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CAPTAIN ALBERT M. PETITE, one of Nebraska's most gallant sons who twice has responded to his country's call and offered the greatest gift a man possesses, his, life, as a soldier of the United States, is one of the best known and most popular of the business men of Scottsbluff county and the city of Scottsbluff itself where he has been in the real estate business for many years. The captain is a true American patriot in whose veins flows the blood of a long line of French ancestors who played an important part in France and later in the French settlements of America, and the representative of the present generation but lives up to the high standard attained by the forebears of his race and as Theodore Rossevelt (sic) so often has said "blood will tell."
Albert May Petite was born at Fon du Lac, Wisconsin, June 13, 1868, just at the close of the Civil War and it may be that some of the iron resolution, indomitable courage and determination, a spirit that permeated the north during that memorable conflict may have entered into his mental make up for he has proved himself a veritable son of Mars. His, ancestors were among the French settlers who came to Wisconsin at an early day when the thoroughfare to the West from Quebec and Montreal lay up the great lakes, down Green Bay, then known by the French name of "Le Baye," up the Fox river to "the portage" now Portage and thence down the Wisconsin to the Mississippi. The descendants of these fine old French families are still to be found along this old route and a fine race they have proved to be. Albert Petite received his excellent educational advantages in the schools of Iowa, and it was from that state that he enlisted when President McKinley called for volunteers at the outbreak of the war with Spain. After entering the service in 1898 he was assigned to the Second Regiment, United States Engineers for service in Cuba, as first lieutenant of his company. Following the close of the Cuban campaign he took part in the reconstruction work accomplished by the United States before turning over the island to the Cuban government, and for some time was in charge of the old fortress Moro Castle and also of Cabanas, which guard the entrance to Havana harbor. Captain Petite has many interesting stories to tell of the greusome (sic) discoveries made by him while in charge of the work of cleaning up and putting in a sanitary condition these old fortresses which for hundreds of years under the Spanish regime had been landmarks of terror and dread to the inhabitants of the Island. During the Philippine Insurrection, Captain Petite served in the islands under Colonel--now General--Bullard as first lieutenant of the infantry, Thirty Ninth regiment and was twice wounded in a battle near Manila. When peace was finally established in the Philippines, the captain resigned from the service to return to peaceful pursuits. After returning to the United States he returned to his home in Iowa where he engaged in handling real estate until 1910, leaving in that state his son William C. Petite of Des Moines, who has two children, William C., Jr., and Mary Louise and a daughter, Grace Celia, the wife of Donald McGiffen of Fairfield, and they have one son, Donald, Jr.
Coming to the Panhandle in 1910, Captain Petite located in the city of Scottsbluff, opened a real estate office and was engaged in business here alone until he formed an association with the Payne Investment Company after which he handled the land and water right end of the business for the firm. In politics Captain Petite has been a member of the Republican party since he cast his first vote, has taken a somewhat active part in local political circles but has never been willing to accept public office himself, but ever throwing his influence to the man be believed best fitted to serve the people.
On November 23, 1910, Captain Petite married Miss Ruby L. Wildy, who was born at Lenzburg, Illinois, March 23, 1887, the daughter of Albert and Carrie W. (Dueker) Wildy, early settlers of Scottsbluff where they now reside. Mrs. Petite's father built the first two-story building in the town and thus is numbered among the honored pioneers of this section. When he first came to the Panhandle Mr. Wildy took up a homestead in Box Butte county where he operated a frontier hotel for the accommodation of travelers as towns were few and far apart and people could make the trip from one to the next in a day. This first land was homesteaded in 1887 and it was but recently that Mr. Wildy disposed of it at a most satisfactory figure. Later a postoffice named Melinda was established on his ranch, his wife being the first postmistress. He and his wife are charter members of the Methodist Epicopal (sic) church, to which both Captain and Mrs. Petite also belong. Mrs. Petite has one brother, Clinton D. Wildy, cashier of the American State Bank of Scottsbluff.
