Pope, of Scotia; John H., now married and living on the old homestead; Louie F., married and living in Greeley county, across the road from the old home place; and Matilda G., still at home.
Mr. Schilling takes his place with the republican party in politics, and can be depended upon to take an intelligent part in the affairs of the community, in the development of which he has taken so prominent a part. At the present time he owns four hundred acres of land or more, all of the land being well improved. It is in every way an up-to-date stock and grain farm.
During the dry year, 1894, nothing matured on the place and two or three times hail destroyed all his crops. He barely escaped the furious blizzard of January 12, 1888, having just returned home and was unharnessing his horses in the barn when the storm struck. By means of trees along the way to the school house he made his way there and brought his children safely home. This was the worst storm he ever encountered.
EDWARD B. HIRSCHMAN.
Edward B. Hirschman, the genial treasurer of Cedar county, Nebraska, has been a resident of that political division since October 22, 1872. He is a son of Franz and Thekla (Dawat) Hirschman, natives of Austria, of whom we speak more at length elsewhere in this work.
Edward B. Hirschman was born in Juneau county, Wisconsin, August 5, 1866. He was a lad of six years when the family moved from the Badger state to the trans-Missouri country, and fully enjoyed with a boy's eagerness the novel experiences incident to camp life on a long trail. He grew up on the Nebraska farm in the beautiful valley of East Bow, attending the early public schools, which at that time were conceded to be the best organized in the state. After attaining his majority he attended, in 1888, the Omaha Commercial college and graduated in the business course.
In 1892 Mr. Hirschman, with his brother as a partner, opened his first store in Hartington and in 1896 sold his interests to his brother. In the same year he opened a general merchandise store in Osmond which he disposed of four years later; he continued in business with a hardware line in Hartington until January 1, 1909, when he retired. In the spring of that year his party nominated him for treasurer of Cedar county, to which office he was elected in November, taking charge of the office January 6, 1910. Mr. Hirschman is a capable, efficient business man and conducts his office with the same economy and attention that he gave to his private enterprise. Sterling honesty, that is his by birth and training, is the safe-guard between the people's money and the public, preventing its unwarranted dissipation.
Mr. Hirschman was married in Hartington, February 17, 1903, to Miss Catharine Lorang, a native of Cedar county; her parents, John and Margaret Lorang, are natives of Luxemburg, who came to America with the early settlers of Nebraska, and to Cedar county about 1872. There were four children born to Mr. and Mrs. Hirschman, namely: Franz E., Clara L., Leone C., and Laura.
Mr. Hirschman has lived in Nebraska through three of its most notable blizzards: those of April, 1873, October of 1880, and January of 1888; during the latter of which he was in Omaha attending business college. Prairie fires wrought disasters to the early settlers before much of the land had been plowed, and swept down across the prairies at greater speed than the fleetest horse; to divert disasters by these fires, Mr. Hirschman with his brothers often fought the progress of the flames sometimes for days at, a time. Deer were still to be seen on the prairies when the Hirschman family settled in East Bow, and Edward Hirschman when a boy has chased them on horseback.
Mr. Hirschman has witnessed the development of the country from open, rolling prairies covered with waving grasses, to a highly cultivated, thickly settled, prosperous community covered with groves and thickly studded with finely built and elegantly furnished farm houses, granaries and barns.
Mr. Hirschman is a democrat from boyhood; he is a member of the Catholic church, and of the two church societies, the Catholic Knights of America and the Knights of Columbus.
ABRAM P. BEMAN.
In compiling a list of the pioneers of eastern Nebraska who have aided materially in making of that region a thriving agricultural district, a prominent place must be accorded the venerable gentleman whose name heads this personal history. For fifty-four years Mr. Beman has been closely identified with the history and development of eastern Nebraska, and for the past forty-two years with that of Merrick county, and his labors to this end are well known to all who reside in that community.
