Homer Howard Field.

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

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Minnie, William, Bert and Elmer. John W., born November 18, 1850,
lives in Council Bluffs. He married Clara Coacher and their children are
Sidney, James, William and Paul. The youngest member of the family
of A. S. Bonham is Arabelle, who was born December 11, 1853, and was
the wife of Charles Parmalee, of Council Bluffs, by whom she had a daugh-
ter, Rachel. Mrs. Parmalee died June 11, 1901.

The death of Mrs. A. S. Bonham occurred November 11, 1902, when
she had reached the advanced age of eighty-seven years. She was a devout
member of the Christian church and in her life exemplified her religious
faith. For sixty-seven years Mr. and Mrs. Bonham had traveled life's jour-
ney together when they were separated in death, their mutual love and con-


fidence increasing as the years passed by, and they faced together the hard-
ships and difficulties as well as the pleasures and prosperity of life. Since
the death of his wife Mr. Bonham has made his home with his son Barnabus
at No. 317 East Pierce street. He, too, is a member of the Christian church
and in politics is an ardent republican. It is given to few men to attain
such an age as has been allotted to Mr. Bonham and there are indeed few
who have so uniformly commanded the confidence and trust of those with
whom they have come in contact. In the evening of life he can look back
over the past without regret, resting contentedly in the consciousness of an
honorable record, and when he shall be called from this life he will leave
to his family the priceless heritage of an untarnished name.


Alonzo McClelland Bonham, engaged in the real-estate business in
Council Bluffs, 'was born in Illinois, October 17, 1838, and is the second
child of Algernon Sidney and Rachel (Hayden) Bonham, of whom men-
tion is made elsewhere in this volume. The removal of the family to Macomb,
Illinois, led him to secure his education in the public schools of that city,
supplemented by study in the Abingdon (Illinois) College. After the out-
break of the Civil war he offered fin services to the country, enlisting in
Company K, Fifty-fifth Illinois Infantry, with which he served for three
years, proving a brave and valiant soldier. He never faltered in the per-
formance of any duty whether on the lonely picket line or on the firing line.
In December, 1864, he arrived in Council Bluffs and here engaged in the
real-estate business. In 1872 he removed to Paris, Texas, and near that city
was engaged in farming for a few year-, after which he became a real-estate
dialer in Paris. He resided in Texas for twenty years, and on the 2d of
May, 1892, returned to Council Bluffs, where he once more opened a real-
estate office. He has since conducted business along this line and is thorough-
ly informed concerning property values. He has negotiated many important
realty transfers and now has a large clientage.

On the 31st of December, 1874, in Paris, Texas, Mr. Bonham was mar-
ried to Miss Martha Hamilton, a daughter of J. J. and Nancy Matilda (Moon)
Hamilton. The latter is now living in Denison, Texas, but the father, who
was a manufacturer of woolen goods in Texas, died May 17, 1900. He was
a consistent member of the Christian church, to which Mrs. Hamilton still
belongs. Mrs. Bonham was educated in the city schools of Paris, Texas
and holds membership in the church in which she was reared. Unto Mr.
and Mrs. Bonham have been born the following named: Centennial, horn
in Paris, Texas. December 16. 1875. and educated in the schools of his native
city, was married January 26. 1902. to Maud Shane, who was reared by
her aunt, Mrs. Octavia Stephenson, of Council Bluffs, her parents having
died when she was quite young. Mr. and Mrs. Bonham now live in Aspen,
Colorado, where he is electrician in a large silver mine. He is a member


of the Knights and Ladies of Security and his wife holds membership in
the Presbyterian church. They have one child, Elizabeth Ann, born No-
vember 17, 1906. Algernon Jay Bonhain, born in Paris, Texas, January
6, 1882, was educated in the schools of that city and of Council Bluffs
and is now doing business as a decorator at No. 606 South Main street in
this city. He lives with his parents and he, too, affiliates with the Knights
and Ladies of Security. Clara Arabelle, born in Paris, Texas, November
1, 1888, and educated in Council Bluffs, was married January 12, 1907,
to Eugene Snodgrass, of this city, who was born July 27, 1886. His
parents died when he was quite young and he was reared by his grand-
father, W. M. Snodgrass, well known in Council Bluffs. He is now a tele-
graph operator here. His wife holds membership in the Christian church.
Mr. Bonham is a member of the Christian church and affiliates with
the Knights and Ladies of Security and with the Grand Army of the Re-
public, thus maintaining pleasant relations with his old army comrades.
In politics he is an ardent republican, unfaltering in his allegiance to the
party. He resides at No. 220 Harmony street, and in addition owns a
number of valuable properties in Council Bluffs.


