He at once proved that he possessed a knowledge of business conditions and a soundness of judgment unusual for one of his years and the business prospered from the beginning. Although the other members of the family are interested financially in the store its management has always devolved upon him and the success which he has gained is highly creditable. He gives the closest attention to every detail of the business and his enterprise and industry leave no doubt as to his future.
Mr. Zimpfer is a member of the Masonic order and the Knights of Pythias. He is one of the important factors in the business life of Ravenna and as the years have passed his trade has constantly grown, his liberal policy and the high quality of his goods having commended him to the support of the representative people of the town. With such a record it is needless to say that he is highly esteemed by all who know him.
ALBERT A. GEHRKE, D. O.
Dr. Albert A. Gehrke, of Ravenna, has gained a large practice as an osteopath and has also been connected with business interests, having conducted the Pastime Moving Picture Theater for some time, although that enterprise is now rented and managed by his son-in-law. He was born in Fond du Lac, Wisconsin, on the 28th of February, 1861. His parents, August and Wilhelmina (Buss) Gehrke, were both born in Berlin, Germany, but in 1857 came to America and became pioneer settlers of Forest county, Wisconsin. The father purchased sixty acres of timber land, all of which he cleared in the course of time. In 1874 he removed to Buffalo county, Nebraska, and homesteaded a quarter section of land five miles east of Ravenna. He also took up a timber claim of one hundred and sixty acres and devoted the remainder of his life to the improvement of his land. He passed away in 1876 but was survived by his wife until 1892. He served during the Civil war for six months as a member of a Wisconsin regiment and was at all times loyal to his adopted country.
Dr. Albert A. Gehrke received the greater part of his education in Wisconsin, as he was thirteen years of age when the family home was established in this county. At that time this district was but sparsely settled and deer, antelope, gray foxes and other game abounded and along the Loup river beaver and similar fur bearing animals were plentiful. He shot deer on the present townsite of Ravenna and during the winters spent a great deal of time hunting and trapping. His father died when he was but fifteen years of age and the operation of the home farm devolved upon him and his brothers. As soon as they became of age they took up .claims in the vicinity of the family homestead and thus acquired land which has since become valuable. Dr. Gehrke purchased a relinquishment to a homestead on the Loup river about four miles east of Ravenna and lived there for about twenty-five years, when he sold out and removed to Ravenna.
While still engaged in farming he became much interested in osteopathy and, although he was handicapped by lack of educational opportunities in his youth, he believed that he could remedy that deficiency and took up the study of anatomy and other necessary scientific studies. In 1900 he went to Omaha and took a
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year's course in magnetic healing, after which he returned to Ravenna and practiced as a masseur for five years, during which time he continued his home study. At length he felt that he was ready for a college course and accordingly entered the Still College of Osteopathy in Des Moines, the leading school of osteopathy in this country if not in the world. He was graduated with the degree of D. O. with the class of 1906 and located for practice at Central City, Nebraska. In 1907, however, he became a resident of Ravenna and has since engaged in practice here. His ability is widely recognized and his practice is large and representative. In 1908, in order to secure an electric plant for use in his profession, he purchased a moving picture outfit and, being a good business man, recognized the advantage of securing the greatest use possible of his equipment and accordingly went into the moving picture business. Under his able management this venture proved successful and at length he opened a modern and thoroughly equipped moving picture theater known as the Pastime Theater. It is handsomely decorated, the films shown are of the very best and the theater is now one of the most popular places of amusement in Ravenna. Dr. Gehrke managed its affairs personally for several years but has since rented the theater to a son-in-law. He also holds title to his residence, which is commodious and well designed.
