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The History of Platte County Nebraska


Reverend Martin Albert Bornemann, pastor of Christ Lutheran Church, Bismark Township, was born on April 3, 1915, in Wakefield, Nebraska. He is the son of Reverend Henry L. Bornemann and Wilhelmine Blase Bornemann. His father was born January 24, 1879 in St. Louis, Missouri, and his mother was born October 12, 1879 in Worden, Illinois. His father, Reverend Henry L. Bornemann, who died on November 19, 1939, preceded Reverend Martin A. Bornemann as pastor of Christ Lutheran Church.

Reverend Martin A. Bornemann came to Platte County with his parents in 1929. He is one of a family of six. He has two brothers and three sisters. Besides himself, three of this family are in religious work. His brothers, Theodore and William, are Lutheran ministers of the Missouri Synod; and his sister, Martha, is a teacher. Marie is Mrs. Groteluschen, and Dorothy is Mrs. Ellwein.

While the Bornemann family were living in Wakefield, Nebraska, Reverend Martin A. Bornemann began his first formal school work at St. Paul's Parochial School there. Later he attended Christ Lutheran Parochial School in Bismark Township where he finished grammar school. He then enrolled at St. Paul's College, Concordia, Missouri, and after finishing his college work, entered the Concordia Seminary at St. Louis, Missouri, to study for the ministry. Upon the completion of his theological course, he was ordained a minister of the Lutheran Church, Missouri Synod. He taught in a Lutheran parochial school. He assumed his first assignment as pastor of Christ Lutheran Church in 1939.

Besides his work as pastor, Reverend Bornemann is interested in travel. Places of special interest visited by him include Buffalo and New York City, New York, and New Orleans, Louisiana.


Erwin Edgar Bossen, owner and operator of the Columbus Electric Company, was born June 16, 1903, at Arcadia, Nebraska. Known as "Slim," he attended the rural schools near Arcadia and was graduated from the Arcadia High School. He had two brothers and one sister: Floyd, a farmer, married Pauline Sorensen; Lloyd died in Arcadia; Lucille is Mrs. John Higgins.

On January 1, 1936, at Logan, Iowa, Erwin Bossen married Margaret Pihlgren Johnson, daughter of Arvid Daniel and Anna Linnea Lake Pihlgren, natives of Motala, Sweden. Mr. Pihlgren, a lumber yard manager, was born January 28, 1883. Mrs. Pihlgren was born December 9, 1888. Mrs. Bossen has three brothers and three sisters: Gladys, is the wife of Ernest E. Nelson; Archie Arvid, a machinist, is married to Minnie Kindschueha; Arthur, a real estate salesman, is married to Margaret Mobery; Harry, a machinist, is married to Kathryn Hannerman; Grace Evelyn; and Violette Eleanor, a bookkeeper, the wife of Ray Anderson.

Erwin and Margaret Bossen have three sons: Bruce Allen, born November 25, 1936, at Seward, Nebraska; Erwin Daniel, born July 7, 1945, at Columbus, and Clair Einar Johnson, born November 11, 1932, in Oakland, Nebraska. The children attended school in Stromsberg, Nebraska, Chicago, Illinois, and the Third Ward and Immanuel Lutheran School in Columbus.

Mr. Bossen has been engaged in mechanical or electrical work for a number of years. In October of 1944 he came to Columbus, and established the Columbus Electric Company.

Mr. Bossen's hobbies are hunting, coin collecting, and photography. He is a member of the Chamber of Commerce and Wildey Lodge Number 44, I.O.O.F. The Bossens are members of the Congregational Church.


George Bowman, former Columbus attorney, was born in Wyandot County, Ohio, on January 6, 1849. He remained there until he was sixteen and then entered Oberlin College, at Oberlin, Ohio, which he attended for five years. At the end of that time, he returned to Wyandot County, and entered the law office of Grissel and Kail, of Upper Sandusky, and remained there for two years, at which time he was admitted to the bar.

He began the practice of law and soon after, formed a partnership with W. F. Pool, under the firm name of Bowman and Pool. This partnership continued until 1879, at which time Mr. Bowman came to Nebraska, and established a law practice in Columbus, in the fall of that year.

He owned a farm near Columbus, which he also managed.

On September 10, 1874, he married Clara Burke, the daughter of Stephen Burke, a noted railroad executive, of Cleveland, Ohio.

