acres of which are covered with beautiful trees. Mr. Wiegand's belongs to the German Lutheran church, and is a republican in politics.
Mrs. Wiegand's father died in April, 1857, in Germany and her mother, who was born in 1822, died in 1882 in Nebraska.
WILLIAM B. CHILVERS.
William B. Chilvers, a highly respected, retired business man of Pierce, Nebraska, is an ex-soldier of the civil war. He has spent a useful career, accumulating a valuable estate through many years of hard labor, and is classed among the successful citizens of his county, using his utmost endeavors to assist in developing the commercial and educational interests of that part of Nebraska.
Mr. Chilvers is a native of the village of Terrington, county of Norfolk, England, and was born October 19, 1835. He was left an orphan at the age of six years, and was reared by his grandfather. With an uncle, George Burnham, he emigrated to the United States, landing in New York on October 1, 1851 They lived in Chicago for four years during which time our subject served a three years' apprenticeship to a carpenter; in those days everything had to be hand-made, which required considerable skill; he was kept nine months making mouldings, finding the designs and quantities daily on a trestle board.
In 1855 the family moved to Boone county, Illinois, near Belvidere, where Mr. Chilvers worked at his trade, and for four years, with an uncle, was interested in the lime and stone business. In the spring of 1861, he rented land and started a crop, but after the outbreak of hostilities, he disposed of his growing crops and enlisted in Company B, Ninety-fifth Illinois infantry, and served until the close of the war; with his regiment he took part in seventy-five engagements. He was color bearer at the siege of Spanish Fort, carrying the colors into the fort at the time of a successful assault at one o'clock in the morning. In this engagement, the colors were pierced by bullets in nine places, and at the Siege of Vicksburg, a ball passed through Mr. Chilvers' cap, grazing his scalp, and during his career as a soldier, this was the only wound he received. He was among the troops at the disasterous Red River expedition, but escaped capture and imprisonment.
After the close of the war, he returned to Belvidere following his trade up to 1871, at which time he came to Pierce county, Nebraska. Since coming here he has done as much as any other one man building up the locality. He secured the contract to erect the first building in Pierce, which was the hotel of George D. Hetzel ; the lumber was hauled in wagons from Sioux City. This was followed by the school house in 1872. He had the honor of building the first store in the town, that of Herman Mewis, erected in the fall of 1874, the lumber for this building being hauled from Wisner, then the terminus of the nearest railroad.
Mr. Chilvers homesteaded on a tract at Plainview, also filed on a timber claim, on which ground a part of Plainview now stands. He put up a frame house, which was the first one of its kind in that part of the state. He worked on his farm during the good seasons, and when failures and hard times came on, followed his trade at Bazile Mills, Creighton, and other points. He was appointed postmaster at Plainview, first known as Roseville, and held the office for six years, Mrs. Chilvers attending to official duties while Mr.Chilvers was away working at his trade. He served eight years as county clerk and recorder. In 1880 he begun the business of abstracting, and has been engaged in the work ever since. In 1900 he was elected clerk of the district court, and is still serving, this being his third term.
Mr. Chilvers was married at Sharon, Wisconsin, on October 6, 1872, to Irene Ellen Pilcher, a native of Lancaster, Ohio; their daughter, Eliza May, was the first white child born in Plainview settlement. She died August 13, 1900, aged twenty-six years, after graduating in the Plainview normal college. There are seven children still living: John P., Alfred W., George W., Frances, Nellie, Charles H., and Oma.
Our subject has been a staunch republican always, casting his first vote for Freemont. He is a charter member of the Grand Army at Pierce, and is a prominent member of tile Masonic lodge, being one of the charter members and organizers of the Norfolk lodge, and later of the lodge at Pierce, of which he has been secretary since its organization.
Larke Sorensen, deceased, one of the prosperous farmers of Howard county, Nebraska, was born in Lolland, Denmark, in 1845. He grew up there, and in 1869 married Johannah Jorgensen, soon afterwards coming to America, crossing in the steerage.
