secured farm work near Bancroft, Cumings [sic] county, but remained only a short time and then came to Pierce, where he followed his trade for over two years in the shop of William Wigam. In December, 1890, he began business for himself and has enlarged from time to time, installing labor-saving machinery. In 1904 he replaced the frame building by a fine brick structure.
Mr. Luebke's parents came to America in 1888, the mother dying in 1895. Her husband later returned to Germany, where he is at the present time. Of their children living in America, August is owner of a fine farm in Canada, whither he migrated in 1910, and Amelia is the wife of Otto Gahm, who lives on a farm nine miles east of Pierce.
Our subject was married at Pierce on April 22, 1889, to Alvina Kolterman, who was born in Wisconsin. Her parents natives of Pommerania, Germany, and later were pioneers of Pierce county. Our subject and his good wife have had eleven children, eight of whom are living, as follows: Martha, Alvina, William, Minnie, Rosa, Robert, Lola and Evelyn.
Mr. Luebke is a democrat in state and national politics, although in county and local elections, he votes for the man, regardless of party. He and his family are active members of the Lutheran church, and both Mrs. Luebke and her husband are members of the Norfolk Parochial lodge. He is a member of the Eagles, The Sons of Herman, and the German War Union.
GEORGE A. WELSH.
Among the younger Nebraska farmers and citizens of Howard county, who have come from pioneer families of the county and state, and promise to emulate their fathers in the sterling qualities displayed in the early days, is the above named gentleman.
George A. Welsh, son of Joseph and Elizabeth (Welsh) Welsh, was born July 5, 1878, in Brussels, Canada, and was sixth in a family of seven children. He came to Howard county, Nebraska, with his mother, five sisters and one brother, his father having died in Canada in December, 1880. The family located on section twenty-two, township fifteen, range twelve, and remained on the place until 1890, moving at that time to section twenty-five, township fifteen, range eleven, which is now the home place of our subject, where his mother still lives with him.
Mr. Welsh was married to Miss Agnes Dodd, daughter of James and Margaret (Henderson) Dodd, who was ninth in a family of twelve children, and was born in Howard county. Her parents came here in June, 1874. Mr. and Mrs. Welsh were married on the home place, March 24, 1897. They are the parents of six children, whose names are as follows: Charles E., Joseph E., George James, Elsie Elizabeth, Roy E., and Henry Allen.
Mr. Welsh is well and favorably known as a prosperous and successful man, and holds a prominent place in local affairs. He owns one hundred and sixty acres in the home place, and also two hundred acres one-half mile north of this.
Mr. and Mrs. Welsh are both from old pioneer families of Howard county, Nebraska, and they and their fathers are known for their many good qualities and progressiveness.
ALBERT S. CLEARY.
Albert S. Cleary, son of John and Hannah (Sargeant) Cleary, was born in Amesbury, Massachusetts, December 10, 1858, and was third in a family of five children, and the only one now living. He received his elementary education in the local schools and later was a student for three years at the Phillips Andover academy, a member of the class of 1880, and later engaged in mercantile business in Merrimac, Massachusetts, for several years. In 1881 Mr. Cleary sought the larger opportunities of the western country, going to Iowa for one year; and in October of 1882, came on to Nebraska, locating in Valley county. Here he homesteaded one hundred and sixty acres in section two, township seventeen, range thirteen, which is still the home place.
In 1888 Mr. Cleary returned to his old home in Massachusetts, and on August 22, 1891, was united in marriage to Miss Martha A. Hughes, at the home of her parents, Isaac W. and Mary A. (Merrill) Hughes, in Massachusetts where she was born. Miss Hughes had been a teacher in Massachusetts schools. In 1892 Mr. Cleary returned with his bride to the homestead in Nebraska. Mr. and Mrs. Cleary have seven children born to them, namely: Edith P., Helen M, John, Esther A., Charles A., Frances H., and Elizabeth H., all of whom reside under the parental roof.
