Wood filed on a homestead about thirteen miles north and a little east of Springview, and began to improve his place. Leaving his wife and younger children in Stuart, the father, with John P., went to his claim, erected a lean-to shanty and proceeded to break ground and plant a crop of corn. It was during the early days on the new ranch that the boy had, for him, a hair-raising experience with Indians. Usually he accompanied his father to the field, but this day be happened to remain at the shack. Along in the day he happened to look out and was terrified to see some twenty wagon loads of Indians coming that way, the old Spotted Tail trail, as it was called. crossing his father's claim but twenty yards from the shack. Slipping out at the door, he ran around the shack, and keeping it between him and the caravan, ran down into the draw and on into a slough where he hid the rest of the day, until he felt certain his father had returned. In the fall a good sod house was built, the family was brought from Stuart, and home life again established. But a few good crop years followed before the drouth caused hard times. In 1885 and 1886 nothing was raised in the fields, not even so much as the seed was recovered in some sections; but later the fertile land yielded to the plow and no more prosperous section of the west is to be found. After living eight years in the sod house, a more commodious frame dwelling was erected with its accompanying barns and outhouses, since which time the emigrants from the old Keystone state have lived in as much comfort as they did in their old community.
John P. Wood remained under the parental roof until completing his eighteenth year, when he started out to procure a better education than the local schools afforded. He had attended a year or two in the east, but for the first three years in the west there were no schools of any kind on the frontier. In the fall of 1893, he went to Fremont and sold papers and did chores for Dr. E. L. Colburn, to pay his board and tuition in a business college, which he attended two and a half years. His first position was with the Bell Insurance company of Omaha, for six months. He then returned to his father's house, where, during the summer of 1896, he was employed on the farm. The following winter he was employed freighting from Stuart to Brocksburg for his brother-in-law, H. S. Jarvis, who had a store at the latter place; and then in the spring of 1897, Mr. Wood filed on a homestead a mile south of Jamison, a village on the state line in the northeast corner of Keya Paha county, living here the five years necessary to perfecting title. In 1902, Mr. Wood purchased the McKuen ranch, five miles west of Mills and near his father's home place, and lived here until the first of June, 1908, when he bought the hardware and implement business he now owns in Butte. Here he carries a full line of shelf and heavy hardware, implements, engines, threshers, vehicles, furniture, and musical instruments; as complete a stock as is to be found in any inland town in the west.
Mr. Wood was married near Jamison, June 15, 1898, to Miss Ora G. McCumber, who was born near Elsworth, Kansas. Her parents, James M. and Lucinda (Jennings) McCumber, moved to Kansas in an early day, and in 1894, came to Keya Paha county. To Mr. and Mrs. Wood three children have been born: Frank, Ray and Mary Gayl. Mr. Wood is a republican in politics, and is a member of the Odd Fellows, Knights of Pythias, and the Royal Highlanders.
At the time of the blizzard of January 12, 1888, Mr. Wood with a sister, a younger brother, and the school teacher, was on the ranch, his parents having yoked the oxen to the wagon and gone to a neighbor's to attend a party the night before. The children fed the stock and afterward kept safely in the house until the storm had spent its force. There were still some deer and antelope in the country when the Wood family settled in Keya Paha county, but none were killed by them. During the Indian scare in 1893, Mr. Wood was at school at Fremont, but his home folks felt the uneasiness. The mother was safely lodged in Springview, but the father remained on the ranch to look after his stock until the fear of attack subsided. Oxen were their first work animals, and it took the father two days each way to make the trip to Stuart for their supplies. Most of the streams had to be forded, there being no bridges in the early days of settlement.
But these primitive hardships have all passed away; the country has developed in education, culture and refinement to the extent that older communities enjoy, and men of the age of Mr. Wood have witnessed these astounding changes and have been potent factors in the making of the west.
THOMAS J. MATHEWS.
Thomas J. Mathews, one of the pioneer farmers of Nebraska, and a business man of influence in Boone county, has won prosperity by industry, enterprise and energy. He is now a resident of Albion, carrying on a successful feed store.
