er county. Mr. Gragg is well-known and highly esteemed throughout the community for his active public spirit and good fellowship
Mr. Gragg was born in Oakland county, Michigan, in 1873. His father, James T. Gragg, lived for many years in that locality, and was among the pioneers in western Nebraska, coming to that state in 1881, settling on a farm in Redwillow county, near McCook, where the family lived up to 1894. At that time our subject left home and moved to McPherson county, there taking up a homestead on which he proved up in due time, and improved a good farm. He went through all the experiences of the early settler in that vicinity, suffering from many discouragements in the failure of crops, severe storms, etc., but managed to get along fairly well. He came to his present ranch in section 9, township 21, range 34, in April, 1901, and started a farm and ranch. He took the land as a homestead, and has put good building, (sic) fences, wells and windmills on it, devoting his entire time to its upbuilding, and is now proprietor of a ranch consisting of eight hundred acres, well stocked, and is making plenty of money.
In June, 1897, Mr. Gragg was united in marriage to Miss Grace Swiggart, daughter of G. W. and Susie (Doyle) Swiggart, whose sketch appears in this volume on another page. Our subject has one child, Dewey, born December 25, 1898.
Mr. Gragg takes a commendable interest in local affairs, but gives all his time to his home and ranch.
L. C. Barr, of Holdrege, Sheridan township, settled in Phelps county in February 1878, taking up a homestead in section 28, and from that time on has resided here continuously. He is, therefore, one of the oldest settlers in this part of the state, and has gained an enviable reputation as a worthy citizen and leading old-timer, highly esteemed by all.
Mr. Barr is a native of Washington county, Pennsylvania, and is a son of Jeremiah and Abigail Barr, the family being of German descent. In 1864 our subject enlisted in the Twenty-third Illinois Regiment, and served for eight months in the Second Division, Second Brigade, Twenty-fourth Army Corps. He was at Petersburg, Richmond, and at the surrender of Lee at Appamatox (sic) courthouse. After being mustered out Mr. Barr settled in LaSalle county, Illinois, where he farmed for some years. He considers farming there more sure, but prefers Nebraska as it is healthier and we have better water with no waste lands and also good roads. For three years after settling in this state Mr. Barr was unable to raise a crop, owing to the hot winds that burned everything, and with his means exhausted and a wife and seven children to support there were many times when want was keenly felt. Many times he walked for miles over the sparsely settled country, glad to find any kind of work and receive in return enough to carry home to his family the necessaries which they so badly needed. In the winter of 1881, when the snow reached to the tops of the corn stalks, he was obliged to dig down in the snow and cut the stalks which they used for fuel, and in this way kept his family from freezing to death. Remembering these times with a shudder, he also remembers the times when those brave pioneers met together and were cheerful and even happy in sharing a jack rabbit and other game, when they thought they were fortunate in having such a feast. During those years Mr. Barr owned an ox team with which he broke up his land and farmed his land, but one bitten by a poisonous snake and died, and then he was in pretty hard luck.
However, he had a good trade as a plasterer, and his brave wife agreeing to face the loneliness while he sought employment at his trade, he left his family, sold his ox, yoke and chains and with the proceeds started for Denver to find work. When he reached Loveland, Colorado, where he knew a friend lived, he started out for work. As he walked along the station platform he observed a man whose clothes and boots bespoke him a plasterer, and asked him for a job, and the man replied that in March there was but little work of that kind, but after telling the man of his condition and his suffering family in Nebraska, he was given work to do and was kept busy all summer, sent money to his wife and saved some besides. Being called home by a sick child he bought a team and tools and started farming again with much better success this time. In 1882 he put in sixty acres of wheat, and got a crop of thirty bushels per acre, and a corn yield of eighty bushels to the acre. After that year he did not have another complete failure up to 1902 at which time he sold his farm. When the country was new the land was looser and dried out quicker, and besides, the farmers did not then understand proper methods as they do now. In his opinion, this state and especially Phelps county is destined to become one of the best farming localities in the world.
