was no railroad at that time,. Ohio was but a forest, and the family experienced many hardships. Our subject's grandfather and an old friend, Christian Smith, founded the town or Winesburg, Ohio, making the start by first clearing away the timber. The grandfather grew in popularity and favor as the new town progressed, and became one of the most highly esteemed and substantial citizens in that part of the country, and at his death, which occurred when our subject's father was a young man, he was deeply mourned by all who knew him, and he was known far and wide in the then western country.
Our subject's father, in the early forties, walked to what is now known as Battle Creek, Iowa, where he took up a homestead, and, later, was united in marriage to Miss Louise Dodez, who was of French descent, they becoming the parents of seven children, of which our subject is the oldest. Our subject, with the other children of the family, grew up on the old homestead farm in Ohio, receiving such advantages as were available there, and lived the life of the usual homesteader.
In 1892, Mr. Stahl was united in marriage to Miss Amanda E. Malone, also a native of Ohio, and Mr. and Mrs. Stahl are the parents of two children, namely: Edith Columbia and Grace Dexter.
Mr. and Mrs. Stahl, immediately after their marriage, started for the west to make a fortune for themselves, continuing their journey until reaching Knox county, Nebraska, settling here, and buying land for five dollars to twelve dollars per acre, which is now worth one hundred and twenty-five dollars per acre. Mr. Stahl has improved his original farm land to a high state of cultivation, and has built himself and family a beautiful home. He has one of the finest farms in the county, and his land has proven to be a veritable "gold mine," as it were. The Bloomfield Oil and Gas Company have been digging for oil, gas and coal, and a small vein of gold has been discovered on the place, making his land one of the most valuable farms in the county, as before stated.
Mr. Stahl has lived in Lincoln, Nebraska, since March 1, 1911, in order to give his children better educational advantages.
The present solid prosperity enjoyed in Howard county, Nebraska, may be attributed largely to her pioneers. In the early days of her settlement, when the only welcome tendered the stranger who settled there was a wilderness filled with wildbeasts and Indians, little to encourage and much to discourage came to his lot. But those sturdy men who went to their new home with a determination to succeed, and worked persistently and honestly are now the prosperous and honored residents of their locality. The subject of this sketch aided in bringing that wilderness to a high state of cultivation and civilization, aild great credit is due him for his labor and influence.
Peter Jepson was born in Denmark, August 26, 1854, and is the only living child of his father's family. His father, mother and self came to America during the month of May, 1873, leaving Copenhagen May 2, and landing in New, York City. They at once came to Dannebrog, Howard county, Nebraska, which place they reached on June 2, 1873, where an uncle of Mr. Jepson's, Mr. S. M. Peterson, was one of the original locators of the Danish colony, which came to Howard county in 1872. Here the father homesteaded land one and one-half miles northwest of Dannebrog, where the family resided until the year that the railroad was built into Dannebrog, when they moved into the village, and took up their residence.
Peter Jepson opened up a real estate, loan and insurance office, in which business he remained one year, and in the fall of 1876, became connected with, the International Bank of Dannebrog, which was a branch of the First National Bank of St. Paul, Nebraska, Mr. Jepson being assistant cashier and manager for two years.
On March 2, 1889, Mr. Jepson and family, accompained by his father and mother, went to California, remaining there thirteen months. Upon returning from California to Dannebrog, Mr. Jepson, in company with C. C. Hansen and Peter Klindt, engaged in the general mercantile business under the firm name of Jepson, Klindt & Company, going into business in April, 1890. At the expiration of two years, the business was purchased by C. C. Hansen, Mr. Jepson, as above stated, then going into the New International Bank of Dannebrog, in active management of the same.
In 1893, Mr. Jepson moved to Rockville, Sherman county, and was engaged in the general mercantile business until February 1, 1900, on which date the Elba State Bank of Elba was organized with the following officers: President, C. C. Hansen; vice president, C. Jepson; cashier and manager, Peter Jepson; assistant cashier, Harry Jepson.
Mr. Jepson is also interested in other Howard county enterprises, being treasurer of the Howard County Telephone Company, and treasurer of the Elba village board and Elba school board.
Mr. Jepson and son, Lawrence H. Jepson, made purchase of the principal part of the Bank of Lincoln County, Hershey, Nebraska, April 1, 1909: Peter Jepson, president; Lawrence Jepson, vice president. Mr. Jepson is also stockholder and director of First State Bank of Cotesfield.
Mr. Jepson was married on the Jepson homestead farm, March 5, 1879, to Miss Christina Paul-
sen, who was a native of Denmark, and came to America in January, 1979. Four children were born to Mr. and Mrs. Jepson: Lawrence P., who is married, and living at Hershey, Nebraska; Anna C., wife of Clarence Buckingham, and living in Elba; Harry C., and Eudora, who reside under the parental roof.
Mr. Jepson is recognized as one of the leading men of his county, and takes an active interest in all matters that tend to the advancement of his locality.
