BELLWOOD FAMILIES


ROBERT SCHMID

Robert Schmid came to this country from Irmsdorf, Austria in 1874. He settled on land which is five miles west and two south of Bellwood. This land is still in the family being farmed by his grandson, Bernard Schmid. He met and married Sofia Zwiener who had come from Oberthomastorf, Austria, with her parents and settled in the area. They had five boys and four girls, two of the boys died as babies. Sofia died when the youngest was just four. Sofia, the oldest daughter's name also, helped her dad raise the younger children. Later in life, Robert went back to the old country and stayed for a while. Then spent some time in New York. His later years until he died, he stayed with his oldest daughter Sofia, who then lived in Columbus, until his death in 1940 at 88 years of age.
His oldest son, Rudolph, took over the homestead after his father. It is his son who farms it now. He also has two other sons who farm near Bellwood, Wayne, the old Steiner place and Robert 2nd, the old Delahamet place. Rudolph married Agnes Schrier. Sophia married John Vetter.
The first Robert's son, Emil, farmed next door to the homestead. His son, Ronald, is on the place now. Emil married Rose Shields. They had two other children, Marjorie and Elmo. Robert's youngest son, Frank, farmed at Dix, Nebr. He married Emma Janicek. They had two daughters, Laverne and Maxine. Talley married Ferdinand Alt and farmed in the Bellwood area. They had four daughters, Ella, Gertrude, Marie and Valarie, Robert's daughter Valarie married George Nicolas and farmed in the Bellwood area. They had one daughter, Viola. And the baby of the family, Minnie, married Adolph Kosch, who had a garage and sold Dodge cars in Bellwood. Minnie played the organ in the Catholic church here for more than 50 years. They had one daughter, Verleen.





CORNELIUS JACOB SCHMIT FAMILY

Cornelius Jacob Schmit was born on June 10, 1880 in Wahoo and came to Butler County at the age of three. He passed away June 23,1949. Cornelius and Martha had four children, Elsie, Viola, Leo and Josephine. Elsie married Leo Cornelius Schmit (1894 to 1954) on September 30, 1940. Leo was one of ten children born to Elizabeth Agnes Steiner (1869 - 1957) who was born in Cascade, Iowa and Nicholas Schmit (1862-1937) who was born in Conach, Luxembourg. Elizabeth's parents were Helena Kramer and Nicolas Steiner. Nicolas' parents were Nicholas and Katherine Schmit who moved to Butler County in 1882 and farmed east of Bellwood until moving to David City on March 1, 1928. Nicholas and Elizabeth's children were Elizabeth, Peter, John, Ann Eleanor, George, Frank, Lena, Laura, Leo.
Leo married Susan Sand at Spencer Grove, Iowa in November, 1919. To this union two children, LaVerne, (who was killed in a plane crash during a training flight on January 10, 1943 at Bermuda) and Delores were born. Delores married Audrey Kreizinger. They have two sons James, and Joe. James married Marlene Shotkoski from Ord and they have one son, Michael. Susan passed away in 1931. In 1940 Leo married Elsie. To this union six children were born. Robert, the oldest, married Betty Janovy of David City. Their children are Kim, Jeanne, Lee and Lynn. Edward, who isn't married, lives west of Bellwood. Carol married Gary Danaher of David City. Their children are Kelly and Shannon, Wilma married Oscar Heng of Dunhar. Their children are Ann, Mary, Charlie, Beth and Sara. David married Constance Kula of Bellwood and their children are Nichole, Jacquee and Stephanie. Keith, the youngest, married Beth Wieseman of Osceola. Their children are Carrie and Christina.
Viola married Chris Kamenske. Their children are Carolyn and Judy. Carolyn married Ken Icech. Their children are Chris, Troy and Susan. Judy married Dave Kriz. Their children are Lee and Dean.
Josephine married Harold Klein. Their children are Donnie, Raymond, Roger, Arthur, Norman and Sandy. Norman and Kathy have two children, Sam and Sara. Sandy married Russell Brandenburgh. Their children are Travis and Trevor. Leo married Wilomine Brochtrup. Their children are James, who isn't married and lives in Milwaukee, Wis., Gerald and Richard Gerald married Barhara McKee. Their children are Susan and Daniel and they live in Alaska. Richard married Janet Tilletson. They have two children, Vicki and Mike.




