NEGenWeb Project
Resource Center-
On Line Library


Compendium of History Reminiscence & Biography of Western Nebraska

Horizontal Bar

page 256

active part in the politics of Keya Paha county and although a Democrat has frequently carried a Republican county.

     In 1884 Mr. Coble was married to Miss Eliza Peany, daughter of Robert Peany, a native of Ohio, of American stock, and a pioneer farmer in Douglas county, where he has a ranch near Omaha. Mrs. Coble died in March 1889, leaving one child, Rena, now the wife of Emanuel Boshart, principal of the schools of Bellview, Nebraska. In 1890 Mr. Coble was married to Mary Hassed, a widow with two children, William, editor of the "Burton Independent"; and Walter, a practicing physician of Springview.

     Mr. Coble enjoys the close friendship of a host of people, and is universally respected. He is a member of the Knights of Pythias and the Royal Highlanders. He affiliates with the Democratic party.



     Edward J. Barry, a successful business man and ranchman of Alliance, Nebraska, has been a resident of Box Butte county for many years past. He is one of the leading old timers of that locality and has always been foremost in the development of the commercial interests of his community.

     Mr. Barry was born in New York state in 1864. His father, Lawrence Barry, was a native of Ireland, who came to this country when a young man, settling on a farm in Dixon county, Nebraska. He married Bridget Ryan, who also was born in Ireland, and came from the same county. When our subject was a small boy his parents moved to Iowa and there lived in different places for several years, then, in 1877, came to Nebraska, and settled in Dixon county, where he grew to manhood. At the age of twenty-three years he left home and started out for himself, coming to Box Butte county, where he took up a pre-emption and tree claim and opened a ranch which he operated for a year. Alliance was just starting at that time, and he put up the third building at that town, erecting a hotel which was called "The Barry House." He owned and ran the hotel for three years, and also spent one year in railroading. The hotel is now carried on by his sister.

     Mr. Barry owns a fine ranch located four miles from Alliance, and he is interested to quite an extent in stock raising on that place. In 1899 he engaged in the saloon business at Alliance, and was proprietor of one of the leading places there. The town "went dry" at the last election and saloons became a thing of the past. Besides these interests Mr. Barry owns considerable stock in the Black Hills mines.

     Mr. Barry was married in 1902 to Miss Lizzie Creason, daughter of Carl Creason, a prosperous farmer of Yolo county, California.

     In political sentiment Mr. Barry is identified with the Democratic party, and is a stanch (sic) advocate of the principles of that organization. He takes an active part in all local affairs tending toward the improvement of conditions in his locality, and is universally respected and esteemed.



     Among the prosperous and enterprising farmers of Colton precinct, Cheyenne county, Nebraska, none is better known or more highly respected than the subject of this review. Mr. Krueger has devoted many years of his life to the pursuit of agriculture in this region, and has been a potent factor in producing the present prosperity enjoyed in his locality. His home is on section 29, situated at Colton Siding, which he purchased from the Union Pacific company.

     Mr. Krueger was born in Prussia, Germany, a few miles from Berlin, April 19, 1855. He came to America in 1856 with his parents, the family settling in Burlington, Wisconsin, where he spent his boyhood years. In 1879, after a short residence in Grand Island, Nebraska, he came to Cheyenne county and filed on a homestead of one hundred and sixty acres located in section 32, township 14, range 48, on which he proved up and to which he has since added many acres. Mr. Krueger's land is situated along the banks of Lodgepole Creek, and is admirably located for all farming and ranching purposes. He has put the whole tract in the finest shape possible having on the place an artificial lake of ten acres known as Krueger lake, which he has stocked with fine fish. He has a good system of water works, irrigating about half of his farm, and has a good set of substantial stone farm buildings, including a handsome ten-room house, enlarged and remodeled in 1908, and a large stone barn. He is engaged in the ice business, cutting immense quantities during the winter months, and furnishes Sidney with its supply of ice in the summer, having built up an excellent trade along this line. About one hundred of his one thousand three hundred and twenty acres are under cultivation, a


Compendium of History Reminiscence & Biography of Western Nebraska

Horizontal Bar

page 257

large portion being devoted to the raising of alfalfa, and many acres are in hayland and pasture, supporting about one hundred and twenty-five head of stock.

     Our subject was married January 1, 1887, to Miss Alice Carey, who is a native of Portage, N. Y., and came to Nebraska in 1885 with her father, the mother having died in the East. Mr.Carey at present resides north of Sidney, in Cheyenne county. Mr. Krueger and his good wife are the parents of seven children, named as follows: William F., Elmer T.; Frank, who died in January, 1904; Jessie; Richard E.; Grace E., and Chester G. The family comprises a charming and interesting group, and the home of our subject is one of the most hospitable to be found in the community. Mr. Krueger is one of the foremost citizens of his locality, and enjoys the confidence of all who know him. He is Republican in politics and is a member of the Odd Fellows and the Maccabees at Sidney.



     George W. Vroman, of North Platte, Nebraska, is well-known among railway men throughout the western part of Nebraska. He was passenger engineer for the Union Pacific railway, on the Chicago & Denver special.