George Wise, Sr., who owns three hundred and sixty acres of valuable
farming land in Pottawattamie county and is living retired in Avoca, was
born in Germany on the 26th of January, 1837. His parents were Andrew
and Margaret Wise, both of whom passed away in the fatherland. They
were the parents of four children but George Wise, Sr., is the only one
now living.

Mr. Wise of this review received his education in the common schools
of Germany and remained in the land of his nativity until he had attained
his majority, when he became imbued with the desire to seek his fortune
in the new world. Accordingly he crossed the Atlantic in 1858 and first
took up his abode in Cincinnati, Ohio, there remaining for two years. On
the expiration of that period he removed to Muscatine county, Iowa, and
there secured employment as a farm hand. He was thus engaged for eight
years and then, with the money which he had saved during this period,
he purchased a farm of eighty acres and as he later added eighty acres
more, he became the owner of one hundred and sixty acres of rich and
productive land. In 1881, however, Mr. Wise sold his original purchases
and came to Pottawattamie county, Iowa, where he bought a farm of two
hundred acres. He is now the owner of three hundred and sixty acres
of highly improved and arable land in this county, but since 1892 has
lived retired in the village of Avoca, his well directed energy and enter-
prise in former years having brought him the competence that now enables
him to live without recourse to further labor.


On July 5, 1863, Mr. Wise was joined in wedlock to Miss Elizabeth
Meltner, who was born near Zanesville, Ohio, in 1842, a daughter of Michael
and Mary Meltner, natives of Germany, who came to this country and
located in Ohio in the year 1837. The father's death occurred in Ohio
and the mother departed this life while residing near Iowa City. Mrs.
Wise was one of a family of five children and acquired her early educa-
tion in one of the old log schoolhouses characteristic of the pioneer dis-
trict in which she lived. By her marriage she has become the mother of
eleven children, namely: Mary, the wife of Joseph Bollage of Woodbury
county, Iowa; George, Jr., living in Pottawattamie county; Anna, who makes
her home in Omaha, Nebraska; Gertrude, the wife of Patrick Manning,
living in Avoca, Iowa; Michael, also residing in this county; Elizabeth,
who became the wife of William Flynn and makes her home in Miles City,
Montana; Charles, of Pleasant township, Pottawattamie county; Frank, a
law student in the college at Des Moines, Iowa, and one of the best short-
hand writers of the country; and Edward, who is living on the home farm.
Two children of the family have passed away.

Mr. Wise gives his political allegiance to the democracy and has served
as road supervisor, while his religious faith is indicated by his membership
in the Catholic church, to which his wife also belongs. In the evening of
his days he receives the respect and veneration which should ever be ac-
corded one who has traveled thus far on life's journey and whose actions
have ever been such as to command the respect and admiration of those
with whom he has come in contact both in his business and private life.
He possesses many of the most commendable traits of his Teutonic ancestry
and he has well merited the success which has come to him in his later


Jurgen F. Ronna, who came to America from his native land, Ger-
many, knowing no language but his native tongue, having no capital save
a few dollars, has worked his way steadily upward until today he is one of
the substantial residents of Pottawattamie county, being senior partner of
the firm of J. F. & Otto Ronna, owners of the German Bank of Walnut.
The growth of American cities has been so rapid as to seem almost phenom-
enal. There are men living today in this county who can remember 'western
Iowa when it was a wind-swepl and trackless prairie. Mr. Ronna's connec-
tion with this section of the state dates back to the period when the work
of development and progress seemed scarcely begun here. He has been
largely instrumental in promoting the growth of the county and especially
of the town in which he makes his home.

