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Henry T. Ream


Omaha Valley Cemetery

Courtesy Jim Childers - Find-a-Grave

Henry T. Ream was born on Nov. 3, 1822 in or near Ursina, Somerset County, PA, the son of Samuel W. and Mary (Rheims) Ream. He was a pioneer settler of Nebraska.

He was twice married. His first wife was Jane McCarthy (1823-1864?).

Their known children were Marcellus M. Ream, Charles H. Ream, Emma Ream, Mary McBeath, Abi Ream, Ella Ream, Fanny Jane Easton, Missouri U. Ream, John Hendrickson Ream and Clara Ream.

Sadly, death snatched away three of the Ream children in young childhood -- among them Abi in 1853, Ella in 1858 and Clara on Sept. 2, 1864. They are buried in Omaha Valley Cemetery in Homer, NE.

In 1853, Henry and Jane made a monumental decision to relocate to the far west. They first came to Iowa, stopping in Agency City, and then moved into Wisconsin, where their daughter Emma was born in 1854. Then, they pushed further into Iowa, and cross the state headed toward Nebraska Territory. Then the Reams crossed over the Missouri River and arrived in Nebraska on May 1, 1856. The 1893 book, Warner's History of Dakota County, Nebraska: From the Days of the Pioneers and First Settlers to the Present Time, said this of Henry, having crossed the Missouri River:


Almeda Ream

Courtesy BJW / Find-a-Grave

Before him stretched one vast wilderness where the trade of civilization was yet unknown. he made his way afoot to the highbluffs where Col. Baird afterwards located. The grass and weeds were more than ten feet high, and it was, indeed, a weary journey. But long before he again reached the Iowa shore, the marvelous richness and fertility of the soil had been fully determined by him. To himself he kept repeating over and over again: "Upon this fair land I will settle, and it shall ever more be my home."

Many years later, the Dakota County Herald said that "history tells us that he was the only solitary white man on the soil of northern Nebraska that day." After his arrival, his wife and family followed from Sergeant Bluffs to "old Omadi" where they lived in a tent until building a house. The growing community of Omadi sat at the mouth of Omaha Creek along the Missouri River. But the river began to erode the erode away the riverbank and threatened the 40 or so houses that had been built. By 1865, the river had completely immersed the site, and the town literally was washed off the map.

The Nebraska State Journal once said of Henry that he was "one of the principal factors in the upbuilding of Dakota county, at different times being sheriff, coroner, assessor, county commissioner and taking active engagement in social affairs." His three terms as commissioner commenced on Oct. 10, 1864 -- Oct. 7, 1876 -- and Nov. 4, 1879.


Warner's History of Dakota County, Nebraska

When the federal census was taken in 1860, the Reams' home was in Omadi Township, Dakota County, with Henry employed as a hotel keeper. He and friends Col. Warner, William Silence, Ziber Milalge and Rev. Munhall once used a seine fishing net to drag Blyburg Lake, and on the first try pulled in enough fish to fill three wagon beds full. He taught the first Sunday School class in the community. Once in 1857, local men went on a whiskey-drinking rampage, threatening to force whiskey into Henry's throat with a funnel. In holding them at bay, he thundered, "Gentlemen, I am not going to drink, and now if you want anything more, just come along," but the men declined, not wanting to test his fighting abilities.

Sadly, Jane passed away sometime between 1864 and 1867.

In 1867, at the age of 45, Henry wed his second wife, 33-year-old Almeda (Burnham) Hirsch (Oct. 27, 1834- ? ), a native of Nauvoo, IL and the widow of French immigrant and butcher Abraham Hirsch (1815- ? ). The Hirsches had migrated with their daughters to Omadi on March 1, 1856, but a day later, little Laura died, "and there was no lumber to be had in the town to make a coffin," said the Herald. "One man took enough boards from his cabin floor for the purpose. Mrs. Jesse Wigle (long since deceased) the only other white woman in the county, came and aided in every way she could. Following this bereavement it was eight weeks before she saw a white woman again."

Almeda lost another daughter Della in 1864 prior to her marriage with our Henry. Other children she brought to the Ream union were Henrietta Hirsch, Luella A. "Lue" Hirsch and Frank M. Hirsch. Her first husband died in Bon Homme, SD. Said the Herald, "The first meeting for the organization of the county and election of officers was held in her home."


Henry's entry in Warner's History
of Dakota County, Nebraska

Henry and Almeda produced five additional children -- Dr. Nina M. Smith, Mabel Edna Ream, Leon Laverne Ream, Dr. William Roy "Will" Ream and Henry Ream Jr. Son Henry Jr. is believed to have died young.

As settlers, they lived near the farm of Col. Barnabas Bates, and once secretly removed some of the colonel's honey that did not belong to them. According to Warner's History of Dakota County, Bates:

...noticed a large number of bees on some cobs and watching take their flight soon found their home in a large leaning burr-oak tree, just over the brow of the hill to the north. He expected to cut it that fall but when he went down he found that some one had been ahead of him and taken the honey away, after hiving the bees in a box where they were busily at work. It was Henry Ream and his son Marcel who had cheated him out of his honey, but this fact he did not know until the lapse of nearly thirty years, and, of course, it was not worth while quarrelling about it then. Henry Ream now has a large number of stands of bees and could easily return the borrowed honey with thirty years interest thereon.


William Clark (left) and Meriwether Lewis, whose expedition passed the future Ream farm

At the top of the bluffs of their farm, many decades earlier, the Lewis and Clark Expedition has marched by, observing hundreds of graves of Omaha natives, all of whom had died of smallpox, their graves being visible as late as the 1890s.

By 1867, the Reams moved into Dakota City, Dakota County, making their home in the Bates House hotel of which Henry was proprietor. In addition to six children, 13-year-old Luella Hursh, 10-year-old Frank C. Hursh and 35-year-old physician G.W. Wilkinson lived under their roof. Henry was a founding member of the Dakota City Literary Society in 1867, joined by his son Marcellus and daughters Fannie and Mary.

The Bates House was said by the Dakota Republican to have been "large and commodious" and upgraded "in the most improved Style, and is now ready to Addommodate The Public. charges Reasonable. Good Stabling Attached."

Henry and his sons Marcellus and George made a remarkable discovery on New Year's Day 1871, finding the wreck of the lost steamer Nugget on a sandbar in the Missouri River. The boat had sunk five years earlier, "at a point two miles up the river from the mouth of Omaha creek," said M.M. Warner's 1893 book Warner's History.


Story about Henry's discovery of the wreck of
the steamer Nugget in the Missouri River

A company was formed and considerable property taken from the wreck, such as flour, meat, whisky, spades, shovels, and other tools. The "wrecking company" was composed of the following members: George T. Woods, Harlon Baird, Gideon Warner, henry and M.M. Ream, John G. Ogden, Charley Martin, George shiebley, George Bayha, Andrew Forbs, James Willis, Britton Willis and Charley Ream. Charley Martin had the misfortune to contract a severe spell of sickness from exposure to the old while working at the boat, which resulted in his loss of hearing and speech.

Apparently nostalgic about triumphing over pioneer challenges, or perhaps as a social outlet with longtime friends, Henry joined with a number of friends to form the Pioneers and Old Settlers' Association on Aug. 26, 1882, an idea which had been discussed for years. The other founders were his brother in law George T. Woods, A.H. Baker, Thomas Ashford Sr., Capt. Cornelius O'Connor, William Nixon, Col. J.F. Warner, J.W. Davis, M.S. Mansfield Sr., J.O. Fisher, Dennis Armour, John Braunt, Dennis Duggan, Joseph Brannan, Gen. Joseph Hollman, E.L. Wilbur, William Frazier, Herb Harris, Thomas Smith and M.M. Warner. The first reunion of the group was held Sept. 23, 1882, with Col. Warner speaking about "the very first settlers and the rapid growth of the county to date."


