parents of five children, as follows: Roy, Minnie, Floyd, Bell and Dewey.
Our subject's father, William B. McLain, was born in New York, but was of Scotch descent, his parents being natives of Scotland. He served in the civil war as an Iowa Volunteer from 1863 to 1864. Our subject's mother was born in Canada but was of German descent, her parents being born in Germany. Mr. McLain, our subject, has a well-improved place, with good buildings, a comfortable residence, and fine orchard and groves. Here he and his family reside, and enjoy the respect and esteem of all who know them, and their friends are many.
Mr. McLain is a member of the A. 0. U. W., and is affiliated politically with the republican party.
GEORGE W. BOX.
George W. Box, whose name heads this personal history, while now a resident of Sioux City, Iowa, was one of the most widely-known pioneers in Pierce county, and made that part of Nebraska his home for over twenty-five years. He settled Pierce when that town was first started, and remained to see it grow into a prosperous and thriving commercial center.
Mr. Box was born in Chicago, Illinois, December 8, 1855, and grew to the age of twelve years in that city, at which time his parents moved to Delaware county, Iowa. There he finished his education in the common schools, and learned the trade of blacksmith, coming from there to Pierce, Nebraska. His father Henry D. Box, is a venerable resident of Greeley Iowa. He is ninety years of age and is the oldest voter in Delaware county. His native place is Devonshire, England, and his wife was born in Cornwall. Henry D. Box crossed the Atlantic three times in the days of sailing vessels, one of these voyages lasting three months, and on the trip with his bride, they were on the sea for two months.
George Box was one of the earliest settlers of Pierce, locating here in May, 1876, at which time the town consisted of but five buildings - the court house, school, one store, one hotel and a dwelling. He opened a blacksmith shop, continuing the work for two years. He was then married, and took charge of the Pierce hotel, conducting the place for four years then sold his interests and moved to Plainview where he engaged in the mercantile business for five years. He then returned to Pierce, and for a time kept the Pierce hotel, and later the Commercial House, adding to the latter a profitable livery business, which he purchased from George Chase in 1886. He disposed of his holdings in 1892, and removed to Norfolk, engaging in the livery business, and, shortly thereafter, opened an implement and grain store there. In 1902 he removed to Sioux City, Iowa, where he represented the New York Life Insurance Company, in which he proved very successful, continuing up to 1909, at which time he accepted a position with the Elkhorn Life and Accident Insurance Company of Norfolk and he is carrying into his new association the energy with which he has won success in other fields.
Mr. Box was married in Stanton county, Nebraska, in 1878, to Miss Louisa Hinkle, who was a native of Wisconsin. She died in April, 1907.
Mr. Box is high up in Masonic circles, is a member of Norfolk Lodge No. 55, Damascus Chapter No. 23 and Damascus Commandry No. 100, all of Norfolk. Politically he is a life-long democrat, and has been honored by his party in various political positions, serving as deputy sheriff and county clerk, and one term as sheriff of Pierce county, Nebraska.
WILLIAM HENRY HILL.
William Henry Hill, who is probably one of the best-known citizens of Howard county, resides in the beautiful city of St. Paul. He is one of the earliest pioneers in that region, and, during his early residence here, followed farming, afterwards engaging in the contracting and building business, and was for a number of years connected with the bridge building department of the Union Pacific railroad. He is a man of wide experience and has met with decided success in his different business ventures.
Mr. Hill is a native of Medina county, Ohio, and was born July 29, 1840. He is a brother of Walter F. Hill (a sketch of whom appears in this volume on another page) and his childhood was spent in the vicinity of his birthplace, remaining on the home farm until his twenty second year. In August, 1862, he enlisted in the army, and went with Company I, 103rd Ohio regiment of infantry, to the struggle serving until the close of the war. He participated in a number of the famous battles of civil war history, chief among them being the siege of Knoxville, Buzzard's Roost, the siege of Atlanta, and was all through that vicinity with his company, including the engagements at Franklin and Nashville, Tennessee, besides numerous minor skirmishes.