Mr. Cleary is a successful man of affairs, owns four hundred and twenty acres all in one body, a splendidly improved and equipped stock and dairy farm; he is one of the younger men among the earlier settlers, and is widely and favorably known. In the fall of 1907, Mr. Cleary built a splendid home on his farm, and just finished a cement silo holding one hundred and twenty tons, the first of its kind in the vicinity. He filed on a timber claim in Blaine, earlier in his career, broke part of it and then abandoned the tract.
Mr. Cleary's father, John Cleary, was born in Halifax, Novia Scotia, in 1816. In early manhood he came to Massachusetts, engaging in the mercantile business; he died there in 1887, at the age of seventy-one years. The mother was a descendant of William Sargeant, who settled in Amesbury prior to 1656. She was born in Amesbury, and died in Valley county, Nebraska, while on a visit to her son in 1902.
Mr. Cleary has served as justice of the peace,
and in the various township offices, and is at the present time treasurer of his township, elected on the democratic ticket. He is at member of the Ancient Order of United Workmen. There were a few deer in the country when he came, but they soon disappeared. He lived a number of years at a dugout on the place, which was later used as a summer kitchen when a larger, two story structure was built. In the blizzard of January 12, 1888, Mr. Cleary was herding cattle north of the house. Most of the cattle drifted into sheds where ten or twelve perished. In the drouth of 1894, he raised less than enough to seed the land again. He lost nearly all crops by hail in June, 1911.
HENRY E. BECKER.
Henry E. Becker early in life left his native land and emigrated to the new world, where be became identified with American progress and civilization, and has been a loyal citizen to the land of his adoption, and is esteemed and respected by all who know him.
Mr. Becker was born in Schleswig, Prussia, Germany, November 1, 1829. His parents, Jacob F. and Mary C. (Tortsen) Becker, had eight children, one son and seven daughters. The mother died in 1848, and the father in 1878, in his seventy-ninth year, both in Germany.
Henry E. Becker was an only son and grew up to manhood at his old home, received his education there and learned the trade of a cabinet maker; and in the war of 1848 served his country as a soldier. In 1853 he emigrated to America, locating at Mount Vernon, New York, where he worked in a door factory. In 1855 he went to Greenwich, Connecticut, and followed the carpentry trade.
In 1859 Mr. Becker was married to Miss Catherine Duffy, who was born in Ireland, January 8, 1829. She was an excellent woman, and passed to the great beyond at her Madison, Nebraska, home, May 10, 1905.
On September 25, 1861, Mr. Becker enlisted in Company I, Tenth Connecticut Volunteer Infantry. He served three years and participated in engagements at Roanoke, Newburn and Kingston, North Carolina, and was at the Siege of Fort Sumpter, and at St. Augustine, Florida. His health failed and he was sent to Hampton hospital until the battle of Cold Harbor, where he served in the ambulance corps, assisting in removing the wounded. He next was sent to Petersburg and then to Deep Bottom, Virginia, where he joined his regiment. In an engagement there he was taken prisoner and sent to Belle Isle for a short time and then to Libby hospital and was soon mustered out at Hartford, Connecticut. Mr. Becker, is a result of his prison experience received an injury which affected his right leg, he suffered very much from this diseased limb, and January 12, 1906, the limb was amputated between the knee and thigh, and from that time his health became better.
In 1874, Mr. Becker and wife moved from Connecticut to Madison county, Nebraska, and started the first furniture store in Madison. He sold his business in 1888, but later on re-purchased one-half interest in business which he retained until 1901, when he retired from active business.
Mr. Becker retains his home in Madison, but spends part of the year in travel, and with his sister, Mrs. Charles Frederick, at Phillipsburg, Kansas.
Mr. Becker is a self-made man and has made a success in life in a financial way, and has always been active along all lines for the upbuilding of his adopted home county and state. In politics he is republican, and has served his county as commissioner; and also has served on his school board, and in the city council. He is a wide gauge man, always taking active interest in educational, social, and church affairs, and holds the respect and esteem of many friends and the community at large.
