Mr. Nissen's brothers were out in the blizzard of January 12, 1888; one was three miles from home, and with difficulty found his way back; the other, who was on his way to town, continued to his destination, reaching shelter almost frozen.
Mr. Nissen is a member of the German Lutheran church, and is an independent in politics, always voting for the best man.
In the gentleman above named, now deceased, we have one of the prosperous agriculturalists and leading citizens of Howard county, Nebraska. Mr. Lemburg passed through every form of pioneer life since locating here, and by dint of industry and good management managed to accumulate a valuable estate and become recognized as one of his county's substantial public-spirited citizens.
Mr. Lemburg was born in Germany on February 4, 1846, and grew up there, receiving the education usual to the middle classes in that country, and at the age of twenty years left his native land and came to America.
His first location after arriving was at Davenport, Iowa, where he remained for four years. He then decided to try his luck further west, so equipped with a good team of horses and a wagon, started to Nebraska, encountering many difficulties in traveling through the rough country, but arriving at Grand Island, without any serious mishap, after a long and tedious journey. He spent about two years in that vicinity, then moved to Howard county in 1871, filing on a homestead on Oak creek, situated on section eighteen, township thirteen, range eleven, which he lived on for many years. During the early years he endured much hardship in building up his home, but was able to add to his acreage, purchasing one hundred and sixty acres in section nineteen, which he also put in good shape, and at the time of his death he was the owner of four hundred and eighty acres of well improved land, supplied with fine buildings, etc. He had been engaged in the stock business for a number of years prior to his demise, and was enjoying a good income from his different operations.
Mr. Lemburg was married in Howard county, Nebraska, on August 12, 1876, to Minnie Nichofel, and of their union three children were born, two of whom are now living on the home farm with their mother. The son, Willie H. Lemburg, was born September 17, 1887, and is now running the Lemburg farm. He was raised in Howard county, receiving his early education in the local schools, and later attended college at St. Paul, Nebraska, and being a young man of energetic habits, industrious and progressive, has made the most of his advantages, now recognized as one of the successful and prosperous farmers of his locality. His sister, Frieda D., also lives on the home farm, and is a bright and charming young woman.
AMOS WILLIAM TRAVIS.
Among the highly esteemed and respected citizens and old timers of Nebraska, the subject of this biographical writing held a prominent place at the time of his demise, and his memory is cherished and held dear by all who knew him in his lifetime.
Amos William Travis, deceased, was of English descent, and born in Binghamtown, Pennsylvania, August 21, 1822. In childhood he went to New York with his parents, where he grew to manhood and engaged in farming. About 1846 or 1847, he went to Wisconsin, and on July 14, 1849, was united in marriage to Miss Eunice M. Crocker, who was born in Watertown, New York. Miss Crocker was for some years teacher in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, schools. Mr. and Mrs. Travis were blessed with seven children, namely: Jane, died in 1889, survived by her husband, George Byington, and two children; Ella, deceased in November, 1899, survived by her husband Orrin Rashaw, and three children; Fred, who is married and has eight children, lives in Valley county, Nebraska; Frank, married May Gibson, lives in Valley county, and has three children; Cora, died June, 1907, survived by her husband, Ferd Hollingsworth, and four children; William, deceased in August of 1901, and Mira, wife of Lysander Watson, has two children, and resides in Valley county.
Mr. and Mrs. Travis made their first home near Kingston, Columbia county, Wisconsin, on a farm. In 1876, Mr. Travis made a trip to Nebraska looking for a location in which to settle, and in May of 1878, moved with his family to Valley county. Here he timber-claimed eighty acres of land, and also homesteaded one hundred and sixty acres in section eighteen, township eighteen, range fourteen, where he lived until the time of his death, August 1, 1888, survived by his wife and seven children.
Mr. Travis was instrumental in organizing his school district, and served on the board of same for some years. He was one of the earliest settlers in his county, and was closely identified with its interests. He was a man who was held in high esteem by all who knew him, and his friends were many.