Our subject is a native of Wisconsin, born in Juneau county, September 16, 1854. His parents were Michael and Mary Mathews, who were old settlers in that part of the country, and Thomas was the fourth child in their family of six boys and one girl. He grew up in his native county, receiving his education in the local schools. The daughter of the family married John O'Neill, and the young couple came to Nebraska about 1874. The following year our subject and one brother joined them in Boone county, the two engaging in farming, and for thirty years continued in the work, becoming known as among the leading agriculturists and stockmen of the county.
On coming here, he at first purchased a small
tract of land in section seventeen, township twenty, range five, and since that time has added to his original farm until he is now owner of two hundred and forty acres of well improved land, and has erected on the place good buildings of all kinds.
In 1905 Mr. Mathews came into Albion, where he owned residence property, and engaged in the feed business, carrying this on in connection with his farming operations, and is meeting with splendid success in both lines of work.
During his early residence in this section of the state, our subject did not think much of the country as a money-making proposition, but rapidly changed his opinion, and is now one of the foremost boosters of his county. He is always found standing for the best interests of his locality, and has done a great deal towards promoting the prosperity now enjoyed in the section.
On November 26, 1880, Mr. Mathews was united in marriage to Miss Mary A. Roach, the event occurring in Albion, where both were well known. Mrs. Mathews comes of a prominent Boone county family. They have two children, Celia E. and Harold T., both living at home.
Mr. Mathews' father and mother and three brothers settled in Boone county shortly after he came here himself, both parents now being dead, and himself and sister are the only members of the family now living here, the others having removed to other states some time ago.
The thrifty blood of old English peasantry flows in the veins of Samuel Barnes, now living in comfortable retirement in the college addition of Wayne, where he owns thirty-four lots, enough for pasture, a garden, and room to turn around; when one has been accustomed to the wide space of the country, a small, restricted city lot gives him a sense of smothering; he must have room to stretch his limbs and draw a deep breath.
Mr. Barnes was born in the village of Manea, Cambridgeshire, England, November 25, 1841. His father, Samuel Barnes, senior, with his wife (who was Mary Ann Good) and two of their children, Samuel, junior, being one of them, emigrated to America in 1854, sailing on the ship "Albert Gelleton" from Liverpool, October 22, and arriving at New York the day before Christmas. He settled on a small tract of land near Cleveland, where he had a market garden for six or seven years. Four years later he came to Rockford Illinois, where his wife died, after which he made his home with his daughter in Rock Island county, Illinois, until his death, which occurred when he was nearly eighty-seven years old.
Samuel Barnes, junior, married in Cleveland, and in 1859, came to Illinois. He traveled by lake on the "May Queen" to Detroit, took a train to Chicago and traveled thence to Rock Island, Illinois. Shortly after, he crossed the river to Davenport and was employed there until January, 1861, when he returned to Cleveland. At this time they bought land in the "Black Swamp," near Millbury, a part of which they cultivated from 1861 to 1865. Returning to Davenport, he bought a team of horses and engaged in teaming, working fourteen years for the firm of Van Patten & Marks, wholesale grocers, and although not a large man, he could handle heavier freight than many men twice his size.
Mr. Barnes was first married in Cleveland, Ohio, April 7, 1859, to Miss Mary McCabe, a native of Ireland, who died in 1883. She was a daughter of Charles McCabe, and at her death was deeply mourned by a large circle of friends and sorrowing relatives.
Mr. Barnes lived in Davenport until 1885, when he came to Nebraska, reaching Wayne county on the 27th of September. He bought a quarter section of land four and one-half miles north and one mile west of Wayne, where he lived for twenty years. In 1905, he rented his farm, and the same year moved to town, where he purchased thirty-four lots in College addition, and built a neat cottage home. He followed teaming for a year or two, but receiving an extra good offer for his fine team, he sold and gave over hard work for the rest of his life. On several of his lots he has a fine garden which brings him a good revenue; he has his cow and a horse to keep, enough to give him some employment, at the same time adding to his pleasure in life and reducing the cost of living.
