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Souvenir Journal…

Pierce County Nebraska





Its Fertile Soil and Rapid Development.

A Farming District Unequaled by any Portion of the Great Northwest


Brief Sketches of Prosperous People.


Less than thirty-two years ago the district comprising the sixteen townships of Pierce county, Nebraska, was unbroken prairie.  Of its 368,640 acres of soil, over 250,000 are being utilized today for farming, for grazing grounds and for town purposes.  It boats of a population of about 10,000; its taxable wealth has reached the fabulous sum of $8,545,656; its soil yields enormous crops of all the cereals, and its grazing territory pastures each year about 200,000 head of live stock.


Its three principal towns of Pierce, Plainview and Osmond, with a combined population of 2,000, are splendid evidences of the enterprise and thrift of the people.


Interesting among many things in Pierce County is the large list of old settlers—the mean and women who came in the county’s infancy—and whom nothing but death seems capable of removing.  They are splendid witnesses to the fact that Pierce county is a good place in which to live.  The early comers are shrewd in recognizing the capability of soil, its equable climate and its admirable position touching the marts of trade.


Its schools and it churches are liberally planted over every part of the county, and the excellence of its educational institutions are known and recognized far beyond the county’s boundaries.  The highways and bridges have been carefully and intelligently construction; the farms and buildings cultivated with a desire for the beautiful, and the printing press in every town gives faithful evidence of the intellectual culture of the people.


The old settlers laid the foundation of a well constructed county.  It is one of the famed localities of the state for its wealth of production and intellectual culture.  Homer used to speak of Argos as the “breast of Greece,” because it furnished nourishment to the whole country.  One cannot go about into this section of the state of Nebraska without feeling the significance of the old poet’s metaphor as applied to the matchless upland plan that stretches between the Missouri and Elkhorn rivers that mark the most productive boundaries of Nebraska.  And the critical judgment of the traveler can scarcely restrain the coloring of enthusiasm that results from a glance into the happy condition that surround the people of Pierce county.


The boundaries of the county were created by the territorial legislature in 1859, and readjusted in 1875 to include Pierce township.  The uplands are nowhere above 50 feet from the contiguous valleys.  The soil is generally a dark, sandy loam, although in the southwest portion is a dark, clay loam.  One-sixth of the surface of the county is admirable grazing land, yet a large portion of this is fair farm land.  There is a clay sub-soil of from three to seventy-five feet.


It furnishes luxuriant grasses for grazing, and water can be reached anywhere in the county at an average depth of twenty-five feet.  Soil, climate and extraordinary pastures combined with the north-south and east-west railroad facilities, makes it an ideal farming and live-stock section.


(Photo insert – Wheat in Shock in 1898 Crop.)


The soil of the many valleys produce phenomenal crops, corn averaging 45 to 50 bushels per acre, wheat 22 and oats 25 bushels; tame grass 3 tons to the acre and wild grass 3 ½ tons.  All root crops of the temperate zone thrive and yield in abundance, while very effort so far made with the various fruits have resulted satisfactorily.


There are many creeks that water and drain the surface of the county, the principal of which are the North Fork of the Elkhorn river, Willow and Dry creeks.


Except in spots along the principal streams there is very little native timber, but hundreds of groves have been cultivated throughout the county, many of them now the size of old timbered groves.


The earliest settlement was that located by a Germany colony from Wisconsin in 1866.  They took lands in the southern part of the county.  To the lasting credit of soil and climate the German population has steadily advanced from that time.  Today the German element predominates and are the most prosperous portion of the county’s busy men and agriculturists.  German farmers are noted for their excellent judgment of soil and the fact they form so large a portion of the population gives testimony to the richness of the land.


With the exception of a bonded debt of $25,000 for court house purposes, the county is free from indebtedness of every character.


Viewed from all directions and under every condition by the practical agricultural mind it is a spot of apparently limitless possibilities to the cultivator of the soil, to the breeder of live stock and to the dairyman.  Its farms are in close touch with the markets of Omaha and Sioux City; its schools and churches are ample for the needs of society, and the homes shown cultivation of minds as well as a prosperous condition


(Photo Insert – Ches. N. and Joe W. Leedom. Osmond Republican.)


(Photo Insert – Threshing Wheat in the Field, Crop of 1898)


With few exceptions the people came to Pierce county comparatively poor and equally rare in the instances where success has not crowded the efforts of those who have diligently applied themselves.  It is an old maxim that “the proof of the pudding is in the eating.”  So the proof of the success of individuals can best be understood when specified.  Leaving to others the effort of biography, in the following pages will be mentioned individual instances of men who have made a success of life as residents of Pierce county.  They are only fair samples of many others, and but fairly represent the large element of energetic and progressive men that make up the county’s community—men of indefatigable impulse and ambition.  They were selected to represent every line of industry in the county, that the picture of contemporaneous life may be faithfully portrayed.  To do more would go beyond the purposes of this work.  A knowledge of the county’s historical evolution must be in most part assumed.