George G. and Clara Burke Bowman had one son and one daughter: Thomas Burk; born June 4, 1876, and Parthenia P., born April 20, 1878.


Robert C. Boyd was born in Wilmington, Delaware, February 7, 1847, and died in Columbus, on December 20, 1930.

When a small boy, he came west with his parents, the family homesteading on a farm near Cambridge, Illinois. When the call to arms sounded for the Civil War, in 1861, Robert, then fourteen, went to the nearest recruiting station, reported himself as being over the age limit, and enlisted. His father, upon learning of it forbade him to go because he was too young, and went himself to the recruiting officer, where he volunteered to go in Robert's place. The result was that the father and three elder brothers served in the Union Army throughout the war, while Robert remained at home with his mother and three sisters and managed the farm. Later, he was employed as a shaft tender in an Illinois coal mine. Eight-hour days were


unknown then, and he often worked from eighteen to twenty hours a day. On one such occasion, due to exhaustion, he accidentally let the mine cage drop. Fortunately, there was no one in it. This terminated his work at the mine, and he went to Oquawka, Illinois, where he as apprenticed to a tinner.

In those days, many articles that are now made by machinery were made by hand, including tea kettles, milk pails and wash boilers. Thus he became an expert craftsman.

After finishing his apprenticeship, Robert Boyd was employed for several years by a tinner at Winterset, Iowa. While there, he met his first wife, Maria Briggs, and they were married at New Windsor, Illinois, on October 15, 1871. They had two sons: J. Thomas, of Columbus, and David D. D., deceased, the founder of the Boyd Hardware Company, in Columbus.

Maria Briggs Boyd died March 13, 1876. In 1877, Robert Boyd married Mollie Smith, who died in 1879. They had one child, who died in infancy.

On November 26, 1880, Mr. Boyd married Sophia Thornburg, daughter of Louis and Anna Thornburg, at Winterset, Iowa. They had ten children.

In 1883, Robert Boyd brought his family to Columbus, to make their home. He was employed in the Pohl and Wermuth, and the Krause and Lubker Hardware and Implement Stores, for two years.

In 1885, Mr. Boyd and Richard Jenkinson formed a partnership and bought the Ora Shannon Tin Shop. Several months later, Mr. Jenkinson sold his interest in the business to Fred Reimer, and Boyd and Reimer expanded their interests to include hardware and implements.

In the late 1890's, Mr. Boyd purchased Reimer's interest, closed out the hardware and implement stock, and founded the tinsmith firm which was later known as R. C. Boyd and Son, when J. Thomas became associated with his father in the business. They continued this partnership until the early 1920's, when J. Thomas bought his father's interest.

The Boyds were members of the Methodist Church, in Columbus, and Mrs. Boyd was a charter member of the Ladies Aid Society of that church. Mr. Boyd was a Mason and a charter member of the Columbus Lodge of Modern Woodmen of America.

Mr. and Mrs. Robert Boyd celebrated their Golden Wedding on November 26, 1930. Mr. Boyd died. December 20, 1930, and Mrs. Boyd died July 22, 1941.

The business founded by R. C. Boyd still bears his name, R. C. Boyd and Son. It is located at 2712 Thirteenth Street. J. Thomas Boyd retired from active management of the business in 1947, and his brother-in-law, Frank Mills, and the latter's son, Roger Mills, a grandson of Robert Boyd, are active in the business.


John Thomas "Tom" Boyd, son of Robert Cabeen and Maria Briggs Boyd, was born September 17, 1872, in Van Meter, Iowa, and arrived in Platte County October 4, 1883, from Winterset, Iowa. His father, a sheet metal worker, born February 7, 1847, in Wilmington, Delaware, died December 20, 1930, in Columbus. His mother died in Winterset, Iowa. "Tom" had one brother, five half-brothers, and six half-sisters: Harry died in 1876, in Winterset; David D., in the hardware business, married to Mabel Getts, died July 19, 1946, in Columbus; Ralph, a sheet metal worker, married Inez Slattery, and lives in Norfolk, Nebraska; Ethel married Arthur Palm, of Oklahoma City; Annie married F. A. Weber, a grocer, of Sterling,. Colorado; Jessie married Motto Mowery, of Santa Monica, California; Christine died in 1911, in Columbus; Willie died at the age of two, in Columbus; Ethel married Otto Johannes, a locksmith, of Columbus; Ruby married Frank Mills, a sheet metal worker, of Columbus; Robert died at the age of two, in 1901, in Columbus; Harold married Evelyn Werner, of Vancouver, Washington.

