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The History of Platte County Nebraska

Throughout his years of residence in Platte County, Stephen Banasch has engaged in farming and stock raising. He is a member of St. Anthony's Catholic Church.


Roy Henry Bargmann, son of Henry, Sr. and Maggie Clausen Bargmann, was born December 4, 1891, at Columbus, Nebraska. His father, born March 9, 1860, in Hanover, Germany, came to Platte County in 1889, from Chicago, Illinois, and died March 16, 1946, in Columbus. His mother was born November 16, 1868, in Hanover, Germany. Roy has two brothers and one sister: Fred, married to Emma Becher; Lillie, married to Henry Deyke; and Henry, Jr. They are all farmers.

Mr. Bargmann has always lived in Platte County. He attended the Lutheran Parochial School, the District 71 School, and the Columbus Business College.

On May 8, 1919, in Columbus, he married Clara Garms, daughter of Henry and Meta Hinrichs Garms. Mr. Garms, a farmer, was born April 26, 1854, in Oldenburg, Germany, and died April 2, 1916, in Platte County. Mrs. Garms was born August 21, 1864, in Oldenburg, Germany. Clara had six sisters: Alma married Louis Wurdeman; Lillie married William Wendt, and died October 31, 1939, in Platte County; Anna married Erich Behle; Emma died June 3, 1902, in Platte County; Erna married George Schroeder; Ida died August 8, 1925, in Chicago.

Roy Henry and Clara Bargmann have three children, all born in Columbus: Herbert, born January 22, 1922, served three years in the United States Navy, during World War II, as Seaman I/C, and married Rosalie Gattemeyer, in 1948; Ella, born April 9, 1925, is a stenographer at the Consumers Public Power District General Office, in Columbus; and Raymond, born December 26, 1928. All of the children attended the Immanuel Lutheran Grade School and Kramer High School in Columbus.

Aside from his occupation of farming, Mr. Bargmann is interested in reading. He is a member of the American Legion, having served ten months in the Army, May, 1918 to February, 1919, during World War I. He was stationed at Oakland, California, and Norfolk, Virginia.

Roy Henry Bargmann is a member of the Farmers Union and the Immanuel Lutheran Church. Politically, he is a Republican.


Albert Francis Barrett, prominent Platte County farmer residing in Creston Township, was born in Armagh, Ireland, on June 17, 1877, the son of William and Margaret Donaldson Barrett.

One of six children, his brothers and sisters are: Minnie Barrett Gorman, William, Jr., Jacob, Belle Barrett Phillips, and John.

On July 31, 1877, shortly after his birth, Albert's mother died. In 1878, his father married Roseanna Megaw. The Barrett family arrived in Platte County in April of 1889. Eight children were born to this union: Margaret, Cassie Barrett Wagner; Sarah, Charles, Robert, James, Frances Emily Barrett King, and Leonard W. Barrett. William Barrett died at Creston, October 20, 1916.

Albert Barrett attended school in District 74, District 45, and the Creston Public School.

On March 4, 1902, in Columbus, he married Lillian E. Clark, daughter of Ferdinand F. and Merba Lawrence Clark. They had two daughters: Elva Barrett Keill lives in Omaha. She attended school in District 74, Creston High School, and the University of Nebraska. Verda Barrett attended the same public schools and also Kearney State Teachers College and the University of Colorado. She has been assistant principal of the junior High School, at Albion, Nebraska.

Albert Barrett, always interested in education, was elected as a director of School District 74, in 1912, and has held the office since that time. He attended his first day of school at District 74; his sister, Minnie Barrett Gorman, taught two semesters in school, and Verda Barrett taught her first term her

Although a farmer by occupation, Mr. Barrett has found recreation in his yard and flowers. He is a member of the Presbyterian Church, and has served on the church board for many years. Mrs. Barrett is a member of the Guild of that church. Politically, Mr. Barrett is a Republican and is a member of the Ancient Order of United Workmen, the Royal Highlanders, the Knights of Pythias, a charter member of the Farmer' s Union, Creston Local 321, and was the first president of that organization. He has also served as chairman of the Farmer's Institute.

