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Adam Smith, son of Adam and Margaret Murray Smith, was born in Platte County, January 17, 1864. His father was born in Germany, May 12, 1838, and died during the Indian Massacre near Genoa, Nebraska, which took place on August 7, 1864, while he was engaged with others in putting up hay for the government. His mother was born in Ireland, June 16, 1840, and died in Columbus, Nebraska, on February 23, 1906.

Adam, Sr., and Margaret Murray Smith had two other sons, Francis and John. After the death of Adam Smith, Sr., Mrs. Smith married T. Brady, and they had one son, George, and one daughter, Mollie Brady.

Adam Smith, Jr., received his early education in the District 3 School, and then learned the business of farming and stock raising.

In the spring of 1903, he was married to Fannie Costello, the daughter of Miles and Bridget McGuane Costello, who moved from Platte Center to Columbus, in 1903. Miles Costello was born in Ireland, in 1836, and died August 18, 1901. Mrs. Costello was born in Ireland in 1832, and died in Columbus on May 10, 1918.

Fannie Costello Smith had one brother and six sisters: John, Mary, Abbie, Margaret, Ellen, Lena and Jennie. Lena, deceased, was the first wife of Doctor Harry Arnold; Margaret was Mrs. Frank Mills, of Columbus; Ella was Mrs. Charles Hegeman; and Jennie was Mrs. Robert McKee, of Long Beach, California. John, Mary, and Abbie are deceased.

Adam and Fannie Costello Smith had two children, Georgia Irene and John. Georgia Irene, born in Columbus, attended St. Bonaventure's School and was graduated from Columbus High School. She then was enrolled at Duchesne College, in Omaha. She was married to Doctor Paul Berney, and they live at Cedar Rapids, Iowa. John Thomas Smith, born April 20, 1906, in Columbus, died June 9, 1930. He attended St. Bonaventure's School and was graduated from the Columbus High School.

Fannie Costello Smith was born July 2, 1880, in Illinois, and died in Columbus, June 25, 1948.

Adam Smith is a member of St. Bonaventure's Catholic Church, and politically, is affiliated with the Democratic Party.


Samuel Church Smith was born July 10, 1825, in Haddam, Connecticut. In 1859, he was married to Clara A. Boone, a great-niece of the Kentucky scout, Daniel Boone. They had three children: Elmer, George and Lillian, Mrs. James G. Reeder of Columbus, Elmer, a civil engineer, who was one of the first to go to the Panama Canal Zone. He worked on the Nicaraguan Survey and did preliminary work on the Isthmus. He did some of the most important work in the Canal Zone. He had patented a device to be used in the construction of the dams which had attracted wide attention in engineering circles. Elmer Church Smith died July 10, 1906, in the Canal Zone, of malaria. George Boone Smith, born in Clarksville, Missouri, spent his early life there and learned the printer's trade and gave much time to the study of music. He was in the real estate business for twelve years with his father, in San Diego. Later he was with the National City newspaper in National City. He was married to Mary Alice Morrell, whom he met in the newspaper office. They had one son, Clarence Smith.

Mr. Samuel Smith, a resident of Platte County for twenty-one years, came here in 1865 to take charge of a government trading post, on the Pawnee Indian Reservation, at Genoa. He remained there for one year. Then for four years following, he occupied a farm in the Looking Glass Valley. In 1870 he moved to Columbus where he lived for sixteen years. He was in the real estate business, which kept him in close touch with all the early homesteaders. Mr. Smith was never a public man, but he left the record of being a very progressive and public spirited man. He was liberal with his money and energy and thereby encouraged public improvements and enterprises.

Clara Boone Smith died May 27, 1886, and in that year, Mr. Smith moved to California. In 1887, he married Louisa Lehman, of Des Moines, Iowa, a sister of George Lehman, of Columbus. Mr. Smith died in 1907.


William Smith, owner of the Smith Dairy of Columbus, was born December 14, 1883, at Millville, Clayton County, Iowa. He came to Platte County December 5, 1928, from Schuyler, Nebraska. His parents were William and Mary Wiltse Smith. William Smith, a farmer, was born May 30, 1849, at Millville, and died April 12, 1936, at Schuyler. Mary Wiltse Smith was born March 22, 1856, at Alcater, Iowa, and died January 26, 1931, at Schuyler. William Smith had seven brothers and two sisters: George, Frank, Albert, Clara, Charles, Henry, Edd and Earl (twins), and Cora.

