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Douglas County, Nebraska
Genealogy and History

Biographies


Hon. C. W. Britt

Hon. C. W. Britt, judge of the municipal court of Omaha, was born in Detroit. Michigan, October 29, 1864, a son of Cornelius and Bridget (Degan) Britt, both of whom were natives of Ireland. As children they came to America with their respective parents, who settled in Michigan, and there they were reared, educated and married. The father afterward became a cigar manufacturer of Detroit and developed an extensive and profitable business as a wholesale tobacconist, remaining in that city until called to the home beyond. He died in Detroit in 1894 at the age of seventy-three years and his widow passed away at the home or her son. Judge Britt, in Omaha in 1912 at the age of eighty-six years. In their family were eight children, of whom the judge was the seventh in order of birth.

After attending the graded and high schools of Detroit Judge Britt took up the study of languages under a private tutor, and is regarded as quite a linguist. He speaks German, Hebrew, Italian and Gaelic. He next entered a law office in Detroit, where he read for some time, and in 1888 was admitted to the bar. He remained in the private practice of law in his native city until 1893 and during that period was elected assistant prosecuting attorney under S. W. Burroughs. In the latter year he removed to Omaha and during the twenty-four years of his residence here has become one of the well-known and leading attorneys of the city. His has been a successful career at the bar and in 1912 he was elected a judge of the justice court, which position he acceptably filled until 1917, his decisions being strictly fair and impartial. In 1917 he became a judge of the municipal court, being one of the first judges elected under the new municipal court law. For six months in 1896 he served as city prosecuting attorney of Omaha to fill out an unexpired term.

On the 26th of February, 1889, Mr. Britt was married to Miss Elizabeth Nash, of Detroit, Michigan, and they have become the parents of three children: Charles W., who was born in Detroit, February 2, 1890, and is now attending Creighton College; Florence M., who was born in Detroit, September 11, 1892, and is a graduate of the Omaha high school; and Robert Emmet who was born in Omaha, March 9, 1904, and is a public school pupil.

Judge Britt gives his political allegiance to the republican party. Fraternally he is connected with the Eagles, the Red Men, the Moose, the Stags, and Alpha Camp, No. 1, W. O. W. He is also prominent in the Knights of Pythias, is a past chancellor of the local lodge and has been representative to the grand lodge on various occasions. He has always directed his energies and efforts along a single line and his ability has brought him prominently to the front He is recognized as a man of scholarly attainments, having always cultivated studious habits, and broad reading has kept him in touch with the trend of modern thought and progress. He is a fancier and lover of dogs and a fancier of poultry and has owned some very fine and celebrated dogs of the St. Bernard breed. In order to give protection to dogs he prepared and secured the passage of a law making them personal property.

Omaha: The Gate City and Douglas County Nebraska
A Record of Settlement, Organization, Progress and Achievement 1917
By Arthur C. Wakeley
Submitted by DD


Daniel Bernard Butler

Omaha on the whole has been fortunate in the class of men who have occupied her public offices and today is receiving efficient service from Daniel Bernard Butler, city commissioner and superintendent of the department of accounts and finances. He was born in Ottawa, Illinois, in 1879, and is of Irish lineage. His paternal grandfather, a native of Ireland, spent his last days in Ottawa, Illinois, where he passed away in 1883 at the age of eighty-four years. His son, Joseph Butler, was born in County Tipperary, Ireland, in 1829, and in 1845 came to the United States. He was married in Syracuse, New York, and in the year 1885 removed with his family from Ottawa, Illinois, to Omaha, Nebraska, where he engaged in business as a contractor. He died March 5, 1915, having for several years survived his wife, who passed away on the 7th of November, 1911.

Daniel B. Butler, who was reared in Omaha and attended the parochial schools there, continued his education in Creighton University, from which he was graduated with the Bachelor of Arts degree. He later entered the employ of the Pacific Express Company at St. Louis and in 1901 returned to Omaha, where he secured the position of bookkeeper in the office of the county clerk, serving in that capacity until 1905. He later spent two months as bookkeeper in a drug house in Omaha and in May, 1906, was elected city clerk, in which office he made so creditable a record that he was re-elected in 1909 for a three years' term. Loath to give up his services, the public then called him to the office of city commissioner in May, 1912, and he was re-elected in May, 1915, so that he is now serving for a second term and occupies the responsible position of superintendent of the department of accounts and finances. He has studied closely the questions affecting municipal interests and his aid and influence are always given on the side of progress and improvement. He votes with the democratic party, which has received his endorsement and support since age conferred upon him the right of franchise.

