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reloaded, and father and son resumed their former positions, and awaited the return of the foe.  They were not kept long in suspense.  Twenty mounted rebels, accompanied by four citizens from Myersville, with whom Mr. Blessing was acquainted, were advancing on his premises.  When within a short distance of Mr. Blessing’s barn the citizens were ordered in front of the rebel squad, as a protection to them from the bullets which the cowardly land-pirates knew were ready to greet them.  Undismayed, Mr. Blessing warned his acquaintances against moving a step forward assuring them theat should they do so they would meet with swift and certain death.  Intimidated and bewildered, there the rebels stood, hesitating as to their further action.  Every shot discharged in the direction where they supposed the “Yankee soldiers” were secreted was promptly and vigorously answered.  “What shall we do?” reasoned these baffled, thieving sons of Mars.  Evidently they were fighting superior numbers, and would not hazard the chance for success with their present force, but would go back for the artillery.  As they were wheeling their horses to retrace their course, Mr. Blessing shot one of the band through the head and killed him instantly.

“A second time Mr. Blessing’s neighbors waited upon him and urged him to desist from the course they were pursuing.  Their entreaties were unavailing.  He was determined to fight to the bitter end, whatever the consequences might be to him.  Should God permit him to kill but one more traitor, he was willing to die.  Momentarily expecting the marauders to return with artillery, Mr. Blessing shouldered two guns and posted himself in a clump of trees in a lane leading from a public road to his residence.  He had been there but a short time when he observed heavy clouds of dust rising from the road, some distance off.  A large body of horsemen were moving toward him.  In the advance he noticed what he conceived to be a rebel scout; in an instant the old man raised his gun,


and was in the act of firing, when the object of his aim fell back into the main column of soldiers, riding rapidly up the lane.  He now recognized the blue coats, who, having heard of the heroic conduct of the dauntless old patriot and his worthy son, were hastening to the rescue, and their timely arrival was welcomed by this old man of prayer whose eyes were turned “to the hills from whence came the help,” and whose faith in that God whose promises of succor in every time of trouble never weakened.”  After the fight, Abraham Lincoln presented George Blessing a fine silver-mounted repeating rifle as a token for his bravery.

George Blessing and his wife, whose maiden name was Susanna Easterday, reared a family of three sons and six daughters, of whom two sons and five daughters married and had families.

One of the sons in the above named family, Parker George Blessing, the father of Clayton E., was born in Frederick county, Maryland, December 3, 1829, and died in Highland, that state, in 1866.  He married, September, 19, 1854, Miss Wilhelmina Yonson, who was born in Greencastle, Pennsylvania, March 14, 1832, daughter of William Yonson.  The children of this marriage were as follows: Clayton E., Avalonia, who was the wife of Martin Weller, was born March 31, 1857, died in Auburn, Nebraska, leaving two sons and two daughters; George Henry, born October 28, 1859, died in 1890, leaving a son and three daughers; Royal Madison, born in 1861, died in 1881; and the youngest, a daughter, died in infancy.  The mother of this family died in 1865, at the age of thirty-three years, and the father died the following year, both in Maryland.

At the age of seventeen years Clayton E. Blessing left school and entered upon an apprenticeship to the carpenter’s trade, at Harmony, Maryland.  He remained with and worked for the man of whom he learned his trade until he was twenty-three, when he began contracting


on his own account, and was thus occupied there four years.  In the meantime he married, and in March, 1883, he came west to Nebraska, bringing with him his wife and three children.  Here, in Auburn and vicinity, he continued contracting and building until about six years ago, when he gave it up on account of failing health, and has since devoted his time and attention to fruit-raising.  He has five acres of land in the western part of Auburn, just inside the corporation limits, which he bought in 1898, and where he built his present residence.  Here he raises all kinds of berries and a variety of cherries, peaches and plums, and in addition to raising fruit, he is also engaged in buying and selling fruit, doing this business under the firm name of Blessing & Tankersley.  These gentlemen have been associated together two years, handling fruit in car-load lots, shipping to various points in Nebraska and other states.