Omaha Valley Cemetery

Courtesy Jim Childers - Find-a-Grave

Henry died at home in Dakota City on Jan. 15, 1901. In an obituary, the State Journal of Lincoln called him a "Dakota County Pioneer" and said he had suffered "an illness of about a year, superinduced by a fall, in which he sustained a broken hip... He was in his seventy-ninth year, and leaves a wife and eight children, all of whom are residents of this county. A sister, Mrs. George T. Woods, also resides here." His remains were laid to rest in Potter's Cemetery, today known as Omaha Valley Cemetery, near Homer. [Find-a-Grave]

Almeda outlived her second husband by a number of years. On Aug. 5, 1910, she was profiled and pictured in the Dakota County Herald, which referred to her as "now THE pioneer woman of Dakota county." Heartache blanketed Almeda and her family upon learning that her son Dr. William Ream, a major with the American Expeditionary Force during World War I, was killed in an airplane crash.

Her final fate has not yet been discovered.

The Reams are outlined in the 1939 book Genealogy of the Stukey, Ream, Grove, Clem and Denniston Families by Elmer Leonidas Denniston.


~ Son Marcellus M. Ream ~

Son Marcellus M. Ream (1847-1925) was born on April 14, 1847 (or 1848 or 1849) in Somerset County, PA.

As a young man, he pitched for the Dakota City baseball team, which had a reputation as one of the best in the northeastern part of Nebraska. He also became the stuff of local lore when taking several strangers from Dakota City to Covington in an era before railroad travel was available. M.M. Warner's 1893 book Warner's History of Dakota County, Nebraska: From the Days of the Pioneers, says that the men agreed to pay Marcellus $2.50 each. "When they reached the river bank, it was just getting dark, and Mr. Ream remarked that as it had been so warm that day the river was probably was unsafe, whereupon the strangers volunteered to go down and see if the river was safe -- which was the last he ever saw of the men or the $2.50, that they were to pay him, and to this day Marcellus wonders if the river was really safe."


Marcellus' biography in Warner's
History of Dakota County, Nebraska

On May 8, 1871, at the age of 24, Marcellus was united in marriage with Ledonia J. Broyhill (Dec. 12, 1850-1943), an Iowa native and the daughter of W.I. and Margaret (Hutchinson) Broyhill. They produced one known daughter, Edna Ethel Judd.

Circa 1880, the Reams dwelled in Dakota City, Dakota County, where Marcellus earned a living as a common laborer, and stated that he was without work three months out of the year.

Marcellus was interested in the cultural and intellectual development of their new community and in November 1867, he and his father and other kin were co-founders of the Dakota City Literary Society. Circa 1893, he operated an "implement store" in Dakota City.

When the census again was taken in 1900, the Reams were back in Dakota, with Marcellus earning a living as an agent for a machinery and paper company. Circa 1904, they owned a ranch in South Dakota, as did neighbors Mabel and Walter Cheney, spending time there and in Dakota during the year. In 1907, he was selected as clerk of the election board of Dakota City. That same year, he sold a three-year-old colt to a man named Jones for $300, and used the profit to invest in a town lot in Morningside.

Census records for 1910 list the family in Sioux City, Woodbury County, IA, residing with their married daughter and son-in-law, and Marcellus earning his wages as a carpenter.


Sioux City, Iowa -- Fourth Street looking east from Douglas Street


Marcellus made news in the Nebraska State Journal of Lincoln in June 1917 in a list of Nebraskans who had lived in the state for 50 years or more. He served on the Amusement Committee of the Pioneers and Old Settlers Reunion.

Then by 1920, still residing in Sioux City, he worked as a night watchman at a garage.

In September 1920, the Reams migrated to Southern California, settling in Los Angeles County. He met with a freak accident in December of that year, when working on the garage roof of the home he was constructing, falling and becoming badly injured. News of his fall was reported in his hometown newspaper, the Dakota County Herald, edited by his brother John.

Marcellus and Ledonia celebrated their golden wedding anniversary on May 8, 1921. In a letter to his brother John back in Dakota City, Marcellus wrote "of the wonderful roads and scenery in California, and how they have it all over Nebraska on that score; but for corn and hogs -- well, he says, 'they are not so good in California'."

Marcellus died on Aug. 26, 1925 in Los Angeles County, with burial in Inglewood Park Cemetery in Inglewood.

Ledonia survived her husband by nearly 18 years. In 1930, her home was in Los Angeles with her married daughter and son-in-law. She succumbed on Jan. 30, 1943.

Daughter Edna Ethel Ream (1876-1966) was born on May 7, 1876, most likely in Dakota, Dakota County, NE. At the age of 24 in 1900, unmarried, she lived at home with her parents in Dakota and worked as a book keeper for a meat market. In about 1906, Edna was united in holy matrimony with Iowa native Clifford Roy Judd (Aug. 21, 1877-1950), son of (?) and (?) (White) Judd. They did not reproduce. During the Spanish American War, Clifford served as a private with the 12th Minnesota Infantry. The Dakota County Herald reported in September 1906 that Clifford had acquired the Laurel Laundry in Sioux City, Woodbury County, IA. The couple resided in 1910 in Sioux City, in a home on 11th Street with her parents living under their roof. That year, Clifford worked at the laundry, and Edna as as stenographer for a real estate firm. By 1920, continuing to live on 11th Street, he was employed as a postal mail carrier, and she as a bookkeeper for a department store. In a major life change, Clifford accepted a transfer within the postal service and relocated to Los Angeles, Los Angeles County, CA during the 1920s. The 1930 census shows the Judds, and Edna's widowed mother, living together on West 59th Place. He was a member of the United Spanish War Veterans, and was elected local commander and later as national commander in the 1930s. Edna herself was elected national secretary. Over the years, they helped organize the USWV's Minstrel Revue fundraiser composed of singers, dancers and comedians. Clifford died in Los Angeles on Aug. 6, 1950, with a brief death notice appearing in the Los Angeles Times. Edna survived for another 16 years and passed away in Los Angeles on Aug. 1, 1966, at the age of 90. They rest together in Inglewood Park Cemetery. [Find-a-Grave]


~ Son Charles H. Ream ~

Son Charles H. Ream (1849- ? ) was born in November 1849 in Somerset County, PA. As a young boy, he migrated west with his parents and siblings, eventually settling in Dakota County, NE.

At the age of 20 in 1870, unmarried, he lived at home in Dakota City, Dakota County, and worked as a laborer. Later that same year, he was joined in matrimony with Sina McPherson (May 1852- ? ). She was a native of Indiana and the daughter of Iowa and Nebraska pioneers Joseph S. and Nancy A. (Deere) McPherson, the father having served in the Union Army during the Civil War.


Marcellus' brief entry in Warner's
History of Dakota County, Nebraska

The Reams produced nine offspring -- with the known names including Carl Ream, Bert Ream, Thomas M. Ream, Mary Ream, Chester N. Ream, Lillian R. Ream, John N. Ream, Mabel A. Crego and Kide Ream.

Federal census records for 1880 show the family making its home in Dakota, Dakota County, NE, where Charles earned a living as a common laborer. They remained for decades and in 1900 were enumerated in the census as farmers. In 1910, their home was on Jackson Street in Dakota City, with the 59-year-old Charles providing farm labor.

Charles and his brothers Marcellus and John made news in the Nebraska State Journal of Lincoln in June 1917 in a list of Nebraskans who had lived in the state for 50 years or more.

By 1920, they were retired and still in Dakota, with unmarried son Thomas in the home.

Their final fates are not yet known.

Son Carl Ream (1871-1937) was born in 1871 in Nebraska. He married (?) Antrim ( ? - ? ). Circa 1906, when a son was born, they dwelled in the town of Homer, NE. In 1907, the Dakota County Herald reported that their youngest child was "not expected to live. It was ill first with dysentery and now has brain fever." He accepted employment in December 1916 as a night watchman for the Northwestern Railroad in Sioux City, IA. He died in 1937 and rests in Omaha Valley Cemetery in Homer, NE.

