NEGenWeb Project
Kansas Collection Books

Andreas' History of the State of Nebraska

Hamilton County
Produced by Barb Hruza and Alice Vosika.

PART 1: Topographical | Early History | First Things

Organization | Roster County Officers
County Seat Fight | Agricultural Society
Educational Progress and History

Aurora:   Official Roster | Schools | Societies
Churches | Bank of Aurora
Aurora (cont.):   Biographical Sketches
Aurora (cont.):   Biographical Sketches (cont.)

Orville City
Hampton:   Biographical Sketches
South Platte Precinct (Biographical Sketch)
Other Towns

Illustration: [View of Aurora and Court House.]


MAJOR J. S. MILLER, attorney at law, was born at Hinckley, Medina Co., Ohio, August 17, 1838. His parents were Herman B. and Eunice Miller, who removed to Richland County, Wis., in 1854. J. S. Miller entered the army at the first call of the President for 75,000 men for three months, being a private in Company K, of the First Wisconsin Volunteer Infantry. Was with his regiment in Maryland and Virginia, and at the expiration of his term of service was mustered out August 17, 1861, at Milwaukee, Wis. Entered his country's service the second time as Captain of the Richland County Plowboys, Company D, Eleventh Wisconsin Volunteer Infantry; mustered into rank September 21, 1861. Major Miller took an active part in all the engagements of his regiment, and was in the Department of the Mississippi, Tennessee, and the Gulf of Mexico. In August, 1863, was promoted to Major, and commanded that regiment until June 16, 1865, the date of muster out of service. Returning to Wisconsin, he located at Mazo Manie, Dane Co., where he read law for two years, being admitted to the bar. In 1869 was engaged in the manufacture of sash, door and blinds at Stoughton, same State, and in the year following was appointed Foreman of the State Prison at Waupun, but after two years resigned his position. In the spring of 1872, removed to Chicago, Ill,., where he was employed as contractor and builder for one year, when he emigrated to Nebraska, choosing Aurora, Hamilton Co., as his location, and has since practiced his profession. Major Miller was married January 1, 1864, at Mazo Manie, Wis., to Lydia M., daughter of Rev. Mossex Rowley, of that place; she was born at Fredonia. N. Y. The subject of this sketch was one of the instigators of Zach Chandler Post, No. 44, G. A. R., and their first Commander; is also a member of Aurora Lodge, No. 68, A., F. & A. M., and served two years as Master of that institution.

THOMAS L. MYERS, M. D., of the firm of Raben & Myers, druggists, located at York, Neb., in the spring of 1869, and commenced the practice of his profession, being the first physician in York County. In the fall of 1871, purchased the Pioneer Drug Store of that place from A. B. Fulton, which he ran until the spring of 1873, and sold out to W. A. Reed. After traveling a few months in Texas, Kansas and Indian Territory, returned to Nebraska and established his home at Aurora, Hamilton Co., where he purchased the Pioneer Drug Store of Dan Grant. Dr. Myers was born in Montgomery County, Ind., November 18, 1845; moved to Monroe County, Iowa, when but four years old; was educated at Albia, Iowa. At the age of sixteen years the great rebellion broke out, and he entered the ranks as a private in the Eighth Iowa Volunteer Cavalry, Company I, but was soon commissioned Chief Bugler of that regiment, and as such served to the close of the war. Was taken as prisoner of war at the fight of Atlanta, and was seven months in Andersonville prison. Commenced reading medicine in fall of 1865 under Dr. Hoffman, of Moravia, Iowa; attended lectures the winter of 1868 at the Keokuk, Iowa, State University; graduated at the College of Physicians and Surgeons, Keokuk, Iowa, winter of 1868-9. Dr. Myers was married at Oskaloosa, Iowa, November, 1865, to Sarah E. Beatty, of Oskaloosa, a native of the State of Illinois.