Morris Gross, who lives in section twenty-three, township twenty-one, range one, is a well and favorably known citizen of Madison county, Nebraska, where he has spent a large part of his career as an agriculturist. He has passed through all the early Nebraska times, and has done much in the way of helping in the advancement of his region, incidentally building up for himself a comfortable home and good farm.
Mr. Gross is a native of Austria-Hungary, his birth occurring February 12, 1845, and he is a son of Leopold and Katie (Kelner) Gross, who were natives of Austria-Hungary. The father was a farmer and merchant in the old country. Our subject was reared in his native land, receiving the usual school advantages, and after growing to manhood, served his allotted time in the Austrian army in 1866, receiving his discharge August 12, 1867.
In 1867, Mr. Gross left his native land for America, embarking on the steamer "Helvetia," bound from Hamburg to New York, and spent ten days on the sea. After landing on American soil, he proceeded to Milwaukee, Wisconsin, where he lived until 1869, when he came to Madison county, Nebraska, where he took up a homestead and pre-emption claim on which he first built a sod house, and lived in it six months, then put up an adobe house. Later he built a frame house, the lumber for its erection being shipped from Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Columbus was the nearest market place at that time, the distance from his home to that point being thirty-five miles.
Mr. Gross came to the west at the solicitation of two very close friends, the Unger brothers, who, shortly after our subject's arrival, met a very sad death, they becoming lost in the terrible snowstorm of January 16, 1870, and were frozen to death. This event will always remain in the memory of Mr. Gross as the saddest event of his life.
Mr. Gross went back to Milwaukee the first fall of his residence in Madison county, where he remained until spring, and after settling in his home, "batched it" for a few years.
On February 13, 1874, Mr. Gross was united in marriage to Miss Libby Cooter, and Mr. and Mrs. Gross are the parents of one fine son, Robert. Mrs. Gross parents came to Madison county in 1872 from Syracuse, New York.
In the early days of settlement in Madison county, Mr. Gross endured many hardships and privations, as did so many of the hardy sons of the western frontier. He suffered losses through the grasshopper pests, they having destroyed all the crops the first few years, which was very discouraging to the families who came to the far west to make a fortune for themselves. Prairie fires were another source of anxiety and worry on the part of our subject and family, they having to fight the seething mass of flames many times to save their lives and homes. Deer and antelope were plentiful in those pioneer days, and could frequently be seen in herds grazing around the country.
Mr. Gross has safely weathered frontier life, and is now enabled to enjoy life in peace and plenty, owning about seven hundred and twenty acres of fine land. He owns a beautiful farm, which is widely known as Woodlawn Farm, on which he has a beautiful home. He has a fine orchard and a grove of twelve acres, the trees of which he planted himself. He is a prominent and prosperous citizen, and is justly entitled to the good fortune that has come his way.
GEORGE W. MYERS.
George W. Myers, a well-known business man of Broken Bow, Nebraska, is recognized as a power for good in his community, and a citizen who has at heart the best interests of his county and state. He was born in Moultrie county, Illinois, March 13, 1864, and was the youngest of six children. His parents were David and Nancy (White) Myers, the former a native of Kentucky, and the latter of Ohio, and both of German descent. David Myers died in Illinois in 1881, and his widow now resides in Broken Bow. George W. Myers has a brother, T. W. Myers, in Broken Bow; a brother, David A., in Oklahoma; one sister in Illinois, one sister deceased.
After receiving his education in the country schools of his native county, Mr. Myers engaged in farming in Illinois, having been reared to agricultural pursuits. In the fall of 1882, he came to Custer county, and secured a homestead of one hundred and sixty acres of land on section twenty, township eighteen, range nineteen, which has been the home place throughout all the years that have since intervened. He also secured a tree claim of the same size, adjoining his homestead. He was married at Weissert, Custer county, on March 18, 1888, to Miss Carrie L. Bradburn, who was born in Missouri, a daughter of Mark and Ruth (Montgomery) Bradburn. Mr. Bradburn, in 1884, settled in Custer county, where his death occurred in January, 1891. His wife,
a native of Iowa, died in Missouri in August, 1883. Of their children, besides Mrs. Myers, there is one son, Joseph, now living in Custer county, and three sons live in the state of Washington.
Mr. Myers has served several years as treasurer of school district number fifty-three. He is one of the younger men among the early settlers of Custer county, and has always been much interested in its development and progress. Ho has passed through its various phases of history for the past twenty-nine years, and is now a successful man of affairs. He is self-made in every respect, and has won the good will and esteem of his fellows. He owns nine hundred and eighty acres of fine farming and stockgrowing land, which is well equipped for the purpose to which it is devoted, and since coming to Broken Bow, in March, 1908, has owned a nice home in that city. Since coming to his present location, he has been engaged in the ice business. Three children have been born to Mr. Myers and wife: Vera M., employed in the post-office at Broken Bow; Vica, died in 1900; Lilly B., at home.
Another prominent farmer and citizen of Wayne county is the above-named gentleman. He is also reckoned among the early settlers of this region, having come to this county in 1884 after a residence of six years in another part of the state. He is the proprietor of six hundred and forty acres of well-improved farm land, probably one of the best farms in the county.