On December 23, 1908, he was married to Nellie Adams, at Schuyler, Nebraska. Mrs. Smith is a daughter of Robert and Louisa Puelz Adams. Robert Adams, a farmer, was born June 16, 1844, in Illinois, and died November 21, 1888, at Danbury, Nebraska. Louisa Puelz Adams was born at Danbury July 12, 1864, and died there May 3, 1890. Mrs. Smith had a sister, Jessie, who was married to Nels Rasmuss, now deceased.

William and Nellie Adams Smith had nine children: Robert and Irene, born at Snowflake, Manitoba, Canada; Glen, born at Osage, Saskatchewan, Canada; Esther, Dorothy, William H. and Donald, all born at Schuyler, and Harold and Barbara, born at Columbus. All attended the Columbus schools. Robert is a dairyman. Irene is in the insurance business. Glenn has a dairy route. Esther is a housewife. Dorothy is a musician. William H. is a salesman. Donald was an Army Sergeant in Korea, in World War I. Harold and Barbara live in Columbus.

Mr. Smith was a member of the school board of the Fisher District of Colfax County, and a past president and director of the Platte County Agricultural Society.

The History of Platte County Nebraska

He is a past president of the Dairy Herd Improvement Association. He belongs to the Columbus Chamber of Commerce, and politically is a Republican.

William Smith's hobby is to produce the best dairy herd in the state; he is also a lover of horses. He enjoys seeing and doing the best kind of farm husbandry.

The William Smith family are members of the Christian Church and attend the Federated Church in Columbus.


Doctor H. E. Snyder, son of Charles W. and Josephine Demsey Snyder, natives of Hartford, Wisconsin, was born in Alden, Minnesota. His father was a Minnesota farmer. Doctor Snyder had six sisters and five brothers.

He received his early education in the Minnesota schools near his home. After finishing high school, he attended Redfield College, in South Dakota, Milwaukee Dental College, and the Dental College of Creighton University, in Omaha, where he received his degree as Doctor of Dental Surgery.

Following a year in Omaha he practiced for three years at Elgin, Nebraska, before coming to Columbus.

Doctor H. E. Snyder was married to Ann Elizabeth Harrington, the daughter of Daniel and Mary O'Sullivan Harrington, of O'Neill, Nebraska. They had two daughters and one son: Mary Elizabeth, Marion, and Josephine. Marion died December 16, 1929. Mary Elizabeth attended Duchesne College, Creighton University, and Van Sant's Business College, in Omaha. She has been employed successively as private secretary with Creighton University, at the United States Army Headquarters in Omaha, during World War II; in promotional work at Radio Station KOIL, and was later with the Kapels Advertising Company, in Omaha. Josephine was graduated from Kramer High School, attended Carleton College, in Minnesota, the University of Missouri and the Milwaukee Business College. She was in national advertising work, prior to her marriage to Owen Lyons, of Milwaukee.

Doctor H. E. Snyder holds memberships in the Nebraska State Dental Association, the North Nebraska District Dental Association, and in the Columbus Dental Society. He is a member of the Lions Club, the Chamber of Commerce, and St. Bonaventure's Catholic Church of Columbus.


Reverend Jarleth Sobczyk, O.F.M., pastor of Sacred Heart Church, Cornlea, Nebraska, in 1948, was born in Omaha, Nebraska, on May 16, 1916. He is the son of Andrew T. and Clara Wietzki Sobczyk, both natives of Omaha.

Reverend Sobczyk has three brothers and four sisters. One of his sisters, Sister Clarice, is a religious now stationed at a convent in Hammond, Indiana.

The early education of Father Jarleth was received at the Immaculate Conception Parochial School, in Omaha, where he spent eight years. Upon his graduation from grammar school, in 1929, he entered the St. Joseph College at Westmont, Illinois, where he studied for six years, and then went to Our Lady of the Angels Seminary, in Cleveland, Ohio, where he continued his studies for three years. Upon the completion of his work there, Father Jarleth attended St. Joseph Seminary, the Franciscan Seminary at Teutopolis, Illinois, where he studied for four years.