(Photo Insert – Farm  Home of Leonard Schmitz)


LEONARD SCHMITZ is probably the most successful farmer in the county.  He operates a farm of 1,040 acres five miles north of Osmond.  It was raw land when he settled on it ten years ago.  Today there are thirteen buildings to represent the needs of his productive acres.  They are filled with live stock, grain and farm utensils.  They represent an expenditure of #6,000.  Mr. Schmitz is a native of Prussia but has been a resident of the United States since 1860.  After serving three years in the civil war as a member of the Twenty Second Iowa Infantry, he settled in Dubuque, Iowa.  Sixteen years later he removed to Odebolt in the same state, devoting four years to farming and six to the furniture business.  He then took up his residence in Pierce county.  His success is ranked among Pierce county neighbors as phenomenal.  It simply represents patient, faithful toil, frugal habits and a supreme reliance in the wealth of the soil.  The bulk of his fortune has been gathered from wise management of his Pierce county farm.  He has made it pay.


NIS NISSEN, whose farm lies five miles northwest of Osmond, in what is known as the productive Eden valley, has a beautiful home and a well cultivated farm to show for sixteen years of toil.  His commodious barns, granary and implement buildings, his heard of Hereford cattle and Poland China hogs are a suggestive testimonial of prosperous industry.  Before coming to Pierce county in 1882 Mr. Nissen was a laborer on a farm in Poweshiek county, Iowa, for twelve years.  Previous to that he lived in his native country of North Germany.  He is perfectly contented—in fact, infatuated with his present prospects, and it would need a substantial inducement to secure his consent to a change to any other portion of the country.


(Photo Insert – Farm Home of Nis Nissen)


FRANK LAMBERT has a charming home on a half section two miles west of Osmond.  After fourteen years of cultivation, the arrangements of fields, buildings and groves makes it one of the attractive farms of Nebraska.  Eighty acres are managed by his son, W.J. Lambert.  It is well equipped in every detail, and the home is noted for its hospitality and entertainment.  Mr. Lambert takes just pride in the scene of transformation that his industry has wrought the early days when located on unbroken, open prairie.  There are ample stables for his large herds of stock, and the cultivated grove and lawn that surrounds a handsome residence marks the place as one of great attractiveness.


PETER NISSEN is another of the prosperous and contented farmers of Pierce county, owner of a quarter section in the Eden valley nine miles northeast of Plainview.  He drove to his present locality from Crawford county, Iowa in 1881, and the first year worked as a farm laborer in the neighborhood in which he lives.  He then purchased the farm he now cultivates.  His crops have been ever bountiful and prosperity sure and steady.  Like his brother, Nis, he is a firm believer in the producing quality of Pierce county soil, and the faith of his belief is easily evidenced in the fine home and attractive surroundings.  He came from North Germany in 1875 and at once began life as a farm laborer in Clinton county, Iowa.  His family of wife and seven children are now well provided with a substantial portion of worldly goods due to persistent labor and the producing elements of Pierce county land.


(Photo Insert – Farm Home of Frank Lambert)


A.B. SCHOENAUER’S beautiful arm home is on the north line of Pierce County, a portion of it lying in Knox county.  It is two miles east and six miles north of Plainview, and comprises 320 acres.  He located there in 1884.  The arrangement of residence and buildings bring to mind the well-remembered scenes that abound throughout the eastern states with their shady lawns and attractive groves.  The farms and buildings in Mr. Schoenauer’s neighborhood are models in rich cultivation and prosperous appearance.  Situated in what appears as the richest of upland prairie, yet it is the very center of the famous Eden valley.  It is the most attractive home in that locality.  It is well stocked with blooded cattle and swine and a large herd of horses.  Mr. Schoenauer is a native of Ohio, his birth place being in Holmes county.  In his infancy his parents moved to an Indiana farm and his young days including the period of district school life, were spent in Whitney county.  Mr. and Mrs. Schoenauer have three sons and a daughter to share the beautiful country residence.


(Photo Insert – Editor Boyd S. Leedom, Osmond)


ALBERT GREGERSEN cultivates a 480-acre farm three and a half miles southeast of Osmond.  It was virgin soil when he took possession fourteen years ago and now it is stocked with 140 head of cattle, 160 head of hogs and 20 head of horses.  It is all the result of gradual prosperity on Pierce county soil.  He came direct to his present location from his native land of Germany.  He was born in Schleswig Holstein.  Although his father was a business man, Albert “worked out,” and his life has been devoted to farming.  He has no regrets for the choice he made nor for his present condition, ? he bewail his situation as a farmer of Pierce county.  A man of sunny disposition, he takes opportunities of his prosperous condition in employment of his success as a Pierce county farmer.  With wife and twelve children he looks into the future with complacency knowing from experience that each succeeding year will surely bring its usual harvest of bounty.


