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Compendium of History Reminiscence & Biography of Western Nebraska

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     Mr. and Mrs. Troxel were among the first settler and took an important and honorable position in the growth of the community. They had many hard experiences during their pioneer days, but they survived them and grew in wealth and prosperity. Once, while her husband was gone for supplies, a number of Indians made their way into the house without her knowledge. After giving her quite a scare, the Indians asked for a little flour, but, as her supply was low, she had to refuse them. They made no trouble but hung around the house. Fortunately, Mr. Troxel arrived the next day, with his load of supplies, and a trade was made with the Indians so that they got their flour and went away happy.



     Among the early settlers in western Nebraska, who labored for the upbuilding of that region and has met with marked success as a business man and gained a high station as a citizen, none commands higher respect and esteem than the subject of this review. Mr. Tash is a gentleman of active public spirit, and has been prominent in local and county affairs for many years past, serving in different official capacities, to which he was elected on the Republican ticket, and is also well known in Masonic circles throughout this country. He resides in Alliance, Box Butte county, and has acted as postmaster of the place since 1903, proving a most popular and efficient man for the place, universally esteemed as a true and worthy citizen.

     Mr. Tash was born in Clark county, Iowa, in 1862. His father, Louis Tash, was a native of Indiana, whose grandfather was of an old South Carolina family. He married Miss Mary E. Weeter, and they started life together in a log cabin on a farm, where our subject grew up assisting his parents in carrying on the farm work and at the same time attending the country schools until he was nineteen years of age. He progressed rapidly and was able to teach in their vicinity during the winters, and his summers were spent in railroading. He followed this work for seven years, and in 1887 left Indiana and came west, first settling east of Box Butte county. There he was engaged in the real estate and farm loan business for ten years, aiding materially in settling the country and developing the commercial and agricultural resources of the region. In the fall of 1889 he was elected county clerk and served his term, then the county seat was moved to Hemingford. At the expiration of his term of office he, together with S. P. Tuttle, opened a law, loan and real estate business, which they continued with success from 1892 to 1899, in September of the latter year our subject removing to Alliance, where the county seat had finally been established, he also moving his dwelling house to Alliance. For the following two years he worked at railroad construction on the Union Pacific. In 1902 he became associate editor of The Times, a leading newspaper of Alliance, retaining this position for one year, then was appointed postmaster, which position he is now filling with much credit. In 1905 he was appointed receiver of the Bank of Hemingford and satisfactorily disposed of that business. Mr. Tash is a man of superior business tact and executive ability, and had filled numerous responsible positions.

      In 1888 our subject married Miss Eva M. Wilcox, daughter of B. J. Wilcox, a farmer of Union county, Iowa. To Mr. and Mrs. Tash have been born the following children : Charles C., Emma E., and Nellie M.

     Since locating in Alliance Mr. Tash has been actively interested in all local affairs and has held numerous offices, in each of which he has discharged his duties faithfully and well, gaining the confidence of his fellow-men by his strict integrity and honest dealings. He is past master of the Alliance Lodge No. 183, A. F. and A. M., and a member of the Sheba Chapter No. 54, also a member of the Eastern Star, and Bunah Commandery No 26, Knights Templar.



     In reviewing the list of prominent pioneer business men of Rock county, a leading place is accorded the name of Alfred C. Kendall. This gentlemen has been intimately associated financially and socially with the development of this section of the country, and has been a potent factor in its upbuilding.

     Mr. Kendall was born in Canton, Bradford county, Pa., on January 4, 1837, the second in a family of three children. His father, Seneca Kendall, a native of Vermont and a wagonmaker by trade, was of Irish descent, and his mother, Miss Sally Andrus, was of German stock, and died when our subject was a small lad. He was raised in Pennsylvania and remained with his father until the latter's death, which occurred in 1877. In 1862 our subject was married to Miss Susan

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Andrus of American ancestry, and six children were born to them, namely: Carrie, wife of J. B. Gould, of Brown county; Guy, who married Gertrude Harrison; Monroe, whose wife was Edyth Piersall; Chester C.; Kate, who married Mr. Trogood and lives west of Bassett; and Minnie. The wife and mother died January 2, 1891, and Mr. Kendall was subsequently married to Mrs. Anna (Matson) Andrus.

