cabin with a dirt floor, to build which Mr. Goodenow rafted the logs across the river from Cedar Canyon. In this cabin was held the first Christmas celebration, a Christmas tree and dance; a cotton rabbit for the child gave it more pleasure than most elaborate presents have ever done since. Those were days of helpfulness and good cheer, and, although times were hard and pleasures few, every one was friendly and kind - as many have expressed it, "those were the happiest days of our lives."
Mr. Goodenow was reared in the Methodist Episcopal church, is a member of the Grand Army, and a charter member of the Masonic lodge at Burwell, having transferred from Ord. In politics he is independent.
"Meadow Brook Farm," Residence of M. B. Goodenow.
WILLIAM E. POWERS.
William E. Powers, for many years a prosperous business man of Pierce county, Nebraska, has a pleasant home at Pierce. He has been engaged in the real estate and insurance business at that point since July 1, 1902, during which time he has prospered in a marked degree, and is now classed among the wealthy and successful residents of that portion of the state.
Mr. Powers was born in Henry county, Iowa, on July 20, 1863. His father, Ira C. Powers, was a native of Indiana, and was married in Iowa, making that state his home for many years afterwards. He was a member of the One Hundred and Seventeenth Illinois Volunteer Infantry, serving for about six months, at the close of the war returning to Crawfordsville, Indiana, and making that his home until his death, which occurred in 1897. There our subject was reared, and was well acquainted with that city's distinguished citizen, General Lew Wallace, who was also an intimate friend of both his father and grandfather.
Mr. Powers was graduated from the high school there, and then entered the Journal office and learned the printers' trade, remaining up to 1885, when he came west, locating at Des Moines, Iowa, and securing a position with the Register and Leader. He next was with the Commercial, of Hawarden, then filled the "easy chair" as editor of the Sioux County Leader, at Orange City, Iowa. His next move was to Caldwell, Kansas, there editing the Daily Journal until its discontinuance, being transferred to the Weekly News and becoming foreman in that establishment. After a short time there he became telegraph editor, reporter and compositor for the Daily Traveler at Arkansas City, Kansas, then purchased a half interest in the Plainville, Kansas, Weekly Times. This purchase was made entirely on credit at twelve per cent interest and the debt was paid inside of three months. In July, 1891, he sold this business and came to Pierce, purchasing the "Leader," which he built up into a prosperous journal with a greatly increased circulation, retaining the ownership up to July, 1903, at that time engaging in the real estate business as above mentioned.
Mr. Powers was married at Ainsworth, Nebraska, on November 15, 1887, to Elaine E. Enderly, who was born near New Chicago, Iowa, and whose parents were well known pioneers in Brown county, Nebraska, now residing in Madison county. Mr. and Mrs. Powers have had four children, namely: Robert M., who is an expert stenographer, associated in business with his father; Ira Christian, who died in June, 1907, at the age of fifteen, Bryan Allen and Ellen, the two latter at home.
In 1907 Mr. and Mrs. Powers took an extended trip to the Pacific coast, visiting many points of interest, returning greatly benefited in health by their travels.
Mr. Powers has been almost a lifelong democrat, and during the administration of Cleveland was honored with the postmastership of Pierce. He has also served in the city council for several terms. He is a member of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows, Knights of Pythias, Royal Highlanders, and Modern Woodmen of America, of Pierce.
GEORGE W. McCLOUGHAN.
George W. McCloughan, a prominent old settler of middle Nebraska, resides in St. Paul, Howard county, and is widely known as a man of industrious habits and good business ability.
Mr. McCloughan was born in Hunterdon county, New Jersey, September 20, 1844, and was the eldest child in a family of five boys. He grew up in his native county, receiving a common school education, and at the breaking out of the war, enlisted in the army, beginning his service on August 9, 1861, in Company H, Sixth New Jersey Volunteer Infantry, remaining with his regiment up to October of the following year, when he was transferred to Troop B, Second United States Cavalry, and served with that regiment until the close of the war. He was mustered out February 14, 1866, receiving his discharge at Fort Kearney, Nebraska, having been sent to this state in the early fall of 1865 on frontier service. During his career as a soldier he took part in the battles of the Wilderness, Gettysburg, and Williamsburg, besides numerous other skirmishes, receiving slight wounds at the battle of the Wilderness and at Spottsylvania Court House, Virginia. He has a war record of which he is justly proud, and is a prominent member of Camby Post number eight, Grand Army of the Republic, department of Nebraska.