Mrs. Travis reached the mature age of eighty-two years, passing away March 2, 1911, on the old homestead, where she lived with her grandson, Jackson Rashaw, surrounded by a large circle of lifelong friends and acquaintances.
Fred Travis, son of Amos and Eunice (Crocker) Travis, was born in Wisconsin, November 17, 1848, and was third of seven children. He received his education in his native state, and later
engaged in farming, In 1878, he came with his parents to Valley county, Nebraska, and purchased eighty acres of railroad land in the south half of the northeast quarter of section thirteen, township eighteen, range fifteen, which is still his home place.
On February 21, 1886, Mr. Travis was married to Miss Addie Forbes, who was born near Winterset, Iowa, and came with her father, Frank Forbes, to Valley county in 1878. Mr. and Mrs. Travis have had eight children born to them, namely: Jennie, wife of Roy Juett, they having one child, and residing in Sioux City, Iowa; Oscar, a teacher in Nebraska schools, and Lucy, Christie, Alta, Chester, Helen and Alvin, at home.
Mr. Travis has served as treasurer on the school board of district number twenty-three a number of years, and has been a prosperous and successful man of affairs, owning three hundred and twenty acres of stock farm land, and two hundred and forty acres of fine grain farm. All during his Nebraska years, Mr. Travis has run a threshing machine, covering territory with a radius of thirty miles.
Frank Travis, son of Amos and brother of the foregoing subject, was born in Wisconsin, February 15, 1861, and was fourth in a family of seven children. In 1878 he came with his parents to Valley county, Nebraska, where he purchased, in 1883, an eighty-acre tree claim, which is still his home place.
On February 22, 1887, Mr. Travis was united in marriage to Miss Mary A. Morgan, who was born in Wales. Mr. and Mrs. Travis have had three children, namely: Ethel, and Horace and Hazel, twins, who all reside under the parental roof.
Mr. Travis has been prosperous and successful, and owns three hundred and twenty acres of well improved stock and grain farm land in section four, township eighteen, range fifteen. Mr. Travis has for twelve years served in the various offices of the school board of his district, number fifty-two.
The Travis family are one of the highly esteemed, well known old pioneer families of the state of Nebraska, and have been associated with its history since the very first days of settlement.
HERMAN F. BERGMANN.
Among the prosperous citizens of Madison county, Nebraska, who have spent many years in his locality, Herman F. Bergmann, subject of this biographical writing, may be mentioned as one of the foremost and best known men in his locality. Mr. Bergmann is owner of a valuable estate in Norfolk precinct, and is a young man with a promising future before him.
Mr. Bergmann is a native-born Nebraskan, his birth occurring in Madison county, March 25, 1873. He is a son of August and Amelia (Paswalk) Bergmann, the mother being a native of Wisconsin, and the father a native of Germany. Coming to America when he was but seventeen years of age, he embarked on a sailboat at Hamburg, and was eight weeks on the sea, before landing in New York. After arriving in the United States, he proceeded directly to Wisconsin, where he lived for several years, and while residing there, was married. During his residence in Wisconsin, he worked out at whatever his hands found to do.
In 1868 our subject's father, with his family, started for Madison county, Nebraska, coming by ox team, and were on the road seven weeks. After landing in Madison county, they took up a homestead in section twelve, township twenty-three, range one, which still remains the homestead farm, where our subject now resides. On this land the father built a log house, in which the family lived for ten years, then a good frame house was built.
In the first days of residence on the western frontier, our subject's parents suffered many hardships and discouragements, and about the greatest source of anxiety was the grasshopper pests which infested this region during the first few years' location here, destroying every spear of green for miles. The hot winds that prevailed during the season of drouth in 1894 were another source of discouragement, although this came upon them at a very much later day. In the early times, Columbus and Fremont were the nearest market places, being several miles distant, and the journey consuming three days for the trip back and forth. But those times of hardship and unpleasant experiences are days of the past, and now events of history, and with the present days of prosperity and plenty, there can be no repetition of those stirring incidents.
WATSON W. BISHOP.