Mr. Barnes was again married September 16, 1885, at Cambridge, Illinois, to Mary Ann Ragen, who was born in Cleveland; she is a daughter of Hughie Ragen, who came from Ireland. One daughter was born to them, Edyth Rose; who is now a successful teacher in the Wayne county schools.
Mr. and Mrs. Barnes just escaped being out in the blizzard of January 12, 1888; he was hitching his team to drive over to his sister's, south of town, for a visit, when the storm enveloped them; had they started a quarter of an hour earlier, they might have been forever lost.
Deer were not all gone from the country when Mr. Barnes came; he saw two or three of them on the prairie after locating in Wayne county; and of wolves he has seen none here except the common coyote; but the large grey wolves he has seen in Illinois, when he occasionally worked across on that side of the river.
Much of Mr. Barnes' prosperity is due to his care for his tools; he has an axe, the helve of which he made in 1862; a hay rake and cultivator he purchased in 1865 are still in a perfect state of preservation; plows, harrows and other implements have been preserved with equal care. It is the care and saving in little things that make fortunes where otherwise failure and loss accrue.
Mr. Barnes is a democrat in politics, and a member of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows.
JOHN M. MISCHKE.
The gentleman above mentioned is counted the oldest settler in Knox county, Nebraska, of which county and state he is a native-born son, his birth occurring in 1860; His brother, C. E. Mischke, was the first white child born in Knox county. He is a son of Charles F. and Amelia (Sucker) Mischke who were marired [sic] in 1856, at LaPorte, Indiana. The father was born in 1823, in Germany and when quite a young man came to the United States of America on a sailboat which made slow progress, he being fifty days on the water. After landing in New York, he remained there some few months and worked at whatever his hands found to do, then came westward as far as Chicago, Illinois, and from there on to LaPorte, Indiana, where he remained two years, during which time he was married. Our subject's mother was also a native of Germany, born in the southern part, close to Italy, and coming to America in the early fifties.
From LaPorte, our subject's parents went to Iowa City, Iowa, that being as far as the railroad was built at that time; there they bought an ox team and started for the west to make a fortune for themselves and bring up the family where they could get land cheap. Our subject's father's brother-in-law, Carl Nevenfeld, persuaded them to come to Knox county, Nebraska, where a town had been started, the only one at that time west of Sioux City, and which had been christened Frankfort, which consisted of four stores, one saloon, and twenty houses near completion. When the family arrived here, our subject's father did not like the appearance of the town, so settled on some land about three-quarters of a mile east of the town. He built a log house, and having no furniture, he drove stakes in the ground and made a bed by placing poles across the stakes and covering them with straw. The nearest market place was at Sioux City, and it took a whole week to go to market with an ox team.
Our subject's uncle, August Mischke, also came to Knox county at the same time Charles F. did; he built the first mill in St. James, and that is where they went to mill. August took a timber claim on the river, but left and went to Pike's Peak, Colorado, during the gold rush about 1860, driving through with an ox team. There was no town on the present site of Denver at that time, there being only a few tents on the ground, which was in later years to be one of the great hustling western cities. Mr. August Mischke waited one day while on his journey to Pike's Peak to let the great herds of buffalo pass so they could proceed on their way. After his western trip, he returned to Knox county, Nebraska, where he still remains and lives with our subject.
Our subject's father bought three hundred and eighty acres of land by raising potatoes, which he sold to the men on the boats up the river. They paid as high as one dollar per bushel, and as soon as our subject's father had saved fifty dollars, he would buy forty acres of land. By the time the homestead law was enacted he already had the land he had accumulated and did not take advantage of the homestead act.
Game of all kinds was very plentiful at that time; and the government soldiers gave our subject's father a gun, but he never made use of same for the destruction of game. The grasshoppers first troubled the people in this section of the country in the sixties, 1865 or 1866 to 1874; during this time all of the people in the town of Frankfort left, with the exception of our subject's father, who was left alone with his family. In those early days, the family fought prairie fires many times to save their lives and homes.
