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Compendium of History Reminiscence & Biography of Western Nebraska

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place up to 1904 and still operates it as a cattle ranch. There are three thousand acres of land in the place, of which two thousand is deeded, and he runs fifteen hundred head of cattle. This is one of the most valuable estates in the county, and through his good management and business judgment it has become one of the bet equipped ranches in the entire region.

      In 1903 our subject was united in marriage to Miss Margaret Ready, whose parents lived near Detroit, Michigan. Mr. and Mrs. Brennan have one child, Margaret.

     Mr. Brennan has been numbered among the prominent citizens of his community since locating here. He has seen the country grow from almost a vast wilderness to the prosperity it now enjoys, and has aided materially in that growth and development, also taking part in the organization of the county, and witnessed the fights which took place during the time the county seat was located.



     Among the very well known and highly respected citizens of the city of McCook, Nebraska, a prominent place is accorded the subject of this review, F. M. Kimmell. He is an old settler in this section of the state, and is familiar with the growth and development of the locality, and gives his best aid in the upbuilding of its commercial and educational interests.

      Mr. Kimmell is a native of the state of Pennsylvania, born and raised in Somerset, Somerset county, and after receiving a good education he entered upon newspaper work, obtaining employment with a local paper, and has followed that profession almost continuously since engaging in it in his young manhood. At the age of nineteen he started out for himself, and came west in 1881, locating in Columbus, Nebraska, and at once associated himself with one of the leading newspapers in that city. He also was appointed deputy city clerk, which position he held for a year, and was an efficient and popular official. The Tribune, a leading newspaper of western Nebraska, was established in 1882, and the following year Mr. Kimmell purchased this paper and took entire charge of the business, settling in McCook, where he has since resided. The Tribune is a weekly paper, devoted to the cause of Republicanism, and has a wide circulation all through Redwillow and adjoining counties. The plant has a splendid job department, and is an authentic and interesting news medium. It has always stood stanch (sic) advocate of the interests, development and betterment of this locality, and Mr. Kimmell as its editor and manager has the confidence and esteem of the entire community. In 1898 he was appointed postmaster of McCook, and at the expiration of that term was again appointed, and after serving two years of his third term Mr. Kimmell resigned to devote himself entirely to the newspaper business. The city has grown so rapidly during the past few years that the office has been raised to a second-class one, handling a large amount of business. In 1888 Mr. Kimmell was married to Mabel M. Meserve. This union has been blessed with one child, a son.

      Mr. Kimmelll has the distinction of having been elected the first city clerk of McCook, and served from 1883 to 1885, proving a very capable public official, and since then has held different local offices. He is a prominent member of the Masonic lodge at McCook, and is an earnest worker in the Congregational church here.



     Prominent among the enterprising and progressive citizens of Brown county, Nebraska, and among the number who have been associated with the very early history of this part of the state, their connections with it running back to frontier times and days, is Daniel Pratt, of Ainsworth. While not old in years, and still in the maturity of his manly powers, he has seen Brown county as a dry and thinly settled wilderness, and has witnessed the progressive steps of its conversion into the prosperous community now the delight of the west. Daniel Pratt was born in Cook county, Illinois, not far from Chicago, October 7, 1857, where his boyhood and earlier youth were passed. He was given such educational opportunities as the means of his parents afforded. His father, John B. Pratt, a native of New York, was a farmer, who, in 1884, removed to Nebraska. The mother, Ellen O'Connell, was of Irish parentage. The subject of this narration was the second member of a family of seven children born to their union. Daniel Pratt spent part of his youth in Lee county, Iowa, and in early manhood accompanied his father on his removal to Nebraska. Here he remained at home and worked for his father until his death, which occurred in 1886; after that the subject of this writing followed farming for a couple of years

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He then established a business in ice, doing in connection a dray and teaming business, in which he has been very successful. In November, 1907, he disposed of his draying interests, retaining only the ice business, in which he continues. He owns a neat and pleasant home in Ainsworth, also barns and ample accommodation for all his hauling outfit. He is now enjoying a competence which he has acquired by honest and hard work, and which all who know him are glad to see in his possession.

     Mr. Pratt was married July 9, 1896, when Miss Emma Meyers became his wife. She was born in Danville, Illinois, and comes of Irish and German stock. They have four children: Ray, Joseph, Clara Berdetta and Joseph Francis. Mr. Pratt votes the Democratic ticket and affiliates with the Masonic, the Odd Fellows and the Ancient Order of United Workmen of Ainsworth.



     One of the leading men in Blaine county affairs is the gentleman whose name appears at the head of this sketch. He operates a very large ranch and is one of the most substantial farmers of the territory. He has always been prominent in politics and has held the office of county judge for the past nine years and in all matters pertaining to social and economical welfare of his community he has exhibited rare qualities of wisdom and judgment.

      William Turner is of English nativity, his birth occurring in Gloucestershire, England, March 13, 1859. His parents, Samuel and Emily (Gibbons) Turner, were English people.