Tom attended school in Winterset, Iowa, and in Columbus. His occupation is sheet metal and furnace work.

On June 3, 1896, in Columbus, John Thomas Boyd married Cora Bell Scott, daughter of Columbus J. and Sarah Burdick Scott. Mr. Scott, a contractor, born March .1, 1846, in Canada, died in July, 1924, in Columbus. Mrs. Scott, born October 25, 1850, in Wisconsin, died June 5, 1919, in Columbus. Cora Bell, had two brothers and one sister: Walter, a contractor in Seattle, Washington, married Ella Swartsley; Ernest married Olive Sloan, and died in California, in 1945, Myrtle, wife of Alex Anderson, lives in Omaha.

John Thomas and Cora Bell Boyd had four children, all born in Columbus:, Hazel Irene, born March 1, 1897; Vera Joy, born March 15, 1901, died June 19, 1939; Frances Louise, born June 15, 1911; and Doris DeLyte, born September 10, 1914. All of the children are married. They attended the Columbus schools, the Wesleyan University, Van Sants and Methodist School of Nursing.

In June, 1946, Mr. and Mrs. John Thomas Boyd celebrated their Golden Wedding "Anniversary in Columbus.

Mrs. Boyd died in 1947, and J. Thomas Boyd died November 23, 1949.

Mr. Boyd was a member of the School Mate Club, Masons, Woodmen and Maccabees Commercial Club, War Dads, the Y.M.C.A., and held membership in the Methodist Church and was a member of the Brotherhood of that church. Politically, he was a Republican.


David D. D. Boyd, founder of the Boyd Hardware Company, was born February 17, 1875, at Winterset, Iowa, and died July 19, 1946, in Columbus. He was the son of Robert C. and Maria Brigg Boyd. His mother died at Winterset, March 13, 1876, and his father died in Columbus, December 20, 1930.

In 1883, when David was eight years old, he came to Columbus with his father and stepmother, Sophia Thornburg Boyd, their older children, and his brother,

The History of Platte County Nebraska

J. Thomas. David had one brother, four half-brothers and six half-sisters.

He received his formal education in the Columbus schools and began work in 1898, with the Gray Hardware Store, then operated by Sydney C. Gray and his son, Clinton C., at the site of the present Columbus Bank Building. In the early 1900's, the Gray Mercantile Company was one of the leading merchandise firms of Columbus.

A bit of local history revolves around the beginning of the Boyd Hardware Store. In 1906, G. W. Phillips, Theodore Friedhof and several others formed a banking corporation and erected the entire building now occupied by the Central National Bank and the Boyd Hardware Company. The bank opened for business in 1906, and about the time that Mr. Boyd was interested in starting his business, the Lyric Theatre occupied the center twenty-two feet of the building, the bank being on the west corner, and Boyd going into the east twenty-two foot section. The Lyric continued to operate at that location until 1917, when William Swan built the present Swan Theatre Building, changing both the name and location of his amusement house. For about a year following this, Mr. Friedhof had his stock of merchandise in the middle section of the building, while the present Friedhof Building was being remodeled. The hardware store took the entire forty-four feet in 1919, which it continues to use to this date, save for the cutting off of a portion of the sales room on the west, when the Central National Bank was enlarged; in 1934.

In September, 1908, Mr. Boyd began his own hardware business, and had as his partner, James Murray, and the firm name was Boyd and Murray. Mr. Murray stayed in the business about three months, then sold his interest to William Ragatz. Mr. Boyd and Mr. Ragatz continued the partnership from January 1, 1909 until February, 1924, when the latter sold his interest to Mr. Boyd. From 1924 to 1946, D. D. D Boyd operated the business, being assisted by his sons, Merwin and Gayle who later were the managers.

Mr. Boyd was a life-long member of the First Methodist Church and belonged to the church Brotherhood. He was a veteran member of the Chamber of Commerce, a member of the Izaak Walton League, the Modern Woodmen, the Maccabees Lodge, and also the Nebraska Retail Hardware Association, serving for many years on the board of directors.