Albert Barrett was a member of the Creston Park Board, at the time of its organization and has served as a road overseer. During World War II, he was active in the Red Cross, the U.S.O., and War Loan Drives. Among his early memories of Platte County are: Dinner at the old H. P. Coolidge House in Columbus, when he attended a Columbus Day Celebration, October 12, 1892, with School District 74; the blizzard of 1888; the prairie fires; and Bryan Day in Humphrey, in 1896.


James Barrett, prominent Humphrey Township farmer, was born November 14, 1885, at Creston, Nebraska, the son of William and Roseanna Megaw Barrett.

William Barrett came to Platte County in 1880, from Armagh, Ireland, where he was born on February 12, 1838. He died October 20, 1916, at Creston. Roseanna, who was his second wife, was also born in Armagh, Ireland, April 8, 1850, and died in Creston, September 5, 1928.

James Barrett has seven brothers and sisters: Margaret E., died July 8, 1880; Cassie Rae, wife of Theodore D. Wagner; Sarah; Charles, died March 30, 1887; Robert, who died October 16, 1884; Frances Emily, married to LaVerne F. King; and Leonard W., who married Mabel E. Belknap.


His half-brothers and sisters are: Mary J., Mrs. D. B. Forman, died in September, 1937; William, Jr., married to Ida Rowlett; Jacob, died June 27, 1916; Isabella, Mrs. Lorenzo Phillips; John married Minnie Jansen; and Albert married Lillian Clark.

On June 6, 1916, James Barrett married Jessie B. Belknap, the daughter of Frank E. and Carrie V. Keigwin Belknap.

Mr. and Mrs. Barrett have four children: Earl, born April 23, 1917, is, like his father, a farmer; Gordon, born November 1, 1919, is a sheet-metal worker; Opal, born February 17, 1924, served with the Waves in World War II, as a Y1/C; and Lowell J., born January 8, 1930. They all attended school in Districts 78 and 33.

The James Barretts are members of the Presbyterian Church.

(Note: Typo "Forman" should be Gorman.)


Ralph Leonard Barrett, son of John and Minnie Jansen Barrett, pioneers of Creston, was born at Creston, Nebraska, November 21, 1902. His father was born in Ireland, September 14, 1875, and arrived in Platte County in 1880. His mother was born in Douglas County; Nebraska, June 24, 1882. Ralph has three sisters: Nola Mae is Mrs. Ernest Moran; Erma Luree is employed in Chicago Heights, Illinois; and Pearl Everell is Mrs. Elmer Hoesly.

Mr. Barrett is a graduate of the Creston High School and the Lincoln School of Commerce, at Lincoln. He is employed at the Central National Bank, in Columbus, as a teller. Prior to his association with the bank, he was engaged in the insurance business.

On June 8, 1931, at Leigh, Nebraska, he married Lillian Josephine Brock, daughter of John and Mary Moeller Brock. John Brock was born March 13, 1875, in Columbus, and Mrs. Brock was born in Germany, on January 11, 1876. Mrs. Barrett has one brother and three sisters: Margaret; Mathilda, a registered nurse; Lawrence, a farmer; and Helen Brock Rynearson, a housewife.

Mr. and Mrs. Ralph Barrett have one son and two daughters: John Ralph, born July 13, 1932, at Creston; Lillian Jean, born June I, 1934, in Creston; and Elisabeth Anne, born January 17, 1942, in Columbus.

Politically, Mr. Barrett supports the Republican Party. He is active in Y.M.C.A. work and Boy Scouting. The Barretts are members of the Immanuel Lutheran Church of Columbus.


D. G. Bartels, son of George and Adele Bartels, natives of Germany, was born on a farm south of Chicago, in Cook County, Illinois, January 9, 1858. His parents settled in Illinois in the early 1850's, and D. G. attended the local schools and worked on his father's farm.

On December 19, 1881, he married Dorothy Rodehorst, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Henry Rodehorst. Mrs. Bartels was also a native of Illinois, and was born September 11, 1860, only five miles from D. G. Bartels' boyhood home.

After their marriage, they lived on a farm south of Chicago for four years, and then moved to Platte County in 1885, when they bought a three hundred-acre tract of land five miles north of Columbus, for twenty dollars an acre. This land was purchased from the Plety Brothers, Hollanders, who had come here from the east to speculate on land.