Mr. Blessing married, December 21, 1876, Miss Emma F. Knox, who was born in Boliver, Maryand, June 28, 1857, daughter of David and Mariah (Brandenberg) Knox.  The children of this union are: Wilhelmina C.; George W.; Ava Lauretta; Floyd Edwin; Emma Jane Marie and Dolly [sic] May.  All are living except the two last named.  Emma Jane Marie was born March 3, 1893, and died October 14, 1896, and Dollie [sic] May, born November 16, 1895, died March 19, 1903.  Both the daughters are teachers and musicians.  George is a printer by trade.

Mr. Blessing and his family are Lutherans in their religious faith, his parents and his grandparents before him having been devout members of that church.  Politically he is a Republican, and has served four years as assessor of Nemaha county.  He has fraternal relations with the Masonic order and the Fratenal [sic] Union of America.



Thomas Copeland, the present mayor of the thriving town of Diller, Jefferson county, Nebraska, is one of the old settlers of this part of Nebraska, having first taken up his residence here in 1880, which is an early date in the annals of Nebraska.  He has enjoyed a successful career in the various pursuits to which he has devoted his seventy years of life, and is popular and highly esteemed among all classes.  He is an ex-soldier of the Civil war, having followed the flag on many hard-fought battlefields of the south, and this fact alone is ample proof of the loyalty and public spirit which have always pervaded his actions.

Mr. Copeland was born in Richland county, Ohio, February 2, 1833, of a family known for their integrity and substantiality.  His father, William Copeland, was a native of Lincolnshire, England, and his mother, May Wells, was born in Devonshire, and after their marriage they came to America and settled in Richland county, Ohio, near Mansfield, General Sherman’s old home.  The former, who followed farming, and was a Republican voter, died at the age of seventy-five, and his wife, a member of the Methodist church lived to be eighty-six years old.  Their seven children were Charlotte, Henry, Rebecca, Catherine, Thomas, John, and Charles W., who died at the age of eighteen.

Thomas Copeland was reared on the Ohio farm, and learned very early the lessons of industry and the honor of labor.  He also learned the carpenter’s trade, and followed this occupation until the Civil war.  At Lincoln’s call, in August, 1862, for sixty thousand troops, he enlisted in the Twenty-first Indiana Light Artillery, under Captain W. W. Andrews, of La Porte, Indiana.  He took part in many of the crucial battles of the war, among them being Chatlet Gap, Hooper’s Gap, Columbia, both of the battles at Franklin, Tennessee, at Nashville, Chickamauga, thence back to Chattanooga, was with Sherman at Ringgold,


Missionary Ridge, Lookout Mountain, was then sent back to Tennessee and on detail duty for a time, and at Indianapolis, Indiana, received his honorable discharge in 1865, with a worthy and honorable record as a soldier and defender of the flag.  He lived for a time in Indiana and in 1869 came to Schuyler, Nebraska, where he homesteaded a place for five years, and then went to Iowa and lived in Marion county until 1880, in which year he came to Jefferson county, Nebraska, and settled near Steele City.  He conducted a farm and raised stock there, and later came to Diller, where he has been one of the enterprising and popular citizens ever since.

Mr. Copeland was first married in Bourbon county, Indiana, to Miss May Lucas, who died in Jefferson county, Nebraska, leaving six children: Rosa Bell, Thomas Ellsworth, Francis W., Emma, Charles Walter, and James Ernest.  In 1895 Mr. Copeland married Mrs. Jennie Boilett, the widow of Egen Boilett, who died in Gage county, Nebraska, leaving her and three children, two of them married, Leah and Jennie.  Mrs. Copeland was born in France, of French parentage, and is a lady of intelligence, conversant with both the French and English languages.  Mr. Copeland is a Populist in political principle.  He was elected mayor of Diller by a good majority, and gave a most capable and satisfactory administration.  He was also on the board of trustees for two years.  He is a member of the Grand Army of the Republic and has been commander of his post.  He is also an Odd Fellow, and is a member of the Methodist Episcopal church.



