as the district schools of his home locality afforded at that period. He remained upon his father's farm until seventeen years of age and then began working in his father's woolen factory, devoting two years to the tasks of a cloth finisher. Later he returned to the farm, upon which he continued to reside for a year and a half, and at the end of that period he spent three months as an employe in a sheet iron rolling mill. The succeeding two years were passed in the further cultivation of his father's farm and in 1877 he made his way to the middle west, locating in Harrison county, Iowa, where he remained for three months. He afterward spent a brief period in Platte county, Nebraska, and in March, 1878, he took up his abode on section 4, township 18, range 3, where he homesteaded eighty acres of land and also secured eighty acres as a tree claim and eighty acres of railroad land. In 1891 he purchased one hundred and ninety-two acres adjoining Monroe and still owns one hundred and twenty-five acres of that tract, while he later purchased one hundred and twenty-five acres additional. He likewise has four hundred and forty acres in Merrick county and is thus one of the extensive landowners of his locality, deriving from his property a very gratifying annual income. For a long period he successfully carried on farming, but at length, having acquired a competence, he put aside business cares and took up his abode in Monroe.

  On the 22d of February, 1879, Mr. Terry wedded Miss Mary Wiley, who died April 6, 1890, leaving three children: Charles T. and Clarence R., who are graduates of the Monroe high school and of the Fremont Business College and are now engaged in farming; and Albinus, deceased. On the 16th of July, 1891, Mr. Terry was again married, his second union being with Mrs. Sarah J. (Dack) Hall. They have become the parents of five children: John Edward and Raymond Carroll, who are graduates of the agricultural department of the State University; and Viola Margaret, Ellen Jane and Morris Edward, all attending the local school.

  Mr. Terry belongs to the Modern Woodmen camp of Monroe, of which he is a trustee. His political allegiance is given to the democratic party and he is now president of the Monroe school board, of which he has been a member for twenty-one years. During his long residence in the county he has gained a wide acquaintance

 

570PAST AND PRESENT OF PLATTE COUNTY

and is well and favorably known in Monroe and throughout the surrounding country. He is a progressive, enterprising farmer and the integrity as well as the enterprise of his business methods commend him to the confidence and goodwill of all.


GUSTAVUS G. BECHER.

  Gustavus G. Becher, living retired at Columbus, is well known in the city because of his previous activity in the real-estate field and in political and military circles. He has made his life an asset in the development of Platte county and is one of its oldest and most honored residents. His birth occurred at Pilsen, Bohemia, August 11, 1844, his parents being Gustav and Josephine Becher. The father was born in Carlsbad, Germany, and came to the United States in 1844. After becoming convinced that he would have opportunity to provide for his family in the new world he sent for them and in 1847 was joined by his wife, with their four daughters and two sons, at St. Louis. While residing in that city the mother passed away and in 1856 the father came to Nebraska, establishing his home in Platte county.

  Two years later Gustavus G. Becher of this review joined his father in Platte county and attended school to a limited extent, but his textbooks were put aside when he reached the age of fourteen years and from that time forward he depended upon his own resources. He had an older brother in Columbus who owned a general store and Gustavus G. Becher was employed in that establishment for several years. He afterward spent eight years in a hardware store in Omaha, where he began working at a salary of ten dollars per month. That he was industrious, capable and loyal and that his employers appreciated his ability is indicated in the fact that when he left the company he was receiving a salary of one hundred and fifty dollars per month.

  Upon his return to Columbus Mr. Becher entered the government service, becoming a lieutenant in the Pawnee Scouts, with which he served for four seasons through the summer and fall months. He was captain of his company for one year. He has done important service in public connections. In 1870 he took the census of Platte and Madison counties for the United States government, and ten years later, or in 1880, he took the United States census for Columbus township. He has filled the office of assessor of Platte county and for two terms, or four years, was county treasurer. He also served for one term in the state legislature, and in that position as in the others that he had filled he proved most loyal to the best interests of the community, putting forth effective effort toward advancing the general good. In his business career he also became well known. In 1870 he entered the real-estate and insurance field and for twenty-six years was treasurer of the Columbus Land, Loan & Building Association, from which position he retired in 1912, turning over his private business to Gus G. Becher, Jr. He was accounted throughout the entire period as one of the foremost real-estate men of this section. and activity and enterprise characterized him in all of his dealings, while his thorough reliability won for him the confidence and goodwill of all.