Mr. Pflueger is a native of Hanover, Germany, in which city he was born in 1862, the son of Henry and Mary Pflueger. When he was but eleven years old, the family left their native land for the newer country. They came by steamship by way of Bremen and New York. After landing in this country, they came as far west as Cook county, Illinois, where they remained only six months. The voice of the west had reached them. and they obeyed its impulse, first coming to Knox county, Nebraska, where they remained two years. They were not quite satisfied yet, however, and in 1876, came to Cuming county, where the father bought a farm, and where he and his wife remained permanently. During all this time, our subject was with his parents, helping them in their struggle with the forces of nature., which seemed allied against them, at least for a time. However, as the country became more settled, the family became prosperous. Both parents died in Cuming county, Nebraska, about 1891.
In 1884, Mr. Pflueger was united in marriage to Miss Catharine Bauriedel, and brought his bride to Wayne county, where he bought the farm of one hundred and sixty acres which he still owns, and on which they lived until buying the place where they now reside. The farm has been improved from time to time by the addition of necessary buildings, until it is now as fine an estate its can be found in the county.
Mr. Pflueger feeds and ships about two carloads of cattle per year. His cattle are grade Aberdeen Angus, which he considers the best for beef. In addition to his cattle, he fats about eighty head of hogs per year.
Mr. and Mrs. Pflueger are the parents or eight children, seven of whom are still living. The children's names are: Herman, who died when about fourteen years old; Mary, wife of George Roggenbach, of Wayne county; Frank, Carl, Anna, Ella, Anton and Bertha.
Mr. and Mrs. Pflueger and family are members of the German Lutheran church, and they have taken a prominent part in the development of the county during their long residence here, and are esteemed very highly by a large circle of friends and acquaintances.
HANS P. L. MADSEN.
Hans P. L. Madsen, a worthy representative of an old Howard county family, is an industrious and favorably known resident of Cotesfield, where, with his family, he enjoys it comfortable home and the friendship of all in his community.
Mr. Madsen was the first boy born in Dannebrog, Nebraska, the date being April 6, 1873. His early education was obtained in the country schools, and he later attended the Trinity Seminary at Blair, Nebraska, afterwards returning to his father's farm, where he remained for some time, assisting in carrying on the farm work. On June 26, 1895, he was married to Miss Lizzie M. Miller, of Albert Lea, Minnesota, the ceremony taking place at the home of the bride's parents. The young pair lived in that town for one year, then came to Nebraska, and Mr. Madsen worked on his father's farm for one year. In the spring of 1897, he moved with his family to Rawlins, Wyoming, and remained in that state for seven years. For four years of that time, Mr. Madsen was in the employ of the Union Pacific Railway Company, and three years with the Cullen Commercial Company.
In the winter of 1903, they came back to Nebraska, settled on a farm, and were engaged in grain and stock raising for two years, then moved to Boelus, where Mr. Madsen started a livery and draying business, and carried it on for one year. During 1906 and 1907, he was in the mail service, working on the rural free delivery out of Boelus, his route covering twenty-six and a half miles. He was well liked by all on account of his genial nature and accommodating manner, and was missed by his patrons when he finally gave up the work in the spring of 1908 to go to Farwell, where he engaged in the restaurant business, also carrying a nice line of confectionery, and made that
city his home for one year, coming from there to Cotesfield. He was employed in a responsible position with the Albert Warner mercantile establishment until the fall of 1909, then became manager of the Fairmount Creamery Company at Grand Island, which he is still filling.
Mr. and Mrs. Madsen have had seven children, six of whom are living, named as follows: Albert, Wilfred, Esther, Richard, Mildred, and Hans Peter Louis, junior. All are living at home, and the family are happy and congenial, well liked by all with whom they have to do.
No old settler ever did more to give Central City, Merrick county, a substantial reputation than David Martin. He was an energetic, upright citizen, and his memory is revered by all who knew him.
David Martin was born near Albany, New York, November 14, 1828, and was second of six children. A brother resides in Chicago, the others being deceased, as are also the parents. Mr. Martin was educated in his home state, and later was government bridge builder in Minnesota, when that state, was still a territory.
On June 11, 1864, Mr. Martin was united in marriage to Miss Charlotte Morris, of Illinois. They settled in Illinois, where he was employed by the Burlington railroad as bridge builder fifteen years. In 1869, he came to Omaha, Nebraska, as general bridge and building constructor for the Union Pacific railroad, his division extending from Omaha to Salt Lake City, having nine hundred men under his supervision. In 1871, he went to Salt Lake City, where for three years he engaged in mining.
In April, 1874, Mr. Martin came to Central City, Nebraska, engaging in the lumber business for seven years, when he sold out, and in 1882 established the Platte Valley Bank in Central City, of which he was sole stockholder, and conducted the same for ten years, when, owing to unfortunate investments made by the bank cashier without Mr. Martin's knowledge, the bank failed, but Mr. Martin, out of his private fortune, made good every dollars to the depositors. Mr. Martin died shortly afterwards, on January 26, 1896, in Colorado, after a long and honorable business career in Nebraska. He was prosperous and successful, at one time owning five thousand acres of improved land in Merrick and Hall counties. He was a member of the Masonic and Elk lodges. Mr. and Mrs. Martin had one son, Arthur D., who died, May 25, 1905, in Denver, Colorado. Mrs. Martin now resides in Chicago, Illinois.