Although not one of the first settlers of Custer county, Nebraska, Watson W. Bishop is classed among the earlier ones, and he has always been identified with the cause of progress along educational and various other lines in his county and central Nebraska. He was born in Piper City, Illinois, April 18, 1860, third of six children in the family of Lucas and Hannah (Watson) Bishop, natives of New York state, and now deceased. A son and a daughter now reside in Illinois, and the other daughter, Mrs. David Hannah, lives in Central City, Nebraska, being the only member of the family residing in that state, besides Watson W., the subject of this sketch.
Mr. Bishop, who was one of four sons, was reared on an Illinois farm, and received the usual education given a farmer's son. He remained at home until his twenty-first year, and in the spring of 1881 went to Grand Rapids, Michigan, and engaged in carpenter work, spending four years there. On June 25, 1880, he was married at Piper City to Miss Emma Thompson, daughter of James
M. and Margaret Thompson. In the spring of 1885, he and his wife, with their only child, left Grand Rapids for Lincoln, Nebraska, where they lived one year, then spent one year in Austin, Texas, and in the spring of 1887, with their daughter, Zoe, they came to Broken Bow, Nebraska.
Mr. Bishop engaged in business as contractor and builder, and did a great deal of work in erecting buildings in the then new town of Broken Bow. His father later acquired land on section ten, township seventeen, range twenty, in Custer county, and this farm became the home of the Bishop family in 1902, prior to which they had continued to reside in Broken Bow since first locating there. Mr. Bishop now owns a well equipped grain and stock farm of four hundred and eighty acres of land, which has suitable and substantial buildings. The land was unimproved when he came to live on it, and not only has he developed the farm for agricultural purposes, but he has also set out a very creditable orchard for the length of time he has spent in setting out and cultivating trees.
Mr. and Mrs. Bishop have two daughters, Zoe and Madge, both at home. The former, wife of Ollie Heaps, has one child, Margaret. Until 1905, Mrs. Bishop was for many years a teacher in the public schools of Custer county, also teaching for a time in Colfax and Logan counties, being a woman of high attainment and ability as an educator, and in this connection has left an impress upon the young men and women who have come under her influence and teaching. Her father served in the civil war, and his death occurred from exposure in January, 1863, while he was in service. Her mother is also deceased, and she has one brother, Ira Thompson, who lives in New Mexico.
FRANK M. EVENS.
A history of the men and events of north eastern Nebraska would be incomplete without extensive mention of F. M. Evens, one of the old settlers of Cedar county, who has been actively identified with the development and progress of his region. Mr. Evens is a native of Ohio, born in 1833, son of Thomas and Mary Evens. Thomas Evens, of Welsh descent, was born in Virginia, and his wife in Kentucky. The paternal grandfather served in the revolution, and Thomas Evens in the war of 1812. F. M. Evens was educated in Ohio, and reached maturity there. In 1864 he was drafted for service in the Civil war, but, on account of sickness, served but a short time in one of the Iowa regiments.
In 1884, Mr. Evens removed to Brown county, Nebraska, there took up a homestead, and erected a house. In 1890 be came to Cedar county, and later purchased his present farm on section nine, township twenty-nine, range one, east, where he has made many improvements, and now owns one of the best equipped stock and grain farms of his part of Cedar county. He is well deserving of the success that is his, and has won many warm friends, being recognized as a man of uprightness and integrity in all his dealings.
In 1859, Mr. Evens was united in marriage with Elizabeth Stork, a native of Germany, who came to America with her parents when seven years of age. Ten children have blessed their union, namely: Eliza, now Mrs. Charles A. Roberts; Julia, now Mrs. F. S. Carpenter; George C.; Lillie, now Mrs. F. E. Jones; Etta, wife of Robert Sceli; Charles; Harry L., and John P. Two daughters, Katie and Luella, are deceased.
Mr. Evens is inclined to democracy, and always has assisted in a public-spirited manner in the precinct affairs of his home locality.
JOHN L. DAVIS.
In the person of the above-mentioned gentleman we find one of the oldest settlers of Merrick county, recognized by all as one of the representative citizens of that locality, who has seen the growth and progress of that region from its early settlement.