Father Jarleth was ordained to the priesthood on June 24, 1943. His ordination service was held at St. Francis Church, Teutopolis, Illinois, and he celebrated his first mass at Immaculate Conception Church in Omaha, on June 27, 1943. His first assignment was at the Sacred Heart Church, at Cornlea, Nebraska.


George William Soden, son of James Monroe and Susan Galbraith Soden, was born at Wisner, Nebraska, February 1, 1903. His father, a native of Buffalo, New York, was born July 29, 1868, and engaged in farming. His mother was born at Wisner, Nebraska, August 3, 1876.


George William Soden

George received his early education in the rural schools near Wisner, and his high school training at Wisner. He later attended the Sioux City National Business Training School, at Sioux City, Iowa.

On June 19, 1928, he was married to Winifred Kuyper, the daughter of A. C. and Elizabeth Clairbaut Kuyper, at Sioux City. Mr. and Mrs. Soden have two daughters: Shirley, born September 29, 1929, was graduated from Kramer High School and attended Hastings College; Karen was born February 7, 1940. One son, Dale, born January 29, 1931, died October 19, 1945, in Columbus.

Mr. Soden became associated with Swift & Company in 1925, in Sioux City. He remained there until 1930, when he came to Columbus and assumed management of the local Swift plant. In 1934, he was transferred to South America, and became manager of the Swift branch in Buenos Aires, Argentina, where he remained until 1936, when he returned to Columbus, again as manager of the Swift plant.

In addition to his duties for Swift & Company's packing and processing system, Mr. Soden has found time to do extensive traveling in both the United States and the Southern Hemisphere. He has visited all sections of the United States, Brazil, Uruguay, Argentina, and the island of Trinidad.

He is a member of the Columbus Chamber of Commerce, the Y.M.C.A., Rotary International, of which he has served as president, and the Platte County Agricultural Society. The Sodens attend the Federated Church of Columbus.





John Peter Sokol, son of Mr. and Mrs. Joseph Sokol, pioneer residents of Butler Township, was born on the family homestead, two miles northeast of Duncan, on September 18, 1878, and died July 28, 1930, in Duncan.

He married Ursula Borowiak, at Duncan, October 29, 1901, and they established their home on a farm a mile and a half north of Duncan. They lived there for nearly two years, after which they moved into the village of Duncan. Mr. Sokol and his brother, Charles, conducted a liquor business and later, a soft drink establishment in Duncan.

John Sokol was an advocate of improved roads, and served as a member of the Lincoln Highway Association for ten years. He was active in Duncan business until 1930. He was associated with his brothers, Charles and Thomas, in the Sokol Brothers Gravel Company, organized in 1925. He held an interest in the City Grocery at Duncan, which he and Lonny Valasek started in 1926. With Mr. Valasek, he also owned and managed a filling station, erected in Duncan in 1928. He was a stockholder in the Duncan State Bank and a member of the board of directors. He was Treasurer of Butler Township for seventeen years, and for thirteen years held membership on the village board. He was chief of the Duncan Fire Department from 1918 to 1930; a trustee of St. Stanislaus Catholic Church of Duncan for many years, he was a member of the first committee which formulated plans for the erection of the new Duncan Church. He was treasurer of the Duncan Cemetery Association for sixteen years; and a member of the Knights of Columbus.

John and Ursula Sokol had eight sons and three daughters: Bernard, Dennis, Raymond, Clarence, Leonard, Jerome, Joseph, Patrick, Mrs. Stephen Micek, Mrs. Albert Novicki, and Irene Sokol, all of Duncan.

The Sokol family are members of St. Stanislaus Catholic Church in Duncan, Nebraska.


Charles A. Speice, one of the leading figures in the early years in the development of Columbus and Platte County, was born November 10, 1830, at Altoona, Pennsylvania. He attended the Altoona schools and was graduated from Altoona College.

He came to Omaha late in 1856, and to Columbus in the summer of 1857, a year after the town was founded. Having learned the carpenter trade, he started in first as a building contractor, but was destined to use his talents in many other fields, including education, real estate, the coal business, the legal profession, and a career in public office.

