Reminiscences of Uncle Bob, Part Three

After his family spent 15 months in Omaha, Nebraska (see Reminiscences of Uncle Bob, Part Two), Robert L. Daily reported in an interview when he was about 84 years-old that his family moved to Kansas because “Mother wanted to get back to the farm again, so Dad went lookin’ around again,” and Robert gives a date: “We moved down to Kansas in 1909.  So, that was, see, when I was comin’ nine years old.  We landed down in March, and ‘course, I was nine years old in May, see.”1  Robert also said that in that year his father’s brother William brought his oldest daughter Inez to live with Robert’s family when they were living in Kansas, and Robert said that Inez looked like her father.2

In the trunk that holds many Daily memorabilia, the portrait below can be found.  The photograph is labeled “Wm. J. Daily and C. M. Daily” and in the lower right corner of the image the words “Topeka, Kansas” are embossed below the photographer’s name.  It is most likely that this portrait was taken when William brought his daughter to Kansas.  William would have been about 47 years-old and Charles, 53 years-old.

Wm. J. Daily and C. M. Daily

One of Charles’ grandsons recalled what his mother Gladys and grandmother Maggie said about the farm: “I can remember my mother talking about a farm in Kansas which had lots of walnuts on it” and they cracked a lot of walnuts.3  Robert identified the location of the farm in his interview:

Uncle Bob:  … Kilmer, Kansas was where it was at, just a flag station.

Interviewer:  It wasn’t Topeka?

Uncle Bob:  Topeka was, was 8 miles from us.

Interviewer:  Oh, I see.

Uncle Bob:  It was our —

Interviewer:  Mom always said Topeka.

Uncle Bob:  No, that’s our post office.  … We were 8 miles out from Topeka at Kilmer, just a flag station.  And uh, we generally went to Meriden, that went the other direction, four miles to Meriden.  For, up to, uh —

Interviewer:  For shopping?

Uncle Bob:  Yeah.  ‘Course, we’d go to Topeka for circus or for, and the capitol, see.  I can remember going through the capitol in Topeka, Kansas, y’see.  Yeah, yeah.4

A section of a Shawnee County, Kansas, map showing Soldier Township5

A flag station is “a railroad station where trains stop only when a flag or other signal is displayed or when passengers are to be discharged.”6  Northeast of Topeka, Kilmer was a small station on the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railroad which crossed the southeast corner of Soldier Township in Shawnee County.7  The Daily family may have ridden a train into Topeka to see a circus performance.  One of the circuses that was scheduled to perform in Topeka was the Barnum and Bailey Circus.  It came to Topeka on September 7, 1909, but the city newspaper reported that the circus couldn’t be set up because of the weather.8  Record-breaking rain (over eight inches) fell that day, flooding the site where the circus was to be set up.9 The following year, the Ringling Brothers Circus arrived on September 5.  In the Monday evening issue of the Topeka State Journal, which sold for 2 cents, the following article described the spectacle that the circus provided.

Cropped image from The Topeka State Journal, September 5, 1910

Ringlings’ “Big Top” today is the attraction in Topeka.  Sunday the interest was hardly less.  Thousands of persons watched the parade which came on time nothwithstanding the rain, with hardly less interest than did an almost equal number see the unloading and transfer of the circus from the Rock Island yards to the Kenwood tract near Fourth and Buchanan streets.

As the pageant was a chain of novel surprises likewise was the trail of wagons and the animals following the arrival.  The parade was nearly three miles long and the aforementioned surprises extended from the twenty-four horse band chariot in the lead to the tail end.  The rain fell all right and continued during the forenoon, making it difficult for the wagons to leave the grounds.

The show arrived here Sunday morning after some delay, in coming from St. Joseph.  About 9 o’clock the first wagon reached Kenwood.  Immediately the work of putting up the huge cook tent was started.  Stands began to spring up on adjacent property to the main entrance to the grounds between Buchanan and Lincoln streets on Fourth street.

Most of the paraphernalia was transferred in wagons, the majority of them being pulled by six horses each.  These were driven out Sixth avenue after having left the Rock Island yards.  Arriving at Buchanan street they again turned north to the Kenwood tract.  As soon as the wagons left the Buchanan street pavement going onto Fourth street difficulty was experienced.  The recent rains had made the unpaved street soft and the wagons mired to the hubs.  It was necessary to unload some of them before they could be moved.  Others were moved with 22, 24 and even 32 horses.

No sooner than the work of pitching the cook tent was started, crowds began to arrive from all directions.  From noon on there was a steady stream of humanity down Buchanan street from Sixth avenue to Kenwod.  A baby carriage brigade seemed to have been formed.  For two or three hours the day seemed to have been set apart for their display alone.  There was grandpa and papa and mamma and uncle and even forty-seventh cousin of each of them.  All had a baby.  In fact every woman who had a baby to loan was in great demand.  That condition seemed not to abate.

Crowd Gets a Ducking.

Pedestrians were not alone in their evidenced curiosity.  Car after car reached the tract, all of them packed.  Extras were put on and these, too, were filled to capacity.  Twenty or thirty spectators got wet when the circus employes stopped at Fifth and Buchanan streets to cool and water the elephants and the polar bears.  A hose was attached to the water plug and the operation started.  No sooner had the bears been given a bath than the hippopotamus arrived.  He had to have a bath, too.

Then was when the fun started.  An “accident” occurred.  Mr. Keeper intentionally or not allowed the water hose to get away from him.  He struggled with the rubber tube which under the pressure of water lunged and pulled and drenched a number of nearby onlookers.  Still he struggled manfully.  The hose got him down.  More persons were drenched.  Finally when the crowd had retired to a safe distance he gained control of it again.

Noticeable about the circus aggregation was that of all the employees none of them was given to loud talking or profanity in the time required to get the paraphernalia in its place.  Another noticeable thing was that the usual number of hardened men were conspicuously absent.  Most of the following was represented in young men appearing to be college students and others of that character.

Features of the Parade.

In the parade some of the remarkable features were teams of elephants, camels, zebras and llamas hitched to ornate tableau floats and driven like horses.  It has been supposed that the zebra could not be driven.  The Ringlings have proved otherwise.  In all nearly 700 horses were exhibited, the most of them Norman Percherons.  Many of them were white.

More than 1,200 men, women and children from Australian bushwackers to those advertised as the royalty of Asia and Europe took part.  Music was provided by six brass bands, a cathedral organ, a calliope, barbarian orchestras, fife and drum corps, church chimes, trumpeters and Oriental string and reed musicians.10

Besides the circus, Robert mentioned that he had visited the capitol of Kansas in Topeka.

This sepia colored photograph [below] shows the capitol in Topeka, Kansas. Located on twenty acres of land once owned by Cyrus K. Holliday, work began on October 17, 1855 when the cornerstone was laid for the east wing. Thirty-seven years later the statehouse, an example of French Renaissance architecture and Corinthian details, was completed at a total cost of $3,200,588.92.”11

Kansas State Capitol, Topeka, Kansas

On April 26, 1910 a census taker visited the Daily family at the farm they were renting in Soldier Township, Shawnee County, Kansas.  Charles is mistakenly recorded as being 56 years-old (he was 53), Maggie was 42 years-old.  Their five children were living with them:  Gladys, age 17; Oranna, 14; Robert, 9; Iona, 7 and Elizabeth, 5.12  In addition, there were also in the household Inez Daily, age 16 and Alpha Bailey, age 20.  Inez was the daughter of William Daily, noted above.  Alpha was Charles’ nephew, the son of his sister Cynthia, who had come to live with the Dailys in 1908.  All of the children, including Gladys and Inez, attended school for a period of time between September 1, 1909 and the end of April 1910.  Robert said that Inez went to school for a couple of years and then got married in Kansas.13  Charles and Maggie kept ownership of their house in Omaha and according to the 1910 U. S. census of Omaha, the house was being rented by a bartender named Samuel J. Barth.  In the Barth household were his wife Sophia and daughter Edith.14

The same census taker that visited the Daily family also visited a farmer named Lawson Bonnewitz, who owned a farm in Soldier Township.15  Maggie and Lawson were cousins.  Jacob Bonewitz (b. 1761) was their great-grandfather.  Two of Jacob’s sons were Joseph Bonewitz (b. 1790), who was Lawson’s grandfather, and John Adam Bonewitz (b. 1792), who was Maggie’s grandfather.  

One event in Kansas that Robert related was the baptism of two of his sisters:

Uncle Bob:  … When we lived in Kansas we was able to go to church more than any place else.  ‘Course, we, we had, uh, afternoon services, see.

Interviewer:  Oh, uh, circuit rider type.

Uncle Bob:  Yeah, and o’ course, a minister came out from, I don’t know where.  Meriden or Topeka, one o’ the two.  And I guess he was a Baptist minister, see, ‘cuz Gladys and Oranna were both, uh, immersed in the river.

Interviewer:  Oh!  Uh huh.

Uncle Bob:  At that time, … ‘course, they were old enough to be baptized.  I think Baptists, when you get right down to it.

Interviewer:  I suppose that they —

Uncle Bob:  And they don’t believe, didn’t believe in baptizing before 12 years old, see.

Interviewer:  Um hmm, um hmm.

Uncle Bob:  An’ Oranna an’ Gladys were o’ that age.  I didn’t get in on it.  See, it was before I was 12 years-old.  Either ten or eleven is what I was.  I can remember it so well.  We, uh, like the, like the song goes, “Shall we gather at the river,” see.

Interviewer:  Um hmm, um hmm.

Uncle Bob:  And that’s why we gathered at the river and the minister walked in, out in the pasture, down in the pasture of our neighbors.

Interviewer:  Um hmm.

Uncle Bob:  That’s where we had our meeting, went through there.  That’s where Gladys and Oranna —

Interviewer:  Was it Omaha then?  This would be the Missouri River? 

Uncle Bob:  No, no, this was just a creek [pronounced crick].

Interviewer:  Oh, okay.

Uncle Bob:  A creek that went through the pasture, down in Kansas.16

Robert may have been referring to a hymn written by Robert Lowry in 1864, entitled, “Shall We Gather at the River?”

  1. Shall we gather at the river,
    Where bright angel feet have trod,
    With its crystal tide forever
    Flowing by the throne of God?
  2. On the margin of the river,
    Washing up its silver spray,
    We will talk and worship ever,
    All the happy golden day.
  3. Ere we reach the shining river,
    Lay we every burden down;
    Grace our spirits will deliver,
    And provide a robe and crown.
  4. At the smiling of the river,
    Mirror of the Savior’s face,
    Saints, whom death will never sever,
    Lift their songs of saving grace.
  5. Soon we’ll reach the silver river,
    Soon our pilgrimage will cease;
    Soon our happy hearts will quiver
    With the melody of peace.

Yes, we’ll gather at the river,
The beautiful, the beautiful river;
Gather with the saints at the river
That flows by the throne of God.

Joseph Esli Daily’s birth announcement which is stored in the trunk that holds Daily memorabilia

On February 8, 1911, Maggie gave birth to another son, Joseph Esli.  Sadly, the boy didn’t live to his first birthday.  Charles and Maggie buried Joseph in Evergreen Memorial Park in Omaha, where they had buried their first son, who had died in 1899.  Robert gives a few details about Joseph’s short life.

Interviewer:  But, the baby boy —

Uncle Bob:  Oh, Joseph?

Interviewer:  Joseph — was born and died in Topeka.

Uncle Bob:  Yeah, yeah.  … Mother always came up to see Grandma, once a year, around Christmas time, see.  And ‘course, other years Iona an’ Elizabeth, your mother, would come up, too.  But when Joseph was born and a baby, she wanted the baby to, Grandma to see the baby, see.  Joseph.  And o‘ course, ah, that year was the time that I, Joseph and I came up with her.