Eggert Kuehl, a prominent farmer and stockman, living on section eighteen, township thirty, range six, Knox county, Nebraska, is well known throughout the county as a progressive and successful agricultursts [sic], highly esteemed by all with whom he has had to do.
Mr. Kuehl is a native of Schleswig-Holstein province, Germany, where he was born in the year of 1829, and where he grew to young manhood. He served in the German army in the war of 1850 against Denmark. In 1870, Mr. Kuehl left Germany to come to America, the land of golden opportunities, where land was to be had so cheap, sailing from Hamburg on a steamship. After landing in the United States, he worked on bridge construction at Davenport, Iowa, and worked on steamboats on the Missouri river up to 1872. He then came to Knox county, Nebraska, and took up a homestead, and also a pre-emption and forty-acre timber claim in section eighteen, township thirty, range six, where he built a log house, which was later succeeded by a good frame dwelling. In the early years, Mr. Kuehl suffered all the hardships and disappointments of most of the early settlers, among other, experiences losing all his crops during the years of 1873, 1874 and 1875, and in 1894 he suffered the loss of his crops through the hot winds which prevailed during the drouth of that year.
Mr. Kuehl was united in the bonds of matrimony in 1880 to Mrs. Mary Greenburg, a native of Bohemia, and they are the parents of three children, whose names are as follows: Hattie and Eggert, deceased, and Edward, a farmer of Knox county. Mr. and Mrs. Kuehl and family are highly respected and esteemed by all who know them, and they have a wide circle of friends and acquaintances in the community in which they dwell.
Henry Rohe, who resides on section twenty, township thirty-two, range two, Knox county, Nebraska, is regarded as one of the leading citizens of his locality. He has always been one of the important factors in the upbuilding of his region, aiding materially in its development from the time of its early settlement.
Mr. Rohe is a native of Germany, born in Vachta village, Oldenburg province, in 1872, and is a son of Henry and Mary (Westerhoff) Rohe, both of whom are natives of Germany.
When our subject was but a small child, be, with his parents, came to America, landing in the United States in 1883. Upon leaving the fatherland, the family sailed from Bremen to Baltimore, and after reaching the American port, they, started for the west, and located in St. James, Cedar county, Nebraska, where they remained
nine years. Later the family removed to Knox county, Nebraska, where they bought land, and improved same, the farm remaining the home place of the Rohe family to this day, the son, Henry, our subject, residing there at the present time, where he is engaged in mixed farming.
In 1896, Mr. Rohe was united in marriage to Miss Mary Thunker, who is a native of Illinois. Mr. and Mrs. Rohe are very highly respected and esteemed by all who know them, and they have the good wishes and kind regards of a wide circle of friends and acquaintances.
When Mr. Rohe and his parents first came to Nebraska state, this territory was but a vast stretch of unbroken prairie, with but very few white settlers in the region, and Indians were to be seen occasionally. But the modeler of destinies, Time, has worked a wonderful change in the appearance and conditions of this great western country, and one who had not seen and lived in the early pioneer days, would reluctantly credit the possibility of the conditions that existed in those times, and the great change wrought in so short a time.
Among the worthy citizens the Dominion of Canada has given to the states, may be mentioned Joseph Ewing, of Niobrara. He has spent the greater part of his career in Nebraska, and experienced many of the severe storms that swept the plains in the early days of its settlement. During the famous blizzard of 1888, he happened to be away from home, but in the winter of 1884 and 1885, suffered a severe three days storm at Running Water. They were caught on the prairie with their wagons, but managed to get to the town, three miles distant, by abandoning their loads, and riding the horses as fast as possible. Mr. Ewing was a resident of the United States a number of years before becoming a citizen, taking out naturalization papers at about the time of the opening of the Indian reservation, thinking that he might wish to make a homestead entry.
Mr. Ewing was born in Kincardine, province of Ontario, Canada, on May 17, 1857. He was reared at Brantford, not far distant front his birthplace, where his parents moved about 1862. At the age of seventeen, he went to Montcalm county, Michigan, whither a brother had preceded him, and assisted in clearing the latter's farm, which consisted of considerable land, from which heavy timber had been cut. He remained in the locality at various employment until the autumn of 1884, when he had an opportunity to go west in charge of the stock and household goods of a neighbor, who was removing to South Dakota, the owner traveling with his family on a passenger train. After a journey covering five days, our subject arrived at his destination with everything in good shape. He had no definite idea of remaining in the west, coming more to see the country than anything else, but; finding all opening for his activities, decided to remain, obtaining employment as a freighter, and following different lines of work for several years, the first winter being spent in freighting supplies from Running Water, South Dakota, to Fort Randall. This was rough work, exposing him to severe weather, at times storms sweeping the plains to such an extent that it made traveling impossible for days at a time. He continued in the freight service for about a year, then came on to Niobrara, securing a position in the store of Bonesteel & Turner, and remaining in their employ as one of their most efficient and trusted men, for nine years.