Abram P. Beman, son of George W. and Jane (Greer) Beman, was born in Franklin county, New York, May 7, 1834, and was third of six children; one brother of whom resides in New York state, one in Cripple Creek, Colorado, one sister in Maywood, Illinois, one in Leadville, Colorado, and another in Glenwood Springs, Colorado. His parents are deceased, having died in New York state. Our subject received his education in his home schools, and later clerked two years in
Chateaugay, New York, and in 1852 went into Wisconsin where he followed railroading.
On September 30, 1855, Mr. Beman was joined in matrimony to Miss Esther A. Lamb, a native of New York state and later of Wisconsin. Mrs. Beman's parents, Squire S. and Caroline (Starks) Lamb, were pioneers in Hall county, Nebraska, living there until the time of their death. Mr. and Mrs. Beman have had ten children born to them, eight of whom are living: Carrie E., deceased in infancy; Florence, wife of John O. Jackson, has three children and lives in Mason City, Nebraska; Nathan, married, has four children and lives in Merrick county; Cora, wife of Oscar Smith, has four children and lives in Ord, Nebraska; John, married, has seven children and lives in Merrick county; Carrie, wife of William Kuhlmann, has four children, lives in Merrick county; Lily, wife of Frank Buell, has five children and resides in Chapman; Albert, deceased; Mary, wife of Fred Miller, lives in Aurora, Illinois; and Maud, wife of Hugh McAlister, has two children and resides near Mason City, Nebraska.
In March of 1857, Mr. Beman moved to Platte county, Nebraska. where he pre-empted one hundred and sixty acres, living on same five years, when he sold and moved into Hall county, Nebraska. where he farmed several years; and then came into Merrick county in the spring of 1869, where he purchased one hundred and sixty acres of land in sections thirty-five, twenty-six, twenty-seven and thirty-four, township twelve, range eight, west, which has remained the home place since that time.
Mr. Beman has been prosperous and successful and owns five hundred and sixteen acres of fine stock farm. He has served as director of his district, number two, twenty-one years. He is one of Nebraska's earliest settlers and is widely and favorably known.
AMENZO T. REID.
In making mention of the sturdy men who came to the west in the early days of its settlement when the open prairie extended untold miles toward the Pacific ocean, the name of Amenzo T. Reid must not be left off the list. He arrived in Nebraska during the last days of 1878, remaining through droughts, blizzards, floods, etc., until he has seen the country grow to its present prosperity and knows that he has, in a large measure, been responsible for this development.
Mr. Reid was born in Fond du Lac, Wisconsin, on December 17. 1848, and is a son of Andrew and Julia Reid, both natives of the state of New York, they coming west in the forties, making Wisconsin their home up to 1855, at which time they returned to their native state, where they passed away several years since. In the fall of 1857, Amenzo went to Adrian, Michigan, to attend college, but having a stronger liking for active labor than for books, he ran away from school and made his way to the big woods near Saginaw, Michigan, where he spent the winter in the lumber camps. In the spring of 1868, he felt the lure of the west and migrated to Black Hawk county, Iowa, making that his home for eight years, engaging in farming part of the time, and for two summers working at bridge building on the railroad.
Late in 1875 he married Miss Achsa Bowen, a native of Schoharrie county, New York, born September 30, 1852, and then returned to New York, spending one year at his old home near Corfu, coming back to Black Hawk county, and farming for three years on rented land belonging to Mrs. Reid's grandfather. In December, 1878, they came to Niobrara, where Mr. Reid established and operated a dray line up to 1908, at that time selling the business and retiring from active labor. Since that time, with the assistance of his son, Leroy, he has farmed the "Island" in the Niobrara river west of the town. During the early years, Mr. Reid freighted across the plains, going to Fort Randall and other points, and he has experienced all the discomforts and discouragements of pioneer life. Foremost among the pioneer experiences that have impressed themselves on the mind of his family, is the great flood of 1881. The house they occupied at that time was built on low ground, and the water soon covered the floors. Mr. Reid took his children to a two-story house, and his wife, in going from their house to a place of safety, stepped oft a board and slipped in the icy water, which was nearly to her waist, but a friendly neighbor helped them into his house and supplied her with dry clothes. The following day they were ferried to the hills and remained for several days in the home of a friend, Mr. Draper, who gave shelter to sixty-four people, one night twenty-one women and children occupying one small room. The farmers in the surrounding country came and offered the homeless people shelter until they could return to the town, and for three weeks Mrs. Reid and the children availed themselves of their hospitality. Their return to their home was just twenty-three days from the time they were driven out by the waters.