Dr. Gehrke was married December 7, 1882, to Miss Gretchen Bohn, a daughter of John and Margereth Bohn, natives of Germany. The father died in Germany in 1865 and the mother subsequently remarried. In 1872 the family emigrated to the United States and located in Grand Island, Nebraska, where the stepfather of Mrs. Gehrke engaged in farming. He paused away in 1898, and the mother died in October, 1915. Eight children have been born to Dr. and Mrs. Gehrke, of whom four died in infancy, the others being: Amanda, the wife of Joseph Eckel, a merchant of Ravenna; Rudy, a barber residing at Pueblo, Colorado; Augusta, the wife of Gust Holub, who runs the Pastime Theater of Ravenna; and Edith, who is attending school.
Dr. Gehrke has given careful study to the political and economic problems of the day and has become convinced of the correctness of the principles of the socialist party, which he accordingly supports. The success which he has made as an osteopath is highly creditable to his ability and his determination and force of character, for he did not begin his professional preparation until he was forty years of age. Many men would have considered it impossible for them to take up a professional career at that time, but he believed that he could fulfill his ambition and by dint of hard study carried out his purpose and is now ranked among the most successful physicians of Ravenna.
C. G. BLISS.
C. G. Bliss, president of the City Bank of Elm Creek, which he organized in 1907, is one of the leading financiers of Buffalo county. He was born on the 10th of May, 1883, a son of N. T. Bliss, a native of Pennsylvania, who as a young man came to Buffalo county. He homesteaded land in Gardner township and for many years successfully engaged in farming and stock dealing. He
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is now .deceased. His widow, who was in her maidenhood Miss Edith M. Rogers, is still living.
C. G. Bliss was reared upon the home farm and received his education in the Shelton schools. After reaching mature years he engaged in the real estate business, being secretary of the Wood River Land & Loan Company, but in 1907 he turned his attention to banking, organizing at that time the City Bank of Elm Creek, of which he has since been president. He gives his careful attention to the direction of the affairs of the institution and his natural ability, combined with his close study of banking, has made him very efficient as a bank official.
Mr. Bliss was married in 1910 to Miss Jessie Stebbins, who was born in Buffalo county and is a daughter of John and Ida M. Stebbins. Two children have been born to their union, namely, John and Jessie.
Mr. Bliss supports the republican party at the polls and is at present serving acceptably as a member of the school board. He belongs to the Methodist Episcopal church and can be counted upon to further the moral advancement of his community. He has achieved much success, although he is a young man, and his enterprise and good judgment are factors in the business expansion of Elm Creek. Personally he is popular and his sterling integrity has gained him the respect of all who have been associated with him. His entire life has been passed in Buffalo county and his accurate knowledge of conditions here has been of advantage to him in his business career. His father was one of the pioneers of the county and played well his part as one of those who have developed it from a pioneer district, and the same public spirit and regard for the general welfare have characterized Mr. Bliss of this review in his work.
IRA F. HENLINE.
Ira F. Henline is a well known and highly respected resident of Kearney, deriving his income from property interests and other investments, which include connection with the Commercial Bank of Gibbon, of which he has been the president since 1912. He was born upon a farm near Bloomington, McLean county, Illinois, March 1, 1858, his parents being James J. and Sarah (Smith) Henline, who were natives of Kentucky. The father was a farmer and stock raiser and both he and his wife passed away in Illinois, where they reared their family of eleven children, nine of whom are yet living.
Ira F. Henline spent his youthful days upon his father's farm in McLean county, Illinois, and there acquired his education in the district schools, dividing his time between his textbooks and the work of the fields. He continued to follow agricultural pursuits as long as he made McLean county his home, and while he was still residing there he was married at Pontiac, Illinois, on the 12th of March, 1884, to Miss Sina E. Arbuckle.