NICHOLAS SCHMIT

Nicholas Schmit was born in Conach, Luxembourg on October 23, 1862, a son of Nicholas and Katherine Schmit. His brothers and sisters were Niel, John, Peter, Elizabeth (Morboch), Susan (Ronkar) and two sisters who became nuns. He came to Butler County in 1832 and farmed east of Bellwood. He married Elizabeth Steiner (daughter of Nicholas and Lena Kramer Steiner) at St. Mary's Church in the valley. To them were born ten children: Elizabeth (Puetz), Laura (Janicek), Ann (Michael), Eleanor (Decker), John, Leo, Peter, a son and daughter who died in infancy, and George who died in 1936. He and his wife moved to David City in 1923 when Mr. and Mrs. Nick Puetz (daughter Elizaheth) and family moved to the farm. During his lifetime he made many close friends by his devotion to his church, family and willingness to lend a helping hand when needed.





MR. and MRS. MARLIN SCHOLZ

Marlin was born on September 19, 1916 in Duncan, Nebraska. Mary Hiller was born January 6, 1916 in Bellwood, Nebraska. They were married on May 3, 1938 in Bellwood. To this union were born six children: Rita, Frances, Joseph, Patricia, Kenneth and Gregory. Rita married Alfred Hanus on August 18, 1959 at Bellwood, Nebraska. Seven children were born to this union: Richard, Michael, Patrick, William, Diane, Daniel and Brian. Frances married Jim Mick on February 23, 1963 at Bellwood. Two children were born to them: Pamela and Joseph. Joseph married Betty Reichmuth on November 19, 1966 at Humphrey, Nebraska. Two children were born to this union: Bradley and Craig. Patricia married William McCafferty on November 6, 1965 at Bellwood, Nebraska. They also have two children: Colleen and Michael. Kenneth married Christine Nekl on June 2, 1970 at Shelby, Nebraska. Four children were born to this union: Dustin, Kyle, Keri and Timothy. Gregory is engaged to be married to Sharon Niedbalski.
Marlin is the son of Frank and Emma (Engel) Scholz. Three other children were born to them: Milton, Clarence and Harold.
Frank Scholz was the son of Anthony and Anna (Ohlbrich) Scholz. He was the brother of Charles, John, Joe, Anna (Gragert), Amelia (Karges), Walburga Scholz, Frances (Moschenross) and Laura (Koester) Frank was born on September 20, 1879 on a farm north of Duncan, Nebraska in Platte County. He married Emma Engel on May 9, 1905.
Emma was the daughter of John and Wilhemina (Ernst) Engle. She was born October 9, 1880. She was the sister of Arthur, Oscar, John, Fred, Lester, Clara (Zybach), Laura (Boss), Lillie (Holliday) and Minnie (Dambrosky).
Frank started in the hardware business in 1913 in Duncan, Nebraska. In the fall of 1933, he started another store in Bellwood. Clarence and Marlin ran the store in Bellwood for a few years and then Clarence moved to Lincoln. Marlin moved to Bellevue, Nebraska in 1943, worked in the bomber plant for 2 1/2 years and then was drafted into the Army in 1946. He served in the Army for six months when the war ended. He returned to Bellwood to manage the hardware store. He owned and operated the store until 1959 when it was sold to Glenn Forre. The hardware store building is presently known as Didier's Grocery.
Marlin's father, Frank, passed away on January 18,1959 at the age of 79. His mother, Emma, passed away on July 5, 1976 at the age of 95.
Mary is the daughter of Peter and Rose (Hilger) Hiller. They were also the parents of ten other chidiren: Harry, Eva, Florence, Francis, Edward, Veronica, Anthony, Chris, Paul and Rose Ann.
Peter Hiller was the son of Jacob and Anna (Reisdorf) Hiller. They were also the parents of eight other children: William, Margaret (Sister Monica), John, Joe, Nicolas, Anna, Jacob and Mary (Sister Aloysia). Peter was born December 17, 1882. He married Rose (Hilger) on November 23, 1902. Peter passed away on February 10, 1932 at the age of 49. Rose was the daughter of Henry and Anna (Victor) Hilger. She was born Septemher 9, 1885. They were also the parents of seven other children: Joe, Leo, Victor, Harry, Albert, Julia and Theodore. Rose passed away May 10, 1964 at the age of 78.




