|Birth: ||Sep. 28, 1833|
|Death: ||Nov. 13, 1913|
Part of the Melcher Family History
Letter by Albert J. Melcher to Bob:
Bob, perhaps I remember my Grandfather, John "Bull" Melcher, better than anyone in our family because I was the only living member of the family that was old enough to have heard and remembered some of the more impressive stories that were told to me by Grandfather.
He was born in Hamburg, Germany and came to Pennsylvania in 1846. Between 1846 and 1856, he did a hitch in the Indian Scouts and worked in the coal mines in Pennsylvania. He married my Grandmother about 1853 or 1854. She was the daughter of Peter Maag, also an immigrant from Hanover, Germany, They went to Nebraska by covered wagon in 1856. They arrived in the fall of 1856 and lived in a hole in the side of a hill above the Union Creek, the first winter while Grandpa built a combination wood and sod house. I remember Grandpa pointing out the remains of a sod shack on his land that was built by Mountain Bill, an Indian Scout who was a friend and worked with Buffalo Bill.
One story that made a lasting impression on me was told by Grandpa about his scouting days. He was sent out from Scout Headquarters with a team and buckboard to the camp of an Indian Tribe to try to locate some Indians that killed some white settlers. The tribal leaders were trying to get along with the white settlers so they exposed the two Indians that pulled the job. Grandpa tied the two Indians hand and foot and placed them in the back of the backboard for his two day drive back to Scout Headquarters where they would be tried for the crime. When evening came, Grandpa had to get some sleep, but he couldn't take a chance with tied Indians because they were quite adept at squirming out of ropes if given time. So he untied one Indian and at the point of a gun, had him dig a hole deep enough to bury him up to his neck. When he had Indian number one buried up to his neck, he did the same with Indian number two. Now he was free to roll up in his blankets and get some sleep. During the night he was awakened by a loud commotion. On first inspection, he was sure his Indians got away but digging down in the soft earth he found their bodies were still there, but the coyotes got their heads. So he delivered the bodies to Scout Headquarters.
Bands of Indians used to roam and camp along the Union Creek. They would keep an eye on Grandpa's shack and if they saw him leave to check on his cattle, they would approach the house and beg food from my Grandmother in a rather threatening manner. Grandpa came home to find that Grandma had given away about half of their Winter's supply of food. They kept their distance of Grandpa. They knew his reputation.
About the second year Grandpa lived on the homestead, he had two wagon loads of wheat that he thrashed by primitive means. He had one team and wagon and borrowed another from a neighboring homesteader to take the wheat to market. Market was Council Bluffs, Iowa which was several days drive. Shortly after starting on the trip, it started raining and continued for 3 days. He had no means of protecting the wheat so when he arrived in Council Bluffs, the wheat was well sprouted so he had to dump it and go home empty handed with no money to buy winter provisions.
The Original Marshall Field of the Marshall Field Store in Chicago started as a peddler of cloth and notions to the early settlers in Western Iowa and Eastern Nebraska. He shipped merchandise from Chicago and New York to Council Bluffs where he picked it up. He travelled around with a horse and buckboard selling to the early settlers and trading needles and thread for meals and a place to sleep in the barn or wherever. Marshall Field bought land near Grandpa's and Grandpa run cattle on Marshall Field's land. When Marshall Field went to Chicago to open up his store he wanted Grandpa to go in partnership but Grandpa turn it down. He was a farmer and rancher and knew nothing about merchandising.
Following the Civil War, a number of young men from the Eastern part of the U.S. that had served in the army came to Nebraska to take up homesteads because they could deduct their time in service off the time it normally took to prove up on a claim, but most of them didn't like the rugged life so they wanted to get rid of their land as soon as they got title to it. I remember Grandpa pointing out one farm he got for his gold watch and another for a team of horses.
After Grandma died, Grandpa came to live with Paul Van Ackeren in Lindsey until he died. After school, I, with 3 or 4 of my boy friends, would go looking for Grandpa. I would peek in one saloon after another until I would find the one my Grandfather was in and then I would burst in and say "Hello Grandpa." Grandpa would pick me up and sit me on the bar and tell his drinking pals what wonderful Grandson I was, but immediately he would dig in his pocket and bribe me to leave with 50 cents or one dollar. You can imagine how much candy and gum it bought in those days. I had lots of friends while it lasted. Unfortunately, my Mother got wind of it after it had been going on for some time and she tanned my bottom and told me she would kill me if I ever went in the saloons again. That was the end of that game. Lindsay had about 4 saloons in those days.
A few months before Grandpa died, he was coming out of one of the saloons in the late P.M. after a couple too many and missed the two steps down and fell flat on his face. That fall obviously hurried his death.
(There is no evidence that Marshall Field was ever in Nebraska).
Listed on the United States Federal Census of 1910
Granville Twp, Platte County, Nebraska
as John Melcher, Sr., at age 77,
living at the home of his son Bernard Melcher.
Obituary - Humphrey Democrat, Nov. 21, 1913. Clipping saved by Tillie Melcher 04/25/1955 and submitted by FAG Contributor William Peel #47327611 on 13 Jan 2012.
John Melcher was born in Attendorn, Westphalia, Germany, September 29, 1833, and died at the home of his son, Joseph, on Thursday, November 13, 1913, aged eighty years, one month and fifteen days. His boyhood days were spend in Germany but at the age of sixteen years he came to this country to seek his fortune. He first settled at Cincinnati, Ohio, but later went to northern Michigan where for a number of year (24) he worked in the copper mines. There he was united in marriage to Miss Francis Schmelzer.
In 1873 he and his family moved to Nebraska and settled on a farm on Union Creek where they resided until 1898 when he and his wife, who preceded him to the Great Beyond in 1907, moved to St. Bernard to spend their remaining years.
He is survived by six sons and two daughters: Martin, Joseph, John, Fred and Ben of this place, Henry of Lindsay, Mrs. Paul Van Ackeren of Cedar Rapids and Mrs. Albert Hanke of Lindsay. Mr. Melcher will be remembered by the early settlers of the north part of this country as one of the foremost, hardworking pioneers. As a result of his toil and strict attention to the things which concerned himself and family, he prospered in a large measure. His honesty, neighborliness and genial ways won him firm friends among those who recognize true worth. He contributed his mite to the world's good. Funeral services were held Monday morning at the St. Bernard church and interment was made in the St. Bernard cemetery.
FAG Contributor Gary Muffley #47240918 submitted the following: Johann Melcher was a brother of Casper Melcher, Memorial #23652830.
A very grateful and heartfelt "Thank you" to Laura
for her Sponsorship of this Memorial.
I appreciate it more then words can say.
"Thank you, Thank you, Thank you"
Francisca Schmelzer Melcher (1841 - 1907)
Martin Melcher (1862 - 1930)*
Joseph Melcher (1863 - 1934)*
Caroline Melcher Van Ackeren (1865 - 1937)*
John May Melcher (1867 - 1950)*
Frances Melcher Hanke (1869 - 1952)*
Fred Melcher (1871 - 1942)*
Henry Melcher (1875 - 1955)*
Jacob Melcher (1879 - 1884)*
Benjamin Bernard Melcher (1882 - 1961)*
Saint Bernard Cemetery
Plot: Row 11
Maintained by: William Peel
Originally Created by: Gloria Barnes
Record added: Dec 01, 2007
Find A Grave Memorial# 23205886