(Photo Insert – J. M. Stewart, Osmond)

(Photo Insert – Farm Home of Peter Nissen)


J.F. KOLTERMAN, living one and a half miles north of Pierce, is cultivating a half-section and occupies one of the many beautiful homes of the county.  The residence and buildings are located on a picturesque bend in the North Fork of the Elkhorn river, and the broad rich acres mostly lie in the river valley.  There are six massive buildings surrounding the home which has been the family homestead for twenty nine years.  Although Mr. Kolterman was forced by his neighbors into political life six years ago, he devotes his entire time to the cultivation of his farm.  On the death of his father five years ago, he came into full possession, and it is occupied by a happy family of wife, three sons and a daughter.  He was nominated and elected to the office of county commissioner six years ago as a democrat and still serves the office.  It would be difficult to convince Mr. Kolterman that Pierce county soil is not as good as the soil of any other portion of the state and that farm life is not the most delightful and prosperous of all pursuits of mankind.


DR. J. M. ALDEN, a practicing physician of Pierce resides on a beautifully situated farm a half mile north of Pierce.  It comprises 240 acres of level, black loam soil, has handsome residence and large pretentious farm buildings.  The rich pastures of tame grass are tenanted by blooded Hereford cattle and the hog yards are filled with Poland Chinas.  It is one of those ideal farm homes that swells in the memory of the tourist, by reason of its attractive beauty.  The doctor has been in active practice in Pierce fourteen years.  He is a graduate of Jefferson college, Pa. from the class of 1871.  A year’s course was afterward taken at the New York Post Graduate School and Hospital.  He is a member of the State and also of the Elkhorn Valley Medical societies.  Despite his active career as a physician, he gives personal direction as to the conduct of his farm.


(Photo Insert – H. J. Billerbeck, Osmond)

(Photo Insert – Farm Home of J. F. Kolterman)


VACLAR CIZEK owns a 320-acre farm seven miles northwest of Osmond, although he does not operate it being himself engaged in business at Osmond.  It is in an advanced stage of cultivation, but the groves and other decorative features that contribute to enhance the beauty of farm homes will require a few years more of cultivation before the fine location will show its full attractiveness.  The soil is of the richest in the county and the yearly yield bountiful.  It has a pretty residence and the six farm buildings are well arranged for stock and general farm purposes.  Mr. Cizek began life as a farm laborer.  Emigrating from Bohemia with his parents at the age of 6, his experience has been mostly on the farm.  He prospered, and his success adds another testimony to the value of Nebraska lands.  He is a member of the Osmond firm of Cizek & Suckstorf.


(Photo Insert – Farm Home of Vaclar Cizek)


JAMES R. SMATHERS, whose home is just south of Osmond, is another who has made farming pay, although he does not rank with the old settlers of the county.  His effort is chiefly toward stock breeding and he is recognized as a good judge of the breeds that feed upon the Nebraska prairie.  He owns 170 acres two miles south of Osmond.  He is a native of Pennsylvania.  He operated farms in Illinois and in Dixon county, this state.  When Osmond was platted in 1890 he built and conducted the first livery stable in the new town and served as town marshal.  But his love for the farm and its easy profits drew him back to his old vocation in 1892.  He declares there is no place better suited to stock raising than Pierce county.


(Photo Insert – Sheriff E. C. Haas, Pierce)




There are two factors that make Pierce the leading town of the county, viz: the county seat and the splendid water power.  These are advantages that no other town in the county can overcome.  It has a population of about 800, has two good banks, a number of good brick blocks, two newspapers, the largest flouring mill in northeast Nebraska, splendid public school buildings and churches and some very handsome homes.  It is an important station on the F.E. & M.V. Ry. System.  It is the oldest town in the county, its location dating from 1870 and the same year the county seat was located at Pierce.  The town site is situated at the junction of Willow creek and the North Fork of the Elkhorn river which streams furnish excellent water power for manufacturing purposes.  As the country becomes more tickly settled this water privilege will be found an important element in the development of the town’s industries.


(Photo Insert – Pierce County Bank, Pierce)

(Photo Insert – Residence of A. Reimers?, Pierce)


J.H. BROWN, one of the largest land owners of the county and still a resident of Pierce, located Pierce in company with R.S. Lucas.  He came direct from his native state of Louisiana to Pierce in 1879 and much of the county’s grand development is due to his patriotic effort.  He was a part of the first county government, was the first county clerk, afterward Judge and then county attorney.  He has practiced law, accumulated land to the amount of about 4,000 acres and maintained an active interest in the affairs of the county for ? years since the county was known to history.  He occupies a fine residence in the heart of the town and is reputed to be one of the county’s wealthiest men.


