O. P. Hurford, was born in Canton, Stark County, Ohio, in 1831; educated with the intention of entering the medical profession; reads five languages, and speaks three of them fluently; selected the mercantile business for a livelihood, and entered into business on his own account, in his native town in Ohio, in grain, milling and merchandise. At the age of twenty-two, emigrated from Ohio to Nebraska, and, in company with Mr. F. A. Schnieder, established the first hardware store, under the firm name of Schnieder & Hurford, in Omaha. In the early part of 1856, he arrived at Omaha with his family, consisting of his wife and one daughter Elta, in May 1857. Mr. H. Resided continuously in Omaha from May, 1857, until November, 1875, during which time he took an active part in building up the fortunes of Omaha and the State of Nebraska. He was connected with his brother, T. J. Hurford, in the hardware business at Council Bluffs, Iowa, from 1859 to 1870, under the firm name of T. J. Hurford & Brother, and also at Nebraska City, in connection with Mr. John Heth for several years, as Hurford, Brother & Co. From 1861 to 1866, Mr. H. Was in company with Dr. George L. Miller, post trader and Government contractor at Fort Kearney, Neb., and was largely interested in freighting to the West before the advent of the Union Pacific Railroad. From 1865 to the present date, he has been identified with the milling business in Nebraska. He built the Papillion Mills, nine miles west of Omaha, in Douglas County, in 1865, and operated them for several years. In connection with Col. Charles Mathewson, and Hon. George W. Frost, he built the Norfolk Mills at Norfolk, Madison County, Neb., about the year 1868, and remained a member of the Norfolk Mill Company for ten years. He left Omaha in November 1875, and went to Galveston, Texas, where he projected and superintended the building of the first flouring mill in that city. After a temporary sojourn of two years in Texas, he returned to Nebraska, intending to sell out finally and return to Galveston; but, being appointed by the United States Court, in 1877, to take charge of the Oakdale Mills as receiver during a certain conflict over the title to the same, he, after the quieting of the title to the mill property, took permanent possession of the same, enlarged and improved it, and thereby very much increased its capacity and business. Mr. H. was elected County Commissioner of Douglas County in 1860, and served in that capacity for one term of three years. He was appointed by Gov. Alvin Saunders Brigadier General of the First Brigade of Nebraska Militia, under the Territorial Government of Nebraska, in 1862, and served in that capacity until the State organization superseded the territorial form of Government. Mr. H., during his whole business career, has been a liberal contributor to various journals–The Omaha Herald, the Galveston News and the Texas Presbyterian, being the most prominent among them. And Mr. H. Assures the author, trusting that the suggestion may not be wholly lost, that a reasonable degree of scientific pursuit, and the judicious cultivation of a literary taste, are likely to afford to the business man a lasting satisfaction that will endure, especially when his efforts in other directions fail. Mr. Hurford stood by Omaha in her infancy, and through her darkest days and hardest struggles. He was one of a committee of gentlemen who went to New York City to secure the re-location of the Union Pacific Railroad bridge from Child’s Mills, a point six miles below Omaha, and to get it located at Omaha. The conflict was a desperate one, and had to be waged against other opposing interests that were very strong and very important. Their mission was successful, and was acknowledged to be the last great battle that Omaha had to fight to secure her commercial supremacy. Mr. Hurford proposes now, so far as he is at present able to decide, to make Northern Nebraska the theater upon which to enact the closing scene of his enterprise.
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