Among the pretty homes in the pleasant town of Auburn, Nebraska, is a fine old residence with spacious lawn in front bordered by arbor-vitae hedge, and with a large orchard in the rear.  This is the Mutz homeplace, where lives the commercial traveler, that hale fellow well met, Albert B. Mutz.

Albert B. Mutz was born in Cass county, Nebraska, November 10, 1857, son of John Mutz, who settled in Auburn in 1881, and of whom further mention is made on another page of this work, in connection with the biography of A. C. Mutz, brother of Albert B.

Mr. Mutz received his early education in the public schools and then took a course in the Nebraska State Normal School, of which institution he is a graduate.  For four years he was a teacher.  Leaving the schoolroom, he turned his attention from the educational to the commercial field of labor, and for nearly nineteen years he has been selling groceries to the trade, chiefly in southeastern Nebraska.  Two years, however, were spent in the Black Hills, South Dakota, and in Wyoming.  And thirteen years of his commercial career have been spent in the employ of one house.  He owns a fine team, and with his own turnout drives to many of the points in his territory, on these trips frequently being accompanied by his wife; and he makes it a practice to spend his Sundays in Auburn.  He owns the home above referred to.  This place originally comprised twelve acres, or four blocks, but some of it has been sold and there are now only seven acres in the place.

Mr. Mutz was married in Auburn, in June 1894, to Miss Minnie Furnas Teare, a native of Brownville, Nebraska, born June 3, 1868, daughter of Robert and Mary C. (Downey) Teare.  Her father was a native of the Isle of Man and her mother was born in Maryland.  The former is deceased and the latter is now living in Auburn, with


her two sons.  Mrs. Mutz was educated in the Brownville high school and previous to her marriage was engaged in teaching school four years.  Their union has been blessed in the birth of five children, namely: Robert Teare, who died at the age of eleven months; Alberta Beatrice, born January 25, 1897; Mary Downey, born February 9, 1899; Howard Stewart and Harold Furnas, twins, born December 14, 1900.  Fraternally Mr. Mutz is a Knight of Pythias, and politically he is a Democrat.



The name of William H. Allvord is inscribed high on the roll of the honored veterans of the Civil war and of Gage county's pioneers.  He was born in Dauphin county, Pennsylvania, in 1842, being a son of George and Mary (Shumper) Allvord, also natives of the Keystone state, and the former was of German descent.  The mother died when her son William was but a child, leaving six sons and five daughters, and five of the sons served as soldiers in the Civil war, -- H. Fred, David, William H., George and Jacob.  Three were wounded, David, William H. and Jacob, but all three returned home at the close of their services, and the military record of this family is one of which the members have every reason to be proud.

William H. Allvord spent the early years of his life on a farm in Perry county, Pennsylvania.  At the first call of Lincoln for troops, seven days after Fort Sumter had been fired upon, this patriotic lad offered his services to the Union cause, enlisting with the three-months men in the Second Pennsylvania Infantry, but four months elpased [sic] before his discharge.  He was under fire at Williamport, Virginia, and Chambersburg, and after his second enlistment, in 1863, in Company E, Fifty-third


Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry, Colonel Brooks commanding, he took part in the battles of the Wilderness, Poe River, Spottsylvania, Cold Harbor and on to Petersburg, taking part in the siege of that place.  He was wounded near that city, and on the 16th of June, 1864, was taken as a prisoner of war to Andersonville, where he was confined until the following December, a period of six months and four days.  While there incarcerated he was threatened by Colonel Wertz that if he did not obey and move more quickly a ball and chain would be put on him.  On entering this prison he weighed one hundred and seventy-five pounds, being thus emanciated [sic] through starvation and exposure, and he suffered all the horrors of that noted rebel prison.  After his release Mr. Allvord returned home on a thirty days’ furlough, on the expiration of which period he went to Petersburg, where he was wounded in the right leg on the 31st of March, 1865.  He was then taken to a hospital at Washington, D. C., where he was honorably discharged from the service as a corporal, having been promoted for gallant conduct on the field of battle.

