is a native of Franklin county, New York, born December 26, 1847. His parents emigrated to Illinois, residing in Cook county for about thirteen years then going to Bremer county, Iowa, where his mother died in 1880. His father's death occurred at the same place in 1887.
Bryon made his home on his father's farm until attaining his majority, then started farming for himself and continued in that work for several years. For a time he was engaged in the livery business at Nashua, then removed to New Hampshire and ran a livery barn there for eight years. On June 18, 1884, he came to Nebraska, and settled on a homestead situated twelve miles west of Creighton occupying a dugout for a number of years. Here he raised large crops of grain, mostly oats and corn, and fed and shipped stock profitably and corn, and fed and shipped stock profitably for many years (sic). He succeeded in building up a fine ranch, erecting a comfortable dwelling in 1894, and this was their residence until 1905, when he built a fine house, which compares favorably with any in his county.
When Mr. Dana first came into Nebraska were there were no fences to enclose pastures, and cattle that were not kept in herds were tethered on the prairie with a lariat. After getting into the stock business more extensively, he managed to build some fence and finally got his place in such shape that he could pasture his stock on his own land if he so desired. During this time also, they were obliged to use corn more or less for fuel which was found to be very expensive, so he gathered brush and driftwood which was found along Verdigris creek, and in this work he was assisted by his daughters, who proved to be a great help to him in all the work on the ranch, as he had no sons. At one time the girls cared for and milked sixteen cows.
At the beginning of the blizzard of 1888, Mr. Dana was a mile from home in the valley of the Verdigris creek, and, although the storm was terrific, he easily found his way to his residence, taking with him some cattle which had been browsing along the creek. He also went to the school house and took his children home, while the teacher and other pupils spent the entire night in the building.
Mr. Dana was married in Iowa, on January 1, 1868, to Miss Sarah Silsbee, who was born in the same county as himself, in New York state, and came to Iowa with her parents when she was a young girl. Two children were born to Mr. and Mrs. Dana, Viola May, who is the wife of Jerome Sharp, of Creighton. and Ada Belle, wife of Halsey Stocking, also of Creighton. Mrs. Dana died September 13, 1908, on the old homestead. Mr. Dana makes his home with his daughter, Mrs. Stocking.
Politically, Mr. Dana is an independent voter. He is a member of the Presbyterian church, and belongs to the Creighton clan of Royal Highlanders.
Among the progressive and energetic farmers of Stanton county, Nebraska, who have contributed to the wealth of this section, by their farming operations, a high station is accorded the gentleman whose name is given above. He has made his home here for a number of years, and has acquired a valuable estate located in section three. He is a man of active public spirit, and has made friends wherever he has come in contact with others.
Mr. Petersen is another one of the adopted sons of the state, as he first saw the light of day in the province of Schleswig-Holstein, Germany, in 1878. His parents, D. and Margaret Petersen, had a small farm from which they obtained their living. The early years of our subscriber were spent in Germany; but when he was eleven years old, his parents determined to move to the new country of America, thinking that there they would be able to better provide for their family. In 1889, they came to Washington county, Nebraska, where they remained here until 1896, when they again moved, this time coming to Stanton county, where they bought a farm, which has been their home ever since. They have made extensive improvements on the land, and the property is now very valuable.
As they did not come during the very earliest years of the settlement of the state, they escaped many of the hardships which beset the earlier pioneers. However, they have had to exercise considerable economy and thrift in order to build up their property as rapidly as they have.
In 1908, the subscriber was united in marriage to Miss Fannie Bowman, of Stanton. They have two children, William and Arthur.
Mr. Petersen is a man of public spirit and ham, aided materially in the upbuilding of the community, and for the past six years has served his school district as a director.
Nick Oberle, an agriculturist of prominence in Knox county, Nebraska, is one of those substantial citizens whose integrity and industry, thrift and economy have added so much to the material wealth and growth of Nebraska. Mr. Oberle's neat and attractive home is situated in section thirty-five, township thirty-one, range six, and here he and his wife and family reside, surrounded by a host of friends and acquaintances.