John L. Davis was born in Morgan county, Ohio, June 6, 1841, and was eldest of nine children in the family of William P. and Hannah (Logan) Davis, who had five sons and four daughters. Mr. Davis was a farm boy, and received the district school advantages, and remained on the home farm in Noble county until time of his enlistment in the Civil war, in Company A, Thirty-sixth Ohio Volunteer Infantry, July 29, 1861. He participated in the battles of Lewisburg, Virginia, Chickamauga, Mission Ridge, Berryville, Winchester and Lynchberg, under Thomas and Sheridan. Mr. Davis had an excellent war record, and received his honorable discharge, September 3, 1864, when he returned to Noble county, where he engaged in the on business for two years.
On May 24, 1866, Mr. Davis was married to Miss Elenor H. Posten, who was also a native of Ohio. After marriage, Mr. Davis farmed in Morgan county one year, then moved to Muskingum county, Ohio, where he lived until 1872, and followed farming.
In the fall of 1872, Mr. Davis, with his wife and two children, moved to Merrick county, Nebraska, taking up a homestead on section thirty-two, township fourteen, range eight, which now joins the town of Palmer, and he sold this property about 1900. Mr. Davis was, therefore, one of the pioneer homesteaders of Merrick county.
In the spring of 1888, Mr. Davis began business in the new town of Palmer, dealing in farm implements, becoming one of the pioneer businessmen of Palmer, and has continued in the implement business to this date. He has a fine implement house, and enjoys a large trade. Mr. Davis in past years has been connected with the political progress of the county, and, besides his busi-
ness in Palmer, has land interests in Wyoming.
Mr. and Mrs. Davis have had five children, four of whom are living: Elizabeth P., wife of A. T. Ferris, has seven children, find resides in Palmer, Nebraska; Frank T., married, has six children, and lives in Wheatland, Wyoming; Ann E., wife of A. J. McClellan, has four children, and resides in Nance county, Nebraska, and Elsie M. wife of R. P. Linderman, has one child, and lives in Palmer.
Mr. and Mrs. Davis and family are of the Pioneer stock of Merrick county, and in social and educational circles are well known, having the respect and esteem of many friends.
John Ickler, of Creighton, now retired, is one of the many thrifty sons of the fatheland [sic] who has won a competency for himself in the new world. He was born in the village of Allendorf, province of Hesse-Nassau, April 17, 1850, and spent the first nineteen years of his life in the old country, employed at farm labor. His parents, Siebert and Catherine (Reitz) Ickler, died in their native province.
On emigrating, he sailed from the haven of Bremen in November, 1869, and in ten days landed in New York. Coming west, he found work in Cook county, near Chicago, for a short time, and then went to Chatsworth, where he remained until. near harvest time, when he came to Omaha, and found work in the grain fields a mile or two out of town. Here he was found to be so efficient and industrious that he remained one and one half years with the same man, working on his farm or in his mill at West Point.
Desiring possessions of his own, he took what money he had saved, and filed on a homestead, nine miles northwest from West Point, in Cuming county, which he occupied about six years. He then sold and rented for two years, after which he came to Knox county, reaching Creighton in November, 1880, before the railroad had been laid into town. He ran a dray in town nine years, during which time he built a comfortable home. Seeing more rapid prosperity in farming, he sold his town property, and purchased a quarter section, five miles south of Creighton, in Antelope county, and lived there twenty-one years, adding to his possessions until he accumulated four hundred and eighty acres of fine farm and grazing land. Retaining two hundred acres for his own use, he divided the rest between two of his sons, and retired from active farming. He purchased from his son, Siebert, a neat concrete cottage in Creighton, where he is with his wife and younger daughters, taking life easy, free from the worry of whence is to come his daily bread. He well merits the rest he is enjoying; it was by hard, persistent toil his success has been won.