     While in Pennsylvania Mr. Kendall followed carpentry, and after working at this for twenty years came to Cass county, Nebraska, locating twenty miles east of Lincoln, in 1881, buying a farm of one hundred and twenty acres, on which he remained for three years. In 1884 the family moved to Rock county, settling on a government tract located in section 11, township 31, range 20, where they lived for twelve years. This land was subject to drought and he sold out and in 1896 bought part of his present farm, situated in section 26, township 32, range 20, paying $650 for one hundred and sixty acres, this being entirely unimproved land, with a good growth of natural timber on it, and located close to the Niobrara river. Since then they have added to this farm and improved it, until now, together with his sons, he has sixteen hundred acres of homestead and deed land and leases four hundred acres additional, operating altogether two thousand acres, enclosed by thirteen or fourteen miles of fence. They also have a good set of farm buildings, a fine orchard of sixty bearing trees, and a twenty-acre tract of irrigated land, which is conceded to be the best market garden in northwestern Nebraska. Three reservoirs have been built on the range by damming the spring streams which run from the hills, one built in 1900, another in 1901, and the third in 1902, and from these Mr. Kendall conserves water enough to irrigate the twenty acres above mentioned, although there are years when no irrigation is necessary, the natural rainfall being sufficient. Dairying is one branch of industry of this enterprising family, the cream of twenty cows being shipped to eastern markets. Farming and ranching also have their place on this productive estate, each of which is conducted on an extensive scale. Mr. Kendall insists that much credit is due his family, and in particular his son, Guy R. Kendall, who is business manager, for their part in the building up and improving of this property. Of the Kendall ranch thirty acres are situated on the river bottom, and this has been cleared of brush and timber, thus forming a valuaebe (sic) portion of the farm.

      During the Rebellion Mr. Kendall volunteered twice and was rejected. Later he enlisted in the One Hundred and Forty-ninth Pennsylvania Infantry, in September, 1863, at Williamsport. He was assigned to duty with the Army of the Potomac under Colonel Dwight, serving six months during the winter of 1863 and 1864 on guard duty along a railroad, a crippled foot preventing his participating in long marches, a disability for which he was discharged in the spring of 1864.

      Mr. Kendall is a strong Republican, takes an active part in party politics, both local and state, having attended numerous conventions as a delegate. September 7, 1907, he was appointed postmaster at Cuba postoffice and the daily mail is now distributed from his ranch.

      A view of the "Long Pine Valley Farm" and buildings will be found on another page.

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     Guy R. Kendall, a well-to-do young farmer of Rock county, Nebraska, where he is regarded alike for his manly qualities and his farmer-like ways, was born in Canton, Pennsylvania, in 1873, and reared in Bradford county, that state, until he was eight years of age. He is a son of Alfred C. Kendall, of whom a sketch appears on another page of this work.

      In 1881 the family moved to Nebraska and settled in Cass county, twenty miles east of Lincoln, and in 1884 moved to Rock county, some two and a half miles south of their present dwellings. At an early age our subject began to handle a team and do farm work, and grew up accustomed to all sorts of hard work always to be found in carrying on a farm. He has remained at home with his parents, and has given all his time and best efforts in assisting in the improvement and operation of the large farm described in his father's sketch, being the business manager of their large and varied industries.

      Mr. Kendall was married June 23, 1903, to Gertrude K. Harrison, born near Jefferson, Green county, Iowa, in 1874. Her people were old settlers in Nebraska, where she was reared and educated. He parents, James H. and Emma (Robinson) Harrison, were old settlers in Keya Paha county, where they started as pioneers, the family at first living in a log house, there first farming being done with a yoke of oxen. They built up a comfortable home in this locality, and were regarded as among the leading citizens of their community. Mrs. Kendall was, prior to her marriage, a teacher in the schools of Rock county for several years, and was a competent instructor and a very estimable lady.

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     Mr. Kendall has always taken an active part in the school work of his neighborhood, and has held different offices for the past twelve years. He is also active in political matters, and was appointed county commissioner of Rock county in 1900, serving for one term. He was a Republican. Of the fraternal orders he is a member of two, the Odd Fellows and the Modern Woodmen of America. A view of his residence, together with that of his father, is to be seen elsewhere in this work,



     A sketch of the history of western Nebraska would be incomplete without mention of Reinhard Geisert, one of the most prosperous of the early settlers of this region. Reinhard Geisert was born in the little village of Eichstetten, province of Baden, Germany, August 3, 1861. His father, Matthew Geisert, was a farmer, and lived and died in Germany. His mother, who was Louisa Hornecker in her youth, died in Ogallala, July 31, 1908, at the residence of her son.