Mr. Oberle is a native of Iowa, being born in that state in the year 1868, and is a son of August and Augusta (Schimmelpfennig) Oberle, both natives of Germany; the father was nine years old when he came to America, embarking on a sail boat, and was seven weeks on the sea.
Mr. Oberle came to Holt county, Nebraska, in 1880, remaining ten years; later, in 1891, coming to Knox county, Nebraska, where he took a pre-
emption claim on which he built a house; from which beginning he has made fast improvements until now he has a good farm and residence. He has been very fortunate since coming here. About the only loss he has experienced was during the drouth of 1894 when he suffered a slight failure of crops through the hot winds that prevailed in that season.
In 1891, Mr. Oberle was united in marriage to Miss Lavina Titus, and Mr. and Mrs. Oberle are the parents of five children, whose names are as follows: Myrtle, Florence, Claud, Eva and George. They are a fine family and enjoy the respect and esteem of all, and have a wide circle of kind friends and acquaintances, as before stated.
Mr. Oberle is a man of high repute in his community and his sterling qualities have made for him an enviable reputation in his thirty odd years of residence in northeastern Nebraska. In politics Mr. Oberle is a democrat, and he is now serving his fourth year as assessor of Sparta precinct.
George Laughlin is a successful farmer who passed through the pioneer years of Custer county, and thereby earned his present position and prosperity. He was born in Scotland, February 21, 1862, the youngest child of George and Marian (Brown) Laughlin. Four sons and one daughter now survive and George Laughlin has one brother, Robert, in Washington; two brothers, William and John, live in Colorado; his sister, Mrs. Robert Taylor, lives in Virginia. The mother died in Scotland when George was but eleven months old and the father died when he was but two years of age. When he was about four years old he was brought by his brothers and sister to Cape Breton, and there the brother James married and held the little family together until about 1869, when they came to the United States and settled in Pennsylvania. In 1870 the oldest brother went to Colorado and two years later James, John, Robert and George, joined him there, the sister remaining in Pennsylvania, where she had married.
For about seven years George Laughlin lived with his oldest brother in Colorado, and in 1879, on his seventeenth birthday, he went to work for the L-F cattle outfit in that state, remaining with them until 1882, on October 2nd of which year he came to Custer county. He took up a homestead on section six, township sixteen, range nineteen, and still lives on his original homestead. He was married in township sixteen, February 4, 1884. to Amanda Hastings, daughter of Julius and Isabella Hastings, pioneers of the county, the Hastings homestead being the first entry in that immediate neighborhood and taken out in 1879. Mr. Hastings died there January 9, 1890, and his widow died at the home of her daughter, Mrs. J. E. Wood, in Broken Bow, in August, 1905. She was survived by three sons and five daughters.
Mr. and Mrs. Laughlin had two children, Gertie, born on the homestead in September 1884, died October 8, 1892, and Ella, who lives at home, whose birth occurred there in 1887. Mr. Laughlin owns, besides this homestead, one hundred and sixty acres of land adjoining it on the west. His farm is well improved and equipped and there is little to remind him of its state when he came to it. In early years he spent some time freighting out of Kearney, Lexington and Plum Creek, but in later years has devoted his time and attention exclusively to farming and stock raising. He is known as one of the most progressive and enterprising citizens of the county and is highly respected.
JOSEPH M. KEATING.
Joseph M. Keating, who owns and operates one hundred and sixty acres of land on section seventeen, township nineteen, range fourteen Valley county, Nebraska, is one of the substantial, farmers and highly esteemed citizens of his community. He is a pioneer of his county, where he has been engaged in farming for the past twenty-eight years.
Joseph M. Keating, son of Joseph R. and Margaret (Miller) Keating, was born in Pittsburg, Pennsylvania, in September, 1852, and was fifth in a family of eight children; he has three sisters residing in Pennsylvania, the other children being deceased, as are also the parents. The father passed away in the year 1865, and the mother in 1898, the death of each occurring in Pennsylvania.