He was active in the organization of the Columbus school district in 1960, and a few years later, served as its director. Mr. Speice bought the old "Company House," in 1861, which had served during the winter of 1960 as quarters for the first public school.

Also around 1860, he began the study of law. He was soon admitted to the bar and became one of the county's early lawyers. However, he devoted most of his time to the handling of legal matters incident to the Speice and North's real estate, abstract, and loan business.

Mr. Speice was one of the organizers of the Columbus Cemetery Association in 1864, and served as its secretary from 1879 until 1909. He was chairman of the group of citizens who organized the Congregational Church Society of Columbus, on September 2, 1865. He was also an early Platte County Superintendent of Schools, serving from 1869-1871, and again from 1875-1876.

He served as one of three county commissioners from 1861-1866, inclusive, and again from 1894-1895, and a county supervisor from 1895-1896. He served a two-year term as County judge, 1886 and 1887. He was elected Mayor of Columbus in 1877, and held that office until 1879.

In 1869, Charles A. Speice and James E. North formed a partnership and established a real estate, abstract and loan office, under the firm name of Speice and North. Through this business, they were instrumental in helping many settlers to locate homesteads, and sold thousands of acres of railroad land.

Together, Mr. Speice and Mr. North organized the Union Pacific Coal Company. They engaged in the coal business until 1892, when Mr. North was appointed internal revenue collector, and they then dissolved partnership. Mr. Speice continued as proprietor of the firm until his death, on June 29, 1909.

On May 31, 1860, Charles A. Speice was married to Katharina Becher, the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Gustavus Becher, Sr. Mr. Becher was the first merchant in Columbus, and Katharina had lived in Columbus from 1857, when her father, Gus Becher, Sr. and his family, moved here from St. Louis. The wedding took place in a log house which stood on the site of the old Speice home, at the southeast corner of Sixth Street and Eighteenth Avenue. Mrs. Speice was born October 4, 1838, at Pilsen, Bohemia.

Charles and Katharina Becher Speice had nine children: Thomas Stuart Speice died in infancy, in 1863; Josephine Fredericka, the wife of Joseph C. Post, of Guthrie, Oklahoma; Gustavus Becher, "Gus," married Clara F. Sprink; John Milton, "Milt," married Anna Brady; Charles Bordman, "Bont," married Alice Elias; William Koenig, M.D., "Wilke," married Elizabeth Letz; Washington Irving, "Irve," married Ann Louise Matthews; Katharina Mary, "Kitty"; and Letitia Ellen is the widow of Doctor Mark M. McMahon. The above are all deceased except John Milton and Letitia Ellen.

Mrs. Charles A. Speice died on January 24, 1909, in Columbus. She was a sister of Gustavus G. Becher, Francis G. Becher and Mary Becher Bremer, of Columbus, and Laura Becher Koenig and Josephine Becher Metz Miller, of Omaha.

Charles A. Speice was an active figure in the development of Columbus and Platte County; a builder whose constructive activities touched as many phases of the early life of the community as those of any other man.

The History of Platte County Nebraska


Charles Bordman Speice, the son of Charles A. and Katharina Becher Speice, was born January 8, 1869, in Columbus. His father, a real estate man, was born November 10, 1830, in Altoona, Pennsylvania, and died July 29, 1909, in Columbus. His mother was born at Pilsen, Austria, on October 4, 1839, and died in Columbus on January 24, 1909.

Charles Bordman Speice attended the Columbus schools and early in life became engaged in railroading. For twelve years, he was employed by the Union Pacific Railroad Company, from 1896 until January 1, 1908, when he resigned a position as conductor to take charge of the coal business his father had established some years previously. He remained in the coal business until his death on February 8, 1909, in Columbus.

In October, 1898, Charles Bordman Speice was married to Alice Elias, of Columbus. Mr. and Mrs. Speice had three children: Letitia, the wife of Stuart S. Hadley, owner of the Hadley Music Company of Columbus; Bordman Elias, who is married to Margaret Schipke, of Yankton, South Dakota, lives in Columbus; and Gustavus Becher, secretary of the Becher, Hockenberger, and Chambers Company, of Columbus, is married to Alice M. Peters.