In June of 1865 Mr. Hill received an honorable discharge from the army, and returned to his home, remaining there for about a year and a half, and during that time was united in marriage to Miss Mary Jane Merton of Portage county, Ohio. The young couple settled in Portage county, and followed farming for about three years then moved into Missouri, where they farmed until the spring of 1872 when they came to Howard county, the family consisting at that time of Mr. and Mrs. Hill and little daughter. They located on a homestead in section two, township ten, range fourteen, proved up on the claim, and farmed for about thirteen years, retiring from
active farm work in 1885, when they moved to St. Paul, where Mr. Hill bought a comfortable home, which they still occupy. For about ten years after coming to St. Paul, Mr. Hill was engaged in doing bridge work for the Union Pacific railway company, then began at the builders' and contractors' trade, of which he has made a success.
During his early residence in Howard county, Mr. Hill was director of school district number fifteen for a number of years, and aided in every way possible to develop his locality along educational and commercial lines. He has held different township offices of trust, and, with his good wife, is classed among the prominent early pioneers of the county.
Seven children have been born to Mr. and Mrs. Hill, but only three of them are now living, namely: Cora M., wife of Chas. Dunn, they having three children and residing in Howard county; Inez M., wife of L. A. Parker, parents of two children, and living in Cotesfield; Edna M., wife of Lee DeBord, who have one son, their home being in Brayton, Nebraska.
The parents of Mrs. Hill are dead, but she has two sisters living, one of whom resides in St. Paul and the other in Pennsylvania. Mr. Hill's father and mother both died in Ohio. One brother, Vanrensler, lives in Ohio, Walter F., mentioned above, and one sister, Mrs. Julia Kemple, also living in Ohio.
LEROY D. STEWART.
The rising generation now coming to the front is in no way unworthy of their sires, as they exhibit the same unflinching courage, the perseverance, and the dogged determination to surmount all obstacles which sustained the hardy pioneers in their fight against the wilderness.
Leroy D. Stewart may justly be called one of the "native sons" of Nebraska, having been born in Greeley county, near the Valley county line, May 11, 1885, the fifth child of Alza and Mamie (Burdick) Stewart, who were the first to take a homestead in Greeley county, and the first to take a timber claim in Valley county.
Mr. Stewart lived on the old homestead until his twenty-first year. During that time he received the usual school advantages, attending the district school, and later going to the High School in North Loup. He graduated from the latter institution in 1906.
On the second of November of the year following, he was married to Miss May Gertie Schultz, a native of Newton, Iowa, of which union three children have been born: Jeanette and Thurwin, and an infant born June 22, 1911. Mrs. Stewart is a daughter of Clint C. and Lizzie (Preston) Schultz, who moved from Jasper county, Iowa, to Valley county in 1889.
In 1909 Mr. Stewart purchased a quarter section of land on section thirty-three, township eighteen, range thirteen, a little southwest of North Loup, and here he resides at this time. He has made extensive improvements, and the farm is now considered one of the finest in that part of the country. Mr. Stewart devotes considerable attention to raising stock, as well as to the usual agricultural work. Besides this, he has always taken a keen interest in the affairs of his county and state. As may be imagined, Mr. Stewart and his family are prominent in the social life of the community. He is a prohibitionist in political faith and a member of the Friends' church.
One of his earliest recollections is of a band of Indians which camped near their place, to whom his father gave a load of watermelons. One of the early blizzards he recalls by having seen some of the calves on the place dug out from deep drifts of snow that had covered them.
JOHN S. CRAIG.
John S. Craig, proprietor of one of the most valuable estates in Madison county, Nebraska, has been a resident of that locality some forty years. He now resides in section twenty-five, township twenty-four, range two, and is prominently known throughout the northeastern part of the state as one of the foremost farmers and stockmen in this section of the country After many years' hard labor in building up his farm, he is now prepared to enjoy the remaining days of his life in peace and comfort, surrounded by a host of good friends.