Our subject received his education in local schools of his native state, and later learned the plasterer's trade. In the spring of 1884 Mr. Keating came to Valley county, Nebraska, settling in the Mira Valley, living the first year in a dug out.
On June 19, 1887, Mr. Keating was married to Miss Edna C. Cromwell, who was born in Wisconsin but came to Nebraska with her parents in 1880. She is a daughter of Charles and Helen (Avery) Cromwell, natives of New Hampshire and New York. Mr. and Mrs. Keating have had five children, namely: Francis J., E. Lyle, Marcus H., John W. and Eleanor G., all of whom reside under the parental roof. Mrs. Keating's parents reside in Ord, while four sisters reside in Valley county and a brother in Oklahoma.
In 1886 Mr. Keating purchased two hundred and forty acres of land, in Lower Mira Valley, living there about one year, and then traded for land further up the valley. In 1893 he moved with his family to Pennsylvania, farming near Pittsburg for about twelve years, renting the farm belonging to Mrs. Keating's father, and, returning to Nebraska in 1906, bought two hun-
dred and forty acres in Springdale township. In 1908 he purchased one hundred and sixty acres of land in section seventeen, township nineteen, range fourteen, which is now his home place. In the spring of 1910 he built a fine modern residence of eight rooms, supplied with gas and heated by the hot water system. The dwelling is of imposing architecture and the barn is in keeping with the house. We are pleased to call attention to a view of this fine property elsewhere in our work.
Mr. Keating is a successful man of affairs, interested in all pertaining to the welfare of his home state and county, and is widely and favorably known. He is a republican in politics, and served as treasurer of his school district, number sixty-five, for several years; he is now moderator in the district where he resides.
Mr. Keating just escaped being caught out in the blizzard of 1888, having hitched his team to the wagon to go for hay when the storm struck. It was with difficulty that he got the horses back to their stalls and regained the house.
"Valley View Farm," Residence of Joseph M. Keating.
The Empire state has contributed many of her sturdy sons to the growing west, and among them were several members of the Turner family.
Denny Turner was born in the village of Depeyster, St. Lawrence county, New York, November 11, 1842. He was the seventh in a family of eleven children born to Elisha and Julia (Hydorn) Turner, all of whom attained a good old age, there being no break in the family until 1908 when two of the brothers died; the eldest has attained more than four score years.
At the age of eighteen, Denny Turner found employment in the foundry at Depeyster, where he worked until the outbreak of the Civil war. Enlisting in Company G, Sixteenth New York Volunteers, our subject served eighteen months, when he was discharged for disabilities after suffering for months in the hospital at Brooklyn. During his active service, he participated in the first battle of Bull Run, at City Point, Malvern Hill, Chickahominy, and a number of small engagements, in one of which he received a wound in the head from a piece of shell as his command was lying down in a clearing the confederates were shelling.
For three years after the war Mr. Turner was unable to work, so severe had been his illness. When he was sufficiently recuperated to work again, he found employment on a dairy farm on which he was engaged until coming west in 1879. He reached Norfolk, Nebraska, in September of that year, and soon engaged the Lucas farm, near Pierce, but had to abandon it after a few nights, owing to the immense hordes of sand fleas that infested the place; his children were kept awake all night by the pests, which gave them no rest. Returning to Norfolk, he shortly after rented the Babcock farm, two miles west of Pierce, and remained on the place until on a homestead in March, 1881, four miles east of where Osmond now stands.
After filing on the land he hauled a small amount of lumber, about six dollars worth, from Norfolk, and built a shack in which they lived through the first season. The roof leaked and many times the water ran down into their bunks which were built against the side of the room. At one time there were several inches of water on the dirt floor, and hay was carried in and spread thickly on the ground to get their feet above water. A pig that was brought them as a present by Joseph Forsythe got into the oven to keep warm and dry, so bad was the weather.