      Mr. Vroman is a native of Dane county, Wisconsin, born in 1841. His parents settled there in 1836, coming from near Syracuse, N. Y., of German descent. Our subject came to Nebraska in 1869, in the year the Union Pacific railway was completed, the last rail being laid on May 10th of that year at Promontory, Utah. He had been with the Wabash railroad for six years prior to this, beginning with them in 1862. He worked as a passenger engineer up to 1881, then was foreman up to 1884, having charge of the machine shops. After that time he resumed his place on the road as engineer. In April, 1877, he organized the first general committee of the engineers on the Union Pacific and was elected as chairman continuously until 1905, with the exception of one term of two years. At first the jurisdiction of this committee extended from Omaha to Ogden on the main line, and over all the branches; i.e., the Oregon Navigation Company and the Colorado Central, but after 1891 those branches were put under another jurisdiction of the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers. At the beginning of this organization there were only eight on the committee, and now there are over 500 engineers in this territory. Mr. Vroman has attended as delegate, thirteen national conventions of the brotherhood. He was salaried chairman from 1891 to 1894, with twenty-four lodges of engineers under him. When the Union Pacific was in the hands of a receiver in 1894, they issued an order reducing the wages of the scheduled men on the road, our subject representing the engineers of this 8,000 miles of road, and really, as well representing the case of the firemen, conductors, shopmen, brakemen and other employees. He took the matter before Judge Caldwell, at Omaha, in the U. S. Circuit Court, and the evidence introduced by him covered forty-one pages of the record. The decision was that the old schedule was fair and proper, and the receivers' lower schedule should not take effect. This is the highest court that any labor question has so far reached, and this was one of labor's greatest victories. The case was entered in February and decided in April, 1894. The first case in America in which questions between railway employees and the company was arbitrated, was on the Union Pacific railway in 1879, at North Platte, with Mr. Vroman as chairman of the committee of the Brotherhood, he taking the case before the arbitrator, Captain Rustin, on one day, and the next day the decision was given, favorable to the employees. From this time the employees never make a demand, but put their grievances or wishes in the form of statements and requests. These are fairly considered by the officials and the matters agreeably adjusted. On the day the first award was given, a daughter was born to Mr. and Mrs. Vroman, and she was named "Arba T."

     The most thrilling experience Mr. Vroman ever had in his railway work was when his train was held up at Big Springs, Nebraska, one night in September, 1877, at 10:30 P. M. The train stopped at this way station, but the robbers had compelled the agent to put out a red light to make sure. There were eight of them in the gang, two appearing at the side of our subject's engine and one at the fireman's side. One was on the coal tender. As Mr. Vroman saw the gun from above pointed at him he ducked and the bullet struck the boiler head, put out the lights and filled his cab with smoke. In the confusion he went by the window over the boiler to the other side, when the bandits called for a surrender and he would not be injured. They secured $63,000 and got away, but five of them were mortally wounded in resisting arrest, and the other three never were apprehended.

     Mr. Vroman was married at Indianapolis, Indiana, to Miss Mary Jordan, the marriage

Compendium of History Reminiscence & Biography of Western Nebraska

Horizontal Bar

page 258

taking place November 1, 1874. Six children were born of this union, who are named as follows: Blanche E., Clarence, employed in the Union Pacific shops at Omaha; Walter J., Clay W., in the U. S. mail service on the same railway; Arba T., and Ralph W.

     In 1882 Mr. Vroman served one term in the town council. He is an independent voter. The family are members of the Unitarian church at North Platte.



     John W. Dyer, retired, is one of the best known and most highly esteemed citizens of Franklin county, Nebraska. He resides in the city of Franklin, where he has built up a pleasant home, surrounded by a host of warm friends, and is regarded as one of the representative old settlers of this locality. He has crossed the continent from Atlantic to Pacific four or five different times, each time taking a different route.

     Mr. Dyer was born in Milo, Maine, and is a son of John Dyer, of Bridgewater, Massachusetts, and Betsy Goodrich Dyer, who was born in Industry, Franklin county, Maine. Our subject's uncle, General Nathan Goodrich, was one of the heroes of the Mexican war, and Commander Nathan Goodrich, a second cousin, was with Dewey at Manilla, on the gunboat Raleigh as assistant engineer for three years.

     In 1861 our subject enlisted in the Second Maine Infantry, Company L and served with his regiment up to August 5, 1862, and re-enlisted in the Second Maine Cavalry, Company G, and with this regiment saw service through the Red River expedition, also in Florida, Alabama and Georgia under General Steele and later General A. J. Smith, Sixteenth Army Corps. The regiment was mustered out at Barrancas, Florida, December 16, 1865, a few months after the close of the war. While with the Second Maine Infantry he was in the battle which took place at Yorktown, at Hanover Court House, Fairoaks or Seven Pines, and also in a number of exciting skirmishes under General Martin Dale, commander of the brigade, and General Porter was the division commander. At this time General Mc Clellan was in command of the army.