Christian Kaupp is a large landholder and prominent citizen of Custer county, and through his energy and industry has won success as a farmer and stockman. He owns nine hundred and sixty-five acres of land, most of it in Custer county, and it is largely devoted to well improved and equipped grain farms. He was able to retire from active life in March, 1910, when he moved to Merna and erected a modern residence, where the family have since lived. Mr. Kaupp is a native of Germany, born February 10, 1836, youngest of the five children of August and Rosina (Wolf) Kaupp, and the only member of the family now surviving. In 1864 he came to America, spending a time in New York and other eastern points, and locating in Illinois in 1866. He worked on farms for a time, then purchased land and operated it, on his own account, and in March, 1867, was married at Loraine, Illinois, to Miss Katherine Heimindinger, a native of Germany, who came to America in 1852.
After marriage Mr. Kaupp lived in Illinois on a farm until the spring of 1887, when he brought his wife and children to Nebraska. He took a homestead of one hundred and sixty acres on section fifteen, township eleven, range twenty-three, which was the home place for many years, and he secured a timber claim of the same size. He is widely and favorably known and is recognized its one of the successful and progressive men of the county. Fourteen children have been born to Mr. Kaupp and wife: William, married and living ten miles west of Merna, has four children; Christina, wife of Benjamin Cox, of Custer county, has eight children; Charles, married and
living in the state of Washington, has three children; Rosina, wife of Frank Lilly, of Custer county, has one child; Julia, wife of Michael Brown, of Canada; Florence, wife of Charles Doxsee, of Custer county, has two children; Sophia, wife of William Brown, of Lincoln, Nebraska, has one child; Mamie, wife of Adolph Gibhart, of Lincoln; Hardy, Albert, Walter and Nettie, at home; two sons are deceased. The family are well known in many circles and have many friends.
HERMAN A. MABEUS.
Among the early settlers of Cedar county, Nebraska, Herman A. Mabeus deserves especial mention. He is a man of active public spirit, always ready to lend his influence in furthering any movement for the general welfare, and prominently identified with the best interests of his community. Mr. Mabeus was born in Henry county, Iowa, in 1866, a son of August and Henrietta Mabeus. The father came to America from Germany, in a sailboat, when he was a young man, and made his home in Buffalo. The mother died when H. A. Mabeus was but five years old, and when he had reached the age of fifteen years he left home, coining to Harding county, Iowa, in 1881. After spending one year there he went to northwestern Iowa, and lived there four years. In 1887 he removed to Wayne county, Nebraska, and purchased the D. W. Barley quarter. He has improved his land and has planted a five acre orchard and grove, which greatly improves his farm and adds to its value. During his first years in the state he suffered from the usual trials which beset the pioneer, and has won his present success through his untiring energy and enterprise. During the first winter he went to the eastern part of the state and found work.
In 1896 Mr. Mabeus was united in marriage with Miss C. Hiebenthal, who was born in Benton county, Iowa, and is a daughter of Jacob and Catherine (Beek) Hiebenthal. Six children have blessed this union, namely: Lester J., Victor R., Frank G., Paul A., Harvey A. and Marvel. Mr. Mabeus has a pleasant home, well located on section five, township twenty-eight, range one, east, in Cedar county.
WILLIAM F. SINSEL.
William F. Sinsel, farmer, son of John and Sarah (Curry) Sinsel, was born in Taylor county, West Virginia, December 13, 1841. He was fourth in a family of fourteen children, and has one brother residing in Merrick county, Nebraska, and one sister residing in Grafton, West Virginia. His mother died in March, 1895, in Nebraska, and the father in 1864, in West Virginia.
Mr. Sinsel received his education in local subscription schools, and in the fall of 1862 entered the United States railroad bridge service and served all during the war. While at work on a bridge at Bridgeport, West Virginia, he was taken prisoner in the famous Jones raid, and held six months and one day at Richmond, Virginia, in Libby prison and Castle Thunder. After the war, Mr. Sinsel returned to West Virginia and continued on bridge service for the Louisville & Nashville railroad, through Kentucky and Tennessee, until 1866.