In making good his contest of a prior claim before he could homestead the tract, Mr. Turner had to go to Niobrara City, and so deep was the snow and so bad the traveling over the open unbroken prairie that it took a week to make the round trip.
He planted a grove and an orchard, and in 1884 built a good substantial dwelling. He added to his farm a tract of eighty acres lying just across the road, and later transferred it to his two eldest sons. Until 1903, Mr. Turner resided on the homestead, and then purchased a residence in Osmond, Nebraska, and retired from hard labor, of which he has had his share. On coming to the west, he had for years been in poor health, weighing only eighty-four pounds. The western climate wrought a great change in him, making him a rugged, hardy man.
Mr. Turner was married at Ogdensburg, New York, November 9, 1864, to Miss Cornelia Johnson, whose parents, John and Mary (Sayer) Johnson, were natives of England, emigrating in their youth with their parents to northern New York.
Mr. and Mrs. Turner are the parents of six children, and they are all living, the names of whom are as follows; Hubert, who returned to New York, and has a dairy farm two miles from the village of Depeyster; Alden, has a farm in Knox county, Nebraska; Pleasant, married William Chappel; Royal is a well-known auctioneer and real estate man, and has an office in Osmond; Julia, is the wife of Abraham Chappel; and John, occupies the old homestead east of Osmond.
When Mr. Turner settled in his homestead, the country was open to the mountains; not a fence to cut off travel in any direction. Deer were to be seen occasionally and antelope were not all gone. At one time when living near Pierce, Mr. Turner saw twenty-eight deer in one drove; they were frequently in the corn there, and at one time Indians killed one in his dooryard.
Mr. and Mrs. Turner revisited the scenes of their old home in New York in 1908 in time to see all the children of the Turner family, two of them passing away shortly after, as stated above. While here, Mr. Turner recalled an incident of
his childhood, when he and a boy companion waded into an overflowed meadow and speared fish when the ice was not all off the overflowed tract. Although their families made good use of their catch on the table, the boys received the usual chastisement for risking their health in the icy water. But sparing the rod was not a custom in those days. Mr. Turner relates having received a dozen threshings at times in one day when things did not go right, such was the stern New England discipline. But all this is changed; milder methods prevail, much to the comfort of the young.
Mr. Turner was living in Pierce, Nebraska, during the winter of the deep snow and was out in part of the blizzard of 1888; his children at school found shelter at the house of a neighbor and made their way home next day. Dances were frequent in the early days, and Mr. Turner was one of the merriest at them, and in fact is still a figure on the dancing floor when the music is lively.
Mr. Turner is independent in politics, and was formerly a comrade in the Grand Army of the Republic.
HENRY M. WHITNEY.
Henry M. Whitney, who is owner of a fine farm on section fourteen, township sixteen, range twelve, in Howard county. He was born in Cotesfield precinct, November 2, 1879, is a brother of Zachariah F. Whitney, and son of Chas. A. and Delia M. Whitney, a sketch of whose lives appears below.
Mr. Whitney received his education in the common schools here, assisting his father in carrying on the home farm up to the time he became of age, then started out for himself, following farming and stock raising.
In 1908 he purchased a tract of land on section fourteen, in Cotesfield precinct, which he now occupies, consisting of two hundred and forty acres, and has one of the best equipped places in the vicinity. The farm is supplied with good buildings of all kinds, and its owner is fast becoming widely known as a practical, up-to-date and successful agriculturist and stockman, and with his family, among the prominent residents of Howard county.
Mr. Whitney was married at St. Paul, Nebraska, on November 28, 1907, to Miss Pearl E. Crandall, who was born in Iowa and came to Howard county in 1899, with her parents, the ceremony being performed by the Rev. Underwood at the Methodist parsonage. They have one son, Dale Crandall.
ZACHARIAH F. WHITNEY.
This gentleman, a prominent member of the younger farming fraternity in Howard county, Nebraska, was born in the vicinity in which he now resides, on November 12, 1877, and his entire career has been passed here.