      When our subject was eight years of age the whole family came to America and settled on a farm in Dane county, Wisconsin, where they lived for three years, and then moved to Mitchell county, Iowa, where they were among the early settlers. Here our subject remained for about nineteen years, receiving his quota of hard work, as most farmers do, and when he was twenty years old started out for himself.

      In March, 1879, Mr. Turner was married to Miss Lucy Pike, daughter of Edwin and Diana Pike, natives of England and farmers by occupation. Mr. and Mrs. Turner have been the parents of eleven children: William, Joe, Scott, Ester, Mark, Emily, Ruby, Pike, Fred, John and Harry.

     In the fall after his marriage our subject came west to Blaine county, Nebraska, and located nine miles northeast of Dunning. His first crop was destroyed by drouth (sic) and hail ruined things in 1891, and our subject had a hard time to support his family, but pluck and endurance won at last, although it was several years before better days dawned. In 1891 he located on the North Loup river, where he engaged in farming and stock raising for sixteen years. He has had many hard experiences. Once during a terrible windstorm his windmill was blown down, his wagons injured and the roof of his house was lifted, but was fortunately not blown off. Our subject has a splendid ranch of twelve hundred and eighty acres and operates altogether about four sections of land. He has been successful beyond all his early hopes and he is now enjoying the fruits of many long days of hard and painstaking labor. In politics Mr. Turner affiliates with the Democratic party. He helped establish his school district and has been school director for sixteen years.



     Perry S. Mailey, well and favorably known as a prosperous and successful young farmer of township 24, range 50, in Box Butte county, has met with decided success in his chosen career as an agriculturist, and is the proprietor of a pleasant home and a well improved farm. A portrait of Mr. Mailey appears on another page.

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      Mr. Mailey was born in Nevada, Missouri, on a farm, in 1874. His father was a native of New York state who came west and settled in Missouri, where he went through pioneer experiences, and the father and mother died in Trenton, Missouri, when our subject was an infant. Perry S.. was thus left without a home in a land where all were strangers, so was adopted and taken to raise by John H. Mailey, who is well known as an old settler in Nebraska, locating in the eastern part of the state in 1884 and living as a pioneer near Broken Bow. He improved quite a large tract of land in that vicinity and in 1887 came with his family to Box Butte county. Mr. J. H. Mailey and Perry drove to this region by team with wagon containing their household goods, etc., the trip taking two weeks, and while on the journey spent the nights camped out on the ground. After arriving here they settled on a farm about twelve miles west of where Alliance now stands, although at that time there was no thought of a town on that spot. Mr. Mailey began to improve his place, putting up a rough building as a dwelling, and


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both father and son helped construct the Burlington Railroad through that section. They worked faithfully and managed to get along in pretty good shape, although they were obliged to content themselves with the usual disappointment in the way of failure of crops, etc., and as our subject grew up he gradually assumed the entire management of the home farm, and was very successful during later years. During this time he had also filed on a homestead and proved up, so is at this time the owner of a fine ranch of six hundred and forty acres, all fenced and with good buildings, wells, plenty of trees and good water, etc. Mr. Mailey is engaged principally in stock raising, but does a little farming. His place is kept up in fine shape, and he is considered one of the well-to-do men of his locality, a thoroughly up-to-date agriculturist, and gives his whole time and attention to operating his farm.





     Orvid Kidwell, a prosperous and much respected citizen of the vicinity of Hemingford, in Box Butte county, Nebraska, much deserves the abundant success that has come to him as a reward of industry, economy, and thrift. Mr. Kidwell resides on the southeast quarter of section 18, township 27, range 49, about a half mile south of Hemingford, where he has built a fine house and barn and made other improvements.

      Mr. Kidwell was born in Plymouth, Marshall county, Indiana, November 15, 1849. His father was a wagon maker, who died in 1873, and his mother was, prior to her marriage, Charlotte Belangee, she continuing to live in Indiana after her husband's death, where she reared her family. Our subject worked on the home farm up to the time he was twenty-one years old, receiving a common school education, and only a limited one at that, as he was obliged to help support the family and could only attend school for a few months in each year. He began working hard when he was but twelve years old, and learned to do all sorts of hard work, assisting at home and also working out by the day and month in the vicinity of their home.

      In 1871 he went to Berrien county, Michigan, and was married there three years later, to Miss Mary Ann Hawkins, of English extraction, born at St. Johns, New Brunswick, They have no children.

     Mr. Kidwell farmed in Michigan up to 1885, then came to Nebraska and filed on a homestead and tree claim in Box Butte county, locating in section 1, township 26, range 50. Here he put up sod buildings hauling the lumber for them fifty miles, over the roughest roads, from Camp Clark, from which point he did the first teaming. He lived on that farm for about thirteen years, then was overtaken by the drought periods, losing his entire crops, and from 1890 to 1895 was unable to do more than make a living for himself and family, so gave up the struggle, left his farm and moved to another location. This was in 1896, and here he did well. His farm consists of one thousand one hundred and twenty acres, and he erected good buildings and put everything in first class shape. He farms about one hundred and eighty acres, keeping the balance for hay and pasture land. Mr. Kidwell only owns four hundred and eighty acres now, having sold six hundred and forty acres from his tracts of land. When he first struck this locality he freighted from Valentine, and during those days everything was very high in the way of provisions and feed, corn selling up as high as five cents a pound, and as his crop which he had planted the first season was entirely destroyed, he was unable to get a pound to sell.