Mr. Craig was born December 14, 1836 in the state of Ohio, was a son of William and Martha (Hile) Craig, both natives of the Keystone state, of Scotch and Irish descent, our subject's maternal grandfather serving in the Revolutionary war. Our subject, with his parents, left his native state and settled in Indiana, where the family remained eight years, and from there moved to Milville, Iowa.
While residing in Iowa, Mr. Craig, our subject, enlisted in the army, joining company G, Twenty-first Iowa infantry, under General Davidson. Mr. Craig served as a private on entering the service, was promoted to second lieutenant, then to first lieutenant, and later to captain. The first winter (in 1862) they went to Dubuque, Iowa, but early in 1863 they were stationed at St. Louis. Mr. Craig participated in the battle of Port Gibson, Mississippi, and was in the siege of Vicksburg from May 1 to July 4, 1863, and also took part in the battle of Black River Bridge; was at New Orleans in 1864, and then spent the winter in Texas. On July 16, 1865, he received his honorable discharge.
In 1869, Mr. Craig started for the west from Clayton county, Iowa, coming by the popular route in those days - that of a prairie schooner. They were one month on the road, landing in
Madison county, Nebraska, June 24. Here Mr. Craig, with his family settled and took up a preemption claim of eighty acres of land, and proved up on the same. He then took up a homestead of one hundred and sixty acres, which he also proved up and improved. He first built a good log house, in which the family lived for fifteen years during, which time he steadily prospered, finally building a fine residence.
In those first years of residence in this section of the country, the hardships and discouragements of Mr. Craig and his family were great, which was due to the new and unsettled condition of the region, the virgin soil not knowing the cut of a plow, and scarcely knowing the trod of white men's feet. During the first few years, the crops that had with so much difficulty been planted and cared for, were completely destroyed by the grasshopper pests that devastated the western country at that time, making it very hard for this little family to pass through those trying periods.
Mr. Craig was united in marriage in 1860, to Miss Caroline Griffith, and they are the parents of four children: Sevilla, Minerva, Ariel and Adrian. They are a fine family, and enjoy the esteem and good will of a host of friends and acquaintances. They are members of the Christian church, and Mr. Craig is a democrat.
Persistent and energetic industry have placed this gentleman among the prosperous and successful citizens of Nance county, Nebraska. He is one of the early settlers of Timber Creek township, and the owner of large landed interests, which have been gained only by the strictest economy and excellent management. The hardships which have fallen to the lot of Mr. Palmer and his family would have discouraged those of less persistent natures, have only tended to make them more determined and spurred them to stronger action. With undaunted courage he has faced misfortune, suffering and hardship incident to the life of the pioneers in the west, and through all has remained to enjoy a fitting reward for his labors. He is now a resident of Fullerton, the owner of a fine home there, in addition to large farming interests in the county, and is held in the highest esteem by those with whom he comes in contact, in a social or business way. His portrait appears on another page of this volume.
Our subject is a son of Thomas and Susan Palmer, and was born in England in 1832. He was brought up there, and was married February 20, 1854, to Emma Wilson, in the Parish church in Nuneaton, by the Rt. Rev. Vicar C. E. Savage. After two years in their native country the young couple came to America, landing in New York City February 12, 1857. They went directly to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, where Mr. Palmer secured employment. After remaining there but a short time, they went to Connecticut, and he began work with the Hazard Powder Company, and continued with that concern for twenty-six years. Then he decided to try his fortune in the west, and came to Nebraska, locating in Nance county in 1883. The following year he was joined by his family. Their first home was on Timber creek, living there for ten years, Mr. Palmer being engaged in the stock business and also doing mixed farming. In 1893 they removed to Fullerton, still owning the farm and considerable land in the vicinity. Mr. Palmer has been very successful in his various enterprises, and is counted among the well-to-do men of his county, owning at the present time seven hundred and twenty-one acres in Nance county alone, most of this being under cultivation. Besides this land, he has outside interests and the fine home which he occupies in Fullerton. He is now (in 1911) seventy-nine years of age, still active, and takes much interest in local affairs.