Zachariah F. Whitney was educated in the local schools, remaining on the home farm up to his twenty-second year, then attended the United Brethren College at York, Nebraska, for three terms, and on returning home rented the place of his father and started farming on his own account. He ran the farm successfully for a number of years, then purchased one hundred and twenty acres on section nineteen, township sixteen, range eleven, adjoining his present home on section twenty, which comprises one of the finest properties in the locality. It is situated on the North Loup river bottom, and fully equipped with substantial buildings and improvements of all kinds, and Mr. Whitney is recognized as one of the leading young men of his community.
On December 12,1904, Mr. Whitney was married in Red Cloud, Nebraska, to Lillian Dell Ramey, whose parents are among the prominent old settlers in Nebraska, coming here in 1876, and they have passed through every phase of pioneer life, now well known, and being among the wealthy and successful citizens in their section of the state. Mr. and Mrs. Whitney are the parents of two bright and interesting children, Helen Margaret, born November 13, 1907, and Charles Ramey, born November 16, 1908.
Mr. Whitney is active in local and county affairs, at the present time serving as deputy assessor of Howard county, appointed to the office in 1908, and has filled that position for two years.
CHARLES A. WHITNEY.
On Friday morning, February 14, 1908, word was received by his friends that C. A. had passed away at an early hour that his home near Cotesfield.
Charles Albert Whitney was the son of John and Sophia Whitney, born at Lunenberg, Massachusetts, on the sixteenth day of February 1830, thus being seventy-eight years old within two days at the time of his death.
Deceased was twice married, his first wife being Lydia Marinda Lyon. To this union, four children were born, Frank Lincoln, Arthur Burnside, Mary Isabelle, and Edith Marinda, all whom survive him.
His second wife, Delia Maria Lyon, to whom he was married in 1874, and six of the seven children born to this union also survive him. The children are: Grace, Adelaide, Zachariah, Faulkner, Freeman, Lyon, Henry Meredith, John Osborne, George Elijah (deceased) and Sarah Elenora, all of whom are married except the last mentioned.
Mr. Whitney when twenty-six years of age was converted to God and ever after lived a con-
sistent christian life. He never missed a prayer service when he was able to attend. He loved the house of God and was ever ready to fill any vacancy caused by the absence of others, from leading the prayer service to filling the pulpit it was all the same to him. He was anxious to get well and when asked what he would do should his health be restored he replied, "I would serve the Lord to the best of my ability."
In the death of Mr. Whitney, Howard county loses one more of its sturdy pioneers, one of the early settlers of the county who helped make a highly civilized community out of a barren wilderness. Mr. Whitney and his family came to Nebraska in 1877, and has lived here ever since. By hard work, economy and business ability, he became well to do. He served Howard county as one of its commissioners for a term of three years, from January 1, 1892, to January 1, 1895. Politically he has been a populist ever since the formation of that party, and stood high in its councils. He was respected and honored by all who knew him for his honesty of purpose and purity of character.
Funeral services were held from the church at Cotesfield on Sunday, February 16. Rev. Tooley conducted the services. The many floral tributes, and the very large concourse of people who followed the remains to their last resting place, was a beautiful attest of the esteem in which the departed one was held.
The writer has known deceased and his estimable family for many years, and desire to join with the multitude of friends of the family in extending sincere sympathy to them in their bereavement.
WILBUR S. WAITE.
Hon. Wilbur S. Waite, for many years past one of the most prominent merchants of Loup City, Nebraska, and representing Sherman county in the state legislature at the present time, is known as one of the most progressive and public-spirited citizens of central Nebraska. He is a native of PaImyra, Warren county, Iowa, born July 22, 1870, he and his twin brother, Willis R., being the youngest of the five sons born to John and Julietta Waite. The father was a native of New York City, and the mother of New Jersey, and they were married at Asbury, in the latter state. They were pioneers in three states, moving to Minnesota in 1865, to Iowa in 1867, and to Nebraska in 1880. John Waite served in Company F, New Jersey Volunteer Infantry, enlisting in June, 1862, and was discharged in 1863, at the close of his term of enlistment. On account of physical disability, he was refused re-enlistment.
