Theodore Elihu Alderman, often referred to as the father of Nevada, was born in Washington County Ohio, on September 8,1825. In 1849, he went to Lee County in Iowa. He was married June 6,1850 to Miss Hannah Reynolds. Their marriage took place just over the Missouri state line. Hannah Reynolds was born September 10, 1832, in Ohio.
The first three years of their married life was spent farming in Lee County. It was there that the first son, Oscar B., was born. A serious eye problem
afflicted Mr. Alderman, which resulted in complete blindness. After a year of nursing, his eyesight returned to a partial state. He was advised byphysicians to seek an indoor occupation. In June 1853, he had the opportunity to come with the commissioner who had been appointed to locate a county seat for the yet imperfectly organized and very sparsely settled Story County. In the fall of 1853, the family chose a location and built a log house on two lots at the west end of the south half of the Story County Courthouse square (now the Story County Administrative Offices). They occupied this log built home on October 11, 1853. This one-room house was the first store, post office, and inn of the county. It also became the office of the county judge and of the only physician in the east half of the county. It was not until the next spring that a second family came and built a house on the town plot. The
couple’s eldest daughter Mary Nevada, was born in January 1854 and died the following December. She was the first birth and death to occur in Nevada.
Mrs. Alderman asked that her baby be buried on the hill west of town near the timber that she loved. It made her think of her Ohio home and she wanted to be able to look across the open space and see her baby’s final resting place (site of the present Nevada Cemetery). The couple had four surviving children, Oscar, Ed, Ulysses, and one daughter Minnie (wife of Joseph A. Mills).
The couple endured many pioneer hardships. They had to make do with what the land could offer them. Mrs. Alderman spoke of trapping prairie chickens on what is now the courthouse square so that she could feed her family. She could also hear the cry of hungry wolves in the darkness of this new territory.
With the population of the town and county growing, Mr. Alderman continued in the general mercantile business and gradually moved into the exclusive hardware business. The business thrived and he became quite wealthy. He continued in this line of business in various locations until 1892 when he handed the business down to his sons. T. E. Alderman was devoted to the interests and building up of the community. He was a revered citizen of the town and county.
In the fall of 1898, the health of Mr. and Mrs. Alderman deteriorated and their son, Ed, suggested a temporary home in southern California. On October 12, 1899, Hannah Reynolds Alderman died at her home in Santa Ana, California. Her remains were returned to Nevada and she was buried on October 17, 1899. In October 1903, Mr. Alderman suffered a stroke at Los Angeles, California. He was returned to the home of his daughter, Minnie, and was cared for by his children until his death on January 21, 1906. His funeral service was conducted from the home of his daughter and he was laid to rest in the family plot at the Nevada Cemetery.
Pioneer Families >