On September 25, 1901, David D. Boyd married Mabel Getts, at Denver, Colorado. The Boyds had two sons: Merwin and Gayle; and three grandchildren: Barbara Gay, David, Jr., and Mary Jean Boyd, the children of Mr. and Mrs. Gayle Boyd.


Elmer Leo Bradley, son of Frank M. and Lizetta Schneider Bradley, was born in Exeter, Nebraska, June 25, 1897. His father was born in Pennsylvania, February 8, 1861, and his mother was born in Iowa, February 20, 1868.

Elmer received his early education in the Fillmore County Schools and was graduated from the Geneva High School, at Geneva, Nebraska, in 1913.

Mr. Bradley has made banking his life work. He was with the Lincoln State Bank, at Lincoln, Nebraska, 1916-1917. In 1917-1918, he served in the United States Army, during World War I. In 1919, he became assistant cashier of the Hebron State Bank, of Hebron, Nebraska, and from 1919-1938, was cashier of the Shickley State Bank, in Shickley, Nebraska. In 1938, he bought an interest in the Columbus Bank, and became its president.

Mr. Bradley studied law, and was admitted to the bar in 1934. He is a member of the State Bar Association. He has been vice-president of the Shickley State bank since 1938, and vice-president of the Howells Bank, with which his son, Elmer, Jr. is associated.

On June 30, 1920, at Shickley, Elmer L. Bradley married Addie P. Spangler, who was born in Chase County, Nebraska, and from 1914-1920, served as County Superintendent of Schools in that county.

Elmer L. and Addie Spangler Bradley have three sons and two daughters: Elmer L., Jr., who was graduated from the Kramer High School and the Creighton University School of Commerce; Betty Joan, Mrs. Ray Dodendorf, Jr., who is a graduate of Kramer High School and the Creighton School of Commerce; Regina, a graduate of Kramer High School, attended the University of Nebraska; Paul, born August 2, 1931, attends Kramer High School; and Thomas F., born April 28, 1935, attended the Columbus schools.

In addition to his activities in Columbus banking circles, Mr. Bradley has taken an active part in many civic enterprises. He served as vice-chairman for the four War Loan Drives, during World War II, and was a director of the Columbus Chamber of Commerce for three years. He is a member of the Columbus Planning Board, a member of the B.P.O.E., a past Exalted Ruler of the local lodge of Elks, and belongs to the American Legion. Politically, he is a Republican. The Bradleys are members of the St. Bonaventure Catholic Church.

NOTE:  Surname of wife was something other than Spangler - but original was heavily overwritten by previous owner of book, and can not be made out now.


Elmer L. Bradley, Jr., son of Elmer L. and *Lizetta Schneider Bradley, was born at Shickley, Nebraska, November 14, 1922. He is a graduate of Kramer High School, in Columbus, and the Creighton University School of Commerce, in Omaha. He was interested in football, and was a member of the Kramer High School and Creighton University football teams.

During World War II, he received advanced training in the United States Navy, at Yale University, and served as P.T. Boat Commander in the Southwest Pacific Theatre of Operations, where he held the rank of lieutenant, j.g.

On November 17, 1945, he married Margaret Moore, of Omaha. They have one daughter, Kathleen, born April 15, 1947.

They live in Howells, Nebraska, where Elmer L. Bradley, Jr. is cashier in the Howells Bank.

*Hand overwrite: Addie Spangler



Ray D. Braithwait, son of Fred and May Huddleston Braithwait, was born in Shelby, Nebraska, September 6, 1895. His father, a native of Winona, Minnesota, was born September 2, 1871, and during his life, worked as blacksmith in Shelby, Nebraska. He died December 28, 1944, in Osceola, Nebraska. Mrs. Braithwait was born in Shelby, May 1, 1876. Ray D. has one brother, John B., and one sister, Hazel, Mrs. M., Johnson, of Osceola. One brother, Ross E., of Columbus, died January 21, 1944, in Silver Creek, Nebraska.

Ray attended the Polk County schools, near Shelby, and also the Shelby city schools. In 1917, he became associated with the Beatrice Creamery Company, in Lincoln, and remained with that company intermittently until 1931.

During the first World War, he served for two years with the United States 89th Infantry Division, in the United States, and with the A.E.F., in France. He now holds membership in the American Legion.