In the spring of 1866 Mr. McCloughan located in Nebraska City, where he followed farm work for about six years, then filed on a claim in Adams county. He made that vicinity his home for about fourteen years, engaged in farming and
stock raising, and succeeded in accumulating a comfortable property and building up a nice home. He then disposed of his holdings and removed to Clay county, afterwards to Howard county, arriving at the latter place in the spring of 1888. After two years here he went to Loup county, remained there for two years, and again returned to Howard county, where he has since resided, having established a permanent home in St. Paul.
Mr. McCloughan was married May 25, 1867, at Nebraska City, to Miss Melinda R. Davis, County Judge Dickey officiating. Mrs. McCloughan is a native of Illinois, born in 1852. They have eight children, namely: Frank F., married and living on Davis Creek, in the northern part of Howard county, he being the father of eight children; William J., married, living in Kansas with his wife and three children; George A., married and living in Howard county, he has one child; Thomas A., married and living in Colorado with his family of two children;. Dennis L., of Hastings, Nebraska, single; Lucy Ann, wife of Charles Crowe, they have three children and reside in St. Paul; Nettie M., wife of William Burk, living on a farm southwest of St. Paul, and Stella May, married to John McCormick, and living in Lincoln, Nebraska.
Honorable John Vandegrift, the oldest of nine children, was born near Hammonton, New Jersey, September 10, 1854, and lived in his native state until his seventeenth year, when the family moved to Davis county, Iowa, residing there two and a half years, since that time he has lived in Sherman county, Nebraska. The Vandegrift family own one of the large grain and stock farms of central Nebraska and are among the most influential and successful operators in the region, trading and shipping many cattle each year, and also handling Duroc Jersey swine.
The parents, Edward and Hannah Ann (Chew) Vandegrift, with their eight children, moved from New Jersey to Davis county, Iowa, in October 1870. The father worked at the trade of blacksmith and his sons farmed there for a few years, and in June, 1873, the family, consisting of the parents and eight children - John, Hannah Mary; Israel C., Angeline, Benajah (now deceased), Edward K., Lambert C. and Clara O. came with a team to Sherman county, Nebraska, the journey lasting from May 1 to June 15. They had two mule teams and brought their household goods in wagons. The father secured a homestead on the northwest quarter of section ten, township fourteen, range fourteen, and this was the nucleus of the present large estate. The father remained on this homestead until his death, which occurred about 1886, and it is still the home of his widow, who lives with her children, being now in her eightieth year. One child was born after the family came to Nebraska, Lyndia Etta, now deceased. The children all reside in Sherman county except Edward K., who resides in Dawes county, Nebraska.
With John Vandegrift live his brothers, Israel C. and Lambert, his sister Angeline, his sister Clara and her husband, C. P. Hays, and all help in operating and managing the farm. They now have nine hundred and sixty acres of land in the county and are known as able and enterprising farmers, being among the most prosperous in the region. They still retain the original homestead and have passed through the pioneer stage of their experience. In their early days in the new home they encountered many trials and difficulties, over which they were victorious, and the success that now attends their efforts is the result of untiring industry and thrift. They had few neighbors in the beginning, but are now surrounded with friends and acquaintances and accorded the highest respect and esteem by all who have had any dealings with them, whether of a business or social nature.
John Vandegrift has always been much interested in public affairs and has worked untiringly in the interest of the advancement of all measures he considers beneficial to the county or state. He is well liked and popular and has served in various positions of public trust and honor. In 1884 he was elected supervisor and for several years he was an officer of school district number two. In 1899 he was elected a member of the lower house of the state legislature and was reelected in 1901, serving two terms. He is progressive in his ideas and is able to present his views in a manner to insure their respectful consideration. He is a man of stability and influence in any circle and is enthusiastic in his support in what he considers right. Mr. Vandegrift is a populist in political belief and a member of the Seventh-day Baptist church.