  On the 29th of November, 1869, in Bon Homme, South Dakota, Gustavus G. Becher was married to Miss LeAnna Bradford, who died February 21, 1913, and

 GUSTAVUS G. BECHER

 

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was buried at Columbus. They lost their first born, Maud, at the age of eleven months, and a daughter, Blanch B., who died in 1880 at the age of six years. Their other children are: Jesse B., now a resident of Duluth, Minnesota; Lora Ann, the wife of Clarendon E. Adams, Jr., of Los Angeles, California; and Gustavus G. Jr. The religious faith of the family is that of the Episcopal church, to which they faithfully adhere.

  Mr. Becher was formerly identified with the Odd Fellows and the Knights of Pythias but has demitted from both. He still holds membership with the Masonic fraternity, however, having taken the degrees of the Knights Templar and of the Mystic Shrine. His political allegiance has always been given to the republican party, and he is a firm believer in its principles. His life has been directed by a high and honorable purpose, and he has endeavored to bring into practical force the ideals which he has cherished.


IRA E. GATES.

  Ira E. Gates, an energetic and prosperous farmer residing on section 21, Columbus township, is specializing in the raising of high grade shorthorn cattle. He was born in Hartford, New York, in 1865, a son of Isaac D. and Luna B. Gates, both natives of the Empire state. In 1881 the family migrated westward and located in Colfax county, Nebraska, where the father carried on general farming until his demise. The mother is also deceased.

  Ira E. Gates remained with his parents as long as they lived and was of great assistance to his father in the cultivation of the home place. He has continued to follow agricultural pursuits and since 1891 has resided upon his present farm in Columbus township, which comprises two hundred acres of fertile land. He also owns four hundred acres in Colfax county and gives a great deal of attention to raising graded shorthorn cattle, deriving a good income from the sale of his stock.

  Mr. Gates was married to Miss Delilah Davis, a native of Columbus, and they have five children, Clarence, Henry, Helen, Charles and Roy. Mr. Gates votes for the candidates and measures of-the republican party but has confined his political activity to the exercise of his right of franchise. He is a successful farmer and stockraiser, a public-spirited citizen and a man of unquestioned integrity, and his sterling worth has gained him the warm regard of all who have come into contact with him.


JACOB LOUIS.

  On the list of Platte county's honored dead appears the name of Jacob Louis, who was one of the pioneer settlers of this part of the state and contributed in large measure to the early development and later progress of the county. His life record spanned the years between 1832 and 1909. He was born in Wurtemberg, Germany, and when a young man came to the United States, making his way to Ohio. He

 

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worked as a farm hand in the vicinity of Cincinnati for a time and afterward journeyed by rail to Des Moines, Iowa, from which point he made his way on foot to Columbus, Nebraska. At the time of his arrival the government survey had not been made, although the town had been laid out. However, it was a most tiny hamlet and there was little indication of what the future would bring to Platte county in the way of development, progress and prosperity. There were no homestead laws in effect at that time and all around was the wild, undeveloped prairie offering good inducements to the hardy frontier settlers, and yet there were involved many difficulties and obstacles in the way of development. The land was covered with the native grasses through the summer seasons and was hidden by a dazzling and unbroken sheet of snow in the winter months.

  Jacob Louis purchased government land on sections 20 and 29, Columbus township, at a dollar and a quarter per acre, securing one hundred and sixty acres. He built thereon a log cabin and began farming, breaking the sod and cultivating his fields with ox teams. It was a difficult task to turn the first furrow and get the land in condition for cultivation, but Mr. Louis persevered in his work and soon wrought a marked change in the appearance of his place. After five years he returned to Ohio, spending a short time there, but again came to Columbus and continued to reside in Platte county until his death. His attention was given to general farming and he became the owner of over five hundred acres of good land, which he brought to a high state of cultivation, his fields becoming very productive and yielding golden harvests annually.

  Mr. Louis was united in marriage to Miss Katherine Engle, who was born in Hessen, Germany, in 1842. They long traveled life's journey together, being separated by the hand of death when, in 1909, Mr. Louis passed away, his wife surviving him for five years, dying in 1914. In their death the county lost two of its well known pioneer settlers who had lived in the county before there were churches or schools or roads and who had seen much of the later development, bringing the county to its present prosperous condition.