On March 17, 1881, our subject and his family suffered a severe loss through the death of his mother, who was laid to rest in the almost unbroken western prairie, deeply mourned by her husband and family.
On March 30, of the same year, the memorable flood came, carrying the greatest havoc in its wake, the Mischke family losing all their stock. The flood came about two o'clock in the morning; a cake of ice about one acre in diameter struck the house with such terrific force as to strike terror to the hearts of those within, who immediately jumped out onto the ice. Some men got logs and made a raft from slabs and, came to the rescue of the imperiled family, who were taken off the ice, one at a time, it being about ten o'clock next day when the last one was rescued. Our subject's father had bought a lot in Yankton, South Dakota, and was building a large brick building when the flood came and carried away all the material, which made it very difficult to continue the erection of the building.
Our subject in those early days helped his father on the farm, and got what education he could. He now owns a part of his father's home place, which is well improved; he also owns twelve hundred acres of good land and is engaged in mixed farming. Mr. Mischke has one of the finest farms in this section of the country, on which is a fine artesian well which keeps the family in a good supply of water; and he has a beautiful orchard. He also owns five hundred and sixty acres of land in Gregory county, South Dakota.
Mr. Mischke was united in marriage in 1890 to Miss Sophia Doering, and Mr. and Mrs. Mischke are the parents of eight children, named as follows: Esther, Lydia, Elsie, Hilda, Silas, Harold, John and Melvin.
Mr. Mischke is a highly respected citizen in his community and has served his constituents as county commissioner for four years. In politics he is a republican, and he and his wife are members of the Evangelical association to which he has belonged since 1881, and he has been superintendent of the Sunday school for a number of
years. Portraits of Mr. and Mrs. Mischke will be found on another page of this volume.
Mr. and Mrs. John M. Mischke.
To its earlier settlers, almost without exception, men of sturdy determination and enterprising perseverance, Nebraska offered a field of wide opportunities. It is hard for the present generation to realize the change that has taken place through the efforts of the pioneers, who have made possible the present prosperity and commercial activity in a region which forty or fifty years ago was so sparsely settled. Among the men who have helped in the development of Stanton county, is William Fuhrmann, who is one of the very early comers, and who has gained an enviable reputation as a citizen and a successful farmer. He is a native of Pommeron, Germany, born in 1845, and grew to young manhood in his native country. He is a son of Charles and Fredericka Fuhrmann, who were of the same region in Germany.
In 1867, Mr. Fuhrmann left his home and set sail for America, spending six weeks on the ocean voyage and landing in New York. After spending about three years in the state of Wisconsin, Mr. Fuhrmann, in 1870, drove with a team of oxen through to Stanton county, where he secured a homestead and erected a sod house, which was his home for several years, during which he had very primitive furniture and housekeeping utensils. For some time he was greatly handicapped by the damage caused by the grasshoppers, but he triumphed over all difficulties, and has prospered well, so that he now owns a very comfortable home and is surrounded by his relatives and friends. He has won this success through industry and good management, and has been constantly improving his estate, which is located on section five, township twenty-four, range one.
In 1873, Mr. Fuhrmann married Miss Bertha Clue, and they are the parents of eight children: Alvena, Gusts, William, Martha, John, Minnie, Herman, and Otto.
To the men of perseverance and stalwart determination who went to Nebraska when it was yet undeveloped as an agricultural and commercial region, the present prosperity enjoyed there is due, and among the most prominent of these early settlers in Antelope county, who has been intimately identified with its every movement for betterment and gained an enviable reputation as a citizen, may be mentioned Frank Keller, a prosperous and successful farmer of Frenchtown township.