CARL FREDERICK HAASE.
Carl Frederick Haase, whose name is familiar to nearly all the residents of Madison county, Nebraska, is a worthy representative of the progressive farmer of northeastern Nebraska. He was one of the very earliest settlers of this county, coming here in 1869, and has lived here continuously since that time.
Carl Frederick Haase, retired farmer, son of Fritz and Frederica (Uttecht) Haase, was born in Germany, January 2, 1848; he received his education in the schools of his native land, and tried various business enterprises before coming to America. Hearing through a cousin, who had been in America for some years, of the homestead law enacted in Nebraska, he decided to come to this country where larger opportunities were offered. So in July of 1869, Mr. Haase came to America, locating in Madison county, Nebraska, homestead-
ing one hundred and sixty acres of land in section nine, township twenty-four, range one, which remained his home place for thirty-five years.
On September 26, 1873, Mr. Haase was married to Miss Louisa Maass, also a native of Germany, who came to America in April, 1873, and they are the parents of thirteen children, four of whom are deceased; the names of all the children being as follows: Ludwig, who is married and has four children, lives in Knox county, Nebraska; Sarah, died in infancy; Martin, also died in infancy; Fred, deceased; Mary, married to Arthur Conrad, has five children, and lives in Norfolk; Martin, married and lives in Wayne county, Nebraska, has three children; Emma, married to Herman Wachter, lives in Madison county, Nebraska, and has three children; Fred, married and lives in Battle Creek, Michigan; Selma, married to John Rice, lives in Warnerville, Nebraska; Otto, deceased; and Linna, Paul and Minnie, who reside at home.
Our subject is prosperous and successful, owning four hundred and sixty acres of land, most of which is under cultivation. He is an independent, politically, and served his township as road supervisor for ten years in the early days, during which time the first bridges in the township (number twenty-four) were built. He was precinct assessor for three terms, and for nine years was director of his school district (number twenty), which he was instrumental in organizing.
Mr. and Mrs. Haase are among the earliest pioneers of Madison county, and have passed through all the various phases of its history. In 1905 they retired from the farm, moving to Norfolk where they built a good home, where they now live.
Mr. and Mrs. Haase have both been active members of the German Evangelical Lutheran church since 1870, indeed, they were among the organizers of the first church in their locality.
It may not be amiss to here state that Mr. Haase paid his first personal tax in 1870, which was five cents in cash.
The family is highly esteemed by all who know them, and Mr. and Mrs. Haase are enjoying the latter part of their life as they should after their early endeavors. They are genial, contented and happy, and richly merit the success that has come to them.
WILLIAM R. LOHR.
William R. Lohr, of Merna, Nebraska, where he has various business interests, is one of the old settlers of Custer county, where he has a large acquaintance and many friends. He was born in Somerset county, Pennsylvania, third born of the nine children of Solomon and Sarah (Sidles) Lohr, and first saw the light of day May 10, 1852. Besides William R., those of the children now surviving are: Mrs. Emma Trexler, of Bennett, Nebraska; Mrs. Alice Steele, of Lincoln; Mrs. Laura Rickard, of Bennett; one son in Utah, one daughter in the state of Washington, one daughter in Illinois and one daughter in Wisconsin. The father was born in Germany and died at Pontiac, Illinois, in 1865, and the mother, a native of Pennsylvania, is living in Bennett, Nebraska.