     In 1872 Mr. Dyer came west to Smith county, Kansas, locating twelve miles south of Franklin, and October 1st of that year homesteaded one hundred and sixty acres and lived on it, farming until 1901. When he landed here, after filing on his homestead, he had just forty-two dollars left with which to face winter and supply himself, wife and two children with provisions, clothes, etc., so he and a companion went to Fort Dodge, Kansas, where thousands of buffalo roamed through the plains, and in four days had killed and taken the hides from eighty buffalo, all they could carry on their wagon. After selling them at the nearest station he started for home with sixty-five dollars in his pocket and enough buffalo meat to last him all winter, and dried meat which lasted throughout the following summer. At that time there were hundreds of hunters through that section of the country and had it not been for the buffalo many of the pioneers could not have survived those times. During the first years our subject's family lived in a dugout, then built a log house in which they lived for some time, and being there for eleven years they were able to build a good residence. He broke up his land gradually, and by dint of hard work and strictest economy on the part of himself and wife began to get ahead, purchasing more land as he was able until he owned three quarter sections. His home farm of three hundred and twenty acres was brought up to a high state of cultivation, and he had added improvements until it was one of the most valuable estates in the locality. He engage largely in raising and feeding stock, which he shipped to market, each year disposing of a car of hogs and from fifty to one hundred steers, this netting him a very snug income. Mr. Dyer farmed in Jasper count (sic), Iowa, for five years coming there from Bureau county, Illinois where he had farmed for about a year, and in his opinion the Republican valley is a much better place for farming and stock raising than either Iowa or Illinois, as the climate is healthier and there is no mud to contend with. Here the land is easier to work, so that one man can till as much ground as two men can do in those states, while the average crops and prices obtained for them are equally as good. In addition to his eastern experience, visited California and Oregon twice in 1904, making a careful study of conditions there. He took his wife and children with him on the last trip, and all agreed that there was no country ahead of Nebraska, so they returned to Franklin and intend to make this their permanent home. In 1905, after his return from the west, he purchased twenty-four acres of land located in the northwestern part of Franklin, and on this built a nice residence. He has the place in a very fine condition. In the fall of the same year, he purchased eighty acres of second bottom land lying about a mile west (?) of (?)

Compendium of History Reminiscence & Biography of Western Nebraska

Horizontal Bar

page 259

Franklin. Before he went to California Mr. Dyer bought thirteen acres located on the high grounds overlooking Franklin and the river and valley, on which he erected a handsome two-story house, planting trees and making it into a beautiful spot, then sold it. He also owned a farm of one hundred and twenty acres situated two miles northwest of Franklin, which he disposed of to good advantage. Mr. Dyer has the greatest faith in the possibilities of this country, and with good managment and industry he has from a very small beginning worked up to a position of ease and prosperity.

     Mr. Dyer was married in 1867 to Miss Anna Peterson, of Galesburg, Illinois, her parents being natives of Sweden. Eight children have been born to Mr. and Mrs. Dyer, named as follows: George W. Dyer, a prosperous farmer of Smith county, Kansas, operating a farm of four hundred and eighty acres; Addie May, wife of Seth E. Roath, of Smith Center, Kansas; John Clayton Dyer, owner of a fine one hundred and sixty acre farm in Marion township, this county; Grace, wife of William Gretchell, a farmer of Smith county, Kansas; Nathan G. Dyer, living on his farm three and one half miles northwest of Franklin; Anna P. Dyer, a graduate of the Franklin Academy, of marked musical ability, holding three diplomas and now teaching music in Franklin and neighboring towns; Daniel E. Dyer, recently married, a farmer living eight miles from Franklin, and the youngest, Oliver R. Dyer, helping his father at home.

     Mr. Dyer is a prominent member of the Grand Army of the Republic post here, and a man of active public spirit. He is a Republican.



     Winfield P. Townsend, Ainsworth, Nebraska, takes an honorable place among the early settlers of Brown county, and has enjoyed those rich rewards which agriculture is ever ready to render to those who engage in its pursuit with foresight and industry. He has had much to do with the early settlement and general improvement of this part of the state, and illustrates in his own experience the value of character, perseverance and industry as habits of life.

     Mr. Townserd was born June 22, 1849, on a farm in Muskingum county, Ohio, where his father, Jonathan Townsend, had long been established, not only being engaged in the tilling of the soil, but also following the butcher and carpenter trades. About 1855 he moved to Vernon county, Wisconsin, where he followed farming for years. He came to Holt county, Nebraska, at an early day, and died here in January, 1890. He came of Welsh and German lineage, and was a soldier in the Union army during the Civil war, serving as a member of Company D, 18th Wisconsin Volunteer Infantry. He married Martha Goldrick, daughter of an Irish blacksmith, who married a Welsh girl. Winfield P. was the fourth child in a family of eight born to his parents.

