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Compendium of History Reminiscence & Biography of Western Nebraska

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     Our subject gives all his time to the building up of his home and management of his ranch, and everything he now has is due to his own unaided efforts, as he had absolutely nothing to start with when he began for himself, and he deserves much praise for his success. He has also aided materially in the development of the region where he has spent many years, and is one of the leading old-timers.



     Captain I. H. Dempcy, a leading citizen of Arapahoe, Nebraska, holds the office of justice of the peace and notary public, and is well known in this locality as a man of sterling character and integrity. Mr. Dempcy is a native of Delaware, born in 1833. His father, Tomas Jefferson Dempcy, settled as a pioneer in Champaign county, Ohio, on an Indian reservation, originally coming from Lancaster county, Pennsylvania, his father James Dempcy, grandfather of our subject, having taken part in the Revolutionary war. After having settled in Iowas in 1856 with his family, Mr. Dempcy farmed there for several years, then came to Nebraska in the early days of this state, and the homestead on which our subject located was crossed many times by bands of Sioux Indians who traveled north and south on their way to fight other tribes, but that was about the last of the Indian scares in this part of the country. Mr. Dempcy came to Arapahoe in 1872 and took a homestead in Arapahoe precinct, which he still owns, and since then has added to it until he is proprietor of 140 acres of good land here. Most of this is used for hay and pasture land and he has it stocked with good graded stock and is engaged in raising and shipping stock. The farm is located on Muddy Creek. Mr. Dempcy has always taken an active part in local affairs, and has been on the school board ever since coming here, and nearly always has been justice of the peace. He has helped to build two school houses, fine brick buildings, also two brick churches for the M. E. church society, acting on the building committee in both instances. About the year 1873 he was elected county treasurer, when two set of officers were elected in the county seat fight. Mr. Dempcy cast the first presidential vote for U. S. Grant that was cast in this precinct. He served for three years in the civil war with Company I, Fortieth regiment, from Iowa, and was mustered out as captain. He took part in the Vicksburg campaign, Sixteenth army corps, then in the Seventh army corps under Banks and Steele, was on the Red river expeditions. Then was promoted to second lieutenant and soon afterwards recommended for post of first lieutenant, but before he received this office he became captain of his company. He is a prominent member of the Grand Army of the Republic, and for twelve years was commander of the post at Arapahoe and one year in Fitzgerald, Georgia.

     Mr. Dempcy was married in 1856 to Miss Hannah Wilson, who died in 1860. In 1863 he married Hattie A. Gregory. Mr. and Mrs. Dempcy have two sons, namely: T. M. Dempcy, engaged in the banking business, also ranching, owner of one thousand two hundred acres near Curtis; and I. N. Dempcy, in the ranching and stock business on a two thousand four hundred acre ranch in Lincoln county, Nebraska. Mr. Dempcy's mother was Miss Jane Prichard, daughter of James and Elizabeth Prichard.



     George C. Snow, editor and proprietor of The Chadron Journal, published at Chadron, Nebraska, is one of the rapidly rising young newspaper men of western Nebraska. He has made a success of the work in his locality, and since taking charge of the above paper as sole manager has doubled the plant and circulation of the paper and added many improvements thereto.

     Mr. Snow is a native of De Kalb county, Illinois, born on a farm in 1874. He is a son of Beecher and Estella Lyon Snow, the former a farmer and early settler in Nebraska. Our subject is the oldest in his parents' family of four children, and he was reared in Illinois, attending the common schools and later the academy at Franklin, Nebraska. After coming to Nebraska he was a student at Doane College, located at Crete, and graduated from there with the degree of Bachelor of Arts. After leaving college he taught school for two years in Chadron, and was for two years a teacher in Washington, afterwards spending one year in Kansas. He holds a life teacher's certificate in Nebraska, and is one of the best known young educators in this section of the country.

