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The History of Platte County Nebraska

schools and was graduated from Kramer High School. He is married and farms in Dodge County. Elizabeth Boyle Groeteke died in 1947.

Besides his work as a veterinarian Herman C. Groeteke is interested in farming and livestock feeding. He is associated in his veterinary practice with D. E. Weinman, D.V.M. Their office is located in Columbus, at 1151 Twenty-sixth Avenue.

Dr. Groeteke is a Catholic and attends St. Bonaventure's Church. He holds memberships in the B.P.O.E., the F.O.E., the Chamber of Commerce, and the Nebraska Veterinary Medical, Association. Politically, he is a Democrat.


Fred Gruenhage was born in Iowa, and came to Platte County on March 1, 1938, from Shickley, Nebraska.

He is the son of Albert and Mathilda Kluender Gruenhage. His father, a merchant, was born in Germany, November 8, 1872. His mother was born in Illinois on December 10, 1875. Fred Gruenhage has one sister, Irene, Mrs. Russell Wachob, of Seattle, Washington. She is a teacher by profession.

After finishing high school, Fred entered the banking field. His first position was in the Shickley State Bank as assistant cashier. He worked there four years, 1934-1938, and then came to Columbus, where he was employed by the Columbus Bank as assistant cashier. He served continuously in that capacity from 1938 to 1942, when he enlisted in the air corps. He served in the finance department of the United States Army Air Corps for three years and seven months. During that time he was stationed successively at Camp Robinson, Arkansas; Wake Forest, North Carolina; and Roswell, New Mexico.

On May 16, 1943, in Columbus, Nebraska, Fred Gruenhage was married to Elva Groteluschen, daughter of Adolph and Katherine Finke Groteluschen. Mrs. Groteluschen died in September, 1947.

Fred and Elva Groteluschen Gruenhage have three sons: Don Lee, born June 1, 1944, in Roswell, New Mexico; Gary Fred, born February 24, 1947, in Columbus; and Robert John, born May 16, 1948.

In December, 1945, Fred Gruenhage returned to Columbus and bought the Columbus Credit Bureau and the Moeller Insurance Agency from John H. Moeller, taking possession on January 1, 1946.

Mr. Gruenhage served as secretary of the junior Chamber of Commerce, and was a member of the Board of Directors of that organization, 1941-1942. He is a member of the local Rotary Club, the Chamber of Commerce, and of Hartman Post No. 84, American Legion. He also holds membership in the American Numismatic Association. His hobbies are hunting and golf. Politically, he is affiliated with the Republican Party.

Mr. and Mrs. Fred Gruenhage are members of the Immanuel Lutheran Church in Columbus.



Christian M. Gruenther, son of Henry and Agnes Greisen Gruenther, was born October 6, 1871, in Springfield, Wisconsin, and died in 1923, in Omaha, Nebraska. He came to Platte County with his parents in 1872.


Christian M. Gruenther

After eight years in Columbus, the family moved to St. Bernard Township, where his mother died the following year. In 1890, his father moved to Oregon, where he died four years later. Christian had one sister, Mrs. Max Bruckner, of Platte Center. As a boy, "Chris" Gruenther worked on farms until he was fifteen, at which time he went to Minnesota and worked with a construction gang for the Great Northern Railroad, clearing the roadway and ballasting track for its extension to Winnipeg. When he was twenty-two, he entered the Western Normal School, in Lincoln, Nebraska, and completed the three years teachers' course in nineteen months.

Following this he returned to Platte County and established his home in Platte Center, where he became an editor. He bought the Platte Center Signal, which he published as a democratic newspaper for many years.

On July 18, 1898, in Platte Center, he was married to Mary Shea, the daughter of Thomas and Mary Shea. They had six children: Lester died in May, 1914, at the age of eleven; Homer, who is with the Associated Press in Washington, D. C., was married to Beth Mahoney, a member of a pioneer Omaha family; Louis resides in Omaha, and has one son; Leona, the wife of E. McGrath, an attorney, has three daughters; Verona is the wife of Brigadier General Garrison H. Davidson, at San Francisco, and has three sons; and Major General Alfred M. Gruenther is Deputy Commandant in the War College, at Washington, D.C. He is married and has two children: Second Lieutenant Donald Gruenther, who is with the Army of Occupation, in Austria; and Richard, who was graduated from West Point, in 1946. In World War II, Alfred was Chief of Staff with General Clark, in Italy.