After landing in New York, he went to Cook county, Illinois, where the young man worked in the quarries, remaining there up to 1871, then with his family, consisting of himself, wife, child and his father, came to Nebraska, settling in Grand Island. Shortly after arriving in Nebraska, father, son and several other men from Grand Island left the town and traveled through the country in a northwesterly direction, traversing wide prairies and rough regions until they reached the Loup river. There they built a float of large trees, crossed the river, and on coming to the tract of land that lay between Oak and Turkey creeks, decided that would be a good place in which to establish the Danish colony, which was the object of their search, the region at that time
being inhabited only by Indians and wild animals. Mr. Sorensen and other members of this company of men were self-reliant, independent, and unafraid of the trials and discouragements to be met with in settling a new country, and were ambitious of building up a permanent home for themselves in the great west, and prepared to endure any amount of hardship and privation in so doing.
Mr. Sorensen took up a homestead of Oak creek bottom land, and after spending a few weeks there returned to Grand Island, leaving his father on the claim, he being the only white man for miles around. Our subject brought his family to their new home, and they began a struggle to improve the land, going through every form of frontier existence, often suffering from the severe winters, etc., but ever striving and hoping for better times, until at last their labor was rewarded, being able to raise good crops and having a well equipped farm. They lived on the homestead during the lifetime of the father and husband, which occurred on February 5, 1887, and his loss was greatly deplored by the entire community. He left behind him a wife and six children, the latter named as follows : Mary, now widow of Peter Peterson, who with her four children, lives in Dannebrog precinct; Anna, now Mrs. Krogh, mother of one child, living at Nysted ;William, father of five children, living in the village of Dannebrog, where he is engaged in the creamery business; Emil, who has two children, the family living west of Nysted; Sophus, married, and has one son, living on the original homestead at Nysted; and Fred S., who resides on a farm near Alba, father of two children.
Mr. Sorensen was prominently known throughout this part of Nebraska as the founder, in partnership with Fred Olsen and Jacob Winn, of the early settlement of Nysted. He was always an active worker in aiding the development of his community, and in all public affairs, besides being an earnest worker in the Lutheran church. Mrs. Sorensen is still living on their homestead.
JOHN OTTO FREDERICK SCHONING.
Among the early settlers in Nebraska, we find the names of many adopted sons who were born under other skies but whose industry and thrift have enabled them to rise to positions of trust and affluence. One of the best-known and most respected farmers of this community is Otto Schoning, who assisted in the organization of Valley county and was the first homestead settler in this portion of the North Loup valley, being at that time the furthest settler up the valley. He now has a fine grain and stock farm of one hundred and eighty-six acres.
Otto Schoning, the subject of this sketch, was the fifth of nine children born to Carl and Charlotte (Koenigsberg) Schoning, and was born in the city of Platha province of Pommerania, Prussia, September 23, 1841. Two of the family are living in Germany, and a third died since Mr. Schoning visited his native land in 1900. He grew to manhood there, and served the usual military term of three years in the Prussian army, participating in the hostilities on the Russian line in 1863, with Denmark in 1864, and the Austrian war of 1866, in the battle of Koenigsberg. Like many another young fellow, he concluded in 1868, to come to America, sailing from Bremen to Baltimore, the voyage lasting sixteen days. For the first few years he remained in Wisconsin, working on a farm near Milwaukee.
In the spring of 1872, he purchased a team and wagon and began to make arrangements to go to Nebraska; in the fall he came overland to Valley county, taking a homestead on section twelve, township eighteen, range thirteen, and he has lived there coutinuously up to this date.
In May, 1878, he was married to Miss Amelia Braun, the daughter of Christian Braun, a German who had come directly from the old country to Valley county, taking up the homestead adjoining that of Mr. Schoning on the north.
Mr. and Mrs. Schoning have nine children living, named as follows: Martha, Mrs. Fred Simon of Grand Island; Otto and Julius, both farming in Tripp county, South Dakota; Hattie, employed in Omaha; Emma, Mrs. Hugh Watson, living near Hall, Cairo county, Nebraska; Herman, Paul, Emil and Frieda.