     When the subject of this sketch had reached the age of six years his parents removed to Vernon county, Wisconsin, where he grew to manhood, in the meantime attending country school and securing such educational training as the scanty opportunities of the times afforded. He was familiar with hard work from his early youth, and was ready to start out in the world for himself at the age of twenty-two years. His marriage to Miss Viola T. Chase occurred March 5, 1871. She was born in Vermont, and came from a family long associated with the early New England history. Her parents were farming people, and represent in their own history many of the best traditions of that section where their fortunes had long been cast. To this marriage were born ten children, of whom are living: Julia A., wife of Alva H. Brobst; Myrtle V. T., who married Burdette L. Lovett; Clyde A., Lowell J., Alice L., Cornelia, William A. L., and Leon E. M. The two older children were born in Wisconsin, and all the others in Nebraska.

     While the young couple lived in Wisconsin Mr. Townsend was engaged in farming, and at times "worked out" to sustain his family. In 1878 he removed to Nebraska, reaching Butler county the fifth of July, and settled in Clay county in the fall of that year, where he lived on rented land for three years, making his home in a sod house, enduring such privations as were common to a new country. In 1880 he came to Brown county, "to look over the country," and was so pleased with it's general appearance that he made haste to cast in his lot with its earliest settlers. Renting land for one year, he took a homestead on section 6, township 30, range 22, in the spring of 1882, and this he soon transformed into a neat and profitable farm, modern and up to date in every respect. Mr. Townsend in coming from southern Nebraska, drove across the country; reaching Brown county he installed his family in a "dug-out," which was their only home for two or three years. Now he has an estate consisting. of two hundred and forty

Compendium of History Reminiscence & Biography of Western Nebraska

Horizontal Bar

page 260

acres, on which he has erected a comfortable rural home; ample barns and other farm buildings, a windmill and has provided an ample equipment of machinery for the operation of such a place. A picture of the place will be found on another page.

Picture button


     The place is known as "Victory Farm," from his winning a nine years' contest before the land office, twice carrying the case up to the Secretary of the Interior. Secretary Noble settled the contest in favor of Mr. Townsend, November 16, 1892, giving him a clear title forever to the land now known as "Victory Farm."

     Mr. Townsend began bridge building in 1892, and has since been actively engaged in this work on a very extensive scale. He has a complete outfit for bridge building, including a pile driver and all necessary machinery and he has built bridges all over the county. Mr. Townsend is a staunch Democrat politically. He is a consistent member of the Methodist church.



     Louis F. Hoevet, an old-timer of Dawes county, Nebraska, has succeeded in building up a good home and valuable estate here through his industrious habits and sturdy perseverance. He resides in section 11, township 31, range 51, where he has a comfortable home and is highly esteemed by his fellow-men.

     Mr. Hoevet is a native of Lake county, Indiana, born in 1860, on a farm. His father, Charles Hoevet, was a farmer, born in Germany, who came to Nebraska in 1880, first settling in Clay county, later settling in Dawes county in 1894, where he died January 6, 1904. He married Miss Elizabeth Ritter, born in Ohio in 1843, of German stock. A sketch of Charles Hoevet will be found on another page of this volume. Our subject grew up in Illinois, where the family had moved when he was a boy, and he attended the common schools during his spare hours, assisting his parents in the farm work. In the fall of 1879 he came west to Clay county, Nebraska, the rest of the family coming out the following year, and there they were among the first settlers in the region. He farmed in Clay county for several years, then moved to Perkins county, where he took up a pre-emption and proved up on the land. There he lived in a sod shanty and went through all sorts of pioneer experiences, but.stuck to it and succeeded in building up a good home and farm and made money.

     In 1894 Mr. Hoevet came with his family to Dawes county, having sold his pre-emption in Perkins county, and here settled on section 11, township 31, range 51. He is the owner of two hundred acres of good land, seventy of which is under cultivation, and the balance in pasture for his stock, of which he keeps quite a large number of cattle, hogs and horses. His place is well improved and he has everything in first-class shape, showing good management and improved methods of agriculture.

     Mr. Hoevet left home when he was twenty-six years of age, and at that time was united in marriage to Miss Armenta Hiatt, daughter of Riley and Lementine Hiatt, early settlers in Appanoose county, Iowa. He was from North Carolina, and married Miss Clementine Jones, born in Tennessee. Mr. and Mrs. Hoevet are the parents of three children, namely: Edna, Fay and Helen.



     Charles Hoevet, who was one of the prominent old settlers of Dawes county, died January 6, 1904. He had been in failing health for some time and on the 30th of December he was seized with paralysis and from that time there was little hope for his recovery, and he gradually sank until the end came. The funeral was held at Bethel church and the services were conducted by the Reb. Mr. Shull of Crawford. The whole country turned out in respect to the memory of this highly esteemed neighbor.