Mr. Ickler was married at West Point, October 3, 1872, to Miss Anna Lobel, a native of the village of Altdorf, in Bavaria. Her father, George Lobel, came to America about 1872, and was one of the early settlers of Cuming county. Of the nine children born to Mr. and Mrs. Ickler, seven are living: Paul, farming on part of the old home farm in Antelope county; Siebert, who for a number of years was a prosperous blacksmith in Creighton, sold his residence to his father, and took up a claim near Wall, South Dakota, running a shop at his new ranch when not busy on the land; William, farms a part of the old farm near his eldest brother; Katie, married George Romine, a farmer of Knox county; Margaret, wife of Fred Hoffman, occupies the old home in Antelope county, and Bertha and Elsa are still under the parental roof.
Mr. Ickler has lived in Nebraska in three of the memorable blizzards - that of 1874, the one of October 15, 1880, and the one of January 12, 1888. His first house in Cuming county was a dug-out of the usual type, which was later supplanted by a frame dwelling, the timber being hauled from West Point. The country was all open when Mr. Ickler came, with no fences to impede travel in any direction. Prairie wolves were plentiful, and occasionally big grey wolves from the timber along the river were seen straying into the prairie in search of a calf or hog that had wandered too far from the herd.
Mr. Ickler is a republican in polities, and, with his family, a member of the German Lutheran church.
Jonas Nelson illustrates in his career the strong virtues and manly qualities of his teutonic ancestry, and, like them, defies any danger, and overcomes any hindering obstacle. Never afraid of hard work, he has made his own way entirely, and is well known to the people of Stanton county as one of the prosperous and prominent farmers of that locality.
Mr. Nelson was born in 1849, in Schleswig, Holstein, Germany, and is the son of John and Nellie Nelson.
His childhood years were spent in the old country, where he recevied [sic] his education. As he grew up, he was for several years employed in local factories. In 1877 he was united in marriage to Miss Minnie Mawz, a native of Germany.
In 1881 Mr. Nelson, with his little family, left his native land, and cattle to the new world, which they imagined - and with truth - had so much for them in the future. They came at once to Washington county, Nebraska, where Mr. Nelson worked a rented farm for several years. Ten years later be came to Stanton county, where he bought a farm in section five, township twenty-one, range two, east, which has been the home farm ever since. Since he bought this place, he
has improved it in many ways, and it is now a picture of thrift and plenty.
Mr. and Mrs. Nelson are the parents of five children, upon whom they have bestowed the following names: Charles, William, Gusta, Emma and Mary. They enjoy the respect and esteem of a large circle of friends.
William Brookhouser, of Orchard, Nebraska, is an old settler in that part of the state, having come to Knox county over twenty-one years ago. He is a native of Iowa, born in 1858, and came west at an early day. During his residence in Nebraska, he has taken an active part and done his share toward the development of the agricultural resources of this part of the state.
ALEXANDER L. MATHEWS, M. D.
Dr. Alexander L. Mathews owns desirable business interests in Custer county, and has an extensive practice in the vicinity of Callaway. He is interested in local and state politics, and is recognized as a public-spirited, enterprising citizen. He was born in Bradford county, Pennsylvania, February 18, 1849, fourth of the seven children of John and Eliza (Waltman) Mathews. The only ones of the family who still survive, besides himself, are: Sarah, Mrs. Kenyon, of Bradford county; Lewis, of Tioga county, New York, and Mrs. Minerva J. Reining, of Picture Rocks, Pennsylvania. The father was of English descent, and was born at Morris, New Jersey. He spent most of his life in Pennsylvania, and worked most earnestly for the progress and development of Bradford county, where he died in 1888. His father, Aaron Mathews, served in the war of 1812. The mother of Alexander L. Mathews was born in Luzerne county, Pennsylvania, of German extraction, and died in Bradford county in 1885.
Dr. Mathews reached manhood on the farm where he was born, and received his elementary education in local schools. In 1874 he graduated front the American University, of Philadelphia, where he had taken a medical course, and in 1882 graduated from Eclectic Medical Institute, of Cincinnatti. In 1874 he had spent some time in the Blockley hospital in West Philadelphia, where he had clinical experience, and in 1893 he took a post-graduate course in medicine and surgery at the Bennett Medical College in Chicago.