MYERS BROS., furniture dealers and undertakers. This firm consists of Francis and Joshua Myers, who purchased the above business from Messrs. Woods & Waite in January 1882. They were both born in Chemung County, N. Y., the former June 17, 1833, the latter November 22, 1840. Francis was also married in that State, in September, 1858, to Miss Martha Shappee, and in the fall of the year following came west to Grundy County, Iowa. Here he farmed, and in October, 1862, enlisted with Company B, of the Sixth Iowa Volunteer Cavalry, serving till the close of the rebellion. Most of the time during his service was spent on the frontiers of Dakota and Montana, and he was in numerous engagements with the Indians. Then returned to Iowa, and in November, 1879, came to Nebraska. His family consists of three children, Mina B., Luna F., Ethel G. Mr. Myers is a charter member of Zach Chandler Post, No. 44. G. A. R. Joshua B. came west with his parents in 1860, locating in Grundy County, Iowa, where he engaged in farming till the breaking out of the war, then enlisted with Company G of the First Iowa Volunteer Cavalry, for the first three years' call, but after serving nineteen months was discharged, having been wounded, which disabled him from further service. Then followed various occupations in Marshall County, Iowa, till the spring of 1873, when he went to Delaware County, Ohio, where he was employed at carpentering in the well known "Delaware Chair Factory." In 1876 returned to Iowa, where he made his home till his removal to Nebraska, in November, 1879; located at Aurora, and opened a meat-market, which he run for two years, and in January, 1882, became a partner with his brother in the furniture business. His wife was Mrs. Hannah J. Randolph, of Ohio, to whom he was married in Iowa in 1869. He was one of the Village Board of Aurora for 1881, and is now a member of the School Board, and of the G. A. R., Zach Chandler Post, No. 44

KNUD S. NISSEN, merchant, of the firm of Nissen & Raben, Aurora, came to Nebraska in the spring of 1873, and located at Seward, where he engaged in clerking and various other occupations until the fall of 1874, when he removed to Aurora and started a small grocery store in company with A. P. Hoegh. He was among the first merchants in town, but soon after the firm dissolved, then Mr. N. continued the business alone until the above firm was organized, and is now one of the leading merchants in the county,. Is a native of Denmark, being born near the city of Ribe, September 3, 1853; emigrated to the United States the same year he came to Nebraska. He and his wife are original members of the Lutheran church; was married in 1876 to Miss Hansine N. Rozsenbom, who is also a native of Denmark.

DR. FREDERICK A. NOBLE, physician and surgeon, is by birth a Pennsylvanian, born in Mercer County, July 12, 1843, son of Willis R. and Betsie M., whose ancestors were originally of Scotch descent, his mother's name before marriage was Wickwire, His early youth was spent in his native State, but when thirteen years old he removed with his parents to Mahoning County, Ohio, but after a residence of two years there, Frederick A. went to Jackson County, Mich., and attended the high school until the breaking out of the late war. He enlisted in Company K of the Seventeenth Michigan Volunteer Infantry, but after participating nine months in the rebellion, was wounded through the right wrist at the battle of South Mountain, Md. Was then discharged and returned to Michigan, but as soon as the recovery of his wound permitted, he re-enlisted in the Tenth Michigan Volunteer Cavalry, Company M, and after serving seven months was again discharged, this time on account of ill health, contracted in the service. Returning to Michigan he began the study of medicine, with Dr. W. W. Andrews, and after a course of two years with him, entered the Eclectic Medical College at Philadelphia, where he graduated in the class of `67. Then began the practice of his profession in Michigan, but after two years removed to Iowa, where he lived until 1873, when he came to Hamilton County, Neb., taking a soldier's homestead on Section 6, Town 10, Range 6 west, Aurora Precinct. Here he lived, improving his land and practicing, until 1875, this being the date of his location in the village of Aurora, where he is practicing, also proprietor of a drug store. He married, in 1867, at LaPorte, Ind., Miss Carey E. Downning, of that place. Both are original members of the Aurora Baptist Church. Dr. N. is a member of Zach Chandler Post, No. 44. G. A. R., and their first Sergeant, he is an A. F. & A. M. of Aurora Lodge, No. 68.

