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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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tions of a well spent life. The union has been blessed with two sons: Edwin
H. Rothert, engaged in railroad business in Omaha, Nebraska; and Waldo H.
Rothert, following agricultural pursuits near Carthage, Missouri. The former
was married in Des Moines, Iowa, to Miss Mary Francis, of that city, and the.
latter at Carthage, Missouri, to Miss Florence Phelps.

Mr. Rothert's residence in Iowa was soon marked by the preference of his
neighbors and his public-spirited interests were soon called into active service.
His first entrance into public life was as one of the county commissioners of
Lee county. He was elected alderman for three successive term-, followed by
large majorities for mayor of the city for two terms. His deep interest in edu-
cational matters was recognized by retaining him as a member of the board
of education for nine years, the latter part of which he acted as president, and
severed his connection l«y resignation, owing to a change of residence. Mr.
Rothert was elected as senator from the first senatorial district and served for
eight years, thus establishing his popularity inasmuch as the district returned
overwhelming democratic majorities but recognized Mr. Rothert on the repub-
lican ticket. During his last term he was selected as president pro tern of the
senate and became lieutenant governor of the state by succession, the incum-
bent, Lieutenant Governor Newbold, filling the vacancy of governor created
by the resignation of Governor Kirkwood, who took his seat as United States
senator.

Mr. Rothert. having retired from business, was appointed by President
Arthur and confirmed by the United States senate as register of the land office
for Wyoming. After a residence of nearly four years at Cheyenne, he resigned
as an "offensive partisan" at the commencement of President Cleveland's ad-
ministration.

He was then called by the board of directors of the Union Pacific Rail-
road to investigate and report on the entire land system of said railroad,
which having accomplished, he was offered and accepted the position of
superintendent of the Iowa School for the Deaf at Council Bluffs, which he
has held for twenty year-. Mr. Rothert is by family relationship especially
interested in the cause of the education of the deaf and considers the position
he has held so long as a mission of life.

At his former home, Keokuk, Mr. Rothert was not less prominent in social
and business circles. He was president of a loan and building association,
chairman of local board of underwriters and vice president of the Commercial
Bank. He was the executive head of a social organization and noble grand
of the Odd Fellow.- TTe was master of his lodge twelve years and eminent



HISTORY OF POTTAWATTAMIE COUNTY 489

commander of his commandery six years. He was grand treasurer of the
grand lodge and the grand chapter, was elected as grand master of Masons
of Iowa and unanimously re-elected for the second term. He was elected as
grand commander of the Knights Templar and led the pilgrimage to San
Francisco at the session of the grand encampment, at which he served as
chairman of one of the prominent committees. Mr. Rothert enjoys the friend-
ship of prominent men of the state and nation but prefers the retirement of
his chosen work to the glare of further public prominence.



WILLIAM FREDERICK RICHARD.

Among the citizens of foreign birth residing in this county is numbered
William Frederick Richard, whose home is on section 27. Lewis township.
He was born at Sernerta, Prussia, Germany, on the 4th of February, 1837,
a son of John and Sophia (Wholrabc) Richard, who were likewise natives of
Germany. In 1844 the parents with their family emigrated to the United
States, settling in Wayne county, Michigan, near Detroit, where the father
bought timber land which he cleared and improved. He abo made potash.
His death occurred in the year 1855 and his wife, who long survived him,
passed away in 1878. Their son William was the fourth of live children, two
of whom are now living, his sister Ricca being the wife of Henry Scheorader.
William F. Richard was about seven years of age when he accompanied
his parents on the voyage to the new world and in the common schools of
Michigan he acquired his education, while in the work of the home farm
he received ample training. In 1859, attracted by the discovery of gold, he
started overland for Pike's Peak and at St. Joseph, Missouri, purchased an
ox-team, which he drove across the country. On the way it was decided that
the party should go to California instead of to Colorado, which they did.
Mr. Richard lost one of his oxen on the way and at Salt Lake bought a yoke
of steers. For some time he was engaged in mining in California and at
one time he had the opportunity of trading his ox-team and wagon for a
part of what has since been known as the famous Comstock mine, but not
realizing its worth he refused to make the bargain. In his search for precious
metal, however, he was fairly successful and in 1867 he again engaged in
mining — this time in Montana. In 1868 he rode across the country to
Iowa on horseback and then went to Michigan, where he spent the winter.
The following spring he returned to Pottawattamie county and bought forty
acrose of land upon which his residence now stands. Immediately he erected
a frame dwelling, which is now a part of his present home and as his financial
resources have increased and opportunity has offered he has added to his
original purchase until he is now the owner of a valuable farming property
of two hundred and twenty acres. In addition to tilling the soil Mr. Richard
has a fine apiary and annually sells large quantities of honey. He also keeps
a trotting stallion, Willard, eligible to registry. It is of the Morgan Hamble-
tonian breed. He has twenty horses, all of which are of high grade, and he