On January 1, 1870, in Bradford county, Pennsylvania, Dr. Mathews was united in marriage with Miss Laura Strevey, who was born in Bradford, and who died in Pennsylvania in 1875, survived by her husband and two children - Lillian, who died in 1904, leaving her husband, Samuel Idell, and two children, and Willard V., who is married, and living at, Lincoln, Nebraska.
In 1886 Dr. Mathews came with his family to Fremont, Nebraska, and for six months engaged in drug business and cared for his medical practice. In October of the same year, he came on to Callaway, and established a practice which has since steadily increased. He has a high reputation, professionally, and stands well in the community in all circles.
Dr. Mathews was married (second) in Bradford county, to Mrs. Adelaide Brown, whose maiden name was Wilcox, a native of the county and a teacher in Pennsylvania schools. When Dr. and Mrs. Mathews decided to locate in Callaway, it was some six weeks before he could make arrangements to leave his practice, and Mrs. Mathews came on ahead, and opened the first hotel in Callaway. Both have taken an active interest in the growth of the town, and in the welfare and upbuilding of the community. Dr. Mathews was one of the organizers of the Seven Valleys State Bank, of Callaway, and was its president for twelve years. While he has always continued in medical practice, be has helped various enterprises to get a start, was for six years engaged in mercantile business, has been quite extensively interested in the stock business, and has also had a retail drug business. In 1887 he helped organize the Callaway school district, and for seven years served as secretary of the board. For six consecutive years he was chairman of the town board, and he has always been influential in public affairs. In early years he was one of the prime movers in establishing a flour mill at Callaway, the only one within a radius of twenty-five miles, and a great help to the community.
While Dr. Mathews has at different times had extensive and varied business interests, his profession has taken the first place in his life at all times, and he has always kept abreast of the times in the line of medical work. He has read the literature of the profession, and belongs to various Medical societies. During the years 1895, 1896 and 1897, he was a member of the facility of Lincoln Medical College as lecturer on dermatology. Throughout the years he has been a patriotic Nebraskan, and is well known throughout the central part of the state.
Dr. Mathews is a strong believer in the spiritual, and all through his professional practice as a physician the spiritual feature has been a dominant one with him. Frequently, when it is apparent that the soul of a mortal is near the call to the great beyond, he has administered in this capacity, much to the relief and comfort to the one afflicted, and to those so soon to be bereft of a loved one. The peculiarities of the settlement of a new country, with its abnormal distances to neighboring homes, has made this a necessary part of his professional practice. Frequently his ardent prayers have given comfort to a departing soul when the life and end of a sufferer needed consolation, and when the services of clergyman was not to he had.
STEPHEN N. ARNOLD.
While not of the very oldest settlers of Nebraska, Stephen N. Arnold is considered one of the reliable men of Valley county, where he has lived for the past nineteen years, and the Arnold family has intermarried with some of the old Valley county families. Mr. Arnold resides on section twenty, township nineteen, range thirteen, where he owns three hundred and twenty acres of fine land, and where he raises stock. This farm is well equipped, and has good buildings.
Mr. Arnold was born in a log house in Warren county, Iowa, March 15, 1851, and was eldest of six children in the family of James and Margaret (Durham) Arnold, who had five sons and one daughter. The father was a native of Indiana, and the mother a native of Maine. The father and family moved from Warren to Jones county, Iowa, in 1852, remaining until 1859, when they moved to Marion county, living there ten years, then moving to Lucas county, and residing there several years. The father died here in 1886, and the mother passed away in the winter of 1892. Of the family now living there are: Stephen N. Arnold, the subject of this review; William, who lives in Minnesota, and Abraham L., who lives on the old homestead in Lucas county, Iowa. The Arnold family were pioneers of Iowa, and the mother's family, the Durhams, were pioneers of Iowa before its admittance as a state.