Mr. and Mrs. Schoning and family have many friends and a wide circle of acquaintances. Mr. Schoning for many years has been a member of the school board of district number fifty, and at one time was school treasurer.
In 1875, Fred Bartz, a brother-in-law of Mr. Schoning, together with the parents of the latter, came to this country, and the year previous another brother-in-law, John Kriewald, came to America. Mr. Bartz took up homestead land in Valley county and Mr. Kriewald bought railroad land adjoining in the same neighborhood as Mr. Schoning. The father and mother made their home with Mr. Kriewald and family, the former living until 1885 and the latter until the spring of 1889.
All of the people mentioned in this sketch were pioneers of Valley county and in common with other early settlers, suffered many hardships during the first years of their settlement. However, by reason of their early struggles the country has steadily developed, and many of those old settlers are still living today, enjoying the fruits of their early toil.
Mr. Schoning first resided in a small log dugout for seven years, when he built a small log house above ground, and in 1894 the present dwelling in spite of the drought of that year when he raised no corn. There were deer in those days - sometimes the fleet-footed animals ran through the door-yard. Mr. Schoning shot twenty-three during the early years of his pioneering in Ne-
braska. Twice hail destroyed his crops and twice the grasshopper left his fields bare; in 1874 they took everything.
Henry Watcher (sic), who resides in section five, township twenty-four, range one, in Madison county, Nebraska, is one of the leading citizens and old timers of this section of the country. He has always done his full share to aiding in the betterment of conditions throughout the community in which he lives.
Mr. Wachter is a native of Wisconsin state, where he was born in July, 1860, and is a son of August and Gusta Wachter, both natives of Germany, who came to America on a sailboat.
In 1866, our subject's father, with his parents, started for the west, traveling by ox team, as that was the usual way of traveling at that time. They were on the road about seven weeks, and made settlement in Madison county, homesteading land in section two, township twenty-four, range one. On this land a good log house was put up.
When the family first came to this region, the country was a rolling prairie, with nothing to be seen for miles but the waving grasses of the plains. The virgin soils had scarcely known the touch of cultivation, or the stamp of a white man's foot, the only signs of life being the herds of deer and antelope that were frequently seen grazing about, and the bands of Indians who roamed the plains. In the first few years of cultivation, the grasshoppers destroyed every vistage of crops and vegetation to be fonud anywhere in this region, which caused great suffering and hardship to this family. Many times they had to fight prairie fires to save their lives and possessions, and in 1894 our subject lost all his crops by the hot winds that prevailed during that yeair, owing to the long drouth. In the very earliest times, Columbus and West Point were the nearest market places, they being fifty-five miles distant.
Mr. Wachter was united in marriage in 1884 to Miss Wilhelmina Hideman, a native of Germany, and a daughter of Frank and Albertina Hideman. Mr. and Mrs. Wachter are the parents of eleven children, whose names are as follows: Julius, Ernest, Arthur, George, Carl, Ella, Anna, Martha, Minnie, Erna and Emma.
THEODORE J. STOETZEL.
Theodore J. Stoetzel, who is now one of the leading real estate men in this section of Nebraska, was for years closely connected with the educational development of Greeley county. He served four terms as county superintendent of schools, being the one republican candidate to win in a democratic county, and for six years was principal of the Scotia schools.
Mr. Stoetzel was born in Lake county, Indiana, November 27, 1856, and was the third of four children in the family of John C. and Emilia Rieke Stoetzel. The mother died in 1863, leaving her husband and the children, Matilda, William F., Theodore J. and Mary. The father remarried, and in April, 1869, John C. Stoetzel and family, now numbering seven children, moved to Dodge county, Nebraska, where he took up a pre-emption claim of one hundred and sixty acres. Here the father spent the remainder of his life, dying in March, 1905. His widow still lives in Scribner, Nebraska, and in his large family of nine children (for two children, Lydia and Ida, were born in Nebraska), all, except Lydia, still reside in Nebraska.