With his wife and three sons, Elmer E., Willis R. .and Wilbur S., Mr. Waite located in Valley county, Nebraska, October 24, 1880, taking up a homestead in Yale township, five miles east of Arcadia. He died on this farm, and his widow now resides with her son, Wilbur, at Loup City. Of the five sons, four are now living, namely: William H., Achotal, of Vera Cruz, Mexico; Elmer E., of Vancouver, Washington; Willis R., of Valley county, and Wilbur S. One son, Charles E., who was born in New Jersey, July 16, 1854, was the first of the Waite family to leave Iowa for Nebraska, making the journey in April, 1879. In the fall of 1882, he was elected sheriff of Sherman county, holding the office until his death, February 2, 1883.
Wilbur S. Waite received his primary education in Iowa, and was about ten years of age when he accompanied his parents to Nebraska. After his father's death, in 1891, he practically assumed all the responsibility of operating the farm, remaining home two years longer. In the fall of 1893, he came to Loup City, and entered mercantile life, being possessed of considerable business ability, and seeing an opportunity for building up a profitable enterprise. In May, 1905, he accepted the position of general manager of the Sherman County Telephone Company, to whose interests he devoted his entire time and attention, and this enterprise has met with abundant success, as have other ventures which he has helped to start.
Mr. Waite is an ardent and enthusiastic republican and active in party interests. He served a number of years as a member of the school board at Loup City and has always espoused the cause of education. In the fall of 1910 he was elected to the state legislature as representative from his county. He has always had the welfare of the people close to his mind and heart and is ever mindful of their interests. He is a total abstainer himself and during the recent campaign advocated the cause of the "drys." He is an intense admirer of the life and acts of Abraham Lincoln and considers his the ideal character of American life in past history.
February 1, 1899, Mr. Waite was married at Loup City, to Miss Bertha Sutton, a native of Menard county, Illinois, who came with her parents, Alonzo and Martha (Dick). Sutton, to Nebraska in October, 1882. The paternal grandparents of Mrs. Martha (Dick) Sutton, after their marriage in Kentucky, made their wedding journey on horseback to Illinois, and became pioneers in that state. Mr. Sutton is the present incumbent of the office of sheriff of Valley county. Mr. Waite and wife have four children, namely: Antoinette Evangeline, born March 1, 1900, while Mr. Waite and wife were sojourning in Mexico; Geraldine Aylife, born in Loup City, July 25, 1902; Wilbur William, born in Loup City, February 4, 1909; and Dorothy.
Mr. Waite is a republican, and a member of the Ancient Order of United Workmen.
Located very pleasantly in section two, township twenty-two, range four, Madison county, Nebraska, is to be found the estimable gentleman whose name heads this biographical writing. Mr. Horrocks is one of the early settlers in the northeastern part of the state, where he is widely known as a successful agriculturalist and prominent citizen. Mr. Horrocks is at man of energetic will and industrious habits, and richly deserves the success which he has attained here, and commands the respect and esteem of all with whom he comes in contact.
Mr. Horrocks is a native of Canada, born November 24, 1842, a son of John and Isabella (Taylor) Horrocks, natives of England and Scotland, respectively, the father being born in Yorkshire, England, and the mother in Perthshire, Scotland.
Our subject's parents came to Canada in the early days, embarking on a sailboat, and being on the sea for six weeks. The family remained in Canada many years, where the father followed the occupation of miller, which trade he had learned in his native land.
In 1879, Mr. Horrocks, the subject of this review, left his native country, coming to Madison county, Nebraska, where he could get land cheap. He came as far as Columbus by rail, and there bought a team and drove to his homestead, which land still remains the homestead farm. On this land he built a frame house sixteen by twenty feet, hauling the lumber for its construction from Columbus.