Eight children were born to Mr. and Mrs. Reid, five of whom survive, as follows: William E., Leroy H., Florence Bell, Gertrude E., and Karla May. They are a charming family, and their home is one of the pleasant spots in their community.
Mr. Reid is a member of the Woodmen of the World. Politically he affiliates with the democratic party.
The builder has always played a prominent part in the upbuilding of a thickly settled community, and Mr. Stuckenhoff has been identified with most of the prominent buildings erected within a radius of forty miles of his established home. He is a native of the village of Halingen, county of Iserlohn, Westphalia, Prussia, his birth occurring January 27, 1862. He is a son of Henry and Theresa (Kissing) Stuckenhoff. The father died in 1875, and the mother in 1882, before Mr. Stuckenhoff came to America.
At the age of fourteen our subject was apprenticed to a carpenter in Dortmund, and when seventeen became a journeyman in his trade; from that time until the age of twenty-one he attended the trade and building school at Holzmunden. In his emigration to the states he sailed from Antwerp June 23, 1883, on the "Penland," a steamer carrying six hundred passengers. Landing in New York the seventh of July, he came immediately to Yankton by rail, joining Father Schoof, a native of the same village, in St. Helena. Three others later came from Halingen, and none have since deserted their native village for the new world.
Mr. Stuckenhoff was first married in St. Helena, January 26, 1886, to Miss Annie Stratman, who was born in St. Helena; she died June 21, 1889, survived by her husband and two children: Theresa, and Alphonso. A portrait of Mr. Stuckenhoff appears on another page of this volume.
Upon coming to America, Mr. Stuckenhoff found work at his trade for a few months, then on October 5, came to Hartington, and has made this town his dwelling place since. For a time he worked on the contracts awarded to Robert Stirling, and then in 1884 began contracting and building on his own account. Among the many contracts he has successfully handled are the first store builidng [sic] in Hartington, the twenty thousand dollar Catholic church at St. Helena in 1895, the sub-contract for the woodwork of the court house in Hartington, in 1892, the thirty-five thousand dollar church at Bow Valley, in 1902, the large Catholic church at Hartington in 1901, in 1907 the eight thousand dollar church at Fordyce, and two years later their four thousand dollar school house; in 1910 he erected several fine residences in Hartington. Except seven years on a farm, and one year operating the Paragon mill, Mr. Stuckenhoff has made his residence in Hartington since first coming in 1883.
Mr. Stuckenhoff was married a second time, his bride being Miss Paula Kaltenbach who emigrated from Westphalia, Germany; she was a daughter of Frederick and Caroline (Ernst) Kaltenbach. She sailed from the old country in the "Umbria," and reached Hartington six days before her wedding to Mr. Stuckenhoff. Mrs. Stuckenhoff died April 26, 1903, survived and deeply mourned by her husband and children. Of their seven children, three survive: Annie, Elizabeth, and Harry.
Mr. Stuckenhoff and family are members of the Catholic church, and he is a member of the Catholic Knights of America; in politics he is a democrat.
As a builder Mr. Stuckenhoff ranks high, and no one in the community is better able to handle a large contract than he, nor can any finish the fine inside work of the larger first-class buildings in any better manner than he. His field of activity extends over Dixon, Cedar, and Knox counties. His work speaks for him, and speaks favorably and well.
