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J. B. McGrew
Born November 11, 1850
The many readers of the Advocate will read with profound sorrow the news that J. B. McGrew, a former townsman of this place (Bloomington, NE), died at his home in Holdrege last Sunday morning after one of the hardest fights against the inevitable call.
The deceased was born in Ohio, November 11, 1850, making his age at the demise 64 years, 3 months and 3 days.
He moved with his parents, who were Quakers, to Mound City, Kansas, before the civil war and a few years after the war they moved to Wyoming, Iowa. He received his education at Lenox College, Hopkinton, Ia. and was married to Helen Skinner. In 1880 they moved to Spencer, Iowa, where he was engaged in the drug business.He was a railroad conductor for a short time afterward. In 1888 they moved to Bloomington where he ran the Bloomington State Bank until he sold out to the present owner. For the past two years he has resided in Holdrege though much of his time he put in travelling in the hopes of benefitting his health.
Mr. McGrew was interested as president in a chain of banks including Woodruff, Republican City, Naponee, Riverton and Bostwick.
He was honored by this district by an election as state senator, where he served his state with credit.
At the time of his demise he was a member of the Masonic, Odd Fellow and Modern Woodman lodges of this city.
It was the good fortune of the writer to have been closely associated in business and social relation with Mr. McGrew ever since he first came to this place, and we, as well as the people of this place, always knew him as an upright man, always lending his influence for the upbuilding of the community and for the betterment of the people in a social way. No matter what may have been the condition, or whether the man was a friend of not we believe no man who wanted to do right ever appealed to the deceased for help but what he received it. He was positive of mind but he was never known to do any of his countrymen an injury.
Mr. McGrew always maintained a warm spot in his heart for his old home here in Bloomington and the people here, and he always maintained that this seemed more like home to him.
He was a kind and loving husband and an indulgent father. About three months ago he began to fail and eveything possible to bring relief were tried and the last resort was an operation by the famous surgeon at Rochester, Minnesota. For the time it was thought he had been benefitted but his system was so exhausted that he could not build up and on Friday he had two sinking spells after which he said that the good fight was done and that he was prepared to go. He was conscious up until within an hour of the end when he passed peacefully away.
Here two accounts differ considerably. One states that the remains were laid to rest in the Holdrege cemetery and the other, an obituary of his son, states that the remains were located in an Omaha cemetery. No grave has been found in Holdrege or Bloomington, so the latter is more likely correct.
Many newspaper accounts over the period of the McGrews' stay in Bloomington speak of the wonderful house they occupied which served as a social center for the town, and of the somewhat luxurious life led by the McGrews.The house still stands in Bloomington, NE at the corner of 7th and Chestnut, but the stable, summer kitchen, and servants quarters are no longer there.
Still, it is obviously the grandest house in town. At the time of the McGrews life in Bloomington it was the county seat, had the land office and the terminus of the railroad. Later all of that changed. The railroad moved on and the land office with it. The county seat was moved 6 miles to Franklin. Bloomington lost most of its business and much of its population. Today (2001) it is nearly a ghost town.

Submitted by: Palmer McGrew
Note: This biography was taken from two obituaries published in Nebraska newspapers in March, 1915. The citations are incomplete and the newspaper names are not given except as shown in the first sentence.


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Last updated on Friday, 16-Apr-2021 16:53:30 MST