     In March, 1906, Mr. Snow bought The Chadron Journal and is now editor and sole proprietor of this, which is the oldest paper in Dawes county. The first issue of this paper was published in a lumber wagon in 1884, established and edited by E. E. Egan, who was also proprietor of the paper at that time. During all this time there have been nine other

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papers established here, and this is the only one which has survived, and is now the only newspaper in Chadron. It has a large circulation throughout the county and vicinity.

      Mr. Snow was married in 1901 to Miss Mary Battey, of American stock, native of Minnesota. Mrs. Snow graduated from the same college as her husband, at the same time, and also holds a Bachelor of Arts degree, and followed teaching for several years. Mr. and Mrs. Snow are the parents of three children - Clayton, Mildred and George.



     Among the early settlers in western Nebraska who have given the best efforts of their lives to the development and upbuilding of the commercial and agricultural interests of this section, the gentleman above named occupies a prominent place. Mr. Pettit resides in Keya Paha county, in the town of Springview, where he has established a comfortable home and business, and is prepared to enjoy the fruits of his many years of labor.

     Charles S. Pettit was born near Red Oak, Iowa, June 16, 1872. His father, Edmund F. Pettit, was a pioneer settler in Keya Paha county, coming to this locality in 1883, where he took up a homestead southeast of Springview, the family living in a shanty built of sod and boards for several years. Here our subject was reared; from the time he was old enough he was compelled to assist his father in the hard work of carrying on the farm, and early learned to care for stock, help with the planting of the crops, and followed this until his nineteenth year, then learned the blacksmith's trade and followed this as an occupation for a period of ten years. He owned a shop in Springview for several years, and afterwards worked at this trade in Bryant, South Dakota. In 1901 Mr. Pettit went into partnership with S. S. Allen in the hardware business, the latter having previously established this business in 1899. They were associated together for five years, our subject buying Mr. Allen's interest in 1906. It is now the only general and exclusive hardware store in Springview, and its proprietor has an extensive trade all over Keya Paha and the surrounding country. The business occupies a large corner building, including warerooms, and is an up-to-date place in every respect.

     Mr. Pettit was married October 10, 1900, to Miss Stella Carr, whose father, John F. Carr, is an old settler in this county. Her mother, prior to her marriage, was Amelia Schulte. Mr. and Mrs. Pettit have a family of three children, namely: Clarence A., Frank F. and Carl S. The family is highly esteemed in the community and Mr. Pettit recognized as a leading business man and worthy citizen. He is a Republican in politics and a member of the Masonic and Pythian fraternities of Springview.



     C. Anderson Burg is a native of Sweden and was born in the year 1839. He brought his family to America and settled in Cheyenne county, Nebraska, in the spring of 1886, where he located, being now in Kimball county. He chose his homestead in section 30, township 15, range 53, and by thrift and careful farming together with judicious stock raising he has gathered many broad acres and accumulated a goodly share of this world's goods. He now owns sixteen hundred acres of fine land and runs about one hundred and fifty head of cattle.

     C. Anderson Burg was married in 1866 to Caroline Gustason, by whom he had seven children: Ilma, married; Carl, married; Oscar, married; Nannie, married; Conrad, Arvid and Edith, the last three mentioned being single. C. Anderson Burg's second wife was Tilda Swanson, to whom he was married in 1884, in Sweden. There were no children by this union.

     In politics Mr. Burg is a Republican and always casts his vote for the furtherance of the principles of that party.

     ARVID BURG lives on the home ranch with his father. The land of his birth was Sweden and his natal day was September 9, 1880. Arvid came to Nebraska with his father while yet a child, and has lived at home a great portion of the time, aiding in improving and building up the home place. He located and proved up on a homestead, the northeast quarter of section 6, township 14, range 53. He is a young man of sterling qualities and is esteemed by all who know him.