490 HISTORY OF POTTAWATTAMIE COUNTY

also keeps some cattle. Another important branch of his businiess is his
fruit-raising, having an orchard of two thousand trees, including plums,
peaches and apples. He likewise raises grapes, from which he makes wine,
and he also manufactures considerable cider. He has a tunnel extending
into the side of the bluff to a distance of about one hundred and forty feet,
which he uses for a cellar. It is always cool, even during the hottest days
of August, and is really a remarkable excavation, of which he has every rea-
son to be proud. In all branches of his business he is successful because he
is systematic in his methods and practical in everything that he undertakes.

On the 6th of January, 1871, Mr. Richard was married to Miss Katherihe
Jones, a daughter of Hugh and Hannah Jones, of Mills county, Iowa. They
traveled life's journey together for eleven years, at the end of which time Mrs.
Richard passed away, in 1882. They were parents of five children: Walter;
Ina, the wife of Christopher Tryer; Edward; Katie, the wife of Hugh Jenkins;
and Willie, who died in infancy. Edward resides with his father, the two
keeping house together. Their home is pleasantly situated at the foot of the
bluff, looking outward toward the river, which presents a pleasant picture.
When Mr. Richard came to this place there were only a few houses in the
neighborhood, there being but four dwellings between his home and Council
Bluffs. He holds membership with the Lutheran church, of which his wife
was also a member, and in his political views he is a stalwart democrat. For
several years he has served as school director and for twenty years has been
justice of the peace. He is still the incumbent in that office and has ever
discharged his duties with promptness and fidelity, his opinions being strictly
fair and impartial, being based upon the law and the equity in the case.



LYSANDER WAYLAND TULLEYS.

It is a pleasure to know a gentleman who has almost reached his seventy-
third year but is still alert and interested in the progress going on around
him and is actively engaged in his business pursuits, as is Mr. Tulleys, a
well known real-estate dealer of Council Bluffs. He was born in Frankfort,
Ross county, Ohio, June 1. 1835, and is the son of Erasmus Tulleys, a soldier
in the Tenth Ohio Battery in the Civil war, who was engaged in the fight at
Pittsburg Landing.

Lysander W. Tulleys was educated in the public schools of his native
county and in 1854 went to Yellow Spring. Ohio, where he attended Antioch
College for four years. He supplemented this education by a course at Union
College, Schenectady, New York, from which he was graduated in I860 with
the degree of A. B. With these educational advantages to aid him, he took
charge of the Yellow Springs (Ohio) high school. In this line he me1 with
marked' success and the pupils today remember Mr. Tulleys as a teacher who
always inspired them to noble ideals. Genial and good natured, the students
under his charge learned without knowing that they were doing hard work.
for he made their study a pleasure at all times



