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.)  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).”13

Advertisement in Omaha City Directory for 189414

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 ….”15

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.16  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.”18

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 ….”19  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.”20

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.”21  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.”22


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.)23

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,24 he started printing a newspaper as an organ of a secret society called the American Protective Association.25  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.”26  This exposition is the largest event Omaha has ever hosted.27

“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.”28

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

Notes:

  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).
  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. Online Etymology Dictionary, “Teamster,” https://www.etymonline.com/word/teamster.
  14. Omaha City Directory for 1894 (Omaha, Nebraska: The J. M. Wolfe Directory Co., Publishers, 1894): 813.
  15. The Lincoln Telephone and Telegraph Company, The History of L T & T (The Lincoln Telephone and Telegraph Company: Lincoln, Nebraska, 1955): 3, http://bellsystempractices.org/Miscellaneous/the_history_of_lincoln_telephone_and_telegraph_-_1955-small.pdf.
  16. Jim McKee, “The telephone comes to Omaha” (Lincoln, Nebraska: Lincoln Journal Star, Jan 24, 2015): https://journalstar.com/news/local/jim-mckee-the-telephone-comes-to-omaha/article_5b1f1678-bada-5b27-8220-f08fc40e99a2.html.
  17. Jim McKee, “The telephone comes to Omaha.”
  18. Jim McKee, “The telephone comes to Omaha.”
  19. J. M. Wolfe, Wolfe’s Omaha City Directory 1883-84 (Omaha, Nebraska: Herald Printing, Binding and Electrotyping Establishment, 1883): 19.
  20. Jim McKee, “The telephone comes to Omaha.”
  21. Omaha City and South Omaha City Directory for 1892: 9-10.
  22. Omaha City Directory for 1894: 10.
  23. Jill Seladi-Schulman, Going with the Flow: Recognizing and Treating Catarrh (Postnasal Drip) (Healthline Media, September 28, 2020): https://www.healthline.com/health/allergies/catarrh#definition.
  24. Omaha City and South Omaha City Directory for 1892: 644.
  25. University of Nebraska-Lincoln, The American, http://nebnewspapers.unl.edu/lccn/2017270212/.
  26. Trans-Mississippi Exposition, Omaha, Nebraska, 1898, http://www.historicomaha.com/transmis.htm#:~:text=The%20Trans-Mississippi%20Exposition%2C%20held%20in%20Omaha%2C%20Nebraska%2C%20from,housed%20over%205000%20exhibits%2C%20were%20built%20as%20temporary.
  27. Liz Rea, History at a glance (Omaha, Nebraska: Douglas County Historical Society, 2007): 56, http://www.douglascohistory.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/08/History-at-a-Glance-9-2007.pdf.
  28. 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

Resources:

  1. Charles W. Savidge, Have faith in God (Omaha, Nebraska: Beacon Press, 1914):38-39, http://www.usgennet.org/usa/ne/topic/religion/MECHURCH/faith/pages/hfig0038.htm.
  2. David Marquette, History of Nebraska Methodism: First Half-Century (1904): 56, http://www.usgennet.org/usa/ne/topic/religion/MECHURCH/hmec/pages/honm0052.htm.
  3. Charles W. Savidge, Have faith in God: 89, http://www.usgennet.org/usa/ne/topic/religion/MECHURCH/faith/pages/hfig0083.htm#ch25.
  4. John McCoy, transcriber, History of the State of Nebraska by William Cutler (Chicago: The Western Historical Company, 1882): https://www.kancoll.org/books/andreas_ne/nemaha/nemaha-p6.html#press.
  5. Omaha Daily Bee (Omaha, Nebraska: Omaha Daily Bee, May 8, 1883):8, https://www.newspapers.com/image/466624152.
  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”: https://casde.unl.edu/history/counties/saline/tobias/.
  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 (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:33SQ-GYYV-9R3L?cc=1417683&wc=XHBX-C68%3A1589394762%2C1589396075%2C1589395491%2C1589396695 : 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 (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:33SQ-GYYV-9RN5?cc=1417683&wc=XHBX-C68%3A1589394762%2C1589396075%2C1589395491%2C1589396695 : 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 (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:939Z-YGHT-J?cc=1803643&wc=M6L6-Q23%3A145017901%2C145048501 : 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, http://www.usgennet.org/usa/ne/topic/religion/MECHURCH/faith/pages/hfig0092.htm.
  16. Charles W. Savidge, Have faith in God: 51, http://www.usgennet.org/usa/ne/topic/religion/MECHURCH/faith/pages/hfig0045.htm.
  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, http://www.usgennet.org/usa/ne/topic/religion/MECHURCH/faith/pages/hfig0056.htm.
  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.

