|SECTION 1: The Early Days||SECTION 2: More Early Days|
|SECTION 3: Omaha in 1870||SECTION 4: Present Day (1882)|
|SECTION 5: Crimes||SECTION 6: Fires and Public Works|
|SECTION 7: Health, Parks, Mail||SECTION 8: The Press in Omaha|
|SECTION 9: Press Continued||SECTION 10: Religious|
|SECTION 11: Religious (cont.)||SECTION 12: Cemetery and Schools|
|SECTION 13: Legal and Medical||SECTION 14: Opera House-Hotels-Business|
|SECTION 15: Societies||SECTION 16: Societies (Cont.)|
|SECTION 17: Business||SECTION 18: Manufacturing|
|SECTION 19: Manufacturing (cont.)|
20 - 46:
** Omaha Biographical Sketches **|
| ABLE~BARRIGER | BARTLETT~BOYD | BOYER~BURNHAM |
| BURR~CONKLING | COFFMAN~CREIGHTON |
| CRITTENTON~DIETZ | DINSMOOR~FAWCETT |
| FEARON~GAYLORD | GELATTE~GROSSMANN |
| GROSS~HAVENS | HAWES~HOILE |
| HOLDREDGE~JORGENSEN | JOSLYN~LEISENRING |
| LEHMAN~LOWE | LUDINGTON~MARHOFF |
| MANNING~MILLER | MILLSPAUGH~NINDEL |
| O'CONNOR~PEABODY | PAUL~READ | REDICK~ROGERS |
| ROSENBERY~SCOTT | SEAMAN~SIMPSON | SINCERE~STONE |
| STORZ~UMPHRESON | URLAU~WILBUR | WILDE~WOOD |
| WOODARD~ZEHRUNG | West Omaha Precinct | Douglas Precinct |
List of Illustrations in Douglas County Chapter
[Portrait of Victor H. Coffman, M. D.]
VICTOR H. COFFMAN, M. D., was born September 10, 1839, near Zanesville, Ohio. Lived in Perry County till ten years of age. Moved to Platt County, Ill., thence to Indianola, Iowa, in 1854. Attended the University of Mount Pleasant till 1858, when he began the study of medicine with Dr. C. W. Davis, at Indianola, and attended the Chicago Medical College. Was commissioned Assistant Surgeon Thirty-Fourth Iowa Infantry, August 22, 1862. In 1863 was promoted Surgeon of the regiment. In 1864 was breveted Lieutenant Colonel of Volunteers for meritorious services during the siege of Mobile. After close of the war was on duty with Seventeenth Infantry, U. S. A., as contract surgeon at Houston, Texas. Graduated from Jefferson Medical College, Philadelphia, March, 1866. Came to Omaha 14th of April, 1867, residing here, practicing his profession, till the present. Was married to Miss Rose Devoto, September 10, 1879, in the city of Chicago. Has one son--Weir D.--born August 8, 1880. Was elected Professor of Theory and Practice of Medicine in the Omaha Medical College in 1881.
CHARLES H. CONNER, locomotive engineer, U. P. R. R., was born in Union Village, N. Y., in 1847. He came to Nebraska when quite young and located at Omaha with parents. Was employed for two years at gas fitting. In 1869 entered employ of the U. P. R. R. Co., as a fireman; was engaged in that capacity for two years. In 1871 was appointed locomotive engineer, and has filled that position since. Mr. Conner was married at Omaha in 1877 to Sarah M. Hurley, a native of Nebraska. They have two children, Charles and Gilmore.
JAMES CONNOLLY, firm of Feeney & Connolly, dealers in boots and shoes, also manufacturers same, 512 Sixteenth street; established in June, 1881, and deal exclusively in the above staple goods. Mr. C. was born in Monaghan, Ireland, and emigrated to America in August 1880, and came direct to Omaha, located and began business as above stated. They are beginning business, and doing a trade which bids fair to be the most extensive in that part of the city.
CHARLES M. CONOYER, secretary of the Board of Education. He became secretary in May, 1881. Mr. C. Located in Fort Pierre, D. T., but then a part of Nebraska, in 1854-55 in the Government employ under Gen. Harney. After remaining there some time, they were sent to Fort Lookout, D. T., remained six months, then went to Fort Randall and was there, and at other points on the Missouri River until 1860. A part of this time he was engaged as engineer on a Government boat. He settled in Omaha in 1860 and engaged in the wholesale and retail fruit business until 1868. Also dealt in real estate and was County Jailer four years, up to 1873. He was a member of the Legislature during the winter of 1864-65. Also editor of Nebraska Volksblatt, a German newspaper in company with Dr. Roeder. He was a member of the Board of Education from 1871 to 1873 inclusive. Was again a member of the same Board in 1878, '79,'80 and '81. Mr. C. was born in Baldwin County, opposite Mobile, Ala., July 31, 1841. Was married in Omaha in 1865, to Miss Mary Hanting, who was born in Germany. They have four children, whose names are Mary A., Charles M., Elizabeth J., and Louis P. The subject of this sketch enlisted in a Missouri regiment under Col. Blair in the three months' service, and engaged in the battle of Booneville and Wilson Creek, where the gallant Gen. Lyon fell.