In 1919, after returning from the war, he assumed the management of the local Beatrice Creamery plant and remained manager until 1922. From 1922-1930, he was employed as a traveling representative for the same company. From 1922-1927, he was the owner and manager of the Braithwait Hardware Company, of Columbus.

In 1931, realizing the possibilities for a bottling company in Columbus, he organized the Ankeldeep Bottling Company. About 1934, the franchised drink of Dr. Pepper was introduced, and the name of the company changed to the Dr. Pepper Bottling Company. In 1944, Mr. Braithwait sold the company to Con Keating.

Also in 1944, he organized the R. D. Braithwait Company, a wholesale candy and tobacco house.

On May 6, 1942, he married Anna Agnes Seiler, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Edward Seiler, of Humphrey, at Loup City, Nebraska.

Mr. Braithwait is a stamp collector and possesses many valuable items in the philatelic field. He is a member of the Columbus Chamber of Commerce, a former member of the Nebraska Bottlers of Carbonated Beverages, and politically, he supports the Republican Party. Mr. and Mrs. Braithwait are members of St. Bonaventure's Catholic Church, in Columbus.


John Branigan, son of Maurice and Nora Burke Branigan, natives of Ireland, was born in Polk County, March 9, 1880, and came to Columbus in October of 1903. His father was born in County Waterford, Ireland, October 8, 1837, and died in Polk County, November 23, 1905. Mrs. Branigan was born in County Waterford, October 8, 1846, and died at Wood River, Nebraska, September 22, 1934.

John is one of eleven children. His brothers and sisters are: Thomas, Nora Branigan Spitz, Ellen Branigan Haller, Mary Branigan Hughes, Hannah Branigan Cockson, Edward, Marguerite Branigan McGowan, Venerable Sister M. Carmel, Maurice, and William, who died October 14, 1918.

John Branigan attended school in District Number 18, Polk County. At that time the school had eleven grades. He worked for a while on his father's farm.

On June 29, 1904, at David City, he married Mary Ella Haney, daughter of James and Mary Hogan Haney, natives of Ireland, and Butler County pioneers.

Mr. and Mrs. Branigan have one daughter and three sons: Genevieve, born in Columbus, has worked in the local office of the Nebraska Continental Telephone Company for several years; John C., born in Columbus, May 17, 1908, served in World War II with the rating of sergeant; Gerald, born in Columbus, March 2, 1910; and Marvin, born in Columbus, July 20, 1912, is a veteran of World War II and also had a sergeant's rating. Both John, Jr. and Gerald are married.

John Branigan, who was the second auto dealer in Columbus, was engaged in his own automobile business here for twenty-four years, from 1909-1933. He was employed as an automobile salesman from 1933-1944. Mr. Branigan has the distinction of owning the first sedan in Columbus.

Politically, he supports the Democratic party. The Branigans are members of St. Bonaventure's Catholic Church.


Edward Branigan, the son of Maurice and Nora Burke Branigan, pioneers of Polk County, was born on a ranch at Egbert, Wyoming. Edward received his early education in the Polk County schools and later was enrolled at the Columbus Business College.

Around 1906, he worked with his brothers, Thomas and John Branigan, both of whom at that time were in business in Columbus. Thomas Branigan had a horse sales and livery business and John was the owner and manager of the second automobile agency in Platte County.

Edward Branigan spent more than a quarter of a century in the auto-sales business. He was the sales manager of the David City Ford Company, at David City, Nebraska, for several years, and later was associated with the Nielsen Chevrolet Company, and then with the W. A. Adams Ford Motor Company, in Columbus, as salesman.

For the past few years, he has worked with the Eppley Hotels Company as bookkeeper and clerk, at the Evans Hotel, in Columbus.

In January, 1907, he was married to Emma Ladenburger, the daughter of Moritz and Caroline Krause Ladenburger, of Saunders County. Mrs. Branigan is a graduate of the St. Francis Academy in Columbus.

Edward and Emma Ladenburger Branigan had two children: a son, Maurice, III, and a daughter, Catherine Gwenrose.

Maurice Branigan, III, was born in Columbus in November, 1907. He attended the St. Bonaventure

The History of Platte County Nebraska

School and was graduated from Kramer High School. He then enrolled at Notre Dame University, at South Bend, Indiana, where he was graduated with the degree of Bachelor of Science in Foreign Commerce.

For a few years prior to 194! he was employed with an oil company at Bakersfield, California.

