GAGE COUNTY 563
Mr. Townsend was married, in the spring of 1878, to Miss Kate Monce, who was born in Ohio in 1860, and is the daughter of Samuel Monce, Esq., one of the early residents of Nebraska City. Her father is deceased; her mother, Mrs. Monce, is still living. Mr. and Mrs. Townsend have had born to them three children, only one girl now living, Jeane Beatrice.
OBERT J. SMITH, dealer in lumber, wood and coal at Beatrice, and having his head-quarters on West Court street, is a native of the Dominion of Canada, and was born near Woodstock, the county seat of Oxford County, Feb. 6, 1849. He was the fourth in a family of eight children, five sons and three daughters, the offspring of James W. and Margaret (McAvoy) Smith, the former born in the county of Kent, England, and the latter in Ireland. The parents were brought by their parents to Canada when children. The father of our subject was a farmer by occupation, and carried on agriculture in the Dominion until coming to the States in the fall of 1866. At that time they located in the vicinity of Grand Rapids, Mich., upon a tract of land where the father labored until his death, which took place in July, 1874. The mother is still living there.
All of the brothers and sisters of our subject grew to mature years. Robert J. spent his boyhood days in Canada, attending school and working on his father's farm. After the removal of the family to Michigan he became interested in the lumber trade, and was for a period of seven years connected with the prominent business established by David Fisher. Upon withdrawing from this he resumed farming, at which he was occupied a number of years, and also worked considerably as a carpenter.
The fall of 1882 found our subject making his way to this State, and after his arrival in Beatrice he engaged as a salesman for the extensive lumber firm of Washburn & Co., remaining with them four years. At the expiration of this time his large experience in this business seemed to justify him in establishing on his own account and taking a partner, John H. McKim. He opened an office at No. 324 West Court street, Beatrice, and they continued a few months. Mr. Smith then disposed of his interest in the business to his partner, and established a new yard, which he has since conducted with flattering success. He keeps a full stock of everything in his line, sash, doors, blinds, and all the building material required for the construction of both dwellings and business houses. His promptness in serving his patrons, and his correct methods of doing business, have secured for him an extensive patronage throughout Gage County.
Robert J. Smith and Miss Addie Corbin, of Grand Rapids, were united in marriage Aug. 2, 1879, at the home of the bride in that city. Mrs. Smith is the daughter of Charles and Elsie (Inman) Corbin, who were natives of New York, and who went to Michigan in 1848. She was born in New York, Jan. 20, 1847. Her parents are now residents of Beatrice. Of this union there have been born seven children, viz: Jennie M., Mary E., Margaret E., Charles E., James W., Maude C. and Edna. Mr. Smith, politically, is quite conservative, but usually casts his vote in support of Democratic principles. The family residence, a neat and substantial structure, is located in the western part of the city, and forms a home in keeping with the means and standing of the proprietor.
ILLIAM C. STROHM, manager of the firm of Kilpatrick Bros. & Collins, well known among the business interests of Beatrice, is a native of Dauphin County. Pa., having been born near the city of Harrisburg, Oct. 8, 1854. He is the only son of Thomas and Mary (Hicks) Strohm, whose family consisted, besides himself, of five daughters. They also were natives of the Keystone State, and the father during the younger years of his life was occupied in agricultural pursuits. Upon retiring from active labor he took up his abode with his excellent wife in the village of Linglestown, where they now live.
The boyhood of our subject was passed in his native county, where he attended the common school. He began teaching at the age of fifteen years, and was thus employed several winters, at-
564 GAGE COUNTY
tending school in the meantime during the summer season. In due time he became a student of the State Normal School, at Millersville, Pa., and upon emerging from this, not yet satisfied with his store of knowledge, entered Heidelberg College, at Tiffin, Ohio. Here he pursued his studies until in June, 1876, when he was graduated.
In October of the year mentioned young Strohm made his way to Utah Territory, and settling at Ogden was given a position with the banking firm of J. E. Dooly & Co., which was afterward merged into the Utah National Bank. At the same time he was employed by the United States Government, as local agent for the post-office department. In 1878, returning to Ohio, he was united in marriage with Miss Augusta Randall, of Tiffin, who was born Sept. 10, 1856, in Henry County, Ohio, and is the daughter of Edwin and Ellen (Palmer) Randall. Her parents were natives of Maine and New York respectively, and are now living in Seneca County, Ohio, on their farm.
In October, 1881, Mr. Strohm entered the employ of Collins & Stevens, who held the contract for the construction of the Oregon Short Line Railway. With them he remained until the fall of 1885, then accepted a position with Kilpatrick Bros., large railroad contractors, with headquarters at Beatrice. Mr. Collins was subsequently made a partner in the business. To Mr. and Mrs. Strohm there have been born three children--Edwin, Leah and Gusta. In politics Mr. Strohm is a stanch Republican of the old school.
OHN H. REYNOLDS, of Wymore, is a member of the firm of E. P. Reynolds & Co., well known from ocean to ocean, and from the Lakes to the Gulf, as railroad contractors and bridge builders. The firm comprises E. P. Reynolds, Sr., of Rock Island, our subject, and his brothers, Benjamin and E. P., Jr., all residing at Wymore. They have built over 1,000 miles of the Burlington & Missouri River Railroad, including that from Table Rock to Red Cloud and Beatrice; also from McCook to Denver. They have built about the same amount for the Rock Island system, besides a number of other railways of lesser extent. There are quite a number of large bridges both for railway and general traffic purposes, many of them across large and important streams, several of them being considered quite triumphs of engineering skill. The majority of their larger works have been constructed since 1880. The firm located its Wymore branch on the 1st of June, 1882, at a cost of $30,000. In 1885 they built the Wymore Street Railway, which extends out as far as Blue Springs. In this enterprise our subject and his brother Benjamin own two-thirds of the stock; E. P., Jr., Samuel Wymore, P. A. Managan, Alexander Stewart and I. Liberman carry the remainder. The line is built of the best steel rails on a rock ballast roadbed, and is traversed by modern cars of excellent construction, which are drawn by as fine horses as could be procured for the purpose. It is one of the best equipped and operated lines in the State. Our subject is its President, his brother Benjamin Vice-President and general manager, and E. P., Jr., Secretary and Treasurer. Our subject and his brother Benjamin are the owners of the Wymore Citizens' Bank, which has a paid-up capital of $30,000, and is one of the strongest banks in Gage County, and under the efficient management of Mr. J. K. Lee is doing a very large business. Its cashier is Mr. Lake Bridenthall.
Another enterprise in which our subject is interested is the Touzalin Hotel, being a member of the company which built and owns it. It is considered by all its guests as the finest hotel, outside of Omaha, in the State. It is owned by a stock company, of which the Reynolds Bros. are principal holders, and E. P., Jr., is President. It is a fine brick structure, covering about 160x150 feet, and erected by the Reynolds Bros. at a cost of $60,000. They also erected the first hotel built in Wymore--the Potter House. Both J. H. and B. Reynolds own very fine residences in the city, and also considerable town property and land adjacent thereto, besides about sixty acres between Wymore and Blue Springs, all of which will shortly be covered by surburban (sic) residences.
Our subject takes great interest in his farm, which is situated on Indian Creek, seven miles west
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