Son Bert Ream (1873- ? ) was born in 1873 in Nebraska. When he was 38 years of age, in 1911, he spent two months in a hospital in Stillwater, MN, having contracted a serious caswe of pneumonia.

Son Thomas M. Ream (1875- ? ) was born in November 1875 in Nebraska. He was unmarried through the age of 45 (circa 1920) and lived at home, helping with farm work. Circa 1908, he and his brother John operated a farm in Union County, SD, returning home occasionally for visits.

Daughter Mary Ream (1876- ? ) was born in 1876 in Nebraska.

Son Chester N. Ream (1879- ? ) was born in December 1879 in Dakota City, NE.

Daughter Lillian R. Ream (1884- ? ) was born in September 1884 in Dakota City, NE. She was a local school teacher in Dakota County in 1910, at the age of 28, and resided with her parents.

Son John N. Ream (1886- ? ) was born in September 1886 in Dakota City, NE. He provided farm labor at home at the age of 22 in 1910. Circa 1908, he and his brother Thomas resided in South Dakota at a farm they operated in Elk Point in or near Union County. In October 1908, having been away from home for a year, John was arrested in Union County and charged with "seduction." He was released when no evidence was furnished to prove the claim. He is believed to have married a daughter of Joseph Benjamin and Margaret (Payne) Mattingly.

Daughter Mabel A. Ream (1888- ? ) was born in February 1888 in Dakota City, NE. On June 27, 1917, in a ceremony held at Gillette, WO, Mabel was married to Clyde Crego. In reporting on the wedding, the Dakota City Herald noted that "Mr. Crego has a claim near that place, where the newly wedded couple will make their future home. The best wishes of their many friends here are extended to the happy couple." She was active with the Dakota County Chapter of the American Red Cross.

Son Kide Ream ( ? - ? ) was born in (?). He married (?) Williams ( ? - ? ), daughter of J. Williams. The couple produced four-plus children. They resided in Ponca, NE in 1915 but later in the year moved into the "Leedom house" west of the lumber yard in Dakota City. A year later, they moved again, into the William Lorenz house in the eastern section of town. Then in 1917, they moved once more to Westfield, IA, where Kide had rented a farm for the summer months. They remained in Westfield for a number of years.


~ Daughter Mary (Ream) McBeath ~

Daughter Mary Ream (1851-1949) was born on Sept. 5, 1851 in Pennsylvania. As a girl, she relocated with her family to Iowa, Wisconsin and Nebraska.

On Nov. 20, 1869, when she would have been age 17, she wedded 35-year-old pioneer and Civil War veteran William C. McBeath (Nov. 15, 1833-1886), a native of Wayne County, KY. The nuptials were held in Sioux City, Woodbury County, IA, officiated by Rev. John A. Copeland.

They became the parents of George W. McBeath and Gertie Best.

William stood 5 feet, 8½ inches tall, weighed 135 lbs. and had a fair complexion, light hair and hazel eyes. He had arrived in Nebraska in the spring of 1856, crossing over the Missouri river, at which time he "branded Nebraska as his state, Dakota as his county and Omadi for his home," said his short biography in the 1893 book, Warner's History of Dakota County, Nebraska: From the Days of the Pioneers and First Settlers to the Present Time. That summer, he and D.W. Griffy followed an old Indian trail to what later became the town of Covington, and "along their journey they saw no signs of civilization," said the book.


William McBeath biography in Warner's
History of Dakota County, Nebraska

As Omadi became more of a town, William saw an opportunity to make money and serve fellow pioneers heading west, said Warner's History:

Here he was engaged in the mercantile business for nearly three years. He was a kind and generous hearted man, and the suffering caused by the severe winters of 1856 and 1857 offered an opportunity for testing these predominating traits of character. "Times were hard," the pioneers were on the eve of starvation and future prospect for Dakota county was decidedly gloomy. But this generous hearted merchant of Omadi was equal to the emergency. He sent word to all the needy pioneers that they could have flour or anything else he had in his store and pay for it when they got able to do so. Although thirty years of wonderful changes have passed away, those pioneers, now grown old, with whitened locks, still revere and hold in sacred remembrance the honored name of Wm. C. McBeath.

One of William's known customers was Col. Charles D. Martin, who once purchased a keg of nails from him for only 10 cents per pound at a time when merchants in Sioux City, IA were charging 12½ cents. Another was William Nixon, who bought five sacks of flour before constructing his home in preparation for the winter of 1856-1857.

During the Civil War, on Jan. 24, 1862, William joined the Union Army and was assigned to the "Curtis Horse" unit later renamed the 5th Iowa Cavalry, Company D, commanded by Col. W.W. Lowe. He and Col. Harlon Baird, Mat Patrick and Capt. William "Billy" Curl are said to have been among the first Nebraska men to enlist. He was promoted to second lieutenant in 1862, thence to first lieutenant. He completed his term of service and was honorably discharged on April 27, 1863. He may have returned home, and the dates seem to conflict, but he decided to rejoin the regiment and re-enlisted on Aug. 17, 1864. After the death of Capt. Curl, William was named captain in his stead. While in camp at Nashville, TN on May 9, 1864, he broke his shoulder in a freak accident. The injury occurred while he and others were near their tents, awaiting orders to mount their horses, he wrote. They were "lying on the ground, his head supported by his hand, his elbow resting on the ground, a brother officer, Lieut. West, playfully jerked his hand away from his head, at the same instant slipping and falling upon him, badly breaking some of the bones of his right shoulder." William received immediate treatment from assistant surgeon Shelly at the regimental hospital. He remained incapacitated for about six months.

Having achieved "gallant and efficient service as a soldier," he was promoted again to major and was mustered out of the army on Aug. 11, 1865. Having received his discharge, he returned to Kentucky and stayed there for about three years until returning to Dakota County.

William showed an aptitude for finance and on March 22, 1858, was elected treasurer of Omadi, NE, a town which no longer exists. He was re-elected in a special election held the following year, on June 27, 1859. During that era, his father in law Henry Ream was postmaster in the town.

Five years after the war's close, the citizens of Dakota County elected William as county clerk. He annually was re-elected 11 times, serving from 1870 through 1881. Said Warner's History: "Under Dr. G.W. Wilkinson's administration as agent for the Winnebago and Omaha Indians, he was appointed to the position of clerk at the Winnebago agency; afterwards appointed superintendent of the industrial school at the Omaha agency. After this his health began to fail, and he took a trip to Rosebud agency, in the hope of regaining his strength."

William suffered as he aged from his wartime shoulder injury. An examining physician noted enlargement of the shoulder and greatly impaired motion. He could not raise the arm perpendicular to his body and could not lift anything of weight. He applied for and was awarded a federal military pension as compensation, which was filed April 5, 1879. [Invalid App. #277.719 - Cert. #170.279] He is believed to have been a member of the Crittenden Post of the Grand Army of the Republic (GAR), a veterans organization.

Sadly, William died at home on March 30, 1886. Neighbors B.M. Pizey and William Cheney were among those attending the funeral.

Mary was awarded his pension which she continued to receive for the balance of her long life. [Widow App. 341.481 - Cert. #279.911] In memory, after a reorganization, the GAR post was renamed the "McBeath Post" and continued its work until 1892.

Mary survived her husband by an astonishing 64 years. Other than a dower interest in her home property in Dakota City, she had no other means of support than her daily labor. To generate income, circa 1890, she became a census-taker in the Dakota precinct of the county. Then in 1893, she was a sales agent for a sewing machine company in Dakota City, and is named as such in Warner's History. She also advertised sales of fence posts in the Dakota County Herald circa 1907. The federal census of 1900 shows her heading a household of her two children and three grandchildren in Dakota, living next door to her brother, newspaper publisher John H. Ream.