After selling his farm in 1902 Mr. Barr again took up contracting and plastering, and does a fine business. Although he is now sixty-two years of age he does a day's work equal to any younger man and without fatigue. He has never tasted liquor, and is possessed of a clear and intelligent mind, well-read and progressive along every line of thought.
Mrs. Barr was Miss Harriet Amanda Ferry, and she is also in the enjoyment of good health. This estimable couple occupy a pleasant and happy home in Holdrege. The place consists of five acres of beautiful lawn, garden and shrubbery, and they are passing the declining years of their life in peace and comfort, justly proud of their family of bright children, whom we will now proceed to present to the reader, together with the part they take in life's history. Nettie, now the wife of Rev. H. B. Allen, of Aledo, Illinois, pastor of the Presbyterian church at that place. Prior to her marriage Mrs. Allen taught in the Holdrege public schools for a long time, and was also principal of the schools at Bertrand, Phelps county. For three years she taught at Colorado Springs, and has a fine record as a teacher. The second daughter, Helen, is the wife of E. P. Montgomery, of Fort Collins. He was at one time superintendent of schools in this county, and Mrs. Montgomery also taught a number of terms in Phelps county. Lois was for several years a teacher in the Holdrege schools, and for three years at Colorado Springs, one year at Springfield, Massachusetts, and is now attending Columbia College at New York City, fitting herself for a high career in educational work. Jennie, wife of Dr. B. L. Doane, of Lincoln, Nebraska, followed the profession of a teacher for a number of years prior to her marriage, at McCook, Fairbury, and also near Lincoln. Her husband is a surgeon for the camp at Calcite, Colorado. Mrs. Doane died in 1905, leaving an infant child, her death being due to the high altitude there. Edna, the fifth daughter, was a graduate of the Boston Conservatory of Music, afterwards taught music here, and is now the wife of Frank Love, of Lincoln, who is chief clerk of the chief engineers' department. One son of our subject, Edward, died during his last year at the State University, and two sons, Norman B. and Clinton M., were both teachers in this county. The family of seven children are all wonderfully bright and ambitious, all occupying a prominent part in the educational work of western Nebraska. During their early life they went through many hardships and struggles, and nothing but indomitable pluck and energy could have surmounted the difficulties which beset them. When the times were the hardest and most of them were mere children, the family held a council as to whether they, as a family, should give their lives to reclaiming and farming and endeavor to own acres and acres of prairie land, or to attaining an education, and suiting the desires and wishes of the stanch father and brave mother, they decided in favor of the education, planning that the eldest should have the advantage, and each help the other down to the youngest. This they followed out to the letter, and the success which each attained, and the splendid work they have accomplished is evidence of their intelligence and integrity. Their parents now consider that the reverses and hardships which they encountered were the school that moulded (sic) their childrens' (sic) characters, although they would not care to go through he same experience twice in a lifetime.
During the pioneer days in this section Mr. Barr served as coroner, and was deputy sheriff of his county for twelve years in succession, retiring in January, 1906. For many years he was a member of the school board. He has been an elder in the Presbyterian church at Holdrege ever since it was organized.
One son, Clinton M. Barr, is principal of the schools at Wahoo, Nebraska. He was educated in the public schools of this county, and graduated from the state university. Rev. Norman, another son, is pastor of the Olivet Presbyterian church at Chicago. He is a graduate of the State University of Nebraska, also of the Presbyterian Theological College at Chicago. He has held the pastorate of Olivet church for seven years, and this was his first church. He is greatly beloved by his people, and is a leader in the Presbyterian sect.
Among the enterprising and successful professional business men of Dawes county, Nebraska, none is better known or more universally esteemed that the subject of this review. Mr. Eckles is one of the founders of the Chadron Academy, and was active in raising the first $12,000 with which to build the institution, and after it was destroyed by fire in 1891, he was among those who assisted in raising $8,000 which was necessary to rebuild the school. He acted as secretary of the academy since it was first started.