(Photo Insert – Residence of J. H. Brown, Pierce)


MR. WM. E. BISHOP, of Pierce is another of the old settlers who has gained wealth from the soil of the county.  Mr. and Mrs. Bishop are typical Yankees, and natives of the ancient town of Guilford, Conn.  Both are descendants of the original settlers of the old city.  Mrs. Bishop’s maiden name was Ellen A. Stone.  Among the many art treasurers of the home is a photo of the old Bishop homestead in Connecticut erected more than a century past.  Mr. and Mrs. Bishop came to Pierce county in 1879.  “The Bishop Ranch,” located in the north part of the county, was their home the first eight years.  His first experience was sheep raising, but he found greater profit in breeding cattle and horses.  In 1879 they were 65 miles for a railway station, the nearest point being Wisner, and neighbors were in no sense bothersome, the nearest being seven miles distant.  Mr. Bishop has resided in Pierce the past twelve years, but has not let go of his good land.  On the contrary he has added to his possessions until he now owns 3,800 acres and manages for the eastern members of the family almost as much more.  He is a stockholder of the Pierce County bank and loans money on the same character of soil that has made him wealthy.


(Photo Insert – W. E. Bishop, Pierce)


(Photo Insert – Residence and Interior Views of W. E. Bishop, Pierce)


(Photo Insert – Residence of L.R. Hertert, Pierce)


HERTERT BROS. are a real estate firm at Pierce that is largely interested in the lands of the county.  L.R. Hertert is the  resident manager.  His brother E.M., is a resident of Harlan, Iowa and the present treasurer of Shelby county.  The firm’s business includes not only real estate and loans, but abstracting and fire insurance.  They have placed hundreds of thousands of dollars in loans on Pierce county land with the remarkable record of not having lost one dollar of the investment.  Such success speaks equally as well for the management as for the integrity of the farmers.  It is the most active and influential real estate firm in the south half of the county, and without exception has enjoyed the happy faculty of satisfying its large clientage without the least friction.  It represents accurate conditions on all deals, and by this method has established a reputation as a most trustworthy real estate firm.


THE PIERCE STATE BANK, like every monetary institution, is deeply interested in the valuable soil of the county, and like other banks of the county, at present finds it difficult to keep its large surplus in circulation, so prosperous are the farmers of its territory.  It was organized in April, 1890, with a paid-up capital of $35,000, and its officers and stockholders are mostly well-known German capitalists.  C.A. Reimer is president, L.A. Pohlman, vice president and W.A. Spencer, casher.  Including the above officers the board of directors are C.E. Hutton, manager of the Pierce Milling company, H.H. Mohr, lumber merchant, D.W. Elliott and A.A. Jasmer.  They are well-known conservative men of large business affairs.  The president is a native of Holstein, Germany, and made a modest beginning as a blacksmith.  Even after he landed in the United States in 1865 he pursued his trade for some years.  He naturally drifted in the hardware business when he came to Pierce in 1883.  When the bank organized he assumed the presidency


(Photo Insert – View of Wheat Filed, Crop of 1898)


W.A. SPENCER, the cashier began a banking business in Pierce in company with Wood Cones in 1882.  It was the first bank in the county.  It was located in a barn and Cashier Cones wrote the first bank draft on the 10th of June of that year.  Messrs. Spencer and Cones are still young men and bank officers. 


The bank does a large business in land transfers, handles money for land investors, and attends to a large list of business for non-resident land owners.


(Photo Insert – The Pierce State Bank)


The Pierce county bank had its origin from the bank started by Spencer and Cones in 1882.  Later it was merged into the First National bank and two years ago resumed its former title.  H.S. Beck is president and Wood Cones, cashier.  Directory includes, besides these officers, such substantial citizens as W.B. Chilvers, J.C. Morgan and Benj. Lindsay.  It has a paid up capital of $25,000.  Its deposits run from $65,000 to $80,000 and its annual loans average $75,000.  The annual dividends are about 9 per cent.  “It does more business than any three banks in the count.” Is the statement of Cashier Cones.  Since Mr. Cones graduated from the Illinois College at Jacksonville, Ill., in 1882 he has been a banker of Pierce, writing the first draft issued in the county on a piece of brown paper. 


Like all the banks in the county the Pierce County bank is greatly interested in the producing quality of the county’s soil and its principal source of business emanates from the farm.


(Photo Insert – Residence of F.C. Holbert, Plainview)


EDWARD C. HAAS, sheriff of Pierce county is a product of the farm, his early training having been upon a Plymouth county, Iowa farm.  He is serving his second term as sheriff.  He was appointed postmaster of Osmond by President Cleveland’s administration previous to his election as sheriff.  Previous to his career as an official he was in the lumber business in Iowa and at Osmond.  He came to the county in 1891.  It is needless to say he is faithful in the discharge of duty.  The severe training, both mentally and physically, on the western farm, usually suffices for any emergency and responsibility of life.  Mr. Haas’ success since his residence in Pierce county has been phenomenal as well as deserving.