In March, 1894, Mr. Ewing was appointed postmaster at Niobrara, under the Cleveland administration, and held this position four years. He engaged, later, in the restaurant business, in which he was very successful, and conducted, also, a bakery in connection with the former. Mr. Ewing has served its assessor, either by appointment or election, for ten years, under a republican administration, which speaks well for his efficiency and integrity, as he has always been a strong democrat.
Mr. Ewing's parents left their native land and settled in Michigan in 1889, where, for the remainder of their lives, they resided with their daughter, both passing to the great beyond in the state of their adoption. On the seventeenth of May, 1890, Mr. Ewing was married to Miss Mary Kukal, a descendant of Bohemian parents, who were early settlers of Knox county, Nebraska. To Mr. and Mrs. Ewing were born four children: Cora, who is a graduate of the State Normal School at Kearney, and is now a teacher in the high school at Niobrara; May, now in the high school here, class of 1912; Benjamin F. and Leonard C., also attending the public schools of Niobrara. The family have a pleasant home, and are popular members of the community, and all are regular attendants of the Episcopal church.
George Beaty, a prominent farmer and stockman, living on section fourteen, township twenty-two, range two, is known throughout Madison county as a progressive and successful agriculturist. Mr. Beaty has lived in Madison county for the past twenty-eight years, and has braved the hardships of pioneer life, and, despite losses and. discourgagements, worked steadily and earnestly, and is now one of the substantial citizens of his home county.
Mr. Beaty is a native of Ireland, and a son of Thomas and Mary (Graham) Beaty, his birth occurring in county Vemonah, in the year 1845. Here he grew to manhood, and in 1874 left his
native land for America, of which country he had heard such glowing accounts, where he could get land cheaper. He, sailed from Queenstown for New York on the steamship "Great Atlantic," of the White Star line, and, after landing in the United States, he remained four years in Pennsylvania, where he worked in the rolling mills. He then came to Delaware county, Iowa, where he lived four years.
In 1882, Mr. Beaty came to Madison county, Nebraska, where he bought the Frank Miller homestead of the original homesteader. He built on this land, and has steadily made improvements until now he has a good, comfortable home and a fine farm. He was one of the few pioneers who were fortunate in losing nothing in the terrible blizzard which wrought such havoc in January, 1888.
In 1884, Mr. Beaty was united in marriage to Miss Myra Baxter, and Mr. and Mrs. Beaty are the parents of three children, whose names are as follows: Robert, George and Anna. They are a fine family, and enjoy the respect and esteem of all who know them, and their friends are many.
Mr. Beaty was raised on a farm, and it is only natural, therefore, that he should make a success of the agricultural line. He is considered one of the most substantial and able citizens of his community, and is always interested in all matters pertaining to the welfare of his home, county and state.
PATRICK E. RILEY.
Patrick E. Riley, a pioneer of Custer county, Nebraska, who is well known for his progressive ideas and public spirit, is a man of upright character and square dealing. He is a native of county Cavan, Ireland, born one-half mile from the city of Cavan, September 11, 1837, fourth born of the children of Edward and Catherine (Smith) Riley, who had eight sons and two daughters. The parents, with four children, Michael, Matthew, Thomas and Patrick, came to America, about 1840, crossing from Dublin to Liverpool, shipping there in a sailing ship for New York, the voyage lasting eleven weeks. The father had made two previous voyages to America, one passage lasting fifteen weeks. They first settled in Boston, Massachusetts, where they lived about a year, and then moved to Clinton county, New York. Patrick E. is the only one of the family now living in Nebraska He has a sister and two brothers living in Plattsburg, New York, one of the brothers, John B. Riley, serving Clinton county as judge. The remaining brother lives in Seattle.
Mr. Riley grew to maturity on his father's farm in New York, and for several years afterward was employed as a commercial traveler for a Plattsburg firm. In the spring of 1878, he came to Nebraska, arriving on February 21 in Omaha, which was then a small town. Later in the spring, he went to Dawson county, and took a pre-emption claim there, living on it until January 5, 1881, when he moved to Logan county, where he had a ranch and a bunch of cattle. He also took up a homestead there, but disposed of his interests in that county, and in the spring of 1886, came to Custer county, buying a farm in Dale precinct, since which time he has made his home in the county. There are now thirteen hundred and twenty acres of land in his estate, and his residence is located on section twenty-eight, township nineteen, range twenty-one. His farm is one of the best stock farms in central Nebraska, and he also pays considerable attention to raising grain. He has good, substantial buildings, and fine machinery and equipment on his place, being the friend of progress in every form. He has been closely identified for many years with the development of his part of the state, and is much esteemed by his many friends.
