Biography of Alexander H. Cramer
Adams County, NE Biographies





Alexander H. Cramer is a pioneer resident of Hastings and one of the leading real estate and loan agents of the city, handling both farm and town property. He possesses untiring energy, is quick of perception and forms his plans readily, while his close application to business and his excellent judgment have brought to him the high degree of prosperity which is today his. A native of New York, he was born in the city of Utica, January 31, 1852, and was four years of age when the family removed to Wisconsin, settling on a farm in Waushara county. There he attended the public schools until he reached the age of seventeen years, when he removed to Oneida, Knox county, Illinois, where he had two brothers living. There he spent nine months a year as a high school pupil for about four years and during vacation periods worked upon farms or engaged in clerking. During a part of the last year he was employed in the store of Pratt & Lawson, the owners of the business being George H. Pratt and Charles K. Lawson, who on selling out came to what is now the city of Hastings. Wishing to retain the services of Mr. Cramer, they induced him also to come to the west and he arrived in this city on the 1st of October, 1872, assisting his employers in the erection of their store building and afterward continuing with them as a clerk. All three were young men and they kept "bachelors' hall" over the store during that winter, Mr. Cramer doing the cooking while the others furnished the food. This arrangement proved very satisfactory to the three and there were pleasant hours spent in that way.

In the spring of 1873 Mr. Cramer began working in a lumber yard as it was his desire to have outdoor employment, which he hoped would prove beneficial to his health. On the 13th of April, 1873, a terrific snow storm occurred accompanied by high and violent winds. The storm raged for three days and three nights and Mr. Cramer says no other such storm has occurred during all of the forty four years of his residence in Nebraska. The country was then sparsely settled, so that the homes were few and far between and several people were lost in the blizzard. Mr. Cramer continued to work in the lumber yard until December of that year and in the month of October was elected county clerk of Adams county, assuming the duties of the position in the following January. Under the law of that time the county clerk was also ex-officio register of deeds and district clerk. He was reelected in 1875 and again in 1877, serving in all for six years, making a most creditable record by the prompt and capable manner in which he discharged his duties. In 1874 he secured a contract with the Union Pacific Railroad Company to sell their lands and the clerk of the court was authorized to make out applications and final proofs of homesteads, preemptions and tree claims and transmit them to the government land office, which was a great convenience to the homesteaders, obviating the necessity of their making a trip to the land office. Mr. Cramer sold large tracts of Union Pacific Railway lands, ranging in price from three to eight dollars per acre. In 1879 the clerk of the district court was made an independent office separate from the city and Mr. Cramer was elected to the position and served for four years, at the same time continuing his real estate business. He continued in business altogether for ten years and his experience during that period well qualified him to engage in the real estate, loan and abstract business, to which he turned his attention in January, 1885. However, he had begun making farm loans in 1875 and has since continued active along that line. His first loans were made at twelve per cent interest and twenty per cent commission. In January, 1912, he sold his interest in the abstract and real estate business, maintaining his interest in the loan business, which he still conducts. He places loans on farm and city property and he is thoroughly conversant with real estate values and with the financial standing of the majority of Adams county's citizens, so that his business is most carefully conducted, insuring him against loss.

On the 13th of October, 1874, Mr. Cramer was united in marriage to Miss Ella E. Cox, a native of Indiana, who came to this county in August, 1873, with her parents, having acquired her education in the schools of her native state. Mr. and Mrs. Cramer have become the parents of two children: Edna, now Mrs. Henry F. Jacobson, of Hastings; and Mabel, at home.

In his political views Mr. Cramer is a republican and served as a member of the first board of education in Hastings in 1881, at which time there were but three members on the board, which now numbers nine. He acted in that capacity for nine years, and during four years of that time served as secretary. He was also supervisor during the years 1888 and 1889 and for eleven years was city treasurer. Over the record of his official career there falls no shadow of wrong nor suspicion of evil, for he has ever been most loyal to the interests reposed in him and has discharged his duties in a prompt and businesslike manner. Fraternally he is connected with Hastings Lodge, No. 50, A. F. & A. M., and has attained the thirty second degree in the Scottish Rite. He was also a charter member of the Knights of Pythias lodge and his wife and daughters are members of the Presbyterian church. Mr. Cramer's career is a notable and commendable one. He had a cash capital of but fourteen dollars and a half when he arrived in Hastings and, moreover, was suffering from ill health. He came to a frontier district in which the work of development and progress seemed scarcely begun. He has since taken an active part in the work of the uphuilding and improvement of city and county, cooperating in all plans and measures which look to the welfare and betterment of the community. As time has gone on he has become the owner of considerable city property and has laid out the east side addition. He is truly a self made man and one who deserves great credit for what he has accomplished in a business way. His social qualities have gained him personal popularity, winning for him the friendship and kindly regard of all with whom he has been associated, and as one of the honored pioneer residents he well deserves mention in a history of Adams county.

From:
Past and Present of
Adams County, Nebraska
Supervisong Editor: Judge William R. Burton
Assistant Editor: David J. Lewis
The S. J. Clarke Publishing Company
Chicago, 1916


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