In early childhood Mr. Lohr went with his parents to Stephenson county, Illinois, and there grew to maturity, being reared to farm work and receiving his education in the public schools. Later he engaged in farming for himself and in 1871 went to Woodbury county, Iowa, going to Otoe county, Nebraska, in the spring of 1876. On March 24, 1878, in Bennett county, Nebraska, he was united in marriage with Miss Martha J. Brenizer, a native of Illinois, and daughter of David K. and Margaret (Gabriel) Brenizer. In the fall of 1882 he brought his family to Custer county, taking up a homestead of one hundred and sixty acres and a tree claim of one hundred and sixty acres adjoining, on section thirty-two, township eighteen, range twenty-two. The following spring he brought his family to the homestead with an ox team and wagon, and began improving and developing a stock and grain farm. He has always taken an active interest in local affair and was instrumental in organizing school district number fifty-two, of which he served as treasurer several years. He and his wife have had six children, namely: Mabel, wife of Ray Hicks, of Merna, has five children; Ralph D., of Montrose, Colorado, has two children; Charles O., of Ogden, Utah; Ross W., at home, and two children who died in infancy.
Mr. Lohr is an early Nebraskan and has passed through its periods of greatest progress and development, in which he has done his share. He is successful as a stockman and in business affairs and owns twelve hundred and eighty acres of land, all in Custer county. He is extensively engaged in stock business and also holds an interest in the farmers' elevator at Merna, Nebraska,. He lived on and operated his homestead until 1904, when he came to Merna and purchased a fine residence now occupied by the family. The family are prominent in. many circles.
Among the prominent settlers of eastern Nebraska we mention the name of Gus Backhous as being one of the best known from the fact that he has spent the past twenty-nine years of his career in this region, and during that time has devoted his best efforts to aiding in the development or the natural resources of this part of the country, and helped to build tip the community in which he chose his home.
Mr. Backhous is a Prussian, being born in Freidrich Gnade, Germany, in 1867, and is the son of William and Lena (Burns) Backhous. Our
subject's fattier served his native country in the war between France and Germany in 1870 and 1871, and died at the age of twenty-eight years. In due time Mrs. Backhous was married again, this time to Mr. John Seefield.
Mr. Backhous while in Germany lived twenty-five miles from Berlin from whence he came to America and settled in Norfolk, Madison county, Nebraska, where he resided eight years and then came to Pierce county, where he owns a good, well improved farm, upon which is one acre of fine trees. His land is located in the northeast quarter of section sixteen, township twenty-eight, range two.
In the year 1891, Mr. Backhous was married to Miss Anita Leauellan, a descendant from Germany and from this union were born eight children whose names are as follows: Frank, Fred, Ella, Rudolf, Viola, Johnny, Herman, Lawrence and Lillian.
Our subject votes the democratic ticket in politics, and is a member of the German Lutheran church, and is respected by in who know him.
ALFRED A. MORSE.
Alfred A. Morse, a leading old settler of Merrick county, Nebraska, who has gained all enviable reputation as a progressive agriculturalist and worthy citizen, resides in Clarks, Nebraska, where he has a pleasant home. He settled in this locality about forty years ago, and is closely identified with the history and the development and growth of agricultural and other interests of this region.
Alfred A. Morse, son of Cornelius and Mary (Hutchings) Morse, was born in New York state, July 28, 1838, and was second in a family of six children; and has one brother and one sister residing in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, the others being deceased, as are also the parents, the father having died in Merrick county, Nebraska, January 5, 1888, and the mother on May 8, 1894, in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. In 1845 our subject went with his mother to Milwaukee, Wisconsin, where he received his education, and later worked as painter.
In the spring of 1861, Mr. Morse went to New York state on a visit and while there enlisted in Company H, Fifty-first New York Volunteer Infantry for three years, but after six months' service was discharged on account of disability and returned to Wisconsin. On August 15, 1862, he re-enlisted in Company H, Twenty-fourth Wisconsin Infantry, serving but a few months when he was again discharged on account of illness. Mr. Morse participated in the battle of Perryville Kentucky, October 8, 1862. After the war he returned to Wisconsin and to his trade of painting.