Notes:

  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 (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:33SQ-GYBY-3RS?cc=1473181&wc=7QK5-R7B%3A1589426070%2C1589423360%2C1589422457 : 24 March 2017), Indiana > Floyd > Franklin Township > image 4 of 20; from “1860 U.S. Federal Census – Population,” database, Fold3.com (http://www.fold3.com : 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 (https://www.findagrave.com : 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 (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:S3HY-69R9-3QM?cc=1438024&wc=92KT-2JM%3A518664801%2C519250701%2C518720802 : 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 (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3QSQ-G9M1-5855?cc=2000219&wc=QZFM-WRZ%3A791611401%2C793270701%2C793367301%2C793379401 : 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 (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:33SQ-GYBZ-LJ5?cc=1417683&wc=XCT5-W38%3A1589401272%2C1589395180%2C1589403077%2C1589396220 : 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 (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:33S7-LBF7-97K?cc=1417683&wc=XC5C-VZ9%3A1589401272%2C1589399936%2C1589395978%2C1589395374 : 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 (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:33SQ-GBF7-9GX?cc=1417683&wc=XC5C-VZ9%3A1589401272%2C1589399936%2C1589395978%2C1589395374 : 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

Miss Maggie’s Early Life

When I was a child, occasionally I would ask my mother where our ancestors were from.  She would tell me that her father’s father was from England, her father’s mother was from Switzerland, her mother’s father was Irish and her mother’s mother was Pennsylvania Dutch.  It was not until I was well into adulthood that I learned that my mother’s grandmother Maggie was not actually born in Pennsylvania, nor were Maggie’s parents born there.  It was Maggie’s grandparents who were born in Pennsylvania.  Her paternal grandparents (John Adam Bonewitz and Mary Margaret Rider, also called Peggy) were already married when they moved from Pennsylvania to Ohio about 1820, but Maggie’s maternal grandparents (Harman Smith and Barbara Flora) were still children when they moved with their parents to Ohio about 1822 and 1815, respectively.

Subsequently, all of Maggie’s grandparents moved to Indiana.  When Harman and Barbara Smith moved from Ohio to Huntington County, Indiana (about 1843), their children were still young, which included Josephine Smith.  Late in life (about 1853), John Adam and Peggy Bonewitz moved to neighboring Wabash County, Indiana and their son John Esli Bonewitz moved with them.  Somehow, John Esli met Josephine and they married in 1856.  They lived in Indiana for a few years, then in the early 1860s, they moved to Fairfield, Iowa, which is where Maggie was born on November 9, 1867.1

When the 1870 U. S. census was taken in Fairfield, Iowa, Maggie, at nearly 3 years-old, was the youngest in a household of three adults and seven children.2  Maggie’s father was 35 years-old and her mother was 32 years-old.  She had two older brothers and two older sisters:  Orlando, age 13; Harman, age 11; Carrie, age 9 and Emma, age 5.  Maggie’s mother’s sister Malissa Griffith and Malissa’s two children William and Viola, age 8 and 7 respectively, were also living in the Bonewitz household.

Little is known of Maggie’s life as a child, but from what is recorded in the 1940 U. S. census it is known that she attended school through the fifth grade.3  Also, from the 1880 U. S. Census, we learn that two more brothers (Claudius and J. F.) were born after Maggie,4 one when she was eight or nine years-old and the other when she was twelve.  When Maggie was about ten years-old, her father and eldest brothers traveled 230 miles due west of Fairfield to Omaha, Nebraska and a few years later the entire family moved there. 

The annual Omaha city directories reveal information about the occupations and residences of the family.  Beginning with the 1878-79 city directory, entries can be found for John, Orlando and Harman Bonewitz.  When the 1880 U. S. census was taken, the Bonewitz family was listed in Fairfield, even though the 1880 Omaha city directory has an entry for John.