On September 6, 1866, Mr. Sinsel was married to Miss Fanny Holden of West Virginia. After farming nine years in West Virginia, Mr. and Mrs. Sinsel came to Merrick county, Nebraska, in 1875, and homesteaded eighty acres of land in section thirty-two, township fourteen, range seven; also timber-claimed eighty acres adjoining and purchased one hundred and sixty acres of railroad land. They have lived on the homestead all through the years, since that time.
Mr. Sinsel served as county commissioner a number of years, and also has been director of his school district, number forty-six, for many years.
Mr. and Mrs. Sinsel have had seven children born to them, four of whom are living: Charles J., who is married, has three children and lives in Boise City, Idaho; Guy R., married, has two children and lives in Parkersburg, West Virginia; Thayer A., lives in Boise City, Idaho, and Carl W., who is married and resides at Parkersburg, West Virginia. The others died in infancy.
Mr. and Mrs. Sinsel's lives are particularly rich in pioneer experiences. They have been active Baptist church workers since the early days, and have both been instrumental in building up this section of the state both in a business and a social way. Mr. Sinsel's old home in West Virginia was within twelve miles of Phillippi, where the first battle occurred after the fall of Fort Sumpter.
The Sinsels are among the best known families of Merrick county, Nebraska, and enjoy the respect and high esteem of all who know them.
An agriculturist of prominence in Knox county, Nebraska, resides in Cleveland township, and is one of those substantial citizens whose integrity and industry, thrift and economy have added so much to the material wealth and development of that region. John Meikle was born in Dumfrieshire, Scotland, December 17, 1840, and was the third child born to John and Margaret (Edgar) Meikle. The father died when his son, John, was only six months old. John received a common school education, and lived with his mother until he was about ten years old. At that time he started out for himself, following farming until he was fifteen, and then commenced learning the blacksmith trade, which he followed
for six years, after which he worked in Glasgow at various occupations, until 1874. In the spring of the latter year he left his native soil and struck out for the new world, coming to New York on a steamship.
Immediately after landing he started for Nebraska to make his fortune, having heard glowing accounts of the opportunities to be found in that state. His first location was in Colfax county, where he rented land and started farming, being joined by his wife and four children during the fall of 1874. During the first three years he tried in every way to raise crops, but the grasshoppers were through the locality in such numbers that he was unable to get anything, hardly raising enough to keep him from starving to death. In 1878 a prairie fire swept the vicinity and burned everything on his farm, leaving him without even a roof over his head, and he became discouraged, gave up the place, and came into Knox county. In 1880 Mr. Meikle settled on a homestead with his family, filing on a quarter section in section nineteen, township twenty-nine, range four. He put up a sod house, which remained their dwelling for some years. After a time he also took up a pre-emption near his original tract, and while his wife remained on the home place he returned to Colfax county and secured employment on a ranch to help make a living and save a little money. He finally succeeded in adding many improvements to his farm, and made it his home from that time on, now owning about eight hundred and eighty acres, all equipped with good buildings, having fine groves, etc., making it one of the valuable properties in that part of the county.
In December, 1866, Mr. Meikle was married to Miss Elizabeth Tennant, a native of Scotland. They have had a family of seven children, all now comfortably settled in homes of their own, and worthy citizens of their respective localities. The children's names are: Anus, now deceased, wife of Charles Desenfanto; Edgar, Maggie, wife of Marion Bently; William, Christina, deceased; Mary and Samuel.
Mr. Meikle has always taken an active part in local affairs, having held the office of township assessor for the past twenty-five years. He is independent in politics, voting for the men he considers best qualified for office. He is a member of the Ancient Order of United Workmen.
HENRY H. GILLETT.