Interviewer:  You mean up to Omaha.

Uncle Bob:  Yeah, up to Omaha.  See, he was born in 1911.  Passed away in January 1912.

Interviewer:  Oh, okay.

Uncle Bob:  That was Joseph, he was just ‘leven months old.  … but we’d been up to Omaha, and got back, and then he’d got the croup.  And ah, he was a little weak anyway in the spine.  He never had set up, really.  He was happy.  He’d lay on the lounge and watch us kids play on the floors and that.  But when it come to this here getting the croup.  So, why, that’s when —

Interviewer:  Went into pneumonia, I suppose.

Uncle Bob:  Yeah, suppose.  In those days, that’s what they called it.  Lungs filled up some, I guess.18

For years the details were somewhat of a mystery regarding when and how Charles and Maggie’s youngest daughter’s name came to be Elizabeth J. Best Viola Daily.  Since no one has been able to locate a birth record for Elizabeth, it is unclear whether she had that name at her birth or if she acquired the name later.  One of Elizabeth’s children thought that she had been given money to carry on the name of a woman named Elizabeth J. Best, another thought the woman’s name was J. Best and that property was involved.

Early in 2019 one of Elizabeth’s children was searching through old items that are kept in the trunk which has been previously mentioned and “… he came across some interesting info.  Mom stayed with someone in Indiana and went to school.  He came up with the name Stults and money being passed back and forth.  I suggested this may be the money Mom received for being named after Elizabeth J Best.  This morning I typed Elizabeth J Best in the internet search line and came up with Elizabeth J Stults Best.”19  The source of this name was the Find-a-Grave memorial page of Elizabeth J. Best (nee Stults) of Huntington County, Indiana.20  The webpage identifies the cemetery where she was buried, it is the same cemetery where one of Maggie’s brothers is buried,21 as well as her maternal grandparents Harman and Barbara Smith22,23 and her great-grandfather Jacob Flora (Barbara’s father).24

In August 2019, I found a document accessible on that revealed some intriguing details.  It is the will of Elizabeth J. Best, dated October 26, 1910.  In the will, Elizabeth J. Best Daily of Omaha, Nebraska, is named as an heir.  Additionally, in March 2020, when listening to Robert’s interview, some more details came to light:

Uncle Bob:  … Elizabeth was heir to some money back East.

Interviewer:  I heard about that.

Uncle Bob:  See, uh, Elizabeth Best was her name. And, Grandma’s name was Josephine Smith, as they went to school together.

Interviewer:  Ohhh.

Uncle Bob:  But they didn’t have no, no middle names, see.  So, Grandma took the name of — Elizabeth’s initial, E.  She was Josephine E. Bonewitz, that’s her married [name].  And Best took, took, uhh —

Interviewer:  Josephine, took the J.

Uncle Bob:  Yeah, took the J.  And she was, that’s the reason, she got the name Elizabeth J. Best, see.

Interviewer:  Okaaay.

Uncle Bob:  See, that’s the way she picked that up.

Interviewer:  And this was a school friend of Josephine Smith?  Okay.

Uncle Bob:  Yes, that’s right, and she was very wealthy.  O’ course, as I mentioned, ever’thin’ ended up, why, she [Robert’s sister Elizabeth] lived with the woman at the time in 1912.  Elizabeth was born in 1905, 7 years old.

Interviewer:  Um hmm.

Uncle Bob:  And, o’ course, uh then, ahh, all the time she was goin’ to school afterwards – the Elizabeth Best, or Elizabeth J. Best, ahh, had a friend, I can’t say what his name was, the lawyer, the lawyer, friend lawyer.  And he was bound and determined that her word was law, see, ever’thin’ she said.  And Elizabeth’s other relatives tried to, tried to break the, uh —

Interviewer:  The will.

Uncle Bob:  — the will.  He stuck in there and o’ course all the while she was goin’ to school, up ‘til she was 18, why, anythin’ needed for school, that’d come off the, off her inheritance.

Interviewer:  Well, she had quite an inheritance, then!

Uncle Bob:  I don’t know what it was, I never knew what it was.  I just know that she uh, afterwards when she come home, why, ‘course that’s what really put Willis on his feet there, because ahh, when she inherited that money, why ‘o course, uh, they bought out, uh — I can’t say what his name was down there —

Interviewer:  He bought down in that Grover area.

Uncle Bob:  Down in Grover area, see.  An’ o’ course, she gave each of us fifty dollars.  I think somewhere roun’ twenty-five hundred dollars is what she got.  ‘Course, at that time, was pretty good money.25

Elizabeth Stults was born in Stark County, Ohio,26 the same county in which Josephine Smith was born.  Both of their families moved to Huntington County, Indiana.27,28  Robert explains that they were school mates.  When Elizabeth Stults got married, she added a middle initial “J” to her name, becoming Elizabeth J. Best.  And when Josephine Smith got married, she added the middle initial “E” to her name, becoming Josephine E. Bonewitz.

Best’s husband Joseph C. Best had passed away seven years before she wrote her will and their only two children had died in infancy.29  So, at the time of the writing of her will, Best had no direct heirs.  Her will names 11 people as heirs, including Josephine’s granddaughter, Elizabeth J. Best Daily.

The date that the will was probated was April 21, 1911.  Along the edges of the will there is an accounting of when funds were distributed to the heirs.  The first distribution was October 24, 1914 and the last was December 23, 1916.  Each time a distribution is noted for Elizabeth J. Best Daily, it is received by a person named M. B. Stults.  It appears that this was the guardian for young Elizabeth.  Perhaps this is the friend or lawyer to which Robert referred in the interview.  Robert’s explanation clears up some questions, including the name of the woman, and confirmation that there was money given, and he also provides information as to why property was attached to the mystery.

Last will and testament of Elizabeth J. Best,
a friend of Elizabeth Daily’s grandmother Josephine Bonewitz

On January 12, 1913, Maggie’s father, John Esli Bonewitz, passed away in Omaha.  About thirteen years earlier, when Charles and Maggie’s baby died two days after its birth, Charles had bought a lot in Evergreen Memorial Park (Section A, Block 26, Lot 3).  Their son Joseph Esli was buried in that lot on January 5, 1912, and Maggie’s father was buried there on January 14, 1913 alongside the two sons.

Interment record of the cemetery lot owned by C. M. Dailey
in Evergreen Memorial Park, Omaha, Nebraska

Presently, in the cemetery lot, there are no grave markers for the un-named baby nor for Joseph Esli.  The interment record states that Joseph Esli was buried in grave #7 and John Esli was buried in grave #4.  It doesn’t indicate the location of the un-named baby, but a very helpful employee of the cemetery diagramed the lot, and there is a high probability that the baby was buried in grave #8. 

Two months after Maggie’s father passed away, the Daily family moved back to Omaha again.  In the next blogpost, Uncle Bob will continue his reminiscences of the next two years while they resumed living there.

1 M. R. Wilson, transcription of Robert Lee Daily Interview by R. Thiele, recording (ca. 1984): 6.

2 Wilson, Robert Lee Daily Interview: 13 & 16.

3 L. A. Bevers, personal communication with M. R. Wilson, August 10, 2010 and November 24, 2010.

4 Wilson, Robert Lee Daily Interview: 22-23.

5 The Kenyon Company, Inc., Atlas and Plat Book of Shawnee County Kansas (Topeka, Kansas: Kansas Farmer and Mail & Breeze, 1921): 5,

6 “Flag station,”,

7 James L. King, ed., History of Shawnee County, Kansas and Representative Citizens (Chicago: Richmond & Arnold, 1905): 55,

8 “Big Show Goes By,” The Topeka State Journal, September 7, 1909,

9 “Eight-Inch Rain,” The Topeka State Journal, September 7, 1909,

10 “Big Show Is Here,” The Topeka State Journal, September 5, 1910,

11 Capitol, Topeka, Kansas, postcard, ca. 1910,

12 “United States Census, 1910,” database with images, FamilySearch ( : 24 June 2017), Kansas > Shawnee > Soldier > ED 140 > image 8 of 22; citing NARA microfilm publication T624 (Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.).

13 Wilson, Robert Lee Daily Interview: 14-15.

14 “United States Census, 1910,” database with images, FamilySearch ( : 24 June 2017), Nebraska > Douglas > Omaha Ward 11 > ED 81 > image 15 of 30; citing NARA microfilm publication T624 (Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.).

15 “United States Census, 1910,” database with images, FamilySearch ( : 24 June 2017), Kansas > Shawnee > Soldier > ED 140 > image 20 of 22; citing NARA microfilm publication T624 (Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.).

16 Wilson, Robert Lee Daily Interview: 21-22.

17 Robert Lowry, “Shall We Gather at the River?,” 1864, Timeless Truths,

18 Wilson, Robert Lee Daily Interview: 6.

19 E. J. Jones, email communication with M. R. Wilson, February 2, 2019.

20 “Elizabeth J Stults Best,”

21 “Rosco Neff Bonewitz,”

22 “Harman Smith,”

23 “Barbara Marguet Flora Smith,”

24 “Jacob Flora,”

25 Wilson, Robert Lee Daily Interview: 7-8.

26 “Joseph C. Best,” Biographical Memoirs of Huntington County, Ind. (Chicago: B. F. Bowen, 1901): 587.

27 “United States Census, 1850,” database with images, FamilySearch ( : 9 April 2016), Indiana > Huntington > Huntington county > image 49 of 194; citing NARA microfilm publication M432 (Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.).

28 “United States Census, 1860,” database with images, FamilySearch ( : 24 March 2017), Indiana > Huntington > Huntington > image 41 of 41; from “1860 U.S. Federal Census – Population,” database, ( : n.d.); citing NARA microfilm publication M653 (Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.).

29 “Joseph C Best,”

Reminiscences of Uncle Bob, Part Two

In the blogpost, Reminiscences of Uncle Bob, Part One, the focus was on the life of Charles and Maggie Daily while they lived on two farms 13 miles outside of Omaha, Nebraska.  Today’s post continues to reveal aspects of their life through the stories that their son Robert told during an interview when he was about 84 years-old.

Robert related that in January of 1908, when he was seven years-old, his family moved from the farm back to the house in Omaha where they had lived prior to 1901.1  Robert’s cousin Bill Bailey, who had been living with them on the farm since about 19052, had returned to Floyd County, Indiana.  Bill’s 18 year-old brother Alpha (Joseph A. Bailey) came to live with the Dailys in Omaha and Robert states, “Alpha was, well, I said brother, ‘cause he was with us for eight years.”3

In his interview, Robert tells about his father’s occupation at that time:

Interviewer:  Was he back into the coal and ice business then?

Uncle Bob:  Yeah, he, well, no.  I’ll take it back, take it back.  He went into the potato chip business.

Interviewer:  Now, that was something new to me that I just discovered recently.  What, he …

Uncle Bob:  That would ha’ been in the, in the year of 1908.

Interviewer:  Did he manage the potato chip factory?

Uncle Bob:  Yeah, it was just a home [business].  Well, he had one these here like the old-fashioned, uh, mail [or milk?] carrier wagons and one horse.

Interviewer:  Uh huh.

Uncle Bob:  I know, uh, my cousin was with us.  See, my cousin come to our place in 1908.

Interviewer:  And what cousin was that?

Uncle Bob:  That was Alpha, Alpha Bailey.

Interviewer:  Alpha Bailey.

Uncle Bob:  …I know Alpha worked in the, in the factory.  It was just a big vat, you know, and they had the potato slices.

