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Homer Howard Field.

History of Pottawattamie County, Iowa, from the earliest historic times to 1907 (Volume 1) online

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ent day. He continued his studies to the age of eighteen and then started out
upon his business career as an employe of the Sharpies Company at Westches-
ter, Pennsylvania, manufacturers of the Sharpies Cream Separator. He re-



312 HISTORY OF POTTAWATTAMIE COUNTY

mained with the house for about ten years; traveling throughout the United
States, representing the business upon the road and making extensive sales.

In 1893 the Sharpies Company opened a supply house in Council Bluffs
and Edward D. Sharpies then located in this city, continuing in active connec-
tion with the business until about 1897. In 1901 he established a supply house;
handling all brands of cream separators and in six months, beginning Janu-
ary 1, 1907, his sales have amounted to forty-eight hundred separators. His
business has thus had a rapid and substantial growth and Mr. Sharpies is now
well known as an enterprising merchant of the city, where he has made his
home since 1893. He is thoroughly conversant with the merits of the different
separators and supplies which he handles and is thus well qualified to introduce
his goods to the market.

In 1891 occurred the marriage of Edward D. Sharpies and Miss Ida M.
Musser, the wedding being celebrated in Lincoln, Nebraska. They have an in-
teresting little family of a daughter and son. Marguerite E. and Robert E. The
parents hold membership in the Second Presbyterian church and are inter-
ested in its work and upbuilding, also contributing generously to its support.
In politics Mr. Sharpies is independent, concerning himself more with his busi-
ness affairs than with political interests. He is, however, an advocate of all
plans and movements for the promotion of the city's growth and progress and
to this extent gives his support to community affairs which promise substantial
improvement along lines of reform and advancement.



JOHN MAASSEN, SR.



The opportunities which the state of Iowa offers to men of ambition and
determination have lain improved by John Maassen, Sr., as is indicated by the
fact that he is today numbered among the well-to-do agriculturists and stock-
raisers of Pottawattamie county, for his landed possessions aggregate nine hun-
dred and twenty acres, all of which has been acquired through his own well
directed labors. Mr. Maassen i.- a native of Holstein, Germany, born June
13, 1852, a son of John and Catherine (Sterling) Maassen, in whose family
were six children, four of whom still survive, namely: Hans, a resident of
Texas; John, of this review: Nicholas, a resident of Pleasant township, Potta-
wattamie county; and Gustav, of Oklahoma. The parents were likewise na-
tives of Holstein. where they spent their entire lives but both are now de-
ceased.

John Maassen spent the period of his boyhood and youth under the pa-
rental roof and in the fatherland learned the trade of a carpenter. Having
heard favorable reports concerning the advantages to be enjoyed in the new
world, at the age of twenty-one years he decided to sail for America, and the
year 1873 therefore witnessed his arrival in the United States. He at once
made his way to Moline, Illinois, and when he reached his destination he
possessed but five dollars in money and was in debt to the extent of sixty-five
dollars. Fortunately, however, he had knowledge of a good trade and accord-



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HISTORY OF POTTAWATTAMIE COUNTY 315

ingly sought and secured employment in the Moline Plow shops, being there
employed during the winter seasons, while in the summer months he worked
at his trade of carpentering. After some eighteen months spent in Moline, he
decided to seek his fortune farther west and accordingly made his way to
Avoca, Pottawattamie county, where he continued his work at the carpenter's
trade for five or six years. During this period he carefully saved his earnings,
which he loaned to his brother to invest in one hundred and twenty acres of
land in Pleasant township, where Mrs. Maassen lived with her first husband
until his death, after which our subject took up his abode thereon in the year
1881, when he began agricultural pursuits. After three years there spent he
sought another location and purchased three hundred and ten acres of land on
section 3, Valley township, cultivating that tract of land for several years, or
until his removal to his present farm on section 4, Valley township. He is
to-day in possession of nine hundred and twenty acres of valuable farm
property, which classes him with the substantial citizens of this section of the
state. His success is due in a large measure to stock-raising, in which he has
been engaged quite extensively for a number of years, having as high as
one hundred and fifty head of cattle at one time upon his place. For the
past twelve years he has been engaged in breeding registered Aberdeen Angus
cattle and ranks among the foremost cattle men of Pottawattamie county. He
is also engaged in raising Duroc Jersey hogs on an extensive scale and his
place is known as the Valley Stock Farm. It is conveniently located four ami
a half miles south of Avoca and he has made all of the excellent improve-
ments found thereon.