In 1888 he came to Nebraska and purchased a farm of one hundred and sixty acres on Wood river in Center township, Buffalo county. He has since lived in this county and for about fourteen years he gave undivided attention to agricultural pursuits, making his home upon the farm on which he first settled, until the year 1902, when he removed to Buda, having in the meantime
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purchased two hundred and eight acres of land adjoining that village. He thereafter continued to engage in farming but also devoted much of his attention to buying, feeding and shipping stock. Since that time he has made stock dealing an important branch of his business and from it has derived a very gratifying annual income. For a number of years he bought thousands of hogs annually and shipped them west to Portland, Oregon, San Francisco and Los Angeles. Since January, 1910, he has made his home in Kearney and from this point has carried on his business operations. He is the owner of a quarter section of land in Thornton township in addition to his property at Buda, so that his holdings now comprise three hundred and sixty-eight acres of valuable and productive land in this part of the state. In 1912 he became associated with the Commercial Bank of Gibbon and at that date was elected president, in which position he has since continued.
To Mr. and Mrs. Henline were born four children: Bernie F, who is cashier of the Commercial Bank at Gibbon; Vernie T, who is more commonly known as "Judge" and who operates a ranch at Buda and is also engaged in the live stock business; Lulu B, the wife of J. W. McKearney, of Kearney; and Beulah J. The wife and mother passed away January 13, 1914, her death being deeply regretted not only by her immediate family, but also By many friends. She was a member of the Methodist Episcopal church and lived a life in consistent harmony with her professions. Mr. Henline also belongs to the Methodist church and he is likewise identified with the Independent Order of Odd Fellows, the Ancient Order of United Workmen and th6 Modern Woodmen of America. In politics he is a republican where national issues are involved, but does not hold himself bound by party ties and in his political activities frequently follows an independent course. Those who know him esteem him for his sterling worth. He fearlessly expresses his honest convictions, his position never being an equivocal one, and his influence is always given on the side of progress, improvement, justice and truth.
O. O. OLSON.
O. O. Olson, who is successfully engaged in stock raising in Platte township, was born in Galesburg, Illinois, on the 1st of March, 1876, a son of Otto and Hattie (Ackerson) Olson, both natives of Sweden, whence they emigrated to the United States in 1866. They lived in Illinois until 1878, in which year they went to Phelps county, Nebraska, but subsequently removed to Cuming county, and there the father passed away, although the mother is still living. They were the parents of eight children, of whom seven survive.
O. O. Olson assisted in the operation of the homestead until he was twenty-three years of age and then assumed charge of the farm work. As the years passed he saved his money carefully and at length purchased three hundred acres of good land on sections 12, 13 and 14, Platte township. He is now living, however, upon a farm on sections 10 and 11 belonging to his wife, and he specializes in the raising of high grade horses, mules, cattle and hogs. His well
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directed activities yield him a good return and he is ranked among the substantial men of his locality. In 1889 Mr. Olson was married to Miss Anna Hanson, who was born in Wisconsin and is a daughter of Nels and Emelia Hanson, now residents of Kearney. Mr. and Mrs. Olson have six children, namely: Loring, Violet, Esther, Gilbert, Oren and Gladys.
The family attend the Methodist Episcopal church and take a commendable interest in its varied lines of activity. Mr. Olson is a republican in politics and for the last ten years has served on the school board. Fraternally he belongs to the Odd Fellows lodge at Gibbon, in which he has filled a number of the chairs, and to the Modern Woodmen of America. His success is the result of energy and sound judgment, and in gaining individual prosperity he has also promoted the agricultural interests of his township.
Barta Kase, who for many years has resided in Ravenna, has built up a large and gratifying patronage and derives a substantial profit from his boot and shoe business. He has been established in business in Ravenna longer than any other merchant of the town and has contributed in no small degree to its development along commercial lines. His birth occurred in Kolovec, in the province of Pilsen, Bohemia, on the 24th of August, 1861, and his parents were Paul and Eva (Kroulek) Kase, likewise natives of Bohemia. The father engaged in farming and also devoted considerable attention to the stock business and met with gratifying success in both occupations. He passed away on the 25th of December, 1914, and his wife died in 1901.