Mr. Arnold was given his time by his father, and started out for himself on attaining his twentieth year. He was married to Miss Margaret A. Carmichael in Lucas county, Iowa, November 13, 1872. Her father, Solomon E. Carmichael was a native of North Carolina, and the mother, Elizabeth Young in maidenhood, was a native of Indiana. Mr. and Mrs. Arnold have nine children, namely: Emma Jane, wife of A. J. Litz, has three children, and resides in Rock county, Nebraska; Della E., who is married to Albert McMindes, has three children, and lives in Ord; Charles G., farming with his brother, James; James S., who is married and living on the Wigent farm adjoining his father's land; Bertha May, wife of L. W. Seerley, has two children, and lives on the Van Wie farm in Springdale township, and Benjamin H., David D., Verl E. and Lela Pearl, who reside at home.
Mr. and Mrs. Stephen Arnold lived in Lucas county, Iowa, until coming to Valley county, Nebraska, in March of 1893, when they moved on the farm purchased in the fall of 1892, on section twenty, township nineteen, range thirteen. Mr. Arnold was a farmer and stock man in Iowa, and since coming to Valley, county has continued to farm and raise stock. He now as a fine farm of three hundred and twenty acres, known as Pleasant Grove Grain and Stock farm, on which a commodious dwelling and large, roomy barn were built within the last few years. We are pleased to call attention to a view of the dwelling and surroundings illustrating another page of the book.
Mr. Arnold has lived most of his life on the frontier. At the time of his birth, wolves were plentiful in Warren county, and each successive move of the family was into a new country with few settlers, and these far between. For years the mother cooked the family meals in an open oven before a wood fire on the hearth or in a skillet with coals heaped on top, as well as packed in below, and though for long periods johnny cake and sorghum formed the principal, if not the only diet, it was wholesome and nourishing, and to keen young appetites, tasted good. There was usually a small sack of wheat flour in the cabin for biscuit Sunday morning or when a chance visitor remained with them for a meal, and the hope of such fare made visitors doubly welcome to the children, to whom hot, white biscuit were a great treat.
Mr. Arnold has always taken a keen interest in matters pertaining to the welfare of his adopted county, always standing for advancement along progressive and educational lines. He is a republican in politics, has served the people as treasurer of Springdale tonwship [sic], and also as township assessor.
"Pleasant Grove Grain and Stock Farm," Residence of Stephen N. Arnold.
JOHN W. BRYAN.
One of the best known farmers of Custer county, Nebraska, is John W. Bryan, who has brought his homestead to a high state of improvement and productiveness. Mr. Bryan was born in Clay county, Illinois, December 6, 1849, being third in a family of seven children born to William H. and Martha C. (Brinn) Bryan, the father of English and the mother of Scotch descent. The father was born in Tennessee, and the mother in Illinois; her mother was born in South Carolina and at the age of fifteen came with her parents to Shelbyville, Illinois. The family is mentioned elsewhere in this work in connection with others of its members. The paternal grandfather, Gilson T. Bryan, was a minister of the Christian church. William H. Bryan served in the Civil war and was killed in April, 1862, at the battle of Pittsburg Landing. His wife died in Illinois in October of 1862. They have one son at Taylorville, Illinois, one daughter at Girard, Illinois, one daughter in California, and the subject of this sketch, who survive, their other children being. deceased.
Mr. Bryan grew to manhood in the family of an uncle, John W. Bryan, and received his education in his native county, later engaging in farming there. On December 23, 1874, he was married, in Clay county, to Sarah Ingraham, a native of that state, who died in July, 1876. In March, 1877, Mr. Bryan came to Custer county and homesteaded on one hundred and sixty acres of land, comprising the southeast quarter of section nine, township sixteen, range seventeen,
which has since been his home. He filed on this land October 27, 1877, being the first homesteader on Clear creek in Custer county; at that time doer, elk and antelope were plentiful, three being killed in one day about this time near his home.
On April 10, 1883, Mr. Bryan married (second), in Westerville, Nebraska, Miss Anna Dunlap, a native of Ohio. The Dunlap family settled in Nebraska in the seventies. Mrs. Bryan died on the home farm April 15, 1893, survived by her husband and the following five children: Winfield S., Daniel W., Wilbert M., Francis M., at home, and John, who died at the age of six years.