     John Gumb, who owns a fine farm of about five hundred acres in sections 4, 5 and 9, township 22, range 15, Garfield county, has been a resident of this region for the past twenty years. Mr. Gumb is an enthusiastic admirer

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of this part of the country, and thinks that a workingman's chance for making a good living and becoming independent in this country is much better than in the eastern states, and a great deal better than in England, which is his native country. He is of the opinion that the same amount of labor for ten years here gives a man more returns than in twenty years in England. Mr. Gumb was born in England and came to America in 1887, going first to Pennsylvania, but only remained there a few months, and then hearing of this rich western country decided to come here, the same year locating in Holt county, Nebraska, where he took up a claim of one hundred and sixty acres as a homestead. He remained there up to 1904, when he sold out and removed to Garfield county, again taking up a homestead of four hundred acres, which he uses as a grazing farm, also raising wheat, corn, oats, rye and barley. He keeps quite a number of stock, principally cattle, hogs and horses. Since coming here Mr. Gumb has raised good average crops. While living in Holt county he was mostly engaged in stock raising, and used a large part of his farm for hay and pasture, but since settling in Garfield county has run mostly to raising small grains, as he finds the soil in this section best suited for this purpose. During the dry years, in 1893 and 1894, he raised a small corn crop, but his hay was a fair yield, and cured itself on the prairies; also carried his stock through the winter in good shape. Some of the farmers near him rented feed farms at five dollars per head for their stock in the middle of the summer, thinking their hay was all ruined, but subsequently found they lost money, as the hay cured itself nicely and their stock fed out well through the winter.

    Mr. Gumb is a bachelor. He comes of good, sturdy English stock, is conservative in his views, and a practical and progressive farmer. He has taken an active part in local affairs since coming here, serving several terms as school treasurer while living in Holt county, and since locating here has given liberally in all movements for the public benefit. Politically he is a Republican.



    Franklin J. Austin, one of the leading citizens of Franklin county, is a prosperous merchant of Franklin, widely known as a gentleman of good business ability and true public spirit. He is a son of William E. Austin, born June 23, 1815, and reared on his father's farm. At the age of twelve years his father died, and in 1863 he sold his farm in Massachusetts and moved to Iowa, where he lived up to 1872, then came to Logan township, Franklin county. Here he was one of the first settlers. He was a native of Massachusetts and the fifth in a family of ten children born to John and Lodemi (Daniels) Austin, whose parents were all born in Massachusetts, as was also our subject's grandfather. The mother was a daughter of Dan Daniels, whose father was commander of the British fort at Boston, but being a liberty-loving man, he deserted the British and joined the Colonial forces. A prize was offered for his capture by the British, but he kept out of their way and used his great wealth in cashing Colonial scrip and equipping soldiers for the colonists. Dan Daniels, mentioned above as his son, also served in the Revolutionary war as a courier. He was captured and tried, but escaped the death penalty.

    Their name was originally MacDaniels, but Dan dropped the "Mac." He was a justice of the peace in Massachusetts for sixty years, which was the longest time any man ever served in that capacity there. William E. Austin came to this county in 1872, took up a homestead and started a small store as well. He was one of the foremost public-spirited citizens, and assisted materially in developing his home place into a handsome home and fine farm, and during the hard years was generous to his less fortunate neighbors, giving credit to all who came to his store, and is gratefully remembered by many.

    In 1845 he married Miss Emeline Clark, daughter of Alex. Clark, of Massachusetts, and they were the parents of four children: William H., John Franklin, our subject, Ed. L. and Charles F., who died young. William H. is postmaster at Franklin and a man prominent in all local affairs. Franklin J. began his business career in his father's postoffice, the latter having succeeded in establishing a postal station in 1873, which he named "Macon," and in this place our subject opened a small store, one of the first in the county. In 1879 he was elected county treasurer, then moved to the county seat at Bloomington. After serving two terms he came to Franklin and opened a general mercantile business, which, under his management, assisted by his two sons, has grown to be one of the largest and most prosperous in the county.

    Mr. Austin was married at Macon to Miss Mary Dake. She is a daughter of Calvin C. Dake, an early settle in Macon, locating there in 1872, and who is well known throughout the

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locality, having served as county commissioner for several terms. Mr. Austin was the organizer of a union Sabbath school in Macon, started in 1872.