Mr. Riley was married in Broken Bow, Custer county, February 25, 1888, to Tacy Wieland, daughter of Daniel and Christina (Kopp) Wieland. Mr. Wieland, with his wife and child, came to America from Germany about 1854, and spent several years in Pennsylvania, thence moving to Ohio, where Mrs. Riley was born. After the death of her parents, she came to Nebraska from Red Oak, Iowa, April 21, 1886, to join her sister, Mrs. Frank Cozad, in Custer county, so that both Mr. Riley and his wife are pioneers of the state. Mrs. Riley, Mrs. Cozad and a brother, John Wieland, of Callaway, are the only members of the Wieland family residing in Nebraska. Mr. and Mrs. Riley have one child, George L., born at Broken Bow, in Custer county, October 22, 1889, for nine years a student at Creighton University, Omaha, from which he graduated, and then took a, two-year medical course. Mr. Riley was reared a Catholic, while Mrs. Riley's people were Lutheran in the old country, but allied themselves with the Presbyterians soon after coming to America.
In the latter eighties, Mr. Riley was employed in section work for the Burlington railroad. At the time of his marriage, he was foreman at Lakeside, and on bringing his bride to the new town, began housekeeping in a box car, where Mrs. Riley served as first postmaster of the newly established office. Some six months later, a dwelling was constructed for the foreman, and they moved out of their box car home. Seeing little opportunity for advancement in railroad work, but great possibilities in agriculture, Mr. Riley rented in that part of the state for four years, and then for one year rented the land which he has since owned, and on which he has resided since that time, adding to his possessions as his means would permit.
Mr Riley and his wife enjoy the esteem and
confidence of a large circle of friends, and are interested in various public movements. Their farm, on which they have made many improvements during their fourteen years residence, is one of the choicest estates in central Nebraska, and that Mr. Riley owns and manages everything concerning it, gives evidence of his good judgement and energy.
Fred Kruse, proprietor of one of the most valuable estates in Knox county, Nebraska, has been a resident of the county for twenty-nine years, and lived on the original, homestead farm, which is located in section thirty-two, township thirty-three, range two, until March, 1911. He. is prominently known throughout the northeastern part of the state as one of the foremost farmers and stockmen of 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.
Mr. Kruse is a native of Germany, his birth occurring in Westphalia, province of Prussia, March 27, 1845. He is a son of August and Fredericka (Myers) Kruse, who were both natives of Germany. Our subject received his education and grew to manhood years in his native land. At the age of twenty-five years, he entered the holy state of matrimony.
In 1881, Mr. Kruse, with his wife and five children, left his native land for America, the new world, of which so much had been said, and, where a man had a better chance to get a start in life. The family embarked on the steamer "Weser," sailing from Bremen, Germany, to New York City, from where. after landing, they immediately proceeded westward to procure land under the homestead law that had been passed. They came to Yankton, South Dakota, where they remained over a year from whence they drove to the homestead claim he had filed on, and which was the residing place of our subject until March 14, 1911, when he went to Crofton to live. On this homestead, Mr. Kruse first built a stone house, later building a good frame house. He now has a well-improved farm, owning six hundred acres of fine land, all well fenced, and was engaged in mixed farming up to the time he retired. The home where Mr. Kruse now lives in Crofton, he purchased in February, 1911, and since moving to town he has made several improvements, built a barn and chisken [sic] house, dug a well, and put out trees. He is also finishing the second-floor interior, the house not having been completed at the time of purchase. He owns two large lots, nearly an acre, and these he is fencing. He has sown alfalfa on the ground, with the exception of his garden patch. He keeps a horse, cow and chickens, and these, with his garden, keep him busy.
Mr. Kruse was united in marriage in 1870 to Miss Conredina Schlveter, and Mr. and Mrs. Kruse were the parents of eleven children, whose names are as follows: Fred (deceased), Detrich, Johanna, Matilda (deceased), Paul, Gustav, Christian, Dena (deceased), Carl, Henry and Marie. Carl and Johanna reside on and, operate the old homestead. Detrich, Paul, Gustav and Christian are on homesteads in South Dakota. Henry is operating his brother Detrich's farm in Knox county, and Marie lives with her parents.
Mr. and Mrs. Kruse and family are highly esteemed and respected by all who know them, and are surrounded in their pleasant home by a host of genial friends and acquaintances. Mr. Kruse is a republican, and he and his wife are members of the German Evangelical church.
WILLIAM NESBITT STEVENS.
William Nesbitt Stevens, postmaster of the thriving town of Comstock, Nebraska, has in various ways been identified with farming aild business interests in Custer county, and. is well known for his high character and integrity. He was born in Allegheny City, Pennsylvania, January 14, 1858, eldest child of William M. and Sarah A. Stevens. The family was prominent among the early settlers of Custer county, and in many ways assisted in the progress and upbuilding of the region.