Mr. Eckles was born in New Castle, Pennsylvania, September 1, 1853. His father, Jo-
seph Eckles, was a farmer by occupation, and an officer in the army during the civil war, and was killed in Kentucky, serving as an officer of his regiment at the time of his death. He was of American birth, originally of English stock. Our subject's mother was Miss Margaret Patten, born in this country of Scotch parents. The had a family of ten children, he being the seventh child of his parents. When he was about five years of age the family moved to Indiana and lived there until he was seventeen. He then came to Nebraska and took up a homestead, locating in Merrick county and proving up on his land. In 1877 he moved to Holt county and there settled on a ranch. He had previously studied law to some extent, and he associated himself with Judge Gerney, a prominent lawyer at Neligh, remaining with him for some time. During the spring of 1886 he came to Chadron and opened a law office, practicing up to January, 1899, then received the appointment of postmaster at that place and served his term. He was reappointed for a second term, and made a most efficient and popular public official. While practicing law here he was elected and served as county attorney for two and a half terms. He always took an active part in politics, a strong Republican, and served on the state Republican committee for many years, attending all the conventions in the state for the past twenty-five years. At one time he was a prominent candidate for state auditor, but failed to secure the nomination because the candidate for governor was chosen from his district.
Besides these offices of public trust, Mr. Eckles had other large interests, having been extensively engaged in the sheep business, and owned a fine ranch in this county. A man of wide experience and good business judgment, his integrity and sterling character places him among the most prominent and influential citizens of this section of the country. In July, 1907, Mr. Eckles moved to Omaha.
Mr. Eckles was married when only seventeen years of age, to Miss Eunice Paulins, of Fort Wayne, Indiana, and they have a family of two children. Mrs. Cora G. Kelsey of Neligh, Nebraska, and J. Paul Eckles, of Omaha, Nebraska.
Should the reader of this volume ask for the name of a representative old settler of Cheyenne county, Nebraska--a man who came in mature years to brave the storms of the wilderness, and beyond the dreams of youth to hammer a home and fortune out of adversity--let him have the name that introduces this review.
Fred Wittig was born in the village of Torna, Kingdom of Saxony, Germany, August 7, 1853, and raised there until he attained his majority, following the occupation of a farmer and laborer up to his twenty-eight birthday. The parents, Fred and Henrietta Wittig, lived and died in the old country, the mother passing away when our subject was six weeks old. Fred Wittig came to the United States in 1881, sailing from Hamburg, on the "Gellert," February 21st, and landed in New York, March 8th. He joined three friends in Ohio where he worked, near Toledo, on a farm, remaining there for about a year. He next went to Coldwater, Michigan, where he spent three years working in a hotel. In 1885, in company with a man by the name of Allen, our subject came to Nebraska and settled on a homestead in section 28, township 13, range 49, and remained through the pioneer days of that region, going through the usual hardships and privations of the early settler of those days. He had a hard time to get along in starting his farm, suffering from the drouth (sic) periods, hail and grasshopper raids which damaged this part of the country at different times, and had a hard struggle to make a living in the face of so many discouragements. Many years he was unable to raise much more than enough for seed, and was compelled to work out by the day and week at anything he could secure in the way of work to keep himself and family, and while he often became almost ready to give up the struggle, kept up a brave spirit and continued to improve his place as fast as he was able. He came out victorious through the hard times, and has succeeded in accumulating a nice property. He is proprietor of the south half of section 28 and the northeast quarter of section 33, township 13, range 49, Sidney precinct, all of which is deeded land. He devotes about one hundred acres to farming purposes, keeping the balance for pasture for his stock. He has fifty head of cattle, and usually owns about ten good horses.
Mr. Wittig has a good set of substantial farm buildings on the ranch, including a comfortable and commodious modern residence, and also every convenience for operating his farm in the way of the latest improved farm machinery.