     Mr. Hoevet was born in Mecklenburg, Schwerin, Germany, on the 3d day of June 1832, and consequently attained the ripe age of seventy-two years, seven months and three days. He was the youngest of nine children, all of whom he survived. In 1852 he emigrated to America and for a few years resided in Indiana and afterwards settled in Kankakee county, Illinois, where he made his home until the spring of 1880. In that year he removed to Clay county, Nebraska, and in 1892 to Dawes county, where he established himself with his family upon a well improved and beautiful farm east of Crawford, where his life was brought to a close. In 1859 he was united in marriage with Miss Elizabeth Ritter, who was the daughter of Jacob and Sarah (Hammond) Ritter. The children of this union were nine in number, seven of whom, with the aged widow, survive to mourn the loss of a husband and father, and all of whom were present at the deathbed and funeral. The liv-

*The lower corner of this page reproduced with dark shadow over the print.. Philip Ritter <> has provided the corrected version. THANK YOU! T&CM

Compendium of History Reminiscence & Biography of Western Nebraska

Horizontal Bar

page 261

ing children are: Louis, Charles, Delia, Otto, Edward, Albert and Floyd.

     Mr. Hoevet was one of the most substantial and respectable citizens of Dawes county and his death will be recognized as a distinct loss to the community.



    On the banks of the Lodgepole creek, Cheyenne county, Nebraska, stands the handsome residence of one of the leading citizens of that county. Among those who have endured many hardships and succeeded in spite of many discouragements which fell to the lot of the early settler of Western Nebraska, no one is more deserving of prominent mention than the gentleman who forms the subject of this sketch.

     Mr. Howard was born in Plattsburg, New York, on September 14, 1845. He grew up in that locality, and at the age of eighteen years moved to Will county, Illinois, where he acquired an eighty acre farm one mile north of Manhattan. He first came to Cheyenne county in 1885 and filed on a homestead in section 25, township 13, range 49, and spent eight years on that place, making good improvements. He then purchased and moved onto a farm of one hundred and sixty acres in section 31, township 14, range 47, situated on Lodgepole creek, and still occupies this last mentioned place. Here he has made a fine farm, and owns in all one thousand two hundred acres, which includes the original homestead. He devotes about thirty acres to crops, and has sufficient pasture for the stock he owns. He has erected good farm buildings, fences and necessary wells and windmills for care of about thirty head of cattle and fifty horses which he keeps. The family occupy a fine modern residence, and every corner of the place shows good management, prosperity and painstaking care in its operation.

     Mr. Howard was married at Mokena, Illinois, on the 24th day of November, 1876, to Miss Alice Turner, a daughter of James and Abeygail (Crandle) Turner, born near Ashtabula, Ohio. Six children blessed this union, named as follows: Harry (deceased) ; Lila, wife of Leroy Dyke now living in Portland, Oregon; Winifred, who married Carl Homan, of Sedgewick, Colorado; Lee, Lucy and Potter, the three last named all living at home. Mr. and Mrs. Howard are of a most hospitable nature, and have a family of intelligent. and congenial children, making a happy family which it is a pleasure for one to meet. Our subject himself is a man of very pleasant personality, and a gentleman of superior qualities of mind and character. Owing to impaired health, Mr. Howard spent the winter of 1908 in southern California, in which place he rapidly recuperated. He has always voted the Republican ticket, and takes an active part in local and county affairs. He is a member of the Odd Fellows, and with his family, of the Episcopal church.



     The gentleman above named is a leading merchant of Loomis, Nebraska. In 1899 he bought out the hardware business of D. T. Garrett, and has since that time successfully conducted the store, increasing his stock, and has more than trebled the business, so that his patronage extends all over the territory adjacent to Loomis. Mr. Gamel has one of the largest and finest stores in this section, handling hardware, furniture, harness, paints, oils, tin and kitchenware, stoves and ranges, plumbing and the last year adding automobiles, and enjoys a great measure of prosperity and an enviable reputation as a business man and worthy citizen.

     Mr. Gamel is a native of Champaign county, Illinois, and is a son of O. J. Gamel, who came to this county locating in Lake township with his family in 1888, his death occurring there in 1894, at the age of forty-eight years. He was the owner of four hundred and eighty acres of land in that township, and was a very successful farmer and agriculturist. He was by profession a druggist being a registered, pharmacist, and was engaged in that business, also the grocery business before coming to Nebraska. Prior to the time of our subject starting in business in Loomis, he was engaged in the profession of a teacher here, having followed this for seven years, also taught in Lake township and the last three years spent in the Loomis public schools.

     Mr. Gamel was married in 1894 to Miss Helen Potter who, prior to her marriage, was a teacher in the Loomis schools, and a lady of much intelligence and charm. She was a native of Owego, New York, daughter of John Q. Potter, now a resident of Denver, Colorado. Mr. and Mrs. Gamel have two children. Mr. Gamel received his education at the Fairmont, Nebraska, high school, and later attended the Franklin Academy and Lin-

Compendium of History Reminiscence & Biography of Western Nebraska

Horizontal Bar

page 262

coln Normal, receiving a state certificate. Mr. Gamel is a genial, intellectual gentleman, popular in business and social circles, universally esteemed and respected.



     Bernard J. McGuire, who enjoys the comforts of a rural home in section 10, township 26, range 28, Cherry county, is one of the well known and wealthy residents of his locality. He is one of the old settlers there and his labors have become a part of the history of the county.