When Maggie’s family arrived in Omaha, she was 13 years-old.  Maggie’s teenage years were filled with many family events, including deaths, marriages and changing residences.  Sadly, two weeks after the census was taken in Fairfield, Maggie’s nearly six-month-old brother J. F. passed away.  His grave is in Omaha, not Fairfield.5  Less than 10 months later, Maggie’s other younger brother Claudius died at nearly five-years-old.6

Omaha, which “derived its name from a tribe of Indians that were formerly the owners of the soil,”7 was a booming city.  It was established in 1854 and immediately experienced rapid development.8  After a brief slowdown due to a financial crisis in the late 1850s, the city resumed its expansion as Omaha became the outfitting center for immigrants to Colorado, Utah, Idaho, Montana and Wyoming.9  An article in the 1870 Omaha city directory identified several factors which attributed to Omaha’s development:

“The mines of the west, the termination of the [Civil] war, and the initiation of the U. P. R. R. [Union Pacific Rail Road] brought back vitality.  Capitalists made homes here; railroads one after another came from the east, making Omaha their objective point; a fleet of steamers gave connection with the south; the Government established here headquarters for the army of the West; manufactures sprung into existence; the U. P. R. R. constructed workshops, employing hundreds of hands, and executing every description of work, and prosperity which has known no interruption, returned.”10

The population when John and his sons arrived in Omaha was about 26,215.11  When the Bonewitz family moved to Omaha in 1880, the census report gave it a population of 30,652.12  The population in 1884 was estimated at 55,23013 and in 1887 it was estimated at 96,717.14

According to the city directories the family moved several times.  Upon moving to Omaha, the first address of the family was 1314 Jackson.15  The first time that Maggie’s name is listed in the city directory is in 1884.  Her residence was at 1623 Dodge, which is the same address listed for her sister Carrie and her father.16  Her father’s entry notes that his occupation was “boarding.”  Maggie’s parents ran a boarding house and it is likely that Maggie assisted her parents in this endeavor.  In 1885, Maggie’s residence was at 1209 Georgia Avenue17 and in 1886 she lived at 1113 Georgia,18 both of these addresses were listed for her father and brother Harman also.

Other family events that occurred in the first half of the 1880s included the birth of another brother (Sidney) in January 1882.19  Maggie’s sister Emma married John C. Thompson in May 188320 and her sister Carrie married Charles P. White in 1884.21  The next year, tragically, Maggie’s eldest brother Orlando passed away.  In the Omaha city directory, he is in the list of “the most prominent persons who have died within the city of Omaha during the year 1885,” and is given the date of death of August 27.22  (This may actually have been the date of his burial.)  Not long before Orlando’s death the Bonewitz family posed for a family portrait.23  Based on how old Sidney appears to be, the photograph may have been taken in late 1884 or early 1885.  Maggie, standing on the left, would have been about 17 years-old.

The Bonewitz family (with their approximate ages):
Back Row: Maggie (17), Orlando (27), probably Emma (20), probably Carrie (23) (Emma and Carrie could be the opposite)
Front Row: Josephine (46), Sidney (3), John (49), Harman (25)

When the 1885 census of Nebraska was taken, Maggie along with her father, mother and three brothers lived on 28th street.24  Maggie’s sister Emma and brother-in-law also lived in the household and they had a daughter, Josephine, who was one year old.  In addition, there were five boarders in the household.  Another marriage took place in December 1886.  Maggie’s brother Harman married Cornelia Higley.25

In the newspaper Omaha Daily Bee, an announcement was placed describing Maggie’s 20th birthday:

“Wednesday evening a large number of young friends assembled at the residence of Mr. John E. Bonewitz, in West Side, and passed a very pleasant evening, the gathering being in honor of the twentieth birthday of his daughter, Miss Maggie.  Quite a number of invitations had been sent out and as a result the house was filled with merry, fun-loving young people.  Some very nice and costly presents were bestowed upon the young lady, who made an admirable hostess on this occasion.  At 11 o’clock a very fine lunch was served, after which the assembled friends were entertained with music and games.  Those in attendance were G. L. McIlvane and Miss Robertson, J. E. Hardy and Miss Emma Lyman, A. S. Gantz and Miss Anna Higley, Charles Roberts and Miss Hannah Roberts, George Ritchie and wife, T. W. Smith and wife, C. P. White and wife, H. N. Stump, Ernest Gantz, Mr. Christ, of Sac City, Ia.; John Collins, Rockport, Mo.; John C. Thompson and wife and the parents of the young lady.”26

Besides Maggie and her parents there were 20 people in attendance at her birthday party.  Some of the guests were:

  • A. S. Gantz (Argola) who was Maggie’s 18 year-old cousin, the son of her mother’s sister Joannah.  The Gantz family had been living in Fairfield, Iowa at the same time that the Bonewitz’ family lived there in 1880.27 
  • Ernest Gantz is possibly a relation of Argola.  There was another Gantz family that lived in Fairfield in 1880 which included a young person named Ernest.28
  • Argola accompanied Anna Higley who was probably the 17 year-old sister of Maggie’s sister-in-law Cornelia.  The Higley family was also living in Fairfield in 1880.29
  • C. P. White and wife were Maggie’s brother-in-law Charles and her sister Carrie.
  • John C. Thompson and wife were Maggie’s brother-in-law and her sister Emma.
  • H. N. Stump was a carpenter living in West Side.30  (Maggie’s father was a carpenter at the time.)31

The newspaper article notes that the Bonewitz family lived in West Side.  This was a newly developing area about three miles west from the post office and was near the West Side train depot grounds.  It would later be described as an area of workers’ cottages.32 This is the area that members of Maggie’s family would reside for the next 30 years.