    Among the leading citizens of Cherry county, none stands higher in the minds of his associates than the gentleman here named. For many years he has been a resident of this section and has developed a fine farm and with his family enjoys the comforts of a fine rural home and the esteem of all with whom he comes in contact.

    William W. Babcock was born in Potter county, Pennsylvania, October 14, 1834. His father, William Babcock, was born in Livingston county, New York, September 7, 1798, and the family lived in a lumber camp when our subject was born, the father having followed the life of a lumberman for many years in the east. They lived in Pennsylvania until William was a lad of eighteen years, then moved to Steuben county, New York, and from there came west, locating in Hardin county, Iowa, in pioneer days, where he started farming for himself. On June 13, 1861, he enlisted in Company G, First Iowa Cavalry, and was ordered south with his regiment, going directly to St. Louis, then to Memphis, Tennessee. He went to Austin, Texas, on the Rio Grande, and also was at Little Rock, Arkansas, where he reenlisted January 5, 1862, serving in all four years and eight months. He saw some hard service in many battles, but escaped without any serious wounds. After receiving his discharge from the army he returned to Iowa and followed farming in Hardin county up to 1891, excepting a period of about four years, which were spent six miles northwest of Kingsley, Iowa, where they farmed heavily and made money. In the latter year he came to Gordon, Nebraska, and started farming, but during the first two years suffered heavy losses on account of crop failures due to drouths, (sic) etc., and lost considerable money. He worked hard to get along, and managed to succeed fairly well, with the help of his sons and his wife, who aided him all in their power, and the latter especially deserves much credit for her faithful efforts with her husband in building up a home for themselves. They lived on that farm for seven years, at which time Mr. Babcock took up his present homestead, on section 8, township 28, range 36, bringing with him nineteen head of cattle, which he has now increased to a herd of 300. Here he has a fine property, improved with good buildings, all fenced, and is one of the progressive and up-to-date ranchmen of his locality.

    Immediately after returning from the war Mr. Babcock was married in Iowa, to Miss Katherine Rhodes, the wedding occurring in the fall of 1866. Mrs. Babcock is of German descent, and a daughter of Peach Rhodes, her mother's maiden name Elizabeth Crouse, the former a prominent farmer in Iowa. Our subject and his estimable wife have a family of six children, who are named as follows: Suell R., Albert J., Jessie C., William W., Jr., Nellie M. and George A. The sons all have Kincaid homesteads in the vicinity of their father's place, and each is industrious and earnestly working to accumulate a nice property and are worthy citizens of their community. 



    Joel Hull was born in Meigs county, Ohio, in 1831, and was reared there. In 1872 he came to Nebraska and went to the end of the Burlington & Missouri railroad then at Lowell, and on June 30th of that year located at Lowell, Kearney county. At that time there were no settlers there except on the river bottom, east and west of Lowell. The county was organized June 20, 1872, and Mr. Hull at once began as a merchant, purchasing a store from A. A. Andrews, and did an immense business, selling $130,000 worth of goods in twenty-four months. Purchasers came from Red Cloud, and west to the Colorado line, also from Kansas, many traveling one hundred and seventy-five miles to do their trading. The town of Hastings was not in existence at that time, and only two or three houses composed the town of Kearney, which did not boast of even a depot. After September of the year 1874 the river bridge was completed, and nearly all the trade then went to Kearney, which left Lowell a dead place.

    In 1874 Mr. Hull took up a homestead located four miles north of where Minden now stands, and in 1876 the town was organized and a committee of seven including our subject, chose Minden as the county seat, submitting the question to the people in November of that year and was favorably voted on, as it was a geographical centre, and admirably located. The land was bought by Mr. Hull and he offered it to the county, but it was declined. The following year he laid out the site of the town and named it Minden, and began building a temporary court house and a hotel.

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    He left a space in the north end of the town for the depot and in November, 1883, the Burlington and Missouri railway came in, and four years later the Kansas City and Omaha built in and took the south end of the town for their depot site, just as Mr. Hull had laid out the plans.