BENJAMIN F. SMITH.
Benjamin F. Smith is one of the successful self-made business men of Belgrade. He is probably as well known as any resident of Nance county, having made Belgrade his home for the past eighteen years, and prior to that time was a homesteader and early settler in Boone county, where he developed a fine farm and passed through pioneer experiences.
Our subject was born on May 10, 1855, in Delaware county, Iowa, and was the youngest in a family of four children born to Manasah and Mary Ann Smith, the mother's death occurring when Benjamin was but two years of age. Some time afterwards the father remarried, and of his second union eight children were born, he dying in Kansas where the family had settled, about 1877. Our subject is the only living member of the original Smith family, while three half brothers and the same number of half sisters are now living.
Mr. Smith left Delaware county with his father and family in 1867, going to Linn county, Kansas, where they resided for ten years. His education was obtained in the common schools of that section, and at the age of twenty-two years he removed to Linn county, Iowa, remaining there for one year, then came to Boone county, Nebraska. He landed in that region in the spring of 1878, took up a homestead and farmed there for about fifteen years, also engaged in stock raising, and succeeded in accumulating considerable property.
In the fall of 1893 Mr. Smith came into Nance county, locating in Belgrade. He established, a general merchandise business and built up a fine trade throughout the surrounding country. He erected a fine two-story building of modern style, and carried a complete stock of goods, having the largest store of the kind in that section of Nebraska. In 1910 he sold his business, since which time he has been looking after his farming in-
terests. He is also vice president of the Bank of Belgrade. He has been prosperous and is progressive in his method of operating his business, gaining the highest esteem of all by his fair dealings and straightforward business principles.
On December 25, 1883, Mr. Smith was united in marriage to Rebecca E. Delancey, in Boone county, at the home of her parents, James S. and Elizabeth Delancey, who were among the early settlers in that region. Three children have been born to Mr. and Mrs. Smith.
THOMAS J. WILBURN.
One of the natives of the great "prairie state" to come to the trans-Missouri region and will a competency by his own efforts and far-sighted enterprise may be mentioned Thomas J. Wilburn, a well known ranchman, whose home is at Atkinson, Nebraska. His birth occurred twelve miles west of Springfield, Sangamon county, Illinois, January 29, 1847. His father, Robert Wilburn, was a native of Kentucky, and came to Sangamon county as a young man. After living there many years he moved to Cass county, Nebraska, where he died at the age of sixty-three years. Robert Wilburn's wife, whose maiden name was Sinia Henderson, is a native of Virginia, and is now a resident of Omaha, having reached the advanced age of eighty-seven years. Mr. Wilburn was all intimate friend of Abraham Lincoln and also well acquainted with other prominent public men of the day.
As a boy, T. J. Wilburn attended the public schools of Sangamon county and he lived there until he was twenty-three years of age. In 1870 he came to Nebraska and bought a five hundred acre farm between Greenwood and Ashland, where he lived until 1902, and in that year took a house in Lincoln. The capital city was his home for five years, while his sons took a course in the state university, and in 1907 he purchased a ranch of eleven hundred and twenty acres of land five miles north and two miles east of Atkinson. He resides in his town house, and from this point looks after his ranch interests. Part of this land is devoted to farming, and in 1910 he raised one hundred acres of wheat.