Notes:

  1. Shaw-Messer Chapel, “In Memory of Maggie O. Daily” (Watertown, South Dakota: Shaw-Messer Chapel, March 15, 1947).
  2. “United States Census, 1870,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:MDVC-DFR : 17 October 2014), Maggie O Bonewits in household of John E Bonewits, Iowa, United States; citing p. 5, family 37, NARA microfilm publication M593 (Washington D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.); FHL microfilm 545,898.
  3. “United States Census, 1940,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3QSQ-G9M1-5855?cc=2000219&wc=QZFM-WRZ%3A791611401%2C793270701%2C793367301%2C793379401 : 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.
  4. “United States Census, 1880,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:MD2G-RHC : 13 July 2016), Maggie Bonewitz in household of J E Bonewitz, Fairfield, Jefferson, Iowa, United States; citing enumeration district ED 81, sheet 409D, NARA microfilm publication T9 (Washington D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.), roll 0347; FHL microfilm 1,254,347.
  5. Find a Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed 19 July 2020), memorial page for Freddy Bonewitz (Jan 1880–Jul 1880), Find a Grave Memorial no. 170992635, citing Prospect Hill Cemetery, Omaha, Douglas County, Nebraska, USA ; Maintained by SRGF (contributor 47487065) .
  6. Find a Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed 19 July 2020), memorial page for Claudius Coan Bonewitz (7 May 1876–23 Apr 1881), Find a Grave Memorial no. 170992581, citing Prospect Hill Cemetery, Omaha, Douglas County, Nebraska, USA ; Maintained by SRGF (contributor 47487065) .
  7. Collins’ Omaha Directory (Omaha, Nebraska: Charles Collins, Publisher, June 1866): 19.
  8. Collins’ Omaha Directory: 21.
  9. Collins’ Omaha Directory: 24.
  10. Omaha Directory for 1870 (Omaha, Nebraska: J. M. Wolfe, Publisher, 1870): 17.
  11. J. M. Wolfe, publisher, Wolfe’s Omaha City Directory 1878-1879 (Omaha, Nebraska: Herald Publishing House and Book Bindery, 1878): 27.
  12. J. M. Wolfe, publisher, Wolfe’s Omaha City Directory 1881-1882 (Omaha, Nebraska: Herald Printing, Binding and Electrotyping House, 1881): 11.
  13. J. M. Wolfe, publisher, Omaha City Directory 1884 (Omaha, Nebraska: Herald Printing, Binding and Electrotyping Establishment, 1884): 9.
  14. Omaha City and Douglas County Directory 1887 (Omaha, Nebraska: J. M. Wolfe & Co., Publishers, 1887): 2.
  15. J. M. Wolfe, Wolfe’s Omaha City Directory 1881-1882: 116.
  16. J. M. Wolfe, Omaha City Directory 1884: 100.
  17. J. M. Wolfe, publisher, Omaha City and Douglas County Directory 1885 (Omaha, Nebraska: Herald Printing, Binding and Electrotyping House, 1885): 102.
  18. Omaha City and Douglas County Directory 1886 (Omaha, Nebraska: J. M. Wolfe & Co., Publishers, 1886): 113.
  19. State of California, California Death Index, 1940-1997 (Sacramento: State of California Department of Health Services, Center for Health Statistics): http://search.ancestry.com/cgi-bin/sse.dll?db=cadeath1940&h=709689&ti=0&indiv=try&gss=pt .
  20. Marriage license of John C. Thompson and Emma V. Bonewitz (State of Nebraska, Douglas County, May 6, 1883).
  21. Marriage license of Charles P. White and Carrie Bonewitz (State of Nebraska, Douglas County, June 12, 1884).
  22. Omaha City and Douglas County Directory 1886: 15.
  23. A descendant of Josephine Smith Bonewitz’ brother Obediah Smith contacted the author through Ancestry.com and subsequently supplied this photograph which her grandmother had labeled John and Josephine Bonewitz.
  24. “Nebraska State Census Collection, 1860-1885,” (Online publication – Provo, UT: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2009): http://search.ancestry.com/cgi-bin/sse.dll?db=nestatecensus&h=1420813&ti=0&indiv=try&gss=pt .
  25. Marriage license of Harman F. Bonewitz and Cornelia B. Higley (State of Nebraska, Douglas County, December 29, 1886).
  26. Omaha Daily Bee (Omaha, Nebraska, November 20, 1887): 11, https://www.newspapers.com/image/149885912.
  27. “United States Census, 1880,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:33S7-9YYV-9P9W?cc=1417683&wc=XHBX-4WL%3A1589394762%2C1589396075%2C1589395491%2C1589396321 : 24 December 2015), Iowa > Jefferson > Fairfield > ED 80 > image 17 of 23; citing NARA microfilm publication T9, (National Archives and Records Administration, Washington, D.C., n.d.)
  28. “United States Census, 1880,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:33SQ-GYYV-9R3L?cc=1417683&wc=XHBX-C68%3A1589394762%2C1589396075%2C1589395491%2C1589396695 : 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.)
  29. “United States Census, 1880,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:33SQ-GYYV-9RN5?cc=1417683&wc=XHBX-C68%3A1589394762%2C1589396075%2C1589395491%2C1589396695 : 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.)
  30. Omaha City and Douglas County Directory 1887: 660.
  31. Omaha City and Douglas County Directory 1887: 75.
  32. Dennis Mihelich, ed., Ribbon of Destruction (Omaha, Nebraska: Douglas County Historical Society, n. d.): 8.