AUSTIN MORRICE BENNETT.

  Austin Morrice Bennett is manager of a lumberyard at Monroe, in which connection he is directing the interests of a good business, which under his management is steadily increasing. He is yet a young man but has already made for himself a creditable place in business circles. His birth occurred in Benton county, Arkansas, October 2, 1881, his parents being Jonathan and Mary A.(Pierce) Bennett, who now reside upon a farm in Caldwell county, Missouri. Austin M. Bennett acquired a good common-school education and then spent three and a half years as a student in the Kidder Institute at Kidder, Missouri, pursuing a business and teacher's course. which he completed in 1902. He then went to Genoa, Nebraska, and entered into business relations with the Fox & Flaherty Horse Company, which he represented for a year. He afterward spent three and a half years with the Monroe Horse Company and then returned to the former firm, with which he continued for n year and a half. On the expiration of that period he became a representative of the Walworth & Sherwood Lumber Company and since 1915 has been manager of a

 

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lumberyard at Monroe, in which connection he has control of a growing business. He is always courteous and obliging to the patrons of the company and has at all times through his business integrity, energy and honesty enjoyed the confidence and goodwill of those with whom he has come in contact.

  Mr. Bennett was united in marriage to Miss Theresa L. Branson, of Genoa, Nebraska, and they have one child, Francis M.  Fraternally Mr. Bennett is connected with the Independent Order of Odd Fellows, with the Modern Woodmen of America and with Genoa Lodge, No. 333, F. & A. M. He is loyal to the teachings of the craft and in his life exemplifies the beneficent spirit of these orders, which are based upon mutual helpfulness and brotherly kindness. In his political views he is a republican with independent tendencies. He does not feel bound to follow party ties, but votes according to the dictates of his judgment, which is formed after a thorough consideration of every phase of a question. Mr. Bennett is a western man by birth, training and preference and he possesses the spirit of enterprise which has ever been the dominant quality in the upbuilding of this section of the country.


EDWARD ARNDT.

  Edward Arndt, who is engaged in general farming on section 24, Lost Creek township, is the owner of an excellent tract of land of two hundred and twenty-five acres which he has brought to a high state of cultivation and to the further development and improvement of which he is directing all of his energy. He was born October 10, 1875, in the township where he still resides, a son of Frederick William and Henries (Rosenbeldt) Arndt, in whose family were four children: William, now a resident of Columbus; Ernest, a farmer of Grand Prairie township; Edward; and Mrs. Ferdinand Wachter, whose husband is farming in Madison county, Nebraska. The father came direct to Columbus in 1870, after leaving his old home in Brandenburg, Germany, and after reaching Platte county purchased a homestead claim of eighty acres, for which he paid four hundred dollars or five dollars per acre. Later he added another eighty-acre tract for which he paid nineteen dollars per acre, and from time to time he kept on making purchases until his landed possessions in Lost Creek, Shell Creek and Columbus townships comprised seven hundred acres. The highest price which he paid for any of this was seventy-three dollars per acre. His business affairs were carefully managed and industry and energy carried him far toward the goal of success. In addition to his agricultural interests he engaged extensively in raising Poland China hogs and he was also a director of the Platte County Bank of Platte Center. He held membership in the German Lutheran church, of which he was a trustee, and he never neglected his public duties as a citizen and in every possible way contributed to the material, intellectual and moral progress of the community. He died in April, 1904, while his wife passed away in February, 1895, the county losing two of its valued citizens when they were called to their final rest.

  Edward Arndt was born and reared on the old homestead farm and there remained until the death of his father in 1904, when the estate was equally divided among the four children, he receiving as his share the homestead property. His

 

576PAST AND PRESENT OF PLATTE COUNTY

attention has since been given to its further cultivation and improvement and the results of his labors are seen in highly cultivated fields which annually produce excellent crops. He has from twenty to forty acres planted to wheat each year, about forty acres in corn and forty acres in oats. He also makes a specialty of raising shorthorn cattle and at the death of his father took his place as a director of the Platte County Bank. He is likewise financially interested in the Monroe Independent Telephone Company.

  On the 15th of March, 1904, Mr. Arndt was united in marriage to Miss Matilda Petersen, a daughter of Carsten Petersen, Sr., a sketch of whom appears on another page of this work. To them have been born six children, namely: Herbert; Raymond and Edmund, twins; Walter; Leona; and Reuben.