HISTORY OF POTTAWATTAMIE COUNTY 491

When the Civil war broke out Mr. Tulleys' patriotism was so aroused
that he dismissed school and enlisted in Company F, Second Ohio Volunteer
Infantry, as a private. This was on April 17, 1861, and he served for three
months, participating in the battle of Bull Run. He was mustered out at
Columbus, Ohio, on the 21st of July of the same year, having been honored
with promotion to the rank of first sergeant, a title which he held when
mustered out. In the fall of the same year he raised a company and was
commissioned captain, September 5, 1861, his company being known
as Company D of the Forty-fourth Ohio Volunteer Infantry. On October 31,
1863, he was mustered out to accept the promotion as lieutenant colonel of
the Forty-fourth Ohio Volunteer Infantry, his commission dating from
April 9, 1863, and he so served until mustered out January 30, 1864, at
Camp Denison, Ohio. While in the Second Ohio Infantry he took part in
the battle of Bull Run and during his service in the Forty-fourth Ohio Volun-
teer Infantry he was engaged in the fight at Lewisburg, West Virginia. The
regiment was subsequently sent to Frankfort, Kentucky, and while there
served in a very interesting incident. The convention met in the state house
in 1862 and was expected to pass secession resolutions which would take Ken-
tucky out of the Union. Colonel Tulleys was placed in charge of a body of
soldiers who were to surround the state house, allowing all to enter but none
to come out. When the assembly was called to order Colonel S. A. Gilbert, the
colonel of the Forty-fourth, addressed the convention, "advising" them to
disperse to their homes, which they did under penalty of arrest, and thus
Kentucky was saved to the Union. The regiment in which Mr. Tulleys was
serving was made mounted infantry while in Kentucky and served there
until they were sent to East Tennessee with General Burnside. Colonel Tul-
leys had command of an outpost at London, Kentucky, with several com-
panies for many months. His first fight was at the siege of Knoxville and
he was later engaged at Strawberry Plains. He was slightly wounded at
Lewisburg, West Virginia, but never allowed it to interfere with his duties.
Colonel Tulleys can relate many very interesting incidents that occurred
while in the service of his country and well may he feel proud of his record in
the war.

After receiving his honorable discharge in 1864, Colonel Tulleys went
direct to Ann Arbor, Michigan, where he took a course in the law school, sup-
plementing his legal education with a later course at Cleveland, Ohio. Thus
equipped he located at Champaign, Illinois, where he began the practice of
law and built up a large and successful business. At the end of three years
he added the business of farm loans to his legal profession and did an exten-
sive business in this line. In 1874 he removed to Iowa, locating in July,
1875, at Council Bluffs. So large and successful had proved his last addition
to his business that he practically gave up the duties of lawyer and after com-
ing to this city engaged solely in farm loans, adding his real-estate business
in 1897.

On October 10, 1868, Mr. Tulleys was married, in Xenia, Ohio, to Sarah
Ellen Gowdy, a daughter of John Gowdy. This union has been blessed with
four children: Paul A.. Mary, Julia and Charles W.



492 HISTORY OF POTTAWATTAMIE COUNTY

Mr. Tulleys votes with the prohibition party, but has never desired
or held political office. The cause of education has always found in him a
warm friend and he served for several years as a member of the school board
of Champaign, Illinois. His special interest in advancing the welfare of the
schools was manifest at all times and it was due to his suggestion that many
advantageous changes were made. He is a member of the Masonic fraternity,
belonging to the blue lodge, and was reared as a Methodist but is now a de-
voted member of the Christian Science church. He has learned the secret of
happiness and success and though now seventy-two years of age is hale and
hearty and still actively engaged in business. He has the unusual ability "of
accomplishing a great deal and yet never being hurried. This has given
him marked power in his business and in his influence over people. He
always has time to greet his friends cordially and to aid any who may desire
his help. It is on account of these characteristics that he has won a wide
circle of friends in Council Bluffs, who hold him in the very highest esteem.



JOSEPH E. O'NEILL.

Joseph E. O'Neill, who carries on general farming in James township, is
numbered among the leading sons of the county, his birth having occurred in
Council Bluffs, January 5, 1862. His parents were James and Bridget
(Cody) O'Neill, natives of Ireland, and in their family were ten children,
eight now living. The father came to America at an early date and estab-
lished his home in Council Bluffs. He is now the owner of several fine farms
in Pottawattamie county, having prospered in his undertakings.

Joseph E. O'Neill remained under the parental roof until he had at-
tained his majority and in the meantime acquired his education in the public
schools. After he had reached adult age he began farming on his own ac-
count and for twenty-two years he has been cultivating a part of his father's
land. He has recently, however, purchased a farm of one hundred and forty
acres, on section 7, Valley township, and < xpects to locate there in the spring of
1908. In his farming pursuits he has always made a specialty of raising
full-blooded shorthorn cattle and Duroc Jersey hogs. Tie is an excellent judge
of stock and has thus been enabled to make judicious purchases and profit-
able sales. Since age conferred upon him the right of franchise he hn.s been
a stalwart advocate of the democracy and supports its candidates at the polls,
but has never been an office seeker, preferring to give undivided attention to
his business interests.