An Introduction to Maggie Oranna Bonewitz

  • Born on November 9, 1867 in Fairfield, Iowa
  • Parents: John Esli Bonewitz and Josephine E. Smith
  • Moved with her parents to Omaha, Nebraska about 1880
  • Married Charles Monroe Daily on November 18, 1891
  • Children: Gladys, Oranna, Robert, Iona, Elizabeth, Joseph (and an un-named baby boy)
  • In 1909 Maggie and Charles decided to try farming; they moved their family to a farm in Soldier Township, Shawnee County, Kansas
  • In January 1913, Maggie and Charles returned to Omaha
  • On Easter Sunday, March 23, 1913, a tornado drove through the west side of Omaha, destroying Maggie and Charles’ home
  • In April 1915 Maggie and Charles moved their family to a farm in Rauville Township, Codington County, South Dakota
  • Sometime later Maggie and Charles moved to a farm in Lake Township, Codington County, South Dakota
  • Maggie and Charles retired from farming in 1932 and moved into Watertown, South Dakota
  • Her husband Charles died on March 9, 1945
  • Died March 15, 1947 at the age of 79 and is buried in Mount Hope Cemetery, Watertown, South Dakota
Maggie Bonewitz, on her wedding day
November 18, 1891

Day Eight: Percival, Iowa to Atchison, Kansas

October 20, 2019

Retracing Lena Huppler Bevers’ Travel Log

Mon. – Oct. 20.

Stayed in Auburn till 12 A. M. while they fixed on the cars.  Ate dinner and then we pulled out.  Got into Horton about 6 P. M.  Had supper and stayed all night. – Lena Bevers

Lena writes in her travel log that the traveling party spent the morning of October 20 in Auburn, Nebraska because the men needed to fix their cars.  Florence adds that “they fixed the fan on our car and the frame on McElhaney’s car.”1  My mother and I didn’t head down the road right away either.  In the 2018 AAA TourBook Guide for Nebraska, my mother found the Arbor Day Farm in Nebraska City.  This farm is operated by the Arbor Day Foundation, whose mission statement is: “We inspire people to plant, nurture, and celebrate trees.”2  We spent the morning viewing some of their informative exhibits, walking one of their trails and experiencing a very unique attraction: Treetop Village.  If you are looking for evidence that you still have a kid in you, then try this out.

(Photograph by MRW October 20, 2019)

Lena stated that they headed down the road from Auburn at 12:00 PM after they ate dinner.  Today we started down the road from Nebraska City about 12:30 PM after sharing a caramel apple at the Arbor Day Farm.  U. S. Highway 75 roughly follows the King of Trails Highway until north of Dawson, Nebraska, then U. S. Highway 73 follows the King of Trails.  Florence recorded that they traveled through Howe, Stella, and Verdon in Nebraska, then Reserve and Hiawatha in Kansas.3  The two-car caravan ended their day in Horton, Kansas at about 6:00 PM.  In six hours, they had traveled about 63 miles, at not much more than 10 miles per hour.