MR. and MRS. LUDWIG SCHRIER

Ludwig Schrier was born August 12,1868 in Hungary and came to America and later naturalized on Dec.10, 1920. He died in 1940. Amelia Schram was born on July 19, 1868 in Mauevria, Austria and came to America with her uncle at the age of 11. Her parents died when she was four years old. She died in 1950.
On February 17, 1896, Ludwig and Amelia were married at St. Bonaventure Catholic Church, Columbus, NE. To this union were born four daughters: Mrs. Hubert Jaax (Anna), David City, NE, Mrs. Rudolph Schmid (Agnes), David City, NE, Mrs. Henry Smith (Rose), Shelby, NE, Mrs. Joe Klein (Elizabeth, Bellwood, NE, (deceased) and two sons: Louis of Bellwood, and Emil of Columbus, NE (both deceased). They lived in Platte, Colfax and Butler counties. They farmed in Butler County.
Their parents: Ludwig-Severin Schrier became a citizen on Jan. 15, 1878. They lived and owned a farm which is now the Leonard Kracman farm. It was sold to him in 1953. The Severin Schrier farm was acquired as such: W1/2 of NE quarter of Sec. 9 T-16-Rl east of the 6th Prime Meridian in 1886 from Ira Davenport, N.Y. (80 acres). Also S1/2 of SE quarter of Sec. 4, T-16, N Range 1, east of the 6th Prime Meridian in 1880 from Mary Griffis. (82 acres).
Amelia's father, John Schlesinger, became a citizen on Dec. 21, 1874, and lived on and owned what is now the Bill Morgan farm.





EDWARD SELZER

Edward was born in Mahran, Germany in the county of Romer. While in Germany he was a brick mason by trade. His father's name was Josel and his mother was Margaret Dalinia. Edward married Caroline Schrier, daughter of Benedict and Zirzilia Schrier. Caroline was born on Aug, 8, 1836 and died on April 15, 1891. They homesteaded in Butler County on the northeast corner of Section 16 in Alexis Township on April 21, 1888. Farming was their livelihood. The farm is now owned by Edward Selzer, Jr., and Marjorie Selzer Slyvia. Six sons were born to Edward and Caroline. They were: Joe, Ed, Frank, John, Fred and Gustave.




FRANK SELZER FAMILY

Three daughters survived him, Miss Camilla, who cared for him throughout his declining years; Mrs. Susan Lombard of Ventura, California and Mrs. Harry Nantkes of Bellevue, Nebraska. He also had eight grandchildren, five great-grandchildren and a sister, Mrs. John Blahak Sr. of Columbus.
Mr. Seizer had been a resident of Bellwood for 58 years. He opened a tailor shop in 1888, and in 1905, he entered the employ of the Telephone Company of Surprise, Nebraska. When that company merged with the Lincoln Telephone and Telegraph Co., Mr. Seizer was given the position as operator until he retired in 1932, after 28 years of service.
Mr. Frank Selzer was born June 9, 1858 in Austria. He was married to the former Margaret Eva Meister on September 29, 1890, in Columbus, Nebraska. She passed away in December of 1925. He was preceded in death by a son in 1917. Mr. Selzer died on January 20, 1947.