      Mr. Geisert remained in Germany until he was eighteen years of age, when he came to America, sailing from Havre, France, February 10, 1880, and landed in New York after a voyage of thirteen days. He came direct to Henry County, Illinois, where several uncles had preceded him, and here he spent three years, at times engaged in farm labor and work in a sawmill, and attending school one winter during that time.

      In 1883 he turned west through Iowa and eastern Nebraska, looking over the country, seeing Keith county during the fall of this year. At that time cowboys and gamblers ruled the town of Ogallala and he saw many thousands of dollars piled on the gambling tables of the town. Men were frequently killed in quarrels during these days and drunken cowboys often rode through the town killing horses for which they afterward had to pay.

      In the fall of 1883 he filed a homestead in section 28, township 13, range 37, which he improved the following year, farming a little and building a frame shanty and sod barn. He at times worked out for other settlers in eastern Nebraska, helping them to shuck their corn, to increase his income, when not employed on his own place.

      Until the winter or 1885 Mr. Geisert had been alone in this country, but at that time he revisited his old home and brought his mother, four brothers and a sister to this country, returning to Nebraska with them in 1886. Here his brothers settled on claims and commenced farming with very little capital, after a time buying horses, cattle and machinery.

      They were obliged to endure many hardships during the dry years following 1890. From 1890 to 1895 they had but one good crop, the crop of 1892. In spite of all these discouragements they persevered and began to raise cattle and horses, which made it possible for them to succeed when farming proved to be unprofitable.

     Mrs. Geisert has from one hundred and fifty to two hundred head of cattle and fifteen head of horses. He milks from thirty to forty cows, whose cream brings in a comfortable and steady income. At times he raises hogs to help out his other enterprises, but does not raise a large herd every year.

      He was married in 1886 to Miss Katie Miller, a native of Germany, whose father, Fred Miller, a native of that country, spent his entire life there. Mr. and Mrs. Geisert have eight children: Dora, wife of Otto Pankonin, of Perkins county; Louisa, a teacher in the Keith county schools; Caroline, Reinhard, Jr., Minnie, Robert, Mary and Ida.

     Mr. Geisert has taken a prominent part in the establishment of the schools and has been school officer ever since the schools were established. He also helped to build the first county church in the county. He was compelled to endure many hardships during the first years of his life in Nebraska and was often lost on the prairie where there were no roads or trails. The family all belong to the Lutheran church.

      Mr. Geisert is one of the most highly respected of the old settlers and has held many offices of trust, having been justice of the peace several terms and precinct assessor. He is a stanch Democrat.



     R. Lisco is vice-president and general manager of the Rush Creek Land and Live Stock Company, with the home ranch located on section 33, township 16, range 46, situated at the head of Rush creek, in Deuel county, Nebraska. This company was organized in 1890, and was

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formerly known as the Club Ranch, formed in 1883, was closed out in 1886 and reorganized under the present name in 1890, with officers as follows: Thomas E. Wells, president; R. Lisco, vice-president and general manager.

     R. Lisco, the subject of this sketch, was born in Worth county, Iowa, November 21, 1858. He grew up in Iowa, receiving a good schooling, following farming as a boy, and came to Platte county in 1873 and to Deuel county in 1881. Upon landing in this region he became interested in ranching and stock raising, and has devoted all his time to that pursuit ever since. The firm which he now represents owns forty-eight thousand acres of ranch land, besides other property. It is improved with good buildings of every kind and well equipped for the proper handling of a large herd of cattle, being one of the most complete outfits of its kind in the west. They run from six thousand to eight thousand cattle each year, besides a large number of horses, at the present time having three hundred and fifty head on the ranch.

      Our subject was married at Chappell, Nebraska, February 5, 1895, to Miss Addie R. Miller, who was born in Michigan and came west in 1894. They have no children. Mr. Lisco's father is living with him at the advanced age of eighty-four years.

      Mr. Lisco has always taken an active part in local affairs and has been a leading citizen of his county since locating here. In 1889 he was elected sheriff of Deuel county, and served in all for four terms.



     Colonel Harry W. Kirby, one of the old settlers of Thomas county, Nebraska, now residing in Thedford, is a leading citizen and popular member of the business and social life of that community.

