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Compendium of History Reminiscence & Biography of Western Nebraska

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of seventy-seven. When our subject was sixteen years of age he started out to make his own way in the world, coming to America in 1876, sailing from Hamburg on the "Fresia," and after a voyage of eleven days he landed in New York on May 23. He came directly to Nebraska, joining his brother at Grand Island. For three years he traveled all over the west, working for the Oregon Short Line, then returned to this state, and in the spring of 1883 located on his present farm, at the same time taking a tree claim adjoining it. He first built a small shanty, where he "batched it" for a few months, then was married July 9, 1884, to Miss Katherine Graham, born in 1866. Her parents came to this country from Scotland when they were young, the mother crossing the ocean in a sailing vessel, the voyage lasting six weeks and three days. They first located in Wisconsin, and came to Grand Island in 1865, where both her father and mother died a few years ago. After our subject's marriage, he and his bride took a wedding trip from Grand Island to Springview, traveling in a covered wagon to their home, camping on the way. An unusual weeding trip, even in the west. When he settled on this place there was not a tree to be seen, but he planted a large number and now has five groves of forest trees, comprising forty acres, with an orchard of twenty-five apples and pear trees, besides other small fruits. During the early days he herded cattle and worked on the railroad, saving his earnings, from which he has accumulated all his large estate of today. He owns eight thousand acres of land, with five hundred acres in cultivation, all lying about twelve miles northwest of Springview except a tract of seven hundred and sixty acres, with two hundred and fifty acres under the plow situated on the Niobrara river. He keeps about six hundred head of cattle and fifty horses, besides other stock. Twenty-five acres are seeded to alfalfa, which yields in abundance every season. There are three tenant houses on the ranch. At one time Mr. Niehus had a lumber yard and livery barn in Bassett, both of which he operated with success, but sold them to advantage. For some years he was engaged in buying and selling cattle, first in Bassett and then from Ainsworth, and has for a year or two been operating four threshing machines with gasoline engines.

      Mr. Niehus has a nice home in South Omaha, where the family resided that the children might have the advantages offered by the city schools. In 1907 he built a large fourteen-room frame dwelling, fitted with running water, bath room and other conveniences, being the finest country residence in the county. A view of this elegant home and surrounding is presented on another page.

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      Mr. Niehus had a family of seven children, five of whom are living and reside with their parents, named as follows: Pearl E., Marie Augusta, William F., John and Frances G.

      In 1899 Mr. Niehus revisited his native land, crossing on the "Persia" and returning after three months' absence on the "Russia" in 1900.

      Mr. Niehus is a Democrat, politically, although he cast his vote for Roosevelt at his last election. In 1908 he gave his support to Bryan, returning to his old allegiance. Mr. Niehus was reared in the Lutheran church. Fraternally he affiliates with the Masons, the Knights of Pythias, the Eagles and the Ancient Order of United Workmen.



     The gentleman whose name heads this personal history was born in 1834 at Yorkshire, England, He came to Nebraska in 1859, and bought a ranch opposite Willow Island, where he built a log house and store on the old California trail and carried a general stock of supplies for overland travelers. In the year 1866 he moved his store and dwelling to Front street, North Platte, this being the first store in that place. On the opening of the Union Pacific Railway for one year this town was the terminus of the road. Soon after our subject located here Mack Marron moved his store here also. Mr. Penistons's partner at this time was A. J. Miller, who now lives at Rawlins, Wyoming, where the former owned a store in the early days of that territory, which was managed by Barney McDonald.

      In an early day Mr. Peniston was appointed United States commissioner and afterwards was representative in the territorial legislature of Nebraska. He held the former office over thirty years ago and occupied the office up to the time of his death. He was elected county judge for several terms, and was also county treasurer for two terms. Held the office of justice of the peace for several years and to the time of his demise. He was elected a member of the territorial legislature and served several terms. He took up the first homestead in this part of the country, and this was afterwards included in the town of North Platte. Peniston's addition to the town was made by him, and his homestead was included in the site.