Mr. Bryan is enthusiastically interested in all that pertains to the general welfare, and has been closely identified with the progress of his county, having held various township offices and performed every duty that fell to him as a citizen. He is a republican in politics, and a member of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows and the American Order of Protection.
Mr. Bryan has a fine stock and grain farm, and gives much attention to bees, having many stands of hives. His place contains substantial outbuildings, the neat cottage dwelling having been erected in 1910. We give an illustration of the home on its elevation, with other buildings conveniently grouped, making an excellent farm residence.
Mr. Bryan was three miles away from home at a sale when the well-known blizzard of January 12, 1.888, began. Being familiar with every foot of the surrounding country, he had no difficulty in making his way home. Among the early discouragements were hailstorms on July 4, 1880, and July 3, 1885, and the drouth of 1894, when Mr. Bryan fed an old crop of wheat to his hogs, thus saving them.
"Elm Hill Farm," Residence of John W. Bryan.
Among the well-to-do retired farmers of Pierce county, the gentleman above mentioned, who has spent many years as a tiller of the soil, and during that time through industry, thrift and good management, has accumulated a valuable estate, is accorded a foremost place. He has passed through the severest experiences of pioneer life, has been an earnest and faithful citizen, and well merits the success and high station to which he has attained.
August Roepke was born February 26, 1836, in the village of Mandelsloh, province of Hanover, Germany, and as a boy attended the parochial school kept by an old soldier named Depmering, who had served in the Russian campaign under Napoleon. After leaving school, August secured employment as an errand boy and continued at that until he was eighteen years of age, then learned the shoemakers trade and followed it for about six years. During the hostilities between Hanover and Prussia, he served in the army for a short time, at the close of the war returning home.
In 1868 he came to America with a brother, Henry, who settled in Illinois, acquired a good farm and has reared a large family of boys, most of them now in business in Chicago. On the trip from Germany, which was made on the "Deutchland," which was later lost at sea, they had a very stormy voyage but finally landed in New York safely. Our subject located in Chicago, obtaining employment with a railroad construction company, and was sent to Wisconsin where be worked at grade work and later bridge building, but this labor proving too heavy, he found work on a farm in Eaton county and remained there two years.
He was very saving, and when he had gotten quite a little money together, came to Pierce county, Nebraska, in the fall of 1870, at which time there were only two or three houses in the county seat. He filed on a homestead located on the edge of the present site of Osmond, when there was no obstruction in the open prairie for miles around. He went through pioneer experiences there, for many years receiving frequent visits from bands of Indians, some of them proving very troublesome but by treating them kindly he won the good will of the chief, who, to show his appreciation, presented him with a large black hat many sizes too big for him, so he passed it on to a friend, Herman Kort, who kept it as a highly prized relic of the early days. Another odd experience once befell him in fording a stream on the way home from Pierce; his wagon box floated off the trucks and landed safely on the shore, but in order to recover a bucket that had fallen into the water Mr. Roepke waded out up to his arm pits, and as a result of this exposure suffered a hard cold followed by a decline, and for twenty years he was afflicted with consumption, at one time being so low and death seemingly so near, that a neighbor brought lumber from Wisner to make his coffin. He begun to get better and now jokingly relates the circumstance, stating that the boards were afterwards stolen. Although now well along in the seventies, he is seemingly in the best of health, and will not need a "wooden overcoat" for some time to come.
After the title to his homestead had been perfected, Mr. Roepke sold the land and took up a timber claim, and bought other land which he operated as a farm for a number of years. This he sold in 1889, and purchased another tract located near Pierce, dealing in farm lands from time to time. In 1909 he disposed of all his land interests, putting his money into securities that required no labor, and he is at present residing in Pierce, where he settled in 1898, having built a comfortable residence, and occupying his time in buying stock.
Mr. Roepke was married to Miss Wilhelmina Rogge, a native of Wisconsin. Mrs. Roepke died at Pierce, April 21, 1903, survived by her husband
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