William Miller Stevens was born in Pittsburg, Pennsylvania, July 23, 1827, eldest child of the six sons and one daughter of Truman B. and Sarah (Miller) Stevens. The father was a native of Vermont, and the mother of Pennsylvania, and they were married in the latter state. Truman Stevens and family lived in a number of different localities in Pennsylvania, and also at times resided in other states. William M. Stevens spent most of his early years in Pennsylvania, and there married Sarah Ann Nesbitt, February 26, 1857. At the time, of the civil war, he was unable to pass the necessary physical, examination to enter the army at the front, so became a member of the home guard. He and his wife lived in Allegheny until coming to Nebraska in 1879. Five children were born to them in the former place, two of whom died in infancy. In 1879, Mr. Stevens and his wife, with their two children, Sturley and Ann E., made the move from Pennsylvania to Saline county, Nebraska, first locating on a rented farm near Friend, in that county. Their son, William, had preceded them a few months before, having made the trip in August of the same year, and the rest of the family joined him upon their arrival.
In April, 1883, Mr. Stevens, with his son, Sturley, and daughter, Ann E., made a trip to
Custer county, and he secured a homestead on section three, township eighteen, range seventeen. Mrs. Stevens died on this farm in 1895. Mr. Stevens improved and developed his land, and became successful in his operations In January, 1905, he left the farm, and came to Comstock to reside in his present comfortable home, his daughter, Ann E., making her home with him. Although in his eighty-fifth year, he is quite active, and a familiar figure in the streets of Comstock. In years past he was active in public affairs, having lived in the county since 1883.
William N. Stevens received the advantages of a common-school education, and in his sixteenth year joined the office force of a weekly newspaper, which was devoted to the interests of the Presbyterian church, spending about one year in this line of work In August, 1879, as previously mentioned, he came to Saline county, where his father joined him on Christmas day, and he and his father remained on the farm near Friend until 1883, when the latter removed with his family to Custer county, and William N. returned to Allegheny. He learned the trade of brick mason there, but in 1884 returned to Nebraska, and took up a homestead in Custer county, where he remained two years and a half, then returned to Allegheny to work at his trade. He remained there until 1893, having by that time become foreman in a brick yard for a large firm of contractors and builders. At the time of the panic of that year, many of the firm's contracts were cancelled, and, finding work scarce, Mr. Stevens came to Custer county again, and engaged in farming. He had the misfortune to lose most of his crops during the dry season of 1894, but continued work on his farm until 1901, in which year he came to Comstock as assistant postmaster of that office. He remained in that position several years, and finally received the appointment as postmaster at Comstock. He purchased a stock of confectionery, cigars and tobacco of his brother, and, in connection with his official duties, is engaged in mercantile business. He is well known in the community, and has a large number of friends. He handles his public duties in a way to bring him credit, and is recognized as an upright and public-spirited citizen. His portrait will be found on another page of this volume.
On July 9, 1884, Mr. Stevens married Miss Mary I. Warnock, daughter of William and Sarah Warnock, of Allegheny, and eight children have blessed this union, three of whom survive: Naomi Myrtle, Sarah Pansy and Jean Elizabeth, all born in Custer county.
W. N. Stevens.
L. M. JOHNSON.
Among the leading old settlers and public. spirited citizens of Madison county, Nebraska, is the gentleman above mentioned. Mr. Johnson is a native of the western part of Norway, and was born in 1854, a son of Mina and Martha Johnson.
In 1870, our subject, with his parents, left his native land for America, sailing from Staunger for Quebec on a sailboat, the voyage lasting seven weeks. They came from Quebec to Wisconsin, remaining there two years, and in 1872, came to Nebraska, driving oxen. They stayed in Cuming county two months, then came to Madison county, where our subject took up a homestead, and first put up a dugout. Later a sod house was built, in which he lived fifteen years, then building a frame house.
At the time Mr. Johnson settled in Nebraska, Columbus was his nearest market place. Grasshoppers took all his crops the first few years he lived here. In 1894 he lost his crops by the hot winds, and in 1900 suffered a loss by hail. Through it all, however, he has prospered, although in the early days he was obliged to go to Cuming county and work out to get money to supply the wants of his family. Prairie fires were a menace in those days, and he was obliged many times to fight them to save his home.
In 1872, Mr. Johnson was married to Miss Julia Olson, and they are the parents of the following named children: Martha, Olia, Julia, Lena, Amelia, Gussie, Louis, Louie, Olo, Mins, Lendi and Emma.
W. S. FISHER.
W. S. Fisher, city marshal of Plainview, Nebraska, has been a citizen of that state since September, 1882. He is a native of Henderson county, Illinois, his birth occurring near Raritan, September 26, 1856. His father was Laban Fisher, a native of Muskingum county, Ohio. He is now living, retired from active life, in Conway, Iowa. The mother, Harriet (Lovett) Fisher, was a native of the same county, and died in Iowa, January 24, 1900.
The family soon removed to South Prairie, in the same county, and here the boy began, at the age of nine years, to do his share of the farm work, handling a one-horse plow in the corn field. The family removed to Taylor county, Iowa, in 1874, and Stanley gave his time to his father until his marriage.