     Mr. Kirby was born in Carroll county, Ohio, in 1845, of American stock. His maternal grandfather, Jacob Bear, was of Pennsylvania Dutch blood, and one of the pioneer settlers of Ohio, having settled in Harrison county in 1813. The father of our subject, Ephraim Kirby, was born in 1808 at Bedford, Pennsylvania, and came to Ohio in 1824 with his mother, three brothers and four sisters, all of whom were reared, educated and married and had large families. Ephraim taught school and entered a quarter of land, upon which he lived until his death in September, 1888. He married Elizabeth Bear in 1832, by which union they reared nine children, six boys and three girls, the colonel being fourth in line.

      At the age of fifteen our subject taught school and entered college and in 1861 he, with fifteen of his classmates, enlisted in the Eightieth Regiment, Ohio Volunteer Infantry. This regiment followed the fortunes of Grant and Sherman through every southern state except Florida, and stained the soil with their blood at Shiloh, Corinth, Iuka, Vicksburg, Missionary Ridge, Lookout Mountain, Atlanta, march to the sea, and up the coast to final surrender and grand review at Washington. He was a brilliant soldier and held the position of lieutenant colonel of his regiment at the close of the war.

      After returning home when peace had been declared Colonel Kirby entered the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor, and took up a literary course, graduating with high honors in 1869. He then read law and was admitted to the bar in his native state and later in Indiana, where he spent the ten years from 1880 to 1890 in law and editorial work as proprietor of the Decatur Journal. As a Republican he has always taken an active part in politics. He came to the state of Nebraska in 1904, took up a section of land under the Kincaid law and has been twice elected county judge.

      Colonel Kirby was married in March, 1907, to Miss Elizabeth P. Crawford, a charming and accomplished lady, also from Ohio.



     W. C. Elder, of North Platte, Lincoln county, Nebraska, was elected judge of the county court in 1905. Prior to this he was clerk of the district court for fifteen years, and throughout all his public career has had the confidence and esteem of all who knew him for his honesty and integrity in all matters of public interest.

      Mr. Elder is a native of Indiana county, Pennsylvania, and his father was also born in that county. His grandfather, James Elder, was a fuller and farmer. In 1853, at the age of seven years, our subject came to Green county, Iowa, with his parents, where he afterwards farmed it for some time. He was justice of the peace in that section, also assessor and deputy sheriff. He was the first man to sink a coal shaft in central Iowa, and was fortunate in obtaining a large amount of good coal.

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     At the age of seventeen years he enlisted in Company C, Thirty-ninth Iowa Infantry, and served in the western army. He was at the battle of Red Mound, Tennessee, and scouted all over the central part of the latter state after the battle of Lookout Mountain. He was at Altoona Pass, Georgia, where the Thirty-ninth Regiment held the fort, over one-half their number being killed or wounded, nine out of the eleven officers losing their lives in the encounter. At the same battle our subject received two wounds which incapacitated him from service for a time, but he rejoined his regiment at Goldsboro, North Carolina, in April 1865, and took part in the grand review at Washington in May, 1865.

     In 1882 Mr. Elder came to Nebraska and located at Medicine Creek on a farm, where he engaged in stock raising, holding this property up to 1905, then sold out his interest. He settled in North Platte in 1889, and has been prominent in politics for forty-one years, always a strong Republican. He was justice of the peace for many years, and is widely known all through this section of the country as an active public-spirited citizen.

      Mr. Elder was married in 1867 at Rippy, Iowa, to Mrs. E. A. York. They have one son, Ora, of North Platte, who is a prominent real estate dealer and actively interested in county and state politics. He is chairman of the Republican county committee, and also of the senatorial committee. Our subject's first wife died at North Platte, Nebraska, in October 1883, and on January 5, 1898, he married Mrs. Mary H. Clerk, of North Platte. This union has been blessed with one son, W. C., born September 8, 1900.



      For the past twenty-five years the citizens of Minden, Kearney county, Nebraska, have had in their midst a gentleman who has been identified with the development and growth of this region from its early settlement. Mr. Slater is engaged in the real estate and loan business, and has occupied the office where he now carries on his business since the year 1883.

      Mr. Slater is a native of Whiteside county, Illinois, born in 1856. His father, Roswell Slater, was a member of the Seventy-fifth Illinois Infantry, and died while fighting for his country in 1863.

      Mr. Slater is now chairman of the county board of supervisors, serving his second term. He is also president of the First National Bank at Bertrand, and controls most of the stock of that bank, which was established December 13, 1906. The contracts for the new $80,000 court house

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