Homer Howard Field.

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

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of his place. In 1888, however, he. sold out there and returned to his farm
in Hardin township, this county. Here he took up farming and stock-raising
and also engaged in breeding fine stock, becoming an extensive breeder and
raiser of horses. He was the owner of several fine race horses and as a


stock-breeder did much to improve the grade of horses raised in this county.
He resided on the farm there for several years and then removed to the
city of Council Bluffs but still gave his attention to his agricultural interests
and his fine race horses. After he had lived in the city for several years,
on account of his size, his friends urged him to become a member of the
[ml ice force and he accepted this but was not on the force long before he
was accidentally shot, the injury proving fatal on the 3d of September, 1905.
While residing on his farm Mr. Plainer was married in September, 1881,
to Miss Anna B. Smith, a native of Greene county, Illinois, and a daughter
of Harvey A. and Eliza (Kestler) Smith, both natives of Greene county,
that state, where Mr. Smith engaged in farming until 1880. In that year
lie arrived in Pottawattamie county, Iowa, and purchased a farm in Hardin
township. There he engaged in farming and stock-raising until 1896, when
he went west to look over the country and finally settled in Los Angeles,
California, where he is now living a retired life, while Mrs. Smith, who is
seventy-five years of age, makes her home in Council Bluffs with her daughter,
Mrs. Platner. Unto Mr. and Mrs. Platner was born one child, Lizzie Marie,
who is now the wife of Victor P. Laustrup. They now reside in Council
Bluffs with Mrs. Platner, Mr. Laustrup being a special agent here for the
Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance Company. Mr. Platner was a stanch
democrat in politics, keeping well informed on the issues of the day. He
was a member of the Eagles and of the Royal Arcanum and was popular in
both organizations. Mrs. Platner is residing at No. 515 East Pierce street
with her mother, and her daughter and family are making their home with


The eventful and stirring life of the west during the early mining and
ranching days is familiar to John F. Jackson through actual experience.
Moreover, he was born across the water, being a native of Glasgow, Scotland,
his natal day being December 4, 1835. His parents were William and
Mary Jackson, who in the year 1836 started for America. While on the
voyage the mother became ill and died, the interment being made at sea.
The father landed on the shores of the new world and located in Pennsylvania,
where he purchased a small farm, on which he lived until his death. By
his first marriage there were born three children. For his second wife he
married Ann Stewart, by whom he had six children.

John F. Jackson, the only surviving member of the family, was less
than a year old when brought to the United State- by his father. His edu-
cation was acquired in the public schools of Pennsylvania and he remained
at home until twenty-three years of age, when, becoming imbued with a
strong desire to see the west and understand its experiences, he made his way
to Boone county, Illinois, in 1858. There he worked at farm labor by the
month for a year and in 1859 he started for St. Charles, now Denver, Colo-
rado, at which time the now populous and beautiful city that lies on the


eastern border of the Rocky slope was a mere hamlet containing only a few-
log houses. Mining excitement had drawn settlers to that part of the country
and Mr. Jackson hired out to wash gold for two dollars and a half per
day. He cut logs with which to build the first house that was erected in
Gregorytown, after which he and a cousin began prospecting for gold. They
prospected for six weeks without results and then bought a mine for five
hundred dollars, making a cash payment of one hundred dollars, and a second
mine for fifteen thousand dollars, paying five hundred dollars down. The
mines, however, proved to be failures. About this time Mr. Jackson became
ill and for several weeks was in Denver unable to do any work. In 1860 he
returned to Iowa and during the succeeding year was engaged in farm labor
a part of the time.