Extract of Route 1041 from The Official Automobile Blue Book 19174

When my mother and I traveled down U. S. Highway 75, we went past and through several very small towns, for example Verdon has a population of 172.  We could not find a business district in Verdon nor did we find one in Reserve.  Auburn, the town where the Bevers family spent the previous night is small also, as well as Horton where they stopped on this day.  Hiawatha was the largest town we drove through.  It was very interesting to see the well-maintained historical buildings there.

Hetzel’s Block in Auburn, Nebraska, dated 1890 (Photograph by MRW October 20, 2019)
This building in Horton is dated 1915. The stone above the window says “Motor Inn.” (Photograph by MRW October 20, 2019)
Originally called the Hiawatha Memorial Auditorium, this 1920 building houses the Brown County Historical Society. (Photograph by MRW October 20, 2019)
Brick paved streets encircle the Courthouse Square of Hiawatha. (Photograph by MRW October 20, 2019)
Lawrence Building, Hiawatha, Kansas, dated 1896 (Photograph by MRW October 20, 2019)

In 1919, the speed laws in Kansas were: “‘Reasonable and proper.’ ‘A rate of speed in excess of 25 miles an hour shall be presumptive evidence of driving at a rate which is not careful and prudent in case of injury to the person or property of another.’  Twelve miles per hour in city limits; eight miles an hour at crossings, intersections, bridges, curves, descents, etc.  Six miles an hour at city intersections.”5  The 1920 edition of The Official Automobile Blue Book informed its readers that: “There is now a great interest in Kansas in the matter of good roads, and many miles of macadam, brick and concrete are being constructed under the supervision of the state highway commission.”6

When the Bevers family passed through Hiawatha, they crossed over another transcontinental highway. Below is a section of a Rand McNally map dated 1924, designating the King of Trails Highway with the number 27.7  (As I’ve mentioned before, this number corresponds to the map legend, it is not a highway number assigned by a governmental agency.)  At Hiawatha the King of Trails intersects with the Pikes Peak Ocean-to-Ocean Highway (number 47 on the map.)  The Ocean-to-Ocean Highway connected New York City with Los Angeles.8

Section of Rand McNally Map of Nebraska & Kansas, 1924
Ocean to Ocean Highway, 1913 (Public Domain; Courtesy of Federal Highway Administration)

We didn’t stay in Horton as Lena’s family did because we weren’t able to locate online a motel in Horton, so instead we made a reservation in Atchison, Kansas.  Before leaving Horton for our motel, we stopped at Werner Wagon Works.  The proprietors restore and manufacture wagons in the style that were used in the eighteen hundreds.  They kindly gave us a tour of their workshop.  It was fascinating to see and imagine how our ancestors traveled before automobiles were invented.

An army escort wagon that will be restored by Werner Wagon Works. (Photograph by MRW October 20, 2019)
A restored wagon completed about 1991 (Photograph by MRW October 20, 2019)
Some of the restoration work is completed with this band saw built in the early nineteen hundreds. (Photograph by MRW October 20, 2019)

Notes:

  1. B. Winkelmann, Our Trip to Texas [Transcription of Our Trip to Texas by Florence Bevers, 1919] (unpublished, n. d.): 2.
  2. Arbor Day Foundation, https://www.arborday.org/generalinfo/about.cfm.
  3. B. Winkelmann, Our Trip to Texas: 2.
  4. Automobile Blue Book Publishing Company, Official Automobile Blue Book 1917, vol. 5 (New York: Automobile Blue Book Publishing Company, 1917): 1099-1100, https://ia800405.us.archive.org/15/items/case_gv1024_a92_1917_vol_5/case_gv1024_a92_1917_vol_5.pdf.
  5. Automobile Blue Book Publishing Company, Official Automobile Blue Book 1917, vol. 5: 1234.
  6. Automobile Blue Book Publishing Company, Official Automobile Blue Book 1920, vol. 7 (New York: Automobile Blue Book Publishing Company, 1920): 859, https://ia601208.us.archive.org/26/items/case_gv1024_a92_1920_v_7/case_gv1024_a92_1920_v_7.pdf.
  7. Rand McNally and Company, Commercial Atlas of America, “Auto Trails Map, District No. 12, Southern Nebraska, Eastern Colorado, Kansas, Northeastern New Mexico, Northern Oklahoma” (Chicago: Rand McNally & Company, 1924): 372-373, https://www.davidrumsey.com/luna/servlet/detail/RUMSEY~8~1~201708~3000668:AutoTrails-Map,-Southern-Nebraska.
  8. Rick Martin, “The Highway,” Pikes Peak Ocean to Ocean Highway, http://www.ppoo.org/.