Mary in October 1910 served as a delegate to the Rebekah Assembly, the women's affiliate of the International Order of Odd Fellows, held in Lincoln, NE. She also volunteered with the Dakota County Homemakers' Club and in January 1912 taught a class on "home nursing." Then over the Memorial Day Weekend in 1921,she and the Herald family "drove to the Omaha Valley cemetery Sunday to decorate the graves of departed relatives," reported the Herald. She was badly injured in a fall down a flight of basement stairs in November 1915. Said the Herald, "One bone of the right arm was broken near the wrist and the other dislocated, besides other bruises on her body. She is getting along nicely, although the injuries are very painful."

Mary sold her home to Mr. Bordwell of Morningside in April 1920 and purchased a new residence in Dakota City.

Mary died at the age of 97 on April 26, 1949. Burial was in the Dakota City Cemetery.

Daughter Gertrude "Gertie" McBeath (1872-1924) was born on Aug. 31, 1872. She married (?) Best ( ? - ? ). Their children were Neva M. Heikes, William M. "Will" Best and Donald L. Best. The Bests seem to have moved to New York by 1893, where the middle son was born, but returned to Nebraska and divorced sometime between 1896 and 1900. Gertie dwelled in 1900 with her mother and brother and children in Dakota City, working as a dressmaker to support herself and her family. Then in August 1909, the Dakota County Herald announced that she had "purchased the Goodsell house over in Ream, and will move her family from Dakota City and occupy her new home." In March 1908, at the death of President William Nixon of the Homer State Bank, Gertrude was named assistant cashier and her brother George as elected cashier of the bank. Gertrude suffered with lung problems and in 1914-1915 spent a year receiving treatment at a sanitarium in Oakdale, IA. Sadly, at the age of 52, Gertie passed away on March 8, 1924. Interment was in Dakota City Cemetery. [Find-a-Grave]

  • Granddaughter Neva Mary Best (1891-1972) was born on July 5, 1891 in Nebraska. In 1910, she graduated from the Normal School for teachers at Peru, NE. She was united in holy matrimony with George Earl Heikes (1890-1978), the son of William Albert and Ida Jane (Hileman) Heikes. The couple produced six known children -- George E. Heikes Jr., Gertrude Jane Wendorff, Ruth Heikes, Thedford McBeath Heikes, William Robert Heikes and Cedric Noel Heikes. Two of the children died young -- Ruth in infancy in 1917 and William at age 17 months on Jan. 29, 1924. Neva died on Nov. 18, 1972, with her remains placed into eternal repose in Dakota City Cemetery. George survived her by six years. He succumbed on March 2, 1978. [Find-a-Grave]

Great-grandson George E. Heikes Jr. (1914-1997) was born in 1914. He married Dora A. (1915-2005). George died in 1997. Dora survived him by eight years and passed into eternity in 2005. Burial was in Crown Hill Cemetery in Wheat Ridge, Jefferson County, CO.

Great-granddaughter Gertrude Jane Heikes (1915-2013) was born on Dec. 3, 1915 in Dakota City. At the age of 16, she was named a health champion of the National 4-H Club. She was joined in wedlock with Urban E. Wendorff (1912-2002), son of Henry and Julia (Wahl) Wendorff. The marriage endured for 66 years. Their children were Joann Wellman, Donna Trenkle and Bruce Wendorff. The Wendorffs resided in Lincoln, Lancaster County, NE. Gertrude was an educator at the University of Nebraska at Lincoln, where she was a counselor and director of scholarship and financial aid. She and Urban co-founded the Alpha Gamma Nu fraternity for agriculture majors on campus, where they served for 35 years as faculty advisors. She was a member of the Omicron Nu and Phi Upsilon honorary bodies, the Lincoln Garden Club and the university's Nebraska Arboretum Board. In his career, Urban was a professor at the university, teaching agriculture, Broken Bow and Tecumseh and receiving a distinguished teaching award. He also was past president of Gamma Sigma Delta, American Vocational Instruction Materials and a member of the UNL Alumni Association, Maxwell Arboretum board of directors and the Kiwanis and Garden Club of Lincoln. At the age of 89, Urban passed away on Jan. 12, 2002 in Lincoln, with an obituary appearing in the Lincoln Journal Star. She died in Lincoln at the age of 97 on June 30, 2013. Interment was in Wyuka Cemetery in Lincoln, with Rev. Dennis Hanneman presiding. In their memory, a Wendorff Scholarship Fund was established through the university's foundation.

Great-grandson Thedford McBeath Heikes (1918-1965) was born on Oct. 26, 1918. He was wedded to Noca May McCutchan (Nov. 11, 1916-1999), a native of Belle Fourche, Butte County, SD. Thedford died in Fairplay, Park County, CO on Aug. 20, 1965. Burial was in Crown Hill Cemetery in Wheat Ridge, Jefferson County, CO. Noca married again to World War II veteran Andreas Melvin Wikan (Feb. 4, 1920-1986). The Wikans relocated to Alaska, where they made their home in Petersburg, Petersburg Borough. Andreas died on Aug. 8, 1986. Noca lived for another baker's dozen years and succumbed in Petersburg on May 5, 1999. They rest together in Petersburg Memorial Cemetery. [Find-a-Grave]

Grandson Cedric Noel Heikes (1925-1988) was born two days after Christmas 1925 in Dakota City. Little about him is known. He died on his 63rd birthday on Dec. 27, 1988. Burial was in Dakota City Cemetery. [Find-a-Grave]

  • Grandson William M. "Will" Best (1893- ? ) was born in June 1893 in New York. In 1914, he was part of a surveying crew dispatched to Walthill with the goal of "re-establishing lines on the reservation," reported the Dakota County Herald. Then in July-August 1917 he worked in Beresford, SD and then, employed by Cudahy Packing Company, was in Mitchell, SD in December 1917. He was transferred by Cudahy Packing to Miles City, MT in December 1917. He was in Sheridan, WY for several months in the spring of 1918, and was hospitalized there for surgery on one of his ears. As the United States entered World War I, Will enlisted in the Navy and underwent basic training in San Francisco. He was assigned to the U.S.S. Vicksburg which in May 1919 was stationed in Juneau, guarding the Alaska coastline. Noted the Herald, "He accompanied the ship's officers on a bear hunt in the Alaska mountains recently, but the hunting party returned with the usual luck, minus bears." After the war's end, he was discharged at the Great Lakes Naval Training Station and returned home, and was re-hired as a salesman by Cudahy Packing. On July 3, 1920, he married Myra Dodge ( ? - ? ), a resident of Mankato, MN. At the time of marriage, Myra was a teacher in the schools of Huron, SD. Circa 1921, now employed by Armour Packing Company -- a business his grandmother's cousin Norman Bruce Ream had helped build -- Will made his home with Myra in Fort Dodge, IA.
  • Grandson Donald L. Best (1896- ? ) was born in September 1896 in Nebraska and was very young when his parents divorced.