Mr. Wilburn was married in Cass county, Nebraska, January 29, 1880, to Miss Lona Chapin, a native of Rock Bluff, Nebraska, and so far as is known the first white child born there. Her father, William F. Chapin, was one of the earliest pioneers of the state and became one of its most prominent men. He was born in Oneida county, New York, and came to Nebraska in 1854, settling in Cass county, where he soon became a leader in political affairs. He had been admitted to the bar in New York state and opened an office in his new home, but for lack of practice during the first year taught school at Plattsmouth and Rock Bluff. He represented his district in the legislature for many years and was speaker of that body when the capital was moved to Lincoln from Omaha. He served five or six years as receiver of the United States land office at Lincoln, and during one campaign lacked but one vote of the nomination for the office of governor. Before the land was all taken up in Saunders county, he secured a homestead there, and upon retiring from the office mentioned above located at Grand Island, where he died in the prime of life, being but fifty-three years old. His widow, whose maiden name was Margaret J. Young, was of an old Missouri family that came to Nebraska in 1852, and she attained the age of sixty years, passing away at Marquette, Nebraska.
Three children were born to Mr. Wilburn and wife, namely: Carlton, Vernon and Lona. Carlton Wilburn, a graduate of Nebraska state university, is a successful business man of Twin Falls, Idaho, where he is a prominent citizen and a leading factor in the North Side Land Company there. Vernon Wilburn is a graduate of the Ashland high school, took a two-year course In the state university and then took charge of the ranch of Atkinson, delighting in the out-door life, in the general work on the ranch, in the stock and the business management of the large estate, and is making a success of his work. Lona, who took a course in the Lincoln Conservatory of Music, is one of the best teachers of the art in her part of Nebraska.
In early days Mr. Wilburn and his father had several very unpleasant experiences with floods, blizzards, hail storms and other storms. In the severe blizzard of April, 1873, a hundred head of cattle that were feeding on a point of land in the bend of a stream broke away and scattered so widely over the country roundabout that it took three weeks to gather them all in, some of them being twenty miles distant. The winter of 1880-81 was most disastrous to them. From the time of the three days' blizzard in October, before the corn had all been gathered in, the weather was such that it could not be brought in before the flood of the following March, and they were compelled to stand by helplessly and watch three thousand bushels of corn float away on the turbid waters of the Platte river. Hundreds of settlers along the stream suffered a similar loss in that season, Mr. Wilburn was in Omaha at the time of the three days' blizzard and was unable to return home until it had abated.
Owing to the heavy timber on the Wilburn farm the blizzard of January 12, 1888, was not so severe there as on the prairie farther west. Mr. Wilburn went into the timber a mile from home to see that the cattle there were supplied
with hay, and experienced no more discomfort than in many storms both before and since.
In the early seventies, deer and antelope were plentiful and at times ran through the door yard or ate corn out of the fields, being seen in that part of the country for some time after the family settled there, though not so often. During Mrs. Wilburn's girlhood the Indians were restless and occasionally gave the settlers much uneasiness, but were never hostile in southeastern Nebraska. To some extent grasshoppers devastated the crops for several years, during the two years of their worst depredations leaving no grain whatever in the settlers' fields. During one of these years Mr. Wilburn had just finished heading his wheat and during the same day they appeared, destroying everything else. They were sometimes six feet deep in the railroad cuts and even stopped and delayed the trains. It took a large amount of courage and fortitude, coupled with a faith in the future, to remain in the west during these hard times. but those who persevered in seeing the thing through have prospered to an almost unbelievable degree. The west has been kind indeed to those who learned to understand her needs and moods, and found the strength (both moral and physical) to remain, and the enterprise and ambition to do what was necessary to do what their hands have found to do on the broad and generous prairies. However, it has been necessary to study the conditions prevailing and devote the land to the kind of agriculture or stock growing best adapted to soil and surroundings.
Benton Cotterman, one of the leading men in public affairs of Boone county, is at the present time acceptably filling the position of postmaster of Petersburg, which he has held for nearly fifteen years. He is a man of wide experience in various lines of business, and has been highly successful in the different enterprises with which he has been connected. He and his family have a very pleasant home, and enjoy a large circle of friends in and about Petersburg.