Mr. O'Neill has been married twice. In 1886 he wedded Miss Helen
Gross, of this county, and unto them have been born five children : James J.,
George F., John L.. Mary and Patrick E. The wife and mother died in
1896 and in 1897 Mr. O'Neill was again married, his second union being
with Miss Kate Sinnett, a daughter of Patrick and Mary Sinnett, who were
natives of Ireland, but are now deceased. In their family were five children,
while unto Mr. and Mrs. O'Neill have been born the same number: Anna.




J. E. O'NEILL.



^









:>



HISTORY OF POTTAWATTAMIE COUNTY 495

Bernard and Agnes, all at home ; Thomas, deceased, and Hugh, who completes
the family. The parents are members of the Catholic church of Avoca. Mr.
O'Neill has spent his entire life in this county and has always been associated
with farming interests, being now recognized as a leading representative of
agricultural pursuits here.



MILLARD F. ROHRER.

Millard F. Rohrer, who is spoken of as one of the best mayors Council
Bluffs has ever had, has devoted much of his life to the public service since the
days when, as a boy of twelve years, he did duty in nursing the sick and
wounded Federal troops who were stationed near his home. His early boyhood
days were spent in the vicinity of Harper's Ferry. His birth occurred in
Rohrersville, Washington county, Maryland, on the old farm homestead, Au-
gust 30, 1850. His ancestors went to Maryland from Pennsylvania and were
of German descent. In his youth he was a student in private and public
schools of Boonsboro and Keedysville, Maryland.

His parents, Judge George C. and Sophia E. (Deajier) Rohrer, were na-
tives of Washington county, Maryland, but in 1871 located on a farm near
Avalon, Livingston county, Missouri, where the mother died on the 19th of
May, 1889, at the age of sixty-two years. The family numbered twelve chil-
dren, of whom Winfield Scott, Susan Marie, Emma Alice and Laura Ellen,
died in infancy or early childhood, while Harry Crytzman died August 30.
1889, at the age of twenty-seven years. The other members of the family are:
Ida Florence, the wife of Irwin F. Robinson, of Illinois; Samuel Deaner, of
Chillicothe, Missouri ; Luella Dinah ; Christian Franklin, of Norway, Ne-
braska; Julia Elizabeth, wife of Frank M. Westlake; and Millard F. A half-
sister, the only child of the father's first marriage, is the wife of Noah W.
Cronise, who resides at Rohrersville, Maryland.

The boyhood days of Millard F. Rohrer passed uneventfully until he was
about nine years of age, when there occurred an event which created intense
excitement in the locality and indeed throughout the country — the visit of
John Brown to Harper's Ferry, which was only twelve miles distant from the
Rohrer home. The farmstead, too, was near the battle-field of Antietam, the
engagement there occurring on the 18th of September, 1862, when Mr. Rohrer
was a lad of twelve years. Even at this age he was pressed into service as a
nurse, as his father's house, barn and woodhouse were utilized as hospitals, the
family rendering all possible aid to the wounded soldiers of the Union army.

Mr. Rohrer continued a resident of Maryland until 1870, when he left
home to enter business life as a traveling salesman for a wholesale glove house
of Chicago. He remained in that position until the fall, when he went to
Avalon, Livingston county, Missouri, where he engaged in teaching school. In
the spring he selected in that county a farm of two hundred and eighty acres,
which became the family homestead, and upon the arrival of his father.