Early in 1941 he enlisted with the United States Armed Forces and during the war, he was stationed in the Hawaiian Islands, where he served with the Intelligence Department of the Air Corps. After peace was declared, he re-enlisted in the regular army as a staff sergeant, and has been stationed in both Alaska and the Northwest States.

Catherine was born July 24, 1924. She attended St. Bonaventure's School and was graduated from Kramer High School in 1942. Following her graduation, she worked as a secretary with the Platte County Draft Board and later went to Los Angeles, California, where she did secretarial work with the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Catherine Gwenrose Branigan and Robert Horan were married at St. Basil's Church in Los Angeles, on July 6, 1946. They have two daughters: Catherine "Cathy" Threse, born July 30, 1947, and Margaret Mary "Peggy," born August 20, 1948. Robert Horan is the son of Charles F. and Johanna A. Sullivan Horan, of Los Angeles. He is associated with his father in the Horan Wholesale and Retail Religious Goods Company.

Mr. and Mrs. Edward Branigan are members of St. Bonaventure's Church, in Columbus, and the Wayside Country Club. Edward Branigan holds membership in the Knights of Columbus. Politically he is affiliated with the Democratic Party.


Frank C. Braun, the son of John and Mary J. Weiser Braun, was born at Humphrey, Nebraska, on May 24, 1887. His father, born January 27, 1849, at Milwaukee, Wisconsin, came to Platte County from Wisconsin in October of 1871. He died at Humphrey on December 3, 1929. Mary Weiser Braun was born June 21, 1850, in Austria. She died at Humphrey on April 11, 1920.

Frank Braun had two brothers and one sister. One brother, John P. Braun, was born May 9, 1875, on the farm of his parents, about five and a half miles southeast of Humphrey, in the St. Mary's community. John was married to Margaret Bach, on February 4, 1901, and they established their home on the farm in St. Mary's. John and Margaret Bach Braun had eight children: John; Theodore; Cyril; Renigius; Margaret, Mrs. Kirks; Mrs. Lloyd Bertalomay; Mrs. Chris Domen; and Mathilda Braun.

Frank C. Braun has always lived near Humphrey, and has been engaged in the business of farming. He received his formal education at the St. Mary's Parochial School. He attends the St. Mary's Catholic Church.



Hubert Braun



Hubert Braun, Grand Prairie Township farmer, son of John P. and Anna M. Schroeder Braun, was born September 10, 1859, in Wisconsin. His father was born in Germany in 1822, and died in 1893 at Humphrey, Nebraska. His mother, also a native of Germany died in 1898. John and Anna Braun immigrated to the United States in 1848, settling first near Milwaukee, Wisconsin. They later came to Nebraska, homesteading on eighty acres, and taking a one hundred-acre timber claim at St. Mary's in Platte County.


Hubert Braun lived in Wisconsin before coming to Platte County. In September, 1879, he was married to Miss Mary Delsmann, daughter of Bernard and Bernardina Eimers Delsmann, at the Church of St. Mary of the Angels, near Humphrey, Nebraska. The Brauns had twelve children, ten of whom are married.

Hubert Braun is affiliated with the Democratic Party, and is a member of the parish of St. Mary of the Angels Catholic Church at St. Mary's.



Reverend John Baptiste Braun was born in Gengenheim, Baden, Germany, on November 21, 1842. His father and mother died in 1856, when he was fourteen.

Without financial help, he worked his way through school, where he studied languages. An apt student, he soon became an accomplished linguist. He studied theology in Germany, served for a time as professor in the St. Chrishoma Theological School in Switzerland, and later took a postgraduate course in the theological seminary in Geneva. While in Geneva, he served as an assistant pastor of a Reformed Church.

Reverend Braun wished to become a missionary of the Reformed Church in Africa, but when no opening appeared, he abandoned the idea and came to the United States, in July, 1870. He accepted the pastorate of a Reformed Church in a country parish near Geiert, Iowa.

On September 23, 1870, two memorable events of his life took place at Prairie Au Chien, Iowa: He was formally ordained a minister of the Reformed Church, and was married to Renée Nicolet, whom he had met in Geneva, Switzerland, while studying at the Theological Seminary which her grandfather had helped to found.

He and Renée Nicolet were betrothed there, and planned to be married in America, to avoid payment of the exorbitant fee demanded from couples of German and French descent. Although a Swiss citizen,

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