Son George W. McBeath (1874- ? ) was born on Oct. 16, 1874 in Dakota City. At his birth, his name and birth information were written into the records of the family place of worship, the First Methodist Episcopal Church of Dakota City. At the age of 25 in 1900, not yet married, he lived at home in Dakota City and was clerk of the circuit court in Dakota County. Then on June 22, 1904, the 29-year-old George married 19-year-old Mary E. Kincaid (1885- ? ), also spelled "Kinkead," who was a decade younger. They produced two daughters, Dorothy Maureen Thacker and Lois Washer. Circa 1906, they resided in Homer. George had musical talent and served as director of music with the Methodist Church in Dakota City. He also is known to have played 2nd B-flat in the Dakota City Cornet Band. A November 1915 article in the Dakota County Herald, written by Rev. F.J. Aucock, noted that "The musical part of our services is being greatly appreciated. The new musical director, George McBeath, is getting his forces lined up efficiently, and he is to be congratulated on the qualty and variety provided in his department. You must travel a long way to find the equal to our male quartet. We hear whispers of a ladies quartet too! Come out on Sunday. You will enjoy the whole service." He made a living as a druggist in Dakota City and advertised frequently in the Herald before selling the business in 1907 to L.M. Leslie. They enjoyed local entertainments and in August 1907 are known to have attended automobile races at nearby Sioux City, NE and a cultural chautauqua in 1916. In March 1908, at the death of President William Nixon of the Homer State Bank, George was elected cashier and his sister Gertrude as assistant cashier. By May 1913, the family relocated to Florida, only to return again by May 1915. In November 1917, the McBeaths again departed for Florida, with friends throwing them a surprise farewell party before they moved to St. Augustine. Noted the Herald, "Since locating in Dakota City several years ago Mr. and Mrs. McBeath have been prominent in church and social circles, and it is with a feeling of deep regret that we see them leave us." Then in February 1919, their home was in Jacksonville, Duval County, FL. The 1920 U.S. Census shows the family in Jacksonville, with George earning a living as a timekeeper for a shipbuilding plant. Fortunes turned again in May 1920 when George, in partnership with Harry H. Adair, bought the Shane Pharmacy at South Sioux City and moved back to Nebraska. George's wife joined the Order of Eastern Star in June 1920, elected as a worthy matron. The federal census of 1930 indicates that the family was in South Sioux City, with George working as a bookkeeper for a livestock company and Mary as a postmistress. Then in 1940, he was a bookkeeper at city hall in South Sioux City, and Mary managed a local tearoom.

  • Granddaughter Dorothy Maureen McBeath (1905-1942) was born on June 20, 1905 in Omadi. On July 7, 1922, at the age of 17, she was joined in holy matrimony with 20-year-old Glenn W. Thacker (1902- ? ), son of Clara A. Thacker. The wedding was held in South Sioux City. They bore these offspring -- Gerald William Thacker, Harley Glenn Thacker, Louise Maureen Silvera, Patricia Lois Stanley Tolle and Glenda Ann Solis. circa 1930, Glenn was employed in South Sioux City as an automobile salesman. Sometime between 1935 and 1940, the family relocated to Los Angeles, where Glenn accepted a position as a sales manager for a used car company. Sadly, Dorothy only lived for a few more years after the move. She passed away on May 20, 1942, at the age of 36. A death notice printed in the Los Angeles Times noted that funeral services were held in the Little Church of the Flowers at Forest Lawn Cemetery. Glenn survived his wife, and in 1943 his address was 139 South Avenue. Circa 1975, his home was in Montebello, CA. Glenn died at the age of 72 in July 1975. A death notice was printed in the Times.

Great-grandson Gerald William Thacker (1923-1990) was born on Oct. 6, 1923 in South Sioux City. After the family moved to Los Angeles when he was in his teens, Gerald worked with his father at a used car company. During World War II, he joined the U.S. Army Air Forces and trained as an aviation cadet. Then in Aug. 1943, in nuptials held at the Wee Kirk o' the Heather, he wedded Gloria Vernadine Huchting ( ? - ? ), daughter of E.B. Huchting of 4627 Mont Eagle Place in Eagle Rock. News of the marriage was published in the Los Angeles Times. He lived in West Covina, CA in 1975. Gerald succumbed in Tuolumne, CA on April 19, 1990.

Great-grandson Harley Glenn Thacker (1924- ? ) was born in about 1924 in South Sioux City. His home in 1975 was in Concord, CA.

Great-granddaughter Louise Maureen Thacker (1925-1985) was born on July 17, 1925 in South Sioux City. She married (?) Silvera and in the mid-1970s was in Montebello. She died in Los Angeles on April 8, 1985.

Great-granddaughter Patricia Lois Thacker (1928-1992) was born on Valentine's Day 1928 in South Sioux City. In March 1947, in nuptials held in the Church of the Recessional in Los Angeles, Patricia married Richard Stanley ( ? - ? ). The wedding made news in the Los Angeles Times. Later, she was joined in wedlock with Clifford Tolle (1923-1996), son of Alvin H. and Ruth M. Tolle, the father a one-time vice president and Monrovia branch manager for Bank of America. circa 1954, Clifford served as president of the Exchange Club of Glendora. They lived in Glendora in 1975. Patricia passed into eternity on Dec. 2, 1992, with burial in Oakdale Memorial Park in Glendora.

Great-granddaughter Glenda Ann Thacker (1934- ? ) was born in about 1934 in South Sioux City. She was united in matrimony with (?) Solis. Circa 1975, they lived in San Antonio, TX.

  • Granddaughter Lois M. McBeath (1909- ? ) was born in 1909 in Omadi. She spent parts of her childhood in Nebraska and Florida. In 1930, at the age of 21, she was a self-employed music teacher in South Sioux City, NE. When she was age 24, on May 28, 1934, she was united in wedlock with 22-year-old Duane Washer ( ? - ? ) of Iowa. They were the parents of Gerry Washer. As with Lois' sister, the Washers relocated to Southern California within a year of marriage. The federal census enumeration of 1940 shows Lois and Duane in Los Angeles, with him employed with an advertising company.

Great-grandson Gerry Washer (1938- ? ) was born in about 1938 in Los Angeles..

~ Daughter Emma Ream ~

Daughter Emma Ream (1854- ? ) was born in about 1854 in Wisconsin. She moved to Nebraska as a girl.

At the age of 16, in 1870, she lived with her father and step-mother in their hotel in Dakota City, NE.


~ Daughter Fanny Jane (Ream) Easton ~

Daughter Fanny Jane Ream (1858-1905) was born in February 1858, the first of the children to be born after the migration to Nebraska.

As a young woman, she taught school for a number of years in and around Omaha.

On June 5, 1882, the 25-year-old Fanny married Edward J. Easton (June 1853- ? ). A pioneer in his own right, and a native of Ohio, Edward had come to Dakota County as a young man on June 14, 1877.

They produced three children -- Mary A. Easton, Max R. Easton and Archie E. Easton.

Circa 1905, Ed earned a living as a liveryman in Dakota City. Sadness enveloped the family when Fanny was admitted for surgery to St. Joseph's Hospital in Sioux City, NE and did not survive, dying on June 10, 1905. An obituary noted that Fanny's parents were "Mr. and Mrs. Henry Ream, pioneer residents of this county."

In 1912-1920, the Eastons resided in Saco, MT on farms they had claimed. One farm, of 320 acres, was purchased through a "homestead relinquishment" or default by the previous owner. Over the winter of 1917, he claimed that he "experienced some weather that registered 60 below zero, and you don't need to tell him that it don't get cold in that country," reported the Dakota County Herald.

During the fateful autumn of 1918, the Eastons grieved mightily when influenza and pneumonia carried off their son Max, his wife Mamie and their only son Leland within the span of 13 days.

Daughter Mary A. Easton (1882- ? ) was born in March 1882 in Nebraska. She was a public school teacher in Omaha circa 1905. In September 1906, she and her aunt Mary (Ream) McBeath traveled to Pender to attend the wedding her her uncle Leon Laverne Ream and Edna M. VanValin. She also went to Omaha in October 1906 to view the Ak-Sar-Ben performance. In 1908, she earned income as a stenographer in the law practice of her uncle Ernest J. Smith and also attended classes at the Pender Institute for teachers, and then was assigned to a school in Thurston County, near Winnebago, NE, remaining at least through 1910. She returned home for vacation during the corn-husking season of 1910 but then resumed he teaching duties in Ottoman District, northwest of the town of Pender. She left the occupation of teaching and, in February 1912, moved to Saco, MT to help her parents on a farm tract they had claimed and were improving. Remaining there for a number of years, she sent a card to friends in Dakota City in January 1916, saying that temperatures had dropped to between 20 degrees below to 47 degrees below zero. then in May 1917, she was named teacher at a school in Dodson, MT, earning a monthly salary of $90. She is believed to have wedded J.W. Fetterman ( ? - ? ) in 1918 or 1919 and to have made their home in Saco, MT. The couple produced at least one child, Jane Elizabeth Fetterman.