Barta Kase attended the village schools and when fifteen years of age was apprenticed to a shoemaker, his parents paying two hundred dollars for his instruction in the trade. In November, 1879, he emigrated to America and made his way to the middle west, locating at West Point, Nebraska. After working as a farm hand for a year he removed to Omaha and as he was a skilled cornet player found employment in an orchestra. Subsequently he traveled with the Sells Brothers' show as a musician and during that time met Joseph Bohac, also a musician, in connection with whom he later organized and managed a small concert band in Omaha. After four years they removed to Lincoln and conducted a band there until February, 1886, when they decided to turn their attention to business pursuits. Mr. Bohac was a harnessmaker by trade and as the Burlington Railroad was letting contracts at that time for grading the extension of their lines from Grand Island to Broken Bow the young men decided that there would be excellent business opportunities near the construction camps. They erected a small shop on the Smith place on Beaver creek and began to make and repair harness. As soon as the grading outfits came they had all the work that they could do and after the road was completed they continued in business, having in the meantime built up a permanent trade in the county. In 1891 Mr. Kase sold his interest in that business and in the same year established a shoe store in Ravenna, which had grown up at the point which he and Mr.
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Bohac had chosen for the location of their harness shop. He has since continued in the boot and shoe business, and has the only store dealing exclusively in shoes in the town. He carries a large and diversified stock of high grade footwear and his thorough knowledge of everything pertaining to the making of shoes has been of great advantage to him as a merchant. He is one of the most prosperous business men of Ravenna and in addition to owning the building in which his store is located has erected a commodious residence for himself and has also built each of his children a home.
Mr. Kase was married in May, 1884, to Miss Annie Maly, a daughter of John and Magdalena Maly, natives of Bohemia, who settled in Saunders county, Nebraska, in 1867. They took up a homestead eight miles from Wahoo and lived thereon for many years. At length, however, they retired and removed to Ravenna, where the father passed away in 1897 and where the mother is still living. Mr. and Mrs. Kase had three children. Joseph, who was born in August, 1885, died in the same year. Joseph, second of the name, whose birth occurred on the 22d of October, 1886, was the first male child born in Ravenna. He is now engaged in railroading and resides in Ravenna. Bessie, who was born in April, 1888, is the wife of John Chandler, manager of the telephone company at Loup City, Nebraska.
Mr. Kase supports the republican party at the polls and along fraternal lines is connected with the Knights of Pythias. His religious faith is that of the Roman Catholic church. He has never ceased to give a great deal of attention to music and is still at the head of the Ravenna band, which he and Mr. Bohac organized and which has done much to promote an interest in music in the town. As he located here before the town was thought of he has witnessed its entire development and takes justifiable pride in the fact that he has done much to promote its advancement along various lines of activity.
George Miller is a fine type of a self-made man--a man who is not disheartened by a lack of unusual opportunity but who resolutely makes the best of conditions as they are and through enterprise and good judgment, eventually wins success. He has at all times depended upon his own resources and is now one of the wealthy men of Buffalo county, owning seventeen hundred and eighty-four acres of fine land in the county. He resides in Elm Creek township and has brought all of his land to a high state of cultivation.
Mr. Miller was born in Delaware county, New York, on the 9th of February, 1841, a son of William and Fanny (Hicks) Miller, also natives of the Empire state. They removed to Iowa when our subject was but a small child and two years later went to Missouri, where they resided until the Civil war, at which time removal was made to Jones county, Iowa. There the mother passed away, but the father died in Audubon county, that state.
George Miller was reared upon the home farm in Missouri and when sixteen years of age began freighting across the plains, making several trips to Mexico and subsequently going to Wyoming. While there he worked for contractors
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who were freighting for the government and while in their employ drove six yoke of oxen, there often being twenty-five teams in a train, and he met with many interesting experiences in those pioneer days. In August, 1871, he removed to Buffalo county, Nebraska, and purchased a timber claim of one hundred and sixty acres in Elm Creek township. For the first year he lived in a dugout but at the end of that time built his present home. In a comparatively short time he had his land under cultivation and was receiving a gratifying income therefrom. As soon as he had accumulated sufficient capital he invested in more land and gradually has added to his holdings until he now owns ten hundred and fifty-four acres in a body in Elm Creek township and seven hundred and thirty acres in Logan township. In managing his business affairs he has manifested a progressive spirit and a well founded faith in the agricultural future of the county, and the wisdom of his course has been vindicated as he is now financially independent.