[Portrait of W. J. Connell]
WILLIAM J. CONNELL is of Scotch descent, and was born July 6, 1846, at Cowansville, P. Q., a small village about thirty miles from the northern boundary of Vermont. His father, Rev. David Connell, was a Congregational minister, who, in the year 1856, after doing efficient work at Cowansville, where still exists the little church founded by him, removed with his family to Schroon Lake, a beautiful little town among the Adirondacks in the northern part of the State of New York. In the little village of Schroon, the subject of this sketch, and the eldest of the minister's family of eight children, spent his boyhood days, attending school, and enjoying the hunting and fishing for which the Adirondacks are famous. At the age of seventeen years, after having secured an academic education, he obtained a clerkship in the large grocery house of Bemis, West & Co., at Springfield, Mass., where he was employed until the dissolution of the firm, two years later, when he removed to St. Johnsbury, Vt., to take charge of , and close out, the mercantile business of Ephraim Jewett, then lately before deceased. This occupied his time and attention for about a year, when becoming seized with the western fever, he purchased a ticket direct to Omaha, and arriving at Omaha April 10, 1867. For about a year thereafter, he was in the employ of Tootle and Maul. He then commenced reading law, first in the office of B. E. B. Kennedy, Esq., then with Col. C. S. Chase, and subsequently with Hon. J. M. Woolworth. In the year 1870, he was admitted to the bar, and thereafter engaged in active practice. In 1872 he was elected District Attorney for the Third Judicial District, which then comprised ten counties, including Douglas and Lancaster, and was re-elected in 1874. The office of District Attorney is the only political office he has ever held, or ever thus far sought. As a prosecuting attorney, he was efficient and successful, and made for himself a record of which he has good reason to be proud. In private practice he has been equally successful, and has justly acquired a reputation for energy, integrity and ability. On the 24th of September, 1872, he was married at St. Johnsbury, Vt., to Mattie Chadwick. He has two children, Ralph S., now six years of age, and Carl A., now aged three years. His home, "Hillcrest", is one of the most beautiful and sightly places in Omaha. In all his undertakings Mr. Connel has been wonderfully successful, and in his vocabulary, there exists no such word as "fail." In politics, he is, and always has been, an earnest, active, working Republican, always ready to help his friends, and always "on deck" to make it lively for his opponents.
EDWARD C. COOPER, foreman in Roddis & Thrall's packing house. He usually has sixty men under his supervision during the running season, at an average wages of $2 per day. The capacity is 600 hogs per day. Mr. C. first located in Omaha in September, 1872, and followed the trade of carpenter and joiner a short time, then engaged in Boyd's packing house in different capacities three years, then followed bridge building two years, engaged in a packing house one season, then ran a ferry on the Platte River, near Valley station one season, then engaged in bridge building in the employ of the U. P. R. R., and was soon after employed as engineer in bridging the Loup River near Genoa; then worked at his trade a short time in Silver Creek, and finally located in Omaha in October, 1878. He first was employed as shipping clerk in his present place, and at times took charge of different departments in the packing house, until his promotion to foreman. He was born in Dublin, Ireland, June 30, 1853. Emigrated to America in the fall of 1872; was married in Council Bluffs, Iowa, June 14, 1880, to Miss Jennie Templeton, a native of Missouri. They have one daughter named Louisa B., born May 6, 1881. Mr. C. is a member of I. O. O. F., Omaha Lodge No. 2. Also a member of the Omaha Harmonic Society.