The success to which Mr. and Mrs. Maassen have attained is indeed cred-
itable, for it is due entirely to their own well directed efforts and honorable
business methods. In earlier years they lived in accordance with their means,
making their home for many years in a humble dwelling, twelve by fifteen
feet square. Later, however, this -structure was replaced by a more pretentious
and modern home, while to-day they occupy an up-to-date country residence,
which is supplied with all the equipments and accessories which add to the
comfort of the inmates.

Mr. Maassen was married February 19, 1881, to the widow of his brother
Jacob Maassen, who was murdered on the public highway by a neighbor,
July 28, 1879. He had come to Iowa in the early '70s and after working by
the month for several years, purchased eighty acres of land in Pleasant
township, Pottawattamie county, for which he paid eight dollars per acre
and which at that time was wild land. Later he bought a forty acre tract that
had been broken and to the improvement and cultivation of his farm he
devoted his energies throughout life. He was married July 5, 1876, to Miss
Sophia Harder and to them were born two children, John Jacob and William
H., both residents of Valley township. After her husband's death Mrs. Maas-
sen became the wife of our subject as previously stated. She is a daughter
of Jacob and Mary (Hepner) Harder, both of whom were natives of Mechlen-
berg, Germany, whence they came to the United States in 1857, the family
home being first established in Blue Island, Illinois, while three years later they
took up their abode in La Salle county, that state, and in 1874 came to Pot-



316 HISTORY OF POTTAWATTAMIE COUNTY

tawattamie county, Iowa, locating on a farm in Pleasant township, where
they made their home until called to their final rest. By her second mar-
riage Mrs. Maassen has become the mother of six children, namely: Anna,
the wife of George Olsen, who is cultivating a tract of land belonging to her
father; and Augusta, Julius, Ida, Amanda and Elma, all of whom are still
under the parental roof. The children have been provided with good educa-
tional advantages.

Mr. Maassen is a democrat in his political faith and has served as a
member of the school board and also as township trustee for one term. For
three years he has been a director of the Avoca Fair Association and is a
most public-spirited citizen. Religiously he and his family are members of
the Lutheran church. Possessing the sterling characteristics of the German,
race and endowed by nature with a strong constitution, he early developed
all the attributes that make the successful man and is to-day numbered among
the leading wealthy farmers and cattlemen of Pottawattamie county.



FRANK MERRITT BEYMER,

Frank Merritt Beymer, publisher and owner of the Journal-Herald, at
Avoca, was born at Afton, Iowa, December 1, 1864, his parents being George
Washington and Bethia (Keating) Beymer. His great-grandfather in the pa-
ternal line founded the town in Guernsey comity, Ohio, which was called Bey-
mertown but the name was afterward changed. The grandfather, Arthur St.
Clair Beymer. lived for some years on a farm in Seneca county, Ohio, and in
1870 removed to Afton, where he died in 1872, at the age of seventy years.

His son, George W. Beymer, became a lumber dealer. He was married to
Miss Bethia Keating, in Ohio, in 185"). and went to Wapello county, Iowa, in
1856. In 1858 he became a resident of Afton, tlii- state, and followed the occu-
pation of farming until late in the '60s. He served for two terms as county
clerk and in 1868 turned his attention to the lumber business, in which he con-
tinued up to the time "1' hi.- death in February, 1880. His wife was descended
from ancestors who at an early day lived near Rockland, Maine. The father
of Mrs. Beymer was William Keating, who for over twelve years was a sailor but
retired from the seas in 1837 and removed to Seneca county, Ohio. All of his
children were born at South Thomaston, Maine, and in 1856 the family re-
moved to Iowa. Frank M. Beymer has a twin sister living, Mrs. Mary Annette
Chase, who resides at Eotchkiss, Colorado. Of the family three sisters still sur-
vive, while one brother is yet living, and three have passed away. Charles B.
Beymer died when two years old. Otto J. Beymer was killed in July, 1891, at
the age of seventeen years, by a tree falling upon him. George W. Beymer
died December 21, 1906, at the age of thirty-nine years. R. K. Beymer lives at
Tacoma, Washington, at the age of forty-nine years. Of the sisters Mrs. Carrie
B. Williams lives in Creston, Iowa, with a son, having lost her husband in 1882.
while Mrs. Ruth B. Shull resides at Afton. Iowa,