In 1898, Christian Gruenther was put in charge of the old Farmers & Merchants Bank, at Platte Center. He reorganized it into the Platte County Bank and served as its cashier for two years, placing it on a sound financial basis.

On leaving the bank in 1899, he was elected clerk of the District Court of Platte county, and served so


efficiently that he was reelected several times. He resigned this position in 1919, when he became the secretary of the Federal Farm Loan Bank, in Omaha, Nebraska.

While serving as clerk of the District Court in Platte County, Mr. Gruenther operated extensively as referee and trustee in the public sale of land belonging to estates and became recognized as an authority on land and land values in Nebraska, a qualification that made him especially valuable to the Farm Loan Bank.

He moved his family to Omaha from Platte Center shortly thereafter, and had been a resident of the city of Omaha for little more than a year when he was made a member of the Metropolitan Utilities District Board. He had been a stockholder and an officer of the Columbus Land, Loan and Builders' Association, and the Guaranty Loan and Trust Company, of Columbus. He resigned the treasurership of both companies when he went to Omaha.

Perhaps Christian Gruenther's greatest service to his country was rendered during World War 1, when he originated the "school house meeting plan" for promoting the sale of "baby bonds." He first applied it in Platte County, and Platte at once went to the top of all the counties in the United States in the percentage by which it exceeded its quota in the purchase of war savings stamps. His plan was grasped by the state committee, and it sent Nebraska to the top among all states of the union. The national committee asked that the plan be forwarded to Washington. From Washington, it went to nearly every city, village and hamlet in the entire United States, putting the sale of "baby bonds" over with such success that many millions of dollars of over-subscriptions had to be rejected by the government.

In 1908, Mr. Gruenther organized the Bryan Volunteers and later served as secretary of the State Democratic Central Committee and president of the Nebraska State Democratic Club, in which he was the active director of the state campaigns. He personally directed the campaigns for election of former Senator Gilbert Hitchcock.

Men who knew of Mr. Gruenther's outstanding executive ability, his comprehensive grasp of business principles, his broad knowledge of social, economic and political affairs, found it hard to believe that he had had only six months of schooling when he reached the age of twenty-two. Chris Gruenther was possessed of an alert mind, a never-failing memory, an inherent love for the best in literature and was a student of history. These were the mediums through which he acquired an education far above the average, despite his meagre period within the schoolhouse walls.

Chris Gruenther was a member of the Catholic Church, and held membership in the Knights of Columbus, the A.O.U.W., and the Sons of Herman. During his long residence in Platte Center, he gave generously of his time to village affairs, serving that community as a member of the village board for many years.


Reverend Armin Henry Guettler, son of Gustav J. and Louise Biermann Guettler, was born October 15, 1889, in Chicago. He has two sisters, Lillie Guettler Meyer and Bertha Guettler Appold, both residents of Des Plaines, Illinois.

He attended St. John's Lutheran Parish School, in Chicago, the Concordia College, at Milwaukee, Wisconsin, where he was graduated, and then entered the Concordia Theological Seminary, of St. Louis, Missouri, to study theology. At the completion of his course in theology, he was ordained a minister of the Lutheran Church, Missouri Synod. He was called to the pastorate of Immanuel Lutheran Church in Columbus in 1928.

Reverend A. H. Guettler was united in marriage to Clara Helen Genz, daughter of Otto and Millie Genz. They have two daughters and a son: Anita, born at Meadow Grove, Nebraska, attended St. John's College, at Winfield, Kansas, taught school at Fort Lauderdale, Florida, and during World War II served as a clerk of the Platte County Draft Board. She is married to Bert A. Janzow, and lives in Menasha, Wisconsin. They have two children: Charles, born in January, 1946, and Kathleen, born in June, 1947. Dorian Guettler, born at Meadow Grove, attended school at St. John's College, in Winfield, Kansas, and is a graduate nurse. She took her training at the University Hospital; in Omaha. Ronald Guettler, born in Columbus, February 11, 1934, attended the Immanuel Lutheran Parochial School, and is enrolled at Kramer High School.