Mr. Ronna is a native of Schleswig-Holstein. Germany, born June 17,
1848, and the son of John and Elsabe (Frahm) Ronna. The father died
in Germany in 1873, and the mother, coining to the United States in 1886,



made her home with her children, who had preceded her to this country.
She died in Walnut, January 18, 1897.

Jurgen F. Ronna was reared in the land of his birth and educated in
the public schools. He remained a resident of Germany until about twenty
years of age, when in the spring of 1868 he sailed for the United States
and on his arrival in Iowa, located at Lyons, Clinton county, where he se-
cured a position as clerk in a general store. He was thus employed until
the spring of 1874, when he came to Pottawattamie county and invested his
savings in one hundred and sixty acres of prairie land, constituting the
southwest quarter of section 22, Lincoln township. Upon this tract he built
a little cabin, fourteen by sixteen feet, and supplied it with furniture of his
own manufacture. A year or two later he built a small addition to his
original home and there resided for about five years. In 1879 he came to
Walnut, where he turned his attention to merchandising, becoming a part-
ner of J. B. Johannsen, with whom he was associated until the spring of
1881, when the relation was dissolved, Mr. Ronna purchasing his partner's
interest in the business. He then continued alone until November, 1882,
when he admitted J. Hector to the partnership that was maintained until
May, 1904, when they sold out. In 1891, on the organization of the Ex-
change State Bank, Mr. Ronna became one of the stockholders and was
made a member of the board of directors. He was identified with that bank
until July, 1901, during which time he also held the position of vice presi-
dent for several years. At the date indicated he severed his connection with
this bank and in November of the same year, he and his son Otto purchased
the German Bank of Walnut, conducting a general banking business under
the firm name of J. F. & Otto Ronna. In connection therewith they also
make loans and are likewise land and insurance agents. This institution,
under its present management, is one of the leading financial concerns of
the northeastern part of Pottawattamie county. Mr. Ronna is purely a self-
made man, for upon his arrival from Germany he was without funds, a
stranger in a strange land, unacquainted with the speech and customs of the
people. He has eagerly availed himself of every opportunity for advance-
ment, and by the judicious use of his time and talents has worked himself
steadily upward and is a recognized authority on questions of finance in this
section of Iowa.

In early manhood Mr. Ronna was united in marriage to Catharina
Dierks and unto them have been born five children, of whom four are yet
living: Otto, mentioned on another page of this work; Anna, at home;
Julius, a practicing dentist of Pasadena, California ; and Leona, at home.

In his political views Mr. Ronna is a stalwart republican, whose interest
in the questions and issues of the day is manifest through his wide under-
standing thereof. He served for two terms as mayor of the village of Wal-
nut and for four years as member of the school board; for the past ten years
he has acted as school treasurer and for six years has been a member of the
town council. Whether in office or out of it, he is the same patriotic citizen,
most loyal to the interests of his adopted land, manifesting the strongest
attachment for the stars and stripes.


He is a member of Morrow lodge, No. 559, A. F. & A. M. ; Rabboni
chapter, No. 85, R. A. M., of Avoca; Kedron commandery, No. 42, K. T.,
of Atlantic, Iowa; Za-Ga-Zig temple, A. A. 0. N. M. S., of Des Moines; Moriah
lodge, No. 327, I. 0. 0. F., of Walnut; and Walnut lodge, No. 294, A. 0.
U. W. He is likewise a member of the Lutheran church, and his member-
ship relations, religious and fraternal, indicate much of the character of
the man, and the influences and principles which govern his life. Free
from ostentation or display, he is quick to recognize true worth in another
— and true worth can always gain his friendship. He is himself a man of
many friends — one of Walnut's most respected and honored residents, and
not unknown throughout the county and this section of the state.


For a third of a century any reference to a "veteran" referred to a soldier
of the Civil war. Then was written a new chapter in American history, and
to-day the soldier of the war of 1861-65 must share honors with he who
valiantly upheld American principles and policy in the war with Spain. Cap-
tain Samuel A. Greene is well known in this connection and in relation to
his military service as a member of the Iowa National Guard. He was born
November 22, 1877, at Neola, Iowa, a son of Charles C. and Mary E. (Mus-
ser) Greene. The father was formerly a farmer in Pottawattamie county,
but is living in Council Bluffs at the present time.