FRANK D. COOPER, dealer in agricultural implements, etc. Business established in 1866 by Mr. Cooper. He represents the Aultman & Taylor Co., of Mansfield, Ohio; D. M. Osborne & Co., of Auburn, N. Y., D. D. Buford & Co., Rock Island, Ill., Emerson, Talcott & Co., Rockford, Ill., Eagle Manufacturing Co., of Davenport, Iowa; the Star Rake of Marshall, Graves & CO., Dayton, Ohio, Sidney Steel Scraper Co., of Sidney, Ohio, and the Newton, Moline and Whitewater wagons. Mr. Cooper was born near Davenport, at Long Grove, Iowa, May 26, 1842. He attended the country school in his native place at intervals until 1863, when he went to Dubuque, Iowa, and attended college at Cincinowa Mound, Wis., about six months, then went to Chicago and took a commercial course in the Bryant and Stratton's business college. He then went to Dubuque, Iowa, and remained there with A. A. Cooper until April 1, 1866, when he came to Omaha and has been engaged in business since. He was married in Dubuque, Iowa, June 25, 1867, to Miss Mary A. Gallagher, a native of Iowa. They have four children, Francis, Austin, Augustus, Henry Joseph and Mary.
JOSIAH COOTER, engineer Union Elevator, Omaha. Mr. C. was born in New York, 1838. In 1857 he engaged at his present profession and has successfully followed it since. In 1870 he came to Omaha. In 1875 he was married to Miss Georgie Fraser. Their family are Hattie, Flora, Welland and Charley.
G. T. CORNISH, dairyman, corner Burt and Division Streets. He came to Omaha in spring of 1866, engaging in freighting and express business, following it until 1874, when he began present business, employing one man and two teams and one delivery wagon. He has twenty-six head of cattle, and disposes of fifty-five gallons of milk daily. In addition to his dairy business, he has one team employed in freighting. He was born in Rome, N. Y., in 1842. He enlisted in Company I, Eighty-first Regiment New York Volunteers, serving four years as a private, and was promoted to Orderly Sergeant. He was in the Army of the Potomac, and was in all the severe engagements that occurred in that section. He was married in September, 1869, to Miss Lucy Hensman, at Omaha. They have four children.
H. W. COSSLEY, proprietor of the "Old Reliable" barber shop, 210 S. Fourteenth street, Omaha, was born and reared in Maryland. In 1863 he enlisted in the First District of Columbia Regiment, and remained in active service till the end of the war. Served under Gens. Burnside, Butler and Ord. In 1866 he came here and has been active in the business life of the State since. He was the first colored man in the State of Nebraska empaneled on a jury, and is the only one who has represented his State in General Convention.
THOMAS H. COTTER, commercial job printer, 1314 Douglas Street, Omaha. He was born in Chicago in 1860, removing to Omaha with his parents in 1869. In 1881 he opened a job printing office, in which he now employs ten hands. He now operates three presses, and owing to the large and rapid increase in his business, he has found it necessary to put in four more presses, making seven in all. Mr. Cotter having passed the greater part of his boyhood days in Omaha, is well known to many citizens of that city. Since establishing his business he has received the patronage of many of the business men of Omaha, so conducting his business as to merit the approval and confidence of the people.
JACOB M. COUNSMAN, contractor and builder, office and shop located No. 1208 on lot 7 block 201 ½ Cuming street, between Sixteenth and Seventeenth. North Side: residence 1086 Sherman Avenue, Omaha. He was born in Blair County, Pa, in 1837, where he lived till April, 1861, when he came to Omaha. He was married in 1858 to Miss Arabella Redman; they have six children, Porter C., Harry G., Ulysses Grant, Daniel W., William D. and Raymond. He began the business of carpenter in 1855, working for other parties until 1867; since which time he had done a large business, employing a part of the time forty-five men. He has built many of the prominent buildings in Omaha, being well and favorably known.
JOHN D. COWIE, manager "Boston Store," dry goods, notions, etc., was born in Aberdeenshire, Scotland, November 15, 1856. Learned the dry goods business in Scotland, and came to the United States in 1874; located in Providence, R. I., and engaged as salesman in the dry goods business, and from there moved to Omaha, Neb., in April 1881, and engaged with Cruikshank & Co.
HON. JOHN C. COWIN, attorney at law.
HENRY E. COX, foreman in M. Rogers & Sons' stove and tin store. He has twenty-nine men under his supervision at the average wages of $2.50 per day. Mr. Cox located in Council Bluffs, Iowa, in 1864, and was employed part of the time with the present firm, and a share of the time with another house in the same business; he located in Omaha, January 13, 1871, since which time he has lived there and been engaged in the above business. He was born in Stark County, Ill., August 16, 1844, where he lived until he was eleven years of age, when his parents moved to Warrensburg, Mo., where they lived a short time, and then moved to Galesburg, Ill. He crossed the Great Plains in 1862, and went to Oregon and Portland, remained one winter, and one year in Fort Walla Walla, Washington Territory and worked at his trade. From there he went to Idaho City. He re-crossed the plains in 1864 and came to Council Bluffs. He began his trade in Missouri, and finished his knowledge of the same in Oregon. He was married in Council Bluffs, Iowa, in the spring of 1867, to Miss Mary Richardson, a native of England. They have four sons, Thomas William, Harvey Richardson, George W., and Henry Elbert. Mr. Cox is a member of the Masonic Order, of St. John's Lodge, of Omaha; he is also a member of the I. O. O. F., No. 49, of Council Bluffs.