Captain Petite did not entirely give up military life upon his discharge from the army and upon returning home he became captain of a company in Fifty-fifth Regiment, Iowa National Guard, thus a third time entering the
service of his country and of the state. When the United States declared war against Germany he again placed himself and his services at the disposal of his country and volunteered for any branch of the army where he would do the most valuable work in prosecuting the war. While in Cuba and later in the Philippines he had much and valuable experience in the quartermaster's department as to make him valuable to the government. He passed the physical requirements for this branch of the service and was commissioned captain of the quartermaster's corps being detailed as assistant to the general superintendent United States Army Transport Service for the Port of New York, February 14, 1918. As one of the prominent and patriotic men of Nebraska and the Panhandle it is but just to the citizens of this section that they should know what an important part his service has played and in a history of the Panhandle the work of a man of this section should be told. For this reason we give a brief resume. There has been so much waste--wanton waste and extravagance--in many departments of the army since war was declared that it should be known that one department at least has not only been paying its own way, but which, up to date, has earned hundreds of thousands of dollars for the administration's coffers. The thrifty group of workers who have accomplished this are a group of governmental workers--mostly officers--in the army machine, a department that has received scant credit for the tremendous work they have done because of wastefulness during the war. It is the labor employment branch of the army, and when the record of its service is written, though it may be garnished with silver chevrons, denoting exclusively at home service--the public will be proud to acclaim it. Captain Cox is in charge of the bureau and under him in charge of a special department is Captain Petite. No better summing up of his work can be made than that of a New York newspaper which we take the privilege of quoting. "The amount of money can not be figured to the dollar--but it is certain that it has totaled nearly $1,000,000 in the employment department alone. All this money is saved by the insurance and compensation department, under the direction of Captain Petite, a veteran officer who has proved himself adept in his new calling as he was in the numerous campaigns in which he participated. Captain Cox supervises the establishment, which has three floors in the Dey Street Building--54 Dey Street. --One hudnred (sic) per cent efficient himself, he has with him a staff as capable." Captain Petite is still in the service at the office in New York, while his wife has remained at Scottsbluff looking after their property. She is much better equipped for this work than the ordinary woman as she was reared on a pioneer Nebraska homestead where by circumstances she was forced to grow up self-reliant, to be quick 'of thought and action. She attended a "soddy" school house while her parent lived on the ranch before coming to take advantage of the educational facilities of the town of Scottsbluff and had early learned of avenues in which to direct her energies as well as resourcefulness and thrift. Even before her marriage she displayed unusual business abilities for she became a successful dealer in horses, having learned their qualities and value on the home farm, and by this business made enough capital to build a fine ten-room house, which she conducted as an European hotel. Since Captain Petite has been in the army she has had charge of their joint interests and during the past year has managed them so well that she is now operating three large apartment houses in the same manner, always having a waiting list of tenants. Her entire family is well known in county and both she and the captain hold an estimable place in the community where they are regarded as two of the most patriotic, substantial and progressive citizens as they support most liberally all movements for the civic and communal welfare.
PETER O'SHEA, who has the reputation of having developed a larger acreage of land than any other man in Scottsbluff county, has been engaged in the real estate business with offices at Scottsbluff, since 1907, but his many interests have made his name well-known through the valley. Mr. O'Shea was born in Pike county, Missouri, January 23, 1864, the son of Patrick and Anna (Nolan) O'Shea, notable names in Ireland, where the father was born on the shores of Lake Killarney, and the mother in County Tipperary. They came to the United States in 1847, in one of the old slow-moving sailing vessels, but were landed safely in New Orleans, Louisiana. From there they came up the great Mississippi as far as St. Louis, where the father secured work with a construction company building levees on the river, remaining in St. Louis for seven years. Afterward Mr. O'Shea worked at Clarksville, Missouri, and from there on down into Louisiana. In 1874 the family came by wagon to Madison county, Nebraska, where the father bought land in the hope of
comfortably rearing his family of nine children. During the early years in Madison county the struggle was hard and the first crops were devoured by the grasshoppers. Better times came, however, and at the time of his death, he left an estate worth $60,000. Both he and wife died on the Madison county homestead, his life being prolonged to ninety-three years. He was a man of strong political as well as religious convictions, being identified with the Democratic party, and faithful to every observance of the Catholic church. Of his surviving children, Peter is the fourth in order of birth, the others being: Thomas, in the banking business at Madison, Nebraska; Edward, identified with the Home Savings Bank at Madison; Ella, who resides with her brother Edward at Madison; and John J., of Newman Grove, Nebraska, retired banker and real estate man.