Mr. and Mrs. D. G. Bartels established their home on this farm on the prairie. They experienced both the hardships and pleasures of pioneer life in the community, and celebrated their Golden Wedding on December 19, 1931.


Clarence Jackson Bates

They had eight children: Clara is the wife of Herman Fiddelke, of Riverdale, Nebraska; George married Helen Adams, and lives at Peetz, Colorado; Laura is the wife of L. Muff, of Harvey, Illinois; Lillie is the widow of William Plageman, and lives in Columbus; Walter married Alma Hageman and lives on a farm near Columbus; Helen is the wife of William Lusche, and also lives on a farm near Columbus; Milton is married to Ann Ernst and Elmer married Ruth Munger. Milton and Elmer live in Columbus.


Clarence Jackson Bates, salesman for the Coca-Cola Bottling Company, in Columbus, and veteran of World War II, came to Columbus in May, 1940. He was born in Atlanta, Georgia, December 13, 1920, the son of James Bert and Carrie Elizabeth Moody Bates. His father, a railroad engineer, was born in Tunnel Hill, . Georgia, in February of 1886, and died at Kennesaw, Georgia, July 28, 1930. His mother, also a native of Tunnel Hill, was born August 22, 1889. He has one brother, William Franklin, with whom he is associated in the Coca-Cola Bottling Company.

Mr. Bates, known as "Jack," attended the J. Allen Couch Grade School, the O'Keefe Junior High School, and Technical High School, in Atlanta, Georgia.

During World War II, he served with the United States Army from July 20, 1942, until January 24, 1946.

On October 20, 1944, at Walhalla, South Carolina, he married Mescal Daisy Turner, daughter of Samuel Jackson and Gertrude Beard Turner, natives of Georgia.

Mr. and Mrs. "Jack" Bates have one son, Bert

The History of Platte County Nebraska

Jackson, born October 31, 1946, in Columbus, where they have lived since Mr. Bates was released from the service.

The Bates family are members of the Methodist Church. Politically, Mr. Bates supports the Republican Party. He is a member of the junior Chamber of Commerce of Columbus and the American Legion.


Tobias C. Bauer was born October I, 1829, in Germany He immigrated to the United States with his parents in 1840 and located in Columbus, Ohio, where he received his early education. He had two sisters who lived in Columbus: Caroline Bauer, second wife of John Rickly, one of the Columbus, Nebraska, founders; and Rosina, wife of Jacob L. Baker, who came to Columbus, Nebraska from Columbus, Ohio, in 1857 and opened the American Hotel in August of that year. After Jacob Baker's death she married J. B. Wells. Rosina was the mother of "Ottie" Baker and Joe Wells, of Columbus.

For twenty years Tobias Bauer was engaged in photography, and later became a manufacturer of furniture. In July, 1879, he moved to a ranch in Kansas and three years later, in 1882, came to Columbus.

While living in Columbus, he was married to Miss Maria Becker. Maria Becker Bauer was born November 8, 1830, in Warsau, Hesse-Darmstadt, Germany, and immigrated to the United States with her parents at the age of seven, settling at Columbus, Ohio. Maria was the sister of J. P. Becker, one of the founders of Columbus; William Becker, for many years City Clerk in Columbus, Nebraska; and Rebecca Becker. A brother, J. M. Becker, known as "Fred," died in Columbus in December, 1856.

Tobias and Maria Becker Bauer had two daughters: Emma, Mrs. F. H. Rusche, the mother of Mrs. F. H. Morrow; and Louise, who was born in Columbus, Ohio, May 9, 1859, and died in Columbus, Nebraska, March 12, 1895. She was married to Doctor L. R. Clark of Columbus in 1893. They had one daughter, who died in infancy. Both Emma and Louise Bauer taught in the Columbus schools.

The Tobias Bauer home was on the old Fair Grounds Road northwest of Columbus.

Mr. Bauer died October 9, 1890, . and Mrs. Bauer later moved to Columbus and lived in an apartment in the Rusche Flats. She died April 30, 1909.