Mr. Miller was married, in Jones county, Iowa, to Miss Angela Cohoon, a native of that county, who passed away on the 29th of August, 1912. For six years previous to this the family had resided in Arkansas for the benefit of her health. She was the mother of nine children, namely: Alma, at home; Howard, who is married, and resides on land belonging to his father; Archie, who is also farming land belonging to his father and is married; Bert, who is operating some of his father's land and is married; Kate, the wife of Harry Skinner, of Pueblo, Colorado; Georgia, the wife of John Loibl, of Elm Creek; Roy, who is operating his father's farm in Logan township and is married; and Harry and Dolly, both of whom died in infancy.
Mr. Miller has been a member of the Methodist church for many years and takes a commendable interest in its work. His wife was likewise identified with that church. He votes the democratic ticket but has never sought public office. His observation has convinced him of the great evil wrought by the liquor traffic and he is a stalwart worker in the cause of temperance. Although he is a man of wealth and has reached the age at which many retire he is still a hard worker and finds much satisfaction in activity.
DR. J. W. FRANK, M. D.
Dr. J. W. Frank has resided in Elm Creek for thirty years and was for many years a leading physician and surgeon but is now practically retired. His birth occurred in Marysville, Ohio, on the 12th of January, 1841. His parents were W. H. and Rachel (Wolford) Frank, both likewise natives of Ohio. In 1856 they removed with their family to Henry county, Iowa, and in 1883 became residents of Kearney, Nebraska, where both passed away. The father was by trade a carpenter and joiner.
J. W. Frank passed his boyhood in Ohio and Iowa and received his general education in the common schools. On the 3d of October, 1861, he enlisted in Company D, Fourth Iowa Cavalry, for three years and while with his command fought in several important engagements, such as the battles of Memphis and Meridian and the siege of Vicksburg. He was on board the Maria going from
HISTORY OF BUFFALO COUNTY
St. Louis to Memphis when the ship was blown up on the 11th of December, 1864, and he received terrible injuries, his legs being broken in five places. He was sent to a hospital at St. Louis, where he remained until discharged in July, 1864. He has never fully recovered from the effects of his injuries.
After his discharge from the hospital Dr. Frank returned to Henry county, Iowa, and, having determined on the practice of medicine as a life work, entered the Keokuk Medical College, from which he received the M. D. degree on the completion of the course. He then located in Mahaska county, Iowa, for practice and remained there until 1883, when he came to Nebraska. For two years he was located in Phelps county, just south of Elm Creek, to which town he removed in 1885. He has since resided there and until three years ago was very active in practice. At that time he removed his office to his home, expecting to retire, but as his old patients still call him he has never given up his practice. He has won a gratifying measure of success in his chosen profession, due to his careful preparation, his close study of the cases intrusted to him and his wide reading, which has kept him in touch with the advance in medical science. He owns a good farm in Elm Creek township and derives therefrom a gratifying financial return.
Dr. Frank was married in Mahaska county, Iowa, to Miss Martha Frances Johnson, a native of Ohio and a daughter of Samuel and Frances (Gillogly) Johnson, who were also born in that state, whence they removed to Mahaska county, Iowa, during the Civil war. Six children have been born to Dr. and Mrs. Frank, namely: Lena, the wife of Mark Jones, a merchant of Elm Creek; Myrtle, who married Albert Calhoun, of Kearney; Josie, the wife of Hugh Graham, a resident of Montana; Mina, who married Fred Shumaker, of Elm Creek; Jessie, at home; and Joseph Vern, who resides on his father's farm. There are also fourteen grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.