On November 19, 1863, Mr. Morse was married to Miss Amanda Raymond, who was born in New York state. In the spring of 1871 Mr. and Mrs. Morse came to Merrick county, Nebraska, homesteading one hundred and sixty acres in section twenty-eight, township fifteen, range five, and in the following fall moved on to the homestead which remained the home place for seventeen years, then going to Milwaukee, Wisconsin, where they remained about six years; then returned to Clarks, Merrick county, Nebraska, where they purchased a good home which is their present residing place. However, Mr. Morse kept his homestead until 1908, when he sold. In the early days Mr. Morse helped to organize his school district, number twenty-five, and served as director of same for many years. Mr. Morse also helped to organize the Methodist Episcopal church in Clarks, in March, 1879. Mr. and Mrs. Morse were among the first settlers of Merrick county, and have experienced all the inconveniences and hardships of frontier life, and are widely and favorably known. Mr. Morse is a member of Thornburg Post number twenty-seven, Grand Army of the Republic, indeed, is one of the charter members of the organization, and the only one of the original membership left in Clarks.
The venerable Ransome Kile, now retired from active life, has been a resident of Nebraska since February 10, 1884. He is a native of Knox county, Ohio, making his advent to his father's family December 23, 1835. Two years later his parents moved to Lake county, Indiana, and here Ransome Kile grew to manhood on his father's farm. After marriage he farmed for himself in Lake county, and about 1861 removed to Cass county, Iowa, where he resided about two years. Returning to Lake county, he soon after enlisted in 1863 in Company A, Seventy-third Indiana Volunteer Infantry and served ten months; he re-enlisted in Company E, Thirty-third Regiment and served until the close of the war. His company joined Sherman after his march to the sea, somewhere in North Carolina, and was near Martha's Vineyard, north of Raleigh, when news of Lee's surrender reached him. Mr. Kile was on picket duty at the time and was at a loss to know the meaning, as there was shooting going on within their camp and bullets were cutting off leaves from the trees around him. He soon learned that his comrades were celebrating with whole cartridges, though they had been ordered to draw the ball before loading. After participating in the Grand Review, having marched from Raleigh to Washington, he returned to his Indiana home and little family. Farming here until the fall of 1879 he again migrated to Cass county, Iowa, where he resided the last four years prior to his settlement in Nebraska. Securing a quarter section in Antelope county west of Plainview, he occupied his farm until 1903, when he moved to Plainview. He
had tried renting the farm, but the soil and buildings were deteriorating under a tenant, so he sold his land and built two houses in town. For these he finds good tenants, and makes his home alternately with his children.
Ransome Kile is a son of Joint and Sarah (Laflar) Kile, both natives of Pennsylvania; the father died at the age of twenty-four when our subject was only two years old; the mother died at the age of forty-three.
Mr. Kile was married in Lake county, Indiana, in September, 1855, to Mary Powers, a native of Providence, Rhode Island. Her birth occurred April 6, 1837, and she died December 9, 1907. They have three sons living: Doctor W. T. Kile, of Plainview, who is given notice on another page; Levi E., of Verdel; and M. L., a jeweler of Creighton, who married Maude L., daughter of T. J. Buckmaster, who is mentioned at length elsewhere in this work. M. L. Kile and wife have one son, Marvin Wendell Kile.
On coming to Nebraska Mr. Kile lived a short time in a sod house with a frame lining; there was a good cellar under it - something few houses of the country had at that time. He brought grape vines and fruit trees from Iowa and these lived safely through the winter in the cellar. Like most of the early settlers they burned hay, corn and cornstalks when other fuel was scarce and corn brought only ten cents in the local market. The most he ever sold corn for was fourteen cents. A severe hailstorm, such as sometimes passes over the west, one year, beat his growing corn into the ground, leaving but short stubs; these, however, sprouted again and produced thirty-five cents a bushel corn.
Success attended his efforts in the west, and Mr. Kile is enabled to pass his declining years in peace and comfort surrounded by his children.
The gentleman whose name heads this review, is probably one of the best known men of Boone county, Nebraska, having served as sheriff during the past six years, prior to that time being for many years a successful agriculturalist and stockman of North Branch precinct.
Edwin Evans was born in Dane county, Wisconsin, on December 10, 1857. He was the eldest in a family of thirteen children born to George and Rena Evans. When he was three years of age his parents moved into Dakota, where they remained but a short time, then went to Black Hawk county, Iowa. There the father took a farm and they occupied it for seven years, finally returning to Dane county, Wisconsin, where Edwin assisted his father in carrying on the home farm.