After the close of the struggle Mr. Allvord returned home, and for a time thereafter was engaged in the mining of coal in Pennsylvania for eastern parties.  During the past twenty-six years he has made his home in Nebraska, and his valuable and well-cultivated farm is located in Highland township, Gage county.  Ere leaving the state of his birth and while home from the war on a furlough, he was united in marriage to Martha Buchanan, who was called to the home beyond at the age of fifty-four years, passing away in Gage county.  She was a loving wife and mother, a kind neighbor, and was loved and honored by all who had the pleasure of her acquaintance.  At her death she left on daughter, Sarah Sloan, who makes her home in Saline county, Nebraska.  One daughter, Mary,


is deceased.  In political matters Mr. Allvord is a stanch Republican, and on its ticket has been elected to offices of public trust, having served for one year as road overseer and has also been a member of the school board.  He maintains pleasant relations with his old army comrades through membership with the Grand Army of the Republic, having joined one of the first posts organized in the east.  Religiously he is a believer in the Church of Christ; and his wife was identified with the United Brethren.



Hon. P. H. James, a prominent agriculturist of Highland township, Gage county, Nebraska, is numbered among the veterans of the Civil war and is a worthy representative or the early pioneers of this region.  He was born in Pike county, Ohio, on the 4th of July, 1842, a son of Samuel James, also a native of the Buckeye state, and the latter’s father was born in Virginia, where the family were early represented and its members took part in the early wars of the country.  The mother of our subject bore the maiden name of Catherine Taylor, and was a descendant of Wolfenbarger, a Revolutionary soldier.  Ten children were born to Samuel and Catherine James, six sons and four daughters, and three of the sons served as soldiers in the Civil war, -- Marion, P. H. and Gilbert, all members of Ohio regiments.  Mr. Samuel James was called from this earth at the early age of forty-six years, and the mother survived until her seventy-fifth year, both passing away in the faith of the Methodist Episcopal church, of which they were worthy and consistent members, and the father was a life-long farmer.

P. H. James was reared and educated in the public schools of his native state, and on the 13th of July, 1861, before reaching his twentieth


year, he offered his services to the Union cause, enlisting in Company I, Twenty-sixth Ohio Volunteer Infantry, under the Captain W. C. Appler and Colonel E. P. Fife, having been the first to enlist from Marion township, and remained in service longer than any other man in that township.  For a time he was stationed in West Virginia, under Generals Cox and Rosecrans.  Later he was in the forced march under General Buel to Shiloh.  Thence to Corinth, then Iuka and returned to Kentucky and participated in the campaigns of that state; was in battles of Stone River, Chattanooga and Missionary Ridge and shortly afterward returned home on a furlough.  Mr. James then took part in the Atlanta campaign under Generals Sherman and Thomas, and later under General Thomas returned to fight General Hood’s forces at Franklin and Nashville, during which time he had charge of his company.  From Nashville they were ordered to Texas, via Louisiana and the Gulf, and there he was honorably discharged from the service as a non-commissioned officer, October 14, 1865.  Out of the twelve men who left Marion township to fight for their country only two returned.  Mr. James and Samuel Umphreys.  Though only nineteen years old at the time of his enlistment, Mr. James performed his arduous tasks with the steadiness and discretion of a man twice his age, and his military record is one of which he has every reason to be proud.  He draw a meager pension of six dollars per month.