Dr. Frank casts his ballot in support of the men and measures of the republican party and a number of years ago served as a member of the city council and of the school board and also held other local offices. He holds membership in the Grand Army post at Kearney and finds much pleasure in associating with his comrades of the '60s. His wife is a member of the Methodist Episcopal church. Both are widely and favorably known and their worth is indicated by the fact that those who have been brought into closest contact with them are their warmest friends.
WYMAN S. CLAPP.
Important business interests claim the attention of Wyman S. Clapp, who is active in the control and management of the Kearney Telephone Company as its secretary and treasurer and also of the Lake Kearney Ice Company, of which he is one of the principal stockholders. His residence in this state covers a period of twenty-seven years, during which time he has not only won a creditable and enviable position in business circles but has also taken an active part in public affairs relating to municipal conditions. Of New England nativity, he was born
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at Deerfield, Franklin county, Massachusetts, October 30, 1862, a son of Thomas G. and Hannah (Ball) Clapp.
Mr. Clapp was reared upon a farm and attended the public schools in early youth, passing through consecutive grades to his graduation from the Deerfield high school. He continued his studies during his last year in high school under trying circumstances. He had to work on the farm during the day, master his lessons at night and twice a week he would go to Deerfield to recite, but he kept up with his class and the resolution and spirit of ambition which he displayed at that time have remained characteristics of his later life. He continued to work at farm labor until he reached the age of twenty-three years, when he entered the employ of H. D. Watson, proprietor of a Greenfield publishing house, as bookkeeper. In February, 1890, he came west for Mr. Watson, who had preceded him and had established a real estate business in Kearney. Here he entered Mr. Watson's office as bookkeeper and confidential man and continued with him in that capacity until 1898 but two years before began in the fire insurance business in a small way. In 1898 he purchased the business of Sherwood & Baldwin, one of the old fire and accident insurance agencies of Kearney, and since that time has been recognized as one of the leading representatives of insurance interests in Kearney and this part of the state. He has extended the scope of his activities to include life insurance and he also handles surety bonds and has added real estate dealing to his other lines. About 1893 he became a stockholder of the Home Telephone Company, which in 1905 was merged into the Kearney Telephone Company. Of the former he was secretary and treasurer and after its consolidation with the latter he continued in the same official position and is acting in that capacity at the present time. He is likewise the principal stockholder of the Lake Kearney Ice Company, which is conducting a business of large and gratifying proportions. His varied interests are extensive and important, bringing him prominently before the public as a foremost representative of commercial and financial activity.
In November, 1888, Mr. Clapp was married to Miss Agnes T. Wait, of Greenfield, Massachusetts. He is prominently and widely known through his fraternal relations and is especially active in Masonic circles. He belongs to the blue lodge and chapter at Kearney, the consistory at Hastings, in which he has taken the thirty-second degree, and the council at Lexington. He has served as high priest at Kearney Chapter, No. 23, R. A. M., and as eminent commander of Mount Hebron Commandery, No. 2, K. T. He was appointed grand captain of the guard of the Grand Commandery of Nebraska in 1910; was grand warden in 1911; grand standard bearer in 1912; was elected grand junior warden in 1913; became grand senior warden in 1914 and in 1915 was elected to his present position, that of grand captain general. He also belongs to the Knights of Pythias and the Benevolent Protective Order of Elks. In politics he is an earnest democrat where national issues are involved but casts an independent local ballot, supporting men and measures rather than party. For six years he served as a member of the city council, during which time he was a member of the finance committee and for the greater part of that time was its chairman. He also acted as president of the city council and he exercised his official prerogatives in support of many plans and measures for the public good. His work resulted beneficially for the city and the worth of his labors was acknowledged
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by all fair-minded men. Mr. Clapp has made steady advancement in his business career, progressing step by step and gaining at every point a broader outlook and wider opportunities.