ADELBERT V. B. PECK, dealer in agricultural implements, is a native of New York, born in Greene County, February 28, 1845, but when quite a small lad, came with his parents to Stephenson County, Ill. Here he lived, going to school, until September, 1861, when at the age of sixteen he entered the great rebellion as a volunteer in the Forty-Sixth Illinois Infantry, Company A. After serving three years and two months, he returned to Illinois; was married at Freeport in 1865, to Martha R., daughter of Mason and Rebecca Dimmick, who were among the very earliest settlers in Stephenson County. In 1872, Adelbert V. B. came to Hamilton County, Neb., and took up a homestead of 160 acres on Section 20, Town 9, Range 7, west, Union precinct, and was among the first settlers here. He was elected County Commissioner in 1877, which position he held two years, but at the expiration of that time resigned on account of his removal from the District to Aurora. Mr. P. is a charter member of Zach Chandler Post, No. 44, and is a member of Aurora Lodge, No. 68, A. F. & A. M., and he and his wife are connected with the Methodist Episcopal Church at Aurora.

WILLIAM F. PECK. County Clerk of Hamilton, was born in Greene County, New York, May 6, 1848. His parents were Lewis B. and Elizabeth Peck, nee Wilcox, who were of English descent. Came to Freeport, Ill., with his parents in 1859, where he received a high school education, and when only fourteen years of age entered the army as a soldier in the One Hundred and Thirteenth Illinois Regiment, and was one of the youngest soldiers enrolled. When he had served until December, 1863, he was mustered into the One Hundred and Twentieth Volunteer Infantry, Company A, and continued in the regiment until the close of the war. Returning to Freeport, he resumed his studies, and in 1867 was a graduate of Bryant & Stratton's Commercial College. In 1869 began as clerk, following this occupation until 1873, and at that time came to Hamilton County, Neb., and took up a soldier's homestead of 160 acres, Section 30, Town 9, Range 7, west, Union Precinct, being among the first settlers of this precinct. Here he lived, improving his land, until the fall of 1881, when he was elected Clerk of Hamilton County. During his residence in Union Precinct Mr. P. was Justice of the Peace four years, and was one of the organizing School Board of District No. 23, which position he held eight years, and was also Assessor of that precinct six years. He is a member both of Hamilton Lodge, No. 60, I. O. O. F., and of the G. A. R., Star Post, No. 71, Union Precinct. His wife was Miss Nettie Lee Price, to whom he was married in Iowa in 1867, and who is a native of New York State.

ANDREW G. PETERSON, merchant, was born in Sweden, near the town of Algudsrum, Oland, November 23, 1847, where his occupation was farming. In 1869 he came to the United States, working at various employments at Council Bluffs, Iowa, until the spring of 1870, when he came to Plattsmouth, Neb., and went to work for the B. & M. R. R. Co. in the engine house, and remained in their employ until 1879, being engineer on the road the last seven years, and at the time of the State Prison riot at Lincoln, in 1874, Mr. P. pulled an extra train from Omaha to Lincoln, making the fastest time on record in the State. The distance between Ashland and Lincoln is twenty-four miles, and this he ran inside of twenty-five minutes, by a special order of the Superintendent, I. W. Irving. Mr. P. started in his present business in Aurora in 1879.

WILLIAM H. PINNELL, farmer and stockraiser, came to Nebraska in the fall of 1872, locating at Seward, but only remained there till the following April, when he came to Hamilton County and took up a homestead of 160 acres on Section 2, Town 10, Range 7, west, Hamilton Precinct. Lived on his farm till 1877, when he opened a grocery store in Aurora. In 1879 he purchased 160 acres of land adjacent to the village, and now has eighty acres of it under plow, with good comfortable improvements. There are also fifteen acres of native timber on his farm. William H. was born, and reared, in Edgar County, Ill., in 1845; his parents were Elijah and Mary Pinnell, his mother's name, Ungles, before marriage. Mr. Pinnell enlisted with the One Hundred and Fiftieth Illinois Volunteer Infantry, Company C, in 1864, and served till the close of the great rebellion. He remained in Illinois till his emigration to this State, in 1872. His wife was Miss Tishie A. Venamon, of Ohio, whom he married in Illinois, March 31, 1868. They are the parents of two children, Ollie May and Walter O. The subject of this sketch is an original member of Zach Chandler Post, No. 44, G. A. R.