The subject of this sketch, Theodore Stoetzel, was only twelve years old when the family moved to Nebraska, so that most of his boyhood and youth was spent in this state. He lived on the farm, helping in the manifold labors connected therewith, and receiving the usual school advantages until he was nineteen. He then attended the Northern Indiana Normal School at Valparaiso, Indiana, taking the full course of five years.
On October 11, 1883, just a few months after he was graduated, he married Miss Emesce Strawn at the home of her parents in Dwight, Illinois. Mr. Stoetzel taught school in Livingston county, Illinois, for one term. On April of the following year, Mr. Stoetzel and wife came to Scotia, Greeley county, Nebraska, where, after an interval of one year spent on the farm, he took up school and educational work in earnest.
In the fall of 1885, Mr. Stoetzel was first selected county superintendent, serving the public four years in that capacity, and then, for three years, was principal of the Scotia schools. He was also for some time connected with the Normal school at the same city. It was at this period that Mr. Stoetzel became so widely known in educational circles, and was frequently called upon for institute work in adjoining counties. In 1893, he was again elected county superintendent, and, as before, when leaving that office, again became principal of the Scotia schools.
In 1901, Mr. Stoetzel decided to give up school work in order to engage in real estate and insurance lines. Since that time he has devoted his energy to this line of business, and has met with more than ordinary success. It is quite probable that the many friends and acquaintances made during his years of school work, and the respect and esteem which he won during these years, have contributed not a little to his present prosperity.
Mr. and Mrs. Stoetzel and their family, as may be supposed, take a prominent part in the social and educational life of this community. There are six children, named as follows: Bessie M., Mayme (now Mrs. Guy C. Cook), Susie, Georgia, Henry W. and Charlotte.
Mr. Stoetzel is a member of the Presbyterian church. In politics he is republican, and a member of the Masonic fraternity, having attained the Past Master's degree, after filling the Master's chair for a term or two.
That thrift and energy may win success under the most adverse conditions is illustrated in the life of Ludwig Uhing, now residing in Conception, Missouri. He was born in the city of Cleve, Rhine province, Germany, November 1, 1841, and lived for twenty-seven years in his native land. His parents, Bernard and Mary (Benz) Uhing, died in Germany, their native land. Mr. Uhing, our subject, entered the postal service, and was a clerk in the offices at Cleve, Stergrade, Mettmann, Munich, Gladbach, Neviges and Remscheid. At the latter place he was employed when he emigrated to America.
Sailing from Antwerp in the early spring of 1868 in the steamer "City of Antwerp," he landed in New York, after a voyage of twelve days. He came immediately to the west, and sojourned for a short time in Richardson county before settling in Cuming county, fifty miles north of West Point, Nebraska. Here he purchased school land, which he farmed for ten years before his removal to Cedar county.
Purchasing two hundred and eighty acres of land in Bow Valley, he began investing his savings in more land until he had purchased upwards of one thousand acres, some of which he had deeded directly to his sons, and some of it he deeded to them himself, retaining enough to keep himself and wife in comfort the remainder of their days. In March of 1905, Mr. Uhing moved to Hartington, purchasing a neat cottage on South Broadway, where he resided until his removal to Missouri in 1911.
Mr. Uhing was married in West Point, Cuming county, May 22, 1869, to Miss Agatha Mettes, a native of Wurtemburg, Germany, born in 1849. Her parents, John and Mary Mettes, emigrated to America in 1854, and a year later were the first settlers of Washington county, at a time when Indians, buffalo, deer, antelope and wild turkeys were plentiful. Their voyage in an old sailship extended over six weeks. They came out to Clinton, Iowa, where they lived one year prior to their settlement in Nebraska.
Mr. and Mrs. Uhing are the parents of eleven children, of whom eight are living. They are: Margareta, entered a convent of the Benedictine order, and is now known as Sister Petronella in the mission school at the Standing Rock agency, South Dakota; Fred, who has a part of the home farm in Bow Valley; Louis is also located on the old home place near Fred; Henry has a farm four miles west of Hartington; Mary, wife of Clement Suing, lives nine miles north of the county seat; Theresa is the wife of Fred Wiebelhaus, who is farming four miles north of town; Herman is farming in Bow Valley near his brothers, and Ida is still under the parental roof, caring for her aged parents. Mr. Uhing is a democrat, and the entire family worship in the Catholic church.