  Mr. Arndt is independent in politics, considering the capability of a candidate rather than his party affiliations. He belongs to the Lutheran church and at all times seeks the welfare and upbuilding of the community in which he lives, cooperating heartily in many plans and projects for the public good. At the same time he is recognized as a business man of marked ability, for this has been proven in his capable control of his farming and stock-raising interests. As the years have gone by he has studied the question of productiveness on his farm and employs modern methods to enhance the fertility of the soil and make his business one paying larger dividends. At the same time he is thoroughly reliable in all his dealings and enjoys to the full extent the confidence and high regard of those with whom he has been associated.


JOHN HELLEBERG.

  Although one of the more recent acquisitions to the professional circles of Columbus, John Helleberg has already gained recognition as an architect and in this connection is doing a good business. He is an enterprising young man of foreign birth, the place of his nativity being Thisted, Denmark, and his natal day November 28, 1890. His parents were Neils and Lena (Christensen) Helleberg. The former passed away in 1903, having spent his entire life in Denmark, and the mother, who survives, has also always remained in that country. The Helleberg family is an old one in Denmark, the family records having been kept for four hundred years.

  John Helleberg pursued his literary education in the public schools of Thisted and later took a course in architecture at The Technique in that place. When a youth of only eighteen years, realizing the larger possibilities offered in America as compared with the chances in the old world, Mr. Helleberg set sail for the United States, arriving here in May, 1909. He at once made his way to Grand Island, Nebraska, where he had friends living, and there in 1911 he pursued a special course in a college. Subsequently he came to Columbus and later formed a partnership with George Grabe, an architect, the business now being conducted under the name of Grabe & Helleberg. Many of the substantial buildings of this city stand as monuments to their ability and enterprise, their more recent accomplishment being the handsome Masonic Temple, which was completed in the spring of 1915; school buildings at Cairo, Cody and Schuyler, and the Odd Fellows building at Polk, Nebraska.

 

PAST AND PRESENT OF PLATTE COUNTY 577

  Mr. Helleberg gives his political support to the democratic party, while in religious faith he is identified with the English Lutheran church. He is yet a young man but has readily adapted himself to circumstances and has taken advantage of opportunities that have been presented. If his present success is any criterion of what the future holds in store for him, no doubt he will become a prominent man in building circles.


HENRY HOBBENSIEFKEN.

  Germany has furnished to Platte county a large percentage of its substantial citizens, men who have brought the Teutonic civilization into the west and have utilized the natural resources of the country for the benefit of their own fortunes and of humanity at large. Among those who have had their nativity in the fatherland is Henry Hobbensiefken, who was born in Oldenburg on the 20th of March, 1865, and is now a substantial farmer and stockman, living on section 26, Lost Creek township. His parents were Frederick and Sophia (Buss) Hobbensiefken, who were natives of Oldenburg and of Friesland respectively. The father owned land in Germany, having a large farm on which he carried on general agricultural pursuits and stock-raising. He also served in the German army, thus meeting the conditions imposed by the military laws of the country. At length he determined to try his fortune in America and in 1884 came to the United States, settling in Sherman township, Platte county, where he purchased land. He began to improve his property of one hundred and sixty acres and his labors soon wrought a marked transformation in the appearance of the place. He was of a rather retiring disposition but was a citizen of sterling worth, recognized as a consistent member of the German Baptist church, in the work of which he took an active and helpful interest. He died in February, 1910, at the age of seventy-nine years, while his wife passed away in 1904, at the age of seventy-five.

  Henry Hobbensiefken, their only child, attended school in Germany and at the age of seventeen years came to America, after which he attended the district schools to some extent in the winter seasons. He settled in Platte county and worked as a farm hand for two years and later was employed at home. Following his marriage he operated his father's farm for about two years, after which he bought eighty acres of land and in 1896 he purchased an additional one hundred and twenty acres. However his property was scattered and in 1903 he sold out and bought land in Lost Creek township. Step by step he has worked his way upward until he is today one of the prosperous and representative farmers of his township, owning nine hundred and sixty acres of land. He has lived on his present home farm, known as the Meadow Land Farm, for twelve years and here he has highly cultivated fields and valuable stock-raising interests, making a specialty of registered Percheron horses, registered shorthorn cattle and Duroc-Jersey hogs. He has shipped much stock outside of the state and has won many prizes at the Platte county fairs. He has ever been a most progressive and enterprising business man and has carried forward to successful completion many important undertakings that have proved of value to the community as well as a source of individual benefit. He is the president of the Farmers Elevator Company of Platte Center and vice president of the Farmers