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     Mr. Peniston came home from his native land (where he was born at Peniston, a place named after his father's family) with his parents, the family settling in Quebec, Canada. His father was Richard Peniston. Our subject received his education at Quebec in the higher branches, and later came to the United States. In 1865 at Auburn, New York, he married Miss Anna A. Webb, daughter of Z. L. Webb and Polly Maria Hoffman Webb. The young couple immediately struck out for the west. Mrs. Peniston and Mrs. Dr. Dick, now of North Platte, are sisters and a sketch of Dr. Dick appears in this work. At one time when our subject and Mr. Miller were running their store they were driven away by the Indians, and again in North Platte the redskins went on the warpath and entered their place and shot up the lamps and created general confusion.

      Mr. Peniston' death occurred in October, 1906, and he left a family as follows: His widow and eight children, namely: William, a ranchman and stock raiser of Rawlins, Wyoming; Charles, a stockman; Mrs. Catherine Blood, of Cheyenne; Mrs. Carrie Marti, of North Platte; Miss Mary E. Peniston, of this town; Mrs. Ann Gaunt, also of North Platte; Mrs. Nellie Bennett, of Rawlins, Wyoming, and Mrs. Elsie House, of Rawlins. Mr. Peniston's death left a vacancy among the pioneers of western Nebraska that is keenly felt. He was an educated man and a gentleman in all his relations, private and public, and his widow and children have the sympathy and respect of all.

      Mr. Peniston was a member of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows for many years, and in March, 1906, his lodge presented him with a handsome token of their esteem in the shape of a jeweled pin. He was in this order for twenty-five years. Politically he was a Democrat.



     Thomas Guynn, a prosperous farmer of Phelps county, owns a valuable estate in section 28, Sheridan township, where he has resided since 1902. He first settled in this county in 1890, purchasing a half section of land located west of Holdrege, and later sold that and bought one hundred and sixty acres south of that place. In 1901 he sold this out and moved to Kansas, where he bought a farm in Butler county, near Barton, remaining on that place for two years. He did not like that country, was unable to raise very good crops, and so came back to Nebraska, and he considers that Phelps county is far ahead of Kansas in every way.

     Mr. Guynn is a native of Tyrone county, Ireland, coming to this country when nine years old, with his father and mother, who were also natives of Tyrone county. The ancestors of our subject on both sides originally came from Scotland to Ireland., In 1862 Mr. Guynn enlisted in the Seventh Illinois Infantry, and served with his regiment up to August, 1865. He was in the Army of the Cumberland under General Sherman, Logan Corps, and his first fight was at Fort Henry. He then was at Fort Donaldson, on the march to Nashville, at the battle of Pittsburg Landing, also Corinth, Chattanooga, Chickamauga, Lookout Mountain, Atlanta, also on the march to the sea and at Altoona, where his company was detailed to guard the rations. Here the Seventh Illinois lost one-half of their number in the gallant and stubborn defense of the army supplies from the fierce onslaught of the rebels.

      During the last fight, which took place at Benton, near Raleigh, North Carolina, was a terrible struggle, and although shells burst all about him and the bullets pierced his clothes, he was never struck and escaped without a scratch.

      After leaving the army he returned to Illinois, and from 1867 to 1890 farmed in Logan county, where he owned one hundred and twenty acres, then came to Nebraska, where he likes it much better, as he has been in good health ever since settling here and it is a fine farming country. Here he has built up a fine farm and home, just outside the limits of Holdrege, and has everything in the best possible shape.

     Mr. Guynn was married in 1886 to Miss Ida Dalbow, daughter of Isaac and Liza (Mustard) Dalbow, of Pike county, Illinois. There are three children in their family--two sons, Frank and Carl Guynn, who assist their father in carrying on the farm, and a daughter, Leigh, also living at home.



     Christian Julius Peterson, one of the younger residents of section 12, township 29, range 38, is nevertheless entitled to the distinction of being one of the leading old settlers of Cherry county, and has taken an active part in its history and helped materially in building up his community. He resides on section 12,

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where he owns a well improved ranch of over eight hundred acres and his estate bears evidence of good management, thrift and prosperity.