Mrs. Palmer died in 1906, survived by her family of eight children, who are Thomas, John, Abraham, Joseph, William, Mary, Emma and George, all married and settled in comfortable homes, highly esteemed by their associates.
Among the prominent early settlers of Greeley county may be mentioned the above gentleman, now residing in the city of Scotia. He is a veteran of the civil war, and as he was true and loyal to his country in the struggle of that day, so he has proven worthy as a citizen of the esteem and respect of his fellow men.
Mr. Meyer was the eldest child in the family of Fred and Martha (Meygerter) Meyer, and first saw the light of day on the 12th of April, 1840, in Bremen, Germany. In 1853, like many another humble family in Germany, Mr. Meyer's parents decided to try their fortunes in the newer country, sailing from Bremen, Havre, in the ''Magdalena,'' an old sail ship. They landed in New York after a voyage of six weeks, during which time Mr. Meyer, then a lad of thirteen, was sick most of the time, having contracted fever and ague before leaving the old country. They located in Lake county, Indiana, where the father and mother lived until their death, which occurred in May 5 and 7 respectively, in 1885 within two days of one another. They were together in death as they had been for so many years in life.
Mr. Meyer completed his education after coming to this country, while living in Indiana. When the war began, he enlisted at Chicago, September 28, 186l, in company F, ninth Illinois cavalry, and served until the end of the war. He was engaged in a number of battles some of the more
famous being those of Tupulo, Mississippi; Franklin, Nashville and Pulaski, Tennessee. After the war, Mr. Meyer returned to Indiana and pursued his former calling, that of farming, and on March 28, 1867, he married Miss Lovina Locker, a native of the Hoosier state, and daughter of Louis and Harriet (Glass) Locker.
In 1873 they removed to Joliet, Illinois, where they remained for four years, Mr. Meyer finding work in a quarry. Then they concluded it would be better to push on further west, where land was cheaper and more plentiful. Accordingly, in the spring of 1878, Mr. Meyer and his family came to Greeley county, Nebraska, where he filed on a homestead of one hundred and sixty acres in section thirty, township eighteen, range eleven, and also on a like amount of timber land adjoining the other claim. For thirty-two years this property remained the home of our subject and his family, during which time improvements were made constantly, new buildings erected, or more complete equipments added to those already standing, until it is one of the finest estates in this section of the state. In the summer of 1910 Mr. Meyer moved to Scotia, where he has just completed a fine, modern home. He still retains an oversight over the large estate of five hundred and sixty acres which he possesses, but has retired from active work.
During all these years, Mr. Meyer has not by any means neglected his part in public affairs, as he helped to organize his school districts, numbers twelve and thirty-two, and has served in various offices in connection therewith. He has also served as precinct assessor.
Mr. and Mrs. Meyer are the parents of three children: Hattie J., now Mrs. George Milne, living in Greeley Center, Nebraska, has three children; Martha A., now Mrs. George P. Hoke, a resident of Greeley county, has one child; and David E. now living on the old homestead, is married has three children. The family is prominent socially Mrs. Meyer's mother, Mrs. Harriet Locker is still living in Scotia at the advanced age of eighty-six. Mr. Meyer was reared in the Evangelical church, is a republican in politics, and a member of the Grand Army of the Republic.
Mr. Meyer's first residence was an adobe house constructed of cedar posts secured near Burwell, to which willow branches were nailed. Between these two walls, mud and slough grass were tightly pressed, making a warm and substantial dwelling. This was later covered with weatherboarding, and two additions built from time to time, this forming the principal part of the farm residence.
Elk, deer and antelope were to be seen in droves in those early days, and an antelope was killed on the creek near his house. During the dry year, 1894, nothing was harvested on the place, not even the amount necessary to seeding. Several times hail destroyed all their crops, but in the main Nebraska has proven to be the land of prosperity.