Henry C. Bean was born in Kulmbach, Bavaria, Germany, January 17, 1830, and immigrated to this country in 1848. A short time later, he enlisted in the regular army, and in 1850, was one of a detachment of soldiers sent to California to protect the "Forty-Niners" from Indian attacks.

After several years of service there, he was sent back to New York City, and mustered out in 1859. He reenlisted in 1860, and served in the regulars throughout the Civil War.

Returning to New York City, after the war, he served as a steward at the West Point Military Academy. It was there that he met and married Mary Ann Leavey, on April 1, 1866. She was born in Ardee, County Louth, Ireland, June 26, 1843, and came to the United States as a little girl, to make her home with an uncle in Long Island.

In 1867, Henry Bean's company was sent to Wyoming by the Government, to act as guard of the advance work along the line of the Union Pacific Railroad, which was being built gradually westward through a territory largely inhabited by Indians. During this time Mrs. Bean was constantly with her husband. They pitched the first tent on the ground which was chosen as the site for Cheyenne, Wyoming. Later, they. went to Fort Russell, Wyoming. Henry's term of enlistment ended in 1869, and he was mustered out in Omaha.

Mrs. Bean, who was with her husband in Union Pacific construction camps, probably saw more than any other woman of the building of the Union Pacific Railroad through western Nebraska and Wyoming.

In 1869, Henry Bean came to Platte County with his family, and bought a farm five miles southwest of Columbus.

Henry and Mary Leavey Bean had eight children: Cordelia Louise, born August 3, 1866, in Washington, D. C., lives in Chicago; Fred E., born June 20, 1868, at Fort Steel, Wyoming, married Katherine Gilday, and died June 30, 1945; Sophie, born June 4, 1870, married H. A. Phillips, on April 12, 1899, and lives in Columbus; Nellie, Mrs. Charles Olcott, born October 8, 1873, in Columbus, died August, 1946, in Burwell, Nebraska; Emma, Mrs. Howard Smith, born in Columbus, January, 1875, lives in Colorado Springs, Colorado; George A., married to Buehla Baldwin, died October 8, 1940, in Ontario, California; Martha, born May 12, 1881, married Doctor H. J. Arnold. They had one son, Chad, who is a doctor in St. Louis. After Doctor Arnold's death, Martha married Fred Riddell, who died in 1938. Mrs. Riddell lives in Colorado Springs; and Charles Bean, born May 6, 1883, in Columbus, works at the Columbus Post Office.


Gustavus G. Becher was born in Austria in 1809 of German-Austrian parentage; As a boy he learned bookkeeping and auditing in connection with his father's mercantile business. In the early 1880’s the Becher family moved to Czechoslovakia where they carried on an extensive mercantile trade by camel caravan.

Gustavus G. Becher was married in Pilsen, Bohemia, to the daughter of an art craftsman who had an established silversmith house there.

At the beginning of the fourth decade of the Eighteenth Century the inroads made by the modern railroad had already destroyed to a great extent the camel caravan trade. .

In 1844, the year that his son Gustavus G. Becher, Jr., was born in Pilsen, Bohemia, Mr. Becher, filled with the spirit of adventure and thinking to take his family


into a new land where he could re-establish his business set out for America. Three years later, in 1847, he brought his family to the United States by the way of New Orleans, and they settled at St. Louis. Gustavus G. and Josephane Gay Becher had four daughters and two sons. They were: Mary Margaret, Katharina, Anna Laura Eleanor, Josephine Angelina, Francis G. and Gustavus G., Jr.

Mrs. Becher died in St. Louis in 1857. That year Mr. Becher and his sons and daughters came to Omaha and on to Columbus where Gustavus G., Sr., opened the first store in the new town. He also was the first owner of Buck Island.

Francis G. Becher worked with his father in the store. He was married to Mary Rickly, the daughter of John Rickly. Their sons were William Becher of Omaha and John G. Becher of Columbus who died in November, 1908.

Anna Laura (Eleanor) was the wife of William Koenig of Omaha. Josephine Angelina was married to Philip Metz of Omaha. Their daughter Amelie Metz is Mrs. Henry Hockenberger of Columbus. Mr. Metz died in September, 1875, and Mrs. Metz later was married to Joseph Miller.