Interviewer:  Well, you made ‘em?  It was a family operation, then?

Uncle Bob:  Yeah, well, Dad and …, even Ruth Thompson.  She was Ruth Thompson then. 

Interviewer:  Um hmm.  Um hmm.

Uncle Bob:  That was Mother’s sister’s girl.  She worked in there too.  That’s when she was just out of high school at the time.

Interviewer:  Well, that was something I had never heard of before, I didn’t know about this potato chip factory.

Uncle Bob:  Oh, Dad’d load up his wagon that way.  He had routes to go.  ‘Course he had help to make the chips, you know.

Interviewer:  Um hmm.  Um hmm.

Uncle Bob:  I remember Alpha workin’ in there, and stirring the potatoes in the big vat that way and, uh, get’n ’em ready for next day’s delivery.

Interviewer:  Sure, sure, delivering the next morning.

Uncle Bob:  Then when night’d come, why, he’d bring home, oh, anywhere from eight to ten sacks, and I’d peddle ‘em in the, around our, where we lived, see.

Interviewer:  Um hmm.  How much did a package of potato chips cost?

Uncle Bob:  Ten cents.

Interviewer:  Ten cents!  (Chuckling)

Uncle Bob:  And course, they was big ones, you see, they was half pounders.

Interviewer:  I’m sure they were.  Ohhh!  Now, how long did he do that?

Uncle Bob:  Well, that, I suppose …we was only in Omaha 15 months at that time, so it was in that there length of time, see.

Interviewer:  In about a year’s time.

Uncle Bob:  But Mother wanted to get back to the farm again, so Dad went lookin’ around again.  Then’s when we landed down in Kansas, see.4

The 1909 Omaha City directory has an entry for Charles which reads: “Daily Chas M, Potato Chip Factory 935 N 24th, r 1022 S 46th av.”5  The address of the Potato Chip Factory (935 N 24th) was the same address as Maggie’s brother-in-law’s residence and printing company (John C. Thompson & Son).6  Robert states: “…the potato chip factory was on the back end, back end of the building where Uncle John had his printing shop. … He had his printing press set type, y’know.  And you could see that, there was a big board with all the set type and he printed.”7  When asked, “Did you raise a lot of potatoes on the farm and that’s why you made potato chips?,” Robert responded, “No, no, that wadn’t it.  You don’t raise potatoes down there, anyway.  Whatever there was, they were just for eatin’.  I don’t know how he come to get into that, but he – little one-horse outfit, y’see.”8

Robert mentions that Ruth Thompson was just out of high school when she started working at the potato chip factory.  In the spring of 1908, Ruth was 14 years-old, a year younger than Robert’s eldest sister Gladys.  According to Robert, Gladys went to high school in Omaha while their family was still living on the farm.9  In the early 1900s, there were not very many options for education beyond grammar school in Omaha.  A perusal of the 1908 Omaha city directory reveals there were a few trade schools, such as barber, dressmaking or railway training; a few business schools; several Catholic or other religion-run schools; Creighton High School for young men; and Brownell Hall (a residential school).  One of the possibilities of where Gladys and Ruth could have attended was Omaha High School (a public school), located a few blocks from the Thompson home.  

The newly-built east section of Omaha High School, completed in 1902.10

“Omaha High School was located at 20th and Dodge Streets. In the late 1890s, the original brick building was deemed unsafe and unhealthy. Construction began on the replacement building in 1900. The east section was completed and in use by 1902. The south section was completed in 1905, and the west section was completed in 1910. The last section was completed in 1912. Parts of the original building were used until 1910. The old building was then removed, leaving an open courtyard at the center of the new building.”11

While the Daily family lived in Omaha, Charles rented a farm.  Robert told a story of an event that occurred at that farm:

Interviewer:  Mom used to tell the story about somebody that set the barn on fire.  Now, who was that?  And where?

Uncle Bob:  Well, oh, the barn we had, uh, burn, that was out in Grand Isle, Nebraska.  Y’see, when we lived in Omaha, my cousin was with us still.  And Dad rented a, out at Grand Isle, Nebraska, rented a quarter out there.  That was sweet corn country at that time, and raised a lot o’ sweet corn.  An’ the barn, ‘o course, was, uh, never knew how.  Cousin never smoked or anything like that.  An’ he got up an’ been out an’ got the horses ready an’ back in gettin’ breakfast. … They always figured that some, some, uh, let’s say tramp or man, slept in the barn that night.

Interviewer:  Oh, I thought maybe it was, I thought it was, uh, kids playing with matches.

Uncle Bob:  No, never knew just how it happened.

Interviewer:  I see.

Uncle Bob:  Alpha run out right away quick.  ‘Course, one horse broke, had broke loose.  The fire seemed to be in, right near, in front of the horses, something like that.  An’ o’ course, when he got right there, opened the barn door, the horse come out an’ knocked him down.  It could ha’ been, it could ha’ a been such a thing, that he would ha’, uh, wouldn’t ha’ been able to get out there.12

One of Charles and Maggie’s grandsons is the keeper of a trunk which holds many mementos of the Daily family.  One item is an invitation to the Commencement Exercises of Bassett High School in Bassett, Nebraska.  Maggie’s cousin’s (Viola J. Griffith) children were two of the nine graduates in the Class of 1908, graduating on May 28.  For a period of time during Maggie’s childhood, Viola and her brother William and their mother Malissa Griffith (nee Smith) lived in Maggie’s home in Iowa.13  Five years after their mother died in 1880,14 Viola married John G. Van Winkle in Keya Paha County, Nebraska, with William standing as a witness of the marriage.15  Viola’s children who graduated from Bassett High School 23 years later were Josie and Orlando Van Winkle whose ages (based on their ages in the 1900 U. S. census) were 20 and 17, respectively.16  Josie may have been named after Maggie’s mother Josephine Smith and Orlando may have been named after Maggie’s uncle Orlando Smith.  Bassett was about 230 miles from Omaha in north central Nebraska.

Josephine Van Winkle, estimated date about 1908

During this period when the Daily family lived in Omaha, there are a few additional things that can be noted.  Robert mentions that he and his sisters would often visit their grandmother’s sister Joannah (nee Smith) Gantz.  He said the Gantz family “lived just over the hill from us.  We’d stop at Aunt Joannah’s quite often.  They lived just a block from the church we went to for Sunday School when we was kids.”17  The church to which Robert is referring is probably South West Methodist Episcopal Church.  Robert also mentions that his father took a trip to visit his brother William who was living in Nevada, but Robert is unsure of the timing of the trip, saying: “Dad’d been out there while we lived in Omaha the first time.  He’d been out there, went out there a few months.  I don’t know where Dad got all his time, but that’s, that’s when he had the potato chip factory.  Whether he didn’t have it very long or not, why.  I remember it so well, bringing potato chips home and I’d deliver ‘em, some around the neighborhood. … Yeah, he done that back in, sometime in 1908.  Maybe, maybe he’d been out before that.  See, it could ha’ been.  I don’t know when it was.”18  And lastly, Maggie’s sister Emma passed away in November 1908.  An announcement in the Omaha Daily Bee stated: “The body of Mrs. Emma Thomson [sp.], wife of J. C. Thomson [sp.], an Omaha printer, will arrive in Omaha, Wednesday and fureral services are to be held, Thursday.  Mrs. Thomson died at Loveland, Colo., from which place the body is being brought. The Thomsons live at 935 north Twenty-fourth street, Omaha.  Mrs. Thomson was 43 years old.”19

Uncle Bob’s reminiscences to be continued in part three.

1 M.R. Wilson, transcription of Robert Lee Daily Interview by R. Thiele, recording (ca. 1984): 4.

2 M.R. Wilson, transcription of Robert Lee Daily Interview: 19.

3 M.R. Wilson, transcription of Robert Lee Daily Interview: 11.

4 M.R. Wilson, transcription of Robert Lee Daily Interview: 4-6.

5 Omaha Directory Company, Omaha City Directory 1909 (Omaha, Nebraska: Omaha Directory Company, 1909): 291.

6 Omaha Directory Company, Omaha City Directory 1909 (Omaha, Nebraska: Omaha Directory Company, 1909): 1133 & 1384.

7 M.R. Wilson, transcription of Robert Lee Daily Interview: 19.

8 M.R. Wilson, transcription of Robert Lee Daily Interview: 19.

9 M.R. Wilson, transcription of Robert Lee Daily Interview: 9.

10 Nebraska Memories, “Omaha High School’s new east wing and original building,”

11 Nebraska Memories, “Omaha High School’s new east wing and original building,”

12 M.R. Wilson, transcription of Robert Lee Daily Interview: 10-11.

13 “United States Census, 1870,” database with images, FamilySearch ( : 11 June 2019), Iowa > Jefferson > Fairfield, ward 3 > image 6 of 14; citing NARA microfilm publication M593 (Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.).

14 Find a Grave, database and images ( : accessed 07 March 2021), memorial page for Melissa Smith Parsons (23 Apr 1843–14 Nov 1880), Find a Grave Memorial no. 43065696, citing Bethesda Cemetery, Fairfield, Jefferson County, Iowa, USA.

15 “Nebraska Marriages, 1855-1995,” database, FamilySearch ( : 28 November 2018), John Graber Van Winkle and Viola Griffith, 24 Dec 1886; citing Marriage, Springview, Keya Paha, Nebraska, United States, Nebraska State Historical Society, Lincoln; FHL microfilm 2,078,763.

16 “United States Census, 1900,” database with images, FamilySearch ( : 5 August 2014), Nebraska > Keya Paha > ED 140 Keya Paha, Pine, Mills & Simpson Precincts > image 27 of 29; citing NARA microfilm publication T623 (Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.).

17 M.R. Wilson, transcription of Robert Lee Daily Interview: 20.

18 M.R. Wilson, transcription of Robert Lee Daily Interview: 14.

19 “Mrs. Emma Thompson,” Omaha Daily Bee (November 5, 1908): 2,

Reminiscences of Uncle Bob, Part One

In 2010 and 2017, I went to the Douglas County Historical Society (Nebraska) to search for records of the families of John and Josephine Bonewitz and Charles and Maggie Daily.  I found several birth and marriage records, but one record that was most important to me was not found, the birth record of my grandmother, Elizabeth (nee Daily) Bevers.  Of the seven children of Charles and Maggie, four births are recorded in Douglas County: Gladys, Oranna, an un-named baby boy and Lillian Iona.  Robert and Elizabeth’s records aren’t in the Douglas County birth register and their last child Joseph was born in Kansas. 

Nine months ago, a Daily descendant gave me an audio file which provides a clue as to why Elizabeth’s birth record can’t be found in the Douglas County birth register.  The audio file is a 100-minute recording of an interview given by Robert Lee Daily, Charles and Maggie’s son, when he was about 84 years old.  Robert relates, “… I was born in Omaha and only in Omaha for one year, and then we moved out on the farm, 13 miles out, … and lived out there seven years.  …we went out there and we stayed there ‘til 19-, well it’d ‘ve to been, ah, I think we left the farm in the spring of 1908, in January of 1908.”1  Elizabeth would have been born when the Daily family was living on a farm west of Omaha.

When the 1900 United States census was taken in Ward 7 on the west side of Omaha, Robert was three weeks old, having been born on May 10, 1900.2  The census, dated June 1, records that Charles and Maggie’s family was living at 1022 South 46th Avenue in a home that they owned, without a mortgage.  Charles was 43 years-old and working as a teamster (driving freight).  Maggie was 32 years-old.  They had been married eight years.  Their daughter Gladys was seven years-old and had attended school for 9 months, and their daughter Oranna was four years-old.