Going again to Colorado in 1861, Mr. Jackson began freighting on the
plains of the west, hauling goods from Omaha to Denver with oxen and
mule teams. He followed that work for about seven years, making in all
eighteen trips, which were fraught with many hardships and considerable
danger, owing to the unsettled condition of the country and the hostility of
the Indians. In fact lie had one skirmish witli the red men but managed
to escape capture. In February, I860, however, the Indians stole seven
yoke of his cattle and burned one hundred tons of his hay. In 1867 he
returned to Iowa and purchased a herd of cattle with the intention of taking
them to Colorado but was prevented on account of the hostility of the Indians,
who were upon the warpath. Accordingly lie remained in Harrison county.
Iowa, with his cattle until 1869, in which year he came to Pottawiattamie
county and bought a small farm of forty acre- on section 13, Knox township.
Resolutely he seUo work to add to hi- possessions and as his financial resources
increased he made further purchases from time to time until he now owns five
hundred and sixty acres of land, constituting what i-^ known as the Oakwood
Stock Farm. This is one of the most valuable and productive farm- of the
county and is far-famed by reason of the high grades of stock here produced.
In addition to this property lie owns four hundred and eighty acres in North
Dakota and a business block and (me residence in Avoca. He has always
made a specialty of raising cattle, keeping on hand a. herd of from seventy-
five to one hundred and fifty head. He continued active in the management
and control of his farming interests until 100:!, when he left the old home-
stead and removed to Avoca. wh ■ he is now living.

In his political views Mr. Jackson has always been an earnest republican
since age conferred upon him the right of franchise. Fraternally lie is con-
nected with the Masons, belonging to lodge, No. 207, A. F. & A. M.. in
which he has rilled all of the chairs, and he likewise affiliates with the

On the 6th of August, 1897, Mr. Jackson was married to Miss Lydia
Bradshaw, who was horn in Edgar county, Illinois, September 14, 1839, a
daughter of Jeremiah and Eliza Bradshaw, the former a native of Kentucky
ami the latter of Virginia. They c-ime to Illinois at an early day and in
1846 removed to be-, 1. settling in Mahaska county, where they reared their
family of seven children. Unto Mr. and Mrs. Jackson have been born five


children.: Mary A., at home; William II,, now in the implement business in
Oakland; Lena M., the wife of William Carter, of Chewelah, Washington;
Charles II., now on the home farm; and Edwin R., who is county superin-
tendent of schools of Pottawattamie county and makes his home in Council
Bluffs. He is a. graduate of the Avoca high school and also of the State
University at Iowa City. The son Charles was born in Knox township, in
1878, and remained at home until twenty-four years of age, when his father
-i ild out and he took possession of the old homestead, wdiich he is still operat-
ing. He is also raising full blooded shorthorn cattle and full blooded Duroc
Jersey hogs.

Mrs. Jackson and children are all members of the Congregational church
and the family is prominent in the community. The life of Mr. Jackson
has been fraught with many unusual experiences, which if written in detail
would prove the old adage that "truth is stranger than fiction." In early
manhood he became familiar with all of the experiences of the west at the
time when the miner and the cowboy were the leading figures in the pioneer
development of the district. In 1863, in Colorado, he bought a horse which
was then seven years old and w r hich he owned for thirty-six years, so that she
had reached the astonishing age of forty-three years when she was killed.
Mr. Jackson had the strongest attachment for this horse, for she saved his
life by crossing the plains owing to her fleetness, which enabled him to out-
run the Indians who were in pursuit. After coming to this county Mr.
Jackson carefully conducted his farming and stock-raising interests for many
years and wdien his labors had brought to him a handsome competence,
making him one of the men of affluence in western Iowa, he retired from
business to spend his remaining days in the enjoyment of a well merited
rest. He has now passed the Psalmist's span of three score years and ten and
as memory brings to his mind many events of the past he relates many
interesting reminiscences of pioneer days in Colorado and of the early develop-
ment of Pottawattamie county.


The Germ an- American element in our citizenship has always been ac-
counted an important one, and prominent among the sons of the fatherland
living in Pottawattamie county is numbered Diedrich Kohlscheen. He
was born in Damlos, Holstein, Germany, on the 11th of February, 1852, his
parents being Claus and Lena (Schmutz) Kohlscheen. The father and mother
spent their entire lives in their native country and there reared their fam-
ily of six children, four of whom are now living, namely: August, a resi-
dent of Avoca; Wilhelmina, the wife of John Pruhs, of Damlos, Holstein,
Germany; Christiana, the wife of William Kriepke, also of Damlos; and