The gentleman above mentioned, whose death occurred on June 11, 1897, was one of the earliest settlers in Boone county, locating in the region in 1878. and during the earlier stages of development of the county took an active part in its upbuilding and progress. He became widely known as one of the leading citizens of Boone county, and enjoyed the respect and good will of all with whom he came in contact in a business or social way.
Henry H. Gillett was born on June 13, 1840, in Mercer county, Illinois, and was the younger of two sons born to Joel and Susan Gillett. His brother, Thomas J. Gillett, died in Iowa in 1908, both parents having passed away a number of years ago. Our subject was married in Illinois on May 19, 1863, to Emeline Wallis, a native of Ohio. They came to Boone county in the spring of 1878, taking a homestead on section four, township nineteen, range six, also timber-claimed one hundred and sixty acres. This homestead remained the home place up to 1893, when the family left and went to Oregon, expecting to make their home in that state, but after spending some little time there did not like the place so well as they expected, and returned to Boone county, purchasing three hundred and twenty acres of fine farm land near Albion, and resided there at the time of Mr. Gillett's death.
Mr. Gillett was one of the leading men in his community during his entire residence there, doing all in his power to promote the general welfare. He helped establish the schools, and for a number of years served as a member of the board in district number twenty-five.
Mrs. Gillett, a daughter and two sons survived our subject, the latter, Harry F., and Justice, engaged in the stock raising and farming business under the firm name of Gillett Brothers. They are joint owners of eight hundred and forty acres of choice land, all lying within six miles of Albion, and are numbered among the wealthy and progressive citizens of Boone county. The family residence is in Albion, where they moved during 1909, occupying a pleasant home, and are popular members of the business and social life of that city.
While holding membership in no church Henry H. Gillett, was, with his wife, active in the organization of the Sunday school in district number twenty-five.
Mr. Gillett was for many years a member of the Masonic fraternity, being a Master Mason. In politics he was a democrat.
Mr. and Mrs. Gillett, with their three children, came to Boone county, Nebraska, before there were any railroads in the county, driving all the way from Pottawattamie county, Iowa, where they owned a farm and had lived ten years. There were few settlers in the county when they came, and Albion at that time had no more than three business houses. The Gillett's first built a sod house in which they lived for several years before it was replaced with a frame dwelling.
Mr. Gillett was so unfortunate as to lose one
of his horses the year of his arrival and another died the second year. This necessitated the hiring of others to break the land, which, took the money they had saved for a frame house. These misfortunes combined with grasshoppers and poor crops made the first years of the family in Nebraska ones long to be remembered. They often went fifteen miles for wood, there being no coal in the county until the railroad came and many of the pioneers used hay for fuel.
GEORGE H. CROOKS.
A typical plainsman of the early days, when open ranges were to be found throughout all the west, is George H. Crooks, of Spencer. He was born in Boone county, Iowa, April 26, 1860. In 1874 the family migrated to Nebraska.
The parents were George and Jane (Harlan) Crooks. George H. Crooks and a brother drove through from Iowa to Yankton, where they crossed the river and came to Knox county, arriving on April 20, and the mother drove through with a colony from Boone county. George H. Crooks' mother and stepfather, Vincent Ross, settled near Paddock, in Holt county, where they resided many years.
George H. Crooks when a youth of sixteen found work with the big ranch outfits, and for fifteen years rode the ranges throughout the entire west, becoming familiar with the whole range country from Canada south through Washington, Montana, the Dakotas, Idaho, Wyoming, Nebraska, Utah, Colorado, New Mexico, Texas, and Oklahoma. So well did he know the Niobrara country that he was chosen when a guide was needed to pilot a preliminary surveying party to the western part of the state, and so accurate was his knowledge that in a forty mile trip through the table lands north of the river, he brought them back to a signal flag they had left northeast of Valentine where they followed the stream to the western part of the Cherry county country. In 1892, he came back to Holt county and has made this region his home ever since, having resided in Spencer since 1906.