    In 1878 Mr. Hull had been admitted to the bar, and since that time has continuously practiced law. The population of Minden in 1882 was just two hundred and eleven people, and in April of that year it was made a village, growing very rapidly from the time the railroad was built through the place. During the panic throughout this section the town went backward, and not until 1896 did it begin to pick up, and now has a population of about 2,300, and still growing. In 1889 Mr. Hull was city engineer and surveyed for the location of the canal.

    The county surveyor now does the engineering work for the new $80,00 court house. Mr. Hull has always been active in all affairs of the town. He was county judge for some years, and since 1855 has voted the Republican ticket, in 1852 voting for General Scott, the Whig candidate for president. During the civil war he served in the Ninety-first Ohio Infantry as second lieutenant, Company B, and was first lieutenant and adjutant of his regiment, and afterwards resigned as adjutant and assigned to Company K, as first lieutenant, and appointed acting assistant adjutant general of the second brigade, second division, army of West Virginia. Our subject is a charter member of the Grand Army of the Republic post at Minden and has held all the offices in that post.

    In the early days when the settlers first began to come to this region many did not know how to break the land and put in their crops, and a few hit it right and raised good crops, but many met with failures, and those who were fortunate soon got rich.

    Mr. Hull is a son of Hiram Hull, whose father Joel Hull, was born near Boston, Massachusetts, in 1776. He received a college education and became a merchant, spending several years in New York state, and is 1816 settled in Meigs county, Ohio, where his death occurred in 1827. He married Miss Mary Wallace, a native of Bennington, Vermont, born in 1779, and she died in Adams county, Illinois, in 1859. She was a Free Methodist, and a woman of much intelligence. Our subject's father was the youngest of ten children, and was born in Utica, New York, in September, 1812. In 1831 he left the family farm, settling in Chester, Ohio, where he engaged in the mercantile, tannery and boat building business. In 1852 he moved to Delaware, Ohio, in order to educate his children, sending them to the Ohio Wesleyan University at Delaware. In 1872 he came west settling in Buffalo county, Nebraska. He lived for two years at Lowell, Kearney county, then at Kearney, where he was engaged in the merchandise trade and later in the real estate and brokerage business. Our subject's mother was, prior to her marriage, Miss Luna Bosworth, of Meigs county, Ohio, daughter of Hezekiah and Huldah (Pearce) Bosworth, of Whitehall, N. Y., who settled in Meigs county, Ohio. Her father was a Methodist preacher, also a teacher and farmer, who lived to be eighty-nine years of age, his death occurring February 23, 1859, his wife dying in 1863 at the age of eighty-eight years. Our subject is the eldest child of his father, born November 23, 1831; the second son, Wyman, was born March 27, 1835; third child, Catherine, is the wife of William K. Goddard, of Dane county, Wisconsin; fourth, Helen, wife of William L. Kidd, of Oakland, California; fifth, Marinda, wife of S. W. Switzer, of San Diego, California. Mr. Hull's great-grandfather was William Hull, of Massachusetts. During his young manhood, our subject was educated at Ohio Wesleyan University, and there studied law with Sweetzer and Reid, of Delaware, both of whom are eminent lawyers, and both at one time members of congress. In 1862 Mr. Hull recruited a company for the Ninety-first Ohio and was commissioned a lieutenant of Company B. He was at the battle of Lynchburg, also at Winchester, battle of Bunker Hill, in the Shenandoah valley, and led the skirmish line of 1,300 men against 7,700 of Early's men. This force of 1,300 took more prisoners than their own number, besides capturing all of the enemy's artillery. For his part in this action Joel Hull was promoted to adjutant general of the brigade, commanded by General Crook, which brigade won at the battle of Winchester. In 1864 Mr. Hull was commissioned by the governor of Ohio to the colonelcy (sic) of a new regiment, but the closing of the war caused this to be countermanded.