WILLIAM Z. POLLARD, County Sheriff of Hamilton, was born in Washington County, Ind., March 21, 1859. When three years of age his parents moved to Lucas County, Iowa, and engaged in agricultural pursuits; and here he lived with them until his removal to Nebraska. This transpired in April, 1873, taking up a homestead in Hamilton County, on Section 8, Town 10, Range 5 west, Beaver Precinct. Here he lived, improving his land, until 1879, when he engaged in merchandising with T. H. Glover at Aurora, but after one year's trial sold out and was employed as clerk until the fall of 1881; was then elected County Sheriff. Mr. P. has been married twice, his first wife was Miss Ruhama Wade, whom he married May 20, 1872, and who died in 1875, by whom he had two children, one of which is living. William T.; on the 10th of May, 1882, he wedded Miss Isabel Davis, formerly of Oshkosh. Wis.

EDGAR D. PRESTON, farmer, residence Aurora, came to Nebraska in the spring of 1872 and pre-empted the southeast quarter of Section 4, the present site of Aurora, and was one of the instigators of that town, and was the original proprietor of the south addition, known as the Preston addition. He also owns a fine farm of 200 acres two miles southwest of the town, which has 130 under plow, 40 fenced for pasture, and over 100 choice fruit trees; he also has on his place over 8,000 forest trees, and good comfortable buildings, and other improvements necessary on a first-class farm. He is a native of New York State, being born near Monroe County, October 18, 1844; removed to Wisconsin with parents, David W. and Sophia in 1851, settled in Sheboygan County in 1863. Mr. P. enlisted in the Thirty-Sixth Wisconsin Volunteer Infantry, and served until the close of the war. He was wounded in the left thigh at the battle of Cold Harbor, Va. After the war he returned to his former home in Wisconsin and engaged with the Wisconsin Central Railroad Company until he came to Nebraska. Was married in Lincoln, Neb., October 15, 1873, to Miss Jennie Thomas, of Sheboygan County, Wis., whose parents were among the pioneers of that county. He was one of the original members of the G. A. R. Zach Chandler Post, No. 44, at Aurora, and is at present Commander, and was one of the largest donors in the building of the court house at Aurora.

JOHN RABEN, merchant, of the firm of Nissen & Raben, became a resident of Nebraska in 1871, but did not locate in Hamilton County till eighteen months subsequent. Took up a homestead on Section 2, Town 11, Range 5 west, Valley Precinct; but after living on it one year, moved to Aurora. In October, 1876, opened the first drug store at Aurora, in which he still owns an interest, in company with Dr. Myers. In the fall of 1881, became connected with K. S. Nissen in general merchandise, and have a large and complete stock of the same. Mr. Raben was born near the city of Fleusburg, Germany, February 18, 1843; learned the painter's trade in his native country, and worked at the same there till 1869, when he emigrated to the United States, locating in Dallas County, Iowa, and continued his former occupation till he came to this State. He has served as one of the Board of Trustees of Aurora several terms. Mr. R. and wife are original members of the Lutheran Church, Valley Precinct. She was Miss Alvina Strehlaw, born in Germany, whom he married in Iowa, in the fall of 1870.

NOYES C. ROGERS, merchant, first became a resident of Nebraska in March, 1870; located at Seward, where he ran a grocery store till 1876, and was among the first merchants in the place. Then formed a partnership with W. E. Chapin, this firm continuing till 1879, when Mr. Rogers sold out, and in September of the same year came to Aurora, and went into business with his brother, H. G. Rogers, one of the first merchants in that town. After running successfully together till February, 1881, they dissolved, and Noyes C. bought the stock. He is proprietor of the large two-story brick store on the southwest corner of the square, which is elegantly equipped with plate-glass front and black walnut counters. Mr. Rogers was born in Caledonia County, Vt., July 19, 1843; reared on a farm, he acquired a liberal education, and when nineteen years of age became a soldier in the rebellion, enlisting with the Fifteenth Vermont Regiment. After one year of active service he was transferred to the Quartermaster Department, where he remained till 1865. Returning home, he attended the high school for a time, and afterward followed various occupations till he came west. His wife was Miss Hattie W. Sprague, of Vermont, whom he married at Seward, in 1876. They have two sons, Fayette F. and Calvin S.

