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Rock County Biographies Collection


The original records are property of the Rock County Historical Society and/or the contributors who transcribed these information for genealogical research.
Rock County Historical Society © 2008 - All Rights Are Reserved

by Michael Leahy
The Great-Grandson of Martin James Leahy
February 2006


The Martin James Leahy family was early homesteaders in Rock County, Nebraska. Martin went to Nebraska in June of 1884 to homestead some land and staked out a claim near Hammond, Nebraska. He moved there in late fall of 1884 or spring of 1885. The family followed when they completed school in LeMars, Iowa. Hammond, Nebraska was located on the line of Section 2 and 3, about 1/4 to 1/2 mile north of the junction of section 2, 3, 10 & 11. The Hammond Post Office was closed after World War II.

The homestead claim (application # 1764) was made on the SW 1/4 of Section 11 of Township 27, filed on June 14, 1884. Martin also filed for a Timber Culture claim (Application # 1803) on the S 1/2 of SE 1/4 and E 1/2 of SW 1/4 of Section 10 of Township 27. The Timber claim required the planting of a stated number of trees within 4 years of the claim.


Martin James Leahy was born October 18, 1836, near Hartford, Connecticut. to James Leahy and Elizabeth Conroy Leahy. James Leahy died within a couple years of Martin's birth and Elizabeth then married Daniel Murphy.

The Daniel Murphy family moved west, ending up in eastern Iowa. The 1850 census shows the family located on a farm near Bowens Prairie, Jones County, Iowa. (Just south of Cascade, Iowa) There were six Murphy children: Maurice, Catherine, Daniel, Elizabeth, Timothy and John.

Martin Leahy was an apprentice carpenter in Dubuque, Iowa. He was released from the 3-year apprenticeship in November 26, 1857, when he was 21, as the carpenter, James McManus, was moving back to New York. Martin married Bridget Dunn on April 25, 1866, at St. Patrick's Church, Dubuque, Iowa. Bridget was born to John and Ellen (Boylan) Dunn in New Orleans, Louisiana on March 8, 1845. Martin and Bridget made their home in Cascade, Iowa, where Martin worked as a wagon maker. The five children were born at this location were James Edward on June 2, 1867; Ellen Marie (Nellie) on August 7, 1869; George James (Mickey) on August 17, 1871; Edward Joseph on October 8 1873; Elizabeth Marie (Lizzie) on March 13, 1876. The family moved to LeMars, Iowa in 1880, where Martin worked as a carpenter and a wagon maker. James, Martin's eldest son, died December 10, 1882 and is buried in the Catholic Cemetery, Bolin Family Plot, in LeMars, Iowa.

The family moved to the homestead near Hammond, Nebraska in 1885. They were successful homesteaders and accumulated more acres in the following years. Martin died at home on September 8, 1908. He was buried September 10, 1908, in the Catholic Cemetery in Stuart, Nebraska, and was later moved to St. Joseph's Cemetery in Atkinson, Nebraska.

After Martin's death, George, the next eldest son, continued to operate the ranch. in 1910. Bridget, Martin's widow, moved to live with her daughter Mrs. Elizabeth Hormel, in Shell, Wyoming. She died on April 24, 1915 and is buried next to her husband in St. Joseph's Cemetery, Atkinson, Nebraska. George Leahy, the eldest son, stayed on the ranch, never married and died in February 28, 1927 of a stomach ulcer in a hospital in Omaha, Nebraska. He is buried next to his parents in St. Joseph's Cemetery, Atkinson, Nebraska. George had accumulated 1960 contiguous acres, all in Township 27, Range 17 of Rock County, at the time of his death. Land description as follows: E 1/2 of SW Qtr Section10 (80-acre); SE Qtr Section 10 (160-acre); S 1/2 Section 11 (320-acre); all of Section 14 and Section 15 (both of 640-acre each); E 1/2 of NE Qtr. Section 21 (80-acre); NW Qtr of NW Qtr. Section 22 (40-acre). All of these above mentioned lands are now owned by R. L. Mauch Farms.