     Mr. McGuire was born in Roscommon county, Ireland, in 1865. His father, Michael McGuire, came to America several times on a visit, but spent his entire career in his native land engaged in farming. He married Mary Buchanan, and they owned a good home and farm, on which our subject grew to the age of thirteen years, at which time he came to America by way of England, landing in Philadelphia. He spent five years in the east, then came to Nebraska. While in Pennsylvania he attended school, and also worked in the mines until coming west to Jefferson county, Nebraska, then went into the Black Hills and was there at the time of the Indian massacre, taking part in subduing the insurrection of the redskins. During that trip he slept on the ground and often awakened in the morning with his blanket covered with snow. He roughed it for two years in that vicinity, working as an engineer in a sawmill. As early as 1885 he came to Cherry county.

     Mr. McGuire was married at Fairbury, Nebraska, January 31, 1891, to Miss Anna Shanley, daughter of Patrick Shanley, who was an old settler in Cherry county. After their marriage they went to Denver and remained in that city for five years, where Mr. McGuire was engaged in the ice business. He held considerable ranching property in Cherry county, having quite a herd of cattle and horses, which brought him in a good income. He acquired his present ranch in 1895, and the following year moved with his family on the place, which they have occupied ever since. At that time it was highly improved land, with good buildings, wells and windmills, and he has continued to improve it and keeps it in good shape. The place consists of one thousand nine hundred and twenty acres, all deeded land, and he also controls one thousand two hundred and eighty acres of leased land in the vicinity, using it almost exclusively as a stock ranch, running a large bunch of cattle and other stock. Since coming to his present ranch the only bad luck he has experienced was loss sustained through a cyclone which came along and blew the roof off his house and utterly destroyed a shed on the place, together with smaller damage.

     Mr. and Mrs. McGuire have a family of five children, named as follows: Michael B., Mary, Letta Beatrice, Berenice Rosetta and Patrick Leo, and they form a most interesting family group, all bright and intelligent, their home one of the most pleasant to be found in the community. They have a large circle of friends a acquaintances who enjoy their hospitality. Most of Mr. McGuire's time is devoted to his family and the interest of his ranch, and while he takes a commendable interest in local affairs, has never sought public office.



     For the past twenty-five years the gentleman above named has been an important factor in the development and progress of the section lying south of the Platte, river, covering Phelps and Kearney counties, Nebraska. He came to Nebraska in 1879, from Johnson county, Iowa, locating at Wilcox, Nebraska, and in 1886 engaged in the lumber business at Wilcox, which he conducted for five years. He was the first chairman of the village board of Wilcox, organized in 1889, and held the position of postmaster of that town for five years. Wilcox now has a population of five hundred, and boasts two banks, two papers, three elevators and a number of fine stores. Our subject is at present occupying the position of cashier of the Exchange Bank of Wilcox. This institution was established by him in 1905, with a capital and surplus of $12,000, and since its organization the bank has built up a prosperous and growing business. It now owns and occupies a fine new brick building, and is one of the most reliable banking institutions of Kearney county. For the past twelve years Mr. Shetler has owned the Wilcox Herald, for which he has recently erected a substantial brick building and installed a new, up-to-date press and job office, supplied with a gasoline engine, new press, and every improvement, at a total cost of $3,500 for the plant. This paper has a wide circulation in the four counties of Phelps, Harlan, Kearney and Franklin, the town of Wilcox being located at the corner of these counties. The paper is managed by J. B. Lane. Mr. Shetler also is interested

Compendium of History Reminiscence & Biography of Western Nebraska

Horizontal Bar

page 263

largely in the real estate, loan and insurance business, with his headquarters and office at Wilcox, and has sold large tracts of farming lands in the four counties above mentioned, amounting to millions of dollars. His is the largest agency of its kind in this section, and has located hundreds of farmers in Nebraska, and is constantly advertising its advantages. Land in this vicinity has advanced 200 per cent. in the past fifteen years. Our subject is now owner of two thousand five hundred and twenty acres of fine farm land, three hundred and twenty acres of this being located near the town of Wilcox, one thousand six hundred acres in different parts of Nebraska and six hundred and twenty-five acres of it in Iowa. All of these lands are under rental, and he derives a substantial income from this source. He also owns five hundred head of Duroc Jersey pure-bred hogs, from the best strains in the country, and one hundred head of Shorthorn cattle. He has fed from five to ten cars of cattle and hogs annually for the past ten years, which he ships to the markets. The past year he raised one hundred acres of wheat which netted him $1,739 after paying expenses of $533. He is a strong advocate of sowing fall wheat at the end of August. He is also a firm believer in the state of Nebraska as a banner crop producer. Mr. Shetler also has large interests in Holdredge,. where he now lives.

     He was married in 1876 to Ella Garey and they have been blessed with three children: Ethel, Fay and Louise. Mr. Shetler was born in Ohio.

    A portrait of Mr. Shetler will be found on another page of this volume.

Picture button



     The gentleman above named was one of the first to settle in Box Butte county, and has since the earliest days of settlement in this section, taken a leading part in the public affairs of the section, having been the first mayor of Hemingford. Mr. Uhrig is held in the highest esteem by all who know him, and his name will figure prominently in the history of the development and growth of this part of the country. He occupies a pleasant and comfortable home adjoining Hemingford, and is one of the substantial and worthy citizens of the town and township.