In 1874, father, mother and nine children left Wisconsin and moved to Boone county, Iowa, making that their home for the following nine years, then the entire family came on to Nebraska, locating on school section sixteen, township twenty-two, range five. They engaged immediately in farming and stock raising, and went through the usual pioneer experiences, but soon got their farm in good shape, and were successful in raising good crops and improving their farm with good buildings of all kinds, our subject remaining on the homestead up to 1904, when he settled on in eighty acre farm of his own, situated on section twenty-one, township twenty-two, range five, which he had purchased some time previously.
Mr. Evans' mother died on the home farm November 28, 1903, and his father's death occurred on April 29, 1909, he being in his seventy-third year. There are ten children living, all of whom are residents of Boone and Madison counties.
Our subject was married on March 16, 1904, to Mrs. Julia Julson, who was a widow with one child, Clarence Julson. Two children have been born to Mr. and Mrs. Evans. Reuben and Gladys, both charming children.
Mr. Evans is a man widely known and greatly respected in his locality, and is one of the truly self-made men of his times. He is active in local affairs, and in the past has held different public offices. He is politically a democrat, and was first elected sheriff of Boone county in the fall of 1905, assuming charge of that position January 1, 1906. He has since been re-elected, twice in 1907 and 1909, serving now his third term, which will expire January 1, 1912.
JOHN B. ROBINSON.
John B. Robinson came to Nebraska when the eastern part of that state was, as you might say, still in its infancy, and has remained here through all the changes that have taken place in the past twenty-three years, aiding materially by his influence and means in the development, of its natural resources. He occupies a high position as a worthy citizen and prominent old timer, and deserves prominent mention for his patriotism and loyalty for the state of his adoption.
Mr. Robinson is a native of Delaware county, Iowa, and was born January 4, 1869. His father, James B. Robinson, was born in 1822 in Ireland, coining to America in 1844 from County Vermana, Ireland. Our subject, Mr. Robinson, came to Nebraska in 1887, settling in Stanton township, then went to Neligh, where he worked four years, then to Garfield county. In October 1895, he came to Antelope county, where he now resides on section twenty-one, township twenty-four, range seven, and has a beautiful home and fine orchard and groves, which place is known as the Elgin Stock Farm. He owns twelve hundred acres of the finest land in Antelope county, and is a very prominent and influential citizen of these parts.
Mr. Robinson was united in matrimony in 1891, to Miss Fannie Shain. Mr. and Mrs. Robinson have had two children born to them, whose names are: Lillie and Nellie B.
Mr. Robinson has been instrumental in bringing about his own success, as well as the prosperity enjoyed in the farming community of that section of the county in which he resides, and has done his full share in its progress. He is a man of the strictest integrity, and is known for his thrift and good management, and enjoys the respect and high regard of all who know him.
JOHN A. HALL.
John A. Hall is an early Nebraskan who has made his success in the state and has always been much interested in the progress and development of county and state, and has been well known for his upright character and honest dealing. He was born in Edmeston, New York, April 7, 1844, eldest of the four children of Zachariah S. and Polly M. (Chase) Hall. He and his brother, Harvey D., are the only surviving members of the family. The father and mother were both natives of the state of New York, he born in Washington county and she in Pittsfield, and both died in that state, he in 1876 and she in 1890. Mr. Hall is a lineal descendant of an English ancestor of the name who came to America from England in 1640.
Mr. Hall reached maturity on the New York farm, receiving his elementary education in local schools and later attending Cooperstown Academy, and the Williston Seminary at Easthampton, Massachusetts. He taught several years in New York and later in the schools of Nebraska He was married in Willimantic, Connecticut, March 9, 1869, to Mrs. Eliza Burlingame, whose maiden name was Bull. She has one daughter by a former marriage: Addie, wife of Frank Benedict, of Hartford, Connecticut, who has three children. Two children were born to Mr. and Mrs. Hall: Herbert E., at home, and Frank G., married and living near Mason City.