     Mr. Peterson is a native of Denmark, born on a farm July 17, 1872, and he grew up there, following farm work with his father up to his twentieth year, at which time his father's death occurred, and soon afterwards the mother came to America with her family, landing in Philadelphia in 1894, settling in Omaha, Nebraska, but remained there only a short time, then came to Cherry county. Christian, together with a brother, took homestead, and during the first year witnessed very hard times. They went back to Omaha and spent the first winter, returning in the spring, driving both ways. The brother, Peter, was about four years older than our subject, and he had settled in Nebraska in 1888, following ranching from the first. His ranch was situated thirty-five miles south of the town of Merriman. He was married in 1898, his wife's maiden name being Emelia Jansen, a native of Denmark.

     Our subject rapidly improved his present homestead, taken in 1899, putting up good buildings, fencing the land, and started in the stock raising business, meeting with many discouragements in the way of losses by severe storms, also crop losses, but stuck to his farm through it all, and has been most successful during later years. His ranch is beautifully located on Clifford creek, is well supplied with water, lakes and wild game, has many trees on it, and altogether is a valuable property. He cultivates about thirty acres. He has really improved two places since coming to Nebraska, his first homestead having been sold about 1898.



     Herman Kreizenbeck is a resident of Ainsworth, Brown county, and has so lived and labored that he is well worthy of a prominent place in any record of the men who have done and dared so much in the making of Nebraska. It is said that but a moment's reflection is enough to convince any one, as to the great weight of obligation this country bears towards its children from German homes, who have brought art and literature, science and learning and all the high gifts of a lofty civilization in their train, as they have ever moved to the westward. It is certainly a deeply interesting chapter of our national history that tells the achievements of many thousands who have confronted helpless and hopeless conditions in the Fatherland, and have journeyed across the waters to find opportunity in a new and strange country. That they have done so, and have prospered on every hand, becoming influential and rising to any station, shows something of what the United States has been to the world.

      Herman Kreizenbeck was born near Essen, in the Rhine Province, Germany, July 21, 1851. The parents, Johan and Elizabeth (Winkleman) Kreizenbeck. lived and died on a farm in Germany. Here young Herman was reared and attended school until he was seventeen years of age, graduating from the high school, or "gymnasium" taking Latin and French. He entered the army in 1869 as a volunteer in the light Hussars, and remained with the colors until the fall of 1872, his service thus including the Franco-German war, in which he fought from start to finish as a cavalryman. At the expiration of his military enlistment he came home to take a position in Elberfelt, as bookkeeper and traveling salesman with a wholesale house, a position he held until 1876. That year he was married, and became bookkeeper for a coal mining company in Heisengen, where he continued until 1880, his father's death at that time calling him home to the settlement of the family estate. The following year, with one child, he sailed from Antwerp in the steamer "City of Montreal," on December 31, and landed in New York January 18, 1882. Making his way to Crete, Nebraska, where for some time he visited his brothers, he sent for his family, the wife and remaining child coming in June, on the steamer "John Bridle," from Antwerp.

     After taking a somewhat hurried study of the field in which he was placed, he went to Omaha, and for a time was in the employ of Tom Murray, a real estate dealer and speculator. In the spring of 1883 he removed to Brown county, and located fourteen miles north of Ainsworth, almost on the Niobrara river. There he secured a homestead, and started as a farmer. At first the family dwelt in a log house, narrow and cramped for room, but an extensive addition of sod much increased the comfort of all. It was difficult making the beginning, and Mr. Kreizenbeck's affairs progressed but slowly. In 1888 he lost a crop - and this was repeated again in 1894 and the following year. The winters were warm and clear, with but little or no snow, and good grazing so the cows were about the only means of living. Here our subject remained until the spring of 1896, when he removed to a rented farm close to Ainsworth, that the