Reverend Guettler is active in all circles of the Lutheran Church. Politically, he is a Republican.


Harry Gunderman, the son of John L. and Anna Cox Gunderman, was born at Lenox, Iowa. His father, a farmer, died August 7, 1944, in Lenox, Iowa. His mother died December 18, 1945, in Lucerne Valley, California. Harry R. Gunderman has three brothers and two sisters: Lorenz E.; John J.; Frank; Jennie Gunderman Bigger; and Minnie Gunderman Boom.

Mr. Gunderman was educated in the Iowa schools. In 1919 he was with the Monroe Bank. He has been a banker in Iowa for nearly thirty years. He is prominent in civic and social groups in Atlantic, Iowa. Harry R. Gunderman was married to Agnes Loretta Johnson.

Agnes Loretta Johnson is the daughter of Thomas Henry and Mary Fleming Johnson. She was born in Columbus, Nebraska. Her father, a farmer, was born in Ohio, Illinois and died on September 21, 1913, in Columbus. Her mother was born in Illinois, and died in Columbus on January 17, 1937.

Agnes Loretta Johnson had eight brothers and three sisters: John T.; Nellie T.; Arthur H.; Hugh F., who died July 4, 1944; Michael R.; Philip A.; Edward N.; Joseph L.; Lillian Johnson Kluck; Grace Johnson Riley; and Frank O.

She attended the District 44 Grade School in Platte County and the St. Francis Academy. She was graduated from the Academy High School in 1918.

The History of Platte County Nebraska


Mr. and Mrs. Harry R. Gunderman have two children: Loren Thomas, born in Columbus, November 30, 1926; and Marianne, born in Atlantic, Iowa, March 20, 1931. Both children attended the Atlantic, Iowa, schools, and Loren was graduated from the University of Iowa.

Agnes Loretta Johnson Gunderman is a member of the Altar and Rosary organizations of the Atlantic, Iowa, Catholic Church. She is also a member of the Woman's Club, the Order of Does, the Catholic Daughters, and the Woman's Federated Club.

Harry Gunderman is a member of the Chamber of Commerce, Knights of Columbus, B.P.O.E. (Elks), Iowa State and District Bankers Associations. Mr. and Mrs. Gunderman and their family live at Atlantic, Iowa.


Jacob Gutter was born in Germany on November 19, 1828. He received his early education in his native land. Immigrating to America in the early 1850's, he first located at Columbus, Ohio. In 1855 he came to Omaha, and in March, 1856, was one of the organizers of the Columbus Town Company. He was one of the thirteen men who stopped at a site near the confluence of the Loup and Platte Rivers on the evening of May 29, 1856, to found the town of Columbus.

A short time later he filed on a claim southeast of the townsite. This land was to be his home for the next forty-six years.

In 1857 he was appointed constable of the new town, and on March 2, 1858, was made one of the two road supervisors for Platte County. The other supervisor being Daniel Hashberger. On April 11, 1859, the county was divided into three road districts, and Jacob Gutter was appointed the supervisor for District Number 1, the others were Joseph Skinner, supervisor of District Number 2, and Joseph Russell, supervisor of District Number 3.

In 1868 Jacob Gutter was married to Rosa Egger, a native of Canton Bern, Switzerland, who was born March 20, 1844, and came to America in 1867.

Jacob and Rosa Egger Gutter, had four children: Jacob, August, Emma and Mary. Jacob was married and died in Iowa. August farmed the Gutter farm for several years, he is deceased. Emma was Mrs. Tschantree and lived at Silver Creek, Nebraska. Mary is the wife of John L. Pittman of Columbus.

Jacob Gutter died April 20, 1902, and Mrs. Gutter died March 9, 1910.

Title to the original Gutter claim has remained in the Gutter family through the years. It now belongs to Mary, Mrs. John L. Pittman.


Joseph A. Gutzmer, born near the German-Polish boundary, February 1, 1853, came to America in 1865, and lived in Morrison, Illinois, two years before coming to Columbus, in 1867.