Mr. Butler is of the Catholic faith and holds membership with the Knights of Columbus. He is also prominent in the Benevolent Protective Order of Elks, being past exalted ruler of lodge No. 39 and a past district deputy of the state of Nebraska.

Omaha: The Gate City and Douglas County Nebraska
A Record of Settlement, Organization, Progress and Achievement 1917
By Arthur C. Wakeley
Submitted by DD


J. F. Coad, Jr.

J. F. Coad, Jr., president of the Packers' National Bank of South Omaha, has throughout the entire period of his business career been identified with financial interests and his life record is another proof of the fact that no matter what the advantages offered in the schools one must eventually determine, shape and formulate his own character by the development of his inherent powers and qualities. He was born in Nehama county, Nebraska, January 9, 1874, a son of J. F. and Ellen (Leahy) Coad.

J. F. Coad, Jr., the eldest of the family, attended the public schools of Cheyenne, Nebraska, and afterward entered Seaton Hall in New Jersey, being there graduated in 1892 with the degree of Bachelor of Science. Immediately afterward he returned home and accepted a position in the Merchants National Bank, his duties being of the most minor character, but he applied himself closely to the mastery of his work and rose step by step through individual effort. Upon the organization of the Packers' National Bank he resigned his position with the Merchants National Bank of Omaha and became connected with the new institution. Merit and ability enabled him to advance and he eventually became cashier but after six months he was elected to the presidency and has since filled that position with credit and honor to himself and to the benefit of the bank. The Packers' National Bank is the leading financial institution of South Omaha. It has ever been ready and willing to extend a helping hand to deserving stock breeders and shippers and its helpful policy has spelled success for many of its patrons. Its founders recognized the need of a cooperative financial institution equipped with all the facilities with which to advance the interests of the live stock business in the middle west and at the same time act as the guardian of the funds of depositors. The bank was originally located in an old brick building at Twenty-sixth and N streets but the business grew to such proportions that a splendid building was erected at Twenty-fourth and O streets in 1908. It is a thoroughly modern bank building, elegantly finished and equipped in a most substantial manner. The head of the bank, J. F. Coad, Jr., occupies a most enviable position in financial circles of Greater Omaha. In 1897 he was chosen state bank examiner and discharged the duties of that position until 1901, when he resigned.

Mr. Coad has been married twice. On the 12th of February, 1896, at Council Bluffs, Iowa, he wedded Miss Mayme Hughes, who passed away in October, 1902. She was the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Mark Hughes, prominent people of Council Bluffs. Three children were born of that marriage: Marion, who was born in 1898 in Omaha and is a graduate of the high school; Pauline, who was born in Omaha in 1900 and is attending high school; and John, who was born in Omaha in 1904 and is in the graded schools. On the 30th of June, 1912, Mr. Coad wedded Miss Irene Dyer at Berkeley, California, a daughter of Mr. and Mrs. James Dyer, now residents of that place. There is one child of this marriage, Ernest, born in Omaha in 1913.

In politics Mr. Coad is a democrat but has never sought nor cared for public office. Fraternally he is connected with the Knights of Columbus and the Benevolent Protective Order of Elks and he belongs to the Field Club and to the Commercial Club. His religious faith is that of the Roman Catholic church. He is recognized as one of Omaha's most highly respected citizens and in financial circles stands among the leaders. He is fond of outdoor life and when business affairs permit he takes keen delight in hunting. He has provided a most attractive home for his family and in a word he is a most progressive citizen, displaying in his life the true spirit of western enterprise and progress.

Omaha: The Gate City and Douglas County Nebraska
A Record of Settlement, Organization, Progress and Achievement 1917
By Arthur C. Wakeley
Submitted by DD


C. Herbert Coy

C. Herbert Coy, president of the C. Herbert Coy Seed Company of Valley, has in this connection developed one of the important business enterprises of Douglas county, his ramifying trade connections extending to all parts of the country. He is enterprising, energetic and determined and his affairs are so capably and wisely directed as to make his interests a valuable asset to the business life of his community. He was born in Hebron, Washington county, New York, July 26, 1859, a son of Edward L. and Clara (Bliss) Coy. The father was born in Bernardston, Massachusetts, and acquired his education in the schools of his native state. He afterward took up the wholesale seed business and as a young man crossed the Green mountains to New York, establishing a wholesale seed business at West Hebron, New York. The enterprise proved profitable from the beginning until he was at length in control of a gigantic seed business covering the entire United States. He remained active in that business for more than sixty years or until he retired and removed to Melrose, Massachusetts, where he passed away in 1912. His wife, who was born in Belcher, New York, died in Melrose in 1911.