Martin's eldest daughter, Ellen Marie (Nellie) Leahy married William Orlo Stephenson June 1, 1891. They moved to Manfred, Alberta, Canada to homestead land in 1902. She died December 23, 1904, and is buried in the Shultz Churchyard, Panoka, Alberta, Canada. They had six children: Claude (born March 18, 1892), Guy (born May 1, 1894), Vay (born December 28, 1895), Everett (born June 12, 1899), Eva Elizabeth (born June 12, 1899), and Hugh (born May 28, 1901). In 1905 her husband married Emma Hildreth Carruthers. He later moved to British Colombia and died November 26, 1938 in New West Minister, British Colombia and is buried in the Oceanview Cemetery, Burnaby, British Colombia, Canada.

Nellie's Family Information:

  1. Claude married Rose Killips in April 1930. He died on June 26, 1936 in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan and is buried near Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.
  2. Guy married Winnifred Louisa Saunders on June 10, 1919 in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. He died April 4, 1983 in Denver, Colorado and is buried at Chapel Hill M. G. Denver, Colorado.
  3. Vay married Thelma Benedict on December 12, 1926 at Red Lodge, Carbon, Minnesota. He died in February 1990 in Nampa, Idaho.
  4. Everett married Vada Ruth Burton on July 5, 1922 at Lacombe, Alberta, Canada. He died on March 27, 1984 in Lemoore, California.
  5. Eva married Herbert Russell on March 3, 1917 in Canada. She died on September 6, 1947 and is buried in Vernon, British Colombia, Canada.
  6. Hugh married Alberta Louise Ross on December 9, 1927 at Lethbridge, Alberta, Canada. He died on March 31, 1980 in Denver, Colorado. Alberta died on July 21, 1982. Both are buried in the Fairmont Cemetery, Denver, Colorado. They had six children: Shirley Mae (Tony) Schmuki, Gordon, William, Gary, Ronald and Brent.

Martin's youngest son, Edward (Ed) Joseph Leahy, in 1889, went to Neola, Iowa. (Near Council Bluffs) to help his uncle Ed Dunn, Bridget's brother, on the farm for one of his uncle's son was ill and they needed help. In 1895, Ed and two other young men drove a team and wagon to Danbury, Iowa to help with picking the local corn crop which was all done by hand. After harvest, the other two young men returned to Neola, but Ed stayed in the Danbury area, doing carpenter work, running a corn Sheller and hauling milk to town. On May 2, 1900, he married Josephine Boyle at St. Patrick's Catholic Church, Danbury, Iowa and started farming about 5 1/2 miles north of Danbury (on Story Ave). In 1906, he purchased the farm next door from Simon O'Connor (160-acre). Ed and his wife had six children: Margaret (born February 16, 1901), Mary (born May 24, 1903), Ellen (born February 26, 1905), Martin M. (April 11, 1907), Leona (born April 17, 1910) and Edna (born July 21, 1912). Edward died on September 28, 1936 from blood poisoning due to an injury while filling silo. Josephine died on February 17, 1927 from a diabetic seizure while attending her sister's funeral in South Dakota.

Edward's Family Information:

  1. Margaret married Albert Forch on April 12, 1923 at St. Patrick's Catholic Church, Danbury, Iowa and lived in the Anthon, Iowa area. They had seven children: Mary Jo (Archie Jr.) Dicks, Menomonee, Wisconsin, John, deceased, (Mary Lou Hawn), Moville, Iowa; Vincent, deceased, (Opal Jeffries), Sioux City, Iowa; Margaret Ann (Richard) Roark, Anthon, Iowa; Cecelia (James) Karhoff, Anthon, Iowa; James (Oline), Sioux City, Iowa and Kay (James) Fredricks, Shenandoah, Iowa. Margaret died on April 25, 1974 and Albert died on April 22, 1984. Both are buried in Catholic Cemetery, Anthon, Iowa
  2. Mary married Charles McGuire on January 12, 1926 at St. Patrick's Catholic Church, Danbury, Iowa and farmed in the Danbury area. Mary moved to Sioux City, Iowa after Charles death on October 22, 1952. She later moved to Storm Lake, Iowa to be near her daughter Charlotte. There were six children in the McGuire family. Pauline, deceased, (John) Hansen, Duncombe, Iowa; Charlotte (Robert) Sitzmann, Storm Lake, Iowa; Cleo, deceased, (Mary Kay Brennan), Marion, Iowa; Lawrence (Janice Monroe), Holstein, Iowa; Gerald, deceased, Danbury, Iowa; and Patrick (Judy Wickey), Brighton, Colorado.
  3. Ellen never married and was a school teacher in Colorado, New Mexico and later years in Tucson, Arizona, where she died on January 24, 1997. She is buried in Catholic Cemetery, Danbury, Iowa.
  4. Martin M. married Mary Ellen Crowley on December 30, 1935 and farmed on the family farm north of Danbury, Iowa. They had six children: Edward (Joan Kramer), Sac City, Iowa; Michael (Sally Martin), Normal, Illinois; Mary, deceased; Francis ("Frank"), deceased; Donald (Marsha Frey), West Union, Iowa; and JoAnne (David) Lagi, Atlanta, Georgia. Mary and Frank died in separate car accidents while in their early 20's and are buried in Catholic Cemetery, Danbury, Iowa. Martin died on March 13, 1981 and is buried in the Catholic Cemetery, Danbury, Iowa. Mary Ellen is residing at the time of this writing at nursing home in Normal, Illinois. (February 2006)
  5. Leona never married. She fell when young, resulting in a head injury. She resided in mental hospital during her adult life and died on April 6, 1964. She is buried in Catholic Cemetery, Danbury, Iowa.
  6. Edna married John Brenner on April 13, 1936 at St. Patrick's Catholic Church, Danbury, Iowa. They farmed in the Danbury area. They had three children: Maureen (Wayne) Sitzmann, Anderson, North Carolina; Sarah (Lloyd) Grenier, Colorado Springs, Colorado; and Mark (Kris Flemming), Danbury, Iowa. Edna died on November 25, 1985 and John died at a later date. Both are buried in Catholic Cemetery, Danbury, Iowa.

Elizabeth (Lizzie) Leahy was a school teacher at Thurman School, District # 12, in Rock County, Nebraska. She married Frank Hormel, a ranch foreman, in June 27, 1904, at St. Boniface Catholic Church Parsonage, Stuart, Nebraska. Wallace Hodge was best man and Mattie Radcliff was bridesmaid. They honeymooned in St. Louis, Missouri at the 1904 World's Fair. Frank Hormel, born in Fremont, Nebraska, managed the Elkhorn Ranch, near Bassett, Nebraska, for Colonel Torrey. He and Lizzie moved to the Shell, Wyoming area in 1906 to manage another ranch for Colonel Torrey in Horse Creek Canyon. In 1916 the ranch went broke and the Hormel family moved to a location on Trapper Creek near Shell, where Frank ran a blacksmith shop. Lizzie became the Postmistress in 1924 for Shell, Wyoming. Frank had a glandular problem and became very heavy. He died on August 7, 1939 and is buried in cemetery near Shell, Wyoming. Lizzie continued as Postmistress, retiring March 31, 1942. She later moved to Sheridan to be near her daughter, son-in-law and grandchildren. She passed away on June 11, 1958 and is buried next to her husband in Shell, Wyoming. They had two children Frances Louise (born July 25, 1913) and Frank L."Mike" (born February 23, 1916).

Lizzie's Family Information:

  1. Louise, a Registered Nurse, married Elmer Ankney, a rancher south of Sheridan, Wyoming on June 10, 1946, at the Holy Name Catholic Church, Sheridan. They had four children, Mary Kay Ankney, Springfield, Oregon; Marie (Henry Kallal) Jerseyville, Illinois James (Toni Sikora), and Leo, Sheridan, Wyoming. Elmer died in 1987 at the age of 85. Louise, continued to live on the home ranch, passed away on March 4, 2004 and is buried in the Sheridan Municipal Cemetery next to her husband.
  2. Frank ("Mike"), a highway construction worker, married Eleanor Nehl Baumberger on October 29, 1949. She died a few years later and is buried in Watauga, South Dakota. There were no children. Frank died in 1977 and is buried in the Cemetery, near Shell, Wyoming.