Mr. Uhing has endured his share of hardships on the frontier. Grasshoppers devastated his crops from 1873 until 1879, the last year in his new location in Cedar county. His early market places after settling in Cedar county were at Yankton and Ponca, a long, weary drive. When he first became a resident of Cuming county, Fremont and Omaha were his market places, the trip to the latter place consuming three and four days. So deep were the snows in some of those early winters that on one occasion they had to tear out the chimney, crawl out on the roof, and dig down to the door before egress could be had from the house. The drifts covered all the windows, and were on a level with the low roof of their low log house.
Mr. Uhing well remembers gathering, when a child, quantities of the horns of antelope and deer on the prairies, so thickly were they strewn. The many blizzards that swept the plains brought no injury to Mr. Uhing or his family. On the occasion of the disastrous storm of January 12, 1888, the children had fortunately remained at home, thus escaping the danger and discomfort of many who were compelled to spend the night in school houses.
After toil comes rest, and no one better deserves a quiet eventide of life than he of whom we write. He has lived an honest, industrious life, and, true to the industry which he possesses, he cannot, with his rest, remain idle.
In 1911, he moved to Conception, Missouri, where he has some landed interests that are now claiming his attention.
DANIEL W. BRINKERHOFF.
In the person of the above-mentioned gentleman we find one of the oldest settlers of Merrick county, Nebraska, recognized by all as a representative citizen of that locality, who has seen the growth and progress of this region from its early settlement. Mr. Brinkerhoff came to the county in 1871, and has been one of the foremost in aiding in its development.
Daniel W. Brinkerhoff was born in Lewis county, New York state, November 17, 1832, a son of Isaac aud Harriet Brinkerhoff, who had three children. Mr. Brinkerhoff lived in New York state, where he grew up on a farm, until 1857, moving in that year to Wisconsin, where he remained about two years, then going to Genesco, Henry county, Illiiiois, which state was his home until coming to Merrick county, Nebraska, in 1871. On coming here, he took up a homestead about six miles northwest of Central City.
Mr. Brinkerhoff was married in New York
state in January, 1856, and his wife died in Illinois in 1860, leaving a little daughter. The daughter came to Merrick county with her father, and in later years married, and went to Cheyenne, Wyoming, to reside, where she died in 1881. In 1884, Mr. Brinkerhoff was married to Mrs. Belinda Roberts in Central City, Nebraska.
Mr. Brinkerhoff followed farming and stock raising until 1885, at which time he came to Central City to reside. Here he built the first livery barn, and has remained continuously in the livery business until the present time. He is the veteran livery man of Merrick county, and is also a pioneer farmer and stockman, and an honored citizen, and, by reason of his business, is a man who is widely known.
Mr. Brinkerhoff has passed through all the ups and downs of a pioneer settler's life. He has always been active along progressive lines, and, although never seeking political preferment, has in past years kept in close touch with politics and the advancing age. He is a good citizen, and everybody in the community knows "Dan" Brinkerhoff.
Among the leading old settlers and publicspirited citizens of Knox county, Nebraska, the gentleman above mentioned deserves a foremost place. Mr. Scheer resides in section eighteen, township thirty, range five, where he is highly esteemed and respected by his fellow men.
