Homer Howard Field.

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

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ways the organizer of their games as well as the one who carried them out.
When he left Ames College in 1892 he entered the store of his father, P. C.
De Vol, and in 1900 the firm became known as P. C. De Vol & Son. In 1904
the business was incorporated as it is at the present time. Mr. De Vol is al-
ways at the head of any business enterprise with which he is in any way con-
nected. He is director in the Growers Canning Company; treasurer of the
Council Bluffs Transfer & Stove Storage Company; director of the Council
Bluffs Sheet & Metal Company; vice president of the Wright, Wilhelmy Com-
pany of Omaha; and president of the Iowa Hardware Dealers' Association.
It is interesting to note that in the last named capacity he is the sixth presi-
dent, while his father was the first.

Mr. De Vol was married in 1897, at Council Bluffs, to Bessie Harkness, a
daughter of James E. Harkness. He is second vice president of the Commer-
cial Club and is a member of the lodge of Elks and the United Commercial


Travelers, No. 140. In religion he has always been associated with the First
Presbyterian church, to which he has given his active support. Mr. De Vol
is a force in the business world, for he possesses unusual executive ability and
is always foremost in the organization and conduct of large enterprises. Hi
regarded by all who know him as an honest and upright citizen and a busi-
ness man of integrity. Whenever he enters any enterprise its success is as-
sured and Council Bluffs is to be congratulated upon having a citizen like
Paul C. De Vol.


Ambrose Crellin, the genera] agent of the International Harvester Com-
pany of America at Council Bluffs, Iowa, was bom in Port St. Mary's on the
Isle of Man (England) January 31, L871. That same year lie was brought by
bi.- parents to Nebraska. They Located first in Cuming county, that state, on a
farm, and it was there that Mr. Crellin was reared. He attended the district
schools and assisted his father upon the farm. At the age of fourteen lie sei
out for Lyons, where lie spent tlnve year- learning the harness trade. At the
end of that period he removed to Randolph, Nebraska, where he opened a
harness -tore, lie built up a business which was lucrative and for which he
was -ooii offered a price which he could not afford to refuse II. accordingly
-old out in L892 and re-embarked in the barness and implement business al
YYausa. Nebraska. With a keen eye for business advantages, he -old out in
1891. when a good offer was made him for the establishment. These were
the lir-t three steps in hi.- business career and he then set out in another line
of work by accepting a position a- traveling agenl for the Walter A. Wood
Barvester Company of St. Paul, Minnesota, and remained in that capacity up
to the year L896. lie was a young man of push and enterprise and hi- worth
was highly appreciated. The McCormick Harvesting Machine Company were
not slow to recognize hi- ability and offered him a position which he accepted.
He made his headquarters at Lincoln. Nebraska, and served them efficiently
up to the time that the International Harvester Company purchased the busi-
ness of the other companies in M»<>"2. Mr. Crellin was then appointed col-
lection agenl at Council Bluffs, Iowa, a position in which he remained until
February, li»(»7, when he received an appointment to his present position. In
addition to tin- business he i.- the junior member of the firm of Crellin Broth-
ers, hardware and implement merchants ai Pender, Nebraska.

(>n August _. 1800, Mr. Crellin was married, in Randolph, Nebraska, to
Hattie I. Totten, the daughter of William M. Totten. This union has been
blessed with four daughters and one son, who form an interesting and attract-
ive family.

Mr. Crellin belongs to Star chapter. No. 47, R. A. M.: Bluff City lodge,
No. 71. A. F. & A. M.: and the United Commercial Traveler-. No. 134, of
Grand Maud. Nebraska. In hi.- political affiliations he ha- always been a stal-
wart republican and though he ha.- never soughl it- honor- or offices ha.- al-


ways been ready to aid those who have. When a lad he was ready to begin
at Ihe bottom of the ladder and to make his way gradually through the vari-
ous stages until he attained his present position. Such a man is invariably
in a substantial condition, for his foundation is sure. Too often our young
men want to begin at the top round of the ladder. Mr. Crellin has always
been a man of strong and determined character, who has gained his prosperity
by honesty and straightforwardness and by sticking closely to his purpose.
He has never cared to figure prominently in political work but has preferred
to devote his energies to his business and to have leisure to enjoy bis home
and his family. He has a wide circle of friends, who take great pleasure in
their acquaintance with Mr. Crellin and hold him in the highest esteem.


