WILLIAM JOHN FALK.
On the list of Hastings honored dead appears the name of William John Falk and the deepest regret was felt throughout
the community when he passed away. He was born in Iowa City, Iowa, on the 25th of December, 1859, his parents being
John and Wilhelmina (Werner) Falk. The father was a shoe merchant and manufacturer who died when his son, William
John, was but twelve years of age. The mother, however, long survived, passing away in 1913.
William J. Falk was educated in the public schools of his native city and made his initial step in the business
world when a youth of sixteen years by securing employment in a clothing store there. From that time forward he
was dependent upon his own resources and whatever success he achieved was attributable entirely to his earnest
persistent labors. When twenty five years of age he came to Nebraska, arriving in Hastings in 1885, at which time
he engaged in the clothing business with Ed Bloom. There he continued until his death and remained one of the foremost
merchants of the city, progressive, wide awake, alert and enterprising. After four years his partner died, after
which he purchased the interest in the business, which he conducted independently from that time until his own
demise. He also conducted a store at Grand Island, Nebraska, for eight years, and his well defined plans and business
methods wrought for success. He was one of the pioneer clothing merchants of his part of the state and throughout
his entire career his business methods were such as would bear the closest investigation and scrutiny.
Mr. Falk was united in marriage to Miss Nellie D. Dowd, a daughter of Thomas James and Mary Jane Dowd, the former
a native of Ireland and the latter of Massachusetts. In 1855 they removed to Milwaukee, Wisconsin, where they resided
until 1873, when they came to Nebraska, becoming pioneer residents of this part of the state. The father was a
watchmaker and jeweler but his business activities were interrupted at the time of the Civil war, when he responded
to the country's call for troops, enlisting as a member of Company E, Third Wisconsin Infantry, with which he served
for four years, the regiment being attached to the Army of the Potomac. He rendered valiant aid to the country
and then at the close of the war resumed business as a jeweler. He possessed marked genius in that line and successfully
conducted his business until his death, which occurred on the 20th of June, 1901. His widow survives at the age
of seventy years. To Mr. and Mrs. Falk were born four children: George Edward, who is attending the Notre Dame
University of Indiana; Margaret Mary, a student in Mount St. Mary's school at Omaha; and William John and Mary
Jane, also attending school.
The religious faith of the family is that of the Catholic church and in his fraternal relations Mr. Falk was an
Elk, belonging to the lodge at Hastings. In politics he was a democrat but did not seek nor desire office, preferring
to concentrate his energies upon his business affairs. He passed away on February 23, 1913, since which time his
widow has disposed of both of the stores. He was a very successful man and ranked with the representative merchants
of Hastings. He had many substantial and admirable qualities and his life and character were as clear as the sunlight.
He constantly labored for the right and those who came in contact with him speedily appreciated him at his true
Past and Present of
Adams County, Nebraska
Supervisong Editor: Judge William R. Burton
Assistant Editor: David J. Lewis
The S. J. Clarke Publishing Company
Adams County, NE
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