C. Herbert Coy acquired his early education in the public and high schools of Washington county, New York, and the Hudson River Institute at Claverack, New York, and afterward continued his studies in the East Greenwich Academy at East Greenwich, Rhode Island. He then became associated with his father in the seed business at West Hebron, New York, and learned even branch and phase of the trade. That relation was maintained until 1901, when he came west to Valley, Douglas county, Nebraska, where he organized and established the C. Herbert Coy Seed Company. While in New York he had had a great deal of seed grown for him in Nebraska and had thus become quite well known in business circles in the state. He today has an extensive trade and farmers in many parts of the United States grow seed for him on contract. His plant has a capacity of one hundred and fifty thousand bushels of seed corn and other seed and today his shipments go to all parts of the country, while the company of which he is the head sustains an excellent reputation in business circles.

On the 27th of December, 1882, Mr. Coy was united in marriage to Miss Amelia S. Madison, of West Hebron, New York, who was there born and was graduated from the Elmira (N. Y.) College for Women. She is a daughter of Dr. John H. and Margaret (Brown) Madison, the former a native of Vermont, while both passed away at West Hebron, New York, where Dr. Madison practiced medicine and surgery for many years. Mr. and Mrs. Coy have two sons, namely: Laurence, who is the secretary of the C. Herbert Coy Seed Company of Valley, Nebraska; and Howard Winfield, a college student.

In his political views Mr. Coy is a stalwart republican and has served as a member of the town board of Valley and as president of the Valley school board. Both he and his wife are active and helpful members of the Methodist Episcopal church and he belongs to the Masonic lodge at Waterloo and to the Independent Order of Odd Fellows. Those who know him socially find him always approachable, genial, courteous and kindly. Those who know him only through business relations have found him ever just, straightforward and reliable as well as progressive, and the most envious cannot grudge him his success, so worthily has it been won and so honorably used. Step by step he has advanced in his business connections until he is now at the head of one of the largest seed houses of the west.

Omaha: The Gate City and Douglas County Nebraska
A Record of Settlement, Organization, Progress and Achievement 1917
By Arthur C. Wakeley
Submitted by DD


Frank E. Cress

Frank E. Cress, who for eight years has been manager of the American District Telegraph service at South Omaha, was born in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, May 11, 1868. His father, Jacob W. Cress, was also a native of the Keystone state and belonged to one of the old families there of German lineage. He became a pioneer settler of South Omaha, and, although he had previously learned and followed the saddle maker's trade, he here engaged in building lines as a contractor and won substantial success. At the time of the Civil war, however, all business and personal considerations were put aside and he enlisted for service with the One Hundred and Thirty-Eighth Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry, with which he remained at the front for nearly four years, holding the rank of major. He participated in many of the most sanguinary conflicts of the struggle and was twice wounded. For many years he was commander of the South Omaha post of the Grand Army of the Republic. He has given stanch support to the republican party, has been an exemplary representative of the Masonic fraternity and is a loyal member of the Methodist church. He wedded Mary Dietrick, a native of Pennsylvania and also of German descent. She is now deceased but the father is yet living although he has retired from business. In the family were four children.

Frank E. Cress acquired his education in the schools of Pennsylvania and followed farm work there to the age of eighteen years, after which he came to Nebraska in 1889 and for a time worked as a day laborer. In June, 1894, he entered the service of the American District Telegraph Company at South Omaha as a lineman, and since that time has worked his way steadily upwrard step by step, until for the past eight years he has discharged the responsible duties of manager of the South Omaha branch.

On April 25, 1900, in South Omaha, Mr. Cress was married to Miss Amanda Morgan, a native of Iowa and a daughter of Clint and Jennie Morgan, now residents of South Omaha. Mr. and Mrs. Cress in religious faith are Methodists. His political endorsement is given to the republican party and his interest in the city and state is manifest in his membership in the South Omaha Historical Society. He stands for those things which are progressive in citizenship, which are most worth while to the public, and his aid and influence are always given along the lines of progress and improvement.