Mr. Keller was born in Green county, Wisconsin, November 27, 1868. When a small boy the family moved to near Freeport, Illinois, where the father died in 1873. The mother remarried, and made that state her home with her husband, Peter Womeldorf, for some years, our subject remaining with them and attending the local schools. In 1882 they all came to Nebraska. His step-father took a homestead near Royal, Antelope county, and Frank helped carry on the farm, during the first few years finding it a hard task to even make a living on account of the obstacles which confronted them in the shape of drouths, etc. They were oftentimes without even the necessaries of life, making use of every sort of substitute for food, and suffering hardship in every form. Prairie fires swept the country and they fought to save their home and property from destruction. Their fuel often consisted for weeks of cornstalks and hay, as there was no wood of any kind available.
About 1898, Mr. Keller purchased his present farm, one hundred and sixty acres, and this is now a valuable piece of property, improved with good buildings of all kinds, and considerable cultivated land on which he raises good crops of, grain and hay. He has planted many trees, and has a fine orchard, besides one of the most beautiful groves of shade trees in this section.
Mr. Keller was married October 16, 1891, to Miss Bertha Ingerham, and to them have been born nine children, named as follows: Clyde, Helen, Hazel, Alda, Ada and Leta, living; and Neta and Greta, twins, and Arlia, deceased.
George Nelson, a retired farmer, residing in Plainview, Nebraska, is one of the many sons of Denmark that have made a worthy name for themselves in the new world. He is a son of Nels and Marie Peterson, and by the custom of the Scandinavian countries at that time, takes his surname from the father's first name.
Mr. Nelson's birth occurred in the rural village of Kundby, province of Sjeland, Denmark, January 11, 1846, and here be lived until his emigration to America in 1868. Embarking at Copenhagen, Denmark, March 28, in a small vessel, he sailed around Jutland and down the North Sea to Hamburg where a transfer was made to a steamer which landed its passengers at Hull, England. Going thence by rail to Liverpool, Mr. Nelson embarked in the "Minnesota" and stepped on shore of the new world at New York, nineteen days from the date of leaving his native land. One of a party of young compatriots had been in the states and had worked near Winona, Minnesota, and here our young traveler worked some eight months. He had left a sweetheart in the old country, for whom he intended to send as soon as his savings amounted to enough for that purpose; but not waiting for this she had followed some six weeks later. An emigration agent, who chanced to have Mr. Nelson's address, would not give it to her unless she paid him twenty dollars, which she had not agreed to pay and for which no service had been rendered; furthermore he
took mail for her from the office, which he kept. Because of this she failed to learn Mr. Nelson's address and it took eight months' correspondence for the two young folks to learn each other's whereabouts. As soon as learned, Mr. Nelson came on to Cedar Falls, Iowa, married, and the next spring moved to Marshalltown, where he learned to run a stationary engine, and for twelve years held a position with a large elevator company there.
In 1881 he moved to Antelope county, Nebraska, where he homesteaded one hundred and sixty acres three and one-half miles west of Plainview, and here he worked and thrived until 1901, when he retired from active farming and moved to Plainview.
Mr. Nelson was married in Cedar Falls, Iowa, June 28, 1869, to Miss Anna Kathrina Jepsen, daughter of Jeppa and Johanna (Jurgenhausen) Hansen, who remained in the old country. She came to America by the same route Mr. Nelson had taken, coming with a party of friends to Cedar Falls, Iowa, as before stated. Immediately after the wedding, Mr. Nelson paid the emigration agents his demands, not wishing any shadow of debt to rest on his bride, and refraining from prosecuting him for withholding letters addressed to the girl who there became his wife.
To Mr. and Mrs. Nelson seven children were born: the two eldest, both named Ebba, were deceased in infancy; George Andy is a railway mail clerk, with headquarters at Norfolk; Louis is a traveling salesman for an Omaha firm; Harry died in 1901 in a hospital in Sioux City, Iowa, Alice married L. E. Fisher, a farmer, residing two miles north of Plainview; and Mary is the wife of LeRoy Amm, a merchant of Plainview.
In faith Mr. and Mrs. Nelson are Seventh Day Adventists, and in politics he is a democrat.