Charles Bordman Speice held memberships in many organizations, including the Sons of Herman and the Order of Eagles. He attended the Episcopal Church of Columbus.


Bordman E. Speice, son of Charles Bordman and Alice Elias Speice, was born April 14, 1903, in Columbus, Nebraska. He has one sister, Letitia, Mrs. S. S. Hadley, and one brother, Gustavus B. Speice, who is married to Alice Peters. Both of whom live in Columbus.

Bont attended the Columbus grade schools and was graduated from the Columbus High School. He then was enrolled at the University of Nebraska for two years.

On June 3, 1928, at Yankton, South Dakota, Bont E. Speice was married to Margaret Schipke, the daughter of J. Henry and Dessie Clay Schipke.

Mr. Schipke was born, March 29, 1879, at Posen, Germany, and is a retired rancher. Mrs. Schipke was born December 19, 1881, at Deadwood, South Dakota. Mrs. Speice has four sisters and four brothers.

Bordeman E. and Margaret Schipke Speice have three children: Mar Bon, born April 30, 1930; Charles Bordman, born May 21, 1935; and Byron D., born March 6, 1937. They attended grade schools at North Platte, Columbus, and Fremont. Mar Bon was graduated from Kramer High School in 1948 and attended the University of Nebraska, where she was a member of the Delta Gamma Sorority. Charles attends Kramer High School and Byron is in junior High School.

Bont E. Speice is a member of the Phi Gamma Delta Fraternity, Tzaak Walton League, the B.P.O.E. (Elks). Mr. and Mrs. Bont E. Speice are members of the "Dinner-Dance" Club.

The Speice family are members of the Grace Episcopal Church in Columbus. Politically, Mr. Speice is identified with the Democratic Party.



Gustavus Becher Speice

Gustavus Becher Speice, secretary of the Becher, Hockenberger & Chambers Company and member of a prominent Columbus family, was born March 17, 1907, in Columbus, Nebraska. His parents were Charles Bordman and Alice M. Elias Speice. Charles Bordman Speice was born January 8, 1869, in Columbus, and died there February 8, 1909. Alice Elias Speice Robinson was born October 27, 1876, at Lower Brule Post, South Dakota.

Gustavus, grandson of C. A. Speice who came to Columbus in 1857, had one brother and one sister; Letitia, Mrs. Stuart S. Hadley; and Bordman E. Speice.

Gustavus Speice was graduated from the Columbus grade schools and Kramer High School. He attended the University of Nebraska for two years.

On August 24, 1931, he was married to Miss Alice M. Peters, daughter of Albert and Pauline Graff Peters, of David City, Nebraska. Mr. and Mrs. Speice have one daughter, Pauline, born in Columbus July 4, 1933. She attended St. Bonaventure's High School.

Gustavus B. Speice is a member of the F.O.E. (Eagles), the B.P.O.E. (Elks), the Columbus Chamber of Commerce, the Wayside Country Club, and is a Democrat. Mr. Speice is a member of Grace Episcopal Church in Columbus.


Washington Irving Speice was born April 18, 1875, in the old "Speice house," a city landmark at the corner of Sixth Street and Seventeenth Avenue, later the home


for the sisters of St. Anthony's Catholic School. His father, Charles A. Speice, came to Columbus in 1857, and among other positions of trust, served as Platte County judge in 1887-88. W. I. Speice's mother was Katharina Becher, daughter of Gustavus Becher, Sr., an 1857 settler.

W. I. Speice had five brothers and three sisters: Thomas Stuart Speice, died March 22, 1863. Josephine Fredericka Speice, in civil service for several years at Guthrie, Oklahoma, was married to Joseph Post. Mrs. Post died June 15, 1945, in Guthrie. Gustavus Becher Speice, a real estate and insurance man at Columbus, was married to Clara F. Sprink; he died January 4, 1920, at Columbus. John Milton Speice, banker at Kingfisher, Oklahoma, was married to Anna Brady. William Koenig Speice, an M.D. at Chicago, Illinois,, was married to Elizabeth Letz; he died November 25, 1924, at Chicago. Katharine Mary Speice, a secretary in Columbus, died December 25, 1944. Charles Bordman Speice, a coal dealer at Columbus, married Alice Elias; he died February 8, 1909 at Columbus. Letitia Ellen was married to Doctor Mark T. McMahon, who is deceased.