On December 6, 1886, our subject was united in marriage at Sidney, Nebraska, to Miss Amelia Eichler, of German descent, whose parents were early settlers in Michigan,
where her mother still lives; the father died there about 1902. Mr. and Mrs. Wittig have a family of five children, named as follows: Amelia, Fred, Jr., Emma, Frank, and Otto. The family are well liked in their community and enjoy a pleasant and congenial homelife.
Mr. Wittig has for the past many years been active in local affairs pertaining to the schools in his locality. In politics he is independent and votes a mixed ticket according to his judgment of the men. The family are adherents of the Lutheran church.
William T. Phillips, one of the prominent business men of Bassett, Nebraska, is a man of exceptional ability and superior intelligence. He has made for himself an enviable reputation by his honest and energetic labors, and enjoys the esteem and confidence of his fellowmen.
Mr. Phillips was born near Maquoketa, Jackson county, Iowa, January 6, 1843. His father, William Phillips, was a native of Iowa, and a farmer by occupation: and his father fought in the war of 1812, and his grandfather in the revolutionary war. Our subject's mother was, prior to her marriage, Miss Lydia Whittaker, also a native of Ohio. His parents had a family of nine children, of whom he was the youngest. He was raised and educated in Iowa, growing up in Maquoketa, Jackson county, where he attended school. When he was seventeen years old he started out for himself, after his father's death, engaging in farming, in Iowa, until 1883.
Mr. Phillips first came to Rock county, Nebraska, 1883, and settled on a pre-emption in the northwest corner of this county, putting up a log house two stories high, and lived in it for six years. He made a success of farming, and in 1889 moved to Bassett where he has since resided. In the latter year he was elected county clerk, and held this office for five years. He was one of the organizers of Rock county, in 1889, and being the first county clerk, transcribed from the books of Brown county everything necessary for the records of Rock county. From 1895 up to 1901 he was engaged in the newspaper business, being editor and publisher of the Rock County Eagle, which he established the former year and disposed of in May of the latter date.
On disposing of his journal he went into the real estate business in which he has prospered, owning a great deal of town property, with business extending all over Brown, Keya Paha and Rock counties. He has done his share as an old settler and is recognized as one of the leading citizens and public-spirited men of his community, always ready to advance the interests of this locality by his influence and financial aid.
Mr. Philips was married in Storm Lake, Iowa, April 26, 1883, to Miss Maggie McCoy, of American stock, daughter of Clement J. McCoy, a native of Illinois, and an old settler in Iowa and Nebraska, whose death occurred November 29, 1890. Mr. and Mrs. Phillips have a family of four children, who are named as follows: Lottie, Cora, Nora and Charlie. Mr. Phillips affiliates with Ancient Order of United Workmen of Bassett.
W. F. Everist, one of the influential citizens of Redwillow county, residing in McCook, has followed the ranching and stock business for many years, and is one of the substantial and prosperous residents of the locality in which he lives.
Mr. Everist is a native of DeKalb county, Missouri, and came to Nebraska in 1879, at the age of six years. He was raised on a farm, and has grown up in the stock business, and is one of the best informed men in this section of the country on the subject of ranching and stock raising and breeding. He has a brother, Egbert H. Everist, who is the owner and manager of a large ranch in this county, situated near the Kansas line.
Mr. Everist started in the live stock business for himself in 1883, buying and shipping stock, and also raising cattle, horses and hogs, and has continued this ever since, making a success from the first. During the year 1897 he handled 10,000 cattle, purchasing them and selling them over again to farmers in this and surrounding counties. Nearly all his feeders are imported from the west and southwest, and he has traveled all over the western states in his work, and is thoroughly familiar with conditions existing all over the country pertaining to the stock business. His ranch is located on Driftwood creek, seven miles from the city of McCook. In three years he shipped five hundred cars of stock per year to Davis & Son, of St. Joseph, Missouri, In January of this year Mr. Everist organized the McCook Live Stock Company, and is manager of this concern, This firm has purchased the Allen ranch comprising three thousand acres of land in Redwillow county, and on this ranch
they have put two hundred and fifty white face cattle. They also have one hundred and twenty-five head grazing on the Sheridan ranch, this place containing two thousand acres. This concern will buy, raise, feed, ship and handle cattle, hogs and horses on a very large scale, and expect to make a great success in their venture. They have five hundred hogs at present which they are getting ready for market, and our subject alone has one hundred head of horses. The headquarters of the firm will be at the Allen ranch, and the postoffice address is McCook.