H. HENRY RASMUSSEN.
Among the men who are ranked as important factors in the commercial life of Ravenna is H. Henry Rasmussen, the proprietor of a well stocked grocery store. His birth occurred in Schleswig-Holstein, Germany, on the 24th of August, 1861, and he is a son of Lawrence and Gondeline (Friede) Rasmussen, likewise natives of that country. The father followed the occupation of farming and lived on Sylt island in the North Sea, which was a popular summer resort. One night in the winter of 1869 he and several others went across the ice to the mainland for the mail and he never returned, having broken through the ice and been drowned. Subsequently they found his body, which was taken home for burial. His wife passed away in 1868.
H. Henry Rasmussen was thus left an orphan when eight years of age but nevertheless he received good educational opportunities, completing a thorough common school course. When fifteen years of age he was bound out as a locksmith's apprentice and after devoting three years to learning the trade worked thereat in Hamburg and elsewhere. When twenty-two years of age he emigrated to the United States and for a year worked in a plumbers' supply factory in Chicago but at the end of that time went to Rock Island, Illinois, where he found employment in a locksmith's shop. After devoting a year to farm work he came to Nebraska in 1886 and became connected with a store at Syracuse. The following year he went to Nebraska City and devoted two years to clerking in a general store there, after which he was similarly employed in Lincoln for three years. Desiring to go into business on his own account, he removed to Alva, Nebraska, and turned his attention to well drilling but met with a severe accident which incapacitated him for further work along that line. He again became connected with merchandising, securing a position as salesman in the Boston Store at Omaha. His ability led to his promotion and for seven years he had charge of an important department in the store. Not being satisfied to work for others, he accordingly resigned his position and for a year had charge of the Singer Sewing Machine office at Harlan, Iowa, on a commission basis. At the end of that time he reentered the Boston Store at Omaha, where he remained until 1902. He then accepted a position as manager of the C. J. Stevens mercantile business in Ravenna, where he remained for two years, or until the store was sold. At that time he bought a small stock of confectionery and enlarged the business as rapidly as his limited capital would permit. In time he added a full line of groceries and as the years have passed his trade has shown a steady growth, and he now has one of the leading groceries in Ravenna. He carries a large stock and has built up an enviable reputation for reasonable prices and fair dealing.
Mr. Rasmussen was married in Lincoln, in 1890, to Miss Mattie Copley, a daughter of John and Mary Copley, natives respectively of Ireland and Scotland.
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They came to America in young manhood and womanhood and for a time lived in New York, where the father engaged in farming. Subsequently he followed that occupation in Champaign county, Illinois, but in 1883 the family removed to Nebraska, locating near Unadilla, where the father bought a quarter section of land. He concentrated his energies upon the development of his farm and continued to follow agricultural pursuits until his demise, which occurred in 1900. His wife survives and resides with our subject. To Mr. and Mrs. Rasmussen have been born four sons, John, Roy, Earl and Hugh.
Mr. Rasmussen supports the democratic party at the polls but has never taken a very active part in politics as his business affairs have required practically his entire attention. His fraternal connections are with the Knights of Pythias and the Modern Woodmen of America, and in religion he is a Lutheran. He deserves much credit for what he has accomplished as a business man, for he has depended solely upon his own resources and through his sound judgment, careful attention to details and his strict adherence to high standards of business honor he has gained a gratifying measure of success. In addition to his store he owns his residence and is recognized as one of the substantial men of Ravenna. The same qualities which have enabled him to make a place for himself in the business world have also gained him the respect and esteem of all who have been associated with him.