Peter O'Shea was ten years old when his parents located in Madison county and there he received his schooling. In that section and at that time, no one took any particular pains to interest and amuse youths that were strong and sturdy, but no doubt Peter, with lads of his acquaintance did not work on the farm all the time even under the strictest discipline, but found occasional means of recreation. Work, however, was the order of the day, and while yet young Peter started to labor as a miner and continued in that line for six years. Afterwards, for seven years he was in a grain business at Humphreys (sic), Nebraska, and from there, in 1907, came to Scottsbluff. Here he embarked in the real estate business, also invested in a ranch and went into the cattle business, and in all his udertakings (sic) has done remarkably well. He possesses what is called business foresight and this natural faculty has ruled his judgment in his large land investments. At one time he bought 1,700 acres of land and has developed every acre of it.
In 1900 Mr. O'Shea married Miss Matilda Fricke, who was born and reared in Nebraska; and they have three children: Helen, John and Frank, the two younger being yet in school. Mr. O'Shea and his family are members of the Roman Catholic church. Immersed in his business, Mr. O'Shea entertains no desire for public office, but he is too enterprising a citizen not to recognize the value of political convictions and heartily supports the Democratic party.
THEODORE D. DEUTSCH, has been practically identified with all the great irrigation projects that have been of so much importance to the people of Scottsbluff and adjacent counties. He began to build ditches in 1891 for the Tri-State Company, and continued until 1909, although, prior to coming to Scottsbluff county, in 1886, he had been interested in different sections of the country along similar lines in connection with railroading. Mr. Deutsch is widely known for his enterprise, his public usefulness and his extensive ownership of valuable lands.
Theodore. D. Deutsch was born February 28, 1861, in Richland county, Wisconsin, the son of Daniel and Catherine (Lewis) Deutsch, the former born in Manheim (sic), Germany, February 28, 1821, and died in 1896. Both came to the United States with their parents who settled first in Ohio and then moved to Wisconsin, where the grandparents died. Daniel Deutsch was a cooper by trade. In Wisconsin he was employed for some years by the government, to operate boats used in clearing the channels of Wisconsin rivers. In religious faith he belonged to the Mennonite sect, while his wife was a member of the Catholic church. In 1872 they moved to Iowa, where he bought land and both died there. Of the five children three are living: Theodore D., whose home is at Scottsbluff; Anna, the wife of Eli Swihart, of West Newton, Iowa; and Albert, who lives on the old home place in Iowa.
Theodore D. Deutsch obtained his education in Iowa and remained a farmer until he was about twenty years old. In 1880 he began to work at railroad construction and helped build the grade for the old Diagonal road from Waterloo to Des Moines. In 1884 he went to Washington and remained on the Pacific coast for two years, engaged in teaming at Walla Walla for several months. From there he went to Yakima and built grade on the Northern Pacific road, and when that job was finish- (sic) returned to Iowa. Finding no business opening to please him in the old neighborhood, he remained only one month, before locating at Elk Point, South Dakota, where he went into the cattle feeding business. In the meanwhile he homesteaded in Banner county, Nebraska, having the honor of naming that county, but later sold his homestead there for $1 per acre. In March, 1886, he came to what is now Scottsbluff county, Cheyenne at that time, and was one of the county commissioners when Scottsbluff county was organized. From the
beginning of the plans for the building of the great irrigation ditches to their completion, Mr. Deutsch was active in the work. He has been identified with all the ditch building in this section and additionally built five miles of the grade for the Burlington railroad. Mr. Deutsch has been engaged in the real estate business since 1909, has a large loan business to which he gives close attention, and not only owns valuable city realty but has eight hundred acres of fine irrigated land in the valley.
