John Heth died at his late residence in this city on Tuesday last January 14 after a long and painful illness at the age of fifty six years. He had suffered from organic disease of the heart for two years and more and for the most part during this time he was incapacitated for active business. He was a man of splendid physical strength and powers of endurance and to this he owed a surprising resistance to the incurable malady from which he suffered. John Heth was a native of Virginia and was born in Richmond on the 6th day of January 1834. He was a son of John and Margaret Heth. He was educated at Hampden Sidney College Virginia and first engaged in civil engineering in West Virginia.
Ill health turned his attention to the west and he came out to the wild country in 1854 to Forts Atkinson and Riley, where his famous brother General Henry Heth of the old army was then stationed. At this time he was a mere boy but his genial and generous spirit his cultivated manners and resolute energy gave him a wide popularity in the army and the following year, 1855, he became a member of the firm of Dyer & Co post traders at Fort Kearney. He became post trader soon afterwards in his own right and interest in which capacity he did a lucrative business until he sold out at the outbreak of the civil war.
It was at Kearney that Mr Heth became widely known in and out of the army for those honorable and generous qualities which held and always preserved to him a large and influential circle of friends. Among them were the most distinguished soldiers dead and living of the army including the famous Mexican hero Charley May. Winfield Scott Hancock, Lee Harney, Albert Sidney Johnston. General EB Alexander, George H. Thomas, Fred Steele, John Gibbon, John E. Summers. and others too numerous to mention.
In 1857 he was commissioned a lieutenaut in the regular army by Mr Buchanan but did not enter active service and soon resigned.
In February 1859 he was united in marriage to Miss Martha Miller at Hedgeland near Richmond Ky. Mrs Heth accompanied her husband to Kearney where they resided until 1864 when Mr Heth removed to Nebraska City and engaged in freighting across the plains in mercantile pursuits in Nebraska City and in milling at Syracuse. It was here in Nebraska City and Otoe county that Mr Heth and his family were perhaps best known in social life and where many of their attached friends survive. The hold that he had upon that people was shown when Hon OP Mason, Hon DP Rolfe mayor of Nebraska City, Mr Miller of Lincoln, and Robert Lorton, the foremost citizens of the state braved the severest weather of the season and came all the way to Omaha to attend his funeral and to bear the pall at the bier and grave of their departed friend.
In 1876, Mr Heth removed his family to Lincoln where he represented the stock interests of the Union Pacific Railroad Company and was traveling representative of several business concerns removing to Omaha several years ago where he has since resided and where he has been in the service of the Union Stock Yards Company. Mr Heth never sought public office or honor. He was a member of the State Historical Society and when the Omaha natives of the south who include many of our first citizens organized the Southern Society Mr Heth was chosen as its president.
This is the simple record of the life of the dead Virginian whose death is so widely regretted in this state and city but it would not be complete without further mention of his qualities as a man by one who knew him intimately for nearly thirty years, who is glad to bear testimony to his natural nobility of character to his generous nature and warmth of heart to his devotion to his family and kindred and to his loyalty to friends. A more elegant gentleman in point of consideration for others and in polished manners never lived among us than John Heth. It was his fortune to be the pioneer of pioneers of the trans Missouri region. His life was full of proofs of his courage and daring in the long race conflict which it cost to subdue the country from savagery to civilization and his mind was a storehouse of memories of men and events who made this conquest possible in our day.
Mr. Heth was a member of the Protestant Episcopal church. If his faith had fallen away in the latter years of his life when the shadows began to darken that faith returned to him in abundant measure. He died a Christain urging those whom he so dearly loved and all friends not to put the matter off as he had done. His death bed was one of calm resignation and serenity through all sufferings and he was far more solicitous for others than he was for himself.
A stricken wife, one daughter, Mrs W.F. Vail, and two sons, John Harrison Heth and Stockton Heth, General Harry Heth and one other brother and three sisters were the chief mourners at the grave of our departed friend. The funeral took place at Trinity Cathedral in this city Omaha on Thursday January 16 at 1 30 pm Dean Gardner officiating. Notwithstanding the severity of the weather the church was well filled with a large and influential congregation who gathered to testify their respect for the dead and their sympathy with the bereaved family, Dean Gardner never read the beautiful church service more impressively. The pall was borne by Hon OP Mason and RPR Millar of Lincoln Hon DP Rolfe mayor of Nebraska City and Robert Lorton of that place and Hon JG Megeath BB Wood PJ Nichols and Captain WT Wilcox and the burial took place in Forest Lawn cemetery.
Nebraska Historical Society records, http://books.google.com/books?id=L5wUAAAAYAAJ&pg=PA246&dq=%22daniel+mccomas%22&lr=&as_brr=1&ei=BQyUS_G1JIPYlQSb192pCg&cd=2#v=onepage&q=%22daniel%20mccomas%22&f=false
Martha Field Miller Heth