(Photo Insert – H. F. Barnhart, Pierce)


H.F. BARNHART, has recently assumed the position of county attorney, to which he was elected last fall.  Since graduating from the Iowa State University in 1884 Mr. Barnhart has been practicing law in Pierce and Knox counties.  His natural mental acquirements endows him as the logical prosecutor and pleader for the community.  A ready debater, a skillful pleader and public speaker of rare ability.  His oratory is in pine with the argumentive logic of the jurist, yet it flashes with humor and anon the atmosphere is iridescent with sarcasm.  His career was in the prospective stage as it were, until he located at Pierce three years ago.  Here the opportunity for a proper display of his talents as a criminal lawyer was open and his rise has been of the sky rocket order.  He has defended in famous cases of crime and won.  As prosecutor he will be equally successful for to him the art of pleading is as simple as colors and brush to a Raphael.


(Photo Insert – Farmers Bank and Opera House Block, Plainview)




(Photo Insert – H.L. Ludlum, Plainview)


One year younger in age than Pierce.  It was located by W.B. Chilvers in 1872 and was given the name of Roseville, in honor of Charles Rose, the first postmaster.  It has been Plainview since 1874.  Its location is in the northwestern boarder of the county and is a junction point of the F.E. & M.V. and the Pacific Short Line railroads.  It has a population of about 800, has two banks, two newspapers, a normal college, good school buildings, several church edifices and a fair proportion of handsome residences.  The gentle undulating land that surround the town adds a charm to the admirable location.  Its growth is encouraged by the well to do farmers.  It is an important shipping point of grain and live stock and has the advantage of its county competitors as a railway competing point.  One of the finest creameries in the state is located here and it has greatly stimulated the dairy industry in that section of the county.


(Photo Insert – Farm Home of A.B. Schoenauer)


THE FARMERS STATE BANK occupies the corner of a magnificent brick block built in 1892.  The bank was organized in November 1888 and has a paid-up capital of $25,000.  It was reorganized in 1895.  Its officers are Chas. S. Bridge, president; P.D. Corell, vice president; F.C. Holbert, cashier.  In addition to the foregoing H. Vossberg and N.M. Nelson constitute the directory.  Deposits average about $60,000 and loans $55,000.  It pays a semi-annual dividend of 5 per cent.  It has sufficient home capital for investments in spite of the occasional heavy demands.  Its officers are all substantial business men.  President Bridge resides at Norfolk and is vice president of the Citizens National bank of that city.  He also owns the Sugar City Cereal Mills of Norfolk.  Mr. Corell is a member of the lumber firm of Corell Bros.  Mr. Holbert has had ten years experience as cashier and was formerly an employee of the Citizens National of Norfolk.  His early business training was acquired as agent of the Standard Oil company in New Jersey.


(Photo Insert – Bruce Sires, Plainview)


THE BANK OF PLAINVIEW is managed by Assistant Cashier H. L. Ludlum.  It is the oldest bank in Plainview, the organization dating from August, 1884.  C.M. Swan, of Sioux City, Ia., is president, and it its director are such well-known financiers as D.T. Gilman, present of the Iowa State National of Sioux City, and Elisha Webb of Brookfield, Mass.  The bank makes a specialty of realty and live stock loans and handles an immense quantity of such paper.  It is the depository for a large list of farmers, who in the past few years have become loaners instead of borrowers.  The bank is in a healthy, flourishing condition.


(Photo Insert – Farm Home of Albert Gregerson)


BRUCE SIRES is one of the live hustling real estate men of Plainview.  He joined the ranks of business at Plainview from his farm in the Eden Valley in the spring of 1893.  He made a good farmer and a better real estate man.  His exchange and rental agency is located over the Farmers State bank.  It’s his belief that he sells more land is a better posted on its varying qualities than all the other agents in Pierce county.  However true that may be he is known as an indefatigable worker and keeps a going.  Fortunately


(Photo Insert – J. L. Stevens, Plainview)


(Photo Insert – Farm Home of Dr. J. M. Alden)


J.L. STEVENS knows who to buy and sell farm lands, but know but little of the system of cultivation.  He has been successful in real estate in politics and for four years published and edited the Plainview Gazette.  He was postmaster from 1888 to 1892, and is now a justice of the peace.  Since completion of the Pacific Short Line railroad to Plainview, in 1891, Mr. Stevens has been the town site agent of the Pacific Townsite Co., and greatly to his energy is due the development of that important addition to the town.  He is an enterprising spirit and devoted to the grown and advancement of Pierce county.