 

578PAST AND PRESENT OF PLATTE COUNTY

Lumber Company of that place, but he spends the greater part of his time in directing the work of the home farm, which comprises five hundred and eighty acres of rich and arable land. In the midst of this place he has a fine modern residence and everything about the farm is indicative of his progressive spirit. There are splendid equipments and all modern farm accessories and the place constitutes one of the pleasing features of the landscape.

  On the 5th of March, 1891, Mr. Hobbensiefken was married to Miss Lena Behlen, who was born in Platte county, Nebraska, a daughter of Fred and Elizabeth Behlen, both of whom are still living at the age of sixty-eight years, their home being in Shell Creek township. After coming to the United States they resided for a time at Freeport, Illinois, and in 1869 removed to Platte county. Mr. Behlen secured a homestead in Bismark township, broke the prairie with ox teams, turning the first furrows in his fields, and performed all the arduous labor incident to the development and improvement of a new farm in a pioneer district. Subsequently he removed from his original place to Shell Creek township, where he has since lived. For some years he continued actively in general farming but now lives retired on the old homestead, where he has six hundred acres of productive land. His religious faith is that of the German Baptist church and in its work he has been most active and helpful.

  Mr. and Mrs. Hobbensiefken have become the parents of ten children: Fred and Edward, who are pursuing an agricultural course at Lincoln; and Louise, Henry, Emil, Walter, Elsie, William, Alvin and Edith, all at home. Mr. Hobbensiefken has always been a stalwart supporter of the public-school system. He attended public school in Sherman township and when he was twenty-one years of age was made a director for school No. 77, thus serving until he removed to Lost Creek township, where he was soon appointed a director for district No. 11, to fill a vacancy. Since that time he has continuously served and the cause of education finds in him a stalwart champion whose labors have been far-reaching, effective and beneficial. He is guided in all of his dealings and activities by the highest sense of honor and at all times recognizes and meets his duties in relation to public affairs. He belongs to the German Baptist church at Platte Center and takes a very active interest in both church and Sunday-school work, serving at the present time as Sunday-school superintendent. His integrity is never called into question and his many admirable traits of heart and mind have endeared him to all who know him. He measures up to high standards of manhood and citizenship and all with whom he has come in contact speak of him in terms of the highest regard.


OTTO MUELLER.

  Otto Mueller, who owns and operates three hundred and sixty acres of excellent land on section 26, Grand Prairie township, was born on his present farm on the 5th of May, 1875. His parents, Fred and Julia (Stickle) Mueller, were both natives of Germany, the former born on the 13th of August, 1832, and the latter on the 30th of September, of that year. Not long after his arrival in the United States the father enlisted in the Union army for service in the Civil war and served for three years. He was in many important engagements and received a wound in the

 

PAST AND PRESENT OF PLATTE COUNTY 579

foot. He was married in Illinois and in 1872 came to Platte county, taking up land in Grand Prairie township on his soldier's warrant. He was an excellent farmer and his personal qualities were such that he gained many friends. He died on the 2d of September, 1890, but was survived by his wife until the 18th of October, 1893. Their three children are living: Carl and F. H., further mention of whom appears elsewhere in this work; and Otto.

  The last named grew to manhood upon the homestead and learned much concerning agricultural work under the instruction of his father. His education was obtained in the common schools. Since reaching mature years he has continued to farm and now owns the homestead. The place, which comprises three hundred and sixty acres, is well improved and yields good crops annually. He also raises stock, which he finds profitable.

  On May 20, 1896, Mr. Mueller married Miss Emma Peterson, who died on the 12th of August, 1913, leaving five children, Martha, Walter, Adele, Hugo and Emil. Mr. Mueller subsequently remarried, Miss Dorothea Bahlbury becoming his wife. She was born in Germany, a daughter of Peter and Elizabeth Bahlbury, who lived in Sherman township but are now deceased.