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children might have a better opportunity for schooling, not to be found in the first location as there were but two families then in the school district, the Kreizenbecks and that of a Mr. Mead. In 1901 Mr. Kreizenbeck bought a ranch six miles southwest from Johnstown, but the following year came back to Ainsworth, and bought his present farm of one hundred and sixty acres in section 16, township 30, range 22, in 1903. It is fenced and well improved. Here, fortune has smiled upon him; and though he lost his barn and contents by fire in 1905, he is making his way, and is acquiring a comfortable competence

     Mr. Kreizenbeck has passed through many experiences that have called for all his nerve and courage. In 1888 he was caught in the great blizzard that swept the country far and wide. All the ravines were filled with snow and tumble weeds, and on the surface there was nothing to mark solid earth or deep gullies. While he was out hunting he broke through a crust of snow over one these ravines and was precipitated perhaps forty feet down into the snow. Fortunately he remembered his directions, and after tunneling about a hundred feet through the light snow and the weeds, he once more regained the surface.

      For many years Mr. Kreizenbeck was affiliated with the Democratic party, but later became a Populist, and was elected assessor for several terms. In 1894, he was candidate of his party for sheriff, and in 1905 for the office of county clerk. For several years he has taken an active part in political affairs, and his character and ability give him much influence.

      Mr. Kreizenbeck was married near Essen, February 6, 1877, to Miss Matilda Stoetgen, a daughter of Heinrich and Katharine (Stoeter) Stoetgen. Of their eight children, the two elder were born in Germany, the others in Nebraska. They are: Herman A., Elizabeth B., Bertha M., Matilda F., Katharine M., Anna, Franz W., and Karl W. The three elder girls are graduates of the Ainsworth high school, and are teachers of the county. The members of the family are communicants of the Catholic church.



     Wesley Pringle, a popular and much respected business man of Perkins county, Nebraska, is a resident of Grant, where for many years he has been engaged in business, and still has large interests in the farming community surrounding the thriving town. Mr. Pringle has now retired from all active business, and is prepared to spend his declining years in peace and comfort, content that he has spent usefully his allotted time of more than three score and ten.

     Mr. Pringle was born near Richland, in Keokuk county, Iowa, in 1842. His grandfather, together with two brothers, came to the United States from Wales, in the beginning of the history of this country, all three taking part in the Revolutionary war, and the family has always been prominently connected with the history of their adopted land, the former settling in Ohio in the early days of that state, where our subject's father was born and reared, he finally settling in Iowa in 1836. He married Rachel St. John, a native of England, who came to Canada with her parents, they locating in Warren county, Indiana, at an early day. Mr. Pringle's grandfather, Seth St. John, was county judge in that county for many years. John P. St. John, who was the presidential nominee on the Prohibition ticket, from Kansas, is a cousin of our subject. Wesley Pringle received but a limited schooling, attending the district schools during those times of year when he could be spared from the work on the home farm, but obtained in all a good practical training, fitting him well for his after years of hard work and shrewd management, starting out for himself at the age of sixteen years. He bought a team of oxen and begun (sic) farming on his own hook, then at the beginning of the war enlisted as a private in Company K, Third Iowa Cavalry at Knoxville, Iowa, in August, 1861. He was sent south to St. Louis with his regiment, and saw service all through the west, being at Vicksburg, Guntown, Pea Ridge, and was detailed with the guard of Jeff Davis after his capture. Our subject was in the service until the war closed, and during that time was twice wounded slightly, receiving an honorable discharge at Atlanta, Georgia.

      After the war Mr. Pringle returned to Iowa and lived at Knoxville for a time. He was married there on January 28, 1867, to Margaret A. Totten, daughter of Captain Paris T. Totten, captain of Company I, Thirty-third Iowa Infantry. After his marriage Mr. Pringle farmed in Iowa up to the spring of 1872. During the previous year he had homesteaded on section 30, township 11, range 6, and there he subsequently built up and developed two farms, both in Hamilton county. In 1888 he came to Perkins county, locating in Grant and there established himself in the grain business, building an elevator, and continued in the business up to 1905, succeeding in building up a splendid patronage, and accumulating a nice property through his in-

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dustry and good management. In the latter year he sold all his enterprises of which he was active manager, and retired from active work. For several years he has been proprietor of the Grant Lumber Yards, and also has owned considerable land in the farming community around Grant, and at different times engaged in the stock raising business in partnership with his son, William P. Our subject still owns a farm consisting of one hundred and forty-six acres adjoining Grant and still carries this on, although he does little work himself, merely superintending the operation of same.