HISTORY OF POTTAWATTAMIE COUNTY 317

Frank M. Beymer was a pupil in the public schools of Afton and at the
age of seventeen years came to Avoca to learn the printer's trade. He had lost
his father when fifteen years of age and from the time of his removal to this
town he has been dependent entirely upon his own labors and resources for ad-
vancement, When he had acquainted himself with the trade he went to Ness
county, Kansas, where he engaged in merchandising but in 1888 returned to
Iowa. The following year he became a professional ball-player and pitched for
an independent team at Missouri Valley. In 1891 he went to Deadwood, South
Dakota, where he pitched ball fur three seasons for an independent team and
during the winter months worked at the case on the Deadwood Pioneer. In
1894 he returned to Iowa, where he played with the Des Moines Western
League and also with independent teams.

After two years, however, in 1896, Mr. Beymer established the Avoca Jour-
nal, and four years later he purchased the Avoca Herald, consolidating the two
papers under the name of the Journal-Herald. From the beginning he has
prospered in this undertaking and now has one of the best equipped printing
offices in this section of the state. He has installed a linotype machine of late
pattern and has an office in which the most modern devices known to the print-
ing trade are found. This is the only democratic paper in Pottawattamie
county and it has had a constantly increasing circulation. Mr. Beymer is also
a stockholder in the Pottawattamie County Fair Association of Avoca and in
the Avoca Stock & Sale Pavillion Company. As a citizen, aside from his con-
nection with journalism, he is deeply interested in the welfare and progres.- of
his community and has done much to co-operate in those public measures which
have for their object the welfare and progress of the community.

In his fraternal relations Mr. Beymer is a Knight of Pythias, an Odd Fel-
low, a Modern Woodman, a Maccabee and a Yeoman, and in his life exemplifies
the beneficent spirit which constitutes the basis of all these organizations. He
has always given stalwart allegiance to the democracy and has twice been
elected and served as city clerk of Avoca.

On the 23d of November, 1887, Mr. Beymer was married to Miss Allie E.
Nash, who died August 20, 1898. Her parents, James and Sophrona (Brown)
Nash, came to Avoca in 1870, from Springfield, Massachusetts. Mr. Nash be-
longed to Company G, of the First New York Cavalry at the time of the Civil
war, and served under General Custer, carrying dispatches and doing other im-
portant military duty. He served for four years and was never wounded or
captured, although often in the thickest of the fight. On account of poor
health, which precluded the idea of any labor that would keep him indoors
and also because he was a lover of good horses, he took up the occupation of
training harness horses and was considered one of the best in this line of work.
His company was the First Cavalry that was equipped in the northern states,
being enlisted in New York city, and Mr. Nash furnished his own horse and
equipment until the government purchased them. His wife died June 29,
1906.

On the 5th of August, 1903, Mr. Beymer was married a second time, this
union being with Miss Mary Alice Dunlap, of Irwin, Iowa, who was born in
Polk county, Iowa, near Des Moines, June 12, 1874, her parents being J. M.



318 HISTORY OF POTTAWATTAMIE COUNTY

and Mary Jane (Doran) Dunlap, the former a native of Newark, Ohio, and the
latter of New Brunswick. Mr. and Mrs. Beymer have a little daughter, Alice
Dunlap Beymer, born February 20, 1906. They are widely and favorably
known in Avoca and the hospitality of their home is greatly enjoyed by many
friends Mr. Beymer is classed with public-spirited citizens— men, who while
neglecting not the duties devolving upon them in connection with private in-
terests, yet find time and opportunity to labor for the public good.



C. P. WASSER.



C P Wasser owns and cultivates a good farm property of one hundred and
sixty acres on section 13. Pleasant township. He was born in Cook county.
Illinois, on the 8th of March, 1866, his parents being Charles and Anna
(Gable) Wasser, both of whom were natives of Germany. The father came to
the United States in 1853, when he was twenty-six years of age, his home be-
ing established in Pennsylvania, and the mother came to the new world in
1851, also locating in the Keystone state. There the young people became ac-
quainted and were eventually married, and the father, who was a shoemaker
by trade, followed that pursuit for some time in order to provide for his family.
In 1864 he removed to Cook county, Illinois, settling at Tinley Park, where he
worked at his trade until 1873. In that year he removed to Iowa, settling at
Avoca, where he engaged in shflemaking for three years, afterward spending
four years in the same way in Shelby, Iowa. Carefully saving his earnings, he
was in 1880 enabled to purchase a farm of eighty acres on section 13. Pleasant
township, Pottawattamie county, and to this place he removed, afterward ex-
tending its boundaries by an additional purchase of eighty acres until lie had
altogether one hundred and sixty acres of valuable and productive land. His
time :md energies were devoted to farming until 1893, when he retired and re-
in. »vi'd to Avoca, where he died six years later. His wife passed away in 1904,
and both were laid to rest in Avoca cemetery. In the family of this worthy
couple were six children but only two are now living, the daughter Lizzie being
the wife of Henry Nicolai, of Hancock, Iowa.