  • Granddaughter Jane Elizabeth Fetterman (1919- ? ) was born on Oct. 19, 1919 in Saco, MT.

Son Maxwell Ream "Max" Easton (1887-1918) was born on May 5, 1887 in Dakota City, Dakota County. In 1906, at the age of 19, he was joined in wedlock with Mamie Adams (1887-1918), daughter of Albert and Margaret (Foye) Adams, of Dakota City. The Eastons produced one or more children, among them Leland Easton. They relocated to a farm on Walkers Island circa 1909. The Eastons then staked claims to property in Glasgow, Valley County, MT and moved there in the spring of 1912. One of Max's horses was stolen early during their time in Glasgow but it apparently did not deter him from developing a farm. Max's parents also moved around that time to Saco, MT, where they also established a claim to farm property. In 1917, Max and family were residing in Glentana, MT, with his father living under their roof. Tragically, Max, Mamie and their nine-year-old Leland all contracted influenza and pneumonia, with Max dying died at home near Glentana on Nov. 22, 1918, at the age of 31 -- Leland two days later, on Nov. 24 -- and Mamie the next week on Dec. 5. Leland's obituary in the Dakota County Herald said that "The many friends of the bereaved family here deeply sympathize with them in their hour of sorrow in the loss of a loving helpmeet." Burial for Max and their son was in Highland Cemetery in Glasgow, while Mamie's remains were retrieved by her brother Charles Adams and brought to Sioux City, IA for burial beside her father in Floyd Cemetery. [Find-a-Grave]

Son Archie E. Easton (1889- ? ) was born in October 1889 in Iowa. He studied at Creighton College in Omaha circa 1907. He relocated to Saco, Phillips County, MT, in about 1910, where he established a claim to farm property. He also was a druggist circa 1915 and established a business in Saco. Archie married (?) ( ? - ? ). They produced two known children, Ferne Easton and Archie Wayne "Buddy" Easton. The Eastons relocated to Oregon, making their home in Umatilla, Umatilla County. Evidence suggests that he was elected Mayor of Umatilla and, in 1958, requested highway improvements on U.S. Route 730 between Boardman and Umatilla. He also is thought to have operated Easton's, a service for travelers.

  • Granddaughter Ferne Easton (1913- ? ) was born in about 1913 in or near Saco, Phillips County, MT. As an adult, she made her home in Portland.
  • Grandson Archie Wayne "Buddy" Easton (1914-1977) was born on Nov. 8, 1914 in or near Saco, Phillips County, MT. He moved to Oregon with his parents, and married Genevieve Waller (1931-2015), daughter of T.O. and Gladys (Connell) Waller. Genevieve was a graduate of Eastern Washington College. They had three children -- Michael Archie Easton (1952-1991), Robert Easton and Patricia Crimson. Reported the Portland Oregonian, "Together they owned and operated several successful businesses while she supported Bud's career in local government, frequently entertaining the governor and other dignitaries. She was active in Eastern Star, holding many positions including worthy matron. She and Bud raised their three children and spent most of their married life in Umatilla. They moved to Portland in 1975 to be closer to Bud's aging mother and sister." Archie died in British Columbia, Canada on Oct. 2, 1977. Genevieve survived him by 38 years and endured in incarceration of their son Michael for armed robbery, with imprisonment at Oregon State Penitentiary. She supported herself with a career in real estate, working with an agency headed by Stan Wiley. She married for a second time to Carl Hamilton ( ? -1998). He brought two adult offspring to the marriage, Carol Hamilton and Mark Hamilton. Said the Oregonian, "They traveled extensively and enjoyed their mutual interest in traditional jazz and barbershop music until Carl's death in 1998. She was an active member and former board member in her church, Unity Church of Portland, enjoyed the Portland Symphony and Pops and was a true Trail Blazers fan." She lost her son Michael to death in 1991 and then was widowed a second time at Carl's death in 1998. She passed on New Year's Day 2015. Archie and Genevieve rest in the Riverview Abbey Mausoleum and Crematory in Portland, Multnomah County, OR. [Find-a-Grave]


~ Son John Hendrickson Ream ~

Son John Hendrickson Ream (1861- ? ) was born in May 1861 in Nebraska.

At a young age, in 1893, he and his brothers were members of the Homer Cornet Band, with John playing solo B flat, Leon E flat clarinet and William the snare drum. He also played first violin in the Homer Orchestra.

On Jan. 8, 1899, at the age of 37, John married 20-year-old Mattie C. Kinkead (May 1878- ? ), who was 17 years younger. The ceremony was held in Dakota City.

They produced two offspring, Raymond Henry Ream and Mildred Mabel Heikes. Their home in 1900 was in Dakota City, next door to his widowed sister Mary McBeath.

John enjoyed playing pickup baseball games, but in May 1907 injured his knee in a game and had to use crutches for a time to get around. In 1906, he was publisher and editor of the Dakota County Herald newspaper and then in 1911-1918 for the Dakota City Herald. He also served as postmaster and was a member of the Masonic lodge.

John and his brothers Marcellus and Charles made news in the Nebraska State Journal of Lincoln in June 1917 in a list of Nebraskans who had lived in the state for 50 years or more.

By 1918, he held a position as agent for the Security Insurance Company. In August 1920, he received a letter from an old friend, who addressed him as "Pioneer Friend: Yes, that is it -- pioneer friends. The constitution of the Pioneers and Old Settlers' Association makes all persons pioneers who came to the county prior to Nebraska's admission as a state." The friend, M.M. Warner, went on to write:

Well, I came to Dakota county 63 years ago on the 17th day of last May, and you came soon after that, because I remember of playing ball with you over 53 years ago when we all lived together in the "Old Bates House," your father, the late Henry Ream, having charge of this time-honored and historic hotel, at that time.... This building was framed in Saint Louis and shipped up on a steamboat and erected on the corner of Broadway and Thirteenth streets, in 1858. It was three stories, with a two-story wing extending northward. On the side of the wing the words: "Bates House" were painted so large that I once plainly read the letters from the high bluffs above the old William Taylor home, eight miles away, with a small field glass. The third floor was used as kind of a warehouse, and where the "Sons of Malta" held their meeting.... Well, I will tellyou the rest of the story when I meet you at the 39th annual reunion at Dakota City on Thursday, August 26, 1920.

The fates of John and Mattie will be added here when learned.

Son Raymond Henry Ream (1899- ? ) was born in October 1899 in Dakota City. As a boy of age 7, he was "severely bitten" by a bulldog owned by Henry Krumwiede of the town. He studied at the University of Nebraska in Lincoln in 1917. At the age of 26, on June 5, 1926, he married 26-year-old Marie Wilhelmina Giese (1899- ? ). The ceremony was held in Schuyler, Colfax County, NE. Their one known son was John R. Ream.

  • Grandson John R. Ream (1930- ? ) was born in about 1930. On Aug. 8, 1958, the 28-year-old John married 22-year-old Sally A. Rasmussen (1936- ? ).

Daughter Mildred Mabel Ream (1905- ? ) was born in about 1905. On Nov. 29, 1924, in nuptials held in Dakota County, NE, she was wedded to 20-year-old Warren A. Heikes ( ? - ? ).


~ Daughter Dr. Nina (Ream) Smith ~

Daughter Dr. Nina Ream (1868-1956) was born on May 10, 1868 in Dakota City, NE.

In about 1901, when she was 33 years of age, Nina married her widowed brother-in-law, Ernest J. Smith (Jan. 1870-1942), an attorney practicing in Homer, Dakota County. He was the son of Joseph and Margaret Jane (DeBorde) Smith, and his first bride, Nina's sister Mabel Edna (Ream) Smith (1870-1899), had died two years earlier.

He thus brought a son to the marriage, Malcolm Smith. Nina and Ernest also adopted a niece, Lulu Hirsch Davis.

In 1910-1922, Nina was a physician practicing in Homer.