In the pioneer days on the western frontier, much suffering and many hardships were endured by the early settler; our subject and family suffered loss of crops through the various causes that the pioneer settler had to contend with in that time. They were often compelled to burn hay and cornstalks for fuel, as wood and coal were almost an unheard of article in that portion of the country; as late as 1894, our subject lost all the season's crops through the hot winds that were a result of the severe drouth of that year. Deer and antelope were plentiful and were often seen in large herds grazing in the open. But these early days have passed to history, and Mr. Horrocks is a prosperous man, now owning three hundred and twenty acres of good land, and having two acres of orchard.
In 1866, Mr. Horrocks was married to Miss Jennie Allen, a native of Scotland, and Mr. and Mrs. Horrocks are blessed with eight children, namely: Robert, Isabella, Elizabeth, John, Samuel, Richard, Albert Allen and Pearl. They are a fine family and enjoy the respect and esteem of all who know them.
He is a member of the Presbyterian church, and is an independent voter.
GEORGE O. BENGER.
One of the sound financial institutions of Custer county is Callaway State Bank, which was organized and is owned by local business men. The head of this concern is George O. Benger, a selfmade man, who has made his success in the county. He is also associated with his son in breeding Hereford cattle and English black hogs, having the only herd of the latter west of the Missouri river. Mr. Benger was born in England, October 23, 1856, youngest of the eleven children of William and Jane Benger. He left his native land in the fall of 1875, and upon reaching the United States settled in York county, Nebraska, where he engaged in farming and stock raising.
In February, 1880, Mr. Benger came to Custer county and took a homestead on section fifteen, township seventeen, range twenty-three. Later in the year he came to Callaway, which has just come into existence, and engaged in the livery business. In 1890 he sold his business and purchased Arthur Bird's hardware stock. He continued in this enterprise until selling out to Higbee & Keyes, some years later. He spent four or five years on the ranch and then returned to Callaway, where he was one of the organizers of the Callaway State Bank, in which he is still a stockholder. This bank was organized March 1, 1902, its first officers being: Frank H. Young, president; John Moran, vice president; J. H. Decker, cashier; with a capital stock of ten thousand dollars. On September 1, 1911, the following officers were elected: George O. Benger, president; W. T. Keyes, vice president; F. M. McGrew, cashier. It has a capital of fifteen thousand dollars, with surplus of three thousand dollars, and occupies a handsome and well equipped building. The deposits are one hundred thousand dollars, and its stockholders and directors are among the substantial business men and farmers of the locality.
Mr. Benger has always retained land interests in Custer county and is widely known for his activity in the ranch and stock business. He is prominent in financial, social and educational circles, and is closely identified with various business ventures in central Nebraska.
On June 1, 1884, Mr. Benger war, married at Callaway to Miss Clara McCleary, daughter of John and Nancy McCleary, and a native of Indiana, but reared in Iowa. Five children have been born of this union, but two of whom now survive: Curtis B., married and living on the Benger stock ranch west of Callaway, has one child, and Gladys E., wife of H. H. Lamb, bookkeeper in the Callaway State Bank.
Among the successful and prosperous citizens of Pierce county, Nebraska, Florian Widhalm is
counted as worthy of a prominent place. He is descended from a sturdy race of German farmers, his father before him owning and operating farms in the old country.
Mr. Widhalm was born April 19, 1850, in the village of Ullerichs, Lower Austria. His parents, Anton and Juliana (Schuh) Widhalm, died in Austria, their native country, at the ages of ninety-five and ninety-nine, respectively.
Mr. Widhalm came to America in 1885, and engaged in farm work near Humphrey, Nebraska, ten months. In February, 1886, he returned to Austria, remaining until May. Embarking a second time at Hamburg, he came on to Humphrey and here found work for a year before filing on a homestead in Fall River county, South Dakota, where he lived for nine years. After farming for a year near Humphrey again, he came to Norfolk and for five years was employed in the sugar works there. In 1903 he came to Pierce county, renting for four years the land he now owns in section eight, township twenty-five, range two. He at once planted trees, and is enjoying the protection of a fine grove that has made an unusual growth in ten years. He now owns the north half of the section and is constantly reaching out for more.
