Biography of R. J. Fleming
Saunders County, NE Biographies





R. J. Fleming, assistant cashier of the Bank of Cedar Bluffs, is not only an influential factor in financial circles but is also an extensive landowner and is one of the substantial men of Saunders county. He was born near London, Canada, on the 10th of March, 1861, a son of Robert and Christina (Beattie) Fleming, both natives of Scotland. The mother was born in Dumfries, near the home of Robert Burns, and she had in her possession a piece of heather that grew upon his grave. The father's birth occurred in Roxburghshire. The grandfather of our subject was a shepherd in Scotland.

In 1828 Robert Fleming emigrated to the United States, settling on the shores of Lake Champlain, where he remained for four years, after which he returned to Scotland. Subsequently he again crossed the Atlantic and instead of locating in the United States, settled in Canada, where he lived until 1869. In that year he came to Saunders county, Nebraska, and homesteaded land in Douglas precinct, on which he erected the first house in the precinct. He devoted his entire active life to farming and gained financial independence, being at one time the owner of several hundred acres of good land. He was very active in public affairs and for thirteen years served as postmaster at Sand Creek, receiving a salary of thirteen dollars per year, while his sons carried the mail for nothing. He and his family were Scotch Presbyterians and the first services of that denomination in Saunders county were held in the Fleming home. The schoolhouse was used as a church and still later Mr. Fleming was instrumental in erecting a house of worship at Spring Creek, which is now known as Spring Creek Methodist church. He passed away in 1896, at the age of eighty four years, and was buried in the Fleming cemetery, which ground was donated by him for burial purposes. His wife died in 1908 at the age of eighty seven years.

They were the parents of nine children namely: Walter, who is president of a bank at Morse Bluff; Christine, the widow of W. D. Ferris, who was at one time sheriff of Saunders county and who owned a farm near the Fleming homestead; John, deceased; Thomas, who died in 1884; Ellen, the wife of Thomas Denham of Cedar Bluffs; Mary, the widow of Jacob Lehmar of Petersburg, Boone county, Nebraska; Andrew, who is operating a cattle ranch in Cherry county, this state; Adam, deceased; and R. J.

The last named received his education in the nearest district school, which, however, was five miles from his home, and during his boyhood and youth he also devoted considerable time to assisting his father with the farm work. When twenty one years of age he began clerking for Joseph & Groff, merchants of Wahoo. Subsequently he was connected with elevators at Cedar Bluffs and at Colon and for some time held the office of postmaster at Cedar Bluffs. He was also connected for a short period with a drug store at Cedar Bluffs but in 1892 went to Salem, Oregon. He entered Willamette University, from which he was graduated on the 4th of June, 1894, and he was admitted to the bar of Oregon, where he practiced his profession for about ten years, specializing in commercial and probate law, although he also had a good elientage in general practice.

In 1903 Mr. Fleming returned to Saunders county and began operating the homestead, which had come into his possession and which he farmed for six years. At the end of that time he turned from agricultural pursuits to banking, entering the Bank of Cedar Bluffs as assistant cashier, which office he still holds. He is courteous and efficient and is recognized as an excellent official. He has large landed interests, owning two hundred and forty acres in Douglas and Morse Bluff townships and a ranch of seven hundred acres near Fulton, Faulk, county, South Dakota. He derives a substantial addition to his income from his land and is one of the well to do citizens of Cedar Bluffs.

In 1889 Mr. Fleming was married to Miss Sophie S. Staats, by whom he has five children: Lucile, a graduate of Bellevue College with the class of 1914, who is teaching school in Ponca, Nebraska; Marion, who is attending the high school at Cedar Bluffs; Lillian, also a high school student; Claribel, in school; and Robert, at home. The first three children were born in Oregon and the two younger in Saunders county.

Mr. Fleming is a stanch republican and does all in his power to promote the success of that party at the polls. He is treasurer of the county central committee and is recognized as a leader in the party organization in this part of the state. He belongs to the Masonic blue lodge at Cedar Bluffs, of which be is secretary, and is a charter member and keeper of the records and seal of the Knights of Pythias lodge, and he and his wife and oldest daughter are all members of the Eastern Star. His wife is a member of the Presbyterian church at Cedar Bluffs, of which she was one of the organizers, and she was also instrumental in bringing about the erection of the house of worship. She is especially active in Sunday school work and is now serving efficiently as president of the Saunders County Sunday School Association, doing much in that capacity to promote the cause of religious education. Both Mr. and Mrs. Fleming are widely known throughout the county and their genuine worth is indicated by the fact that those who have been most closely associated with them are their stanchest friends.

From:
Past and Present Saunders County, Nebraska
A Record of Settlement, Organization,
Progress and Achievement
Charles Perky Supervising Editor
Vol. II
The S. J. Clarke Publishing Co.
Chiago 1915


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