In 1888 Mr. Deutsch married Miss Laura Ammerman, who was born in Pennsylvania, and they have two daughters: Blanche, the wife of Joseph Kottall, who died April 21, 1919; aod (sic) Edna, who resides with her parents. Mrs. Deutsch and Mis (sic) Emma are members of the Christian church. In politics Mr. Deutsch is a Democrat. He was one, of the first county commissioners of Scottsbluff and continued in that office for thirteen years. He is one of the older members of the Masonic fraternity at Scittsbluff (sic), and belongs also to, the Modern Woodmen.
Without a sense of humor, the trials and tribulations of the pioneers might often have weighed heavier than was the fact. Few of them in recalling events now passed (sic) fail to remember amusing occurence (sic) that are worth the telling and none are more appreciative of a joke, even upon themselves. This is the case with Mr. Deutsch when he refers to early hardships, when even getting married entailed considerable thought and inconvenience no was to be contrasted with the easy methods of the present.* After receiving the consent of the lady he wished to wed, he started of (sic) on a hundred and fifty mile horseback ride to secure the license, and on the way home stopped at a town emporium and invested in tow (sic) white shirts, unusual possessions, from which he promised himself much satisfaction. He had yet another horseback ride to take, one of a hundred miles, to secure a preacher. When the latted (sic) arrived, in order to do the occasion honor, Mr. Deutsch lent one of his precious shirts to the minister for the ceremony, who was held in a dugout. Possibly, Mr. Deutsch reminisces, the latter thought the shirt a gift as he never saw it again.
*sentence as appears in original.
HARRY S. FIESBACH (sic)**, president of one of the largest mercantile firms of Scittsbluff (sic), has been actively identified with the business for the past ten years. He is a man of marked business ability and his large enterprise is conducted along the lines of personal and public service that in any undertaking will assure worth while success. Mr. Fliesbach is a ative (sic) of Nebraska, and was born at Seward, January, 28, 1884, the son of Otto and Nina Louise (Senter) Fliesbach, both of whom have passed away. The father was born in Illinois and died in Scottsbluff, in 1916, while Mrs. Fliesbach was born at Nashua, New Hampshire, and died at Scottsbluff, April 11, 1919. Of their five children, Harry S. is the eldest, the others being: Chester, the secretary and treasure (sic) of the above mentioned mercantile business; Glenn, a merchant in Montana; Amelia R., the wife of Ralph W. Smith, a mining engineer at Denver, but now associated with the firm at Scottsbluff; and Laura G., the wife of G. L. Howey, residing at Dallas, Texas. twenty (sic) yeats (sic) Otto Fliesbach carried on a mercantile business at Imperial, Nebraska. In 1909 he sold out and the family moved to Denver, residing there until the early part of 1916, when Mr. Fliesbach came to Scottsbluff, where he had business investments. His death occurred shortly afterward. He was a man of impeachable character, and a member of the Christian Science church.
Harry S. Fliesbach's mother was widely known, not only as a Christian Science practitioner, but as an inspiring personality. She was affectionately known as "Mother" and at the time of her passing a local newspaper wrote of her as follows: "Mrs. Fliesbach was best known to all as 'Mother' and that is one of the best tributes that can ever be paid to her, for she represented all the pure, loving, unselfish and exalted thoughts that "Mother' brings to mind, not nly (sic) to her family, but to many others whom she helped. She became interested in the Christian Science movement about thirty years ago, and for some years has given practically her whole attention to it. She was a practitioner and also First Reader of the Christian Science Society of Scottsbluff." She was a daughter of Addison and Roxana (Cutler) Senter, and spent her childhood in New Hampshire. When about fourteen years old she came to Omaha, Nebraska, to attend school, several years later becoming a teacher at Osceola, Nebraska, where she met and was subsequently married to Otto Fliesbach. After his death she made short visits to her children, then went to California and still later visited Boston, and after her return to Scottsbluff in the early part of 1919, began to make preparation for a permanent home in this city where she was so sincerely admired adn (sic) so much beloved.
**Surname given as FLIESBACH in article.
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