J. E. CRAMER, route agent, R. P. O., Railway Mail Service, was born in Xenia, Ohio, July 12, 1846; parents moved to Indiana about 1848, and later settled in Champaign County, Ill. The subject of this sketch enlisted in 1864 in Company B, One Hundred and Thirty-fifth Regiment Illinois Volunteers, 100-day troops, serving until the expiration of the term. He came to Nebraska in 1871, and settled in Fillmore County, where he located a homestead; was appointed to present position in July, 1879. Mr. Cramer is a member of the A., F. & A. M., of Fairmont, Neb., and also of the K. of H. He was a member of the Nebraska State Legislature from Fillmore County for one term.
A. D. RUSSELL CRAWFORD, State Agent of the "John Hancock Life Insurance Company," came to Nebraska in January, 1882. He was born in Philadelphia, June 25, 1844, and lived in that city until he came to Nebraska. While there he was engaged in mercantile pursuits. In the year 1862 he served on the United States Gunboat, "Owasco." He engaged in the insurance business the present year. He was married at Philadelphia, October 2, 1867, to Louisa B. Henderson, a native of that city. The have one child, Edith M. B. Mr. Crawford is a member of the A., F. & A. M.
GEORGE N. CRAWFORD, attorney at law, came to Nebraska in the spring of 1863, and located at Forest City, Sarpy County. He engaged in mercantile business there until 1866, when he moved to Elkhorn, Douglas County, and continued the same business there until 1872. He came to Omaha, in 1880, having been in practice for eight years prior to that time at Elkhorn. He was born in New York City, May 4, 1825, and was admitted to the practice there in 1846 When twenty-five or twenty-six years old he moved to Bellefontaine, Ohio. Prior to that he had been contracting in public works. In 1861 he went to Richland County, Wis., and came to Council Bluffs in 1863. He was a member of the Legislature of Nebraska from 1866 to 1868, inclusive, sitting at four sessions. He laid out the town of Elkhorn. He has been connected with the State Fair Association, and is secretary of the Douglas County Agricultural Society. He was married at Bellefontaine, Ohio, in 1853, to Josephine Janney, a native of Logan County, Ohio. They have two children, Frank J., now residing in Omaha, and Skiles B., a resident of Oregon.
EDWARD CREIGHTON was born near the present town of Barnesville, Belmont Co., Ohio, on the 31st of August, 1820. His parents were Irish immigrants of the early part of this century. They were married in St. Mary's Church, Philadelphia, in 1811, Shortly after their marriage they moved to the growing State of Ohio. It was there that nearly all of their children--of whom there were nine, Edward being the fifth--were born and reared. The elder Mr. Creighton and wife were deeply imbued with the characteristics of their race and native land, and their children, without exception, inherited those qualities. Like the majority of the Irish immigrants who landed on our shores in those days, Mr. Creighton's parents were ardent and practical Catholics, and it was their desire that their descendants should become members of the same faith. With this end in view, they sought for a location in the State of their adoption, which, in addition to fertility of soil, afforded facilities for the education of their children and the cultivation and practice of their religion. Having found such a locality, they settled in 1830 upon a farm midway between Newark and Somerset, in Licking County, Ohio. Here they resided for many years, but a short distance from the Catholic settlements which were springing up and around the churches that were being erected under the direction of the religious order of Dominicans. The wish of the devout parents was consolingly gratified, their descendants, in every instance, embracing the paternal faith, and becoming zealous exemplars in its practice. Edward's boyhood was spent with the family in working upon the farm, with occasional seasons of attendance upon the little school of the district. These seasons, however, were of short duration, and though mainly suggested by parental consideration were supplemented by the desire of the youthful Edward whenever climatic irregularities prevented the performance of his accustomed duties upon the farm. The school kept open doors only during certain periods; and, like every district school of its day and generation, gave instruction in but the rudiments of learning. Of magnificent physique, developed and invigorated by exposure and exercise, Edward possessed a mind not less vigorous and capable. It is not to be wondered at, therefore, that he soon found there was no more to be learned at school. Concurrent with this discovery was the more poignant one, that the disadvantages with which he had to contend and the vexatious conflict with poverty in which he was engaged, would indefinitely postpone, if not forever prevent, his becoming an educated man. The door of the school house had closed upon him forever. However, with determination and perseverance--characteristics which ever afterward distinguished him--in solitude, and