Mr. and Mrs. Hall lived on the Hall homestead in New York until March, 1873, when they came with their small son to Hall county, Nebraska, securing a homestead of eighty acres near Grand Island. This place was their home until 1881, when they came on to Custer county and took up a timber claim of one hundred and sixty, acres, later pre-empting one hundred and sixty acres on section twenty-nine, township fifteen, range seventeen, which is still the home place. He helped organize school district number nine, and served for some time on its board. He is a good citizen and interested in everything pertaining to the general advancement of the interests of his community. He has been personally successful, has a well improved farm of three hundred and twenty acres of land. and is president of the Farmers' State Bank at Mason City, in which he is it stockholder.
The Halls are among the best known families in Custer county and have a large circle of friends.
He is a member of the Baptist church and in politics is a populist.
The family have lived out two "soddies" in Custer county and now occupy a neat frame cottage. One of their most terrifying experiences was in a cyclone which tore out the west side of their stable and landed it over on the east side. A son who was milking in the stable at the time was uninjured, nor were the cattle hurt; one calf, whose tether rope was new and strong, was carried over the roof with the timbers and killed.
In the blizzard of January 12, 1888, Mr. Hall and wife were in town; driving to the school house he got the children and drove home. Much of the way, however, he had to walk ahead and pilot the team through the blinding, icy midst. Nothing was raised in 1894, the dry year, and eleven years before, hail completely destroyed the growing crops, but with later success those early hardships are, but a memory.
E. R. LIBBY.
Located very pleasantly on section five, township twenty-five, range eight, Antelope county, Nebraska, is to be found the estimable gentleman whose name heads this biographical sketch. Mr. Libby has been identified with the history of Antelope county since pioneer days, and he has contributed largely to the upbuilding of the locality in which he makes his home. He is known as a man of industrious habits, and possesses persistent honesty of purpose and force of character, and is known as one of the leading influential early settlers of the county.
Mr. Libby is a native of Canada, born there near Prescott, November 1, 1847. His father, William Libby, died in Quebec, Canada, in 1852, when our subject was very small; his mother, Wealthy (Townsend) Libby, was of English and Scotch descent, born in 1808 in the state of Maine. Mr. Libby's two brothers, George and William, served their country's cause in the civil war.
In 1855, Mr. Libby came from Canada to the state of Indiana, then coming from there, June 28, 1866, to Johnson county, Nebraska, with his mother who filed on a homestead near Elk Creek, and after taking possession built a board house fourteen by twenty-two feet. Here the mother and son passed through many vicissitudes and hardships, suffering losses through the grasshopper raids of 1866 and 1873, and during the latter year they also suffered loss through the drouth and hot winds of that season; these discouraging incidents made it very hard for the lone widow and her son, and had it not been for a brother of our subject's who was a miller in Johnson county, and who gave timely assistance when needed, it would have been impossible for our subject and his mother to exist on the homestead.
Mr. Libby was united in matrimony to Miss Sarah Wright, and they became the parents of the
following children, namely: Martha, Wealthy, Clarence and Sylvia, the eldest is the wife of Joseph Wood, they having six children. Mr. Libby is a great-grandfather. Mrs. Libby died in June, 1878, deeply mourned by her husband and family and many relatives and friends.
On July 4, 1883, Mr. Libby again married, the bride being Miss Sarah Workman, who had a homestead in section five, township twenty-five range eight, in Antelope county. They are the parents of two children, namely: Fred, who is married to Miss Laura Buffington, living in Clearwater township; and Lula, wife of Walter Graham, they having one child. A picture of the family home is presented on another page.
Home of E. R. Libby.
Lewis Bitney, proprietor of one of the most valuable estates in Antelope county, Nebraska, has been a resident of that locality since 1874. He is prominently known throughout the county as one of the foremost farmers and stock men in Nebraska, and after many years of hard labor in building up his business is now prepared to enjoy the remaining years of his life in peace and comfort, surrounded by a host of good friends and acquaintances. He still looks after his farm and business affairs.