Omaha: The Gate City and Douglas County Nebraska
A Record of Settlement, Organization, Progress and Achievement 1917
By Arthur C. Wakeley
Submitted by DD


J. Jeffery Davey

J. Jeffery Davey, an architect, has followed his profession in Omaha since 1896, operating independently since 1906, during which period he has executed various important projects, a number of substantial structures standing as monuments to his skill, ability and enterprise. He was born in Dover, England, March 17, 1874, the only son of John Davey, a native of Cornwall, England, who in the latter part of 1873 came to America. He engaged in contracting and building. In 1879 he removed to Denver, Colorado, casting in his lot with the early residents of that city. In the intervening period he has become a very prominent and successful man and is now living retired, enjoying the fruits of a well spent life. He wedded Bessie Jeffery, who was also born in England.

J. Jeffery Davey was but five years of age when the family home was established in Denver and there he attended the graded and high schools and also became a student in the State School of Mines at Golden, Colorado. Dependent upon his own resources from the age of nineteen years, he began the study of architecture and in that connection was employed for a number of years in the larger cities from St. Louis to San Francisco, being connected with some of the leading architects of the country, so that his training and experience were broad and valuable. At length he began practicing his profession in Colorado Springs, where he remained until 1896, when he came to Omaha and accepted a position in the office of Cleves Brothers, while later he was with Charles Cleves, following the dissolution of that partnership. He continued with Mr. Cleves until 1906, when he opened an office on his own account, and has since followed his profession, in which connection his ability has brought him a liberal clientage. In point of patronage he is classed among the leading architects of Nebraska and the west and his ability is demonstrated in the fine class of buildings which he has erected, including the Plaza Hotel, Hotel Neville, the Flomar Hotel, the Delmar apartments, the medical laboratory of Creighton University and many other prominent buildings of the city and of the state. He has also built all of the Eagles' Homes in Douglas county and several Masonic Temples in the state.

On the 31st of October, 1901, in Omaha, was celebrated the marriage of Mr. Davey and Miss Lauretta Boyd, a native of Dubuque, Iowa. Mr. Davey has never allied himself with any political party but in fraternal relations is well known. He has attained the Knight Templar degree of the York and the thirty-second degree of the Scottish Rite in Masonry and is also a member of the Mystic Shrine. He likewise belongs to the Benevolent Protective Order of Elks, the Royal Arcanum and the Fraternal Order of Eagles and his membership further extends to the Omaha Athletic and Carter Lake clubs. His life is guided by his faith as a member of the Episcopal church. He finds his recreation largely in the study of literature and has an extensive private library including many rare and beautiful works. In all of his life he has never been content to choose the second best and early came to an understanding of the fact that the greatest joy is that which comes through intellectual stimulus.

Omaha: The Gate City and Douglas County Nebraska
A Record of Settlement, Organization, Progress and Achievement 1917
By Arthur C. Wakeley
Submitted by DD


Louis F. Etter

Louis F. Etter, superintendent of the South Omaha postoffice, was born in Ithaca, New York, November 15, 1868, a son of Fred J. and Flavilla (Hagin) Etter, the former a native of Switzerland and the latter of New York. The mother's people were of Scotch and Irish descent and the family was founded in New York in colonial days. Her grandfather was a native of Belfast, Ireland. In young manhood Fred J. Etter came to America, settling in the Empire state, where he afterward met and married Flavilla Hagin. In early life he engaged in boating on the Erie canal and for many years he ran a line of boats on the canal, being captain of his fleet. Later he disposed of his interests in the business and removed with his family to Cambridge, Illinois, in 1876. There he established a mercantile business, in which he was actively engaged until 1890. He then came to Omaha, locating on the south side, where he continued merchandis-ing until 1898, when he was appointed postmaster, which position he filled front that time until his death, which occurred on the 13th of November, 1906, when he had reached the age of sixty-nine years. He was a veteran of the Civil war, having enlisted in the Thirty-second New York Regiment of Infantry. Later he became a member of the Fifteenth New York Cavalry and while at the front participated in fifty-nine battles and skirmishes, being wounded on two occasions while in action. He went to the front as a private but became quartermaster sergeant and took part in the southern campaigns with the Army of the Potomac. His widow survived him until December 25, 1915, passing away at the age of seventy-two years, her birth having occurred in 1843. In the family were three children: Oscar M., now living in Twin Falls, Idaho; Louis F.; and Fred G., a resident of South Omaha.