ANTON SHONKA

Anton Shonka, son of Frank Shonka and Anna Tupee, was born in 1884 by Abie. He married Mary Cemper, daughter of Joe Cemper and Mary Roh. Anton was a great orchard man, carpenter and farmer. Mary was a good seamstress, lover of flowers and homemaker. They built up a comfortable farm home by Garrison, which Grandpa Frank Shonka homesteaded and bought. To them were born four children, Valerian Shonka, Caroline (Shonka) Adamy, of Shelby, Erma (Shonka) Bartek of Wahoo, and Mary (Shorka) Allen of Georgia. He always wanted level land, so he bought a farm on the river road, east of Bellwood. After some hardships and hard labor, they built a nice brick home and farmstead. They lived there till they both passed away at 66 and 74. The farm was sold.





FAY and MARY SMITH

Fay Smith is the only surviving World War I veteran in the Bellwood community. His grandfather, Chauncy Smith was born in 1836 and came to this community with his wife, Melvina in 1877. He farmed 88 acres in the NE1/4 of section 30 in Savannah Township. This land is now part of the Don Birkel farm.
They raised 3 boys and 2 girls. One son, Alva, lived in this community all of his life. After his marriage to Stella McCully he farmed east of town on the SE1/4 of section 20, the farm operated by Ray Hough for many years.
Alva's son, Fay, has lived nearly all his life in this community. Except for his time in the armed services he has been an auto mechanic most of the time. He worked as a mechanic for Adolph Kosch for 34 years, in the Kasparek Garage in David City for 7 years and in the Chrysler-Plymouth Garage in Columbus for 3 and 1/2 years. From 1926 to 1936 he farmed on the NW1/4 of section 30, part of the land now owned and operated by Harry Schmit.,br> Mary Smith is the daughter of Phil Smith who came here from Wisconsin in 1872. He homesteaded 80 acres on the south bank of the Platte River in the NW1/4 of section 8 and farmed for 25 years.
Phil married Mary Buffaloe in 1882. Their daughter, Anna, married Ernest Gaither who was the Methodist minister in Bellwood in 1920. Their son, Dayton, was the barber in Bellwood most of his life and built the front part of the present barber shop on Lot 1, Block 6, operated by Joe Wilson. Phil Smith, Jr. was a rural mail carrier for several years and operated a grocery store on the west side of the main street. He built the brick store on lot 5, block 6 in 1924. He operated this store a few years and was followed by George Dworak, Carl Carson, Clyde Cook and Louis Oborny. It was last used as a cabinet shop by Jerry Oborny and is now idle.
Phil and Mary's son, Fay, became a doctor and had a brilliant career. An account of his professional career is related elsewhere in this book. Their daughter, Mary, graduated from the Bellwood High School and Wayne State College. She taught school near Bruning, in Waterloo and at District 13 school west of Bellwood. On Jan. 3, 1920 she married Fay Smith and thus created some confusion by bringing another Fay Smith into the family. They had one son, Deryl, who drowned in the Platte River on June 8, 1952 at age 31. Deryl left his wife, Donna and a son, Lloyd who are living in Columbus.
Fay and Mary celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary this past January. They live a block west of the main street (Lot 10 Block 6).