In the 1870's, he and his brother-in-law, Felix Krzycki, acquired land on what is known as "The Island," southwest of Columbus, built a sod house, and farmed there for some years. In 1879, while farming on "The Island," Joseph married Mary Boroviak, a member of one of the pioneer families. Reverend Father James M. Ryan, a Catholic missionary, officiated at their wedding. They made their home on "The Island" for several years, and then moved to Columbus. Their first home in town was on Seventh Street, where the Indians were frequent visitors. Mrs. Gutzmer was always generous in giving them food and sewing garments for them.

In 1887, Mr. Gutzmer went into the implement business, in Columbus, with Thomas Jaworski, the father of Nicholas Jaworski. Their business occupied the site on the northeast corner of Twenty-third Avenue and Tenth Street.

They sold the implement business around 1900, and Mr. Gutzmer joined his brother-in-law, Joe Boroviak, in establishing a grocery store on Eleventh Street. After retiring from this business, Mr. Gutzmer took over the agency in the Columbus territory for the Dwelling House Mutual Insurance Company of Lincoln, and continued with that company until his death, on July 16, 1928.

Mrs. Gutzmer was born in Pozen, Poland, February 2, 1857, and died in Columbus, April 12, 1928. Joseph A. and Mary Boroviak Gutzmer had ten children. Four sons are deceased: Martin died in 1893; Leo and John died in 1918, and Basil died in 1941. John was married to Clara Mostek. They had three children: Martin, Jr. is married and lives in San Diego, California; Mrs. Gordon Krause lives in Oakland, Nebraska, and Mrs. C. Jacobs, now deceased.

The other members of the Joseph Gutzmer family are: Lon, of Norfolk, Nebraska; Joseph B., owner and manager of the Rex Club Rooms, at 2505 Thirteenth Street, in Columbus; A. E., owner and manager of the Gutzmer Grocery, at 2401 Eleventh Street, in Columbus; Rose, of Columbus; Frances, of Seattle, Washington; and Louis, of California, who is married to Evelyn Rudat, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Frank Rudat.


A. E. Gutzmer, son of Joseph and Mary Boroviak Gutzmer, was born May 20, 1891, in Columbus. He has seven brothers and two sisters. Joseph Gutzmer, owner and operator of the Rex Club Rooms, and Rose Gutzmer, of Columbus, are a brother and a sister.

"Tony" attended St. Francis Academy, and as a young man, learned the grocery business. During World War 1, he served in the United States Army for two years. In 1921 he opened his grocery store at 2401 Eleventh Street, and has since operated it successfully.

On October 25, 1920, at St. Bonaventure's Catholic Church, in Columbus, he married Anna Merz, daughter of Otto and Frances Walla Merz. The Gutzmers have two sons: Robert, a graduate of St. Bonaventure's High School, served with the United States Merchant Ma-



rine during World War II. He was born in Columbus, November 8, 1926. Paul, born in Columbus, March 21, 1931, attended St. Bonaventure's Grade School and was graduated from St. Bonaventure's High School.

A. E. Gutzmer is a member of the American Legion, the Veterans of Foreign Wars, the Knights of Columbus, and the Izaak Walton League. Politically, he is affiliated with the Democratic Party. The Gutzmers are members of St. Bonaventure's Catholic Church, in Columbus.


Stuart S. Hadley was born at Cedar Rapids, Nebraska, on February 7, 1898. His father, who was a banker at Cedar Rapids, is deceased. His mother is also deceased. Mr. Hadley had one brother.

Stuart S. attended the Lincoln High School and was graduated from, the University of Nebraska, at Lincoln. After his graduation, he resided in Texas for a short time and came to Columbus from Texas in 1929.

On November 25, 1929, in Omaha, Stuart S. Hadley was married to Letitia Speice, the daughter of Charles Bordman and Alice M. Elias Speice. Mrs. Hadley had two brothers: Gustavus Becher Speice and Bordman Elias Speice, both of Columbus. Letitia Hadley was graduated from the Columbus High School, attended the University of California for her freshman year, and was graduated from the University of Nebraska. She was affiliated with the Kappa Kappa Gamma Sorority.

Stuart Hadley spent many years in finance work, was formerly associated with the United Finance Company and the Gottschalk Insurance Company. He later became interested in the nickelodeon business, and in 1949 operated the Hadley Music Company in Columbus.

Mr. Hadley has memberships in the B.P.O.E. (Elks), and the Columbus Chamber of Commerce. Mr. and Mrs. Hadley are members of the Grace Episcopal Church, of Columbus.