The last named was reared in his native country and acquired a com-
mon-school education. His father was a farmer and he was early trained


in the duties that fall to the lot of the agriculturist. He tills his fields, cul-
tivates his crops and eventually gathers good harvests. His interest being
awakened by the reports which he heard concerning America and its pos-
sibilities, he determined to seek a home in the new world, hoping that he
might enjoy better opportunities for financial advancement here. Accord-
ingly, in 1877, he bade adieu to friends and native country and crossed
the Atlantic to the United States, being at that time twenty-five years of age.
His brother August had preceded him to the new world and had located in
Knox township, Pottawattamie county, so that on reaching the United States
Diedrich Kohlscheen also made his way across the country to this county.
For three years he worked for his brother and in the meantime, saving his
earnings, he then purchased a farm of eighty acres in Valley township. He
afterward began farming on his own account and for nine years cultivated
his original tract. In 1890, however, he sold that property and purchased
his present home farm of three hundred and twenty acres on section 10,
Pleasant township, whereon he has since lived. It is a splendid property,
the fields having been brought into a state of rich fertility and Mr. Kohl-
scheen has also been quite extensively engaged in raising cattle, in which
he has been very successful. Although he arrived in America with a cash
capital of only about fifty dollars he is today one of the wealthy farmers of
Pottawattamie county. In 1889 Mr. Kohlscheen was united in marriage
to Miss Emma Pruhs, of Avoca. but a native of Koselau, Holstein, Germany,
having come to the new world in March prior to her marriage. This union
has been blessed with three children, Bertha, Alma and Agnes, all of whom
are yet under the parental roof, the family circle still being unbroken by
the hand of death.

Mr. Kohlscheen votes with the democracy and is one of the leading
German residents of this section of the state. In spirit and interests, however,
he is thoroughly American and most loyal to the institutions of his adopted
country. He has never had occasion to regret his determination to seek a
home in the new world, for here he has found and improved good business
opportunities, and as the years have gone by has worked his way upward
from a humble financial position to one of affluence. Such a record should
serve to inspire and encourage others, showing what may be accomplished
when one has the will to dare and to do. in a country where effort is not
hampered by caste or class.


John Boyd Dingman, whoso frank and cordial manner renders him
popular with his fellow townsmen, is recognized as one of the good citizens
of Garner township, his home being on section 8. He has now attained the
venerable age of eighty years, his birth having occurred in County Dundas
in Upper Canada on the 16th of October, 1827, his parents being Phillip and





Barbara (Boyd) Dingman, the former a native of Schoharie county, New
York, and the latter of Canada. The father was a farmer by occupation and
thus provided for the support of his family, which numbered ten children,
two daughters and eight sons.

When thirteen years of age John Boyd Dingman started out in business
life on his own account, being first employed as a farm hand by the month.
On coming to the United States he crossed the river at Detroit and made his
way to Warsaw, Illinois, on the Mississippi river. He had united with the
Mormon church in Canada and joined the colony of Mormons at Nauvoo, Il-
linois. In 1847 he made an overland trip to Council Bluffs, which at the time
of his arrival contained only two houses. It was then called Miller's Hollow and
afterward named Kanesville prior to the time when the present name was
assumed. All around was the wild unbroken prairie, dotted in June with
the flowers of summer amidst the native prairie grasses, and covered during
the winter seasons with a thick sheet of snow. The reclamation of this dis-
trict for the purposes of improvement and civilization was the work of the
future; but into the district came strong, resolute men who undertook the
task that lay before them and the result is today seen in what is now one of
the leading counties of this great commonwealth. Mr. Dingman worked at
brick-moulding until 1854, when he bought one hundred and twenty-six
and a half acres of land from the government. Upon the tract was a log
cabin or two and a small patch had been broken by the Mormons, who had
previously lived there. This farm has now been the home of Mr. Dingman
for fifty-three years and upon the place there is still standing an old log
house which he formerly occupied and which is one of the landmarks of the
county — a mute witness of the changes which have occurred. All of the
countryside was very wild at the time of his arrival. In fact, it was so remote
from the older civilization of the east that there were still to be found a
few elk and some deer, while prairie chickens and other wild game were
very numerous. It was not a difficult thin"; therefore for the hunter to
secure the materials for a meal by the use of his rifle. Mr. Dingman paid a
dollar and a quarter per acre for his farm, which, however, has constantly
increased in value until it is now an excellent property. He has sold part
of- the original tract but still retains thirty-four acres, from which he derives
a gratifying annual income. The Indians who were here in the early day
gradually left for points farther west, but traces of their habitation are «till
seen in the implements which they used for warfare and for household pur-