     Mr. Kidwell is one of the influential men of his locality and has always done his share in building up the region, helping to establish schools, etc., and at different times has held local office. He is a firm believer in the principles of the Republican party.



     Among the younger members of the farming and ranching community of township 23, range 28, Thomas county, the gentleman whose name heads this article occupies a prominent place. He is a young man of industrious habits, who has exercised good judgment in the operation of his estate and has been well repaid for his labors in the possession of a valuable estate and pleasant home in section 11.

     Ernest G. Gray, was born in the eastern part of Canada in 1874. His father, George Gray, was also a native of the country, and a well-known farmer and ranchman, who came with his family to the United States when Ernest was a boy of seven years, settling in Dawson county, Nebraska, where they went through pioneer experiences in building up a home. The father filed on a homestead, and there our subject was reared, attending the common schools and assisting his father in carrying on the farm, living there up to 1890, when they came to Thomas


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county and started a farm. Ernest started for himself, taking up government land, on which he lived until 1904, then sold the old homestead and moved to his present location, which is situated a short distance east of Thedford. Here he has a ranch of many acres, which is all deeded land, and he leases six hundred and forty acres of school land, engaging almost exclusively in cattle raising. He has the entire ranch fenced, and has good buildings and improvements of every kind for operating a model ranch.

      In 1907 Mr. Gray married Miss Elsie Ernst. whose parents are old settlers in Nebraska, now residing in Cherry county. Mr. and Mrs. Gray have one baby girl, Rosie, now three and a half months old.

      Mr. Gray is active in local affairs, and is a public-spirited citizen. He has been assessor of his township for two terms.



     To the pioneers of a country is due most of the credit for the prosperity enjoyed there in after years. Among those who went to western Nebraska and have remained to enjoy prosperity, a prominent place is accorded the gentleman here named. He braved the hardships of pioneer life and despite losses and discouragements, worked steadily and earnestly, and is now one of the substantial citizens of Kimball county, Nebraska, where he has a valuable farm. He has not only witnessed the growth of the agricultural resources of that region, but has been a potent factor in bringing about the same, and well merits his success and high standing.

      Lars C. Christensen, whose portrait appears on another page, was born in Denmark, April 16, 1864, and lived there until he was fifteen years of age. The whole family came to America at that time, settling in Douglas county, Nebraska. There were three girls and himself, and they all went to work with a will to build up a home in the new country. The father homesteaded in Holt county, Nebraska, and eventually proved up on a tract of land, which they converted into a comfortable home and improved a good farm. The father died in Holt county in 1891, and our subject's mother is now residing in Fremont, Neb., with a daughter, while one daughter is married and lives at Loup City, Nebraska.

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      Mr. Christensen settled in Kimball county in 1889, taking a homestead in section 10, township 16, range 54, proved up on the land, and has since added to his original farm until he now owns one and half sections of splendid land. He has it all improved in good shape, cultivating about one hundred and fifty acres, and is engaged quite extensively in the stock business, running one hundred head of cattle and other stock. He has good buildings of all kinds, and every improvement for the proper operation of his ranch. Mr. Christensen is unmarried. He is a Republican, has held school offices, and has also served as road overseer for some time.



     A. W. Fleming, born in Cook county, Illinois, came to Phelps county, Nebraska, in 1892, purchasing the southeast quarter section 28, and resided on it and farmed from that time up to 1904, when he rented out his land but still occupies his pleasant home with his family, consisting of himself, wife and two daughters. He is a son of A. W. and Margaret (Scott) Fleming. His father was an active and leading citizen of his community, and strong anti-slavery advocate, dying when still a young man. The widowed mother, imbued with the beliefs of her husband, was an ardent worker during the late war in support of the soldiers and devoted her time to relieving their pressing wants in the way of clothing and supplies, and in this she was assisted by our subject, then a mere lad. Both parents of our subject were born in Scotland and came to America when young people.

     At the age of twenty-one years Mr. Fleming left his home, then in Bureau county, Illinois, and settled in Champaign county, where he bought a 160-acre farm and operated it successfully up to 1892, then sold it out and came to Nebraska. Since coming here he has built up a fine property, and is perfectly satisfied with conditions. He greatly prefers the clear, bracing and healthful climate of Nebraska with its abundance of pure water from deep wells, and as he has just returned from a visit to Illinois where he has spent three weeks of the month of August, states that he could scarcely breath there owing to the oppressive heat. Illinois land is now selling all the way from $175 to $200 per acre, and the land here at $60 and $80 per is just as productive and much easier worked, although in his opinion, our farmers need give heed to better tilling of the soil and consequent farming of less acres than has been the rule. In Illinois there is practically no wheat grown, while here wheat, corn and oats as well as alfalfa can be successfully grown, which makes Nebraska a veritable "promised land." Mr. Fleming is married: his wife was in maidenhood, Miss Louisa House, daughter of Absalom House. Mr. and Mrs.

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