Mr. Scheer is a native of Germany, being born in the year 1839 in the village of New Bliesdorf, and is the son of Ferdinand and Elizabeth (Schmidt) Scheer. Our subject grew to manhood and received his education in his native land, where he spent the earlier portion of his lifetime, and where, also, he was married. In 1882, Mr. Scheer, with his family, left his native land for the great western country, of which many glowing reports had been sent to the fatherland by his countrymen who had preceded him. He started to the United States to make a fortune for himself and his family, they sailing on the steamship "India" from Hamburg to New York, and, after landing here, proceeded to the west settling in Knox county, Nebraska, where Mr. Scheer took up a homestead and timber claim on section eighteen and nineteen, township thirty, range five, which has remained the family residence for some twenty-nine years, since first coming to this country. On this homestead, Mr. Scheer built a good frame house, and started to farming. He has had many disappointments and hardships, among which the memorable blizzard of 1888 played its destructive part. Mr. Scheer lost most of his stock during the storm, and also was out in the driving wind and sleet for several hours, becoming lost, and wandered around almost despairing of ever reaching his home.
In 1859, Mr. Scheer was united in marriage to Miss Henrietta Ayeword, and they are the parents of thirteen children, eight of whom are living, namely: Joseph, Ernest, Hattie, Gottlieb, Paul, George, Willie and Margerette.
Mr. Scheer has always been an active, energetic man, and before his emigration to America, was engaged in the mercantile line, and also kept a saloon, and was engaged in the hotel business in Ihlov village, Germany. He is still hale in his declining years, having reached the good ripe age of some seventy-two years. He has worked hard and unceasingly that his children may enjoy the fruits of his labor, and has given all his land to his children that they may have a good start in life. Mr. Scheer enjoys the love and affection of his children, and the respect and esteem of all in the community where he lives.
JOHN S. AGNEW.
John S. Agnew, numbered among Nance county's earliest settlers, resides in the thriving city of Fullerton, retired from active labor, enjoying a home of comfort and even luxury. The greater part of his life has been devoted to the pursuit of farming, and after developing and improving a fine estate in East Newman precinct, he retired to spend his declining years in peace and plenty, resulting from his earlier efforts.
Our subject is a son of Gibson and Eleanor Agnew, brother of William S., whose sketch appears in this volume. He was born in Parke county, Indiana, in 1843, and made that his home up to his ninth year, then with his parents went to Iowa, where his father settled on a farm in Cedar county, receiving his education in that vicinity. He was married there in 1869 to Emma Bowers, who came to Iowa from Pennsylvania, and the pair made their home there up to 1889, then emigrated to Nance county, Nebraska. Mr. Agnew purchased three hundred and twenty acres on sections seventeen and twenty, township sixteen, range five, and here he has prospered, from time to time adding to his original homestead until he has become owner of four hundred and eighty acres in the county, nearly all of which is under cultivation. The family has passed through all the pioneer experiences in accumulating this property, meeting failure at times, but always with the determination to overcome all obstacles, and this persistence has won for them a fine reward in the valuable holdings they now enjoy. Besides his interests in Nance county, he is proprietor of a fine farm in Big Horn, Wyoming.
To Mr. and Mrs. Agnew three children have been born: Edwin E., married, and residing with his wife and child in Fullerton; Frederick G., who is bookkeeper in the Stock Growers' National Bank, Cheyenne, Wyoming, and Delbert, proprietor of a grocery store in Fullerton, all well liked by all who knew them. Mr. Agnew's parents are both dead, but it is a matter of history
that the battle of Gettysburg was fought on ground owned by our subject's grandfather.
Mr. Agnew has held local office at various times, and was especially active in the building up of the schools of his section, serving as director of his district for a number of years.
Franz Scherer, manager for the Nye-Schneider-Fowler Company at Spencer, has been a resident of Nebraska since boyhood. He was born in the village of Abenheim, Hesse-Darmstadt, May 19, 1872. His parents Andrew and Gertrude (Bossel) Scherer, both natives of Abenheim, emigrated to America in the spring of 1873, sailing from Antwerp to Hull the last of May. Crossing England to Liverpool, they embarked in one of the large ocean steamers, and, after ten days at sea, landed in New York the 29th of May. This date impressed itself on the newly arrived travelers, as the Decoration Day celebration the next morning was something to make them wonder.