WILLIAM H. STREETER, agent at Aurora for the Union Pacific Railroad Land Department, came to Nebraska in December, 1873, and after a general inspection of the various counties, located the following spring at Aurora. Embarked in the agricultural implement business in company with G. P. Wintersteen, and theirs was the first stock in that line brought into Aurora. In 1877 was appointed Land Agent, as above, and now operates both of these successfully. The subject of this sketch is a native of St. Lawrence County, N. Y., born February 27, 1835, son of Henry and Susan Streeter, who removed to Dodge Co., Wisconsin Territory, in 1845, being among the early settlers of that county. Here Wm. H. acquired his education, his boyhood being spent on a farm with his parents. In 1864 he entered the war of the great rebellion, with the First Wisconsin Volunteer Cavalry, serving till the close of the war, afterward returning to Wisconsin, where he made his home until his removal to Nebraska, and where he was married, in 1858, to Miss Julia M. Nichols, also born in New York. Mr. Streeter is connected with the F. & A. M., being a charter member of Aurora Lodge, No. 68, and their first master under the dispensation.

JOHN W. THIERG, of the firm of Thierg & Helms, hardware, pumps, &c., came to Nebraska in spring of 1870, and took up homestead on Section 14, Town 11, Range 2 west, Beaver Precinct. There he remained, improving his claim of 160 acres, for six years. He then removed to Aurora, in October, 1876, and opened a hardware store in company with C. LeCount, of York, which was the first hardware store in Hamilton County; but soon afterwards Mr. Helms bought out LeCount's interest, and the firm has successfully operated since. John W. was born at New Orleans February 12, 1847; his parents removed north, to Cincinnati, O., when he was but a small lad; in 1860 went back to New Orleans, where he remained but a short time, when he came back to Cincinnati, and from there to Toledo, where he learned the tinner trade, which he followed until he came to Nebraska, except short time, he served in war of rebellion with the One Hundred and Thirtieth Ohio Volunteer Infantry, Company E. He is at present member of the G. A. R., and Q. M. of Zach Chandler Post, No. 44, at Aurora. He is also member of Aurora Lodge, No. 68, of A. F. & A. M., and Chapter at Grand Island, No. 11. Was married at Toledo, Ohio, in 1869, to Miss Arville K. Moybie. They are both original members of the Universalist Church at Aurora. He is at present Chairman of Town Board of Aurora.

WILLIAM H. TUTTLE, proprietor of the "Tuttle House," came to Nebraska in the spring of 1868, locating in Seward County, where he took up a homestead on Section 30, Town 12, Range 3; at the same time he erected a small frame house on the present site of the Commercial Hotel, Seward, which was afterwards converted into a tavern, and was the first one built in the town. In 1872 erected the "Park Hotel," same town, and this he ran till 1875, when he removed to Friendville, Saline Co., thence to York, and built the "Commercial Hotel." Run this till the summer of 1877, when he sold out and changed his place of abode to Aurora. Here he erected the "Tuttle House," which is a frame building, 40x75, two stories, and has accommodations for about fifty guests. William H. was born November 26, 1828, in Herkimer County, N. Y., son of Ransom and Ethina Tuttle, nee Ellis, both from the New England States. He remained at home, going to school and working on the farm, up to the time of his marriage, which occurred August 29, 1849. Then commenced keeping hotel at Turin, Lewis County, which he continued till 1855, and two years later emigrated to Allamakee County, Iowa, where his occupation was that of farmer. In the fall of 1862 he became a soldier of the rebellion, enlisting with Company A of the Twenty-Seventh Iowa Volunteer Infantry, but after serving his country a little more than one year, he was discharged on account of sickness. Returned to Allamakee County, where he was appointed Deputy Provost Marshal, and held this position till the close of the war. While living at Seward, Mr. Tuttle was Sheriff of that county two years, and was an original member of the F. & A. M. of that town. His family is composed of four children, Ella (now Mrs. Liggett, of Colorado), Lucian L., Lizzie M., and Effie.