Mr. Everist firmly believes that Redwillow county is the best place on earth for farming and stock raising. It is great in growing alfalfa and beets, and all stock product can be fitted for market here cheaper per pound than in any other section of the United States. The climate is immensely in its favor, being warm and dry all through the winter, and stock make a good gain when not exposed to severe weather. Mr. Everist always makes a specialty of buying nothing but the best grades, and he also deals in mules to quite an extent. He has investments in McCook that are valuable and expects to make his home there.
Mr. Everist was married January 1, 1887, to Miss Minnie Albright, of Cambridge, Nebraska, and they have a family of four daughters.
Left fatherless when only two years old, Fred Bork has had most of his own way to make among surroundings that require grit, hard work and persistent effort. In his native country he had some advantages for an education and attended the German schools. Fred Bork has made a success and it has been done through the qualities named above.
Our subject was born on a farm in West Prussia, Germany, in 1855. His father, Gottlieb, died when Fred was two years of age, and the mother, Caroline, died after the son came to America.
Fred Bork came to America in 1880, landing in New York, from thence going to Illinois and later to St. Louis. After a short time he went to Wisconsin, thence to Minnesota, and from that state to Iowa. engaging in various occupations. Then in 1883, he came to Nebraska, settling on a farm near Burwell, and, in 1885, he came to Loup county and located on his present farm in section 4, township 21, range 17. He had practically nothing to start with, other than an abundant capacity for hard work and a strong determination to make his prairie farm a good home and a means of livelihood. He made the first road from his neighborhood to the city of Burwell. He built a sod house and commenced the improvements on his land. He has done well and been successful in every way. His fine farm of three hundred and seventeen acres has been equipped with a good house and other buildings, and he cultivates about one hundred acres of land. He raises cattle and hogs, his sales of cattle in 1908 bringing $600.00, and he still has forty-one head left, besides forty-six head of hogs, and is increasing his herds all the time. He is a very energetic hustler.
Mr. Bork has built up a good business and is looked upon by every one as a man of energy and enterprise. He has done his part as an old settler and has merited the respect of his fellow citizens.
CHARLES A. ERLEWINE.
Charles A. Erlewine, whose handsome and well-kept farm home is in section 22, township 12, range 38, Perkins county, where he owns six hundred and forty acres of good land, is one of the old-timers of that region. and has passed through all the old Nebraska times. He was born in Monroe county, Ohio, October 27, 1857. He is a son of Isaac Erlewine, who comes of German stock, and was one of the earliest settlers of Fremont, Nebraska, locating there in 1872. He married Eliza McCoy, of Scotch stock, the family coming to Nebraska together, and Charles A. grew up on a farm near Fremont, going through all the pioneer experiences, witnessing drouths, grasshopper raids, etc. One instance of these times is well remembered by our subject, when he saw an entire field of corn completely eaten up by grasshoppers, the destruction consuming just two hours, and then the pests left the place.