Justin J. Olney is a self-made man who started out in life empty-handed
but is now a prosperous farmer, his home being on section 24, Belknap town-
ship. His life record began in Kirtland, Ohio, February 8, 1838. His father,
Oliver Olney, was a native of the easl and was a, woolen manufacturer and
farmer. In the spring of 1838 he went to Illinois and later settled in Jackson
county. Missouri, with a colony of Mormons, of which he was a member. His
son Justin afterward returned to Ohio with an older brotber in the year 1843.
Soon after the father died. His wife lion the maiden name of Alice Johnson
and was a native of Vermont. She, too, joined the Mormons and her death
occurred in Missouri in 1842. By her marriage she became the mother of
eleven children, of whom the following readied adult age: Newton, now-
deceased; Milton, who enlisted in the Mexican war in New Orleans and has
now passed away; Emily, the widow of Henry Marian and a resident of The
Dalles, Oregon, having crossed the plains with ox team in 1845: Mary. Laura.
Oliver and Caroline, all of whom have parsed away : and Justin J.

The last named was reared on a farm in Portage county, Ohio. It was in
the year- of his birth that the family removed to the west but he later returned
to his native state with an older brother and three sisters. He attended school
at Hiram. Ohio, but his educational privileges were somewhat meager, as it
was necessary for him to provide for his own support. He had to work hard
to earn a living in early life, but he possessed resolute purpose and untiring
industry — qualities which he has always manifested. In 1855 he came to
Iowa, settling in Pottawattamie county near the Shugart place, east of Council
Bluffs. He lived with an uncle, John Johnson, for about eleven years, and in
1866 removed to Belknap township, purchasing land on sections 22 and 23.
He added to his holdings until at one time he was owner of four hundred
acres, while at the present writing he owns eighty acres on section 24 and
eighty acres on section 23, Belknap township. He is an enterprising business
man and has been quite successful in his farming operations. He was also
engaged for about a year and a half in the implement business at Oakland.


Mr. Olney was married August 9, 1865, to Miss Mary Morrison, who was
born in Cincinnati, Ohio, in November, 1842, and died in February, 1905.
She was a member of the Christian church and was an estimable lady, whose
death was deeply regretted by many who knew her. She left a daughter and
a son: Alice, the wife of Dorson S. Pleak, a farmer in Belknap township,
with whom Mr. Olney makes his home; and Wayne, who is on a homestead
in Wyoming. There are now three grandchildren.

Mr. Olney gives his political support to the republican party and has
held a number of local offices. Fraternally he is connected with the Masons,
being initiated into that order at Council Bluffs in 1872, and his religious
faith is indicated by his membership in the Christian church. In the face of
obstacles and difficulties which would utterly discourage many a less resolute
man, he has pushed forward to the goal of prosperity and has proven that
laudable ambition and untiring diligence can win success. In 1890 he went
to Washington, where he remained for about one year, and with that exception
he has lived in Pottawattamie county since 1855.


Martin Plahn makes his home near Avoca and is operating a farm,
being a prominent representative of the agricultural interests of Knox town-
ship. He was born in Holstein, Germany, on the 29th of November, 1843,
and acquired his education in the schools of that country while spending
his boyhood days under the parental roof. His parents, C. W. and Louise
Plahn, were both natives of Germany and died in that country. Of their
family of six children three are yet living, Sophia and Gustav being yet
residents of the fatherland.