Day Seven: Council Bluffs to Percival, Iowa

October 19, 2019

Retracing Lena Huppler Bevers’ Travel Log

Sun. – Oct. 19.

Left Council Bluffs about 8:00 A. M.  Had fine roads.  Ate dinner on the roadside.  Got into Auburn, Nebr. about 5 P. M. and stayed all night.  Had supper here. – Lena Bevers

On this day one hundred years ago, Lena only recorded their starting and ending points.  This isn’t much information to determine the route that they took on this day.  Council Bluffs is on the east side of the Missouri River and Auburn is on the west side of the river, so one question is: Where did they cross the Missouri River?  They could have crossed from Council Bluffs into Omaha, or they could have traveled south and crossed at Nebraska City.  To make the choice, initially I referred to the Map of Iowa Showing Principal Automobile Routes, dated 1919, which I obtained from the Iowa Department of Transportation website.  A portion of the King of Trails Highway is highlighted on this map, indicating that the highway crossed the Missouri River at Omaha and traveled south through Plattsmouth, Nebraska City and Auburn.1  So that is the route that I chose.  Just a couple weeks ago, when my mother obtained from her cousin a copy of Florence Bevers’ travel log, we found confirmation that Herbert and Mr. McElhany did follow the King of Trails Highway into Omaha and then traveled south.  Florence wrote: “Left Council Bluffs, ate breakfast on our way, same as always, about 8 am.  Had fine roads.  Drove thru Omaha, Albright, Ft. Crook, Plattsmouth, Murry, Union, Wyoming and Nebraska City. Ate dinner on the roadside.  Got into Auburn, Nebraska about 5 pm and stayed all night.  Stopped early so they could fix the car.”2

Section of the Map of Iowa Showing Principal Automobile Routes

The bridge they would have used was one that between 1913 and 1930 was called the Lincoln Highway Bridge, which was a toll bridge.  At the end of Lena’s travel log, she notes that they crossed four toll bridges.  The King of Trails and the Lincoln Highways both crossed the Missouri River on the Lincoln Highway Bridge.  Originally this bridge was called Douglas Street Bridge.  It was a truss bridge built by Omaha and Council Bluffs Street Railway Company in 1888, designed to handle streetcars. On the photograph below, note the signs on each side of the bridge with the capital letter L.  These were the signs posted to indicate to the motorists that they were on the Lincoln Highway. 

Photograph of the Douglas Street Bridge by Omaha Daily Bee in July 1914. (Public Domain.)3

In 1938 a group of businessmen called the Knights of Ak-Sar-Ben (by the way, read this word backwards), bought the bridge with the intentions of making it a free bridge, which they accomplished in 1947.4  The bridge which was then named the Ak-Sar-Ben Bridge served the two cities until November 1966 when the Interstate Highway 480 Bridge was opened.  All that is left of the Ak-Sar-Ben Bridge is an east pier near the east bank of the river, south of the I-480 Bridge.

The first thing my mother and I did this morning was drive to River’s Edge Park in Council Bluffs.  It was a lovely morning and very pleasant for walking partway across the pedestrian bridge that spans the Missouri River and viewing the motivating statue that stands in the park.

(Photograph by MRW October 19, 2019)
(Photograph by MRW October 19, 2019)
The Interstate 480 Bridge entering Omaha (Photograph by MRW October 19, 2019)
The Interstate Highway 480 Bridge is the bridge we used to cross the Missouri River (Photograph by MRW October 19, 2019)

Herbert and Lena’s daughter-in-law Gladys Daily Bevers was born in Omaha.  Gladys’ mother Maggie Bonewitz Daily moved with her parents to Omaha from Fairfield, Iowa in 1880 and her father Charles Daily, who worked his way west from Indiana, arrived in Omaha about 1888.  Charles and Maggie married in 1891 and except for a short stint of farming near Topeka, Kansas they stayed in Omaha until 1915.

On Easter Sunday in March 1913, there was a devastating tornado that swept through Omaha and destroyed hundreds of homes.  Today, my mother and I did some research in the Omaha Public Library and found an article in the Omaha World-Herald that confirmed that the home of Gladys’ grandmother, Josephine Bonewitz, was destroyed.5  Charles and Maggie’s home, two blocks away, was also destroyed, although they were not living in it at the time.  Their son Robert has related that they had returned to Omaha from Kansas ten days before Easter and were waiting to move into their house at the beginning of the next month.6  Robert also explains that following the tornado, his father and Maggie’s brother H. Finley built a cottage for Josephine and a house for the Dailys.  A year after the tornado, the Daily home was photographed at the same address as their
former house, so it may be concluded that this is the re-built home.  In 1915 the Daily family moved to a farm north of Watertown, South Dakota.