Mr. Cotterman was born August 18, 1839, in Montgomery county, Ohio, the second of six children resulting from the union of Elias and Mary A. Cotterman, three of this family now residing in Nebraska. The father died at the age of eighty-eight years, in August, 1896, the mother having passed away in 1875. Benton was educated in his home state, and learned the painters' trade its a boy. He enlisted in Company B, Second Ohio Regiment of Infantry, in August, 1861, serving for over three years, receiving honorable discharge in October, 1864. During his service he took part in the battles of Chickamauga, Missionary Ridge, Stone River, and many minor engagements.
After the war Mr. Cotterman returned to Ohio and engaged in farming. He was married there on October 12, 1866, to Miss Lena Mayer, of Ohio making that state their home for the following eleven years, at which time he came to Nebraska with his wife and two sons, locating in Boone county, and homesteading on section eighteen, township twenty-two, range six. This was their home place up to 1895, when Mr. Cotterman retired from active farm work and moved to Petersburg, purchasing a good home, and ran a hotel there for about six years. In 1897 he had been appointed postmaster, and has held the position continuously until the present time.
Mr. and Mrs. Cotterman have had two children: Charles M., married and living in the Philippines, holding the position of director of posts under the United States government, has two children; and one son, Howard, died in Boone, county, in March, 1891. The Cotterman family is one of the foremost of the pioneers in Boone county, and have done much to advance the general welfare of that region in a social, educational and commercial way.
Gustav Rehmus, a prominent farmer and stockman living on section twenty-six, township twenty-five, range two, of Wayne county, Nebraska, is well known throughout his region as a progressive farmer, and has a wide circle of friends.
Mr. Rehmus was born in western Prussia, December 30, 1849, and is a son of John and Anna Rehmus, who spent their whole lives in Germany. In youth, Mr. Rehmus served in the German army, and in 1869 took part in the Franco-Prussian war. He received the benefit of a common school education. Being a young man of ambition and energy, he desired to become the owner of land where he could establish a home, and in 1880 he left his native land for the new world. He came from Hamburg to New York on the steamship "Kimbery," and shortly afterward removed to Chicago, where he worked one year.
In 1881, Mr. Rehmus came to Nebraska, where he knew he could purchase a farm for little money, and then purchased the Smith homestead, where he now lives. This land had no improvements and he has added to the value and appearance of the place as he was able to do so, until he now owns a very comfortable home and has brought his land to a high state of cultivation. He carries on his work in a manner to insure the best results from the soil with which he has to deal, and engages in mixed farming, paying considerable attention to stock raising. He has
planted and cared for a grove of six acres of shade and fruit trees, which are a source of much pleasure to his family.
In 1891, Mr. Rehmus was united in marriage with Mrs. Tillie Kent, and two children have blessed this union, namely, Tillie and Helen. Tillie died when about fourteen years old. Mrs. Rehmus was born in Prussia, a daughter of William Huffman. Mrs. Rehmus came to the United States in 1891. Both Mr. Rehmus and his wife are well known throughout the county.
W. Klentz is one of the older settlers of Stanton county and has taken a foremost place in the development and advancement of the region in which he resided so long. He has a most comfortable home on section twelve, township twenty-three, range one, and has made all possible improvements on his land, having modern machinery and appliances, and carried on his work according to modern methods and ideas, until his removal to Norfolk, Nebraska.
He is a native of Germany, born in 1856, and a son of Carl and Christina Klentz, who brought him to America when about three years of age. The family spent nine weeks on the ocean, and soon after landing, located in Wisconsin, where they remained for three years, and in 1870 came to Madison county, Nebraska, bringing their belongings with an ox team and wagon. The father took up a homestead and erected a log house, upon which he placed a sod roof. For a long time they were obliged to go to West Point or Columbus for a market to sell their produce and buy supplies, and they suffered the havoc wrought by hordes of grasshoppers, which literally ate up their crops. However, after the lapse of a few years, things were easier and the outlook brighter, so that they were able to look ahead with the assurance that they would win prosperity and the enjoyment of the fruits of their hard labor.