Mr. Crooks was married March 9, 1892, at Paddock, to Miss Edith Miller, a native of Boone, Iowa, daughter of Michael and Elizabeth (Hull) Miller, now living near Paddock. Ten children bless the home of Mr. Crooks, as follows: Jane, Eva, James Howard, Ira, Homer, Ora, George, junior, Kenneth, and Leah. Arlie died when two months old.
Mr. Crooks has anything but a pleasant recollection of the blizzard of January 12, 1888. He and a companion, Billie Hudson, were in Wyoming, and found shelter in an abandoned dugout where they were compelled to remain for a period of two weeks; they ran out of provisions towards the last, of course, and were reduced to a diet of beans without salt. For years after the sight of a bean at table gave him nausea and until recently he could not endure the taste of them.
He has known the Indians from childhood and learned their language; he has been on the plains before the buffalo became extinct, and has seen them in herds of four or five hundred. In Wyoming the cowboys would sometimes rope all old bull buffalo, shear him of his long mane and use the hair to plait saddle girths, they being soft, strong and light in weight.
The roving spirit still sometimes possesses Mr. Crooks, and he feels the impulse to hit the trail -- once a rover, the roving spirit wilt not down.
Mr. Crooks is independent in politics with democratic leanings. He is a member of the Woodmen of the World.
SEVERT K. LEE.
Severt K. Lee, a representative and substantial citizen of Broken Bow, Nebraska, is a native of Columbia county, Wisconsin, sixth of the eight children born to Knudt Iverson and Dorothy Knudtson Iverson, and first saw the light of day on February 8, 1858. Of the other children of his parents the following information is available: One son lives in the state of Washington, one daughter resides in Wisconsin, and one daughter in Minnesota. Others of the children are deceased. Knudt Iverson and wife were born in Norway, and in 1856 came with their five children to America, locating in Wisconsin. The father served in the Fifteenth Wisconsin Infantry during the civil war, and died in December, 1861, from a wound received in the battle of Stone River. The mother died in Wisconsin in 1905.
At the age of fourteen years Severt K. Lee left his native state for Minnesota, where he worked at farming. He was married in Dodge county, Minnesota, March 28, 1879, to Josephine Johnson, a native of Christiana, Norway, who came to America in 1874. In June of the same year Mr. Lee and four of his brothers drove from Minnesota to Custer county, Nebraska, and all of them, with the exception of one who was under age, filed on homesteads there. However, but two of them, Nets K. and Severt K., remained in Nebraska, and the former died on his homestead about 1907. Severt K., filed on land in Grand Island, after which he returned to Minnesota for his wife, and soon afterwards they started on the return trip, making the journey with an ox team and bringing with them five cows and some household goods. There was a severe drouth in Iowa at this time, so that while passing through that state they found it difficult to obtain water and food for their stock, and were obliged to remain in the state several months, finally reaching their new home in June, 1880. They had a homestead and timber claim, both on section four, township
eighteen, range nineteen, which has been the home place throughout the succeeding years. Mr. Lee at once set out to improve and develop the land, and has one of the best stock and grain farms in the neighborhood. He has always been closely identified with the growth and welfare of Custer county and is accounted one of the prosperous and successful farmers of the region, being widely and favorably known for his untiring energy and public spirit. In 1906 he retired from farm life and moved to Broken Bow, where he erected a modern residence. He was instrumental in organizing school district number sixty-six and served as first moderator of same. He served as the second postmaster of Round Valley, holding office for a period of fifteen years, and he established the first store in the valley, handling a large line of general merchandise He also served for some time as justice of the peace.
Six children have been born to Mr. Lee and wife: Carl J., married and living in Round Valley, has one child; Albert O., of Custer county; Edward M., died at the age of fourteen years; Dorothy M., is the wife of Earl Foss, and they reside in Ord, Nebraska; Henry E., lives at home.
DeWitt Comstock, of whom a portrait appears on another page, is one of the early settlers of Custer county and has passed through the various stages of its history. He met all the discouraging and trying experiences incidental to pioneer life and has always taken his part in forwarding the progress and development of county and state, being widely and favorably known. He was born in Yates county, New York, November 15, 1834, seventh child of Jonathan and Phoebe (Christian) Comstock. the father, of English descent, born in Plattsburg, New York, served in the war of 1812, and died in Wisconsin. The mother was born in Hoosac, New York, and died in Wisconsin. They were parents of nine children.