Among the older settlers of Cedar county may be mentioned the above gentleman, Smith Wait. Although he was not one of the earliest settlers of the county, he has taken such a prominent part in all affairs pertaining to the well being of the community, and has in so many ways assisted in the development of this region that he is with truth counted among the pioneers in many lines.
Mr. Wait was born in 1836 in Vermont the son of John and Polly Wait. Although American born himself, his mother was German and his father was of Scotch-English descent. His grandfather served during the revolutionary war and was in many engagements, being taken prisoner by the British on one occasion, although he was lucky enough to escape later on. The grandfather lived to an advanced age, and one of the precious little keepsakes in the family of Mr. Wait is a wallet made by the grandfather in 1856.
Mr. Wait spent his boyhood and early manhood years in Vermont on the farm. In 1863 he was united in marriage to Miss Elizabeth Randall, and four children have been born to them, all of whom are living their names are as follows: Merton H., Cora A., Ella May and Iven.
Mr. Wait, in 1868 came to Ida county, Iowa, and had much to do with affairs there. In 1890 Mr. Wait and his family came to Cedar county, where he bought the Boeman homestead, located in section twenty-six, township thirty, range two, east. Coming to Nebraska at a comparatively late date, of course he escaped some of the unpleasant experiences of the earlier settlers, such as having his crops destroyed by grasshoppers, but he met with more than one discouragement as it was. However, with true Anglo-Saxon perseverance, he still remained and now, after years of toil, is the possessor of a fine, well-improved farm and comfortable home.
Mr. Wait and family have been prominent in a social and educational way for many years, and enjoy the respect of numerous friends.
DANlEL W. FARNHAM.
Among the men who have played an important part in the development of eastern Nebraska, and especially Merrick county, none is held in higher esteem than the man whose name heads this article. The life of Mr. Farnham has been a busy one, and he is now able to enjoy his later days in peace and comfort.
Daniel W. Farnham, son of Eli and Jerusha (Loomis) Farnham, was born in Galesburg, Illinois, December 6, 1838, and was eldest of four children. He has one sister residing in Gales-
burg, Illinois, the others being deceased as are also the parents. The father died October 10, 1882, and the mother, December 18, 1872 both in Galesburg, Illinois. Our subject was educated in the schools of his home state and attended Knox College for three years. His father was the first school teacher in Galesburg, and Daniel received his first three years instruction under his father's tutelage. He later engaged in farming, and on February 29, 1860 was united in marriage to Emeline Butler, who was born in New York state, but came later on to Illinois.
In the spring of 1882, Mr. and Mrs. Farnham and three children came to Nebraska, locating in Lincoln for one year, going to Beatrice, Nebraska, the following year. In 1884 they moved to Merrick county and purchased one hundred and sixty acres of land, being the northeast quarter of section twenty-seven, township fourteen, range seven, west, which remained the home place until 1909, when Mr. Farnham retired from the farm and moved to Central City and purchased a good home, where he now lives.
Mrs. Farnham died May 20, 1908 on the home farm, survived by her husband and three children, they having had four children in all: Mary B., wife of George A. Baker, had five children, and lived in Lincoln, Nebraska, died in 1892; Fanny L., wife of Theo. Swartout, has three children, and resides in Merrick county; Edwin R. married, has six children, and lives in Wheatland, Wyoming; Florence C., wife of John McKendry, has five children, and resides in Central City. Mr. Farnham's oldest grand-daughter, Nellie Baker , married D. L. Gardener, who lives in Archer, Nebraska, and they have seven children. Alice Baker, another grand-daughter, married Geo. A. Johnston, and they have one child, and live at Central City. Grace Baker, another granddaughter married Randall Cronin, and lives in Colorado. Albert J. Baker, a grandson, is married, and lives at Lincoln, Nebraska. E. R. Swartout married Grace Braucher, and lives in Central City.