496 HISTORY OF POTTAWATTAMIE COUNTY

mother, brothers and sisters he assisted in putting in the spring crops, but it
was not his intention to make agriculture his life work, and in July, 1871, he
arrived in Council Bluffs to introduce a fall wheat brand of flour, manufac-
tured by Snively & Hedges, of Wathena, Kansas. After three months had
passed he was sent to Texas to introduce the same flour there but he had become
so interested in Council Bluffs and so well pleased with its business outlook that
he resigned his position in order to make this city his home. Accepting the
position of clerk in the Biggs House, one of the leading hotels of the city, he
there remained until he secured a position in the postoffice bookstore of Brack-
ett & Goulden. He left that clerkship in order to become deputy sheriff under
George Doughty. His duties took him to all parts of the county- and as fully
one-half of the land was uncultivated at that time he could ride over the
prairies that now constitute many of the most valuable farms in this part of
the state. After his retirement from the office of deputy sheriff Mr. Rohrer
assisted J. M. Palmer in opening the first frame hotel and depot on the site
now occupied by the Union passenger station. He was afterward appointed
agent of the Burlington & Missouri River Railroad in Nebraska and bill clerk
of the Chicago, Burlington & Quincy Railroad in Council Bluffs, remaining
in that service until 1875, when he entered upon an independent business
venture as a partner of Hon. Thomas Bowman in the conduct of a fire insur-
ance agency. Three months later Mr. Bowman was elected county treasurer,
and after the 1st of January, 1878, Mr. Rohrer conducted the business alone.
In 1881 he became a member of the commercial storage and agricultural im-
plement firm composed of Thomas Bowman, George F. Wright and himself,
conducting the business under the style of Bowman, Rohrer & Company. This
partnership had a continuous existence until the 1st of January, 1885, when
they sold out, and about that time Mr. Rohrer was appointed general agent
of the Mutual Life Insurance Company of New York for the state of Iowa.
He has since continued in the life insurance business and as a real-estate dealer
is also well known. He is likewise a stockholder in the Council Bluffs Savings
Bank, one of the largest commercial savings and general banking houses in
western Iowa. His real-estate interests are extensive, embracing much property
in Council Bluffs and also in other localities.

On the 31st of December, 1887, Mr. Rohrer was elected by the city council
to the office of mayor of Council Bluffs to fill out the unexpired term of Wil-
liam Groneweg, who had been elected state senator. In March, 1888, Mr.
Rohrer was again elected on the democratic ticket and received a very flatter-
ing majority. He filled the office until the 17th of March, 1900, and in speak-
ing of his service a contemporary biographer has said: "During his continu-
ous term of twenty-six and one-half months as mayor of the city, Council
Bluffs made more substantial progress as a city than during any previous
term, namely: the paving with cedar blocks of Broadway from Twelfth street
to Omaha, a distance of three miles, connecting with the (second) great iron
and steel bridge over the Missouri river, uniting the cities of Council Bluffs,
Omaha and South Omaha by the first electric street railway introduced in the
great west; opening up the Lake Manawa steam street railway; opening up the
Council Bluffs and Omaha Chautauqua grounds, etc., etc. During his term of



HISTORY OF POTTAWATTAMIE COUNTY 497

office eight miles of streets were paved with cedar blocks and brick, and other
public and private improvements were made in keeping with the same. In
his final message to the city of Council Bluffs on March 17, 1890, he made the
following valuable recommendations in reference to that portion of the city
which is now apparently (to the eye) in Omaha: 'My attention has been but
recently called to some facts to which in this parting message I deem it my
duty to call your attention. I am informed by able lawyers and also by offi-
cials who are in a position to know that the long neglected body of land known
as "Cut-off Island," and sometimes slightingly referred to as "No Man's Land,"
is within the corporate limits of the city of Council Bluffs, and it seems
that in five or six suits which have been had concerning this land it has been
conceded on all hands, by lawyers and judges that such is the case. Hereto-
fore this land has been almost of no consequence but the marvelous growth of
our city and its sister across the river has attracted the attention of capitalists
to this tract of land which is in Iowa but contiguous to Omaha. This point
settled, important consequences ensue therefrom. The Union Pacific Railway
Company has built its tracks on this island, bridges are being built, streets
opened up ; arrangements are being made to fill up the unoccupied ground with
factories, warehouses and busy industries. I have only recently learned these
facts but should consider myself derelict in duty were I to fail to call your at-
tention to the same upon this particular occasion. The island in extent em-
braces nearly two thousand acres of valuable land; and if I understand the
matter aright, this is all subject to taxation by the council of the city of Coun-
cil Bluffs and the trackage of the railroads as well. This should be looked into
and attended to. We, in turn, aiming to give to the public as good govern-
ment as possible, and watchful of the interests of all within our jurisdiction,
should see to it that the right of franchise so dear to the American heart
should be accorded to the residents of that district, who are in fact citizens of
Council Bluffs. The children of these parents have a right to attend our public
schools. The census taker must not omit to include this population in our list.
The importance of the right to tax this large body of land is liable to be under-
estimated, as, in my opinion, but very few years will pass before a large reve-



Online LibraryHomer Howard FieldHistory of Pottawattamie County, Iowa, from the earliest historic times to 1907 (Volume 1) → online text (page 52 of 59)