Mr. Widhalm was married at Humphrey, June 14, 1887, to Miss Mary Zlabinger, who was born in the village of Ganz, Lower Austria. Her parents, Franz and Anna (Schwingenschoegel) Zlabinger, came to America in 1887, and became residents of Humphrey, Nebraska, in 1889.
Mr. and Mrs. Widhalm are the parents of twelve children, whose names are as follows: Anna, Mary, wife of John Hoffmann; John, Frank, Louis, Leo, Joseph, Rosa, Flora, Fred, Agnes and Vincent.
Mr. and Mrs. Widhalm and family are of the Catholic faith. The family is held in high esteem by all who know them, and they have a happy and pleasant home.
John Wilson, who is a prominent Old Settler of Merrick county, Nebraska, resides in Clarks. Mr. Wilson was born in Randolph county, Illinois, December 10, 1840, and was fourth of five sons and two daughters in the family of Henry and Nancy Wilson. He grew up to his young manhood on his father's farm, the father being a pioneer of Illinois, and our subject remembers the old block house with its portholes in it, as a reminder of the early settler days of Illinois.
On August 20, 1861, Mr. Wilson enlisted in Company C, Thirtieth Illinois Volunteer Infantry. He has an honorable war record and was in many battles and skirmishes. Mr. Wilson's first engagement was in the battle, of Belmont, Missouri, and was with Sherman at Atlanta. He was mustered out at Atlanta, and discharged in September, 1864, at Chattanooga, Tennessee, and then returned to his home in Illinois.
December 21, 1865, Mr. Wilson was married to Sarah McDonald, who was also a native of Illinois. In September, 1872, Mr. Wilson, wife and two children moved from Illinois to Merrick county, Nebraska, going by boat to Kansas City and then by wagon and team to Nebraska, where they homesteaded on section eight, township fourteen, range five, five miles west of Clarks, Merrick county, Nebraska. Here they lived until 1899, when Mr. and Mrs. Wilson and family moved to Clarks, where they now reside. He still owns the original homestead.
Mr. and Mrs. Wilson have had six children, three born in Illinois and three in Nebraska, three of whom are living: Nancy, wife of Robert Morrison, has four children and lives in North Dakota; Mary Ella, wife of James Gray, has one child and resides in Merrick county; and Samuel, married, has seven children, and lives on the old homestead farm. Mr. and Mrs. Wilson also have a granddaughter, child of Sadie, who is deceased.
F. A. JOHNSON.
Among the men who came here in the early days is the subject of this sketch, residing on section twenty-four, of Columbia township, Knox county. He is known throughout that part of Nebraska as a leading citizen and a worthy representative of its agricultural region.
Mr. Johnson is a native of Sweden, born April 15, 1858, in MyrIanda, Jenspening province. His parents were J. H. and Anna Johnson, who brought their family of nine children to America in 1876, when our subject was a mere boy. After a tedious journey across the sea, on landing in New York, they immediately set out for the west, their first location being in Page county, Iowa. The parents continued to live in Page county, Iowa, until their death. Seven years were spent in that vicinity, F. A. Johnson then coming on to Wakefield, Nebraska, securing a farm of eighty acres, which he operated for nine years and then sold it. In 1892 he moved to Knox county, Nebraska, purchased a tract of land and started farming. He went through some hard times in getting things in good shape, but eventually succeeded in building up one of the finest farms in the county, and is known throughout the region as a progressive and practical and stockman.
In 1884, Mr. Johnson was married to Miss Selma Falk, in Page county, Iowa, and to them have been born the following children: Edgar, Victor, Joseph, Reuben, Mabel, Effie, Paul, Niame, Lawrence, Bernice, and Carl. Mrs. Johnson died October 17, 1908.
The family has a comfortable home, and takes an active part in neighborhood affairs, both social and political, looking to the betterment of conditions.
© 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001 for NEGenWeb Project by T&C Miller, P Ebel, P Shipley, L Cook