The Smiths owned a farm near Dakota City, and circa 1911 rented it to Nina's brother Leon. That year, Ernest began moving earth "for a large modern farm dwelling," reported the Dakota County Herald. "[It] will be built in the west part of the orchard. Water has been piped to the site from the big spring in the bluff."

The federal census of 1920 shows the Smiths living next door to Nina's widowed, 85-year-old mother in Omadi.

For reasons not yet known, Nina and Ernest separated. She spent the winter months by herself in Los Angeles in 1924 and was mentioned in the gossip columns of the Los Angeles Times.

Eventually, Nina fully migrated to Southern California, making her home with her half sister Lue Hirsch in San Gabriel, Los Angeles County, and continuing her work as a physician and surgeon. Her office was in Monterey Park, and after 27 years there, on Nov. 11, 1950, the Times reported that she closed the office at 241 East Emerson Street and moved to Pacific Palisades.

Ernest died in 1942, with burial in Omaha Valley Cemetery in Homer.

She passed away in Los Angeles on June 2, 1956. Her death certificate lists her mother's maiden name as "Burnhan."

Son Malcolm Smith (1896-1962) was born on April 14, 1896 in or around Omadi, Dakota County. DuringWorld War I, he served as a lieutenant in the Quartermaster Corps. Once discharged, he returned home and at the age of 24, unmarried, in 1920, he lived with his parents but had no occupation. He eventually married Olive A. Learner (Nov. 11, 1899-1991) of Nebraska. Their only known son was Rodney Ream Smith, born in 1924. Malcolm died on Nov. 2, 1962, with burial in Omaha Valley Cemetery in Homer, NE. Olive survived him by almost three decades. She succumbed on Aug. 19, 1991.

  • Grandson Rodney Ream Smith (1924-1998) was born on April 22, 1924 in Homer, NE. Rodney was wedded to Beverly Battey (1928- ? ). They were the parents of Stephen Smith, Leland Smith and Bruce Smith. Rodney died on Jan. 11, 1998 in Sioux City, Woodbury County, IA. Burial is Omaha Valley Cemetery in Homer. Beverly's fate is not yet known.

Daughter Lulu Hirsch (1893- ? ) was born in 1893 and was a niece adopted by the Smiths. She married Lewis Davis (1892- ? ), a clerk in a local law office. They produced one known son, and perhaps more -- Malcolm Davis.

  • Grandson Malcolm Davis (1918- ? ) was born in about 1918 in Omadi, Dakota County, NE.


~ Daughter Missouri U. Ream ~

Daughter Missouri U. Ream (1869- ? ) was born in about 1869 in Dakota City, Nebraska. She is thought to have died young.


~ Daughter Mabel Edna (Ream) Smith ~

Daughter Mabel Edna Ream (1870-1898) was born on June 19, 1870 in Dakota City, NE.

On May 10, 1895, at the age of 25, Mabel was married to Ernest J. Smith (Jan. 1870-1942), an attorney practicing in Homer, Dakota County, and the son of Joseph and Margaret Jane (DeBorde) Smith. The wedding was held in Dakota County.

They produced one son, Malcolm Smith, born in 1896.

Sadly, Mabel died at the age of 28 on May 23, 1898. Whether her demise was in childbirth is only speculation. The site of her grave is not known.

Now widowed, Ernest married a second time, in 1901, to his sister-in-law Dr. Nina Ream (1868-1956). See her entry for more.

~ Son Leon Laverne Ream ~

Son Leon Laverne Ream (1872-1949) was born on Sept. 30, 1872 in Dakota City, NE.

Leon was a farmer and in December 1899 dwelled in Homer, NE. He made news in the Dakota County Herald for bringing "a cargo of turkeys which were raffled off via the draw poker route before Thanksgiving."

In September 1906, he was joined in wedlock with Edna M. VanValin ( ? - ? ), with the ceremony held in Pender, Thurston County, NE. Leon's sister Mary McBeath and niece Mary Easton traveled from Dakota City to attend.

Their two children were Richard Henry Ream and Bettina Van Valin Ream.

Leon and Edna lived in Pender in 1906-1910. Circa 1911, the Reams rented a farm from E.J. Smith near Dakota City. They dwelled in Homer, NE in 1918.

The family eventually migrated to Southern California. There, Leon died on Sept. 23, 1949, just a week shy of his 77th birthday. Burial was in Rose Hills Memorial Park.

Son Richard Henry Ream (1912- ? ) was born on April 1, 1912 in Homer, NE.

Daughter Bettina Van Valin Ream (1918- ? ) was born in 1918.


~ Son Dr. William Roy "Will" Ream ~


Dr. W.R. Ream

Courtesy "Shiver" -

Son Dr. William Roy "Will" Ream (1876-1918) was born on Feb. 19, 1876 in Homer, NE. He was a noted physician who lost his life in an air crash during World War I and is considered the "first flying surgeon of the American army," with an airfield named for him in Southern California.

In 1902, at the age of 26, he married a local teacher from Sioux City, Harriet Flanders ( ? - ? ), a native of Manchester, VT. They had two children, Mabel Ream and William H. Ream, the latter of whom died on Sept. 29, 1905 at the age of 10 months.

Circa 1907, William practiced in Granville, IA. Later that year, they relocated to Walthill, Thurston County, NE. Mrs. Ream earned additional income that year as a substitute school teacher in the Thurston schools, having replaced principal Mark Fennell.

For seven years, from 1908 to 1913, William was a physician practicing in Walthill. In January 1908, he was injured when driving home from a house call. Said the Dakota County Herald, he "lost control of his team and was thrown from his buggy. In falling he struck his head on the frozen ground and was stunned and laid for some time by the road in this condition. Twomen, passing by, secured the team and brought it to town and reported that the doctor had been killed. Dr. Hart and a party of men from town hurried out to the place of the accident and found the injured man, not dead but still unconscious, and brought him to town. The doctor did not fully recover consciousness until Saturday morning, but was not in any way seriously injured. He had been depived of rest for several nights before the accident and it is thought his having remained unconscious so long was due more to physical exhaustion than the severity of the accident."

At Christmas 1908, said the Herald, William visited family or friends in the town of Lyons, NE. In October 1912, he escorted his mother and sister Nina to Florida where they planned to spend the winter in Jacksonville "on account of Mr. Ream's age and health," reported the Herald.

Then in October 1913, he took a six-month sabbatical from his practice to study surgery under Dr. Jepson in Sioux City, NE. He finally retired, on July 31, 1915, with plans to open up a practice in San Diego, CA. Noted the Herald: "Since an early day in the embryo town he has followed his profession here, coming to Walthill almost immediately from the medical college. During this time he has grown in practice and skill and has established himself as one of the most competent physicians and surgeons in the state. His careful observance of professional ethics and his conscientiousness of diagnosis and prescription have gained him large confidence and many of our people regret his leaving Walthill."

William was deeply interested in aviation and particularly fascinated when a squadron of army flyers trained in Texas and came to North Island in San Diego in 1913.


Cenotaph, Sioux City, IA

Courtesy "Shiver" / Find-a-Grave

When World War I broke out, William joined the Reserved Military Corps in 1916 and given command of the medical group at Rockwell Field near San Diego. Said the Herald, "In aeronautical circles, he is credited with many innovations relating to the medical treatment and care of men engaged in flight duty." He was promoted to captain and thence to major with the American Expeditionary Forces and ordered to report to Long Island, NY so he could ship out to the front in France. While en route to the East Coast, he stopped in Dakota County to see family and friends. He arrived in New York in July 1918, only to be ordered to take part in a joint British and American aviation tour of the midwest states. Considered part of Lt. Col. C.K. Rhinehart's "Flying Circus," the mission was to provide Americans with a first-hand view of the power and technology of military aircraft.