In 1871 Mr. James left his Ohio home and with team and wagon set out for the then new country of Nebraska, being accompanied on the journey by his wife and two children, and twenty-eight days were spent on the road.  On arriving here they located first in Johnson county, but in 1872 came to Gage county and secured his present homestead in Highland township.  His valuable homestead now consists of three hundred and twenty acres of as good land as can be found in the entire


commonwealth, all of which he has placed under a fine state of cultivation and has erected all the commodius buildings which now adorn the place.  He is devoting his efforts to general farming and stock-raising, and in both occupations is meeting with a well merited degree of success.  He is also well known as a public-spirited citizen and as an active worker in the ranks of the Republican party.  For a number of years he held the office of postmaster, and was also the representative of his district in the state legislature in 1892, in which he served with honor and credit.

In Pike county, Ohio, in 1866, Mr. James was united in marriage to Miss Catherine Keppler, who was born, reared and education in Pike county, a daughter of Conrad and Christena (Eherman) Keppler, both of whom died in Ohio.  They were the parents of four children, two sons and two daughters.  Mr. and Mrs. James have had six children namely: David F., a resident of Beatrice, Nebraska; Alice Clare, of Lancaster, this state; Addie Clough, who makes her home in Gage county; Cora Randall, also of Beatrice; and Nelly, at home and a talented musician.  A sad event in the life of Mr. and Mrs. James was the death of their son Morton who passed away when only sixteen years of age.  He was an unusually bright boy, and had served as a page in the state house and as messenger boy to Governor Thomas Majors.  Mr. and Mrs. James are numbered among the best known citizens of this community, where their friends are legion.



Among the well known and respected citizens of Nemaha county, Nebraska, is Thomas J. Keedy, who has retired from his farm and is now living in his pleasant home in Auburn.

Mr. Keedy is of German descent.  His grandfather, Henry Keedy, was born in Germany about the year 1778, and when a young man emigrated to America, settling in Maryland, where he became the owner of a small farm, and where he passed the rest of his life and died, his death occurring in 1848.  He reared a family of five sons and two daughters, namely: John J., Henry, Samuel, Jacob, Mattie, Rachael and Alfred.  All married, and all had families except Rachael, and all lived to advanced age, Rachael being the last to pass away, her death being in the summer of 1902.

John J. Keedy, the first of the above named family, was the father of Thomas J.; was born in Maryland, in 1803, and died in that state in 1868.  He was a miller and a farmer, and owned both a mill and a farm.  In Maryland, in 1826, he married Miss Mary Ann Middlecoff, a native of that state and one year his junior.  They became the parents of eight children, four sons and four daughters, namely: Christopher Columbus, who was born in 1827, and who is now living in Keedysville, named in honor of grandfather Keedy, who was the founder of the town; Sophia, deceased, was twice married, first to E. Hecker, by whom she had one daughter, and, second, to J. Ebersoll, by whom she had one son; the third and fourth died in early life; George W., a farmer of Reno county, Kansas, has a family of eight children; the sixth born was a son, who died when young; next came Thomas J., whose name introduces this sketch; and the youngest, Mary Ann, died in early life.  The mother of this family died in Maryland, in 1881, and her remains rest beside those


of her husband and other members of the family in the Keedysville cemetery.  They were members of the Reformed church.

Thomas J. Keedy was born in Washington county, Maryland, January 27, 1840; spent his boyhood days on his father’s farm and obtained only a limited education in the district schools.  As a child he was delicate, and his ill health frequently kept him from school.  When he was nine years old he missed a whole winter’s schooling on this account.  He remained at the parental home until his marriage, with the exception of three years and three months spent in the army, during the Civil war.  He volunteered, August 15, 1861, and was in Company A, First Maryland Infantry, which formed a part of the Army of the Potomac.  During his army life he had a siege of typhoid fever, was sent home and was there nine weeks.  At Harper’s Ferry he was taken prisoner, and was paroled, being one of the thirteen thousand paroled at that time, and was in camp at Annapolis six months.  Among the engagements in which he participated were those of Gettysburg and Winchester.

