John Killian, who is recognized as a leader in the commercial growth and expansion of Cedar Bluffs, has resided
in Saunders county the greater part of his life, although he was born in Bohemia, Austria, his birth occurring
on the 20th of June, 1857. He is a son of Thomas and Katharine (Mares) Killian, likewise natives of that country,
where they lived until 1866, when they came to the United States and made their way to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
Two years later they came to Saunders county, Nebraska, where the father homesteaded eighty acres of land. He passed
away in this county in 1886 but was survived for three years by his wife. Of their children Thomas is a very successful
merchant living in Wahoo. Albert, Edward and Amid are all successfully engaged in business on their own account.
John Killian attended the common schools of Bohemia and of the United States but as his early opportunities for
schooling were somewhat limited he is largely a self educated as well as self made man. He remained under the parental
roof until twenty one years of age but on the 16th of August. 1878, began clerking at Schuyler, Nebraska, continuing
in that capacity for two years, thus gaining a valuable knowledge of the methods and principles of merchandising.
At the end of that time he went to North Bend, Nebraska, where he held a similar position for two years, after
which he purchased a half interest in the store in which he had been employed, which was conducted under the name
of A. Peller & Company. After Mr. Killian was taken into partnership the firm style was changed to Peller &
Killian and for two years the business was conducted under that name. At the end of that time Mr. Killian sold
his interest in the store and became a partner of his brother Thomas, who was engaged in merchandising in Wahoo.
For twenty six years that connection was maintained and in 1886 the firm of Killian Brothers established a general
store at Cedar Bluffs. At length our subject sold his interest in the business at Wahoo and became the sole owner
of the store at Cedar Bluffs. He erected a fine building, which is well appointed throughout, and in the conduct
of his business he was thoroughly up to date, keeping goods of the latest design as well as of high quality and
seeking always to improve the service rendered his customers. He is also interested in a store at Kearney and as
his affairs are well managed gains a good profit annually and has become one of the substantial men of his town.
His residence is not only the largest but also the most beautiful home in Cedar Bluffs and it is equipped with
all modern conveniences.
Mr. Killian was married in 1878 to Miss Mary Hajek, who passed away in 1887 and was buried at Wahoo. She was the
mother of four children: Victoria, who is employed in the mail order department of the Killian Brothers store at
Cedar Rapids, Iowa; James, who is treasurer of the Cedar Rapids store and is also interested in a store at Norfolk,
Nebraska, owned by A. L. Killian & Company; Anna, the wife of George Lamonthe, residing near Cedar Bluffs;
and Louis, who now owns the store in Cedar Bluffs. In November, 1888, our subject was again married, Miss 011ie
Brokaw becoming his wife. She passed away eighteen years later and was buried at Cedar Bluffs. In November, 1908,
Mr. Killian was united in marriage to Miss Clara Block.
Mr. Killian casts his ballot in support of the candidates and measures of the republican party but has never taken
an active part in politics, his private affairs requiring his undivided time and attention. He was reared in the
Catholic faith but is now identified with the Presbyterian church, to which his family also belong. He has won
respect and esteem not only because he has gained an unusual measure of success in business but also because in
all of his transactions he has conformed to high standards of morality, never taking advantage of the weakness
of another. His success is due entirely to his good judgment, foresight and determination and to that straightforward
policy which has gained him the entire confidence of the community.
Past and Present Saunders County, Nebraska
A Record of Settlement, Organization,
Progress and Achievement
Charles Perky Supervising Editor
The S. J. Clarke Publishing Co.
Saunders County, NE
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