Living in Iowa during the grasshopper raids, they escaped that discouragement of the earliest settlers, but during the blizzard of 1888, Mr. Nelson came near having a serious time. He had proceeded but a half mile from home, when the storm overtook him. Turning about, he faced the pelting, icy mist, and finally reached his habitation. His wife did not know him. The fur coat he wore was so filled with the ice dust that it was like a robe of ermine, it was so white, and the fine snow was driven through his clothing almost to his body. He had a fortunate escape.
Mr. Nelson owns a comfortable home, and to keep in touch with the business world, deals in platform scales and gasoline engines for farm use. He is a typical business man, and is highly respected by all. His farm he disposed of in 1910.
HON. J. FRANK FREDERICK.
One of the oldest settlers of Howard county, Nebraska, and for many years classed among the leading citizens of St. Paul, is the gentleman named above, now a resident of Chappell, Nebraska. He is possessed of unusual perseverance and thrift, and he has been a potent factor in the development of the agricultural and commercial interests of that region. He is considered one of the wealthy residents of his locality, and enjoys the confidence and esteem of big fellowmen.
J. Frank Frederick was born in Des Moines, Iowa, on July 26, 1850. He was the third member in a family of five children. His early education was received in the common schools, and as a young man taught school in his home vicinity, later spending two years on the plains driving cattle from Texas into Kansas, and followed a frontierman's life during that time. On December 24, 1872, he married Elizabeth Stuart, at the home of her parents, near Des Moines, and the following March the young couple came to Howard county, where our subject homesteaded on section twenty-two, township fourteen, range eleven, also took a timber claim, and proved up on the land. He later purchased eighty acres of school land, and developed a good farm, consisting in all of four hundred acres, having two hundred of this under cultivation.
During the earlier years Mr. Frederick passed through all the pioneer experiences, meeting failures and discouragements bravely, and in spite of hardships persevered in his determination to win for himself a competence and comfortable home, in all of which he has succeeded beyond his expectations. For a number of years he lived in St. Paul, where he had one of the most beautiful residences in the city, and was prominently known as a worthy and successful business man. On March 1, 1910, he removed to Chappell, Nebraska, where he now resides. He is a republican and has served for two terms as a member of the Nebraska state legislature, his term of service extending from 1879 to 1882 inclusive. During his first term the famous Slocumb High License Bill was passed, which measure proved both popular and effective. Also, the first appropriation was allowed for the new capitol building at Lincoln, and to his efforts is due not a little of the credit of securing the appropriation. He has always been active in county and state politics, in the early days serving as precinct assessor, and for ten years has been a member of the St. Paul school board.
Mrs. Frederick was born and reared, in Polk county, Iowa, and was the seventh in a family of ten children. She was a teacher in the county schools there for a number of years prior to her marriage to our subject, and was popular with all. Mr. and Mrs. Frederick have had four children. One daughter, Allie Maud, died in infancy, and the others are named as follows: Corwin, who with his family lives in St. Paul; Roy, proprietor of a fine farm about a mile and a half east of St. Paul, and Wanita, who is a graduate of the
Nebraska state normal and is now teaching in the public schools of Elba, Nebraska. They form a very interesting family, and are held in the highest esteem by all as worthy and popular members of society.
WILLIAM D. NEGLEY.
William D. Negley, who resides in section thirty-five, township eighteen, range thirteen, Valley county, Nebraska, was born in Tama county, Iowa, June 14, 1859, and was the only son of Daniel and Elizabeth Negley; one daughter, Molissie, was born in September, 1861. She died at the age of nineteen, two years after her marriage, and her infant lived but a short time after the mother's death. Mr. Negley, senior, died in Iowa in 1861. About 1866 the mother was married to James Lamb, and the family moved to Nebraska in July of 1872, coming overland by team and wagon, bringing one cow and their household goods. They crossed the Missouri river at Omaha by ferry July 4, 1872, remaining in Omaha about four months.