JOHN TWEEDY, Postmaster, came to Nebraska in April, 1871, homesteading 160 acres on Section 20, Town 11, Range 6 west, Grant Precinct, and was among the first settlers there. Lived on his homestead till 1874, when he removed to the village, and in February, 1878, was appointed Postmaster of Aurora, under President Hayes' administration, which position he has creditably filled. He was born at Cincinnati, Ohio, August 16, 1833, where he resided with his parents, James and Margaret Tweedy, on a farm, and received a district school education. When the rebellion broke out, he enlisted with Company H, of the Eighteenth Indiana Volunteer Infantry, and served his country three years, being in all the battles of his regiment. Then returned to Indiana, and in 1865 moved west to Des Moines County, Iowa, and farmed till his removal to this State. Mr. Tweedy was married in Hamilton County, Neb., in 1880, to Mrs. Lilly T. Perry, formerly from Ohio. He was a charter member of Aurora Lodge, No. 68, of the Masonic Society, and was the first Treasurer of said fraternity in the county. He also belongs to the G. A. R., Zach Chandler Post, No. 44.

JOHN R. VAN BOSKIRK, dealer in farm and all kinds of machinery, and also proprietor of the Branch House at Hampton, Neb. Mr. Van P. came to Nebraska in the spring of 1871, and located at Bennet Station, in Lancaster County, where he held the position of station agent for the Midland Pacific Railroad Company, and was also engaged in lumber and farm machinery, etc. In 1876 he removed to Fairmont, Fillmore County and engaged in the banking business, which he followed until 1879, then removed to Aurora, and started his present business. He was born in Clay County, Ind., July 10, 1850. In 1856 his parents removed to Scott County, Iowa, and engaged in stock raising. Here John R. received a common education, and afterward attended the Wabash College in Indiana, and followed teaching school until he came to Nebraska. Was married at Victor, Iowa, in 1873, to Miss Cora Brainard, who was born in Illinois. He is a member of I. O. O. F. and K. of P.

GEORGE WILDISH, President of the Hamilton County Bank, which was established in November, 1877, and was the first bank in Hamilton County. They have a large brick building, 22x42, two stories high, and this is furnished with a perfect fire-proof and solid brick vault, containing a burglar-proof Hall safe and time lock. The subject of this sketch is a native of Waukesha County, Wis.; born April 27, 1844. After receiving an education in the high school of that county, he entered the commercial college of Bryant & Stratton at Milwaukee. In the spring of 1867, Mr. W. removed to Andrew County, Mo., where he engaged in farming and stock raising. In 1874 came to York, Neb., where he went into the broker business, and was also admitted to the bar, remaining there until his removal to Aurora. He is a member of both Aurora Lodge, No. 68, A. F. & A. M., and of Hamilton Lodge, No. 60, I. O. O. F. Myron T. Wildish, youngest brother of the above, was born in Waukesha County, Wis., March 18, 1857. He is an accomplished scholar, having been a student at the Wisconsin State University four years, and is a gentleman fully accomplished and competent to fill the responsible position entrusted to him, that of Cashier of the Hamilton County Bank.

JOHN WILSON, proprietor of the "Aurora Steam Feed and Meal Mills," came to Nebraska during the spring of 1879, and purchased 320 acres of land from the U. P. R. R. Co., located on Section 11, Town 8, Range 9 west, Adams County. Here he lived, improving his farm till January, 1882, when he removed to Aurora, and erected these mills, which have a capacity for making 250 bushels of feed per day, or 200 bushels of meal. John was born in Winnebago County, Wis., March 2, 1852. He received a liberal education in his native State, and afterwards followed farming there, until his emigration to this State. He is a member of the I. O. O. F. of Wisconsin.

JACOB WOLBACH came to Nebraska in April, 1880, from New York city, where he had been engaged in the manufacture of goods for ladies' wear for twenty years. He occupies a fine frame building, 22x80, which is well filled with as complete a stock of merchandise as is to be found in the county. He was elected member of the Board of Trustees of Aurora in April, 1882. Mr. W. was born in Germany near the city of Gunzenhausen, December 9, 1829, emigrated with his parents to the United States in 1843, and settled in New York city. Jacob finished his education in one of the schools of that city. He volunteered with the State militia in 1852, was elected Lieutenant in 1856, and Captain in 1859 of Troop K, Third Regiment, Cavalry, serving as such until 1864. He is a member of Empire City Lodge, No. 206, F. & A. M.

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