Katharina was the wife of C. A. Speice of Columbus. J. Milton Speice of Kingfisher, Oklahoma and Letitia, Mrs. M. T. McMahon, are two of their children.

Mary Margaret was the wife of Charles Bremer, one of the founders of Columbus. Mary Fairchild, Mrs. Frank Justus, is a granddaughter and Edwin Coolidge of Great Falls, Montana, is a grandson of the Bremers. Gustavus G. Becher was married to LeAnna Bradford. Their son was Gustavus G. Becher III, who died in July, 1939.

An issue of the Holiday Magazine in 1948 carried a story of Karisbad, a well known Spa in Czechoslovakia where the tourist season opens around May fourth each year. About the middle of the eighteenth century some of the Becher Family began the manufacture of Becherovka, a mineral drink, at Karlovy Vary, which made the Spa famous.

This non-alcoholic aperitif was sold in the United States market during the era of prohibition.

A son of the Karlovy Vary branch of the Becher family is Doctor David Becher.

For over ninety years descendants of Gustavus G. Becher have lived in Columbus where in 1950 three great-grandsons and the husband of a great-great-granddaughter own and manage the Becher, Hockenberger and Chambers Real Estate, Loan and Insurance Company. They are Philip R. Hockenberger, Gustavus Becher Speice, Alfred E. Becher and George Rambour, Jr.


Gustavus G. Becher was born August 11, 1844, at Pilsen, Bohemia. That same year his father came to America and located at St. Louis, Missouri. In 1847, he sent for his family. They lived in St. Louis for ten years and his mother, Mrs. Becher, died there.


Gustavus G. Becker, Jr.

In 1857, his father came to Platte County. Gustavus had four sisters and one brother: Mary Margaret, Mrs. Charles Bremer; Katharina, Mrs. Charles A. Speice; Anna Laura Eleanor, Mrs. William Koenig; Josephine Angelina, Mrs. Philip Metz; and Francis G., married to Mary Rickly. Mrs. Metz, after her husband's death, married Joseph Miller.

Gustavus G. Becher came to Columbus in 1859, at the age of fifteen. After attending school for one year, he became a clerk in the hardware store of Hurford and Brothers in Omaha, and later worked for his brother, Francis G., in his hardware store in Columbus. He went to Omaha and followed the same line of employment for eight years, then returned to Columbus.

When the Pawnee Scouts were organized under Major Frank North, Mr. Becher was made a lieutenant, and was in command of a squad sent out to locate a band of Indians which had been raiding the Kansas boundary. As a result of this, there occurred the historic attack at Summit Springs, considered by many next in importance to Custer's last battle. At the battle of Summit Springs, the troops recovered many women who had been taken prisoners.

Mr. Becher's public career was centered chiefly in the activities of the firm with which he was connected many years as a senior member. In 1870, he assisted in the organization of a partnership to engage in the real estate and insurance business. In the course of time from this partnership evolved the present corporation, called the Becher, Hockenberger. and Chambers Company. Mr. Becher retired from the firm October 1, 1912, in favor of his son, Gustavus G. Becher, III. He was one of the organizers of the Columbus Land Loan. & Building Association and for twenty-six years served as its treasurer.

In 1870, Mr. Becher was appointed census taker for Platte and Madison Counties, and ten years later took the government census of Platte County. He was county treasurer for two terms, in 1880-1892, and represented his district in the State Legislature during the session of 1895. He was a Republican.

Mr. Becher was married November 29, 1869, to Miss LeAnna Bradford at Bon Homme, South Dakota. She was born at Norwich, Connecticut, August 24, 1849. From childhood, Mrs. Becher resided in the west. In 1858, her father came from New England to accept an appointment in the Government Commissary Department at Sioux City, Iowa. Mrs. Becher spent most of her early life in Omaha. She received her education at Brownell Hall, being one of the first students of the institution.

The History of Platte County Nebraska

On her mother's side, Mrs. Becher was descended from one of the old and aristocratic families of New England. In direct line on her father's side, she was nine generations removed from William Bradford, second governor of Massachusetts, and the founder of Thanksgiving Day. Governor Bradford was one of the Pilgrim Fathers who came over on the historic Mayflower and landed at Plymouth Rock.