Charles and Maggie Daily’s Home in Omaha in March, 1914
Courtesy of My Genealogy Hound7

In 1919 upon entering Nebraska, the speed law was: “Reasonable and proper; not to exceed 25 miles per hour in any case, 12 miles in the city limits, 8 miles at an intersection, bridge, etc.; at intersection of streets in city, 6 miles.”8  In Omaha the Lincoln Highway broke away from the King of Trails Highway, traveling west toward Cheyenne, Wyoming, while the King of Trails Highway turned south to travel along the eastern border of Nebraska.  Today when we left Omaha, we traveled alongside U. S. Highway 75 for about 10 miles.  Then we had to get on U. S. Highway 75, which at that point was a modern four-lane highway.  Then from Murray to Nebraska City it became a two-lane highway.

Route 1041 from The Official Automobile Blue Book takes one from Omaha to Hiawatha, Kansas.  Lena’s family stopped for the night at Auburn which is at mile 68.7 on this route.  In the introductory explanation, I would interpret the “natural roads” to be dirt roads.9  Also, the “Blue Book car” could be equated with the current day Google Maps car.

The above directions (from the 1917 Blue Book) say that there was a toll of 50 cents to go over the Platte River10, but the 1920 Blue Book states that the cost to cross the toll bridge was 25 cents for the car and driver and 5 cents for each additional passenger.11  At the end of Lena’s travel log, she adds a postscript, saying that they had driven over four toll bridges.  It appears that on this day, they traveled over two of the four toll bridges: the Lincoln Highway Bridge and the Platte River Bridge.

When my mother and I were looking online for a motel, we could not locate one in Auburn.  The most economical one we found near Auburn was in Percival, Iowa.  So, today we ended our day in Percival, instead of traveling as far as Auburn.  Before going over the Missouri River to Percival, we decided to stop in Nebraska City for dinner (our end of the day meal).  While we were looking for a restaurant, we passed the courthouse, which was erected in 1864.  Nebraska City is one of the towns in Florence’s list of towns that the Bevers family passed through.  She also notes that they: “Stopped early so they could fix the car.”12

Notes:

  1. The Kenyon Company, Map of Iowa Showing Principal Automobile Routes (Des Moines, Iowa: The Kenyon Company, 1919), https://iowadot.gov/maps/msp/pdf/historic.pdf.
  2. B. Winkelmann, Our Trip to Texas [Transcription of Our Trip to Texas by Florence Bevers, 1919] (unpublished, n. d.): 2.
  3. Omaha Daily Bee, Douglas Street Bridge (Omaha, Nebraska: Omaha Daily Bee, 1914 July 12), https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Douglas_Street_Bridge_-_July_1914.jpg.
  4. Ak-Sar-Ben Bridge, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ak-Sar-Ben_Bridge.
  5. Morning World Herald, Homes Destroyed, Not Previously Reported (Omaha, Nebraska: Morning World-Herald, 1913 March 29): 6.
  6. R. Thiele, Robert L. Daily Interview, recording (ca. 1982).
  7. 16th Street, North from Harney, Omaha, Neb., http://www.mygenealogyhound.com/vintage-postcards/nebraska-postcards/NE-Omaha-Nebraska-Sixteenth-Street-looking-North-from-Harney-Street-vintage-postcard-photo.html
  8. Automobile Blue Book Publishing Company, The Official Automobile Blue Book 1917, vol. 5 (New York: Automobile Blue Book Publishing Company, 1917): 1235, https://ia800405.us.archive.org/15/items/case_gv1024_a92_1917_vol_5/case_gv1024_a92_1917_vol_5.pdf.
  9. Automobile Blue Book Publishing Company, The Official Automobile Blue Book 1917, vol. 5: 1098-99.
  10. Automobile Blue Book Publishing Company, The Official Automobile Blue Book 1917, vol. 5: 1098.
  11. Automobile Blue Book Publishing Company, The Official Automobile Blue Book 1920, vol. 7 (New York: Automobile Blue Book Publishing Company, 1920): 162, https://ia601208.us.archive.org/26/items/case_gv1024_a92_1920_v_7/case_gv1024_a92_1920_v_7.pdf.
  12. B. Winkelmann, Our Trip to Texas [Transcription of Our Trip to Texas by Florence Bevers, 1919] (unpublished, n. d.): 2.