Martin Pliihn spent the first twenty-three years of his life in the country
of his nativity and in 1866 sought a home in America, attracted by the
broader business opportunities of the new world, where competition is
greater and advancement more quickly secured. Making his way into the
interior of the country, he located at Davenport, Iowa, where he resided until
1874. He then removed to Shelby county, this state, where he operated a
rented farm for three years and on the expiration of that period he invested
his earnings in one hundred and twenty acres of land, to which he after-
ward added a similar tract, his farm then comprising two hundred and
forty acres. The year 1891 witnessed his arrival in Pottawattamie county,
where he purchased two hundred and twenty acres of land and in 1897 he
added one hundred and twenty acres to this, making a total of three hundred
and forty acres on section 21, Knox township. This is appropriately known
as the Oaklawn Stock Farm and its proximity to Avoca makes it one of
the fine farms of the county, the advantages of town life being easily ac-
cessible, while those of rural life can at all times bo enjoyed. He is one of
the most prosperous tillers of the soil in this part of the state, his fields


bringing forth rich crops and at the same time he is making a specialty
of the raising and feeding of shorthorn cattle. For the past thirty-two
years his entire time and attention have been devoted to general agricultural
pursuits and his place is now one of the most productive farms of the neigh-
borhood. The stock which he raises is of high grade and he makes large
sales annually. He also owns one hundred and eighty acres in Washing-
ton township, Pottawattamie county.

On the 31st of January, 1872, was celebrated the marriage of Mr. Plahn
and Miss Adele Volkmann, who was born in Germany, February 27, 1853,
and is a daughter of Frederick and Julia Volkmann, who were natives of
Germany, where they spent their entire lives. Their family numbered ten
children and unto Mr. and Mrs. Plahn ten children have been born, namely:
Louise, at home; Julia, the wife of John Lage, of Wayne county, Nebraska;
Ernest, of Pottawattamie county; Lottie, the wife of Jesse Potter, also a
resident of this county ; Ricklef, Rudolph and Helene, still under the parental
roof; one now deceased; and Sophia and Johannas, with their parents.

Politically Mr. Plahn is a democrat and has served as trustee of his
township for two terms and is now school treasurer. He and his wife are
supporters of the Lutheran church. They own a fine residence on Chest-
nut street in Avoca but his time and energies are still given to the farm
and in the control of his business affairs he is meeting with very desirable


As long as Walter S. Goodrich continues in the hotel business Council
Bluffs will never lack first class accommodations for the guests who may
visit the city. He was born in Chicago, February 22, 1861, and was reared
and educated in Evanston, Illinois, until he had reached the age of sixteen.
He then came to Council Bluffs to enter the employ of the Chicago & North-
western Railway and for fifteen years served this road in various capacities,
being for three years an engineer. In 1893 he entered the hotel business
in Council Bluffs, conducting the Tremont House for three years. He im-
proved and remodeled this hotel and made it a popular home for all those
who sought its accommodations. He then took hold of the Metropolitan and
pushed it to the same position that he had given to the Tremont. For five
years he conducted this house but at the end of that time he felt convinced
that a new building was needed. In 1906 he erected his present establish-
ment, the finest and most elaborate and complete American and European
hotel of Council Bluffs. Its erection was due entirely to the enterprise and
public spirit of its proprietor and he has spared neither pains nor expense
in its plan and its building. He has installed everything that modern ideas
and utility can possibly furnish for the comfort, pleasure and general well-
being of its guests. Hotel Goodrich is built of the finest pressed brick, fire
proof, with hose, fire escapes and fire extinguishers on every floor. It is
steam heated and lighted by electricity, having its awn electric plant and


electric bells. It has baths in connection with the rooms and an accommo-
dation of sixty well lighted and ventilated guest chambers. The dining
room is forty feet square, with a barber shop and bar in connection. It has
an up-to-date cafe, which serves the best bill of fare for the money in the

Mr. Goodrich was married in 1880, in this city, to Jennie Jones, a
daughter of Daniel and Rachel Jones. This union has been blessed with
three children: Harry E.. Everett E. and Ferris.

In his political affiliations Mr. Goodrich has given his support to the
republican party and lias served as delegate to the county conventions several
times. He is a member of the Improved Order of Red Men and the Eagles.
It takes unusual ability and (act to conduct successfully a hotel. For this
business a man must be a good manager, a social and genial host, must have
the rare ability of dealing agreeably with all kinds of people and at all
times. In all this Mr. Goodrich lias certainly proved capable. Council
Bluffs owes much to the good opinion which the guest- of this city have
formed, because of the comfortable quarters which have been furnished them
by Mr. Goodrich.