The census taker that visited the Dailys also visited a few of Maggie’s relations:

Maggie’s parents John and Josephine Bonewitz, along with their son Sidney and a cousin Sidney Smith and their nephew and niece Barry and Nellie May Howlara [sp. ?], lived one and a half blocks away from the Dailys.3

Harman Bonewitz (Maggie’s brother) with his wife Cornelia and son Rosco lived on the same street as the Dailys, two houses away.4

Judson and Anna Higley (Harman Bonewitz’ parents-in-law) lived one block away.5

John and Joannah Gantz (Maggie’s mother’s sister and her husband) with their children Anna, Adda and Harman lived about eight blocks away.6

The 1900 Omaha city directory has an entry for Charles in the classified business directory.  Under the heading “Feed, Hay and Grain. (Retail.),” the entry reads: “Dailey C. M. 3901 Leavenworth.”7  One of Charles’ business cards having this same address has survived and its image has been provided to me by one of Charles’ great grandsons.

A business card of Charles Monroe Daily, most likely dated about 1900.

In the interview that Robert gave, he related some information and a few stories about his family’s stint of farming west of Omaha: “… it was two different places.  … for one year, one place and then the rest of the time up ‘til I, uh, well, just before I was eight years old, see.”8  He stated that for a couple of years, one of Robert’s cousins, Bill Bailey, worked on the farm with them.9  Bill was the son of Charles’ sister Cynthia.  The Bailey family lived in Franklin Township, Floyd County, Indiana when the 1900 U. S. census was taken.10  At that time, Bill Bailey was 15 years old and he was not attending school.  It’s not known which years Bill worked at the Daily farm, but he would have been between 16 and 23 years-old.  One of Robert’s stories about the farm follows:

Interviewer:  How big a farm did you have?  You say, you went to the farm.

Uncle Bob:  Quarter, quarter section.  Well, since the second one.  We didn’t farm too much.  The first one was a quarter.

Interviewer:  Outside of Omaha.

Uncle Bob:  No, that was, oh, in Omaha, that was a quarter, yeah.  At the most it’d ha’ been a quarter.  Yeah, I can remember.  I can remember, like I said, uh, I went down, we went down after the cows.  Alfalfa is a very poisonous thing when the, when there’s dew on the ground.  And I know, going down to the pasture and o’ course that’s when I was pretty small.  We all went down there.  See, the bull had got over in the alfalfa field and a cow got over there and o’ course they were swelled up so big, from bloat.

Interviewer:  Um hmm, um hmm.

Uncle Bob:  And they were dead, at that time.  That’s one thing we had to fight so hard.  From that time on, since little, I knew alfalfa was dangerous, see.

Interviewer:  Um hmm, they overate.  Uh huh.

Uncle Bob:  They don’t eat very much.  If you fill a cow up, if it’d filled up first, then they can eat alfalfa on top of it.   But if they get nothing but alfalfa, it turns to gas and just, I lost cattle ….11

Robert identified the location of the farm: “…West Dodge, is what we called it.  It was out 13 miles.  That place used to be about, well I guess, pretty near right where the, ah, where the Flanigan’s Home is.”12  Flanagan’s Home was not in existence when the Dailys lived in that area.  It wasn’t until about 13 years after the Dailys left that farm that Father Flanagan acquired a farm for his ministry of caring for boys.

“In 1917, a young Irish priest named Father Edward J. Flanagan grew discouraged in his work with homeless men in Omaha, Nebraska.  In December of that year, he shifted his attention and borrowed $90 to pay the rent on a boarding house that became Father Flanagan’s Home for Boys.  Flanagan welcomed all boys, regardless of their race or religion.  By the next spring, 100 boys were living at the home.”

“In 1921, Father Flanagan purchased Overlook Farm on the outskirts of Omaha and moved his Boys’ home there.  In time, the Home became known as the Village of Boys Town.  By the 1930s, hundreds of boys lived at the Village, which grew to include a school, dormitories and administration buildings.  The boys elected their own government, including a mayor, council and commissioners.  In 1936, the community became an official village in the state of Nebraska.”13

One of the stories that Robert tells is about how he lost his toddler curls:

Interviewer:  Oh, that’s right, you used to have lot of curls!

Uncle Bob:  Yeah, oh, curly head when I was, up until I was, I’d say somewhere around four years-old or older.  That’s when I got, just had to cut the hair off of it.  Dad had a bumble bees’ nest underneath the salt trough out in the yard, out in the barnyard.  And o’ course, Dad was gonna get, get those bumble bees.  Course, I had to be on the job to see it done. (chuckle)  And uh, he’d take a jug of water out there, you know, and set up a trough.  An’ bump the trough and ‘course when they’d come out, why they uh, buzz around that jug.  Course … like that when they could pass over that … edge, just one right after the other they’d go right down that jug, see.

Interviewer:  Ohhh!

Uncle Bob:  But I had to be so close that way an’ they’d come too close an’ I went to fight them.  And then they’d come on to me.

Interviewer:  Uh huh.

Uncle Bob:  An’ got tangled up in my hair an’ I got belted!

Interviewer:  And that’s when you decided the curls had to go.

Uncle Bob:  (chuckling)  Well, that’s when Mother decided.

Interviewer:  (Laughter)  Ahhh.

Uncle Bob:  You’ve probably seen my picture when I, when I was a girl, didn’t you?  When I had curls.

Interviewer:  Um hmm, um hmm.  Yes, I have seen pictures of that.

Uncle Bob:  That’s when I had, I had curls, that way, my head was full of curls.  Yep.14

Robert truly did have a head full of curls.  A portrait of Charles and Maggie’s children attests to this fact.  On June 10, 1903, the Daily children posed for the portrait.  This was about six months after Maggie had given birth to their third daughter, Iona, who was born on November 20, 1902.  The ages of the children are written on the back of the portrait.

Oranna (7 years, 2 months old), standing on left
Robert (3 years, 1 month old), sitting on left
Gladys (10 years, 8 months old), sitting on right and holding Iona (6 ½ months old)

In his interview, Robert mentions that there are two trunks that hold documents and mementos of the Daily family.  One of the trunks is in possession of one of Charles and Maggie’s grandsons. 

A trunk which holds many historical documents and mementos of Charles and Maggie Daily and their children.

One of the mementos in the trunk is Robert’s locks which Robert says were kept in a Cascarets box.15  Cascarets Candy Cathartic was created by the Sterling Remedy Company in 1894 and it included the ingredient cascara, a potent remedy prescribed, as early as 1877, for constipation and other intestinal illnesses.16  A Cascarets box was a rectangular tin box nearly the size of a pocket watch, so it fit easily in a vest pocket.  The box held six brown lozenges, which had a taste comparable to chocolate.

Cascarets advertisement from the Omaha Daily Bee, April 14, 190117

Another memento in the trunk is the wedding invitation of Maggie’s cousin Anna Belle Gantz (the daughter of Maggie’s aunt Joannah Gantz).  Anna Belle married Warren A. Rider, whose family lived in Fairfield, Iowa when Maggie’s family and her aunt Joannah’s family lived there in 1880.18  The marriage ceremony was on Thursday, September 8, 1904 at South West Methodist Episcopal Church in Omaha.  The church was only two blocks from the home of John and Joannah Gantz.

Two family events occurred in early 1905.  Maggie gave birth to their fourth daughter, Elizabeth, on February 26.  Within two weeks, Charles’ father Joseph S. Daily passed away, on March 4 in Fredericksburg, Indiana.  Joseph had commented to Charles about his poor health in letters written in the late 1890s.

Robert relates that when Elizabeth was one year old, Maggie became sick and was nursed back to health by her sister Emma (nee Bonewitz) Thompson:

Uncle Bob: … Y’ see, their mother Emma, she was a, she had to make the living all the time an’ she was a nurse.  Couldn’t take care of the family, like that.  She was the one that pulled Mother through when Elizabeth was a baby.  Mother had double pneumonia at that time, see.

Interviewer:  Ohh, uh huh.

Uncle Bob:  And Elizabeth was just a year old.  And uh, she pulled through the crisis …

Interviewer:  With the pneumonia.

Uncle Bob:  Course, Emma came to our place and stayed with Mother.

Interviewer:  Oh, uh huh.

Uncle Bob:  Stayed right with her all the time, ‘til she pulled her through.  That’s the reason Mother was always, had to be careful, ‘cause her lungs were a little weak.19

An additional item that is in the previously-mentioned trunk is a letter addressed to Mrs. C. M. Daily.  The envelope was postmarked August 13, 1907 in North Manchester, Indiana.  It cost two cents to mail and it was addressed to R #1 Box 71, Benson, Nebraska.  The Benson Post Office was about four miles to the northwest of downtown Omaha20 and it was about nine miles from the location that Robert identified as the location of the farm where the Dailys lived.

A letter addressed to Maggie postmarked August 13, 1907

In 1907 Benson was a small town which had begun to be developed 20 years earlier.  A streetcar line ran from the business district of Omaha to Benson.21

“Some people were in the town founding business just to make money.  One of the earliest in Omaha was Erastus Benson and his partner Clifton Mayne.  Together, they speculated by buying a chunk of land from one of the Creighton brothers, platting lots and opening businesses, and flipping their land for jacked up prices.  It worked!”

“Benson Place was a village founded in 1887 by a land speculator named Erastus A. Benson.  He was a banker and land speculator who ran a streetcar line all the way to his village northwest of Omaha.  Soon after renamed simply as Benson, the area grew in leaps and bounds after 1900 by attracting residents with good land values and exclusive properties.”22

The letter that Maggie received was from her paternal grandfather’s second wife, Amelia Mary Bonewitz.  Maggie’s paternal grandfather was John Adam Bonewitz.  His first wife Mary Margaret Rider died in 1859, eight years before Maggie was born.  A year later, John married a widow named Amelia Mary (nee Hower) Noftzger.  At the time of writing the letter to Maggie, Amelia was about ninety years old and she was suffering from dropsy which refers to “swelling caused by fluid retention” (now called edema) and it usually occurs in the feet, ankles and legs.23  The text of Amelia’s letter follows:


North Manchester August 13th 1907

My dear faraway Granddaughter

I will try to pencil a few lines to you in my weakness not fit to write as I am very poorly havent been able to get out of my chair without help since February 8th had been very near deaths door sick all this year feeling a little relieved of a hard cough lasting several months my great trouble now is dropsy from that I find no relief an as have been trying for several weeks to sew a little to help time to pass more easily as I cant read as much as I would like on account of severe head trouble am on my sewing which is poorly done I made a little block for you


the centre pieces are of some you sent me some years ago the other pieces my Granddaughter sent from California if I had goods to fill the block then I would work the seams but will send it as it is hope it will reach you in due time but will need pressing on the wrong side as it may be pretty messy [?] my children are all in usual health as far as I know would write more but dea child I am in so much pain I must stop had a hard night of suffering I often do havent heard from any of your folks since the wedding time fear they are ill some of them


please excuse this scribbled rambling letter now may God bless you and all yours is the prayer of your


                A M Bonewitz

P S I mad the block week before last waited to feel better before writing but am worse so will do this before I go away which may be any day now with much love I will say good bye for the present   A M B

Uncle Bob’s reminiscences to be continued in part two.