Louis F. Etter was very young when the family removed to Cambridge, Illinois, so that he pursued his education in the schools there, completing a four years' high school course. For two years he received private instruction in night school, working in the day time. He then became assistant to a well known physician and surgeon, in whose service he remained for three years, and during that period he learned much concerning the practice of both medicine and surgery. Later he returned to his father's home and entered into business with him. Starting at the bottom, he gradually worked his way upward until he had thoroughly mastered mercantile interests in principle and detail. He became chief of the South Omaha Fire Department in 1900, remaining at the head of the department for four years, or through 1903. He was then appointed assistant postmaster and on the 21st of December, 1910, was appointed postmaster, which position he filled until January 3, 1913, when Greater Omaha was organized and the general postoffice became that of Omaha proper. He was then made superintendent of the South Omaha office, which position he has since efficiently filled. Over the record of his long public service there falls no shadow of wrong nor suspicion of evil, his course being at all times most commendable and satisfactory to the public. He is likewise a director of the Commercial Building & Loan Association.

On the 8th of December, 1897. Mr. Etter was united in marriage to Miss Carrie Hudelson, of South Omaha, a daughter of Mr. and Mrs. James T. Hudelson of Tipton, Iowa, and they have three children: James F., who was born in South Omaha in 1898; Harold B., born in 1900; and Lois W., born in 1909, all of whom are attending school.

The family attend the Methodist Episcopal church. Mr. Etter is a thirty-second degree Mason and a member of the Mystic Shrine and he also has membership with the Odd Fellows, the Royal Arcanum, the Modern Brotherhood and other fraternal and social organizations. He owes his advancement entirely to his own efforts, laudable ambition and persistency of purpose. He managed to acquire an education through a recognition of the value thereof, his own well devised plans enabling him to continue his studies at night school when it was no longer possible for him to attend the day schools. He stands high in the public regard as a man and as a citizen and in his official career has ever been faultless in honor, fearless in conduct and stainless in reputation.

Omaha: The Gate City and Douglas County Nebraska
A Record of Settlement, Organization, Progress and Achievement 1917
By Arthur C. Wakeley
Submitted by DD


Robert Beecher Howell

Robert Beecher Howell, general manager of the metropolitan water district of Omaha, was born in Adrian, Michigan, in 1864, a son of Hon. Andrew Howell, who was born in the state of New York in 1828 and when three years of age was taken to Michigan by his father, Dr. Joseph Howell. The family is of Welsh descent, the immigrant ancestor coming to America early in the eighteenth century. Representatives of the name served in the Revolutionary war, including Joseph Howell, the great-grandfather of Robert B. Howell. Andrew Howell was reared in Michigan and became a distinguished member of the bar of the state. He served on the bench as judge of the first judicial district of Michigan and was also at one time a member of the state senate. He was married in 1856 to Miss Mary Adelia Beecher Tower and continued his residence in Detroit until he passed away in 1904, while his wife's death occurred in Omaha in 1914.

After attending the high school at Adrian, Michigan, Robert B. Howell was appointed to Annapolis and was graduated with the class of 1885. He remained in the navy for two years, after which he resigned and in 1888 he came to Omaha as an engineer for the American Water Works Company of Illinois, with which he remained for two years. On the expiration of that period he turned his attention to the engineering and contracting business and so continued until 1895, when he was appointed state engineer of Nebraska, being the first to hold that office. He served for one term and then accepted the appointment of city engineer of Omaha, in which position he continued until 1897, when he entered the navy as a lieutenant in the Spanish-American war. He served through the period of hostilities and participated in important naval maneuvers, entering Ponce, Porto Rico, with the army. After the war he returned to Omaha, where he resumed the practice of his profession, in which he has since continued, being now general manager of the waterworks in the city.