In the spring of 1878 William Negley, then in his nineteenth year, went to Schuyler, Colfax county, Nebraska, remaining there until the fall of the same year, at which time he came to Scotia, Greeley county, with his brother-in-law, Isaac Moody, and about six weeks later was joined by his stepfather, James Moody, and his mother, Mrs. James Moody. Mr. Moody took up a tree claim in 1880; and as soon as becoming of age William Negley took up a homestead six miles, northeast of Scotia. At the time Mr. Negley first came to Scotia it was a village of but three houses.
Mr. Negley, since ten years of age, has been connected with farm work and is a self-made man. He is acquainted with the pioneer days of Nebraska, and has by economy and successful farming accumulated fine farm and stock interests; he now owns forty acres of choice land just joining the town of North Loup to the south, on which he has a fine new modern home; he also owned a farm of one hundred and twenty acres on Davis creek, in Sherman county, which he sold in the fall of 1910. Mr. Negley is a man well known for his sterling qualities.
Mr. Negley was united in marriage April 29, 1883, at Scotia, Nebraska, to Miss Martha E. Williams. Miss Williams came to Nebraska from, Iowa, her native state, in 1882; her parents, A. J. and Ellen (Barnes) Williams, were both natives of Connecticut. The father died in Iowa, October 11, 1866, and the mother November 11, 1879, they having lived in the state since 1855. One brother, Erastus Williams, lives near Cedar Rapids, Boone county, Nebraska, and another brother, J. B. Williams, lives in Greeley county; other members of the Williams family reside in different states. Mr. and Mrs. Negley have nine children living, namely: William E., lives in Utah; Charles A.; is married and living in Greeley county; Venus, who is married to Nelson Thrasher, has two children, and resides in Utah; Archie, resides under the parental roof; Dolly, wife of Burrel Rich, has one child, and lives in Greeley county; Herman, Laura, Loyal, Merlin, all of whom reside at home; and Paul, deceased. They are a charming family, and in their pleasant home are surrounded by a host of friends and acquaintances.
JAMES H. SMITH.
James H. Smith, who was among the earliest settlers in Madison county, Nebraska, successfully carried on an extensive farm for many. years in Madison township, and became known as one of the most progressive and wealthy residents of that vicinity. Several years ago he retired from active work, and until his death, occupied a pleasant home in the thriving city of Madison, surrounded by a large circle of warm friends, esteemed by all who knew him.
Our subject was a native of Lehigh county, Pennsylvania, born March 1, 1832. He was the second in a family of nine children, and his early life was spent in his native state. A brother, Thomas, is a well known resident of Madison, Nebraska, and one sister lives in Allentown, Pennsylvania, all the other members of his family being deceased.
Mr. Smith learned the carpenters' trade as a boy. He was married in August, 1855, to Catherine Kistler, also a native of Pennsylvania. In the spring of 1876, he came with his family to Madison county for permanent settlement, locating about four miles north of where the city of Madison now is. He at once filed on homestead rights and also took up a timber claim, and while proving up on the land, worked at his trade in the village of Madison.
About 1887 he returned to Pennsylvania, but after a year there, came back to Nebraska and established a dry goods house, being one of the pioneer merchants here. He also put in a stock of general merchandise at Murdock, and carried on both stores for many years, retiring from active work in 1906, at which time he purchased a handsome residence property and spent the remaining years of life here.
Mr. and Mrs. Smith have had seven children, five living, named as follows: Monroe, Albert, Clinton, Charles and Elmer, all of whom are married, and all living in Nebraska.
Mr. Smith was an old soldier, having served for a short time in the civil war, and his grandfather was in the war of 1812.
Both our subject and his wife have been active members of the Evangelical church of Madison.
Mr. Smith passed to the great beyond on January 5, 1911, deeply mourned by his family and many friends.
HENRY GEORGE STOKES.
Henry George Stokes came to Custer county in an early day and was one of the first homesteaders in his locality. He and his family are well known in social and educational circles and he is successful as a farmer and business man. Mr. Stokes was born in Jefferson county, New York, September 24, 1856, next to the youngest of the fifteen children of Robert and Sarah (Bowering) Stokes, natives of England. The parents were married in England, where all except the two youngest of their children were born, and came to the United States in 1855, settling in Jefferson county, New York. The father died in New York state in 1863 and the mother in 1860. Henry G. Stokes has five brothers and a sister who reside in New York state.