  1. M.R. Wilson, transcription of Robert Lee Daily Interview by R. Thiele, recording (ca. 1984): 4.
  2. “United States Census, 1900,” database with images, FamilySearch ( : 5 August 2014), Nebraska > Douglas > ED 75 Precinct 3 Omaha city Ward 7 > image 17 of 37; citing NARA microfilm publication T623 (Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.).
  3. “United States Census, 1900,” FamilySearch, Nebraska > Douglas > ED 75 Precinct 3 Omaha city Ward 7 > image 16 of 37.
  4. “United States Census, 1900,” FamilySearch, Nebraska > Douglas > ED 75 Precinct 3 Omaha city Ward 7 > image 17 of 37.
  5. “United States Census, 1900,” FamilySearch, Nebraska > Douglas > ED 75 Precinct 3 Omaha city Ward 7 > image 17-18 of 37.
  6. “United States Census, 1900,” FamilySearch, Nebraska > Douglas > ED 75 Precinct 3 Omaha city Ward 7 > image 25 of 37.
  7. McAvoy’s Omaha City Directory for 1900 (Omaha, Nebraska: Omaha Directory Company, 1900): 867.
  8. M.R. Wilson, transcription of Robert Lee Daily Interview: 4.
  9. M.R. Wilson, transcription of Robert Lee Daily Interview: 12.
  10. “United States Census, 1900,” database with images, FamilySearch ( : 5 August 2014), Indiana > Floyd > ED 52 Franklin Township > image 5 of 15; citing NARA microfilm publication T623 (Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.).
  11. M.R. Wilson, transcription of Robert Lee Daily Interview: 22.
  12. M.R. Wilson, transcription of Robert Lee Daily Interview: 11-12.
  13. “Boys Town History,”
  14. M.R. Wilson, transcription of Robert Lee Daily Interview: 12.
  15. M.R. Wilson, transcription of Robert Lee Daily Interview: 12.
  16. Samira Kawash, “Cascarets Candy Cathartic,” March 15, 2010,
  17. Omaha Daily Bee (Omaha, Nebraska, April 14, 1901): 7,
  18. “United States Census, 1880,” database with images, FamilySearch ( : 24 December 2015), Iowa > Jefferson > Fairfield > ED 80 > image 16 of 23; citing NARA microfilm publication T9, (National Archives and Records Administration, Washington, D.C., n.d.)
  19. M.R. Wilson, transcription of Robert Lee Daily Interview: 17.
  20. 1892 Omaha City Directory: front map.
  21. 1892 Omaha City Directory: front map.
  22. Adam F. C. Fletcher,
  23. David Heitz, What You Should Know About Edema (Healthline Media, September 19, 2019):

Charles and Maggie in the 1890s

Following the marriage of Charles M. Daily and Maggie O. Bonewitz on November 18, 1891, they set up their household at 4801 Leavenworth in the developing area of West Side in Omaha, Nebraska.1  Their residence was about four blocks from Maggie’s parents, brothers and one of her sisters.  Maggie’s parents and brother Sidney lived at 4817 Pacific.2  Her brother Harman lived at 47th and Pacific with his wife Cornelia and his son.3  Her sister Carrie lived at 4824 Pacific with her husband Charles White and their two children.4  About two miles away, Maggie’s sister Emma was living at 1213 South 29th Street with her husband John Thompson and their three daughters.5

A section of an 1892 map of Omaha, Nebraska identifying the locations of the residences of the Daily, Bonewitz, White and Thompson families.6

Charles and Maggie were living in a city that had begun as a small frontier village in 1854.  In less than forty years, it would be called “the metropolis of Nebraska” and described as follows:

“Upon entering Omaha we find ourselves treading finely paved streets and surrounded by a busy throng of active, energetic people, substantial and elegant buildings on every side, stores filled with goods from every clime, and all the appliances of modern civilization, and can scarcely realize the fact that some are living here who remember when the buffalo, the deer and the wolf were hunted by the Indian over the hills, the bluffs and the prairies where this great city, occupying an area of 24 2/3 square miles …, now stands.  The streets are broad, cleanly, well lighted and many of them excellently paved with granite, Colorado sandstone, asphaltum, or cedar or cypress blocks, making fine drives and roadways.”7

Before their first wedding anniversary, Charles and Maggie became the parents of Gladys Melvina, who was born October 10, 1892.  Gladys was a seven month baby.8  By 1896, which was the year their second daughter Oranna Josephine was born, Charles and Maggie were living in a house that Charles had built.9  It was located at the corner of Pacific Avenue and South 46th Street, only 1 ½ blocks from Maggie’s parents’ home, and on the same street and very near to her brother Harman’s house.  The 1897 Omaha city directory explains that the houses in much of Omaha had been re-numbered that year,10 so from that point forward the Dailys’ house had the address:  1022 South 46th Street.  Maggie gave birth to a son on March 7, 1899, but the baby only lived two days and was buried in Evergreen Memorial Park.  Then a year later, Robert Lee was born on May 10, 1900.

Prior to his marriage, for a few years Charles Daily had been working for Maggie’s brother-in-law, Charles White, who had been running a coal and feed business.  Around 1891 White began working at a bakery,11 so Daily changed employers and in 1892 can be found working with West Omaha Coal & Ice Co.12  Although it is not known whether Daily had ownership in this company, he did have a significant role as evidenced by Daily’s name being printed in the company’s advertisement in the 1894 Omaha City Directory.  (See the ad below.)  According to Maggie’s son Robert, Maggie worked as a bookkeeper for this same business.13 Then in 1897, Daily was employed by Omaha Coal, Coke and Lime Company as a teamster.  At that time, a teamster was a “‘person who drives a team of horses’ (especially in hauling freight).”14

Advertisement in Omaha City Directory for 189415

There are a couple interesting things to note in the advertisement of West Omaha Coal and Ice Company.  One thing is: the location of the “Yard” is close to the location of Charles and Maggie’s first address (4801 Leavenworth would be one of the corners of 48th and Leavenworth).  Another interesting thing is that this business has telephone numbers.  The introduction of the telephone in Omaha and its dissemination within the city was quiet and slow.  It had begun about 15 years earlier, shortly before Maggie’s family moved to Omaha.

“… Louis H. Korty, an Omaha railroad executive, had seen Bell’s exhibit at Philadelphia and became interested in its possibilities.  In the summer of 1877 he sent to Boston for a pair of the instruments.  He induced a fellow railroad man, J. J. Dickey, to cooperate with him and in November connected the telephones across the Missouri River to establish connection from his office at Omaha to the Union Pacific Transfer at Council Bluffs.

“Messrs. Korty and Dickey then formed a partnership, acquiring license rights from the Bell Company at Boston for a portion of Iowa and all of Nebraska, Wyoming, Montana and Idaho.  For a year they were content to lease their telephones in pairs to provide private lines without interconnection to customers in western Iowa and eastern Nebraska.  In the spring of 1879 they admitted S. H. H. Clark, then president of the Union Pacific, into partnership and organized the Omaha telephone exchange.  This was brought into service in July 1879 ….”16

During the year before the telephone exchange was organized (1878), Korty and Dickey, running their business as Omaha Electric Company, had enlisted 150 telephone subscribers.17  These were two-party lines which did not connect to other subscribers.  When the telephone exchange was formed, which was named Nebraska Telephone Company, it had two operators, and the first telephone directory was issued.17  Soon afterward the telephone company “reported it had 323 subscribers that were interconnected by 160 miles of telephone wires.”19

The first mention of telephones in an Omaha city directory was made in the 1883 edition: “Omaha is connected with all the principal cities in Nebraska by telephone, and with Council Bluffs, Iowa, by that marvelous invention, the telephone ….”20  This issue of the city directory has the first listing of Nebraska Telephone Company.  By 1887, there were 4,500 subscribers and a press release announced that it provided service to 70 fire and 40 police department “boxes.”21

Very little mention of the telephone service is given in the city directory until the 1892 edition, in which it was reported that the Nebraska Telephone Company was about to erect a three-story fireproof building that would be “adapted exclusively for telephone purposes, … fitted throughout with all the latest and most improved apparatus and appliances pertaining to the telephone business.”22  The 1894 edition announced the following:

“The Nebraska Telephone Co., has completed and now occupies its fine new fire-proof exchange building, at the corner of South Eighteenth and Douglas streets, and is operating its system mostly through underground wires, thus relieving the city from much that was dangerous as well as inconvenient and unsightly.

“The adoption of the underground system caused the laying of 1,500 miles of copper wire in 40,000 feet of 100 pair cables.  The improvements cost about $180,000 and bring the company’s operations up to the highest state of efficiency, by the adoption of the latest improvements and inventions.”23

On April 30, 1897, Charles wrote a letter to his father, Joseph S. Daily, who lived in Fredericksburg, Indiana.  This is known because Joseph makes note of this fact in a letter dated May 13, 1897 which he sent to his son Charles.  It is unlikely that Charles’ letter still exists, but Joseph’s letter is in possession of one of his great-grandsons.  At the time that Joseph wrote the letter, he was afflicted with catarrh.  Currently, the word catarrh isn’t used much in the United States, but the condition is as common as ever (catarrh is the build-up of mucus in the nasal passages and in the throat.)24

Charles may have sent his father a copy of The American, which was a weekly newspaper edited by John C. Thompson, the husband of Maggie’s sister, Emma.  John was a printer, and having opened his own shop about six years earlier,25 he started printing a newspaper as an organ of a secret society called the American Protective Association.26  Joseph declined Charles’ offer of having the newspaper sent to him, saying he didn’t have time to read it.  The text of Joseph’s letter follows:

“C. M. Daily

“Dear Son.

“Yours of April 30th 1897, at hand.  I have not seen or heard of your expose in 98.  altho it may have been in some of the Papers I read as I pay no attention to such matters.  As to the Amrican News-Paper, you nead not send it as I have not time to read so many Papers.

“My healh is bad and has been so for a year.  I have Cattarh in my nose which if I could get rid off I believe I would be well.  I am doctoring for to cure the Cattarh all the time, I cannot sleep well of Nights.

“We are having Plenty of rain, and the farmers are getting along well with their Planting.

“Your affectionate Pa

“Joseph Daily”

Letter written by Joseph Daily to his son Charles Daily, dated May 13, 1897

Joseph mentioned that he had not heard of “your expose in 98.”  He was referring to the Trans-Mississippi Exposition that would be held the next year in Omaha from June 1 until October 31, 1898.  The purpose of the exposition was “to showcase the economic, cultural and artistic achievements of the individuals who lived in this region.  All of the buildings, which housed over 5000 exhibits, were built as temporary structures.  A monument to the exposition is in Omaha’s Kountze Park, the former site of the exposition.”27  This exposition is the largest event Omaha has ever hosted.28

“William Jennings Bryan brought the idea of a multistate agricultural fair to Omaha leaders after he attended the Chicago World’s Fair in 1893.  From this, plans were developed for Omaha to be the site of the Trans-Mississippi Exposition five years later.

“… The cornerstone for the Trans-Mississippi and International Exposition and Indian Congress was laid in April [1897] and the project got underway a week later.  Thomas Kimball, chief architect for the Trans-Miss Exposition, supervised the design of classical buildings around a central lagoon, which became the “Grand Court” and centerpiece for hundreds of activities.  The Trans-Miss was located on 184 acres of land in North Omaha donated by the Kountze family.”29

Joseph, still suffering from catarrh, wrote another letter to Charles, dated March 9, 1899.  He noted that Charles had written a letter to him, dated on the sixth.  At the end of the letter, Joseph mentions that he previously wrote a family history and sent it to Charles.  It is not known at this time if that original document still exists, but it may be the basis of the History of the Daily’s, which is the research work of Charles’ daughter, Iona Daily Zick, and has been distributed among Joseph and Charles’ descendants.  The text of Joseph’s letter reads:

“Dear Son Charles M.