Reverend Ernest R. Halemba, pastor for six years of St. Anthony's Catholic Church in Burrows Township, was born in Koenigshutte of Schleswig, Germany, January 8, 1910. He is the son of Felix and Anna Schablitzki Halemba. His father, born in Chorzow Krs. Kattowitz of Schleswig, Germany, died in military service October 16, 1914, during World War I. His mother was born in Piasniki, Krs. Benthen of Schleswig, Germany, and is now living with Reverend Halemba, whose brothers, Alfons and Georg, both live in Germany.

Reverend Ernest Halemba was educated in Germany and Switzerland. In Germany, he enrolled in the Gymnasium at Hindenburg, where he studied nine years. He then entered the Catholic University of Freiburg in Nechtland, Switzerland, where he studied philosophy and theology six years. He graduated July 2, 1935, and was ordained to the priesthood July 7, 1935, in the Freiburg Cathedral, celebrating his first mass on July 16, 1935, at Reigersfeld, Schleswig, Germany.

In America, Reverend Father Halemba served assistant pastorates in Omaha, Nebraska, at St. Wenceslaus Church, St. Francis Church, and St. Peter's Church, and at the Holy Trinity Church of Hartington, Nebraska. From June 27, 1942 to 1948, he served as pastor of St. Anthony's Church in Burrows Township.


Stephen Hamling, an early Creston Township farmer, was born in East Prussia, Germany, November 8, 1839, and died February 22, 1923, in Creston. He received his early schooling in Germany.

On November 20, 1863, in Prussia, he was married to Miss Pollena Spiski, and in 1873, immigrated to the United States.

In 1875, Mr. Hamling moved his family from New York to Nebraska, settling on a farm in Creston Township and remaining there for thirty-eight years.

On November 20, 1913, the Hamlings celebrated their Golden Wedding Anniversary, then retired and moved into Creston.

There were four sons and five daughters in the family. Of those are John, who resides at Petersburg; August, married to Ann Hamling, lives at Norfolk; George, married to Mary Knapp, lives at Norfolk; Anna, wife of William Engelbart, resides at Creston; Elizabeth, Mrs. J. C. Moran, lives at St. Edward; Millie, Mrs. Herman Jacobi, lives at Cedar Rapids; Paulina, married to Julius Michaelson, living at Spokane, Washington; and Augusta, wife of Otto Cook, lives in Columbus. A son, Steve, died in 1948.


John Hammond, proprietor of the Hammond House in Columbus in the 1870's, was born in West Berkshiie, Franklin County, Vermont, May 31, 1833, of English parentage. He attended the Franklin County schools and was married in West Berkshire, February 1, 1854, to Miss Mary E. Hicks, who was born in Franklin County, September 3, 1835.

In Minnesota, Mr. Hammond enlisted in the Indian service in 1862. He was a private in Company B, Seventh Regiment, of the Minnesota Volunteers. He later was transferred to Battery K, First Minnesota Heavy Artillery, and was commissioned a captain, serving dutifully until the fall of 1865. Mustered out at Chattanooga, Tennessee, he received his final discharge at Fort Snelling, Minnesota, in 1865.

In April, 1871, he settled in Boone County, Nebraska, and was probably the first settler in the town of Albion. His work there was to locate settlers on the land. During this time, he served Boone County as a commissioner.

In 1873, Mr. Hammond came to Platte County where he opened the Hammond House in Columbus. This hostelry, now the Meridian Hotel, was moved in 1866

The History of Platte County Nebraska

to its present site at Twelfth Street and Twenty-sixth Avenue by George Francis Train, who purchased it from the Cleveland Town Company. It is regarded today as a historical landmark.

During the 1870's, Mr. Hammond served as a Commissioner of Platte County, and was prominent in Columbus in the G.A.R. He was commander of Baker Post from 1875 to 1882. The membership of the Post then was around seventy-five.

Upon his retirement, Mr. Hammond moved to Grand Island, Nebraska, to become the commander of the Soldiers Home.


James Haney, born in Strieve, Londonderry County, Ireland, March 17, 1836, came to America in 1854, and to Evansburg, Pennsylvania, where his mother's cousin and her son, James Gibbons Hassan, lived. He stayed there two years and then came to Omaha, Nebraska, in 1856, crossing the Missouri River on a ferry.