     Mr. Uhrig was born in Nassau, Germany, in 1847, and his father was a merchant at that place, who spent all his life in his native country, his death occurring there in about 1873. Our subject was reared in the old country, learning the harness-maker's trade and followed the work for six years there, and when he was twenty years of age he came to America, landing here in 1867, and came directly west to Illinois, locating in Carlyle, where he followed his trade for about two years, and later spending a short time at St. Louis. He then went to Council Bluffs and Omaha, working at his trade in both cities, then went to Mondamin, Iowa, where he opened a harness shop of his own, manufacturing and selling harness.

     Mr. Uhrig next moved to a farm in that vicinity, and after farming for one year left the place and located in Mexico, Missouri, where he attended school for one year, striving to gain a better knowledge of English language to help him in his business career. He later engaged in the furniture business at that place, being manager of the store for over a year, and then begun as a traveling salesman for the firm of Heller & Hoffman, chair, and other furniture manufacturers, and continued in that work for three years, traveling principally through western Iowa and Nebraska, having been the first salesman the concern had ever employed in the territory of western Nebraska.

     In 1884 Mr. Uhrig took a pre-emption and a tree claim, both proved up on later, and later a homestead three and a half miles southwest of Hemingford, and part of that town is now located on what was his tree claim. He sold the first carload of furniture that was shipped into Rushville, and in the fall of 1885 made another trip on the road.

     Mr. Uhrig started farming in the year of 1885, in addition to his other business enterprises, and the following year opened his store in Hemingford, dealing in furniture, hardware and saddlery, and he had the first stock of hardware and saddlery that was ever brought into the town. He located here before the railroad was built in and also when the county seat was located, and was one of the men who went to Lincoln to interview the railroad officials and offer inducements to the company for bringing the road to his town, part of his tree claim being presented to the railway company as a bonus for locating here.

     Since coming to this locality Mr. Uhrig has been remarkably successful, and has accumulated a fine property through his good management and steady perseverance. He is owner of six hundred and two acres of land near Hemingford, also two blocks, a part of the town site. He has a fine store building

Compendium of History Reminiscence & Biography of Western Nebraska

Horizontal Bar

page 264

twenty-five by sixty feet, with a basement and second story, on one of the main streets of the town.

     In 1886 Mr. Uhrig was united in marriage at Mexico, Missouri, to Miss Augusta Basse. Mr. and Mrs. Uhrig are the parents of the following children: Nettie, Frank, Ida, Otto, Winfred, George and Margaret.

     Mr. Uhrig is a Democrat and a strong party man.



      Carmel E. Cheney has been intimately identified with the early history of Brown county, Nebraska, and is known in the vicinity of Ainsworth as one of the most reliable and prominent representatives of its best farming circles. He owes his present forward position to honest purpose, fair dealing and industrious habit. His father, John Cheney, was a native of New England and achieved a competence in Nebraska by dint of thrift and labor. Carmel E. Cheney, born near the line of Lynn and Delaware counties, Iowa, December 29, 1860, was the third in his father's family and grew to manhood in his native state, where his characteristics early indicated a substantial success in whatever occupation he might address himself. His parents resided in Lynn and Delaware counties, Iowa, until he reached the age of fifteen. They removed to Marshall county about 1876 (?) and to Crawford county a year later. In the spring of 1882 the entire family came into Nebraska, and made a home in Brown county. Here the subject of this sketch located on his present farm property, taking it under the pre-emption law, later making it a homestead claim, upon which, in due time, he made all the legal proofs and acquired a clear title. In the beginning it was a raw prairie, and all the improvements that now make it sightly and pleasant owe their existence to the indefatigable labors of Mr. Cheney. For a time he "batched," and then lived with his father until his marriage, April 8, 1896, when Miss Ellen McKeever became his wife. She was born in Iowa of American antecedents, and was a lady of more than the usual gifts and graces. Before her marriage she had taught school for some years in Boyd county, Nebraska. This union has been blessed with four children: Zenas D., Bessie M., Cordelia C. and Earl V.

     Mr. Cheney is the proprietor of a well appointed farm of one hundred and sixty acres. It is all fenced and devoted to both grain and stock farming. The Cheneys take a very active part in school matters, and have been very instrumental in the successful operation of literary societies, and other intellectual stimulants in the neighborhood in which they live. In politics Mr. Cheney is a Democrat and is a member of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows of Ainsworth.



     An honorable position among the pioneer settlers of Loup county is readily accorded this gentleman, better known as "Jack Houten," by every one with whom he is acquainted. He occupies one of the large and well-improved ranches of the county, and is greatly respected in the community where he has lived for so many years.

     Mr. Van Houten was born in Ogle county, Illinois, in 1857. His father, John Van Houten was born in the state of New York, a farmer by occupation and was of Holland-Dutch and Scotch ancestry. The mother was a native of Rhode Island, and her name before marriage, was Cornelia Johnson.