During the years of his residence in Omaha, Mr. Howell has been prominent in the public lite of community and state. In 1902 he was elected to represent his district in the state senate, in which he served for one term. In 1904 he was made a member of the water board of Omaha and in the same year was elected for a term of six years, while in 1910 and also in 1916 he was again chosen for that position. In 1912 he was appointed water commissioner of the city of Omaha and in 1913 general manager of the metropolitan water district of Omaha and so continues. In 1912 and again in 1916 he was chosen in a state wide primary a member of the republican national committee, and subsequently in 1916 a member of the executive committee of the republican national committee. In 1896 he was appointed by President Cleveland a member of the board of visitors for the naval academy at Annapolis. He has always given stalwart support to the republican party and his efforts in its behalf have been far-reaching and beneficial.

On the 12th of September, 1905, in Denver, Colorado, Mr. Howell was united in marriage to Mrs. Alice (Chase) Cullingham, who by her first husband had a son, James Cullingham. Mr. Howell is a Master Mason and an Elk. He belongs also to the Presbyterian church and in club circles he is well known, holding membership in the University Club, the Happy Hollow Golf Club, the Commercial Club, the Omaha Club, the Army and Navy Club of Washington and the Army and Navy Club of New York.

Omaha: The Gate City and Douglas County Nebraska
A Record of Settlement, Organization, Progress and Achievement 1917
By Arthur C. Wakeley
Submitted by DD


Dr. Charles Rosewater, M. D.

Dr. Charles Rosewater, engaged in the general practice of medicine in Omaha, has also done splendid work in the educational field as one of the instructors in the Creighton Medical College. He was born in Cleveland, Ohio, in 1859. His father, Herman Rosewater, a native of Bohemia, was born in 1807 and in 1854 came to the United States. He was married in Bohemia to Rosalie Kohn on the 15th of March, 1838, and both passed away in Cleveland, Ohio, the former in 1878 and the latter in 1885.

In the Cleveland schools Dr. Rosewater pursued his education until graduated from the high school with the class of 1876. He afterward spent two winters in the Wooster Medical College at Cleveland and later attended a medical college at Wiirzburg, Germany, from which he was graduated in 1879. Later he pursued postgraduate work in Vienna and upon returning to the United States opened an office in Cleveland, where he practiced for five years. On the expiration of that period he returned to Vienna and also went to Prague for postgraduate work. At the end of a year he took up a summer postgraduate course in New York city and in 1903 he was a postgraduate student in Chicago. His identification with Omaha dates from 1886 and for fifteen years he occupied the chair of obstetrics in the Creighton Medical College, of which he is now professor emeritus. Since 1906 he has been in general practice in Omaha and his patronage is extensive and important. He is examiner for the Massachusetts Mutual, the State Mutual, Fidelity Mutual, United States National, Germania, German-American, Equitable (of Iowa), Manhattan Life and Preferred Accident Insurance Companies, and he is president of the board of examining surgeons for pensions for the United States, on which board he has served for fifteen years.

On the 24th of April, 1893, in Omaha, Dr. Rosewater was united in marriage to Miss Clara Schlesinger, daughter of S. Schlesinger, who is deceased. They have a daughter, Irene, who was graduated from the Omaha high school in 1914 and is now attending Smith College of Northampton, Massachusetts. In religious faith Dr. Rosewater is a Hebrew. He is a Master Mason and in politics a republican, but throughout his entire life he has largely confined his efforts and attention to his professional duties, and broad reading and study have kept him in close touch with modern progress and scientific investigation along the lines of medical practice. He belongs to the Omaha-Douglas County Medical Society, the Nebraska State Medical Association and the American Medical Association and has been secretary and vice president of the first named.

Omaha: The Gate City and Douglas County Nebraska
A Record of Settlement, Organization, Progress and Achievement 1917
By Arthur C. Wakeley
Submitted by DD


Claude Milton Skinner

Claude Milton Skinner, well known in Ralston as president of the Ralston State Bank, was born in St. Joseph, Missouri, July 5, 1877, a son of John and Emma (Likes) Skinner, both natives of Iowa. The former was born in Lee county and was a son of William Skinner, a native of Maryland. The wife of William Skinner, who bore the maiden name of Eleanor Ferree, was of Huguenot stock and a representative of one of the early colonial families of America. The paternal grandparents of Claude M. Skinner rode a single horse across the mountains to Ohio and afterward became pioneer settlers of Lee county, Iowa, taking up their abode in that district when the Indians were still there. He acted as an agent for the government in looking after public lands and subsequently he engaged in farming. At one time he was a large landowner but met with reverses. His activities were a potent element in the development of the district in which he lived and he enjoyed the respect and goodwill of his friends and neighbors. His death occurred when he had reached the age of eighty-seven years. Philip Likes, the maternal grandfather of C. M. Skinner, was born in West Virginia and removed from that state to Mills, Iowa, while subsequently he became a resident of Hamilton county, Nebraska. He afterward made his home in Aurora, Nebraska, where he died at the age of seventy-two years. He was a criminal lawyer of some note.