M.H. LEAMY surrendered the office of county attorney to his successor in 1899, after serving one term and has resumed his place at the head of the legal profession on Plainview.  He is a graduate of the Omaha Law school.  He is and has been a prominent figure in the mercantile life of Plainview since 1887.  Before moving to Nebraska from his native state of Massachusetts he received a business training at Eastman’s college, Poughkepsie, N.Y.  For two years he was principal of the Plainview public schools and was afterward assistant cashier of the Bank of Plainview.  It was while an employee of the bank he became ambitious for legal knowledge and decided to enter the ranks of attorneys-at-law.  Soon after graduation he was elected county attorney.  His attainments and disposition leaned to common law and the duties of the official place grew irksome.  He did not seek re-election, believing the road to success for him was in practice of equity and law cases.  He undoubtedly possesses the largest and finest law library in the county and in every way is well equipped for a successful career at the bar.


(Photo Insert – M. H. Leamy, Plainview)


J. Y. HUMPHREY is a leading general merchant of Plainview.  He has been in this line since becoming a resident of the county in 1883.  He conducted a store at Pierce for several years and then established himself here.  The change was a fortunate one, and he is prospering beyond expectation.  He exerts an influence of the go-ahead quality.  He is not only willing at all times to welcome new enterprises and settlers into the county, but is always ready to do his share in whatever may assist the county’s growth.  His place of business is a model of neatness and arrangement, and is deserving of the patronage received.


(Photo Insert – Farm Home of James R. Smathers)


(Photo Insert – J. Y. Humphrey, Plainview)


P.F. BOYENS does the furniture and undertaking business of Plainview and at no time in the twelve years of business has he enjoyed such prosperity as the last twelve months.  His immense stock is packed deep on two floors 25 by 100 feet.  Mr. Boyens is a product of the farm and was born in Germany in 1860.  His parents are yet living on a farm near Denison, Iowa.  Everything that can be suggested as household furniture can be found in Mr. Boyen’s stock.  The selections are sufficient to gratify a patronage several times the size of the trading public in Plainview.  “One peculiarity about my farm trade,” said Mr. Boyens, “is that I cannot induce my customers to buy on credit.  They all have money and insist on paying cash.  There never was so much money in the farmer’s pockets as now.”


(P.F. Boyens, Plainview)




(Photo Insert – Mr. Mary’s Catholic Church, Osmond)


The youngest and liveliest town in the county is Osmond organized and built in 1890 and at the time the Pacific Short Line railroad was construction from Sioux City, Iowa to O’Neill Nebr.  It is the midway station of this railroad system.  Its grown started with a bound and the rich soil of the tributary country has established its record as an important trading point.  Its population is estimated at 450.  It possesses a fine flour mill, bank, newspaper, and two grain elevators.  The Yankton and Norfolk railroad grade skirts the east line of the townsite, and since it seems evident that line will be completed.  Osmond will be favored with a north-south outlet which will greatly stimulate its growth.  With that line of road completed, the future of the Pacific Short line determined there is no point in northeast Nebraska that will have better prospects of rapid development than Osmond.  It has the soil and climate to sustain a city and it would not be at all surprising if it reached such proportions in the near future.  Its tributary soil produces from 18 to 20 bushels of wheat per acre and as high as 60 bushels of corn.  Its value has increased from $10 and $12 in 1890 to $18 and $25 in 1899.  The farms are chiefly tenanted by thrifty Germans—a class of men who know how to make a country blossom and produce.  In fact, in many instances this sturdy class of farmers have more than doubled the value of their lands in the past eight years.  The valuable annual yields of product gives Osmond a more substantial foundation of growth than any other town in the county, which finds demonstration in the high valuations of town properties.


(Photo Insert – Presbyterian Church, Osmond)

(Photo Insert – Farm Home of J. H. Stewart, Osmond)

(Photo Insert – Residence of J. M. Stewart, Osmond)


The “newness” of the town is apparent to the most casual observer and there are many channels needing better and more improved facilities for business but such affairs will be adjusted in time and will be necessitated as the place grows in cultivation.  It possesses one of the handsomest school buildings in the state and the corps of efficient teachers are winning fame throughout that section of country.


The promoter and moving spirit of the town is the townsite agent, J. H. Stewart.  Greatly to his energy and wisdom is due much of the advancement the place enjoys.  It was he who laid out its wide streets, located its business blocks and secured most of the tenants for surround farms.  Then he devoted his entire time to real estate.  After Osmond was firmly established he read law and now he transacts most of the legal as well as the real estate business of the town.  Never content to follow, he has mowed his way to the front in legal practice and no lawyer in the county enjoys the support of a better and larger clientage than Mr. Stewart.  He is well known throughout Nebraska and Iowa as a man of positive force of character of tremendous energy and the possessor of a commanding presence.  Beginning as an Ohio country boy, he entered the army and took part in the civil war when a mere lad, then into real estate and law, furrowing a distinguished record into each avenue he entered.  There is much in store for such a restless, active personality, yet in the vigor of perfect manhood.