without assistance, he read and studied and acquired the knowledge, ill-assorted as it was, with which he set forth to fight the battle of life. His after-life was a long regret that he had not had the advantages of a good education, and this regret contained the germ of that generosity to which reference is made in another portion of this sketch. At the age of nineteen, his father gave him a wagon and team of horses. Little acquainted with the ways of the world, but self-reliant and resolute, thus furnished, he set out to try his fortune. Those were not the days of the steamboat nor the railroad. Indeed, those marvelous creations of civilization had hardly disturbed the dreams of even the most visionary. As a consequence, transportation on land between the widely-separated communities in the West was conducted by the schooner-wagon, which, heavily laden, toiled slowly along the heavy and unworked roads of the prairie. In this inter-urban transportation, Edward's energy, enterprise and capital--the latter consisting of his genius and his father's gift--were studiously enlisted and engaged mainly between the cities of Cincinnati, Ohio, and Cumberland, Md. In this enterprise, equal to the needs of the public and more than equal to the demands of the pursuit, he gained and retained an ascendency over competitors, of whom there were many of both years and experience. But the profits were small, and by no means adequate to the risks and labor involved. As manhood dawned upon him, he conceived a fondness for other and more industrial pursuits. He disposed of his interest in the freighting business, and became engrossed in contracting for the construction of works of public improvement. In 1840 he received the contract for the repair of the national turnpike, extending from Cumberland, Md., to Springfield, Ohio, and was engaged in the work when the national appropriation for its continuance became exhausted. He had now attained to a vigorous manhood. He had leaned to both think and act for himself; to venture in enterprises which his judgment approved, and to foresee the reward of prudence and energy and well-directed acts. His mind had been enlarged, his views broadened, his faculties stimulated and his ambition roused to the accomplishment of greater things. He had been observant, and had profited by what he had experienced, and achieved. At it was, therefore, with fixed principles, settled purpose, steady nerve and toughened fibre that he entered upon his manhood's career. The era of the construction of canals and railroads and great public works had now opened. Enterprises of every kind and of a great moment were being inaugurated and prosecuted with remarkable vigor and rapidity. The western frontier had been removed from the Ohio to the Mississippi, and throughout the erstwhile unutilized territory thriving an restless communities had sprung into vigorous existence. Prominent among the enterprises, both interesting and important, inaugurated about his time, was the construction of the telegraph. The usefulness of the invention had, in a measure, been demonstrated, and a number of the interior towns had, for a short time, been in the enjoyment of the rapid intercourse which it permitted them to hold with distant communities. The lines, however, were short, connecting communities in about the same section of country only, and owned and operated by weak, separate and local companies. Among the leading capitalists of the time there was a strongly-grounded doubt that the business of telegraphy could be made remunerative, and it consequently received but little encouragement from them in the way of investment. In fact, they characterized as visionary and impractical the idea of those who insisted upon its useful and profitable capacity. Despite these disadvantaged circumstances, the value of the invention, both as an investment and an aid to commerce, though slowly, began at length to be appreciated. And as the resultant, came first, the necessity of connecting the lines then in existence, and, subsequently, the advisability of placing them under one general and efficient management. All this was accomplished through the sagacious and energetic efforts of such men as Jeptha H. Wade, Hiram Sibley and Ezra Cornell. The conclusion to which these gentlemen had come, after mature consideration, had been much earlier arrived at by Mr. Creighton. Almost at the inception of the invention he had foreseen its future usefulness, and untrammeled by either narrow or hereditary views, and confient in hopes and convictions, he devoted the energies of his best years to its construction. From 1847 to 1859, acting in every capacity from that of furnishing the poles for lines in construction to that of superintendent of construction itself, he built thousands of miles of telegraph wire, connecting among other cities, those of Pittsburgh, Cincinnati, Louisville, New Orleans, Dayton, Cleveland, Buffalo, Chicago, St. Louis and Omaha. It was about this time he became the director of the interests out of which grew the Western Union system of later days. In 1856 he had amassed about $25,000, and was married to Miss Lucretia Wareham, of Dayton, Ohio. It was in this year also that he came to Nebraska for the first time. The following year he permanently located in this State, settling in Omaha, and becoming at once its most prominent and energetic citizen. Brilliant and successful as had been his career prior to making Nebraska the home of his adoption, it drops insensibly from consideration when compare with the achievements of his later years. The vast region westward, to which his new-made home was but the gate of entry, was to him a region of glorious possibilities. Simultaneously with his settlement, came the greatness of his conceptions and the magnitude of his achievements, which, while they raised him to the exalted position of the greatest benefactor of his State, made his name familiar in the scientific circles of a brace of continents. In 1859 he conceived the idea of a line of telegraph from the Missouri to the Pacific Ocean. Fearless of the scepticism with which less weighty undertakings had been received, and regardless of the labor he would have to undergo in its support, he went East and consulted with Jeptha H. Wade, of Cleveland, upon the enterprise. The result of the consultation was a correspondence with Gen. Carpenter, President of the California State Telegraph Co., then operating between San Francisco and Sacramento. The correspondence resulted in an agreement by which Mr. Creighton was to make a preliminary examination of the country for a desirable route between the Missouri River and the Pacific Ocean. The greatness of the conception of such a line was equaled only by the daring of the projector who would agree to make the preliminary investigation. We who cross the plains to-day in the enjoyment of all the conveniences of metropolitan travel, know little of the circumstances and dangers attendant upon a crossing in those days. The only known routes were those found in Fremont's maps and learned from the Mormons. The settlements were few, the accommodations poor, the extremes of climate severe, and the mountains and plains vigilantly guarded by hostile Indians. Without an escort, and a stranger to the road, he must indeed be imbued with the spirit which permeates the hero, who would undertake the journey. Unescorted, and stranger as he was to those rocky passes and sandy wastes, Mr. Creighton set out upon the venture because he was, indeed, courageous to undertake and capable of accomplishing what his mind was fertile to devise. The telegraph line by this time had been extended from Omaha to Fort Kearney, a point on the stage route to California, about 200 miles west of Omaha. In search of the route to the Pacific, in which his hopes were centered and despite the severity of the weather, Mr. Creighton left his home in Omaha, November 18, 1860, and traveled by way of Julesburg, and Salt Lake to San Francisco. It was a bitter journey, and in its progress Mr. Creighton accomplished, perhaps, the most heroic feat of his life, that of riding in the month of January, 1861, from Salt Lake City to Carson, Nev. He accomplished the journey in twelve days, by change of mules, and arrived in Carson, snow-blind and more dead than alive. He finally recovered from the unpleasant effects of the ride, and made his way to the coast. It was this inspection enabled the construction of the California division of the line. By previous arrangement, he met in San Francisco, Jeptha H. Wade, who had gone by the Isthmus route. Mr. Creighton expressed himself satisfied with the feasibility of the construction of the line. As a consequence, through Mr. Wade and himself, an agreement was entered into with the California Telegraph Company to extend their line from Fort Churchill, in Nevada, to Salt Lake City, there to connect with the line which it was also agreed would be pushed to that point from the East the following summer. Both Mr. Wade and Mr. Creighton went to New York, by way of Panama, reaching that city April 12, 1861, where they reported favorably to the parties who became identified with the construction of the line. The whole scheme of a line of telegraph from ocean to ocean, therefore, was based upon Mr. Creighton's report after a personal inspection, and the expression of his willingness to undertake its construction. In 1861, the Pacific Telegraph line was commenced. It was started on the 4th of July. Mr. Creighton was in personal supervision of the work of construction for 900 miles west of Fort Kearney. The line from San Francisco to Fort Churchill, Nev., which had been built by the California State Telegraph Company, was pushed forward over the intervening 450 miles to Salt Lake City, so that the two parts were connected and the whole completed in less than four months after the commencement of the work, On the 17th of October, 1861, Mr. Creighton sent the following dispatch to his wife:
Fort Bridger, Oct. 17th, 1861. "To Mrs. Edw. Creighton, Omaha, Neb.: "This being the first message over the new line since its completion to Salt Lake, allow me to greet you. In a few days two oceans will be united. "EDWARD CREIGHTON."
