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Gage County Biographies

Isaac T. Merchant - 1918 Biography

Submitted by Peggy Karol

HISTORY OF GAGE COUNTY, NEBRASKA; By Hugh J. Dobbs, Lincoln, Nebraska; Western Publishing and Engraving Company, 1918; Page 485 -486

I. T. MERCHANT, the efficient postmaster at Adams, Gage county, claims the old Buckeye state as the place of his nativity. He was born in Paulding county, Ohio on the 19th day of March, 1856, a son of Isaac and Nancy (Caylor) Merchant. The father was born at a place eighteen miles southwest of Washington Court House, Ohio, on the 25th of November, 1823. He was a prosperous farmer in Ohio when the civil war was precipitated, and he showed his intrinsic patriotism by enlisting in an Ohio volunteer regiment and serving valiantly with the same during the period of the great conflict between the states of the north and the south. When his country no longer needed his services as a soldier he returned to Ohio, and in 1866 he removed to Kingston, Missouri. In that locality he was engaged in farming until the time of his election to the position of county judge. In this office he served until 1873, when he came to Lincoln, Nebraska. In the following year he went to Custer county, this state, where he took up a homestead claim and became one of the pioneer settlers of that large and now prosperous section of Nebraska. He there continued his agricultural activities in 1885, when he sold his farm and established his residence at Broken Bow, the county seat, where he practiced law for several years thereafter. In 1911, after having spent some time in a visit to his native state, Mr. Merchant came to Adams, Gage county, where he passed the closing period of his life in the home of his son, the subject of this review, his death having here occurred November 10, 1913. His wife was born February 5, 1830, her birthplace having been not far distant from that of her husband, in Washington county, Ohio. She died at Broken Bow, Nebraska, January 22, 1892, and in the cemetery at that place were laid to rest the mortal remains of both her and her husband. They became the parents of ten children, concerning whom the following brief record is available: Mrs. T. J. Todhunter lives at Washington Court House, Ohio; John was a soldier of the Union at the time of his death, which occurred in a hospital at Memphis, Tennessee, within the progress of the Civil war; George W. is a resident of Bedford, Iowa; Mrs. W. H. Huffer lives in Urbana, Ohio; the subject of this sketch was the next in order of birth; Mrs. John Armstrong resides in San Francisco, California; Emma and William are deceased; and Mrs. R. D. Ross lives at Anselmo, Custer county, Nebraska.

I. T. Merchant continued his studies in the public schools until his graduation in the high school at Kingston, Missouri, as a member of the class of 1873. In 1873, as previously noted, the family removed to Lincoln, Nebraska, and there he became a bookkeeper in his father's hotel. In the following year he accompanied his parents to Custer county, this state, where he entered claim to a homestead and engaged in the feeding of sheep and cattle. He finally disposed of his farming interests and removed to Broken Bow, where he became the deputy sheriff of Custer county. Thereafter he was appointed postmaster at Broken Bow, an office of which he continued the incumbent until 1890. Thereafter he was engaged in buying and shipping grain and live stock until 1893, when he became the keeper of the shops of the Nebraska penitentiary, at Lincoln. The next year he went to Toronto, Canada, where he became actively identified with lumbering enterprise.

In 1900, Mr. Merchant established his residence at Liberty, Gage county, Nebraska, where he continued to be engaged in the buying and shipping of grain for the ensuing nine years. He then removed to the village of Adams, this county, and here he was successfully engaged in buying and shipping grain and other farm produce until 1913, when he was appointed postmaster of the village, a position in which he has since continued his effective administration.

At Broken Bow, Custer county, on the 4th of September, 1890, was recorded the marriage of Mr. Merchant to Miss Sarah E. North, who was born in the Dominion of Canada, and who is a daughter of Samuel and Mary (Kilpatrick) North, natives of Ireland. Mr. and Mrs. Merchant have one son, T. O., who has become a member of the national army and who is, in the spring of 1918, stationed at Camp Cody, New Mexico. Mr. and Mrs. Merchant belong to the Methodist Episcopal church, and in politics he is a Democrat. He has rendered efficient service as a member of the township board, as justice of the peace and a police judge. In a fraternal way he is affiliated with the Independent Order of Odd Fellows. Mr. Merchant is a man of ability and civil loyalty and he takes deep interest in all things pertaining to the communal welfare.

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