(Photo Insert – Cashier B. M. Smith, Osmond)


J.M. STEWART is associated with his brother J. H., in the real estate business at Osmond, and possesses much of the magnetism of the brother.  He was a resident of Calhoun county, Iowa until two years ago.  For a number of years he was sheriff of Calhoun county.  He purchased many hundred acres of land near Osmond for speculative purposes and has accumulated wealth rapidly.  The firm transfers many thousand acres and is reputed the wealthiest real estate firm in the county.


(Photo Insert – Residence of H. J. Billerbeck, Osmond)

(Photo Insert – Matteson Bros., Osmond)


H.J. BILLERBECK was a German emigrant to the United States in 1854 and began American life as a farm lad in Illinois.  Then he operated a farm in Carroll county, Iowa, thirteen years.  In 1885 he entered the hardware business in Pierce, moving to Osmond as soon as the town was platted, erecting the first building in the place in 1890.  He now owns more inside property than any citizen of Osmond.  He is the hardware merchant of the town and handles an immense amount of farm machinery annually.  With the aid of five sons he operates 320 acres of leased land.  The family occupies the finest residence in Osmond.  The father and sons are progressive citizens, the elder Billerbeck being regarded as a leader in local affairs.  He is a hardy specimen of labor’s loyal sons and no acquaintance begrudges him the wealth he has accumulated by hard industry.  He is a leading member of the Catholic church of Osmond and is ever zealous of the society’s welfare.


(Photo Insert – Residence of W. A. Matteson, Osmond)


THE FARMER’S STATE BANK  has a monopoly of the deposits of Osmond since the Bank of Osmond withdrew from the field.   It was organized in July 1890 and has a paid up capital of $15,000.  Its officers are W.L. Smith, president; B.M. Smith, cashier, and H. J. Billerbeck, F. H. Greewald and C.B. Willey included in the board of directors.  It does a general banking business, makes loans and handles securities.  The director is a combination of self-made human material, the combined responsibility of which is several times the amount of the bank’s capital.  The list of depositors include the entire business community and a large list of farmers in the northern half of the county.


(Photo Insert – Osmond Roller Mills)


MATTESON BROS.  is a firm of live stock buyers and feeders, and is composed of W.A. & L.B. Matteson.  They are old time cattle men with an experience of sixteen years in Ida county, Iowa at Ponca and in Osmond, Neb.  For some time they operated the Farmers State bank selling their interest in 1893.  Their herds roam and feed over 1940 acres of grazing grounds in the immediate vicinity of Osmond.  They are active wide awake citizens pausing for no obstacle where the development of the town or their interests are at stake.  They are influential in directing Osmond a growth and many evidences of their enterprise are seen in the town’s make-up.  The Matteson brothers are not afraid of venture in business, but are never reckless.  They play the limit with nerve when the business situation justifies and win.  They handle the cattle business with a dash that sometimes startles and shocks conservative heads, but the results are always in their favor.  There is no other live stock firm along the Pacific Short Line that has more enterprise than the Matteson brothers


(Photo Insert – J.C. Saunders, Osmond)

(Photo Insert – John Suckstorf, Osmond)

(Photo Insert – Osmond School House)


J.C. COTTRELL and P.J. BOYLE operate the splendidly built roller mills of Osmond, construction in 1891 with five stands of the latest improved rolls and with a daily capacity of sixty barrels.  The machinery is moved by a Corliss engine, built by the Sioux City Machine Works.  The product of the mill finds a ready market, the brands known as “Golden Links”, “Golden Medal” and “Bakers Delight” having a preferred patronage in Northern Nebraska.  The building is a commanding structure of two stories and basement and its machinery is in constant motion.


(Photo Insert – James Busfield, Osmond)


MITCHELL & SAUNDERS are the leading general merchants of Osmond, the members of which are George W. Mitchell and J.C. Saunders.  Mr. Saunders bought the first lot sold by the Townsite company and Mr. Mitchell has the distinguished record of selling the first dollars worth of goods in Osmond.  Both are popular men in the community and in Pierce county.  In all matters of public concern the opinion of the firm is courted and their influence on the side of measures best calculated to promote the welfare of the town.  They are men of quiet domestic disposition—just such who command respect and easily hold the esteem of an cultural people.  Their institution is the only general store in Osmond that is arranged on a pretentious basis and when the demands of traders cannot be suited from the stock of Mitchell & Saunders it is safe to bet the stocks of competitors cannot relieve particular tastes.


(Photo Insert – Harry Fullen, Osmond)


JOHN SUCKSTORF is a unique character in the business circles of Osmond.  The giant-like stature, the plain German character and homely honesty of the man wins him favors and esteem wherever known.  He has been identified with the business affairs of Osmond since the beginning.  Formerly he was a partner in he lumber business of Osmond with Sheriff Ed. Haas, but in the last few years has been a member of the liquor firm of Cizek & Suckstorf.  He is a native of Germany, and withal a magnificent specimen of that sturdy, splendid race.  Were he an attorney how readily would the mind assume him to fit Judge Baldwin’s delineation of the country lawyer in the “Flush Times of Alabama.  Yet he sprang from the ranks of the farm lads and the modest atmosphere of the farm seem to cling to him.