Mr. Farnham has been prosperous and successful, and is widely and favorably known. He is a man of affairs and takes an interest in all pertaining to the welfare of his home county and state. Mr. Farnham is a member of the M. E. church as was his wife. In politics he is independent.
The gentleman whose name heads this personal history is a prosperous and successful agriculturalist of Knox county, Nebraska, being proprietor of a valuable tract of land in section twenty-five, township thirty, range six, well improved with buildings, orchards and groves. He is known as one of the leading men of his locality, who has done much to bring about the present success of his community.
Mr. Horstmann is a native of Germany, his birth occurring in 1844, on a farm in Germany, province of Westphalia. He received his early education in his native land, and in 1867 sailed for America, the mecca of so many sturdy sons of the German fatherland, who have contributed so largely to the growth and welfare of this part of the western country. After landing in the United States, Mr. Horstmann settled in the state of Indiana, where he remained until 1888, in that year coming to Knox county, Nebraska. Here he bought land of Casper Huffman, improving it and building a good home, and he now owns four hundred and eighty acres of choice land, and has one of the finest groves in the country.
Mr. Horstmann was united in marriage in 1872 to Miss Hannah Lampe and Mr. and Mrs. Horstmann are the parents of eleven children, whose names are as follows: Annie, Caroline, Lizzie, Mary, William, Emma and Fred. Minnie, Sophia, Henry and Carl are dead. Mr. and Mrs. Horstmann and family are highly esteemed by all in their community and enjoy the respect of a wide circle of friends and acquaintances.
In his twenty-three years of residence in Knox county, Mr. Horstmann has gained the high regard and esteem of all with whom he has had to do, his dealings with men being of the highest standard of integrity and fairness.
The gentleman whose name heads this review is an old and prominent resident of Fullerton, Nebraska. He was born in the town of Edgington, Illinois, June 1, 1841, and is a son of Daniel Edgington, after whom the town of that name was called. Asahel Edgington was reared in his native state, receiving his elementary education in the schools of Rock Island, and later attended the Rensselaer Institute at Troy, New York. He also spent some time in Chicago, graduating from the Bryant & Stratton Commercial College of that city. In 1864 he came to Colorado, traveling across the plains with an ox team, and located about forty miles west of Denver, which place at that time was simply a village instead of the beautiful and thriving business city we now find it. In June of the following year, he returned to Illinois and engaged in farming, following that vocation in his native state up to 1867, and in February of that year was united in marriage to Josephine B. Carpenter, who also was born and raised in Edgington, and for a number of years was a public school teacher there. After their marriage, the young couple settled in Washington, Iowa engaging in stock-raising business remaining in that region up to December 1882 when they came with their family to Nebraska, locating in Nance county. They were among the first to settle in that vicinity, and our subject started in the
real estate and banking business at Fullerton, which at that time was a very small village. During those years he bought and sold many large tracts of land, at different times handling deals involving from three to four thousand acres of land in one day, the price averaging from two and a half to four dollars per acre. While he was instrumental in aiding greatly in settling the country and building it up by his operations, he also purchased for himself one hundred town lots and four quarter sections of land, which grew to be very valuable. He was more than usually successful in his work, and has been an important factor in the commercial and financial affairs of Nance county, as, besides his real estate business, he was for several years engaged in the general merchandise business, and built up a nice patronage through out the region.
In 1887 Mr. Edgington purchased twenty acres adjoining the town of Fullerton on the south, which he laid out in streets and platted the tract, and this is now known as "The Edgington Addition." It has been built up in good shape, and has become one of the popular residence sections of the town. Mr. Edgington himself has a home surrounded by ten acres of ground, beautifully laid out, and he is engaged in fruit growing and poultry raising, doing a flourishing business in both lines. This place is within the city limits, and is a very valuable property.
Since locating in Nance county, Judge Edgington has taken a foremost part in its affairs. He has passed through all the early times, remembers well the days when Indians were numerous here, and also when the plains abounded in antelope and other game. In 1902 Judge Edgington and wife went to Santa Cruz, California, intending to live there, but after a stay of three years they returned to Nebraska, and have remained here since, surrounded by every comfort, and having a host of warm friends in the community.