Mr. Erlewine lived with his parents until he was twenty-two years of age, then struck out for himself, following farm work. He took a homestead on section 22, township 12, range 38, built a sod house fourteen by twenty feet in size, lived in that for many years, and it still stands on the same spot. His start was a team of horses, wagon and two cows, and with these he began to develop a farm and build up a fortune. His nearest trading point was Ogallala, a distance of some fourteen miles, and he hauled all his supplies from that
town for several years. During the years 1892 to 1896, he witnessed drouths and had a hard time to raise any crops, often being out even the seed he put into the ground, but never thought of giving up his place, and as the seasons become more favorable he was able to improve his farm, constantly adding to his original homestead, and is now owner of a fine ranch of six hundred and forty acres, cultivating about eighty acres and on which he raises good crops of grain, etc. He runs considerable stock, and besides his own ranch leases land in the vicinity which he uses as hayland and pasture for his stock.
Mr. Erlewine was married in 1883, to Miss Ida Moore, daughter of Daniel Moore, a well known pioneer in Nebraska. They have a family of four children, namely: Eunice, Hazel, Rexford and Dale, all bright and intelligent young people and a credit to their parents' training. Our subject is an Independent in his political views, and has always taken an active part in local affairs, helping to establish the schools of his locality, and lending his influence at all times for good government. In about 1896 he was elected county commissioner, holding the office one term, and has held minor offices in his community.
On another page of this work we
present portraits of Mr. and Mrs. Erlewine, as they appeared in
1886, when they homesteaded in Perkins county.
JOHN D. RICHARDS.
The gentleman whose name heads this personal history is one of the very oldest settlers of the west, and has experienced very (sic) phase of life on the frontier, and to his efforts not a little of the success and prosperity today enjoyed in different regions is due. He traveled all over the country, most of the time with pack horses, when the whole section was infested with Indians and wild beasts, and can relate many thrilling incidents connected with those days. Mr. Richards is now owner of a good ranch, situated in section 18, township 29, range 38, which he has improved in good shape, and is one of the foremost citizens of his community. and numbered among the truly substantial residents of Cherry county.
John D. Richards was born near Canton, Ohio, in 1848. His father, Adam, was of American stock, and a farmer all his life. His mother's maiden name was Lydia Hayden. He spent his childhood days in his native county, and about 1858 the family moved to Williams county, Ohio, where the old folks made their home for many years. In 1864 John enlisted in the Civil war, becoming a member of the One Hundred Eighty-second Ohio Volunteer Infantry, and his regiment was sent south. He saw active service in Alabama, Tennessee and Kentucky, serving in the Fourth Army Corps under General Thomas, also participated at the following battles: the battle of Nashville, the battle of Franklin, Williamson county, Tennessee, and the battle of Columbia. He saw every side of a soldier's life, and the horrors of war, and was honorably discharged in April, 1865.
After leaving the army Mr. Richards returned home, and afterwards went to Michigan, where he spent three years in the lumber woods of that state. He next struck out for the west, first going to California. where he worked on different ranches as a cowboy, riding the plains for two years. He finally drifted into eastern Oregon, and engaged in the cattle and horse raising business, establishing a ranch of his own, and succeeded in making a success of the venture, remaining there for nine years and in that time building up two ranches, each time selling out when he had everything in first-class shape. In 1880 he went to the Big Horn Basin, Wyoming, and settled on a ranch which he operated for two years, and from there came to Hat Creek Valley, Sioux county, Nebraska, locating close to Pine Ridge, at the head of Whitehead Creek. He started another ranch there, and lived on the place for four years, that being the fourth ranch he had opened up and improved
Mr. Richards first came to Cherry county and located permanently in 1889, taking his present ranch as a homestead, which is situated in section 18, township 29, range 38, on which he erected sod buildings and gradually added good improvements. The ranch contains four hundred and eighty acres, the greater part of it being good hayland, and he uses the place principally as a cattle ranch. He has done exceedingly well since locating here, although has suffered some stock losses, the worst year being in 1892, when he lost thirty-five head cattle through severe storms.
While living in Wyoming, Mr. Richards had many bitter experiences with the Piegan Indians. At one time they ran off six head of cattle from his ranch, and altogether they stole one hundred and fifty head of stock from the locality. A party of ranchmen banded together, our subject being one of the number, and they followed the thieves for many miles, but one by one the searchers became weary and discouraged, dropping out of the party, so
that finally the hunt was abandoned and all returned to their homes, and gave up trying to recover their property, especially when they found that the cattle had all been eaten by the redskins during the cold weather.