Lewis Hammer is now extensively and successfully engaged in raising
live-stock, but, although his business interests are at present confined in con-
siderable measure to this line, he is. nevertheless, contributing largely to the
commercial and industrial activity of Council Bluffs, and he also figures in
its financial circles as vice-president of the Commercial National Bank. His
intense and well directed activity has been the basis of his success and at all
times his efforts have Keen guided by safe, conservative and sound judgment.

His birth occurred upon a farm in Lorain county. Ohio, on the 4th of
September, L837, hi- parents being Godfrey and Kathrina (Dachtlcr) Ham-
mer, who were of German ancestry. The father was born in Germany, and.
coming to America, settled upon a farm in Lorain county, Ohio, where he
spent his remaining days, devoting his entire life to general agricultural pur-
suits. Both he and his wife died in the Buckeye state. In their family
were five children, of whom four are now living: John, a resident of Coun-
cil Bluffs: Godfrey; Christian, who is living in Ada. Ohio: and Lewis, of this

The last named spent the first twenty years of his life in the state of his
nativity and a- a farm boy was reared, early assisting in the work of field and
meadow. Pie was about eighteen years of age when lie began learning the
carpenter's trade, which he followed for two years, and in 1857 he sought a
home west of the Mississippi, thinking to enjoy better business opportunities
in a district which was then less thickly settled than Ohio. Accordingly he
came to Council Bluffs and soon afterward made his way to Harrison county.
There he followed carpentering and contracting, carrying on the business for
about six years. He again came to Pottawattamie county, where he e4ah-


TR' r


lished a sawmill in partnership with J. H. Peters, conducting the enterprise
for two years, during which time he got out a lot of ties for the Union Pa-
cific Railroad, these being among the first used on the construction of that
road. The ties and lumber were rafted down the river to Omaha and then
sent to their destination. The mill was located on the Boyer river in Harri-
son county and was in operation by Mr. Hammer for two years.

In 1866, however, he disposed of it and came to Council Bluffs, where he
established a lumberyard, which he conducted with gratifying success until
1904. In 1888 he joined Martinson and Ed. Mott in the organization of the
Western Lumber & Supply Company, from which Mr. Mott withdrew in
1889. The business was capitalized for thirty-five thousand dollars, which
was afterward increased to forty-five thousand dollars. The company dealt
in all kinds of building material and developed an excellent business, which
was managed by Mr. Hammer. He was likewise interested in another lum-
beryard at the corner of Second and Vine streets, under the firm name of L.
Hammer & Company, and this was equally successful.

Since disposing of his lumber interests in 1904 Mr. Hammer has devoted
his entire time to stock-raising, in which he has been interested for a number
of years, and he is now so engaged in Dawson and Custer counties in Ne-
braska, where he has extensive ranches and large herds of cattle. In the
meantime he has assisted greatly in the upbuilding of Council Bluffs in all its
interests, especially in the line of its manufactories. In 1859 he went by ox
team to Pike's Peak, being on the road for thirty days between Council Bluffs
and Denver, and spending a year there. His business interests, however,
have largely centered in Council Bluffs and vicinity and he still makes his
home in this city, from which point he goes to his ranches to superintend his
live-stock interests. He was one of the organizers of the Commercial National
Bank and from the beginning has served as its vice-president, thus becoming
well known in the financial circles of the city. He has, moreover, been a
promoter and one of the organizers of the Canning Company and a stock-
holder in various other business interests of the city, which have contributed
in large measure to the commercial and industrial prosperity and progress
here. He aided in the organization of the Building Association for the Odd
Fellows' Temple and for thirteen years has been its president.

In March, 1869, Mr. Hammer was united in marriage in Council Bluffs to
Miss Rhoda Ann Wood, a daughter of D. K. and Deema (Mann) Wood,
formerly of Kentucky, and later of Harrison county, Iowa. The father,
however, is now deceased. Mrs. Hammer was born in Kentucky and by her
marriage has become the mother of four children : Etta E., now the wife of
Henry Dryer, of Pottawattamie county, Iowa; Lewis H., on one of his father's
ranches in Nebraska; Hazel J., and Bessie E.

