Biography of Gustav William Duerfeldt of Barada

Gustav William Duerfeldt, born June 21, 1864, in Barada precinct, Richardson County, Nebraska, was a prominent farmer and community leader. He managed the 290-acre “Catalpa Lane Farm,” served as vice-president of the Barada Bank, and managed the Barada branch of the Southeast Nebraska Telephone Company. Son of German immigrants Gustav C. and Louisa (Parchen) Duerfeldt, he spent his early years improving the family farm before working in Helena, Montana, during the early 1890s. Returning to Barada in 1894, he focused on farming and livestock. Duerfeldt married Elizabeth C. Adami in 1892, and they had four children. He was active in the Lutheran church and local civic affairs.

Gustav William Duerfeldt, proprietor of “Catalpa Lane Farm,” a fine place of two hundred and ninety acres in sections 30 and 31 of the precinct of Barada, one of the best-known and most substantial farmers and stockmen in that part of the county, manager of the Barada Exchange, a branch of the Southeast Nebraska Telephone Company, vice-president of the Barada Bank, former assessor of his home precinct and for years actively interested in the general affairs of that community, was born in a log cabin on the farm on which he now lives and which he now owns and has lived in this county all his life, with the exception of some years spent at Helena, Montana, in the early nineties. He was born on June 21, 1864, a son of Gustav C. and Louisa (Parchen) Duerfeldt, natives of Germany, who were married in the city of Buffalo, New York, and who later became pioneers of Richardson county, where their last days were spent, useful and influential residents of the precinct of Barada.

Gustav C. Duerfeldt was born in the kingdom of Prussia on December 11, 1826, and was twenty years of age when he came with his father, Gustav Duerfeldt, and the five other children of the family, the mother having died in her native land, to the United States, the family settling in the city of Buffalo, New York. Of these six children Gustav C. Duerfeldt was the eldest, the others being as follow: Bernard, who later went to the gold fields of California, where he was known to have saved a considerable quantity of gold dust and was ready to return to his home in New York, but was never afterward heard from, it being the presumption that he was murdered for his gold; Paulina, who married a man of the name of Smith and is now deceased; Mary, who married F. Haller and is also deceased; Fred, who served as a soldier of the Union during the Civil War, going to the front with a New York regiment, was with Sherman to the sea and who later became a pioneer farmer in the precinct of Barada, this county, where his last days were spent, and whose old army musket is still preserved in the family, and Charles, who also came to this county and for some time was engaged in the butcher business, but later moved to a farm in Nemaha county, where he spent his last days.

Having been trained as a cabinet-maker in his native Prussia, Gustav C. Duerfeldt easily found employment in a cabinet shop at Buffalo upon his arrival in that city in 1846 and was engaged working in that one shop for fifteen years, or until he came to this county in 1861. In the meantime he had married, in Buffalo, Louisa Parchen, who also was born in Germany, May 26, 1837, and who was but sixteen years of age when she came to this country with her parents, and upon his arrival in this county in October, 1861, he bought a farm in section 3 of the precinct of Barada, the place now owned by the subject of this sketch, erected a log cabin on the same, that old log cabin still standing on the place, a priceless souvenir of pioneer days, and there established his home, one of the earliest settlers of that section, and there he spent the remainder of his life, a substantial farmer, his death occurring there on January 17, 1913. His first trip to Nebraska was made in 1858; when he came as treasurer of the Buffalo colony in order to pay off a mortgage of land purchased in Arago precinct by the colony. He carried with him $4,200 in gold, which was worn in a belt made by his wife, and which he guarded day and night. His wife had preceded him to the grave about eighteen years, her death having occurred in 1895. They were the parents of twelve children, of whom the subject of this sketch was the sixth in order of birth, the others being as follow: George, deceased; Bernard C., of Barada; Mary, wife of the Rev. W. T. Grommisch, of Detroit, Michigan; Gustav, who died in early childhood; Paulina, deceased; William, deceased; Louisa, deceased; Bertha M. and Ida E., twins, the former of whom is the wife of William Zurbrick, a farmer living near Verdon, this county, and the latter the wife of Elmer E. Butler, of Hebron, this state; Henry G., a druggist at Spokane, Washington, and Edward C., of Herrick, South Dakota.

Reared on the farm on which he was, born in the precinct of Barada, Gustav W. Duerfeldt received his schooling in the schools of that neighborhood and from the days of his boyhood was a valued factor in the labors of improving and developing the home place, remaining there until he was twenty-five years of age, when, in 1889, he went to Helena, Montana, to work for his brother in the establishment of the H. N. Parchen Drug Company and while thus engaged took a commercial course in a night school. He later became engaged with the street railway company at Helena and during the years 1891-93 was employed as a conductor and motorman and also as assistant engineering in the electric railway shops there. In the meantime, in the fall of 1892, he married at Helena and not long afterward returned to his old home in this county and has ever since resided there, now being the owner not only of the old home place, but of some additional land, his farm comprising two hundred and ninety acres of excellent land in sections 30 and 31 of the precinct of Barada, known as “Catalpa Lane Farm,” one of the best-kept and most profitably cultivated places in that part of the county. Ever since taking charge of that place in 1894 Mr. Duerfeldt has given considerable attention to the raising of live stock and annually feeds several carloads of cattle and hogs. He also has given attention to the general business affairs of his home community and has long been regarded as one of the most public-spirited “hustlers” in that section. In 1905 he became a stockholder and a member of the board of directors of the Southeast Nebraska Telephone Company and is now manager of the Barada branch of the same. He also is a member of the board of directors of the Barada Bank, of which he became a stockholder in 1906, and is now second vice-president of the same, at times acting as president. Mr. Duerfeldt is a Republican and for years has given his earnest attention to local political affairs, for thirteen years serving as chairman of the Barada precinct Republican committee. In 1906 he was appointed assessor of that precinct and held that position for three years. He also has served as a member of the school board for eleven years and in other ways has contributed of his time and energies to the public service.

On November 10, 1892, at Helena, Montana, Gustav W. Duerfeldt was united in marriage to Elizabeth C. Adami, who was born in that city on February 19, 1873, daughter of Jacob and Elizabeth (Knipper) Adami, natives of Germany, and to this union four children have been born, namely Bertha M., who was graduated from the Falls City high school and from the State Normal School at Peru and is now a member of the teaching corps of the Falls City schools; Pearl A., a graduate in music, who is now a teacher of music, and Clifford and Laura. The Duerfeldts have a very pleasant home at “Catalpa Lane Farm” and have ever given proper attention to the general social and cultural activities of the community in which they live. They are members of the Lutheran church and attentive to local good works. Mr. Duerfeldt is a member of the church council, practically succeeding his father in that position, who was an elder and one of the builders of the church. Mr. Duerfeldt has been a member of the local lodge of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows at Falls City since 1892, is a charter member of the Barada lodge of the Woodmen of the World, organized in 1895, and takes a warm interest in the affairs of both of these organizations.


Edwards, Lewis C., History of Richardson County, Nebraska : Its People, Industries and Institutions, Indianapolis : B.F. Bowen, 1917.

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