“I received your letter of 6 inst. today.  We are all well at this writing, I say we are all well – there is but me and Mattie my wife here in Washington county.  I am afflicted with Lingrip Catarrh and have been so afflicted for [the last] 3 or 4 years and am in the habit of saying we are all well that means my wife is well.  I think maby when it gets warm I will get better  It has moderated to day and I feel better.  We have had a long cold winter and this for March so far has been like January.

“The only excuse I will make for writing this letter with a pencil instead of pen and ink is I am sitting at my writing desk with pencil, and would have to get up to ink and pen ….  It is a task for me to write any way since I have been sick.

“you ask me about Mattie’s Picture  I think I sent you her Picture with my own several years ago when I give you a history of your Ancestors – your grandfathers and great grandfathers.

“I am weak and exhausted so I will have to quit.

“Your affectionate Pa Pa

“Joseph Daily”

Letter written by Joseph Daily to his son Charles Daily, dated March 9, 1899


  1. Omaha City Directory Including South Omaha for 1893 (Omaha, Nebraska: J. M. Wolfe & Co., Publishers, 1893): 247.
  2. Omaha City Directory Including South Omaha for 1893: 152.
  3. Omaha City and South Omaha City Directory for 1891 (Omaha, Nebraska: J. M. Wolfe & Co., Publishers, 1891): 103.
  4. Omaha City and South Omaha City Directory for 1892 (Omaha, Nebraska: J. M. Wolfe & Co., Publishers, 1892): 686.
  5. Omaha City and South Omaha City Directory for 1892: 644.
  6. Omaha City and South Omaha City Directory for 1892: front.
  7. Omaha City and South Omaha City Directory for 1890 (Omaha, Nebraska: J. M. Wolfe & Co., Publishers, 1890): 10.
  8. M. R. Wilson, transcription of Robert Lee Daily Interview by R. Thiele, recording (ca. 1984): 19.
  9. M. R. Wilson, transcription of Robert Lee Daily Interview: 4.
  10. McAvoy’s Omaha City Directory for 1897 (Omaha, Nebraska: Omaha Directory Company, 1897): 11.
  11. This statement is based on the fact that the 1892 Omaha city directory has an entry for C. P. White which indicates his workplace is a bakery; Omaha City and South Omaha City Directory for 1892: 686.
  12. Omaha City Directory Including South Omaha for 1892: 169.
  13. M. R. Wilson, transcription of Robert Lee Daily Interview: 4, 19.
  14. Online Etymology Dictionary, “Teamster,”
  15. Omaha City Directory for 1894 (Omaha, Nebraska: The J. M. Wolfe Directory Co., Publishers, 1894): 813.
  16. The Lincoln Telephone and Telegraph Company, The History of L T & T (The Lincoln Telephone and Telegraph Company: Lincoln, Nebraska, 1955): 3,
  17. Jim McKee, “The telephone comes to Omaha” (Lincoln, Nebraska: Lincoln Journal Star, Jan 24, 2015):
  18. Jim McKee, “The telephone comes to Omaha.”
  19. Jim McKee, “The telephone comes to Omaha.”
  20. J. M. Wolfe, Wolfe’s Omaha City Directory 1883-84 (Omaha, Nebraska: Herald Printing, Binding and Electrotyping Establishment, 1883): 19.
  21. Jim McKee, “The telephone comes to Omaha.”
  22. Omaha City and South Omaha City Directory for 1892: 9-10.
  23. Omaha City Directory for 1894: 10.
  24. Jill Seladi-Schulman, Going with the Flow: Recognizing and Treating Catarrh (Postnasal Drip) (Healthline Media, September 28, 2020):
  25. Omaha City and South Omaha City Directory for 1892: 644.
  26. University of Nebraska-Lincoln, The American,
  27. Trans-Mississippi Exposition, Omaha, Nebraska, 1898,,housed%20over%205000%20exhibits%2C%20were%20built%20as%20temporary.
  28. Liz Rea, History at a glance (Omaha, Nebraska: Douglas County Historical Society, 2007): 56,
  29. Liz Rea, History at a glance: 51, 54-55.

Four Weddings in Omaha

On October 14, 1882, a young man named Charles W. Savidge arrived in Omaha to begin serving as the pastor of First Methodist Church.1   Located at Seventeenth and Davenport, the congregation had been established in September 1855,2 a year and a half after the village of Omaha had been incorporated in Nebraska Territory.  When Rev. Savidge wrote his autobiography in 1914, he had served as a minister in Omaha for 31 years, having left the city for only one year to minister in Grand Island, Nebraska.  Regarding one of his accomplishments, Rev. Savidge stated, “I have now married nearly three thousand couples.  I have married all kinds of people, all colors, nearly all nationalities and all ages; some have been young, some old and others middle-aged.”3

Nearly six months after beginning his ministry in Omaha, Rev. Savidge performed the marriage ceremony of John C. Thompson and Emma V. Bonewitz.  The groom was the 22 year-old son of Benjamin and Elizabeth Thompson and was a newspaper editor, residing in Brownville, Nebraska, a city about 75 miles south of Omaha.  Thompson is mentioned in a history of Brownville:

“April, 1882, J. Thompson, a young man who learned the printer’s trade in the Advertiser office, purchased an office in Fullerton, Neb., and established a Republican paper in the old Advertiser office, on the north side of Main street, between First and Second. He has named his paper the Brownville Republican.”4

The bride was the 18 year-old daughter of John E. and Josie Bonewitz, whose family had moved to Omaha in 1880.  The wedding was performed on May 6, 1883, at Emma’s parents’ home and announced in one of the city newspapers, Omaha Daily Bee:

“At 4 p. m. Sunday, at the residence of the bride’s parents, No. 1623 Dodge street, Mr. John C. Thompson, editor of the Brownville Republican, was united in Marriage to Miss Emma V. Bonewitz, Rev. Savidge, of First M. E. church, officiating.  Only the relatives and intimate friends of the high contracting parties were present, but the affair was a most auspicious one, and the presents received were both costly and beautiful.  The happy couple left Sunday evening for their home in Brownville.”5

Rev. Savidge had performed his first wedding in 1879.  He has related that at the time he did not know what to do in that ceremony, so he asked a Presbyterian pastor who served in the same area and he was given some instructions.6  Thirty-five years later, Rev. Savidge wrote:

Some ministers have a very long and tedious marriage service, but my service is short and to the point.  There is not so much dependent on the length of the service and the minister as there is upon the contracting parties themselves.

“It is up to them whether they will be happy or miserable.  Here is a copy of my brief marriage ceremony:

“ ‘Will thou have this woman to be thy wedded wife to live together after God’s ordinance in the holy state of matrimony?

“ ‘Wilt thou have this woman to be thy wedded wife in health, and forsaking all others, cleave thee only unto her?’

“The bridegroom answers, ‘I will.’

“I then ask the bride the same questions concerning the groom.  She answers, ‘I will.’

“I then direct the bridegroom to place the ring on the third finger of his lady’s left hand and, holding the hand, to repeat after me these words:

“ ‘With this ring I thee wed, and with my worldly goods I thee endow; in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost.’

“I then close that part of the service with these words: ‘For as much as this man and this woman have consented together in holy wedlock, have witnessed the same before God and this company, and signified the same by joining of hands, I pronounce that they are husband and wife together, in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost.’

“I then offer the following brief prayer: ‘And now may God, the Father, and the Son and the Holy Ghost bless, preserve and keep you.  The Lord mercifully look upon you; so fill you with all benediction and grace that ye may so live together in this life that in the world to come ye may have life everlasting.’

“Sometimes I add this prayer: ‘Lord, bless this man and woman, now this husband and wife.  Bind them together Thyself and may they never be separated by any discord or difference or rent apart by the action of any divorce court, but may death alone break this bond.  In order that they may live long and prosper, we pray they may believe in Thee, the living God, as much as Daniel ever did.  That they may take the Bible as the inspired word of God and Man of their counsel, thus laying the foundation of happiness here and felicity forever.  For the sake of Jesus Christ, our Lord.  Amen.’ ”7

A year after John and Emma’s wedding, Rev. Savidge performed the marriage ceremony of Emma’s 23 year-old sister, Carrie Bonewitz, who had arrived in Omaha with her family in 1880.  Carrie married 25 year-old Charles P. White, the son of S. M. and Anna White, on June 12, 1884.  At least six years prior to their marriage and before Carrie had moved to Omaha, White and Carrie’s brother Orlando were boarding at the same boarding house, Donovan House, in Omaha.8  White resided in Omaha for a few years between 1878 and 1884, but on his marriage license his residence is recorded as Tobias, Nebraska.  Tobias was a new railroad village that had been platted and incorporated in the early spring of 1884.9

One of the witnesses of this marriage was S. H. Buffett.  This was White’s employer, a grocer whose name, Sidney H. Buffett, can be found in the Omaha city directories starting at 1870.  Initially, White had worked as a teamster for Buffett,10 later he worked as a clerk.11  The other witness who signed the marriage license was William T. Lyons, who was probably White’s mother’s brother.

Marriage Record of Charles P. White and Carrie Bonewitz

In 1886, Rev. Savidge performed a third wedding for a member of the Bonewitz family.  This time, 27 year-old Harman (sometimes called by his middle name Finley) married a 25 year-old dressmaker, Cornelia B. Higley, on December 29.  When the 1880 U. S. census was taken, both the Bonewitz family and the Higley family resided in Fairfield, Iowa.12,13  Harman and his father and brother Orlando had gone to Omaha for work as early as 1878, but apparently, Harman didn’t permanently move to Omaha until 1880 when his entire family moved there.  In 1885, Cornelia was still living with her parents, Judson and Ruah Higley, in Fairfield when the Iowa state census was taken,14 but in 1887 Cornelia and her parent’s names appear in the Omaha city directory.  One of the signatures of the witnesses on Harman and Cornelia’s marriage license is possibly Cornelia’s father’s signature.  The other signature is very difficult to read, but may be the signature of Harman’s brother-in-law, Charles P. White.

Marriage License of Harman Bonewitz and Cornelia Higley

In his autobiography, Rev. Savidge had some sage words regarding “The Marriage Fee”:

“The true minister of the Gospel does not charge a regular fee for his services at the marriage.  He depends upon the generosity of the bridegroom and his appreciation of his bride.

“The minister has many avenues for his surplus change and his income is generally limited.  Don’t forget the preacher, boys!

“It is very poor taste indeed for the bridegroom after the ceremony to ask the minister what his bill is or what the charges are.  This is often done, but it is not the thing to do; it throws a sort of coldness over the meeting.

“The bridegroom ought to have his offering for the minister in his vest pocket, or better still, in an envelope, and then quietly hand it to him.

“That sum ought not to fall below $5.00.  A ten-dollar bill looks better to me!

“The groom who remembers the minister liberally will not lose in the long run.  A man ought not to be married often during this earthly life and he can afford to be manly and generous at this time.

“This whole transaction from start to finish is a test of manhood.  Brother, walk up and stand the test!

“I have often married people where I received no fee at all, but it seemed to me a good deal like tying up cattle.

“The largest fee I ever received was $50.00, but I prayed eight hours for that fellow.  I said, ‘Lord, work him up and help him give me a good fee, for I need the “dough.” ’

“He gave me, sealed in an envelope, ten five-dollar bills.  I praised the Lord and used the money.  One of the smallest, meanest fees I ever got, was some shade trees for the church and the trees died.  I guess they got ashamed and quit.”15

After serving at First Methodist Church for six years, Rev. Savidge was assigned to Grand Island, Nebraska in 1888.  He only served there one year, because during that year Rev. Savidge felt a conviction that his work in Omaha was not done.  He has written: “God seemed to pull on me and put a message from Himself in my very soul, that He had plans for me in this city, and the past twenty-four years have proved that my convictions at that time were from God.”16  So Rev. Savidge requested to be assigned to Omaha again and to found his own church, which would be called the People’s Church.  He has explained how he started the new work in Omaha:

“I … hired Boyd’s Opera House on Fifteenth and Farnum Streets for twenty-five dollars every Sunday.