Just one week later Mr. Creighton's prediction was fulfilled. The line was completed and the interchange of thought along the electric highway, between the two extremes of the country, became the newest marvel of the times. The enterprise arrested the attention of the civilized world and imparted a hue of feasibility to, and aroused a feeling of interest in the movement, now so grandly successful, of connecting both oceans by rail. Mr. Creighton was appointed superintendent of the lines on their completion, from Omaha to Salt Lake, a position which he retained for many years. The completion of the lines, and through the instrumentality of a Nebraskan, was a source of gratification to the people of the Territory and especially to the citizens of Omaha, who looked upon the designation of their city as the initial point of the continental telegraph, an evidence of its importance, and as calculated to give it a prestige among its rivals. That they sagaciously appreciated the advantage, is evidenced by the fact that, when, a few years later, an initial point for the trans-continental railway was looked for, as if in recognition of the general fitness of things, Omaha was selected. Shortly prior to the commencement of the telegraph line, Congress passed a bill granting a subsidy of $40,000 per annum for ten years. Soon afterward, telegraph stock was issued, and of this Mr. Creighton purchased largely at the rate of fifteen cents on the dollar. Four years later the stock appreciated twenty-fold, and with its increase came to Mr. Creighton, as a well-merited reward, the substantial foundation of a handsome and independent fortune. In the construction of the line, Mr. Creighton had given employment to an army of men, of whom many still survive, among whom may be named his brothers, James, Joseph, and John A. Creighton, the former deceased, W. H. Hibbard, who subsequently succeeded Mr. Creighton as superintendent of the line, and James Creighton. The great outfit of oxen and wagons used in the work, Mr. Creighton bought and in the following year was sold to Brigham Young by John A. Creighton. He afterwards purchased other cattle and utilized them in the freighting business for private parties and the Government. The enterprise was remunerative and was continued from 1861 to 1868 when the completion of the Union Pacific R. R. brought it to a close. One trip, among those made, may be here referred to. It was made in 1863, when gold hunters first descended upon Montana. The train was in the charge of James Creighton, and consisted of forty teams freighted with merchandise, which was sold and netted its owners $60,000. During the summer of 1865 times were very exciting in the East. Telegrams were eagerly sought for in California, but the difficulty of keeping open and uninterrupted a wire through 500 miles of hostile Indian country, was understood by few save the superintendent, Mr. Creighton, and the patrol of thirty men of the Eleventh Ohio Cavalry. Under the direction of Mr. Creighton, and the bravery of the soldiers, the line was repaired as often as broken by the savages. The repairs were made under the cover of night though frequently the mantle of darkness afforded but scanty protection to the daring soldiers. In this way, however, the connection such as it was, between West and East was maintained. On the 1st of February, 1867, Mr. Creighton resigned his position as superintendent of the lines west of the Missouri, and they soon after became part of the system of the Western Union Company. During his superintendencey Mr. Creighton built several thousand miles of wire throughout the far West, reaching among others the cities of Central, Salt Lake, Virginia, Helena and Monument Point. His connection with telegraphy ceased at the last mentioned place, and his last important contract was with the Union Pacific Railroad Company for the grading of a part of that road. Thirty years of a most active life had found Mr. Creighton in possession of both wealth and influence. But, active and successful as he had been and worthy of and needing rest, and capable of enjoying it as he undoubtedly was, he but changed the nature of his calling and multiplied the number of his exactions and his cares. One of the greatest secrets of life, and to Mr. Creighton it was an intuition, is that true happiness, after all, is attained by providing the means of happiness to others. In the prosecution of his multifarious enterprises, Mr. Creighton, of course, had to employ many men. His success in selecting men of ability to act as assistants was remarkable. On the completion of his last work he was loath to part with them and to provide for them became, in Mr. Creighton's mind, a ruling and intelligent desire. With the view to placing these men on the road to a prosperous and happy career, he purchased a large number of cattle which he entrusted to the care of his former assistant, to whom he also gave a part ownership. These cattle were placed upon the western prairies and were soon augmented, and in such numbers by horses and sheep, that in a few years Mr. Creighton had become one of the leading stock-raisers in the West. The ranches established by him stand to-day and are a source of profit to their owners, as is the stock-trade, which he pioneered, a source of wealth to hundreds of others who have emulated his example. Mr. Creighton, with the Messrs.. Kountze Bros., in 1863, established the First National Bank of Omaha, and became its president. He was director for the Colorado National Bank, of Denver, also of the Rocky Mountain National Bank of Central City. The city of Omaha was particularly happy in having Mr. Creighton as one of its citizens, and than him, even among the men of genius who had lived there, none were more active, energetic and influential in her support. As seen above he was president of her strongest financial institution from its organization and retained the position till the day of his death. When the panic of '73 swept over the country he stood ready with his vast personal fortune, pledged to the institution rather than it should deviate, under any pressure, from its accustomed course of honesty and stability. He was president of the Omaha and Northwestern Railroad Company, and owned a large percentage of its stock. His