Joseph Smaha, who for three decades has been engaged in the meat market business in Ravenna, was born at Neiarn, Bohemia, near the Bavarian border, on the 25th of November, 1863. His father, Joseph Smaha, was also a native of that country, but his mother, who bore the maiden name of Frances Hermann, was German by birth. The father engaged in farming for some time but when our subject was two years of age removed to Domazlice, a city of about twenty thousand inhabitants, and there he became an innkeeper. Four years later a removal was made to the village of Meletice, where both parents resided until called by death. The demise of the father occurred on the 12th of December, 1873, but the mother survived for many years, dying on the 30th of July, 1912, at the venerable age of eighty-seven years.
Joseph Smaha received his education in his native country and when fourteen years of age decided to try his fortune in the new world. He made the trip to the United States alone and had a narrow escape from death while on the voyage, as the ship collided with another vessel in a heavy fog in mid ocean. One of the ships sank but the passengers were transferred to the other vessel, which managed to reach New York in a crippled condition. Mr. Smaha made his way at once to Nebraska, joining his brother George at Omaha. After a short time he went to Wahoo, Saunders county, and for a year was employed as a hired hand there. He then returned to Omaha and after working in a packing house for three months entered a meat market there and learned the butcher's trade. In the fall of 1880 he went to David City, where his brother had established a market, but two years later our subject turned his attention to other
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work, going out with a government surveying party to the Bad Lands district seventy-five miles northwest of Fort Niobrara, Nebraska.
Subsequently Mr. Smaha worked at the butcher's trade in Lincoln and Omaha and in 1886 came with his brother George to Ravenna, Buffalo county, Nebraska, and established a meat business here. The town had been founded only a short time before and proved an excellent location for a market. The brothers continued in business together for four years, at the end of which time our subject bought his brother's interest and became sole owner of the meat market. For more than twenty years he was alone in the management of the business, but when his oldest son reached mature years he took him into partnership and the business is now conducted under the name of Joseph Smaha & Sons. His second son, Adolph O., is now also connected with the business. Mr. Smaha understands everything pertaining to the butcher's trade and the conduct of a meat market and as he adds to this thorough knowledge, good judgment, enterprise and unswerving integrity, it is but natural that he should have built up a large and profitable patronage. He owns the building in which his business is located and also holds title to forty acres of land adjoining Ravenna and two good residence properties in the town.
In August, 1882, Mr. Smaha was united in marriage to Miss Lucy Slavik, a daughter of Matt and Frances (Masek) Slavik, natives of Bohemia, who emigrated to America about 1872. The father was a farmer by occupation and purchased land in Butler county, Nebraska, which he operated for many years. At length, having accumulated a competence, he retired from active life and made his home with Mr. Smaha until his demise in July, 1905. His wife survives at the age of eighty-nine years and is living with our subject.
To Mr. and Mrs. Smaha have been born ten children, namely: Joseph F., who was born on the 9th of December, 1883, and is engaged in business with his father; Minnie, whose birth occurred June 9, 1885, and who is teaching school in California; Adolph O., who was born on the 18th of November, 1888, and is also associated with his father in business; Elizabeth, born April 16, 1891, Emil, born March 21, 1894, Blanch, born March 28, 1898, and Eldine, born July 31, 1908, all of whom are at home; and three who died in infancy.
Mr. Smaha believes in the principles of the republican party and loyally supports its candidates at the polls. He has served as a member of the town council and is at the present time a member of the fire department, of which he was the first chief. He has always discharged his official duties with a conscientious regard for the public welfare and is recognized as a good citizen. Fraternally he belongs to the Knights of Pythias, of which he is a charter member, and to the Modern Woodmen of America, and his religious belief is that of the Methodist church, to which he belongs. He deserves much credit for what he has accomplished, for he came to America when a boy of fourteen years and not only had to meet the usual obstacles that confront one who starts out in life without capital or the aid of influential friends, but he also had the additional handicap of being unable to understand English. However, he soon acquired a good knowledge of the language and his enterprise and determination have enabled him to win a gratifying measure of prosperity. In 1912 he turned over the management of his shop to his son, and he and his two daughters, Minnie and Elizabeth, and his son Adolph O. made a trip to Bohemia, as he wished to