Judge W. I. Speice was a member of the 1892 graduating class of the Columbus High School. Following this he attended Kent College of Law from which he was graduated in 1897. He was admitted to the Illinois bar and for a little more than a year was identified with a Chicago law firm.

In 1899, he returned to Columbus and was admitted to the Nebraska bar the same year. In 1899 he began a long professional career as court reporter in the Sixth Nebraska Judicial District. First serving for District Judge William Marshall, Judge Speice continued his profession unbroken until December, 1920, when he resigned to enter private business.

On October 12, 1904, he was married in Schuyler, Nebraska, to Ann Louise Matthews, the daughter of Charles Matthews and Ella Conant Matthews Thomas. Mr. Matthews was born in Maine, and died there. Ella Conant Matthews Thomas was born July 11, 1852, in Appleton, Maine, and died March 11, 1923, in Columbus.

W. I. Speice and Ann Louise Matthews Speice had two daughters: Dorothy Ella, born in Schuyler, was married to Howard Burdick; and Katharina Louise, born in Columbus, was married to Lester Carrig. Both attended the Columbus schools, Brownell Hall at Omaha, Wolcott School at Denver, and finished at Arden School, Lakewood, New Jersey.

About 1910, W. I. Speice and Milton Bower purchased the Snow wholesale business and organized the Speice-Bower Wholesale Paper Company. From the time he resigned from his court reporting post in 1920, Judge Speice was actively engaged in the business until 1929, when the company was sold to Fred E. Teller.

In July, 1931, W. I. Speice was appointed County Judge following the vacancy left by Judge John Gibbon.

He was elected to a full four-year term in 1932, and was re-elected in 1936 and 1940, Judge Speice was a charter member of the Platte County Bar Association, and although he never practiced law he held continuous membership in the Association and was one of its oldest members. While identified with the Democratic Party throughout his life, he sought no public office under his party's name. In 1919, he was elected and served a three-year term as a member of the Columbus Board of Education. He served as a Columbus volunteer fireman from December, 1898, to December, 1903, and was member of W. Y. Bissell Hose Company. He belonged to B.P.O.E. (Elks), Thusnelda Lodge 12, Sons of Herman, and the Masons. He was the senior warden of Grace Episcopal Church from 1928-1941, and served on the Vestry from 1907-1941.

Mrs. Speice died January 15, 1940, and Judge W. I. Speice died February 10, 1941.


John Martin Speicher, son of Martin and Anna Schram Speicher, was born July 26, 1889, in Columbus. His father, a merchant, was born August 18, 1863, at Algingen, Luxemburg, Germany, and died September 20, 1948, in Columbus. His mother, born June 28, 1866, in Baden, Austria, died in Columbus on June 28, 1939. Mrs. Speicher's parents died in Austria when she was a child, and her uncle, John Schlasinger, brought her to America. They located on a farm in Butler County, five miles southeast of Columbus, in 1872, and on October 9, 1888, at St. Joseph's Catholic Church, she was married to Martin Speicher. They established their home in Columbus, where Martin Speicher was first with the J. H.. Galley Dry Goods Store and later started a clothing store of his own. The Martin Speichers celebrated their Golden Wedding Anniversary in Columbus on October 9, 1938.

John had six brothers and one sister: William R., Julius N., Albert P., Emil L., Martin A., Edeltrude A., and Joseph H.  William was married to Etta Temple, who is deceased; Julius, deceased, was married to Susan Smith; Emil was married to Anne Ruscheart, who is deceased; Martin married Elsie Kluck; Edeltrude married Evard Waite; and Joseph, D.D.S., married Sally Berg, and they live in Omaha.

John M. Speicher attended the St. Francis Academy in Columbus and served two years with the United States Army during World War I; one year in the States and one year active duty in France and Germany.

After his discharge from the Army, John and his brother Julius became associated with their father in the Speicher and Sons Clothing Company, in Columbus.

John Speicher later owned and operated his own clothing store in Spalding, and after that, was the owner and manager of a grocery and meat shop there. He has been associated with the Loup River Public Power District since the early 1940's.

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