In 1848 Mr. Dingman was united in marriage to Miss Elizabeth Foy,
who was born in Pennsylvania and died in Garner township. Their children
were: Orson, who died in Utah; William, a resident of Alberta, Canada:
and Susan Elizabeth, the wife of Clarence McClellan, of Council Bluffs.
After losing his first wife Mr. Dingman wedded Martha Ann Ritter, who died
on the old homestead farm. There were four children of this marriage:
John, living in Missouri; Theodore, who makes his home on section 8, Gar-
ner township; Lottie, the wife of William McDonald, of Meadow Grove,
Nebraska; and Traverse, deceased.


Mr. Dingman is a member of the Mormon church. In politics he is
independent, nor has he ever been an office-seeker, but for two terms he has
served as road supervisor. There are few people left in the county who were
here at the time of his arrival and his reminiscences of the pioneer days
are most interesting. He used to walk to St. Joseph, Missouri, to work, cov-
ering a distance of one hundred and fifty miles in three and a half days.
Four times he made this trip. His grandsons have letters in their possession
which were written to their grandfather over fifty years ago, before the time
of envelopes, when the paper was folded over and pasted down. The homes
were largely log cabins in those 'lays and the farmer did his work mostly
by hand, the riding plow, the cultivator and the thresher being then un-
known. Year after year Mr. Dingman has worked on and as time has
passed he has gained many friends by his cordiality and good will to all
with whom he has come in contact. He has now advanced far on life's jour-
i j and receives the veneration and respect which should ever be accorded
one of his years.


Ovide Vien, who is conducting a collection and real-estate agency in
Council Bluffs, was bom at St. Beuoit in the province of Quebec, July 28,
1858. His parents were Pierre and Magdalene (Groulx) Vien, natives of
Quebec. The father spent his life in Canada and was a singer in a Catholic
church, his last day.- being passed in Montreal. His widow resides at Sorel,
Quebec, at the age of seventy-three years. In their family were twelve chil-
dren, of whom eleven leached year- of maturity.

Ovide Vien, who was the second in order of birth, remained a resident
of his native town until about thirteen years of age, when he left home and
went to Montreal. For about a year he worked at gardening near the city
and for one summer was employed on the grain barges. lie next accepted
clerkship in a grocery store in Montreal and continued clerking in that
city for about five years, after which he entered the employ of a baker, taking
charge of the yard.-, wagons and outside work. While in Montreal Mr.
Vien was present on the L2tfa of July, 1877, at the shooting of Hackctt in
Victoria Square, and the mob in its wild frenzy made an impression upon
him thai he will never forget. It was in the same year— on the 2d of Septem-
ber—that he publicly withdrew from the Roman Catholic faith and joined
the Methodist church, a course which caused him to suffer considerable per-
secution, but this step was characteristic of Mr. Vien, for he has never
faltered in upholding bis honest opinions and his position is never an equivocal
"iu on any subject of importance.

On the 6th of January, 1879, Mr. Vien was married to Mi-s Mary J.
Charter-, a native of St. Jean Chrysostome, Quebec. After working for a
time in the Green Brother- clothing -tore he spent about a year and a half in
the employ of the Grand Trunk Railroad Company subsequent to his mar-


riage and in 1881 removed to Springfield, Massachusetts. In thai city he
was employed in a factory where sewing machine needles were manufactured
until the fall of the same year, when he returned to Montreal. He had
determined to devote his life to the cause of the ministry and entered the
French Institute at Montreal, connected with the McGill University, to pre-
pare for pastoral work in connection with the Methodist church. Prior to his
marriage he also spent one year as a student at Point Aux Trembles school
near Montreal. In 1883 he joined the Methodist conference and was appointed
first assistant pastor of the First French Methodist church of Montreal and
also took charge of the French Institute in connection with his wife. In
addition to his other duties he also engaged in teaching and used his leisure
hours for study. Since becoming a man he has spent much time in reading
and investigation, constantly broadening his knowledge. In 1884, after
passing his examinations, he became ill from overwork and for three months
was not able to do anything.