W. Klentz came to Stanton county in 1885, and purchased his present estate on section eighteen, township twenty-three, range one, where he now has every improvement that is possible. He has a fine orchard and grove, the result of great care and much hard work, and engages in general farming and raises considerable stock. His land is well located and is well adapted for raising grain, and he is an able and ambitious farmer, knowing well the possibilities of the Nebraska soil and fully understanding conditions in his region, as most of his life has been spent there and he was reared to agricultural occupations. He has won good standing in the community, where he is counted a man of stability and integrity, and has a wide circle of friends and acquaintances.
Mr. Klentz was married in 1886 to Miss Emma Sinchler, and they are parents of two children, Ernest and Emma, now Mrs. Albert Mechmiller.
Mrs. Klentz was born on shipboard, while crossing the Atlantic ocean, of German parents.
Nels Nelson, a successful and prominent farmer of Antelope county, Nebraska, resides in Crawford precinct, and is one of those substantial citizens whose integrity, thrift and economy have added so much to the material wealth and growth of Nebraska as a state.
Mr. Nelson was born January 15, 1870, in the village of Saxkjobing, Loland, Denmark, where he was reared on a farm. His father, Christ Nelson, was born in 1842 and died in Denmark in 1909. He was a laborer in his native region, serving his country as a soldier for three years, and was married to Marie Hanson, who like her husband, lived and died in her native country.
In 1889 the brothers, Nels and Peter, left Denmark, embarking in a sailing vessel from Copenhagen for Hull, and after crossing England by rail, took passage at Liverpool for America. Their landing place was at Quebec, and from there came by way of Chicago, to Plainview, Nebraska. For three years after landing here they worked out by the month, then located on rented. farms in Antelope county, saving every dollar they possibly could from their earnings. In 1900, Nels bought one hundred and sixty acres of good land from F. E. Green comprising the northeast quarter of section twenty-seven, township tweny-seven, north, range five, west, and began to improve it in a most substantial way. This land had no improvements whatever at the time of purchase, but Mr. Nelson soon erected a large house, and in 1902, built a commodious barn, to which he has added from time to time other necessary buildings as his prosperity permitted, so that at the present time his farm is well equipped with everything needed in the way of sheds, fences, etc.
Mr. Nelson was joined in holy matrimony September 7, 1898, to Miss Minnis Rasmussen, a native of Chicago, her parents, Rasmus and Stina (Peterson) Rasmussen, natives of Denmark, having come from the village of Moen to America, settling in South Chicago, Illinois, where the father was engaged as track foreman in a rail mill. Mr. and Mrs. Nelson are the parents of six children, all of whom are living, named as follows: Agnes, Edward, Ida, Harold, Walter and Albert.
Mr. Nelson is a democrat in political views, and a Lutheran in religious belief, and, with his family, is highly respected in his community by all who know them.
As a citizen of integrity and worth, and a man of industrious and energetic character, Wilson Hall is well known to the people of Pierce
county, Nebraska. Mr. Hall is counted among the oldest settlers, coming to Pierce county in March, 1871, before there was a house standing in the town, the town site having been established the fall before. He rented land on which he farmed for a year, and then filed on a homestead south of town. Later he proved up on a timber claim, of which he owns eighty acres, having sold half of this and the homestead. In 1879 or 1880 he moved to Pierce, where he has resided since.
Mr. Hall is a native of Lycoming county, Pennsylvania, born May 26, 1846, and when a boy of seventeen, enlisted in Company K, Eighty-eighth Pennslyvania Infantry, serving until the close of the war. He saw active service around Petersburg, was in pursuit of Lee, and was present at the surrender. He was detailed for duty at Arlington Heights the day of the Grand Review, was mustered out there in July, and received his discharge at Philadelphia.