Andrew Scherer brought his family directly to the west, joining a brother who had a ranch twenty miles west of Yankton and two miles north of where Bon Homme is now situated. Here they remained for a year, and then removed to Fort Randall, where Mr. Scherer had secured the position of post tailor, which he filled eleven years. He came to Boyd county in 1895, filed on a homestead claim five miles from Spencer, and lived here until his retirement in 1902, since which time he has been making his home with his son, Franz, in Spencer.
Franz Scherer began for himself in 1887, when only fifteen years of age. He was employed herding cattle on the ranges along the border of the two states, doing a man's work while only a boy. He played with the Indian children, and relates that he might have bought a young and pretty squaw for a pony, the price asked for her by her sire. For three years he herded cattle on the ranges around Fort Randall, having sometimes as many as seven hundred head under his charge at one time.
In 1887, he joined the Lemory outfit, ranging all over the country between the Niobrara and White rivers, continuing in this employment until 1891. On the opening of the reservation in Boyd county in 1891, Mr. Scherer filed on a homestead five miles east of Spencer, adjoining that of his brother John, a sketch of whom appears elsewhere in this work. These were the first two filings in the newly-opened reservation. The treaty was signed February 12, and the boys were on their claims at daylight the next morning. The weather was cold, and they had for shelter only a tent. They each took turns sleeping while the other kept a fire burning at the opening of the tent. The fuel they dragged three miles, attached to a rope on the saddle horn - a trick they had learned while on the ranges. Later they built two sod houses, each one as near as they could press to the center of each claim. The land not as yet having been surveyed, no one kuew just where the lines would run, and they were careful not to build so the lines when run would place their dwelling on another's claim.
Mr. Scherer remained on his farm until 1904, and, with the exception of the last two years, his family lived in the sod house, refusing to move into the new frame dwelling until the old "soddy" fell into decay. The new house, while better to see, was harder to heat in winter, and hot in the summer's heat. Lumber, at the time Mr. Scherer built his frame house, had to be hauled from either O'Neill or Niobrara, Nebraska, or Tyndall, South Dakota, a distance of forty-five miles either way. Always ten or fifteen neighbors made the trip together, and sometimes even thirty teams would be in line. In this way, if one should be in trouble, there would be help at hand. An instance of the delay caused by one's traveling alone is illustrated by an incident of the days before the railroads came through. Mr. Scherer was employed by the departing agent from Fort Randall to haul his wagon scales to Niobrara. Some twenty miles east of Spencer, he broke the axle to his wagon, and had to come all the way back home to get repairs, as no one knew him, and so would not lend until he could return from Niobrara after delivering his load. The break caused him a day's delay, and cost him the profits of the trip. Sometimes the rivers had to be forded, and always the small streams. Whiting bridge, south of Spencer, gave access to Holt county, and at same places there were pontoon bridges.
After leaving the farm in 1904, Mr. Scherer first worked on the railroad section for a time, and then found a place in the office of the Nye-Schneider-Fowler Company at Spencer, and eighteen months later was sent to Humphrey, Platte county, to take charge of their plant at that point. In December, 1908, they sent him back to Spencer, where he has been in full charge of their business since.
After coming here, Mr. Scherer bought a forty-six acre tract of very choice land a short distance west of Spencer, which produces bountiful crops every year.
Mr. Scherer was married in Boyd county, May 2, 1892, to Miss Annie Rutter, a native of Prussia. Her parents, Frank and Annie Rutter, came to America in 1871, and lived in Platte conuty until settling on a homestead in Boyd county in 1891. His native village in Prussia was near the eastern borders of the kingdom, and Mr. Rutter was as familiar with the Bohemian language as with his own. Of ten children born to Mr. and Mrs. Scherer, nine survive. They are William, Herman, Rosa, Leo, Susie, Vincil, Alvice, Mary and Frank.
During the early days of the settlement of the Niobrara valley, Mr. Scherer was well acquainted with the well-known characters of the country, among them "Doc" Middleton and "Kid" Wade, besides many of the well-known Indian chiefs. As a boy of only sixteen, he accomplished a feat few could have equalled. When the fearful blizzard of January 12, 1888, came on, he was three miles from his home, at Fort Randall, and for this distance he faced the storm, and safely reached home, while some were lost in going the short distance that lay between their residence and the barn.