    After the war, in 1869, Mr. Hull went to Toledo, Ohio, where he engaged in the tannery and leather business up to 1872, under the firm name of Joel Hull & Co., and in that year came to Kearney county, Nebraska, where he laid out the town of Minden and built the first four houses, presenting a lot to each of the seven religious denominations, also gave a fourth of a block for the first school building.

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    Mr. Hull was married at Newark, N. J., in 1855, to Miss Mary E. Frisbee. They had a family of children, namely: Arthur E., George H., Frances E., wife of R. L. Marsh, and Carrie A. Mr. Hull was married the second time in 1879 to Mrs. Elsie E. Granger, daughter of Robert and Mary S. Scott, and to this union four children born, namely: Joel L., Walter Scott, Otis H. and Jessie A.



    Louis Metzler, Jr., a highly respected citizen of Chadron, Nebraska, was born in St. Joseph, Missouri, in 1872. He comes of old German stock, his father, Louis Metzler, and his mother, who was Miss Kate Rice, having been early settlers in western Nebraska. Their family consisted of four children, of whom our subject was the second member, and he grew up in the city in which he was born, learning the trade of a cigarmaker in his father's shop when he was a boy. At the age of nineteen he left home and spent five years in Chicago and Naperville, Illinois, working at his trade, and has made his own way in the world since then.

    Mr. Metzler came to Nebraska in 1896, locating permanently at Chadron, he having visited the place in 1894. His father was engaged in business here, and he worked in his shop up to 1901, then purchased the place and started in on his own account. He has built up a good business and his trade extends all over this part of the country, where he is well known as an industrious and energetic worker, and a shrewd and capable business man.

    In political sentiment Mr. Metzler is a Republican, taking an active and leading part in party affairs throughout the town and county. He is now on the town council and has served as a member of that board for five years.



    The subject of this review is one of the successful younger farmers of Keith county, Nebraska, and resides on an excellent farm located in section 26, township 13, range 37.

    James N. McClain is a native son of Nebraska and was born in Cass county March 24, 1881. His father, Nathan C. McClain, was a farmer by occupation and a native of Christian county, Illinois. The mother's name was Mary McClain, however no relation of her husband's before marriage; she, too, was born in Illinois. The parents of our subject were among the earliest pioneers of eastern Nebraska, where they settled about 1877 and engaged in farming and hog raising. In 1885 the family shipped their goods to North Platte, whence they moved by teams thirty-five miles to a homestead on section 12, township 12, range 35, about eleven miles southeast of the village of Paxton. They had a good sod house, cemented inside and out, a barn, with a shed attached, to which they added first-class improvements from time to time. There the family lived for thirteen years, engaged extensively in farming. There were eight boys in the family, which enabled the father to farm very extensively, having so much good help. But the results from the crops were very poor for eight years owning to drouth (sic) and other causes, and the losses fell heavily upon the family.

    James N. McClain started out for himself in 1900, working out for a while and farming rented land. He located a homestead on section 26, township 13, range 37, where he now lives, and has improved it with good buildings. He has three hundred and twenty acres, with half of it capable of cultivation.

    Mr. McClain was married March 21, 1906, to Susan Knowles, born and reared in Keith county, Nebraska. Her father, David Knowles, deceased, was one of the early pioneers of Nebraska; the mother was Melissa Spurgeon. Mr. and Mrs. McClain have one son, Elmer.

    As a boy and man Mr. McClain has had great opportunity to witness the development of the region in which he lives, having come here with his parents in the pioneer days of 1885. He is making a success of life and will soon have a fine farm in productive operation. He has been honored with several political offices, among them being that of assessor for Logan precinct. He is a Republican in politics and fraternally is a member of the Paxton camp of Modern Woodmen of America.




    Thomas Mullally, a retired farmer of Harlan county, Nebraska, who now resides in Alma, is the proprietor of a fine property and one of the wealthiest men in this locality. A portrait of him is presented on another page of this volume.

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    Mr. Mullally is a native of Longford county, Ireland, born in 1836. He came to America when a youth fourteen years of age, settling

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