Mr. Bitney is a native of Franklin county, New York, where he was born, March 16, 1840, and is the son of Charles and Ruth (Marsailes) Bitney; the father was born in 1800, both parents being Canadians, the mother of French descent. The family migrated to Wisconsin in the fall of 1854, traveling by lake from Ogdensburg to Buffalo, thence by rail to Chicago, going from Chicago by lake to Milwaukee. He resided at Grafton for a year while recovering from the effects of a broken leg, the accident being the result of a runaway which occurred the day he was leaving New York; the horses were racing along the road when the buggy collided with another vehicle, throwing Mr. Bitney out and breaking his leg. A year later, the father bought forty acres of land in Sauk county, Wisconsin: this land was covered with heavy timber, and this the boy helped to clear, cutting some fifty thousand rails. At the outbreak of the civil war, Mr. Bitney was among the first to respond to his country's call, enlisting in Company H, Twelfth Wisconsin Volunteers, at Washington, Wisconsin, in September, 1861. Four brothers of Mr. Bitney also served in the civil war for different periods, all enlisting from the same state. Eli Bitney of Neligh, was a member of Company E, Eighth Wisconsin. This is the regiment that carried the famous eagle, "Old Abe," through the war. Moses, had his shoulder shattered at Prairie Grove, Arkansas, from the effects of which he died eight years later. Charles Bitney was taken prisoner at the battle of Richmond and was confined in Andersonville prison. Alfred enlisted in the Eighth Wisconsin, when the term of Eli expired.
Lewis Bitney, after participating in the Siege of Vicksburg, the battle of Jackson. and Balls bluff and the campaign around Atlanta, followed Sherman in his famous march to the sea and took part in the grand review at Washington at the close of the war. Mr. Bitney veteranized at Vicksburg, January 5, 1864, and was mustered out at Louisville, Kentucky, July 16, 1865, and discharged at Madison, Wisconsin, in September. The pay for the regiment was delayed and while waiting to sign the pay roll and receive his discharge, he helped his brother through harvest.
Mr. Bitney was married February 20, 1866, to Miss Laura Phelps. She was born at Alden, McHenry county, Illinois, a daughter of Waterman and Mary (Marble) Phelps, who moved from New York to Illinois in 1841, then to Wisconsin about 1850. Mr. and Mrs. Bitney are the parents of five children: Wesley, who married Miss Nellie Stone, resides in Neligh and has one child; Elbert, married to Miss Maggie Hart, now lives at Hageman, New Mexico; Anna, is the wife of John Goodell, resides at Rushville, Nebraska; Elton, married to Miss Lelia Hotaling; Frank, married to Miss Elizabeth Reutzel, has two children.
In 1874, Mr. Bitney packed a few of his belongings in a wagon and started with his family for the west. It required twenty-seven days to make the trip, camping along the route. After arriving at this destination in Holt county, Nebraska, he took up a homestead in section fifteen, township twenty-six, range five, on Willow creek, and here he lived until 1894. At that time he moved to a thirty-seven acre tract east of town, where he lived until 1903, when he bought his present home of one hundred and sixty acres in section nine, township twenty-five, range five. Soon after coming to Nebraska, Mr. Bitney took up a timber claim, also a pre-emption claim, selling these two claims to his sons later. When Mr. Bitney settled on his homestead he lived with his family in their wagon until November 17, when they moved into a small frame house, which was later replaced with it more substantial dwelling. They had hard times in those early days; many were the hardships the early settlers had to contend with. The grasshoppers destroyed the crops of Mr. Bitney three seasons, and then hot winds and drouth were the cause of heavy losses at times. The settlers were scattered and neighbors were far apart. At one time, Mrs. Bitney remained three days and two nights alone. Often the family fought prairie fires to save their home and property. One prairie fire that has not been forgotten was particularly severe. Wesley was compelled to lie down in a furrow that had just been made by his father, while the fire burned over him. Bert, then only nine years old, came along, being caught in the fire while going to his
© 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001 for NEGenWeb Project by T&C Miller, P Ebel, P Shipley, L Cook