The son, C. P. Wasser, has always followed fanning, being reared to that
occupation. In the common schools he mastered the elementary branches of
English learning and when not busy with his text-books his attention was given
to the work of plowing, planting and harvesting. He was thus well qualified to
carry on farming on his own account after he had reached man's estate. As
a companion and helpmate for life's journey he chose Miss Mary Pictrick,
whom he wedded on the 28th of February, 1 *92. She was born in Germany in
L874 and was a daughter of Carl and Mary Dietrick, both of whom were na-
tives of Germany. Mrs. Wasser came to America with two cousins in 1890,
when hut fifteen years of age. She was one of tour children and in 1893 the
parents crossed the Atlantic to the new world, residing in America until 1906,
when they returned to Germany with (he intention of spending their remain-
ing days in their native land. Unto Mr. and Mr-. Wasser have been horn three



HISTORY OF POTTAWATTAMIE COUNTY 319

children, Carrie R., aged thirteen years ; Lily, aged eleven years ; and Herbert
O, aged five years.

Mr. Wasser has always followed farming and now owns the old home-
stead of one hundred and sixty acres on section 13, Pleasant township, the farm
being well developed, returning large harvests in reward for the care and labor
he bestows upon the fields. His political views are in harmony with the prin-
ciples of the republican party and he has served as assessor of Pleasant township
for four years, while at the present writing, in 1907, he is township clerk. He
belongs to the Modern Woodmen camp, No. 125, at Avoca, and he and his wife
are members of the German Lutheran church. Although his life has been
quietly and uneventfully passed his usefulness is acknowledged in his home lo-
cality and there is no better test of a man's real worth than the opinion in
which he is held by those with whom he comes in contact daily.



JOHN W. MORSE.



John W. Morse, who was engaged in the real-estate business in Council
Bluffs for many years, came to this city in 1867 and resided here until his death
and, judged by the consensus of public opinion, his life was exemplary, his ac-
tions manly and sincere and his genuine worth above question. A native of
Athol, Massachusetts, he was born October 26, 1834, his parents being Samuel
and Ruth (Drury) Morse, both of whom were natives of the same state. In
January, 1838, the father removed with his family to Chenango county, New
York, where he followed farming for some years. He afterward became a resi-
dent of Yorkshire, Cattaraugus county, New York, where he engaged in farm-
ing and in the meat business for several years. On the expiration of that period
he went to the oil fields of Pennsylvania, where he made investments, but while
there he became ill and returned to Yorkshire, New York, where his last days
were spent, his wife also dying in that place. They were the parents of nine
children, of whom five are yet living as follows: Asa, whose home is in Gage-
town, Michigan; George, who is residing in Warsaw, AVisconsin; Ellen, the
widow of George Graham, a resident of Delavan, New York; Ira, residing in
Connell, Washington; and Mrs. Mary Whitney, living in Worcester, Mas-
sachusetts. Those deceased are John W., Leander, Eleanor and Daniel.

John W. Morse acquired his education in the common schools of the Em-
pire state and at the age of fourteen years he started out in life on his own ac-
count. From that time on he was dependent upon his own efforts and the suc-
cess he achieved proved the force of his character and his strong determina-
tion. Leaving home he went to Middlebury, AVyoming county, New York,
where he began work as a farm hand, being employed on a number of different
farms of that locality.