In the spring of 1878, Mr. Fisher rented a farm in Taylor county, and for five years was a tenant farmer in that county. Thinking to better himself in the newer country west of the Missouri, he loaded a few of the most necessary household goods in a covered wagon, and, with his young wife and infant child, started. September 12, overland to their new home. Both consider that the most delightful time of their lives - camping by the wayside, cooking their meals by a wood fire, sleeping in the covered wagon, with the summer air blowing freely over
them, was a picnic from beginning to end, while humorous incidents were not lacking. Stopping to inquire the distance to the home of an acquaintance who had settled in Stanton county, a ranchman inquired of Mr. Fisher, "Where in h--- are you going?" "To Antelope county," was the reply. "D--fool," was the laconic reply. He further vouchsafed the information that the entire country couldn't raise eneough [sic] hay to load a cart. This was not a very encouraging outlook. Learning that he was but a few miles from the home of his friend, Lemman, he repaired to his ranch for a night's visit. Preparing to move on the next morning, he was informed that he would do nothing of the kind, but would stay over until Mr. Lemman's threshing was done. Asking for a sack of oats for feed when he finally left, Mr. Lemman gave him four, insisting, against the protest of Mr. Fisher that it was too much, that he would need more than that in Antelope county. This was growing more ominous. They began to have doubts. Arring [sic] at the home of a relative when their destination was reached, September 21, they were further discouraged when they found that western fire was twisted hay. Mr. Fisher suggested that they have their wagon repacked, and return to Iowa, but, discussing the matter further, they decided it were better to suffer some than show the white feather, and they have been loyal Nebraskans ever since. They have suffered from storm and drouth, from prairie fires and pelting hail, but they have never regretted the fate that impelled them to come to the frontier and grow up with the country.
Securing a homestead entry, ten miles west of Plainview, in Antelope county, Mr. Fisher built a sod house of two rooms, and began to improve his farm. Life was not so easy in the early days as now. They burned hay for three years, during which time Mr. Fisher bought one dollars and fifty cents worth of coal at fourteen dollars per ton, enough for a few hours good coal fire. They decided to go into dairying, and milked some eight of ten cows, receiving the check for the first month's cream, but nothing later. They changed to butter-making, but got only six cents a pound for a fine quality of butter. Later, however, they received over four hundred and fifty dollars as the proceeds of the dairy in less than nine months.
The blizzard of 1888 gave them great discomfort, and only Mr. Fisher's hardihood and courage in twice riding out into it saved his forty head of stock. In doing so, he also gathered in some twenty head belonging to neighbors, who recovered them after the storm subsided, and were very grateful for the service. With a hired man he rode over the prairies the next day and released many others that were down in drifts, further adding to the gratitude of neighbors who could ill afford to lose their stock.
Among the pests of the early days, few were afflicted with the pest of fleas, as were the settlers of the neighborhood where Mr. Fisher had made his home. They swarmed in the barn, the sheds and the house, until life was a burden, and for the first time they contemplated moving out. But Mr. Fisher's ingenuity in finding their breeding place and applying a remedy soon rid their ranch of the little torments. They also had trouble with prairie fires, though none in the west equalled one witnessed by Mr. Fisher when a boy, living in South Prairie, when the swamps southwest of town, with grasses ten and twelve feet high, burned, the flames reaching higher than a house.
Mr. Fisher has prospered, and added another half section to his holdings He remained on the farm until 1902, when he rented the place and came to Plainview and purchased a block in Peed's addition, where he has a commodious home, comfortable and well furnished, in strong contrast to their household equipment when they began life in the west in a "soddy."
On coming to Plainview, Mr. Fisher, being all expert machinist, engaged in handling farm implements, wind mills, traction engines, etc. In May, 1909, he was appointed chief of police of Plainview, and is efficiently filling his office.
Mr. Fisher was married in Bedford, Iowa, September 5, 1877, to Miss Mary E. Hook, a native of Jefferson county, Iowa. Her parents, Stephen and Sarah (Clark) Hook, were natives of Ohio, the former of Carroll county, and the latter of Vinton county. The mother came to Nebraska in 1881 to join a son living here, and died December 20, 1895.
Mr. and Mrs. Fisher are the parents of eight children: Lottie Elva, wife of George Kirk, who has a homestead in South Dakota; Gertrude, married George Seabury, who farms six miles southwest of Plainview; Claude G., who has completed a course in the Lebanon, Ohio University, and has filed on a homestead in Perkins county, South Dakota; and Frank S. married Miss Hortense Stimpson has a homestead in Perkins county, South Dakota. The four youngest, Glenn, Fern L., Clyde and Mary Gladys, are in the public schools.
In politics Mr. Fisher is all indeendet [sic] democrat, and he is a member of the Odd Fellows and the Modern Woodmen. Mrs. Fisher is a member of the Rebekahs, and of the Methodist church.
Times were hard in Nebraska in the early days, as they were in other states, but those who remained and had confidence in her fecundity have reaped a rich reward. Few localities have prospered as this has done, and no one who is, of unbiased mind can cast aspersions on this state of many varied and profitable industries.
© 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001 for NEGenWeb Project by T&C Miller, P Ebel, P Shipley, L Cook