During the years he rode the range, steamboating on the Missouri river was at its prime. Seldom was one out of sight of the smoke of a steamboat, or out of hearing of a whistle's deeptoned sound. He saw the unusual sight of a sunken steamer one season not a great distance from the fort. Prairie fires were common in those days, and Mr. Scherer has been in peril of them from time to time. A pocket full of matches was all that saved him on one occasion, when he was able to start a back fire. Mr. Scherer is a republican in politics, a member of the Catholic church, and of the Modern Woodmen of America.
CLINTON S. SMITH.
Clinton S. Smith, one of the best known citiizens of Madison county, Nebraska, though having taken an important part in political affairs for the past many years, is at present occupying the office of sheriff of the county, filling the trying position to the complete satisfaction of the people of that locality, being elected to the office in the fall of 1909. He served as mayor of the city of Madison for five successive years, and it was during his administration that the new city hall was erected at a cost of twelve thousand five hundred dollars. A portrait of Mr. Smith appears on another page of this volume.
Mr. Smith was born in Lehigh county, Pennsylvania, August 26, 1862, and was the fourth in a family of eight children born to J. H. and Catherine Smith. He has four brothers living in Madison county, the others being dead. His mother resides in Madison county, his father having died January 5, 1911.
When Clinton was a boy about fourteen years of age, his parents came to Nebraska, locating in Madison county, and he received his education in the local schools, and in 1886 embarked in the general merchandise business in his home town. He carried this work on up to 1892, then disposed of his mercantile interests and opened a real estate office, which he still carries on successfully, and is known as one of the pioneer business men of Madison county, and a prominent citizen, alive to all the best interests of his county and state. He is a strong republican, and during all the years of his residence here, has taken an active part in politics, serving as councilman for eight successive years, from 1895. In November, 1909, he was elected sheriff, and is winning golden opinions from the people of his section for the good judgment he exhibits in the execution of this duty.
Mr. Smith was married on January 13, 1891, to Miss Esther Axmann, who was born and reared in Austria. Her parents, two brothers and two sisters live in Texas at the present time, one sister in Oklahoma, and another in Kearney, Nebraska. Mr. and Mrs. Smith have six children: Howard S., Reno S., Deldee V., Myra E., Clinton S., junior, and Irene, all fine young people, and the family are popular members of society in their community.
C. S. Smith.
One of the most enterprising and progressive business men of Stanton is Alfred Pont, editor of the Stanton Register. Although a comparatively young man, Mr. Pont has been a resident of the state for nearly four decades, and has watched it develop from an open prairie, where deer and antelope were occasionally to be found, into a thickly-settled country, with every quarter-section fenced, with groves, orchards and dwellings thickly dotting the landscape to tell of man's victory over the wilderness; a country that is still in its infancy, notwitstanding the wonderful development of the last thirty years.
Mr. Pont's parents, Samuel and Mary (Tredgett) Pont, were natives of England, the father coming to America in 1853 on a sailing vessel, the voyage extending over six weeks. He found work at Lockport, New York, and his wife joined him in the following year. The family then moved to Henry county; Illinois, and in 1872, went to Dodge county, Nebraska. Here Mr. Pont leased a quarter-section of school land near Scribner, and then filed on a homestead in the northeast corner of Colfax county, on which he lived until his death in 1897, when he had attained the ripe age of seventy-three. The mother still lives at Howells, and the heirs own the old homestead.
Alfred Pont was the youngest of five children, and was only about six years old when the family came to Nebraska, and he has, therefore, grown up with the state, being a true son of the west.
Although Alfred Pont was but a child at the time, he remembers the scourge of grasshoppers in the seventies, the prairie fires and the blizzards, as well as the severe hail storm which visited a near-by town, all of which events conspired to keep the lives of the early settlers from becoming monotonous. He was elected mayor of the city of Stanton in 1911.
Schools were far apart, the terms short, and teachers untrained, but at the age of twenty-
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