Captain Greene supplemented his early education by study in the high
school of Council Bluffs. He was a young man not yet twenty-one years of
age, when on the 26th of April, 1898, he offered his services to the govern-
ment and enlisted with Company L, Fifty-first Iowa Volunteer Infantry, a
regiment that made a most creditable record. The command was ordered
to San Francisco and, after being stationed at the presidio there for a short
time, was ordered to Manila. He served with his regiment through the en-
tire campaign in the Philippines, going from the harbor of the capital to
Uoilo and to Cavite, and participating in all the engagements with his com-
mand, which did splendid sendee in the Orient. At length the regiment
returned to San Francisco on the 22d of October, 1899, and on the 6th of
November, 1899, having been mustered out on the Pacific coast. Captain
Greene arrived in Council Bluffs. In 1900 he again enlisted, becoming a
member of Company L, Fifty-first Regiment, which was later thrown into
the Fifty-fifth upon reorganization. At both enlistments he joined the ranks
as a private, but successive promotions followed. He became corporal, sub-
sequently sergeant, afterward first sergeant; in May. 1901. was made second
lieutenant: in September, 1905, became first lieutenant, and on the 27th of
June, 1906, was commissioned captain. During all this time he has been at
home, the regiment having not been called to active field service since the return
from the Philippines. Prior to entering the army Captain Greene wa* con-


nected with the implement business of Council Bluffs. He is now serving as
justice of the peace, to which position he was elected in November, 1906.

On the 20th of February, 1907, Captain Greene was married to Miss
Margaret C. Pilling, a daughter of Thomas and Coquella Pilling. Her
father was a farmer by occupation and died in 1898, while her mother died
during the girlhood of Mrs. Greene. Captain Greene is a democrat in politics,
active in support of the party. He belongs to the Methodist Episcopal church.
He is a member of the National Society of the Army of the Philippines and
was at one time treasurer of the local organization of that order in Council
Bluffs. He is a man of fine personal appearance, naturally of soldierly bear-
ing, and has made a splendid military record, having the respect of those
who served under him and the entire confidence of his superior officers.



George G. Baird, filling the office of recorder of Pottawattamie county,
was born in Coshocton county, Ohio, March 11, 1857. The days of his
boyhood and youth were quietly passed. He was a student in the country
schools, and on the 21st of December, 1881, he left his native county,
removing westward to Council Bluffs, Iowa. In the spring of 1883, how-
ever, he went to Hamilton, Missouri, where he established a grocery store,
continuing in business there for six months. On the expiration of that
period he sold out and bought a farm in Caldwell country, Missouri, which
he cultivated for a year. He next disposed of that property and again
took up his abode in Hamilton, where he secured employment in a grocery

It was while living in Hamilton that Mr. Baird was married on the
11th of April, 1886, to Miss Laura B. Shepard, and they remained residents
of Hamilton until the 14th of August, that year, when they came to Goun-
cil Bluffs, where Mr. Baird joined his brother, H. A. Baird, in business
as a dealer in fruits, tobacco, etc. For nine years he continued in that
trade and then disposed of his mercantile interests in order to enter offi-
cial service. He was appointed deputy clerk of the district court, filling
that position for eight years, and in January, 1903, he received the appoint-
ment to the position of deputy recorder of Pottawattamie county, Iowa.
He acted in that capacity for one term of two years and in 1905 was elected
recorder, being re-elected in 1906, so that he is now serving for his second
term. He is one of the leaders of the republican party in the county and
has been a delegate to various republican county conventions, while for
several years he has been secretary of the Pottawattamie county republican
central committee. To the energetic natures and strong mentality of such
men as Mr. Baird is due the success of an ever increasing prosperity of the
party in this section of the state, and in the hands of this class of citizens
there is every assurance that the best interests and welfare of the party will
be attended to, resulting in a. successful culmination of the highest ambi-


tions and expectations entertained by his adherents. Given to the pros-
ecution of active measures in political affairs and possessing the earnest
purpose of placing their party beyond the pale of possible diminution of
power the republican leaders in Pottawattamie county are ever advancing,
carrying everything before them in their onward march. Certainly one
of the most potent elements in the success of the movement in this regard
is the labor of Mr. Baird, who throughout his life has been a loyal citizen,
imbued with patriotism and fearless in defense of his honest convictions.