JOHN SPEICHER FAMILY

John Speicher (1882-1909) was born in Luxembourg, a small country in western Europe, and married Margaret Kurt (1887-1907). While living there, their home was a small house on approximately ten acres of land near Alzingin in the southern part on the Alzetta-Lorraine Plateau near the French border. In 1874 they set sail for America with their six children. On the sixteenth day they arrived in New York and slowly made their way westward, first stopping in Pennsylvania and Iowa to visit relatives and finally settled in Nebraska at Morse Bluff.
Five more children were born to them there. A set of twin sons died in infancy. John Pier, the eldest married Margaret Schlentz and they lived in the valley near Presentation Church. Pier, another son, was also a farmer. Martin owned a men's clothing store in Columbus. Nick's wife died in 1916 leaving him with three small children so his sister, Kate, came to help care for them until her death in 1944. Another son, Peter, also lived in Columbus. Julia married Theodore Sauser from the Cedar Rapids area.  August stayed on the farm east of David City after his parents moved to Columbus where they remained until their deaths. Martha was the youngest child born on October 2, 1880, near Wahoo. On April 23, 1907, she married Cornelius Jacob Schmit. His parents were Henry Schmit (1841-1893) and Marie Frank (1841-1919). Henry was born in Gustingen Cantan, Grevemaker, Luxembourg. Marie was born in Berbanary Cantan, Grevenmaker, Luxembourg. Their children were Margaret, who married Nicholas Medinger, Ann (Sister Burgenia), Peter, Jacob, Henry, Joseph, Cornelius, Susan, Nick and John. Ann entered St. Joseph's convent at Milwaukee, Wis. on November 11, 1912, receiving her habit in 1913, her First Profession in 1919, Novitiate in 1918, Final Vows in 1925 and celebrated her Golden Jubilee in 1963. She died on January 16, 1980, after 94 years of life.




JOHN SPRUNK

John Sprunk was born in Luxembourg, Germany on Dec. 24, 1831. He came to America in 1866 with his two brothers. His brothers remained in Cook County, Illinois, the heart of Chicago today. There they did truck gardening until the city of Chicago grew and their land was sold to the city. Most of their estate was donated to the Catholic Church, St. Jerome's Parish in Chicago.
John went on to Butler County, Nebraska. On July 25, 1876, John and his wife Mary homesteaded an acre farm east of Bellwood on which St. Mary's and St. Peter's Cemetery is located today. In 1878 on the 23rd of April, they donated 20 rods square of their farm to the St. Mary's Congregation of Platte Valley for a cemetery. This being the original part of the cemetery now used today by people of the Catholic faith of the Bellwood area and now known as St. Mary's and St. Peter's Cemetery. John and Mary had one son, John Jr. Mary died in the late 1870's or early 1880's.
John's second wife, Agnes Seidel, and her daughter, Anna, came to America in 1883 from Austria. They were married around 1884 and two children were born to this union: William and Minnie.
They moved from this farm to a farm south of Bellwood, then to Polk county, and then to Platte county northwest of Columbus. They were married for 42 years at the time of John's death in 1927. He was 96 years old and apparently the oldest man in the area at the time of his death. His wife Agnes died in 1930.
Anna married William Welsh of St. Paul. They had five children. John Jr. never married and remained at home with his parents until their deaths. He then resided with William. William married Clara Beierle. To this union five children were born. William continued farming northwest of Columbus as four of his children and their children do today. Minnie Sprunk married Joseph F. Mick.





NICHOLAS STEINER

Nicholas Steiner was born in Rollingen, Luxembourg on Jan. 9, 1841. He was the son of Peter and Magdelena Steiner. He came to the USA with his widowed mother and three brothers by sailboat, the trip taking 42 days. They stayed in Albany, NY for a time before going to Cascade, Iowa, and about 1871 they moved to Butler County, NE and homesteaded two miles east of Bellwood. When Mr. Steiner went to purchase the land, it was also being considered as an Agricultural College by the state of Alabama, but it was decided to sell it to Mr. Steiner for farming. On June 4, 1866, he married Lena Kramer of the Cascade, Iowa area. They were the parents of eight children: Ann, Elizabeth, Mary, Margaret, John, Frank, Nick and Katherine. Mr. Steiner served for a time in the Civil War. During this time, be mentioned once seeing Abraham Lincoln riding a horse. He had other interests besides farming, such as a flour mill in David City and a grocery store in Cheyenne, Wyoming. His mother, Magdelena, was born in 1799 in Luxembourg and resided with the family until her death in 1896. The family all married and left home except Katherine who married Benjamin Homan and remained on the family farm. Mr. and Mrs. Homan had nine children, one of whom remains on the family farm. He being Arthur Homan and his wife, Rita (Shuele) Homan, who are the parents of five daughters. Donna (Homan) Bell (deceased), Patricia (Homan) Marquis, Theresa, Rose, Ann, and Susan. Arthur is the grandson of Nicholas and Lena Steiner.