On the fateful day of Aug. 24, 1918, while flying in an airplane piloted by Lieut. Wesley Benner, in between Indianapolis and St. Louis, the airplane crashed in a windstorm near Effingham, IL, killing William and injuring the pilot. In reporting the news, his brother John, editor of the Dakota County Herald, reported: "Only three weeks before the day he was killed he spent a short furlough with the home folks in Dakota City, Homer and Walthill, while en route from San Diego, Ca., to Minneola, Long Island. He seemed so full of life and energy at that time, and so eager to get to the front where he could be of assistance to those in need of his services as a surgbeon, that when the news of his sudden death dame it was almost impossible to believe at first."

Funeral services were conducted in his boyhood home in Homer, with the Masons leading the service.The Herald reported that "Several from here attended the funeral of Major Ream last Friday at Homer. They report the largest funeral they ever saw. It took an hour and a half to view the remains." Among the mourners named in the Herald were Dr. M.H. Evans, Sol Smith, Judge and Mrs. Guy T. Graves, A.E. Wiltse, Henry L. Roxen, Mrs. M.W. Murray, Mrs. Nellie Montgomery and David Beacom.

Interment was in Omaha Valley Cemetery near Homer. An army airplane flew over the scene, strewing flowers over the grave. Said the Herald, "Lieut. Carroll had complete control of his machine and made a beautiful flight. He followed the Missouri river from Omaha until he reached the bluffs near Homer, then took a westward flight over the grave, passed over it to the north and then returned to the south."


Above: Ream Field, 1945. Below: World War II edition of the natal airfield's newspaper, the Ream Review.


Posthumously, he was awarded a Distinguished Service Medal. Inscribed on his red barre granite grave marker is this epitaph: "Out of the fullness of his desire to serve and save those intrusted to his care, gave up his life while on flight duty with the British-American Flying Squadron August 24, 1918. Greater love than this has no man that he lay down his life for his country." As well, a plaque in his memory was mounted in the mausoleum of Graceland Cemetery in Sioux City, IA.

At his home airfield in San Diego, known as Oneonta, the name was changed to "Ream Field" in his honor. At the time, the field was "rated as one of the finest and most efficient aerial gunnery schools in the world," noted the Herald.

Daughter Mabel Ream (1905- ? ) was born in November 1905 (or 1907) in Walthill, NE. At the age of 10, she joined her parents in relocating to San Diego, CA. Sadly, she was but 13 when her father tragically was killed in a domestic air crash during World War I.


~ Stepdaughter Henrietta Hirsch ~

Stepdaughter Henrietta Hirsch ( ? - ? ) was born in (?).

She is believed to rest in Omadi Cemetery in Homer, Dakota County, NE, but this needs to be confirmed. The cemetery no longer exists, reputedly having been plowed over into a cornfield by a local farmer in the 1970s.


~ Stepdaughter Luella Alice "Lue" Hirsch ~

Stepdaughter Luella Alice "Lue" Hirsch (1859- ? ) was born on Dec. 29, 1859 (or 1855 or 1857) in Nebraska. She never married.

She served in the early 1900s-1910 as deputy county clerk in Dakota County. She lived in Homer in 1907 but in June of that year traveled to Texas with J.P. Twohig to become bookkeeper of his large fruit farm. She was in Pender, Thurston County, NE in 1910, residing in the lodging house of widow Anna Pilling.

She was close with her half brother Dr. William Ream and assisted in the care of his baby in 1908. In 1915, she became bookeeper of the O'Connor Store in Dakota City.

Luella made news with her mother and step-brothers Marcellus, John and Charles Ream in the Nebraska State Journal of Lincoln in June 1917 in a list of Nebraskans who had lived in the state for 50 years or more. Her home in 1918 was in Homer, NE.

By 1935, Lue had migrated to San Gabriel, Los Angeles County, CA, where she shared a home with her half-sister Dr. Nina Smith. The sisters are shown together in the 1940 federal census, with Lue having no occupation.

Lue died in Los Angeles on Aug. 26, 1948. Her death certificate provided her mother's maiden name as "Bornham."


~ Stepson Frank M. Hirsch ~

Stepson Frank M. Hirsch (1862-1938) was born in about 1862 in Nebraska.

At the age of 18, residing with his mother and stepfather in 1880, he earned a living as a laborer.

He eventually made his home in Sioux City, Woodbury County, IA, where he earned wages as a mechanic.

Frank was twice married. The identity of the first wife is not yet known, but they tied the knot when Frank was age 22, in about 1884. They are not known to have reproduced.

On June 19, 1897, when he was age 35, Frank wedded his second spouse was 33-year-old Hattie S. (Barkley) Ashford (1865- ? ), a native of New York State and the daughter of Fonter and Maggie (McGibbons) Barkley. The wedding was held at Sergeants Bluffs, with Rev. John T. Lee officiating, and Ella Barkley and half-brother Leon Ream attending as witnesses.

Having previously been married to Milton Ashford, she brought three children to the marriage -- Myrtle M. Mathison, Edna M. Melton and Ellen Elizabeth Mathison Nelson. At the time of marriage, Frank lived in Sergeants Bluffs near Sioux City and worked as a nurseryman.

Frank and Hattie produced a daughter of their own, Evelyn H. Hirsch, born in 1898.

Circa January 1907, they visited with his step-brother John H. Ream in Dakota City, NE, and were named in the gossip columns of the Dakota County Herald. Frank was named in a 1918 Herald story about the World War I air crash death of his step-brother Dr. William R. Ream, and at the time was residing in Sioux City. By 1920, with several adult offspring and boarders in the household, he worked as a foreman at a freezer packing company.

Census records for 1930 show Frank retired, with he and Hattie living next door to their married daughter Evelyn Cook and her family.

Frank died in Sioux City on Oct. 3, 1938, with burial in Graceland Park Cemetery. [Find-a-Grave]

Daughter Evelyn H. Hirsch (1898- ? ) was born in about 1898 and grew up in Sioux City. She was joined in holy matrimony with Harry Cook (1887- ? ) who was a dozen years older than she. Their two known children were Harry S. Cook Jr. and Mary K. Cook. In 1920, the Cooks dwelled under the roof of Evelyn's parents in Sioux City, with Harry working as a jewelry store salesman. In 1930, his work was as a packing plant laborer.

  • Grandson Harry S. Cook (1921- ? ) was born in about 1921 in Sioux City.
  • Granddaughter Mary K. Cook (1925- ? ) was born in about 1925 in Sioux City.

Stepdaughter Myrtle M. Ashford (1889- ? ) was born in about 1889. On Oct. 15, 1916, when she was 29 years of age, she became the wife of 38-year-old Olaf M. Mathison ( ? - ? ) of Canton, SD, and the son of Michael and Laura (Olson) Mathison. It was a first marriage for both. Rev. J. James DePree officiated at the ceremony held at Sioux City.

Stepdaughter Edna M. Ashford (1890- ? ) was born in about 1890. She grew up in Sioux City. At the age of 22, on Sept. 3, 1911, she was joined in wedlock with 29-year-old William Melton, son of William and Ellen (Green) Melton, and an electrician by occupation. Rev. E.S. Johnson led the ceremony, with W.H. Crare and wife attendants.

Stepdaughter Ellen Elizabeth Ashford (1894- ? ) was born in about 1894. Her first spouse, whom she married when she was age 22 on Oct. 15, 1914, was 30-year-old Gilbert Martin Mathison ( ? - ? ), son of Michael and Laura (Dahl) Mathison and a farmer of Canton, SD. Rev. J. James DePree officiated, with Olaf Mathison and Jennie Hansen observing as witnesses. In 1920, widowed at the age of 26, Ellen lived with her mother and stepfather in Sioux City. At age 28, she married her second husband, 24-year-old electrician Einar V. Nelson ( ? - ? ), on July 26, 1921. He was the son of Nels and Malvina (Peterson) Nelson of Audobon, IA. Rev. J. Frank Reed led the nuptials, with Mrs. I.D. Fry and Marie Nelson attending.


Copyright 2002, 2009, 2012, 2014-2018 Mark A. Miner.

Thanks to Pauline (Ream) Leslie for furnishing material for this page.