Judge Edgington's family consists of five children, namely: Grace J., wife of Wm. Jenkins, they living at Prosser, Washington; Leona E., widow of Morris E. Thorp, who died in 1902, Mrs. Thorp having one child, and is now living in Los Angeles, California; Stella M., wife of Clarence B. Nonnamaker, parents of one child; Bernard A ., married, and Carl Edgington, the three last mentioned residing at Morenca, Arizona.
Mr. Edgington served as county judge from 1891 to 1893, afterwards being appointed deputy sheriff, which office he held for eight years, and during his early residence here was a member of the school board of district number one.
G. A. ERIKSON.
Norse blood has played a great part in the development of the great northwest, as it has in all parts of the country where the Norseman has found it agreeable to settle. It was largely due to the invention of the ''Monitor'' by an illustrious Scandinavian that the civil war was closed as it was, with a united country instead of two warring, jealous governments.
G. A. Erikson, vice president of the First National Bank of Naper, is a native of Norway born in the city of Fredrikshald, July 12, 1859: his father, Peder Erikson, was a native of the same city, and when grown to man's estate, learned the painter's trade, and found employment in the service of the government in their navy yard there.
He married Miss A. Reiss, who was also a native of Norway, remotely descended from Danish and German ancestors. In 1869 Peder Erikson and family set sail in an old Norwegian full rigged ship about three hundred feet in length embarking at Christmas. After a voyage of twenty four days, they landed in Quebec the latter part of July or the first of August. Here they trans-shipped to a lake vessel, ascended the St. Lawrence river and Lake Ontario, through the Welland canal to Lake Erie and thence to Detroit. Here they again transferred to a vessel bound for Milwaukee, whence they traveled by rail to Madison, Wisconsin where Henry Erikson an elder son had preceded the family, reaching their destination about the middle of September. Henry had been a marine engineer in the old country, plying the coast of Norway to Tromsoe and Hammerfest. He had come to America in 1865 and had established himself on a farm near Madison and then sent for the rest of the family to join him The father farmed with the son until coming to Nebraska in the year of 1872. He rented a farm three miles west of Nebraska City for one year, and then moved to town, and plied his trade there until rheumatism compelled his abandonment of labor. He died in August, 1878 having been an invalid for about four years.
Gustav A. Erikson began to make his own way in the world at the age of fourteen, when in October, 1874, he secured a clerkship in a small grocery store in Nebraska City. Two and a half years later he secured a position in a large general store, remaining nearly the same length of time. Going to Blair in the spring of 1879, he secured a position in a general merchandise establishment. After two and a half years here, he went to Omaha and secured a clerkship in Cruikshank & Company's store, the largest dry goods establishment in the city at that time, which later went into the hands of N. B. Faulkner & Company, who were succeeded by Thomas Kilpatrick, the present proprietor.
After a year in Omaha, Mr. Erikson had an opportunity to join a United States surveying party as field writer, and also filled nearly every position in the party from time to time, even using the instruments. The party spent six months in the Utah mountains, during which time Mr. Erikson experienced life in the wilderness
On one trip for mail he rode sixty-five miles one Saturday, swimming Golden river on his saddle mule to get to the camp where mail was expected. Resting over Sunday during which time his wet clothing was dried, he was piloted to a lower ford some ten miles further down the stream, and after seventy-five miles' hard riding, reached camp on Monday with the coveted missives from the east. Several times he drove a span of mules to Fort Thornberg for supplies, the trip usually occupying three days. On one occasion, the weaker mule gave out about four o'clock in the afternoon, and the last twenty miles were not covered before midnight Mr. Erikson having had to unhitch the rest and feed three times on that weary stretch of road, at the last having to walk and prod the mule in the side, a most weary and desolute journey through an uninhabited country.