On returning home, he farmed in Pennsylvania until coming west in the spring of 1871, when he came by rail to Sioux City, Iowa, and thence across country by wagon to Pierce. The wild, open country of the plains was in strong contrast with the old and well established portions of Pennsylvania, whence he came. There were but few settlers between Sioux City and Pierce, and fewer beyond, all being open country, where fences were almost unknown.
Mr. Hall was born on May 26, 1846, and is the son of James and Martha (Reeder) Hall, the former's ancestors coming from Scotland long prior to the revolutionary war. The Reeders were, Quakers, whose forefathers came with William Penn, founder of the colony.
Our subject was married August 20, 1866, in Muncie, Pennsylvania, to Mary E. Wilson, daughter of Seth and Susan (Gortner) Wilson, of English and German descent, and both of old colonial families.
Nine children have been born to Mr. and Mrs., Hall, whose names follow: Ida, wife of Frank Sherman, of Gordon, Nebraska; Robert, the first of the family born in Nebraska, lives at Glenn Nebraska; Carrie, a teacher of Pierce; Marion, of Pierce; Bud E., resident of Pierce; Eva, wife of Schuyler Durfy, a merchant of Pierce; Harry, deceased, Burtis W., now in western Nebraska, and Louis, of Pierce City.
Mr. Hall is a democrat, and has been honored by his party with one term as county judge. He is a member of the Grand Army of the Republic.
Like so many of the early settlers, Mr. Hall well remembers the discouraging incidents connected with those early times. They endured three raids of grasshoppers, losing every spear of crops each year, even tobacco plants, which were consumed to the ground. He also passed through the blizzards, as well as prairie fires, in which he lost no stock.
Mr. Hall has always taken an active interest in his locality, and aided every movement for the betterment of conditions in his community.
Another well known member of the farming community of Howard county, Nebraska, is found in the person of Ole Nielsen, who landed in this region in the summer of 1872, accompanying a party of Danish homeseekers from the east, including his brother, Niels Nielsen, whose sketch also appears in this book. During his residence here, Mr. Nielsen has met with some financial discouragements, but in the main has prospered, and is now classed among the wealthy and successful men of his locality.
This gentleman is a native of Denmark, born on February 17, 1847. Both parents, Niels and Stine Nielsen are now dead, they having resided in Howard county during the pioneer years here, Ole making a trip back to the old country in 1873 for the purpose of bringing his parents and brother, Martin, over, their sister Annie, following two years later. Our subject himself came to the United States in 1868, locating at first in Waukesha county, Wisconsin, where he was with a cousin, remaining for about one year. He drifted around in different parts of the country for three years, working through Iowa in 1869, while in the employ of the Burlington & Missouri railway. During the winter of 1869, and from then up to the time he came to Nebraska, he was employed in the southern states along the Mississippi river. He finally settled on a homestead on section thirty, township fourteen, range eleven, Howard county, and proved up on the land. He was a member of the Danish colony which was organized in Wisconsin, and was originally founded by special arrangement with the Union Pacific railway. He came into the country from Burlington, Iowa, with his brother Niels Nielsen, and two others, making the trip by wagon, and they were about the very first settlers in the vicinity of Dannebrog, starting as all pioneers did, their dwelling being a rough dugout, in which they lived for a number of years, going through all sorts of hardships and discouragements while the region was being settled by white men, but gradually becoming more prosperous and adding to their original homesteads, until Mr. Nielsen is now the owner of seven hundred acres of choice farm land. He has this provided with a complete set of substantial farm buildings, good improvements of all kinds for working the land, also has quite a large herd of stock, raising some fine horses and cattle every year. He makes a specialty of Hereford cattle, Belgian horses, and Duroc Jersey hogs.
Mr. Nielsen was united in marriage to Miss Else Berthelsen, at Grand Island, Nebraska, on November 19, 1878. Mrs. Nielsen is also a native of Denmark, coming to the United States with her parents in 1869, they being early settlers in Grand Island and well and favorably known throughout
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