“… The congregation was made up of the unchurched masses.  Men and women who never went to any regular church went there.  Harlots, drunkards and gamblers came to see and to hear: Many of these were benefited.

“I started a Sunday School in the lower part of the city and we instructed children of all nationalities and colors.

“… When the hot weather came on, I was compelled to give up the opera house and transfer my services to the Newman M. E. Church.”17

In the fall of 1891, Rev. Savidge decided to discontinue his association with the Methodist Episcopal denomination.18  He determined to be an independent minister and once again established the People’s Church, purchasing the old United Presbyterian Church building located on 18th Street near California for $1,000.19

That same fall, Rev. Savidge performed a fourth marriage ceremony for the Bonewitz family.  In about 1886, the family had moved to West Side, a developing addition to Omaha.  At some point in the late 1880s, Josephine Bonewitz began running a boarding house in that area, and a man named Charles M. Daily became one of the boarders and became acquainted with Maggie Bonewitz, the youngest daughter of John and Josephine Bonewitz.20  The son of Joseph and Amanda Daily, Charles Daily had worked his way from Indiana, across Illinois and Iowa for about 15 years, and finally settled in Omaha.  His first known employer in Omaha was Charles P. White,21 who was operating a feed and coal business, and was the brother-in-law of Maggie.  Daily worked for several years for White and on November 18, 1891 when 35 year-old Daily married 24 year-old Maggie, White signed the marriage certificate as a witness.  The other witness was Maggie’s other brother-in-law John C. Thompson.

Signed Marriage License of Charles M. Daily and Maggie O. Bonewitz
Charles Monroe Daily and Maggie Oranna (Bonewitz) Daily on their wedding day, November 18, 1891

The dress that Maggie wore on her wedding day was passed down to one of her daughters and then to one of her grandsons.  About ninety years after Maggie wore the dress for her wedding photograph, one of her great granddaughters posed for a photograph wearing Maggie’s dress.  The dress is still brought out for display at the biennial reunions of the combined Daily and Bevers families.

Maggie Daily’s wedding dress, modeled by a great granddaughter

As time went by, Rev. Savidge began to be consulted by many families regarding marriageable prospects.  In his autobiography, he writes:

“I am a firm believer in marriage.  We can never beat the evils of the present day except the people enter the marriage relation and establish their own homes.  God says, ‘He setteth the solitary in families.’

“Marriage is the order of God, the foundation of society, the church and the state.  Many people among us who have their own homes do not know the intense desire of those who are not so situated.  Our cities are crowded with women, good women, who have no chance to meet agreeable gentlemen, and there are many good men on ranches, farms and in mining, and even in our crowded cities who have small opportunity to meet good women.

“In recent years, on account of my age and experience, many come to consult with me on this subject.  Mothers bring their daughters and beg me to use my influence to have them properly settled in life.  It might do the skeptical on this subject much good to read some of the letters I receive.  One lady said, ‘The desire for a home and love is with me constantly; it haunts my every waking hour.’

“In the Bible you may read a very beautiful story of how Isaac got his wife, in Genesis, twenty-fourth chapter.

“Abraham’s eldest and most trusted servant attended to this business with alacrity and devotion, and with the evident blessing of God.

“Other people can dip in a little to help others if they have the skill and ability.  I have a bureau of information on marriage in my downtown office, which in the past year has worked wonders.  I have a most competent secretary who takes the details off of me and I hope to assist many worthy people in the future.”22

One last quote from Rev. Charles W. Savidge: “It is a perfectly natural thing to marry.  Man never got up this scheme; it is a plan of God.  It is folly to try to beat it.”23


  1. Charles W. Savidge, Have faith in God (Omaha, Nebraska: Beacon Press, 1914):38-39,
  2. David Marquette, History of Nebraska Methodism: First Half-Century (1904): 56,
  3. Charles W. Savidge, Have faith in God: 89,
  4. John McCoy, transcriber, History of the State of Nebraska by William Cutler (Chicago: The Western Historical Company, 1882):
  5. Omaha Daily Bee (Omaha, Nebraska: Omaha Daily Bee, May 8, 1883):8,
  6. Charles W. Savidge, Have faith in God: 89.
  7. Charles W. Savidge, Have faith in God: 89, 91.
  8. J. M. Wolfe, publisher, Wolfe’s Omaha City Directory 1878-1879 (Omaha, Nebraska: Herald Publishing House and Book Bindery, 1878): 97 & 286.
  9. Helen Kottas, “Nebraska…Our Towns, Tobias — Saline County”:
  10. J. M. Wolfe, publisher, Wolfe’s Omaha City Directory 1878-1879: 286.
  11. J. M. Wolfe, publisher, Wolfe’s Omaha City Directory 1881-1882 (Omaha, Nebraska: Herald Printing, Binding and Electrotyping House, 1881): 421.
  12. “United States Census, 1880,” database with images, FamilySearch ( : 24 December 2015), Iowa > Jefferson > Fairfield > ED 81 > image 60 of 64; citing NARA microfilm publication T9, (National Archives and Records Administration, Washington, D.C., n.d.)
  13. “United States Census, 1880,” database with images, FamilySearch ( : 24 December 2015), Iowa > Jefferson > Fairfield > ED 81 > image 19 of 64; citing NARA microfilm publication T9, (National Archives and Records Administration, Washington, D.C., n.d.)
  14. “Iowa State Census, 1885,” database with images, FamilySearch ( : 1 April 2016), Jefferson > Fairfield, Fairfield > image 67 of 152; State Historical Society, Des Moines.
  15. Charles W. Savidge, Have faith in God: 92-93,
  16. Charles W. Savidge, Have faith in God: 51,
  17. Charles W. Savidge, Have faith in God: 51-52.
  18. Charles W. Savidge, Have faith in God: 55.
  19. Charles W. Savidge, Have faith in God: 56,
  20. E. J. B. V. Bevers, personal communication with M. R. Wilson, ca. 1976.
  21. Omaha City and South Omaha City Directory for 1889 (Omaha, Nebraska: J. M. Wolfe & Co., Publishers, 1889): 194.
  22. Charles W. Savidge, Have faith in God: 93-94.
  23. Charles W. Savidge, Have faith in God: 92.

The First Few Decades of Charles M. Daily’s Life

One hundred years before I was born, my great-grandfather Charles Monroe Daily was born to Joseph and Amanda (Black) Daily.  Born on September 30, 1856 near New Albany, Indiana,1 he was the fourth child born to them, the third son.  The 1860 U. S. census recorded his family living on a farm in Franklin Township, Floyd County, Indiana.  The household included (with their ages): Joseph (30), Amanda (27), Thomas (10), Patrick (8), Syntha [Cynthia] (6), Charles (3), Martha (1), Andrew Black (22) and Huldy Dailey (40).  Andrew Black was probably Amanda’s brother and was working as a farm laborer.  Huldy Dailey was probably Joseph’s sister who was a “Criple.”2

Charles’ mother gave birth to three more sons (William, Robert and Joseph Albert).  A few days after the birth of Joseph Albert, Amanda died on February 19, 1866.3  The baby Joseph only lived for three months, dying in May 1866.4  When the 1870 U. S. census was taken, the Daily family was still living on a farm in Franklin Township, Floyd County, Indiana.  At that time the household included (with their ages): Joseph (41), Thomas (19), Patrick (17), Cynthia (15), Charles (13), Martha (11), William (8), Robbert (6) and a farm laborer named Henry Black (60).5   Charles and all of his siblings except Cynthia had attended school during that year.6  As an adult Charles would report that the highest grade he completed was 6th grade.7

It is not known where Charles was located when the 1880 U. S. census was taken.  Charles was not living with his father, nor were any of Charles’ siblings living with their father.  Joseph Daily, who had remarried in 1874, was living with his new wife Mattie (Lafollette) Daily and her brother and sister in Fredericksburg, Indiana.8  Neither was Charles living with his elder brothers and sister, each of whom were married and living on farms in Franklin Township, Indiana.9,10  It is also unsure where Charles’ younger sister and brothers were at that time.

According to Charles’ son Robert, Charles and his younger brother William “kinda left home real early on account that they had a step-mother,” the two youngsters “worked out for neighbors, always a farm around” and Charles “looked after Bill his brother.”11  A Daily family historian has written that Charles “when still quite a young man started to work west through Illinois, Iowa to Omaha, Nebraska where he settled.”12  Charles was about 32 years old when he arrived in Omaha.  At that time the city of Omaha was described as follows:

“… Within its limits nothing is wanting that will in any way conduce to human happiness.  Trade in all departments is being rapidly developed.  Buildings to meet its wants have either been erected already or are being rapidly pushed to completion.  A few years ago a six-story building was a structure worthy of comment, not only in the west, but almost anywhere; to-day in this city eleven story edifices are stretching upward to the skies.  Brick and stone have long since taken the place of the pioneer wooden structure, and the stone even sometimes taken from the shores laved by the Atlantic.  The banks are nearly all in buildings of their own, that at once attract the attention by their massive, substantial proportions as well as their beauty of architecture.  Their stability never was questioned, and the returns of the clearing house demonstrate the volume, as well as the rapidly increasing percentage of business, as well as the faith of the public.  The railways from the city point everywhere and gather up the treasures of the earth for the city’s general distribution.  Cable and electric cars have to a large extent displaced the former horse cars and landmarks of an earlier date are rapidly passing away.  The electric light has outshown the feebler rays of gas, and ere long will wholly monopolize the domain of illumination.  The drainage of the city is perfect, natural facilities largely aiding those who have that portion of the public works in hand.  The police of the city are well organized and the malicious, found in all large cities, are kept under proper restraint.  The administration of the law is in able hands and the courts of justice are models of purity and excellence.  The schools and churches are of the highest standing.  Each ward in the city is provided with an excellent school building and able teachers, and the youth of both sexes are well trained for business, the professions or social requirements.  The high school is equal in its training to many of the colleges of the land, and taken as a whole, the intellectual advantages of the city are unsurpassed.  The churches are numerous, their pulpits ably filled and their congregations large.  The water works system is of the finest description;  the fire department efficient and well equipped, and in no detail of the city’s service is there anything whatever not fully equal to the best anywhere to be found.”13

The first time Charles’ name can be found in the Omaha city directory is in 1889.  The entry reads: “Dailey Charles M, clk Chas P White, res West Side.”14  Charles was working as a clerk at a business run by Charles P. White.  White’s business handled “coal and feed” and was located at the corner of Leavenworth and Missouri Pacific Railway in West Side.15  West Side was a newly developing area on the outskirts of Omaha.  It would later be described as an area of workers’ cottages.16  A year later, the 1890 city directory indicates that Charles Daily was working and living at the same places.  Then in the 1891 directory, he was boarding at 1023 S. 48th Ave and he was still working for C. P. White.17  Interestingly, C. P. White’s residence was also 1023 S. 48th Ave.18  That year White’s business was selling ice as well as coal and feed.  It is also noteworthy that C. P. White was married to Carrie Bonewitz, whose sister was Maggie Bonewitz, Charles Daily’s future wife.

C. P. White Coal & Feed, Omaha, Nebraska
Entries for this business can be found in the Omaha city directory from 1887 to 1891.