While living there, at the age of twenty-two years, Mr. Morse was married
in 1857 to Miss Persis F. Miller, a daughter of Orlando Miller, who followed
farming in Wyoming count}' throughout his entire life. In 1864 Mr. Morse
removed from the Empire state to what was known as Pithole, Venango county,



320 HISTORY OF POTTAWATTAMIE COUNTY

Pennsylvania, and there he engaged in speculating in oil for about two year?.
In March, 1866, he returned to Wyoming county, New York, where his family
had remained, and with them started for the middle west, settling at Greenfield,
Milwaukee county, Wisconsin, where he engaged in farming for a year. He
then came to Council Bluffs, arriving on the 20th of March, 1867. His first
business venture here was the conduct of a small restaurant on Broadway, where
he remained for a few years and then opened a restaurant and bakery on Pearl
street, where he carried on business with success for some time. In 1872 he was
called by the vote of his fellow townsmen to public office, being elected city mar'
shal, in which capacity he served for two years, and in 1878 he was elected
justice of the peace, filling that position most acceptably for four years. On his
retirement from the justice court in 1882 he turned his attention to the real-
estate business and was thus occupied up to the time of his death.

In 1893 Mr. Morse was called upon to mourn the loss of his first wife, who
died in Council Bluffs, on the 25th of May. of thai year. There were four chil-
dren by that union: Charles S., who resides with Mrs. Carrie Morse, his step-
mother, and who is traveling salesman for a cigar factory in Council Bluffs:
FredO., who married May Cushman and resides in Rochester, New York, where
he is interested in mining; Bluff, who was killed while at play at school when
eleven years of age; and Frank, deceased.

After losing his first wife Mr. Morse was married. October 3, L894, to Mrs.
Carrie M. Clark, a native of St. Lawrence county, New York, and a daughter
of Alexander and .Teanette ( Bel] ) Van Meyers, the latter a native of Ireland and

the former of Canada, whence he re ved to St. Lawrence county, New York,

where he engaged in farming for several years. Ee then came to the middle
west, settling in Floyd county, Iowa, where his remaining days were devoted
tn general agricultural pursuits. Mrs. Van Myers is now seventy-four years of
age and resides with her daughter, Mrs. Eenry Vickers, in Shenandoah, Iowa.
Mrs. Morse was firsl married to l>r. Columbus J. Clark, who for many years
engaged in the practice of medicine at Marble Rock, [owa. He then removed
to Council Bluffs hut after a year returned to Marble Buck, where he continued
in practice until his death.

When Mr. Morse engaged in the real-estate business in Council Bluffs, he
formed a partnership with Nathan Phillips, a connection which was continued
for several year-, after which he was alone in husine - . He bought and sold
both city and country property and negotiated a number of important realty
transfers. He was an invalid for two years prior to his death, bul still continued
to transact business, so thai his life was an active one up to the last. Ili- death
occurred March 19, 1907, after a residence in Council Bluffs of thirty years,
during which time he had become well known as a business man and citizen,
while in the social circles in which he moved he gained many warm and admir-
ing friends, lie was a staunch republican and look an active interesl in poli-
tics, but did not hesitate to vote for a candidate of another party if he thought
the best interests of the community so demanded. He was particularly well
known among the early residents of Council Bluffs and "a friend of every pio-
neer of the city." His life was a very busy, useful and honorable one. and he
lived in harmony with hi^ profession as a member of the First Presbyterian



HISTORY OF POTTAWATTAMIE COUNTY 321

church, of which Mrs. Morse is also a member. She still makes her home in
Council Bluffs, having a nice residence at No. 300 South Seventeenth street,
where she is living with her son.



L. C. WARD.



L. C. Ward, of Knox township, Pottawattamie county, who makes a spe-
cialty of the raising of poultry and hogs and is also engaged in the dairy busi-
ness, is a native of Massachusetts, his birth having occurred in that state on the
17th of April, 1845. He is a somof L. M. and Nancy S. S. (Hastings) Ward,
also natives of Massachusetts, who came west in 1852, locating in Bureau
county, Illinois, where they purchased land and lived until 1883. On the ex-
piration of that period the father sold out and removed to Nebraska, where his
demise occurred in 1901.

L. C. Ward is the only survivor of his motht t's family of three children
and remained under the parental roof until he had attained his majority. In
1866 the lure of gold caused him to start on the overland journey to California
but on account of the hostility of the Indians who infested the country at that
time he went no further than Kansas. He then purchased a drove of cattle,
which he took through to Monticello, Illinois, where he sold them. After this
business venture he returned to Bureau county, Illinois, and taught school for



Online LibraryHomer Howard FieldHistory of Pottawattamie County, Iowa, from the earliest historic times to 1907 (Volume 1) → online text (page 34 of 59)