In early manhood John Skinner engaged in teaching school for some time and removing to Seward, Nebraska, was soon afterward married in Iowa. He later went to St. Joseph, Missouri, and when two years had passed he returned to Mills county, Iowa, where he remained until 1884. In that year he became a resident of Ord, Nebraska, where he resided for two years, and later he removed to Taylor, Nebraska, where he took up a homestead and proved up on his claim. There he remained until 1891 or 1892, when, owing to a drought which caused crop failures, he removed to Hamilton county, Nebraska, where he carried on general agricultural pursuits until his demise, passing away January 15, 1916. He was a good citizen, loyal in matters of public moment and thoroughly reliable in his business dealings.

Claude M. Skinner was the eldest in a family of four children, of whom three were sons. He received his elementary education at Ord and continued his studies in Taylor county at Aurora, but the greater part of his education was acquired as a student in the Fremont Normal Academy, He took up the profession of teaching, which he successfully followed for about seven years. In 1901 he became a resident of Omaha and taught stenography for one term Later he turned his attention to newspaper work, representing the Nonpareil of Council Bluffs, Iowa, for a year and a half in connection with the advertising department. At the end of that period he was given entire charge of the advertising department and continued in Council Bluffs until 1906, when he moved to Omaha and became advertising manager of the Omaha Daily News. He next entered the employ of the Shimer & Chase Company, real estate dealers, with whom he remained until 1908. He then accepted the management of the Ralston Townsite Company and in conjunction with Mr. Shimer platted the townsite, planned and financiered the project and put the land on the market. He brought about many sales through judicious advertising and largely contributed to the up building of the town. In the spring of 1913 he organized the Ralston State Bank, which he expected to open on the 24th of March of that year, but on Sunday night the terrible cyclone occurred which caused the death of nine people, while many buildings were destroyed, including the bank building and all its property. This necessitated a delay in the opening of the bank but in November of that year business operations were begun by the institution. Mr. Skinner was made president of the bank and has so continued, L. S. Packard becoming the first cashier. The bank has had a steady growth and now has gross assets of over one hundred thousand dollars. The present brick building was erected for bank purposes and the bank is well housed, while the business methods of the institution ensure its success. Mr. Skinner has also had charge of the selling of lots in the town and showed his confidence in the future of the place by personal investment. He has not confined his activities to Ralston, however, for he has organized and promoted a number of business projects in Douglas county. He was one of the organizers of the State Bank of Omaha, in which undertaking he interested F. L. Schantz, who has from the beginning been the president of the institution. Mr. Skinner also successfully organized the Burns Baking Company and assisted his brother in organizing the Skinner Manufacturing Company at Fourteenth and Jackson streets and he has been an active participant in a number of other successful and growing business enterprises.

On the 1st of June, 1901, occurred the marriage of Mr. Skinner and Miss Anna Kramer, of Aurora, Nebraska, a daughter of William Kramer, a pioneer of that state. The children of this marriage are: Zelma Alice, now attending high school; John, also in school; Ruth; and Claude Milton, Jr.

Mr. Skinner was the first mayor of Ralston and by re-election served a second term. He was chairman of the relief committee at the time of the cyclone and his organizing ability enabled him to rebuild the town. He was largely instrumental in installing the present excellent waterworks and sewer systems and in putting in the paving and the cement sidewalks. He has a wide acquaintance in the town in which he makes his home and his circle of friends has become coextensive with the circle of his acquaintance. His life has been fraught with good results and he has constantly reached out along broadening lines of activity and usefulness. When the cyclone occurred and practically destroyed the town he did not lose heart but started out to upbuild it again and the same spirit of courage and determination has been manifest in everything that he has undertaken.

Omaha: The Gate City and Douglas County Nebraska
A Record of Settlement, Organization, Progress and Achievement 1917
By Arthur C. Wakeley
Submitted by DD


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