Mr. Keedy was married, December 27, 1864, to Miss Sarah Snyder, a native of Maryland, born August 17, 1841, daughter of David and Sarah (Hutzel) Snyder.  In the Snyder family were five children, all of whom became farmers.  David Snyder died in the prime of his life and his widow was sixty-seven years of age at the time of her death.  The children of Thomas J. and Sarah Keedy are as follows: Mary Ellen, wife of Dr. Long, of Lincoln, Nebraska, has one daughter and two sons; Ada May, wife of Henry Furrow, of Auburn, has two children living; Albert Lincoln, a farmer near Auburn, has a wife, two sons and a daughter; S. Elsworth, also engaged in farming near Auburn, is married and has two daughters; and Lorena, wife of Hugh Naysmith, a farmer of Republican [sic] county, Kansas, has one daughter.

Mr. Keedy inherited two thousand dollars from his father’s estate,


has worked hard and managed well and prospered, and has been able to give his own children a good start in the world.  Previous to his coming to Nebraska Mr. Keedy was for several years engaged in the manufacture of lime at Keedysville.  He came west in 1881, locating near what was then called Sheridan, now Auburn, and here he bought one hundred and sixty acres of improved land, upon which he carried on farming until the fall of 1893, when he sold to his sons, and bought two lots in Auburn.  Here he built his present residence.

When a young man in Maryland, Mr. Keedy was intiated into the mysteries of Oddfellowship.  Politically, he is what is termed an independent, and in religion he also holds independent views, and has never identified himself with any creed.



William C. Parriott, county superintendent of schools of Nemaha county, Nebraska, is a native of the county in which he has been honored early in life with high official position in educational work.  He was born in Peru, June 13, 1872.  His father, William C. Parriott, was born in Moundsville, West Virginia, in January, 1829, and died in Peru, Nebraska, October 26, 1895.  John Parriott, Professor Parriott’s grandfather, also a native of West Virginia, was a lawyer and planter, and was the father of six sons and two daughtesr [sic], most of whom passed their lives as farmers; and of the number at this writing only one is living -- Edgar Parriott, a resident of California.  Grandfather Parriott died in Virginia, in the prime of life.  He was a man of high intellectual attainments and figured prominently in the affairs of his day, several times being honored with a seat in the legislature of his state.  He had the


family name, which is English and was originally spelled “Parrott,” changed to its present spelling.

Professor Parriott’s mother was before marriage Miss Margaret Moore.  She was born in Burlington, Iowa, in 1839, daughter of Francis Moore, who came to this country from Ireland.  She was married to Mr. Parriott, in 1860, at Danville, Iowa, and after their marrigae [sic] they lived in that state two years, removing thence to Cass county, Nebraska, which was the family home the next three years, two years of which time he was away in California engaged in mining.  In 1866 they came to Nemaha county and settled on one hundred and sixty acres of land in Peru township, which he improved and to which he subsequently added until his farm comprised two hundred and thirty-one acres.  Here he died October 26, 1895, and on the home farm his widow is still living, with her two sons John and Grover.  In their family were seven sons and two daughters, namely: Edward, who is interested in the insurance business at Peru, as a representative of the Ancient Order of United Workmen; Frank, a farmer near Brownville, this county; Joseph D., engaged in farming in Peru township; Alma, wife of W. Rainey, of Union, Nebraska; William C.; Clara, wife of Charles T. Edwards, of Shubert, Nebraska; Lee R., a farmer of Peru township; and John and Grover, who have charge of the home farm.

William C. Parriott is a graduate of the State Normal School at Peru, Nebraska, with the class of 1896.  For three years he was employed as a teacher in the public schools and he is now serving his fourth year in the office of county superintendent of schools.  As a candidate for this office in 1897 he was defeated by twenty-one votes; made his next run in 1899 and was elected.  Being a Democrat in a Republican county, his election was by a small majority, and as showing the rapidity with which he grew in favor with the people when they learned his value as an edu-



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