  1. Shaw-Messer Chapel, “In Memory of Charles M. Daily” (Watertown, South Dakota: Shaw-Messer Chapel, March 12, 1945).
  2. “United States Census, 1860,” database with images, FamilySearch ( : 24 March 2017), Indiana > Floyd > Franklin Township > image 4 of 20; from “1860 U.S. Federal Census – Population,” database, ( : n.d.); citing NARA microfilm publication M653 (Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.).
  3. History of the Daily’s (unpublished, n. d.): 1.
  4. Find a Grave, database and images ( : accessed 10 August 2020), memorial page for Joseph Albert Daily (14 Feb 1866–9 May 1866), Find a Grave Memorial no. 134995828, citing Silas Daily Cemetery, New Albany, Floyd County, Indiana, USA ; Maintained by John Ozzy Williams (contributor 47315704) .
  5. “United States Census, 1870,” database with images, FamilySearch ( : 8 June 2019), Indiana > Floyd > Franklin > image 15 of 20; citing NARA microfilm publication M593 (Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.).
  6. “United States Census, 1870,” Indiana > Floyd > Franklin > image 15 of 20.
  7. “United States Census, 1940,” database with images, FamilySearch ( : accessed 5 July 2020), South Dakota > Codington > Watertown City, Watertown, Ward 3 > 15-24B Watertown City Ward 3 bounded by (N) 4th Av S; (E) Maple, ward line; (S) city limits; (W) city limits, ward line > image 3 of 24; citing Sixteenth Census of the United States, 1940, NARA digital publication T627. Records of the Bureau of the Census, 1790 – 2007, RG 29. Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, 2012.
  8. “United States Census, 1880,” database with images, FamilySearch ( : 24 December 2015), Indiana > Washington > Fredericksburg > ED 183 > image 3 of 6; citing NARA microfilm publication T9, (National Archives and Records Administration, Washington, D.C., n.d.)
  9. “United States Census, 1880,” database with images, FamilySearch ( : 24 December 2015), Indiana > Floyd > Franklin > ED 65 > image 12 of 17; citing NARA microfilm publication T9, (National Archives and Records Administration, Washington, D.C., n.d.)
  10. “United States Census, 1880,” database with images, FamilySearch ( : 24 December 2015), Indiana > Floyd > Franklin > ED 65 > image 11 of 17; citing NARA microfilm publication T9, (National Archives and Records Administration, Washington, D.C., n.d.)
  11. M.R. Wilson, transcription of Robert Lee Daily Interview by R. Thiele, recording (ca. 1984): 2-3.
  12. History of the Daily’s (unpublished, n. d.): 1.
  13. Omaha City and South Omaha City Directory for 1889 (Omaha, Nebraska: J. M. Wolfe & Co., Publishers, 1889): 3.
  14. Omaha City Directory for 1889: 194.
  15. Omaha City Directory for 1889: 846.
  16. Dennis Mihelich, ed., Ribbon of Destruction (Omaha, Nebraska: Douglas County Historical Society, n. d.): 8.
  17. Omaha City and South Omaha City Directory for 1891 (Omaha, Nebraska: J. M. Wolfe & Co., Publishers, 1891): 214.
  18. Omaha City Directory for 1891: 928.

An Introduction to Charles Monroe Daily

  • Born on September 30, 1856 near New Albany, Indiana
  • Parents: Joseph S. Daily and Amanda Black
  • His mother died when he was 9 years-old
  • As a young man he worked his way across Illinois and Iowa
  • He arrived in Omaha, Nebraska about 1888 and worked at jobs such as clerk, foreman and teamster
  • Married Maggie Oranna Bonewitz on November 18, 1891
  • Children: Gladys, Oranna, Robert, Iona, Elizabeth, Joseph (and an un-named baby boy)
  • A tornado destroyed their Omaha home on Easter Sunday 1913
  • Charles and Maggie farmed outside of Omaha, Nebraska, outside of Topeka, Kansas and north of Watertown, South Dakota
  • Retired from farming in 1932 and moved into Watertown, South Dakota
  • Died on March 9, 1945 at the age of 88 and is buried in Mount Hope Cemetery, Watertown, South Dakota
Charles Monroe Daily on his wedding day November 18, 1891

Day Two: Madison to Sioux Falls, S. D.

October 14, 2019

Retracing Lena Huppler Bevers’ Travel Log

Tuesday – Oct. 14.

Left Colton about 9 A. M.  Drove through Lyons.  Got about 10 miles and Mr. McElhany broke the crank shaft on his car and Pa pulled him into Hartford, 1 1/2 mi. while the rest of us walked in, with Mud all the way, Ate dinner at Hartford at 1. P. M. and we took in the town while the men fixed the car.  Left Hartford at 4 P. M.  Had 5 miles of mud and the rest was gravel road.  Had supper in Sioux Falls and stayed all nite.  Visited Carl Dellman. – Lena Bevers

On the 1925 Custer Battlefield map which we began following yesterday, the Meridian Highway turns west at Madison and then south towards Yankton, South Dakota and Lincoln, Nebraska.  Herbert and Lena did not follow that route, instead they headed for Sioux Falls using roads that are not marked on the Custer Battlefield map.  Just two weeks ago, my mother learned that Herbert and Lena’s daughter Florence wrote a travel log also.  It is very similar to Lena’s log, but it does give additional details.  Florence recorded that they went through Wentworth on their way to Colton.1  When we left Madison today at 10:00 AM, we took county roads to Wentworth, Colton, Lyons and Hartford.  All were macadam roads and the snow had melted so the driving was fine.

Wentworth is about half the size of Arlington and didn’t take much time to drive around in it.  Colton was larger and seemed to be a center of business for farmers.  Lyons was smaller than Wentworth and just seemed to be a stop for a railroad.  All three of these towns were beside the same railroad track.

The Wentworth City Office (Photograph by MRW October 14, 2019)
A bell from the Wentworth Public School that was built in 1908 (Photograph by MRW October 14, 2019)
Although this service station may not be 100 years old and therefore may not have been standing in Colton when Herbert and Lena passed through …
… if these gas pumps are authentic, they are probably between 90 and 110 years old.2

In Lena’s travel log, this is the first of many days on which she mentions Mr. McElhany.  She always uses the name, Mr. McElhany.  So, who is Mr. McElhany?  I have uncovered a couple possibilities.  In The First 100 Years in Codington County, South Dakota, 1879 – 1979 there is a biographical article entitled, “Robert Mc Elhany Family”.  The article says the following about two of Robert McElhany’s sons:

“Robert never married and homesteaded southwest of Florence.  He lived in Watertown some of the time and moved to Texas in 1918.

“Clarence married Myrtle St. Clair.  They had no children.  They lived on a farm near his brothers until he moved to Texas in 1918.”3

Perhaps one of these men is the driver Lena calls Mr. McElhany.  If so, the date of his move to Texas would actually have been 1919 instead of 1918 as recorded in the article.

About 10 miles after passing through Lyons, Mr. McElhany broke the crankshaft of his car and had to be pulled one and a half miles into Hartford by “Pa” (Herbert).  Lena wrote that “the rest of us walked in, with mud all the way” — that would have been herself and six of her ten children: five-year-old Margaret, seven-year-old Harold, 10-year-old Estella, 12-year-old Hazel, 14-year-old Helen and 16-year-old Florence.  According to one of Lena’s grandsons, it did not include Willis who was 18 years-old, because he was traveling to Texas on a train with the family’s cattle and horses.4  And according to another grandson of Lena, it also did not include Arthur because he was also on the train with the livestock.5  (Arthur had married Gladys Daily just four months before his parents’ departure to Texas.)  It also didn’t include Edgar because he was in the military and was not discharged until October 20th, a week after his parents left Watertown.6   Nor did it include Clarence, he had married in 1917 and was listed in the Watertown City Directory for 1919-1920, working as a repairman at Auto Radiator Service Co.7 (It is not known if Mr. McElhany had any passengers with him.)

My mother and I traveled to Hartford on asphalt county roads.  Upon arriving there, we found that over the last several decades the residential district has expanded about a mile from the center of town.  The population is now about 2,500.  After driving through the old business district, we found a city park where we ate our picnic lunch.  Then we took Highway 38 toward Sioux Falls.   

West Side Main Street, Hartford, South Dakota (Courtesy of the City of Hartford)8
The date on this building is 1902, so it was standing here when Herbert and Lena were here.

After Mr. McElhany’s car was fixed in Hartford, they headed down muddy roads and gravel roads until they reached the city of Sioux Falls.  The last thing Lena notes for this day is that they visited Carl Dellman.  Carl was the son of Lena’s cousin Kate (Katherine Huppler Dellman).  When the 1920 U. S. Census was taken on January 5th (2 1/2 months after Lena’s family visited him), Carl was living at 1428 Main Avenue in Sioux Falls, he was married to Amber L. Best and had three daughters, ages 6, 4 and 2 1/2, and he was the proprietor of a radiator shop.9  He apparently had not been living in Sioux Falls very long, because the 1919 Watertown City Directory has a listing for him, living in Watertown and he was one of three owners of Auto Radiator Service Co.10  This is the same auto repair shop where Lena’s son Clarence was working.

The census taker who visited Carl also visited a neighborhood “N. E. of the penitentiary.”  Referring to a map of Sioux Falls published in 1917 in the Official Automobile Blue Book, I have concluded that his home was on North Main Avenue rather than South Main Avenue.11

We arrived at the Dellman house about 1:00 PM, so we had all afternoon to take in some sights in Sioux Falls.  Not far from the Dellman home is Falls Park, where we rode in an elevator to the top of a lookout tower to view the falls of the Big Sioux River.  We also went downtown and walked along three blocks between 9th and 12th Streets, viewing numerous sculptures that are displayed on the sidewalks.  After going through a car wash, we arrived at the motel at 3:30 PM.

Falls Park, Sioux Falls, South Dakota (Photographed by MRW October 14, 2019)
My mother’s favorite sculpture, titled “Under Construction”: beavers and heron made of knives, forks and spoons. (Photographed by EJJ October 14, 2019)
My favorite sculpture, titled Silver Belle (Photographed by MRW October 14, 2019)


  1. B. Winkelmann, Our Trip to Texas [Transcription of Our Trip to Texas by Florence Bevers, 1919] (unpublished, n. d.): 1.
  2. Visible gas pumps,
  3. “Robert Mc Elhany Family,” In The First 100 Years in Codington County, South Dakota, 1879-1979, by Codington County History Book Committee (Watertown, South Dakota: Watertown Public Opinion Print, 1979): 261.
  4. D. L. Bevers, Herbert and Lena Bevers trip to Raymondville Texas [Transcription of Our Trip to Texas by Lena Bevers, 1919] (Unpublished, n.d.): 4.
  5. C. M. Bevers, personal communication with M. R. Wilson (October 9, 2019).
  6. U. S. Veterans Bureau, Military Record of Edgar Alfred Bevers (1918-1919), (
  7. Hill, Harry L., ed. 1919, Watertown City and Codington County Directory 1919-1920 (Watertown, South Dakota: Watertown Printing and Binding Co.): 39.
  8. West Side Main Street, Hartford, S. D., date unknown. Owned by the City of Hartford, South Dakota.  Accessed April 30, 2020.
  9. “United States Census, 1920,” database with images, FamilySearch ( : 13 September 2019), South Dakota > Minnehaha > Sioux Falls Ward 6 > ED 189 > image 4 of 9; citing NARA microfilm publication T625 (Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.).
  10. Hill, Harry L., ed. 1919, Watertown City and Codington County Directory 1919-1920 (Watertown, South Dakota: Watertown Printing and Binding Co.): 33 & 64.
  11. Automobile Blue Book Publishing Company, The Official Automobile Blue Book 1917, vol. 5 (New York: Automobile Blue Book Publishing Company, 1917): 953,