Prepared: February 2006
By: Michael M. Leahy
Contact Information: 907 Spear Drive; Normal, IL 61761
Phone: (309) 452-7883


Cornelius VAN HORN, born about 1844 in Michigan and died in Siloam Springs, Arknasas. He served in the Civil War for the Union. During the 2nd Battle of Manassas, Cornelius lost an arm. After the war, he married Mary CARPENTER of Michigan. She died on April 5, 1927. After their marriage and a few children later, Cornelius and Mary left Michigan and settled in Nebraska. The following details regarding their children are:
  1. Rose Bell VAN HORN, born in 1870 in Michigan. She married W. GIBBS, no further details are known. Rose died in 1913 in Ainsworth, Nebraska,
  2. George VAN HORN, born in 1873 in Michigan. He married Ellen Pearl UNKNOWN. It is possible that George died in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
  3. Matilda VAN HORN, born in 1875 in Michigan. She married Bryon VAN BUSKIRK in Rushville, Nebraska. Matilda died in 1952 in Prescott, Arizona.
  4. Mary VAN HORN, born in 1880 in Red Cloud, Nebraska. She married Amon RICHARDSON in 1899 in Rock County, Nebraska. It is unknown information about her death.
  5. Daisy VAN HORN, born in 1884, but no other known details about her life.
Contributor: Ed Van Horn ::

Rock County Historical Society © 2008 - All Rights are Reserved


John F. VAN HORN was born 1866 in Michigan. He married to Laura R. UNKNOWN, but they were later divorce in South Dakota. Laura remarried to Herman LEIBETREU on July 19, 1926 in Belle Fouche, South Dakota. Laura died in Yakima, Washington. John F. and Laura R. (UNKNOWN) VAN HORN had one child named Rosebell VAN HORN, who was born 1898 in South Dakota, married Mr. ROUGUED. Rosebell's death details are unknown at this time. Rosebell and her husband had the following two children:
  1. John A. ROUGUED, born on March 15, 1900 in Nebraska. He married Grace V. UNKNOWN, who was born in 1902 in Nebraska. They had one child, John "Johnie" A. ROUGED, who was born on January 14, 1921. "Johnie" had two children from his marriage, those no details are known about his wife, Linda born in 1949 and Garry.
  2. Annie ROUGUED, born on January 26, 1903
  3. Nettie ROUGUED, born on May 1, 1906
Contributor: Ed Van Horn ::

Rock County Historical Society © 2008 - All Rights are Reserved


In the late 1880’s when small German settlements were starting all across Nebraska, Adolf Zlomke was attracted to homestead at a place called Duff.

Adolf was born of German parents in Prussia, now part of Russia, in the year 1857. While he came to the U.S. as a young man aboard an ocean steamer, a young girl was also making the long voyage with her parents.

That girl, Anna Faber, was also of German parentage. She worked hard to help her family earn its way in the new country. She hired out as a helper around the house when a very young teenager and ended her schooling at about the fourth grade. She met young Adolf Zlomke and was impressed with his solid, orderly and hard working German ways. She was willing to stick by him and they were married in Atkinson, Nebraska.

Young Adolf built a two-room soddie just north of Ken Gaunt’s present day house. Byu 1889, the first son Ed was born. In 1891 Caroline Zlomke (Horner) followed and from then on a progression of 12 more brothers and sisters followed.

Young Ed, Caroline, Christina and the other children to follow, walked one half mile north to go to the Duff School.

The Zlomke family rarely went to town. When they did, they hitched up a team of horses to a wagon and traveled all day going to town stayed overnight, shopped the next day and returned home the third day.

Contributor: Beverly Hopkins ::

Rock County Historical Society © 2008 - All Rights Are Reserved


Fred Carl Strelow was born Nov. 10, 1861, in Frankfurt, Germany. At the age of nine years he came to the United States with his three brothers and mother. They located at Crete, Illinois. In 1884 he with two brothers Charles and Henry and their mother came to Rock County by train to make their new home.