In his political views Mr. Hammer is a stanch republican, unfaltering in
his fidelity to the party and its principles. He has served for three terms in the
city council and exercises his official prerogatives in support of progressive
measures for the general good. He is a member and trustee of the Episco-
pal church and is also a member of Council Bluffs Lodge, No. 49, I. O. 0. F.,
in which he has held all of the offices, and he also belongs to the encampment.


He was one of the promoters and organizers of the movement for the erec-
tion of Odd Fellows' Temple, which was built at a cost of thirty-six thousand
dollars. He has now attained the Psalmist's span of three score years and
ten, but is still an active business man, largely connected with live-stock in-
terests and with various corporations of the city, the value of which are
recognized in its commercial growth and development. Throughout his long
and honorable career he has gained a gratifying measure of success, making
him one of the representative men of this part of the state.


The German-American element in American citizenship has long been
regarded as an important one, for the sons of the fatherland have carried
with them into different sections of the new world the culture and learning
of the old country and have in business life manifested the enterprise and
determination which are characteristic of the German race. Claus Henry
Fleming, now following farming in Pleasant township, was born in Holstein,
Germany, October 16, 1848, his parents being Peter and Anna Fleming,
who spent their entire lives in Germany. Of their family of six children
three are yet living, the brother of our subject being Peter, who yet makes
his home in Germany, while the sister is Lena, the wife of Claus Sump of

Claus Henry Fleming is indebted to the schools of his native country
for the educational privileges he enjoyed. In 1869, when about twenty-
one years of age, he determined to seek a home and fortune in the new-
world and made his way across the Atlantic. The middle west attracted
him and he located in Clinton county, towa, where he worked as a farm
hand by the month for two years. On the expiration of that period he re-
moved to Scott county, where he followed farm work for two years and also
spent two years as coachman in the employ of George L. Davenport. Later
he acted as a clerk in a store for a year and in 1875 he came to Potta-
wattamie county, where he invested his earnings in eighty acres of land on
section 31, Pleasant township, where he has lived ever since. With char-
acteristic energy he began the further development and improvement of this
place and kept buying and adding to his land from time to time until he
now owns six hundred and eighty-three acres in Pleasant township, divided
into three farms, together with one hundred and sixty acres in Shelby
county, Iowa, and one hundred and sixty acres in Montana. In addition
to the tilling of the soil in the production of the cereals best adapted to cli-
matic conditions here found, he is extensively engaged in raising and feed-
ing stock, which constitutes an important clement in his business. He makes
a specialty of polled Angus cattle and at present has over two hundred Chester
White hogs upon his farm.

While his farming interests have largely claimed his time and atten-
tion, Mr. Fleming has yet found opportunity to co-operate in many pro-


gressive public movements and gives his support to every plan and measure
for the public good. He has served as a school director for several years
and is now township trustee. In politics he is an earnest republican, be-
lieving firmly in the principles of the party.

On the 28th of November, 1874, Mr. Fleming was married to Miss Anna
Thies, a native of Germany, born July 9, 1848, her parents being Teves
and Mary Thies, who were likewise natives of that country. The father
died in Germany, after which the mother came to America, remaining in
the United States for twelve years. She then returned to Germany and
spent her remaining days there. Her family numbered eight children, in-
cluding Mrs. Fleming, who by her marriage has become the mother of seven
children: Herman, living on his father's farm in Montana; Clara, the wife
of Gustaf Stuer, of Pottawattamie county; Edward, of Pleasant tolwnship,
this county; Henry, Frank, Willie and Anna, all at home.

Mr. and Mrs. Fleming hold membership in the German Lutheran
church at Minden and are well known residents of this locality, where they
have gained many friends. Mr. Fleming has been very successful since
coming to America and as an enterprising farmer has accumulated a hand-
some fortune. He deserves much credit for what he has accomplished and
his life record should serve to encourage and inspire others to put forth their
best efforts that a competence may thereby be won.


A considerable percentage of Pottawattamie's citizens belong to that
class of German-Americans that has always been considered a valuable ele-
ment in the development of the new world. Of such Mr. Moeller is a repre-

Online LibraryHomer Howard FieldHistory of Pottawattamie County, Iowa, from the earliest historic times to 1907 (Volume 1) → online text (page 55 of 59)