     The subject of our sketch lived in Illinois until 1862, when the family moved to New York state, where they resided for about (???) years, at the end of which time they came west to Humbolt county, Iowa, where our subject grew up on a farm and attended the county schools. In 1879 the family drove through with team and covered wagon to Loup county, Nebraska, and our subject settled on a homestead in section 27, township 21, range 17. He built the regulation sod shanty and prepared for the experiences of pioneer life. He had a team and drove to St. Paul, Nebraska, for supplies and materials. He remained on the farm, and, although there were three successive failures of crops during the drouth years, he stuck to his work and (???) has a fine farm of four hundred and seventy acres along the North Loup river. His parents lived and died in the county and (???) were respected and revered by all who knew them.

     In 1881 Mr. Van Houten was married to Miss Carrie Reniff, daughter of Philo and Mary (Wickson) Reniff, old settlers of Nebraska. The father was a native of New York state. Mr. and Mrs. Van Houten have (???) children: Burt, Harry, Horace, Jack, (???) Peter, Mattie and Ella. Before her marriage Mars. Van Houten was a school teacher of (good?) abilities and she has always been deeply in-

Compendium of History Reminiscence & Biography of Western Nebraska

Horizontal Bar

page 265

terested in the educational affairs of the district.

      Mr. Van Houten has been an active participant in local political affairs, has been precinct officer, assessor, road overseer and has held other minor offices. He is outspoken and frank in all things and his stand for advancement along all lines is firm and decided.



     Charles H. Sailor, a leading citizen of Gordon, Nebraska, is a prosperous merchant, widely known as a gentleman of good business ability arid true public spirit.

     Mr. Sailor was born in Hancock county, Illinois, in 1864. His father, Richard A. Sailor, was a native of Kentucky, reared and educated in Missouri, and followed farming as an occupation all his life. Of a family of seven children our subject was the third member, and he was raised in Illinois until he reached the age of twenty, attending school until eighteen years of age, when he started to learn the carpenter's trade. In 1883 he came to Nebraska and settled in Antelope county, where he remained for two years. In July, 1885, he moved to Gordon, where he took up a homestead situated ten miles south of the town on Niobrara river. His first dwelling was a log house and he lived in this for five and a half years, proving up and improving the place. He had early learned the carpenter and builder's trade, and in 1891 moved to Gordon and followed this work for several years. He did well at this, and in 1901 begun to deal in farming implements and has gradually increased his business until he is now enjoying a lucrative trade. He established himself in his present location in 1903 and now handles all kinds of farming machinery, pumps, windmills, piano, organs, sewing-machines, etc., his patronage extending all through Sheridan and the adjoining counties. He and his son now have the finest hardware store in Sheridan county.

     Mr. Sailor was married in 1885, during the month of October, to Miss Lydia Wyman, of American stock, whose father, Charles M. Wyman, was a farmer. Mr. and Mrs. Sailor have a family of five children, namely: Ralph, Ray, Hallie, Chester and Dwight, all born in Sheridan county.

     Mr. Sailor is prominent in all local affairs it tend to advance the commercial interests of his locality. He has acted as president of Sheridan county agricultural association for six years, and has served as county assessor for the past four years. He was a member of the school board for about five years, and for ten years was village clerk. He has aided in the bettering of conditions in his town as when he first came here Gordon had thirteen saloons and about three stores, and since then the town shows wonderful growth and improvement. He is a strong Republican.



    William G. Fernau, one of the earliest settlers in Brown county, Nebraska, is a prosperous farmer of this locality, and has gained a comfortable competence and enviable reputation as a worthy citizen.

     Mr. Fernau was born on a farm in Washington county, Wisconsin, March 10, 1855. His father, John Fernau, was a shoemaker and farmer, who came to this country from the province of Hesse Cassel, Germany, while a young man, settling in Wisconsin, where our subject was reared, receiving a common school education. He was the sixth member in a family of eight children, and during his boyhood days assisted his father in the farm work, and thus grew up accustomed to good hard labor. In 1885 he came to Nebraska and settled on a homestead and the first building he put up was a small shanty, in which lie lived for some time. He went to work improving his farm, but the dry years came on and his crops were all ruined by the drouth and hail storms, and this discouraged him so greatly that he gave up trying to do anything, and left his homestead, going to Chicago, determined to change his occupation. He remained there for a year, working in a furniture factory and a cooper shop, saving his money, and then returned to Brown county and started over again; from that time on he plodded along, slowly but surely, building up and improving his farm, in the hard times being very careful of expenditures, until now he is the owner of five hundred and twenty acres of good farming land, of which all but sixty acres are under cultivation and improved with a good house, barns, and other buildings, all his land being fenced, and well stocked with cattle, hogs and a number of horses. The land is well adapted to potatoes, of which Mr. Fernau is an extensive cultivator, having some years five thousand bushels at the digging. A view of the home and surroundings is presented on another page.

Picture button

   In 1879 Mr. Fernau was married to Miss

Horizontal Bar

Prior pageSpacerContentsSpacerName indexSpacerNext page

© 2001 NEGenWeb Project Resource Center, Marilyn J. Estrada, T&C Miller