      Mr. Pringle is a stanch (sic) Republican. He has been elected justice of the peace several times, but would never consent to qualify, devoting his entire time to his business enterprises. For the past twenty years he has served on the Soldiers' Relief Commission, and is a prominent Grand Army of the Republic man. He has always given his best efforts to the advancement of his locality, and one of Grant's most enthusiastic and loyal citizens having resided here when the town was incorporated, and also was member of the first village board.

      Five children were born to Mr. and Mrs. Pringle, three of whom are still living, namely: William P., Jessie I., and Cora B.



     Prominent among the successful business men of Hemingford, Box Butte county, is the gentlemen (sic) above named. Mr. Wildy has been one of the foremost men of this section in building up and developing the financial interests of his locality, and is a gentleman of sterling character, highly esteemed by all who know him.

      Mr. Wildy is a native of St. Clair county, Illinois, born in 1861, on a farm. His father, John Wildy, was a native of Switzerland, and mother of German descent. The father met his death in an accident when our subject was a lad three years of age. Our subject was reared on the home farm in St. Clair county, Illinois, near Lenzburg, where he early learned to do all kinds of hard work, attending the common schools where he received his early education, and later was a student at the Normal University of Illinois, taking a three years (sic) course. After leaving college he taught school in Illinois for one year. While at school he worked for his board to help along in his expenses. Our subject was engaged in business for several years in Lenzburg, Illinois, under the firm name of Wildy Brothers. In 1887 he came to Nebraska, locating in Cheyenne county, where he took up a pre-emption, thirty-one miles southwest of the town of Hemingford, hauling his first supplies from Sidney, his first team being a yoke of oxen, which he used for one year trying to start his farm. In 1888 he opened a little store at Nonpariel, now extinct, the firm being C. J. Wildy and H. K. Zapp, and ran this for two years, when Mr. Zapp died, and Mr. C. J. Wildy moved to Hemingford and started in the mercantile business, and has since been operating a store in this place, being one of the pioneers in the trade, in fact, the oldest general merchant in the county. He went through hard times during the early years, but through good management and constant efforts has succeeded in a remarkable degree, and now has a good trade and splendid business. He has a store 100x60 ft. with four front doors, and carries a complete line of general merchandise, and lumber, building materials, etc. Besides his store property Mr. Wildy owns a ranch of several thousand acres in the southwestern part of the county and has a fine two-story, modern dwelling in the town of Hemingford.

      In 1900 Mr. Wildy was united in marriage to Miss A. E. Neeland, daughter of J. F. Neeland, of Irish descent, who was one of the pioneer ranchmen of Dawes county. Prior to her marriage Mrs. Wildy was a school teacher, and for four years was county superintendent of schools in Box Butte county, having graduated from the Chadron Academy, making her own way through school. When Mr. and Mrs. Wildy were married they took an extended trip to Europe, going to Switzerland, Germany and Ireland, visiting relatives on both sides of the family. Mr. and Mrs. Wildy have been blessed with three children: Lois, Ruth and Frieda.



     Joseph A. Rankin holds an important place in the affairs of Blaine county and is known all over the country as one of the most successful and largest ranchers of the territory. He is engaged in sheep, cattle and horse raising on his fine ranch which exceeds two thousand five hundred acres. He has an excellent home and is counted among the leading old settlers. Mrs. Rankin is postmistress of Rankin postoffice, which was established on our subject's farm in 1904.

     Joseph A. Rankin was born in 1848, in Washington county, Pennsylvania, and is of

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