On the 15th of September, 1885, Mr. Vien again became a resident of
Massachusetts, this time locating in Lowell and while there he was baptized
in accordance with the rites of the Baptist church by the Rev. G. Aubin.
In March, 1886, he left the cast for Iowa, coming to Council Bluffs with
his wife and two daughters. He arrived in this city with a capital of only
sixteen dollars, and in order to provide for his family he accepted a job at
washing the windows of a new house, which was his first work in this city. He
also assisted a man in moving, but better opportunities soon came and he
accepted a position as collector for E. H. Sheafe, with whom he continued
until the following September, when he engaged in the collecting business
on his own account. In the spring of 1887 he extended the scope of his
activities by adding a chattel loan business, in which he continued until the
1st of January, 1893. On that date he entered upon the duties of the office
of justice of the peace, wherein he served for eight consecutive years or for
four terms. He was twice defeated for the office but when he had become the
incumbent in that position his service was so acceptable and his decisions so
fair and impartial that popular vote retained him in the position for eight
years. In the spring of 1901 he again engaged in the collection business
and at the same time established a real-estate agency. He has since operated
along these lines and is well known in financial circles, while today his own
name carries weight on commercial paper.

Unto Mr. and Mrs. Vien have been born five children, but they lost two
sons in infancy. A daughter also died in infancy and another daughter at the
age of eight years. Their surviving child is Mrs. Pearl R. Vien Hawkins,
the wife of A. W. Hawkins of Council Bluffs. Mr. and Mrs. Vien have many
friends in this city, where they have now resided for many years.

Mr. Vien became a naturalized American citizen September 20, 1890,
and has ever been most loyal in his advocacy of those interests which per-
tain to local advancement and national progress. He is identified with the
Baptist church here and is a member of Council Bluffs, No. 71, A. F.
& A. M. ; Park City lodge, No. 606, I. O. O. F. ; and the Red Men ; the Royal
Highlanders_^_and the Modern Woodmen of America, being connected with


the last named for over twenty years. He is most loyal to the principles
and purposes of these organizations and in his life exemplifies the beneficent
spirit upon which they are founded. He was also state president for Iowa
of the American Protective Association for four years and a member of the
national advisory board from its organization until 1900. In business he
has made a creditable record and while he has never attained wealth, he
has yet gained a comfortable financial position and, moreover, has an unas-.
sailable reputation for commercial integrity and honor. One of his salient
characteristics has been his loyalty to any cause which he believes to be
right, and neither fear nor favor can swerve him from a course which his
conscience sanctions.


John O'Donnell, now deceased, came to Council Bluffs by wagon from
Michigan about fifty years ago and until within the last decade his life
was closely associated with the industrial and business interests of the city.
He progressed with the growth of this section of the state and at all times
co-operated in any movement or measure for the public good.

A native of Ireland, he was born in June, 1823. His parents remained
residents of that country throughout their entire lives and the father learned
and followed the blacksmith'- trade, also engaging in farming to a consid-
erable extent. The son was a pupil in the common schools in his boyhood
and youth and when not busy with his text-books was associated with his
father in the shop, being thus employed until he had mastered the trade.
Having a sister living in Burlington, Iowa, he was induced to come to Amer-
ica, and after bidding adieu to friends and native land sailed for the United
States. Landing in New York city, he tin n remained for a short lime, after
which he went to Columbu.-. Ohio, where he secured a position in a boiler
shop. He was thus employed for a few years and while at work there he lost

Online LibraryHomer Howard FieldHistory of Pottawattamie County, Iowa, from the earliest historic times to 1907 (Volume 1) → online text (page 48 of 59)