Mr. Comstock grew to manhood on a New York farm, receiving his primary education in local schools and later attending Canandaigua academy. Later he learned the trade of harness maker. He was married at Sandy Creek, New York, March 18, 1856, to Miss Martha Bennett, also a native of that state. In 1861 Mr. Comstock enlisted in Company G, Seventh New York Cavalry, spending sixteen months in the service. In March, 1882, he came with his wife and children to Custer county, Nebraska, where he preempted one hundred and sixty acres of land and later homesteaded one hundred and sixty acres on section thirty-three, township nineteen, range seventeen, which was the home place until 1898, when he retired from the farm and located in Ansley, where he started a harness making shop. Three years later he removed to Comstock, where he has since resided.
Mr. and Mrs. Comstock have had six children: Edward, married and living in North Loup, has seven children; J. W., of Ansley, is married and has seven children; Mattie, wife of M. E. Vandenberg, of Sargent, has four children; W. R., of Comstock, is married and has two children, and two children are deceased.
D. W. Comstock
Among the German settlers of Cedar county, Nebraska, who hail from the German fatherland, none holds a higher place in the hearts of his fellow citizens than Mickel Peter, now retired, of Hartington.
Mr. Peter was born in the village of Thele, Prussia, August 24, 1833. Though nearing the age of four score years, his faculties are unimpaired, and he is still capable of business and the need to again enter the struggle of life. He is a son of Mike and Barbara (Reuter) Peter, and is the youngest of their four children.
In 1847, the father left the old country, where the mother had died a short time before, bringing his children to the new world. They made their way to Antwerp, where they waited a fortnight for a vessel coming to America. Embarking in the "Echo," they landed after a voyage of eight weeks in Baltimore, where the father died. Here the son, Mickel, learned the shoemakers' trade, and worked at the bench in that city for eleven years, during which time he married.
In 1858 he moved to Dubuque and plied his trade here for six years, saving his earnings to establish himself in the west, as he intended to do. Six families formed a colony to come to Nebraska, including two of Mrs. Peter's sisters; they reached Cedar county in May of 1864, after an overland journey of four weeks, camping along the roadside at night. Mr. Peter's outfit consisted of three yoke of oxen, owned in common with his brother-in-law, Mr. H. Koch. Mr. Strathman was one of the party and was for years one of Cedar county's substantial citizens. Sioux City, where they crossed the Missouri river, was at that time but a small town. In crossing, their oxen fell into the river and were with difficulty rescued; later they strayed away and several days were lost in finding them.
Mr. Peter settled on the "Second Bow" creek, three and a half miles south of St. Helena; his nearest neighbor to the west was Mr. Weigand living twenty miles distant in Knox county. For two years Mr. Peter squatted on land before deciding where to buy. He homesteaded one hundred and sixty acres and a few years after bought eighty acres at one dollar and twenty-five cents, but at even this low figure it took him several years to pay for it; times were so hard
and markets so poor. He now owns four hundred and eighty acres of fine land, on the rentals of which he lives comfortably in his town home, to which he retired in May, 1902, turning over to younger hands the task of active farm work.
Mr. Peter was married in Baltimore in February, 1854, to Miss Josephine Koch, a native of the village of Uhenbach, Kuhr-Hessia, Germany, a daughter of Fred and Mary (Hohman) Koch; the mother died when Mrs. Peters was quite young, and the father some years later. The orphan girl sailed for America from Bremen on the ship "Sarah," and was on the water nine weeks in her voyage to Baltimore. Mr. and Mrs. Peter have five children: Mary, wife of Joseph Schramp, who farms near St. Helena; Elizabeth, is the wife of Henry Necker, whose farm is near Crofton; Mina and her husband, Leo Schramp, brother of Joseph, have a farm on Second Bow creek; and the sons, Frank and John, cultivate the old home farm, which is known as the Frank Bergman place.