On December 24, 1879, Mr. Stokes was united in marriage with Nellie, daughter of Joseph and Minerva (McWayne) Hovey. She was the second in order of birth of their five children and has two brothers and one sister living in New York. Mr. Hovey died about 1869 and his widow still resides in New York.
In July, 1883, Mr. Stokes left his native state and came to Custer county, taking up a homestead on the southeast quarter of section twenty-two, township nineteen, range eighteen, which is still his home. He was joined by his wife and one child in October of the same year. He has continued to improve and develop his land and add to its acreage until he is now the owner of a well equipped small grain and stock farm. He has twelve hundred acres of desirable land and is successful in his operations. He makes a specialty of feeding and shipping cattle and hogs and is progressive along all lines. He has aided much in the growth and development of his portion of the county and has been active in township. affairs. He served for a number of years on the local school board. He is a stockholder and director of the Farmers' State bank, of Sargent. He has a fine modern residence building on his farm, which is surrounded by trees, lawn and orchard, one of the most beautiful farm homes in the county.
Mr. and Mrs. Stokes have five children, all but one born on the home farm; Sarah, Ethel Minerva, wife of Adolph Voss, of Lincoln, Nebraska, has two children; Georgia, Marie Nellie, and Anno Marguerita, at home.
Persistent industry has placed this gentleman, among the prosperous and prominent farmers of Cedar county. He is one of the older settlers, having been a resident of this county alone for about thirty years, and his present comfortable home in section twenty-eight has been gained, only by the strictest economy and excellent management. The hardships and discouragements which have fallen to the lot of Mr. Schager would have heartily discouraged one of less persistent nature, but have only tended to make him more determined and spurred him to stronger action. With undaunted courage he has faced misfortunes and hardships innumerable, and he has remained to enjoy a fitting reward for his labors.
Mr. Schager is a native of Norway, having been born in the northern part of that country in 1854. His mother died when he was only a small boy, but he remained in his native village and secured a good common school education in the local schools.
In 1869, he left the old country, embarking in the steamship "Otter" for the new world. After putting into New York, he came by rail direct to Baxter, South Dakota, which place was his home for a number of years. Ten years later at this place, he was married to Miss Hannah Olson, one of his country women, who had come to Nebraska in 1868.
In 1881, Mr. Schager and family came to Cedar county, where he bought one hundred and sixty acres of state land and began the task of taming the wilderness - for even at that date, it was not very thickly settled. For a long time, misfortunes came thick and fast, even more than usually fell to the lot of the pioneer in those days. In that same year, they lost everything they possessed in the flood, including their house, and barns and stock, barely escaping with their lives. Several crops were lost because of the voracious grasshoppers, the bane of the early settler. Many times they were compelled to fight prairie fires, and one time, memorable because of the loss it occasioned them, a prairie fire gained such a headway that the grain which was being threshed, together with the machinery, and the grain standing shocked in the fields, were all burnt. However, he persevered in his determination to make a home for himself and family, and today he is the owner of a fine property, and has the highest esteem of all with whom he has to do.
Mr. and Mrs. Schager are the parents of nine children: Barnard, Harold, Gusta, Arthur, Edna, Helen, Carl, Alice, and Clara. During their long residence in the county, they have made many friends, and the family is one of the most prominent in the community. Mr. Schager has always taken a deep interest in all pertaining to the progress of his adopted land, and has in many ways materially assisted in the development of this section.
ISAAC S. TYNDALE.
This gentleman is prominently known as a citizen of integrity and worth who has given much of his time and financial aid in the upbuilding of his community, and who has always been found standing on the side of right and doing his full share toward meeting and providing for the public welfare.
© 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001 for NEGenWeb Project by T&C Miller, P Ebel, P Shipley, L Cook