HEVNER & SONS.
Messrs. Hevner & Sons, of Franklin, deal in stock and are the most extensive dealers in this business in that locality. The firm is composed of H. W. Hevner, banker and stockman of Hardin, Missouri, and his two sons, C. W. and John Hevner, of Franklin, the former occupying one of the finest residences in Franklin, and both highly esteemed by all.
They located at Franklin in 1904, purchasing a forty-acre feed lot one mile east of the town, where they feed about 800 head of cattle each year, shipping them to St. Joseph, Kansas City and the Chicago markets. At Hardin they also feed about 600 each season, buying these feeders all over western Nebraska, Colorado and Kansas. The business at Hardin has been successfully conducted for the past twenty-one years, and they are widely known as the leading shippers in their section. Hevner & Sons feed also about as many hogs as cattle at each place, so that they prepare for market from 2,500 to 3,000 animals each season. In the four years they have resided in Nebraska they have established a reputation as skillful feeders and expert judges of live stock, being among the best posted men in the business on the art of feeding and preparing for market, which is a profession needing careful study and attention down to the smallest detail. They weigh everything used, even the salt fed, and have a record of the increase in weight, the time taken, and cost, also the proper amount of feed, rotation, mixing and diet given their stock, and have reduced to a science each detail of the work. They now have on foot plans to increase their Franklin business to three or four times its present volume in the near future, so that they will here feed from 2,500 to 3,000 cattle and as many hogs each season. They have already demonstrated that it pays better to ship cattle here from Missouri and pay the freight here and then to market, rather than feed in that state, as they consider this the best feeding country to be found, there being less storms, better climate and plenty of alfalfa and corn. They buy feed and ship it in here by train, hauling it to their yards themselves. They have recently bought four hundred acres located two miles east of Franklin on the river bottom, in addition to their forty-acre yards.
One brother, Clarence, came to Franklin in 1908; he owns a farm of two hundred and fifty acres close to Franklin, and to an extent engages in the feeding business, and in partnership with the old firm, Hevner & Sons. He is married and has a family.
JOHN M. COBLE.
Among the prominent business men and old settlers of Keya Paha county is John M. Coble.
Mr. Coble was born in Elkhart county, Indiana, December 14, 1856. His father, Abraham Coble, was an Ohioan of American stock, while his mother, Mary Miltenberger, a lady of German descent, was born in Pennsylvania. He is the second in a family of four children, all reared and educated in Indiana. At the age of eighteen years he began life for himself. making several trips west, and in 1879 settled on a farm near Waterloo, in Douglas county, Nebraska, where he remained until 1884, when he moved to Keya Paha county, securing a homestead on section 22, township 33, range 21, where he erected a frame shanty. Here he hauled lumber twenty-five miles, camping out nights under his wagon, a large part of the first summer. As soon as he settled here he began to break up part of his farm, and his first year's crop was a sod crop of corn. He afterwards filed on a tree claim three-quarters of a mile west of Springview where he witnessed the devastating drouth periods, thereby sustaining heavy losses.
In 1884 he was elected sheriff, serving for four years. This supplied him with ready money, and helped him pull through the dry years, and during this time he sold his homestead, later buying a tract of land three miles northwest of Springview, which he still owns. This land comprises a ranch of one thousand and eighty acres, including three hundred and twenty acres of leased land, two hundred of which are under cultivation devoted principally to corn and oats; the remainder is given over to stock raising. He has a sixty-acre tract adjoining Springview with several houses thereon and where he has resided since he was first elected sheriff.
In 1893 he was appointed deputy U. S. marshal, under President Cleveland, and served three years. In '97 was again elected sheriff, making a total in the sheriff's office of ten years. Mr. Coble has always taken an