CAPT. MILES WARREN

Farmer and blacksmith at Bellwood. The subject of this sketch came to Nebraska in 1870, and homesteaded the place where he now lives, and has made his residence there since, and is generally known as Warren's Grove, the grounds where the first Soldiers' Re-union was held in the State of Nebraska. In October, 1880, at the time of the mining excitement at Leadville, Colo., Mr. Warren took a trip out in that country and started a feed store, which he ran for one year, but still retained his residence in Butler County. He enlisted at Branch County, Mich., August 24, 1861, in Company B, Eleventh Michigan Volunteer Infantry, of which he was commissioned as Second Lieutenant in November, 1862; and was afterward commissioned as Captain of Company B, Eighth Michigan Volunteer Cavalry. This position he held until September, 1864, when the regiment was discharged. He was one of the early members of Lincoln Post, No. 10, of G. A. R., at David City. He was also the originator of G. A. R. at Longmont, Boulder County, McPherson Post, No. 14; also Charles Russel Lowell Post, No. 83, at Bellwood, of which he is now commander. He is also one of the councilmen of administration of the State in G. A. R. He was born in Erie County, N. Y., July 27, 1828. He is also a member of the A., F. & A. M., and is a charter member of Rising Lodge, Nebraska.




WILLIAM L. WARREN

Farmer, Section 30, Savannah Precinct, P. O. Bellwood, came to Nebraska in the fall of 1868, and took up land where he now lives, in the spring of 1869. He was on the first grand jury ever held in Butler County, after the county was organized. He has since served as Justice of the Peace; is a member of the Baptist Church, and was one of the first original members of that society in Butler County, and has always been an active worker in that cause since. He was born in Genesee County, N. Y., September 24, 1824; was married to his first wife in Michigan, 1846, to Miss Phoebe A. Hate, who died February 6, 1862, by whom he had seven children; was married to his present wife Melisa E. Scripter, by whom he has three children.




MR. and MRS. JAMES ALBERT WEST

James Albert and Phoebe Jane West came to Nebraska in 1871 and settled on a farm southwest of what is now the village of Bellwood. Besides farming, Mr. West was also a blacksmith. There were seven children in the family. Minnetta Sirnrns died shortly after the birth of her son, George A. and Milton died in infancy. Mattie married George Taylor and had tree daughters, Grace married Everett Knight and had five children. John married May Bock and had two children, Harry married Anna Ladwig and had seven children The youngest child, Dessie, married Gomer Jones and had three sons. James (Al) and Phoebe moved to Bellwood in 1891, where Mr. West continued the blacksmith work for many years. Mrs. West died in 1921 and Mr. West died in 1934. James Albert West enlisted on February 11. 1864 in Co. R First Regiment of Michigan Light Artillery. He was honorably discharged on July 28, 1865.


For more information about Mr. and Mrs. J. A. West read REMINISCENCES OF MY PARENTS, by Dessie Ann West Jones.



HENRY A. WHITNEY

Henry A. Whitney came to the Bellwood community from Wisconsin in about 1885, and worked on the Frank Loomis farm. In 1892, he married Millie Flaxell who lived west of Bellwood. Three children, Julia, Mabel and Allen were born to this union. Later they farmed north of Bellwood . He also ran a hay baler and corn sheller They moved into Bellwood in 1904, where they operated a grocery store. He also had a threshing outfit for which service he was better known. In 1912, a tragic accident took the life of Julia. The accident happened at the 4th of July celebration when she was struck by some fireworks while working in Hayek's stand. In 1913, Henry became postmaster and served in that capacity until 1922. The second daughter Mabel, died in 1926. Their son, Allen, served as a rural mail carrier for 43 years, retiring in 1961. He now lives in Columbus. Henry died in 1942 and Millie in 1966.


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