Omaha was a very small village at that time, and he thought it would never amount to much, so he went on to Columbus in the spring of 1857, and settled about eight miles east of town. He first made his home with his brother, John Haney, who had come to Platte County in the fall of 1856. They lived in a sod dugout, about a mile north of the Platte River, just west of the present Colfax and Platte County line, and about three miles east of where the Loup River empties into the Platte.

They always kept fifteen loaded guns on the wall, as the Indians were frequent callers at that time. The Indians came along the river to trap beaver. Whenever an Indian came into the house, he pointed to the guns and said: "Heap a shoot, heap a shoot!"

James and his brother John, worked for the government, as freighters, before the Union Pacific Railroad went through. They hauled provisions from Omaha to old Fort Kearney, driving two yoke of oxen. The load usually consisted of cornmeal, molasses, flour, and salt pork. It seems they hauled this freight, at their own risk, and were paid when they delivered the goods at the fort. They received very high prices for their goods.

On November 15, 1865, at Columbus, James Haney married Johanna Meaney. There were no wedding rings available at the time, so they borrowed one for the ceremony. They lived with Mr. and Mrs. John Haney the first winter, and in the spring, moved into the sod dugout formerly occupied by James and John near the present county line.

In the spring of about 1868, there was a flood, caused by an ice gorge which formed when the Loup River ice was breaking up. James was away from home herding cattle, and his wife, Johanna, their baby, Johnnie, and Johanna's sister, Nan Meaney, were at home. They had no inkling of any danger from high water. When the water continued to rise and come into the house, they put the baby's cradle on the table and Johanna and Nan stood in water waist deep for about two hours.

The kettles and pans, hat boxes, and other possessions floated about the room.

After this experience, James decided they would have to move to higher ground, and in 1869, they bought a farm with Charles and Michael Quinn. Here they built a log house with an upstairs and a built-on kitchen of lumber. Five rooms in all, and quite a pretentious home for those days. The old military road went directly past the house and quite a few travelers went by their door. On one occasion, a flock of sheep was being driven along the road and Haney's dog attacked the sheep. He killed two of them before he was stopped by James, who got him by the throat. The travelers wanted to shoot the dog, but were satisfied to go on their way when they were paid for the sheep.

The year 1874 was very dry. The grasshoppers came like a great cloud which darkened the sun. Soon there appeared to be millions of crawling things everywhere. In less than an hour, they ate up all the crops, including bark and leaves from small trees. They also ate up tea towels which were hanging on the line.

On June 16, 1875, a son, Thomas, who was born April 1, 1874, died.

There were seven children in the family in 1881, four boys and three girls. John A., the oldest, was fourteen, and the baby, Margaret, was one year old. The winter of 1881 was very severe and neither Mrs. Haney nor any of the children were able to go to town all winter. The weather turned warm early in March, and in a few days, the Loup River ice broke up. A gorge formed at the Burlington Bridge, across the Platte, forcing the river out of its bank and causing a flood which covered all low land between Lost Creek and the river for a distance of several miles. The Galley Schoolhouse was swept from the school ground and moved more than a mile. John Haney's herd of cattle were drowned, and there were dead cattle strewn along for several miles.

James Haney's home was on higher ground than any of his neighbors, so most of them came and stayed during the flood. Among those who stayed were the Pat and Thomas Lyons families, Mrs. Ann Meaney, Mrs. Robert McPherson and Jake Maple, Jr.

Jerry Donnelley's family went to the Andy Dunlap place, which was north of the schoolhouse in District 5, now Colfax County. There the water came into the house and the men went out and got a wagon box, brought it inside, turned it upside down, and by standing on that, they were able to keep dry.

The flood came about March 17, and the water stayed up nine days, until the B & M Bridge and ice went out of the Platte, and the water went down. The second day of the flood, the weather turned cold and froze ice strong enough to hold a man's weight. Robert McPherson was able to walk across the ice from his place and bring some flour and other groceries to Haney's, where there were about twenty people.

During this time, there was a diphtheria epidemic in the community, and the Haney children became ill. The baby, Margaret, died on March 19, aged one year. It was impossible to get a doctor for her, but on March

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