Unto Mr. and Mrs. Baird have been born four children, Lynn De Wane,
Earl R., Etta M. and John H. Mr. Baird is very prominent and popular
in fraternal circles, being connected with various organizations, including
the Royal Arcanum, the Woodmen of the World, the Knights of the Macca-
bees and the Tribe of Ben Hur. He also belongs to the Methodist Episco-
pal church and is a member of the official board of the Broadway church.
His life is actuated by high and honorable principles, and his public serv-
ice is along those lines which he believes will best advance the welfare of
the community.


F. Lee Johnson, who is familiarly railed Lee by his numerous friends,
is actively engaged in general farming, his home farm being on sections
12 and 13, Norwalk township, and embracing one hundred and sixty acres
of arable land. This is a valuable property owing to the care and labor
which he has bestowed upon it. His entire life has been passed in Iowa,
he being a native son of Council Bluffs, there born on the 7th of April,
1863. His father, F. T. C. Johnson, is mentioned on another page of
this work. Tho old home farm was his playground in youth and also his
training school for life's practical duties. He acquired a knowledge of the
common English branches of learning in the public schools, supplemented
by a business course at Rochester, New York. He remained with his father
until after he had attained his majority and assisted him in tilling the
soil and caring for the crops. He helped break the sod in many a field,
and his labors contributed in substantial measure in making the old home
farm what it is today.

Having arrived at years of maturity, Mr. Johnson selected as a com-
panion and helpmate for life's journey, Miss Lena Snyder, and they were
married in Victor, Ontario county, New York, August 23, 1894. Mrs.
Johnson was born and reared in that locality, being a daughter of Martin
Snyder, a farmer of New York, whose entire life has been spent upon the
farm where he still resides, at the age of sixty-six years. Mr. Johnson
brought his bride to Iowa and they began their domestic life in Norwalk
township, where they still live. Here he has built a comfortable dwelling,
a good hay shed and barn and has set out an orchard. He tills the soil
in the production of cereals best adapted to soil and climate and also rates


and feeds stock, fattening from two to three carloads of cattle and a large
number of hogs annually. He now has a fine herd of shorthorn cattle,
with a pure blooded registered male at the head of his herd. He also has
high grade cows and heifers and his stock raising and feeding business con-
stitutes an important source of income to him.

Mr. and Mrs. Johnson have, a family of three sons and one daughter,
Ina Mae, Oliver Warren, Ira Martin and Charles Lee. The family are
much esteemed in the community where they reside and enjoy the warm
friendship of those with whom they have been brought in contact. Mr. John-
son is a stanch democrat and is now serving for the third year as assessor
but has never been a politician in the sense of office seeking, preferring to
concentrate his time and energies upon his business affairs. His life has
been quietly passed in the pursuits of the farm and the fact that many of
his stanchest friends are numbered among those who have known him
from his boyhood, indicates that his has been an honorable career.


H. Verner Battey, the well known and efficient clerk of the district
court of Pottawattamie county, Iowa, was born in Bureau county, Illinois,
in 1862. His father was a well known farmer in that vicinity and Mr.
Battey was reared to agricultural pursuits. His parents removed to Vernon
county, Missouri, in 1869, and settled there on a farm. They later took
up their home in Shelby county, Iowa, at the time when their son, H.
Verner, was fifteen, so that he received his education in the district schools
of these various counties.

During his summer vacations Mr. Battey gave his father whatever
assistance he could in the fields and after leaving school he devoted his en-
tire time to agriculture until he had attained his majority. He then felt
it was time for him to leave the parental roof and he took up his abode in
Portsmouth, Shelby county, removing two years later to Walnut, Potta-
wattamie county, Iowa, where he bought a weekly republican paper and
began his- career as an editor. As a lad he had always had a ready mind
for public speaking and his boyish compositions showed an unusual talent.
He felt that the press must maintain a high ideal because it is of necessity
the leader of great movements and the strongest educational force of today.
This principle has prevailed in all the work that Verner Battey has done as

Online LibraryHomer Howard FieldHistory of Pottawattamie County, Iowa, from the earliest historic times to 1907 (Volume 1) → online text (page 57 of 59)