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John Joseph Meyer


Posted By: volunteer transcriber
Date: 3/13/2004 at 22:18:59


John Joseph Meyer, who is living retired in Hallam, Buda precinct, has been active in a number of fields of endeavor and has met with gratifying success in all that he has undertaken. For many years he engaged in farming, subsequently conducted a hardware and implement business and still later served as cashier of the Hallam Bank. He also assisted in organizing the Cooperative Telephone Company of Hallam, in which he is still financially interested. Mr. Meyer was born in Clayton county, Iowa, on the 14th of April, 1847, a son of John Henry and Eliza (Spellman) Meyer, who were born in Hanover, Germany. On removing to Lancaster county Mr. Meyer purchased one hundred and sixty acres of railroad land on section 21, Buda township, and an eighty acre tract on section 28, and later he bought ten hundred and fifteen acres in Saltillo precinct.

He devoted his life to agricultural pursuits, engaging in farming and stock-raising on all extensive scale. John J. Meyer was reared in Clayton county and after putting aside his textbooks worked for his father until 1868, when he came to Lancaster county, Nebraska, to look at some land which his father was thinking of buying. He was favorably impressed with conditions here and as the result of his report concerning the county and the fertility of the soil the family removed here in the spring of 1869. A short time later John J. Meyer took up a homestead of eighty acres on section 28, Buda precinct, but continued to reside with his parents upon his father's farm.

In 1870 he broke forty acres of his own land and in the spring of that year purchased half interest in a threshing machine outfit, which he operated during the summer and fall. In the following spring he took up his residence upon his farm, he and a neighbor, G. Rippen, keeping "bachelor's hall." Following his marriage, which occurred in 1873, he built a frame house, fourteen by sixteen feet in dimensions, which was later replaced by a commodious residence. He brought his farm to a high state of development and concentrated his energies upon its operation until the fall of 1894. He then retired from farming and removed to Hallam, Buda precinct.

This town was platted in 1893, when the Rock Island Railroad was built through the county, and Mr. Meyer, seeing the excellent opportunity to build up a prosperous business in the new town, formed a partnership with Charles Severin and engaged in the implement and hardware business under the name of Meyer & Severin. They were the first merchants in Hallam and gained a gratifying patronage. Subsequently Mr. Severin sold his interest in the store to William Elfeldt and the firm name became Meyer & Elfeldt. This association was maintained until August, 1898, when they sold the business to William Roke. Mr. Meyer then turned his attention to banking, aiding in organizing the Bank of Hallam, which opened its doors for business on the 1st of December of that year.

He was its first cashier and filled that position continuously for fourteen years, or until the fall of 1908. He then sold his interest in the institution and retired from business. He still owns his farm, which he rents, and is also interested in the Cooperative Telephone Company at Hallam, which he aided in organizing. In 1913 he built a beautiful residence in Hallam, in which he has since lived. On the 13th of March, 1873, the marriage of Mr. Meyer and Miss Louisa Heidecker was celebrated upon his father's homestead near Roca. Mrs. Meyer was born in Clayton county, Iowa, on the 1st of July 1852, and was reared within six miles of the home of her husband, but they never met until both had become residents of Lancaster county.

Her parents, Christian and Barbara (Walter ) Heidecker, were both natives of Bavaria, Germany, and on emigrating to the United States settled in Clayton county, Iowa, which was then a frontier district. The father worked as a day laborer for a number of years but in 1869 came to Lancaster county, and homesteaded land on section 22, Buda precinct. At length, having accumulated a competence, he retired from active life but continued to reside on the farm, where he passed away on the 7th of November 1900. His wife died upon the home place on the 26th of February 1912, and both are buried in the Hallam cemetery.

Mr. Meyer is a stalwart advocate of democratic principles and loyally supports that party at the polls. For ten years he was a member of the School board in district No. 114 and he can always be depended upon to take an interest in everything that concerns the public welfare. He holds membership in the Hallam Congregational church and its work profits by his support and cooperation. He has resided in Lancaster county since pioneer times and has not only witnessed its rapid development but has also been a factor in its advancement along various lines. Through industry and good judgment he has gained financial independence and has also gained an enviable reputation for fair dealing.

- source: "LINCOLN The Capitol City and Lancaster County, Nebraska" Published Chicago, Illinois; The S. J. Clarke Publishing Company; 1916

- transcribed by Kathie Harrison
Coordinator, Lancaster Co. NEGenWeb Project
(posted to the Clayton co. IAGenWeb with her permission)

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