  Mr. Mueller is affiliated with the Lutheran church and upholds all efforts to promote the moral life of the community. In politics he is independent and has never desired to hold office. A native son of Platte county, he has realized that as good opportunities for advancement are found here as elsewhere, and his well directed labor has enabled him to gain a gratifying measure of prosperity.


LAWRENCE P. CARSTENSON, D. V. S.

  Dr. Lawrence P. Carstenson, engaged in the practice of veterinary surgery, his home being on section 23, Columbus township, was born near Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin, on the 2d of January, 1880, a son of Anders and Marie Carstenson, both of whom were natives of Denmark. After coming to the new world and residing for a time in Wisconsin they removed to Nebraska, and the mother is still living in Genoa, although the father passed away in 1885.

  It was in the fall of 1880 that the family home was established in the northern part of Platte county, and while spending his youthful days under the parental roof Lawrence P. Carstenson pursued his education in the district schools and also worked upon the home farm. He supplemented his early educational advantages by a course in the Fremont Business College and then, determining upon the practice of veterinary surgery as a life work, he entered the Kansas City Veterinary College, from which he was graduated with the class of 1907. He afterward located for practice in Fremont, where he remained for six months and then went to Columbus where he remained until 1913, in which year he took up his abode on section 23, Columbus township, just west of the city of Columbus, where he is well equipped to take care of a large veterinary practice. His ability has won him wide recognition and his business is steadily growing.

  On the 17th of June, 1908, Dr. Carstenson was united in marriage to Miss Grace Freligh, by whom he has the following children, namely: Loraine, Irwin and Nadene. Dr. Carstenson was less than a year old when brought to Platte county, so that he

 

580PAST AND PRESENT OF PLATTE COUNTY

has been practically a lifelong resident here, and that his record has ever been a creditable and honorable one is indicated in the fact that many of his staunchest friends are those who have known him from his boyhood days to the present. In his professional career he is working his way steadily upward, discharging his duties with conscientious fidelity, while his increasing success is indicative of the growing confidence of the public in his skill.


GEORGE C. ANDERSON.

  Among the capable and prosperous farmers and stock-raisers of Woodville township is George C. Anderson, who is residing on section 24. A native son of that township, he was born on the 11th of October, 1876, and is the eldest of a family of five children, whose parents were John M. and Permelia (Johnson) Anderson, both of whom were born in Sweden. The father died January 1, 1909, at the age of seventy years but the mother is still living in St. Edward, this state. John M. Anderson was a laborer in Sweden but following his removal to this country in the early '50s carried on agricultural pursuits near Kewanee, Illinois. In 1861 he gave incontestable proof of his loyalty to his adopted country by enlisting in Company B, Thirty-seventh Illinois Volunteer Infantry. He held the rank of corporal and was at the front for four years, or until after Lee's surrender. He was at all times a brave and loyal soldier, never flinching in the performance of duty, no matter how dangerous it might be. Following the cessation of hostilities he returned to Kewanee, Illinois, and farmed there until October, 1872, when he came to Platte county, Nebraska, the journey requiring twenty-six days. He homesteaded land on section 24, Woodville township, and for some time the family lived in a sod house, but at length he erected a frame building which was the second in the township. He was very successful in his farming operations and became the owner of six hundred and forty acres of good land. He not only gained financial independence himself but also aided many of his neighbors in getting a start. He was active in public affairs, manifesting in times of peace the same spirit of patriotism that led him to offer his life if need be in the defense of the Union. He was highly esteemed, and his demise was deeply and widely regretted.

  George C. Anderson received his education in district school No. 62 and in the St. Edward high school, thus preparing himself for the duties and responsibilities of later life. On beginning his independent career he farmed rented land near St. Edward and subsequently rented the homestead from his father. He now owns one hundred and sixty acres of the home farm and his place is one of the best developed and most finely improved farms of his locality. He raises some grain but gives especial attention to raising and feeding hogs and cattle, which he finds unusually profitable. He understands his business thoroughly and as he manages his affairs well he has gained a gratifying measure of prosperity.

  On June 5, 1907, Mr. Anderson was united in marriage to Miss Maude Simpson, a native of Omaha and a daughter of Peter and Lillian (Bessey) Simpson. Her father was born in Norway but has lived in the United States for many years and now makes his home with our subject at the age of sixty-three years. The mother passed away March 3, 1912. For a considerable time Mr. Simpson con-

 GEORGE C. ANDERSON    JOHN M. ANDERSON

 

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