Mr. Becher met Miss Bradford while returning from a western expedition with the Indian Scouts to which he then belonged. They had two sons: Gustavus G., III, and Jesse B., of Minneapolis; and one daughter; Laura Ann, Mrs. Clarendon E. Adams, of Los Angeles, California.

The Becher family attended the Grace Episcopal Church in Columbus.

Mrs. Becher died February 21, 1913, and Mr. Becher died October 8, 1918.


Gustavus G. Becher, III, son of Gustavus G. and LeAnna Bradford Becher, was born in Columbus, Nebraska, on May 18, 1882, and died July 18, 1939, while on a vacation in Wyoming.


Gustavus G. Becher III

His brother, Jesse, lived in Minneapolis, Minnesota, and his sister, Laura (Dovey), was Mrs. C. E. Adams, of Los Angeles, California. Gustavus was a grandson of the pioneer, Gustavus G. Becher, and the third generation to bear that name in Columbus.

He attended the Columbus schools, and upon graduation from the Columbus High School, took a course in business, then entered the firm of Becher, Hockenberger and Chambers, in 1901, as a stenographer. He worked there for two years. In 1903, he went to Minneapolis, where he was employed by F. A. Peevey and Company, for a year. In March, 1904, he returned to Columbus, and re-entered the real estate and insurance firm of his father.
When his father retired from active management of the firm, Gustavus G. purchased his interest in the business and became a member of the firm. He was later elected vice-president, and following the death of H. F. J. Hockenberger, in December, 1932, he became president and senior member of the firm. Aside from his work in the real estate and insurance firm, he was treasurer and a member of the board of directors of the Columbus Land, Loan and Building Association.

On November 10, 1913, he was married to Dorothy Post, the daughter of Judge Alfred M. and Ella Munsell Post.

They had two sons, Gustavus George, and Alfred E., of Columbus, and one daughter, Dorothy Bradford, Mrs. R. S. Tate, of Washington, D.C.

Gus G. Becher lived in Columbus most of his life and was well known by all the older families throughout the county. He held memberships in the Platte County Pioneer's Association, the B.P.O.E. (Elks), being a charter member of that organization, the Sons of Herman, the Y.M.C.A., the Chamber of Commerce, and the Wayside Country Club.

The Bechers are members of the Grace Episcopal Church in Columbus. Gustavus G. Becher served for over twelve years as junior warden on the church board. Politically, he was a Republican.


Alfred Edward Becher, the son of Gustavus G. and Dorothy Post Becher, was born in Columbus, Nebraska, October 20, 1923. He has a brother, Gustavus George, IV, and a sister, Dorothy Bradford, Mrs. R. S. Tate, of Washington, D. C.

Alfred is a descendant of two pioneer Columbus families. His paternal great-grandfather, Gustavus G. Becher, came to Columbus in 1857 and had the first store in the village. His grandfather, Gustavus G. Becher, Jr., joined his father and brother, Francis G. Becher, here in 1859. He was the founder of the company which eventually became the Becher, Hockenberger and Chambers Company. His maternal grandfather was Judge Alfred M. Post, who came to Columbus on December 25, 1876.

Alfred Becher received his early education in the Columbus schools, studied at the Merscersburg Preparatory School in Pennsylvania for a year, and was graduated from Kramer High School in 1940. Following this, he attended the Wentworth Military Academy and the University of Missouri.

He enlisted in the United States Naval Air Corps in World War II. He spent two years overseas, during which time he served in both the European Theatre and the South Pacific;

On October 19, 1946, at Grace Episcopal Church in Columbus, Alfred E. Becher was married to Marie Anderson, the daughter of Alfred C. and Regina Walker Anderson, of Columbus. Marie Anderson Becher was born in Columbus on November 22, 1927. She was graduated from Kramer High School and attended the Hasting (sic) College for two years. She has one brother, Allan C. Anderson, and a sister, Roberta. Her mother is deceased.

Alfred E. and Marie Anderson Becher have two children: Alfred Bruce, born August 9, 1947, and Barbara Ann, born September 6, 1948.

Alfred Becher is associated with the Becher, Hockenberger and Chambers Company, in the Insurance Department. He is a member of the junior Chamber of Commerce and the Episcopal Church.

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