After his season in the mountains, Mr. Erikson returned to Blair, and to the service of the firm in whose employ he had been before, and remained with them until the spring of 1886. At that time he became traveling salesman for the Canfield Manufacturing Company, with territory on the Union Pacific, Burlington and Missouri River (now C., B & Q.), Missouri Pacific, and St. Paul and Omaha railroads, making towns as far from the Missouri river as North Platte, Holdredge, Auburn, Scribner, and Albion. After eighteen months on the road, he formed a partnership under the firm name of Erikson & Thompson, and was in business in Blair for nine years. In l891 when the reservation was opened and Boyd county was opened to settlement, Mr. Erikson came to Naper in charge of the William Knotter's Company's business, handling lumber, implements and grain, and he was manager of their large business for nearly twelve years, resigning January 1, 1910, to take the vice presidency of the First National Bank, which was formed by the consolidation of the two former banks in Naper and in which he bought a block of stock in December, 1909.
Mr. Erikson was married in Blair, September 2, 1885, to Miss Louise Kemp a native of Walworth county, Wisconsin. Her father, Thomas A. Kemp, was born near York, England, and came to America about 1823. Her mother, who was Mary Haller before marriage, was born in Vermont of Swiss parentage. They settled in Wisconsin when that country was new and saw the country change by the axe of the settler from a virgin forest to a thickly populated-farming country.
Mr. and Mrs. Erikson are the parents of one daughter, Vera F., born in Blair, Nebraska. After graduating in the Blair schools, she finished the course of the Carleton College at Northfield, Minnesota in June, 1908. She had numerous offers of positions to teach, but accepted that of Clarkfield, Minnesota, in the fall of 1908. She has since taught at Crete, Nebraska, that she might be in her native state and nearer home. Here she specialized, teaching German and mathematics.
Mr. Erikson is a republican in politics, and, with his family, is a member of the Congregational church.
Mr. Erikson well remembers the blizzard of January 12, 1888, having been out in it for a time. He was then living in Blair, and went to the railroad station to meet a friend. On the way back to the store, he found the storm so blinding and suffocating that he had to turn his back to the blast, and shoulder his way through the icy mist. Later, in going home to supper, three blocks south, with the storm at his back, he made easier progress.
In the summer of 1907, Mr. Erikson took his family with him when he revisited the fatherland and toured an interesting part of Europe. The daughter had credits sufficient to permit her leaving school without prejudice four weeks before the close of the spring term, and to delay a fortnight entering the classes in the fall. Leaving home the first of May and returning the first of October, they traveled through Scotland, the west coast of England, and Norway as far north as Hammerfest, making visits of longer or shorter duration in Bergen, Trondhjem and Swolvaer, and toured part of Sweden while on the Scandinavian peninsula. On the continent they visited Denmark, Germany, and from Cologne up the Rhine, and then through the Black Forest; in Switzerland, the Falls of the Rhine, Neuhausen, Zurich, Berne, Lucerne, Interlaken and Geneva, and after eight days in Paris, a like number in London, a day at Oxford and another at the old walled town of Chester and Marston Moors and a day on Stratford-on-Avon they crossed to Ireland, where they attended the exposition at Dublin before embarking for home at the city of Londonderry, having enjoyed a most delightful summer's travel. They will again visit the old country within a year or two, touring the Mediterranean countries, Austria and the Tyrolean Alps. They have traveled much in the western world, having been as far south as Cuba, and north and west to the mountain states. Travel as a broadening means of culture, is well exemplified in Mr. Erikson and his family, who can relate interestingly many incidents of history and personal experience in the old as well as the new world.
OLIVER E. WALTERS.
Oliver E. Walters, county clerk of Boone county, is a son of Oliver and Elizabeth L. (Phillips) Walters, and was born in Brooklyn, New York, February 9, 1857 the eldest of two children, the brother dying in infancy. His father died October 14, 1861, in New York, and the mother died September 5, 1907, in Albion, Nebraska.
© 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001 for NEGenWeb Project by T&C Miller, P Ebel, P Shipley, L Cook