interest in the city was otherwise indicated by his active efforts to induce the Union Pacific Railroad to reaffirm their selection of Omaha as the initial point of their line, when a change of termination on their part led Omaha to believe that Bellevue was to be the starting point. In the discussion which terminated by the selection of Omaha as the initial point, despite certain advantages which Bellevue possed, Mr. Creighton bore an active part, to which unusual weight was attached by reason of his wealth and the prestige of his name. His part in this regard may be likened to that assumed by him in the direction of the greatest movements to the advantage of his adopted city. The most beautiful structres of his day in Omaha were the result of his liberality, his pride, and his confidence in the city. Among these structures may be enumerated the Shoaf Block, Creighton Block and the Grand Central Hotel, to the completion of which he contributed largely. As mentioned above, Mr. Creighton was married in 1856 to Miss Lucretia Wareham, in Dayton, Ohio. But one child was born to them, Charles David Creighton, and he died when but four years of age. The death of their only child darkened the lives of the devoted parents and inflicted a loss which, while life lasted, was irreparable. Mrs. Creighton, the companion of the best years of her husband's life, was a lady of remarkable charms of person and of beauty and excellence in life and character. She was absolutely without guile. Her earthly idols were about her home and there she worshiped with singular devotion. Her home life was as simple as the tastes which gave to it its chiefest charm. She had no desire for the display which her wealth enabled, and as a consequence, she spent her days in the little cottage in which her husband began life a poor man and ended it a millionaire. To his wife Mr. Creighton was a tender, loving, devoted husband, bound by the strongest and endearing ties of human affection. If man and wife were ever one in thought, soul and aspirations such were Mr. and Mrs. Edward Creighton in fullness during the eighteen years of their married life. It was a sad and inconsolable day for Mrs. Creighton when, on Thursday, November 5, 1874, in the fifty-fourth year of his age, her husband was removed from her by the hand of death. Though of impaired health for many years, the end came suddenly. General and profound sorrow was occasioned by the event. Bells were tolled, business was adjourned, meetings of citizens and associates to commemorate his character were held. Large delegations from adjoining States attended his obsequies, and for weeks subsequently the press in all parts of the country teemed with choicest tributes to his memory. Mr. Creighton was buried on Monday, November 9, 1874 in the cemetery of the Holy Sepulcher, at Omaha, in this State. His widow lingered inconsolable till Sunday, January 23, 1876, when she died in Philadelphia. She had gone thither for treatment at the hands of expert physicians. Mr. Creighton had died intestate. In the will left by his wife was a clause bequeathing $100,000 for the endowment of an Institution of learning to be erected in Omaha and known as "Creighton College." The college was designated as a memorial of her husband by Mrs. Creighton, who had selected that method of testifying to Mr. Creighton's virtues and her affection for his memory, because such a work was one which he, in his life time had proposed to himself. The college has since been erected, and has been in operation for four years. At this writing it has an attendance of about 200 students. It is exclusively for boys and is in charge of the order of Jesuits, one of the most capable and successful teaching societies of the Catholic Church. No tuition fee is charged, and every applicant of good moral standing, irrespective of nationality or creed, is admitted to partake of its advantages. It is the only institution of the kind in the county. It is now, and as years go by it will become more and more, a magnificent memorial to the energy, the virtues, the generosity and life of Edward Creighton. Edward Creighton was a remarkable man--remarkable for strength of mind and character, and the most ennobling moral qualities which ever dignified manhood. He lacked the advantages of an early education, but was, nevertheless, a ripe scholar in practical business affairs. His judgment was always marked by prudence, and was rarely at fault save in instances when, impelled by his sympathies to bestow favors upon the undeserving. Bad men drove him behind rigid lines of business; but in this western country, there are hundreds to whom he was both a benefactor and a friend. A devoted Catholic, he lived the religion he professed in every act of his daily life. He was too generous to the intolerant, too just to be narrow-minded. His assistance to charitable institutions and the poor, was of the most substantial kind, and few, even among his intimates, knew of the steady streams which, in this direction, flowed from his abundance. His personal honor was the crown jewel of his sound moral character, and he cherished it with an intensified regard. His word was as good as his bond and himself the very soul of honesty. Mr. Creighton was one of the most genial of men, yet withal, with rare decision of character. His likes and dislikes were very strong, and, formed by nature to lead and rule, he rarely followed and disliked being governed. His will was firm and unyielding on matters upon which from careful study and knowledge he had formed a candid opinion Experience had taught him the inutility of prevarication. He was daring in his business transactions, yet not without a latent caution and prudence. His suggestions were clear and weighty and were generally accepted as the result of wisdom and forethought. Somebody has said that America before all things is an agricultural country, and that her aristocracy, whether of talent or wealth, trace back their origin to a farm. The case with Mr. Creighton was no exception, unless in the particular that his was an aristocracy of both talent and wealth. Beginning with muscle upon the farm, as his stock in trade, he died from over exertion of the brain power; beginning as a laborer, he died a millionaire, a leader of men.