JAMES BUSFIELD is the Osmond agent of the Pacific Short Line.  He has been connected with the road since the days of its construction.  He was a part of the corps that surveyed the townsites of the line.  His first office as agent of the road was an improvised affair on the open prairie by the side of a telegraph pole.  In the nine years of service with the railroad company he has been shifted from Plainview to Dixon and for the past four years has held with satisfaction and credit the office at Osmond.  In appearance and methods Mr. Busfield is persistently original and a more competent and trustworthy employee is unknown to the management.  He resembles and is a thoroughbred Virginian.  He is a graduate of the Janesville, Wis. School of Telegraphy.  He has acquired more than local attention as a Sunday school instructor in Presbyterian circles.  He is a sincere man in every phase of life and greatly respected by his friends.


THE OSMOND REPUBLICAN is published and edited by Boyd S. Leedom, who is also postmaster of Osmond.  It is ably edited and shows mechanical skill in its make-up and appearance.  Mr. Leedom has devoted the latter twenty four years to newspaper work and the long experience has ripened his knowledge in the varied and exacting requirements of a country publisher.  He began his newspaper career in the Main office at Dakota City, Nebr., for Hon. John T. Spencer in 1875.  In 1877 he was setting type on the Dixon County Courier and where in July of the following year he was married to Ella M. Wigton, a sister of his employer.  He founded the Wakefield Star, now Republican, in 1882.  Later he founded what is now the Ponca Gazette.  Beginning in 1886 and for seven years he published the Wheeler County Republican.  In February, 1892 he purchased the Osmond Advance, changing the name to Republican.  In August 1897 he was appointed postmaster of Osmond.  Of his five children, two are sons and bent in the direction of newspaper careers.  The elder, Ches N. Leedom is the active mechanic of the Republican office and he demonstrates by his labor a natural taste and ability in artistic printing.  He was born in Kansas in 1881 and from the age of 5 he has been setting type, rolling the land press and performing other printing office duties in his leisure hours.  Master Joe. W. is yet a school urchin, with a penchant for the fun a newsboy gets—a positive trait of the coming journalist.  At the age of 9 he manipulates type with the easy, graceful motion of an old “comp” and possesses a line of information on the intricate secrets of a printing office that entitles him to “regular case” and a “jours” salary.


As postmaster, Editor Leedom employs the patient tact of the journalist and gives entire satisfaction to the patrons of the office.  It was his first dash for place and he won as easily as an old-time “ringer”.


HARRY FULLEN is a dealer of farm implements and machinery at Osmond.  In 1891 he located there and worked at the trade of painter.  When Ed. C. Haas resigned the office of postmaster in 1894 to enter the sheriff’s office, Mr. Fullen received the appointment of postmaster.  When the office fell into the care of Postmaster Leedom two years ago he established his present business.  Success has clung to him since he became a citizen of the town.  His sales during the 1898 season were many times greater than he had dared to anticipate.  He was born in Burt county, Nebraska and his youthful days were spent on a farm.  He is a graduate of the Tekamah high school and his parents are residents of that city.


JOHN A. BALLANTYNE is the resident manager of Osmond of the Edwards & Bradford Lumber Co.  His early education was gained in a little long schoolhouse in St. Lawrence county, New York where he was born in 1852.  While Mr. Ballantyne has developed his mental attainments to a high degree the greater part of his knowledge was acquired by persistent study as he fought his way along life’s stern highway.  Several years ago he located at Hartington, Cedar county, Neb., and as a contracting carpenter built most of the brick and other business blocks of that city.  When Osmond was located in 1890 he came with a stock of lumber for the firm he still represents.  He owns 720 acres of valuable land in Knox county.  He was the nominee of the Republicans of his district last fall for the legislature.  He is regarded as a wise conservation citizen and is the possessor of rare business qualifications.


(Photo Insert – J. A. Ballentyne, Osmond)


WILLIAM M. SCHONNEBAUM is one of Osmond’s liquor dealers, entering the ranks of business in May, 1898.  He was born in Foreston, Ill., on Sept. 13, 1858.  He moved with his parents to Grundy county, Iowa, where he learned the trade of harness maker.  He settled in Sioux county, Nebraska in 1885 and later operated a flour and feed store at Hot Springs, S.D.  He conducts an orderly saloon and it is a popular retreat for the agricultural element that extracts pleasure by such congenial habits.


(Photo Insert – William M. Schonnebaum)

(Photo Insert – Cones Block, Pierce)






Attorney at Law and Real Estate


Northeast Nebraska Land for sale.

Loans on farm lands.


Investments made for non-residents.