They homesteaded on land seven miles southwest of Newport. Each of the three brothers and the mother homesteaded a quarter-section. These were mostly tree claims.

Fred Strelow was married to Mary Spann, who came to Rock County in a covered wagon from near Lincoln.

Six children were born, two dying in infancy.

Fred passed away in the flu epidemic in 1918. His wife Mary, daughter Minnie and sons Fred, John and Louis remained on the family homestead. Mary passed away in 1945. John had married Annie May and they were living on part of the original homestead.

Fred went away to World War I, contracting spinal meningitis which left him partially crippled. This did not stop his enjoyment of hunting and fishing

Louis Strelow and Katheryn Alexander were married in 1935 at Ainsworth. To this union were born four children, Margaret, Charles, Betty and Carl.

Fred and Minnie lived on the family homestead until their deaths in 1966 and 1972.

Contributor: Beverly Hopkins ::

Rock County Historical Society © 2008 - All Rights Are Reserved


Henry Strohm, a representative farmer and agriculturist of Rock county, Nebraska, resides on his valuable estate in Long Pine precinct. He is among the early settlers in this locality, and can recount with accuracy many of the pioneer experiences of the settlers of this county who braved the hardships and privations, becoming permanent settlers and prosperous farmers. The above mentioned gentleman has succeeded in acquiring a good farm and home and gained the confidence and esteem of a large circle of acquaintances.

Mr. Strohm was born in Washington county, Wisconsin, April 24, 1860. His father, George Strohm, was born in France on the Rhine, and after serving about fourteen years in the French army emigrated for America about 1846 and made his home in Wisconsin some five or six years later. The mother of our subject, Mary Mogal in maidenhood, was born in Germany, near the Rhine, and of her nine children, Henry is sixth. He was reared on his parents' farm in Wisconsin, receiving a common school education in the country schools there. He was early taught to do all kinds of hard farm work and the training he received at home fitted him for the hard labor he encountered in later years. At the age of twenty he left home and moved to Tama county, Iowa, where he remained for two years. He then went to Hamilton county, Iowa, remaining about two years before returning to the former place, where he lived for another twelvemonth.

In 1884 he came to Nebraska, and at Valentine filed on a pre-emption claim on the White river. He remained there for a short time only, then came on to what is now Rock county, driving overland, camping out nights under his wagon. He traded for a relinquishment on which there was a log house, covered it with a dirt roof, and where he lived with his family for a time. During these first years he had but one horse, one cow, a heifer, and a few chickens with which to make a start as a stock man. Prior to locating his present farm, Mr. Hastings had made several trips to Colorado by team, coming back by way of Colorado Springs and Hastings, Kansas, preferring Nebraska, settled on the farm where he now resides. When he located on this there were no improvements whatever, except the log house above mentioned, which has since been replaced with a substantial dwelling, good buildings and fences. He has planted trees and now has a fine orchard started. Rock creek runs through his farm, and this stream furnishes plenty of good water the year round for his stock. The farm comprises a homestead entry of one hundred and sixty acres and four hundred acres of deeded land, of which seventy acres are under cultivation. He is largely engaged in stock raising and dairying, running eighty-five head of cattle with ten or a dozen milch cows. At one time he, together with J. R. Hughes, owned and operated a threshing outfit, and carried on this business for three years in the early days, covering a territory of some thirty miles square, throughout which they became thoroughly acquainted. He was obliged in the early days to haul wood to help make a living for his family, and turned his hand to whatever he could find to do.

In 1887 Mr. Strohm was married to Miss Mattie A. May, whose father, Thomas May, was among the early-settlers in Rock county, having come here in 1883. Mr. and Mrs. Strohm have two children, Lura and Etha.

A Republican in politics, Mr. Strohm uses his influence and vote for the candidates of that party. He is a member of the Workmen's lodge at Carnes.

Contributor: Beverly Hopkins ::

Rock County Historical Society © 2008 - All Rights Are Reserved