Times were hard during the early years in Nebraska; grasshoppers began to be a pest as early as 1865, and in the seventies were an all devouring swarm. For a number of years crops were partially, if not wholly, destroyed; flour at times cost the settlers eight dollars for a fifty pound sack, and corn bread, though not so palatable, was in more general use. Of the blizzards that swept the plains, Mr. Peter has weathered his share; in the especially severe one of January 16 and 17, 1869, Mr. Peter and his son were in Gayville, South Dakota, where they were compelled to remain until the storm abated.
When Henry Hoese's mill was started, it became a very popular place for grist, so much so that sometimes a man was compelled to wait three days for his turn, camping near the mill the while. Game was plentiful, as one may suppose from an incident Mr. Peter relates: He was mowing and had stopped to rest his oxen when twenty-four antelope came close to him and remained as still as statues until he spoke to the oxen, when all were off like a flash.
The spot where Mr. Peter built was within fifty feet of the old Indian trail between the Santee and Ponca reservations, and Indians were always passing to and fro. He came home one day when they came to beg coffee and bread and insisted on having his stock of leather which he used in plying his trade in the west after settling here. Prairie fires wrought him damage from time to time, but the worst was when one burned nine log buildings he used for granary, corn-cribs, stables and such. Only the new house, standing at a little distance, escaped. His buildings -- as numerous as a small village -- were swept away by the flames, which were carried from a pile of burning straw. Their first dwelling -- a log house -- was swept away with the rest, and his loss included four or five hundred bushels of corn and oats, together with machinery; a severe loss for him at that time.
At the time of the great flood of March, 1881, many found refuge at Mr. Peter's home until the waters subsided and they could return to their own homes. He kept his brother-in-law's cattle for him for a time until their flooded pastures were again fit to graze.
Mr. Peter is one of Cedar county's most substantial citizens, one who has done his share in the development of the west, has reared it creditable family and started them all on the road to prosperity. Such men are the bulwark of the nation. Mr. Peter is a democrat in politics, and a devout member of the Catholic church, to which he contributes liberally. Portraits of Mr. and Mrs. Peter will be found on another page.
Mr. and Mrs. Mickel Peter.
Charles Lederer is indeed entitled to the claim of "old settler," having lived in Pierce county, Nebraska, some twenty-five years, where he now resides in the north half of section twenty, township twenty-five, range two. His place is very well improved, having a twenty acre grove, the finest in the county, planted in 1870.
Mr. Lederer was born May 1, 1850, in the town of Geredstetten, Kingdom of Wurtemburg, Germany, and is the son of Gotlieb and Barbara (Baeder) Lederer; the former was born in 1809 and died February 3, 1892, and the latter was born in 1813, and died in February, 1874. Mr. Lederer's father was a farmer, in the old country, owning a large vineyard. He served in the army in that country for six years, and in 1855 emigrated to America by way of Paris and Havre, France, where he embarked in a sailship, the "Confederation," a new boat, that being its first trip across the ocean. After a voyage of eight weeks, they landed in New York, whence they journeyed to Montgomery county, Pennsylvania, and from thence they went to Whiteside county, Illinois, in February, 1864, and here the father died.
Charles Lederer was reared in Pennsylvania and Illinois. Coming to Nebraska in 1882, he rented for two years a farm four miles west of Norfolk, and on March 3, 1885, came to Pierce county, Nebraska, where he bought the relinquishment on a tree claim of eighty acres in section twenty-eight, township twenty-five, range two, for six hundred dollars, which he improved. He first put up a sod house and lived in that two years. He sold to James Colson in 1886, and again rented a farm for two years. He then bought the southeast quarter of section nineteen, township twenty-five, range two, living on this farm for sixteen years, and during that time made very good improvements, selling August 23, 1904. In 1901 he had purchased the land he now oc-
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