NEGenWeb Project
Resource Center-
On Line Library


Compendium of History Reminiscence & Biography of Western Nebraska

Horizontal Bar

page 274 

farming and stock raising, in which he was successful from the beginning, and gradually added to his land until he now owns a farm of fifteen hundred and forty acres. Eight hundred of this he has in hay land and two hundred cultivated, with the balance in range and pasture. He has a fine property, with good, substantial buildings, and has twenty-four miles of fence on his land. There are four wells and windmills, with concrete tanks, and one flowing well, which is now in the bed of a fine pond from which the summer's supply of ice is harvested. An elevated supply tank, also of concrete, supplies the bath room and kitchen sink with an abundance of excellent water.

     Mr. Jones, although a young man, has accomplished a good deal in the time he has been here, and owes everything he has to his industry and good management, and well deserves his success. The numerous barns and buildings look like a small village; a blacksmith shop makes ordinary farm repairs a matter easily managed; an ingenious device for handling wild stock, breaking them to the halter and making them tractable, is one of the most ingenious inventions to be found in the state. A concrete dipping vat is not the least of the excellent conveniences of the ranch.

     On December 31, 1889, Mr. Jones was married to Miss Viola Steele, daughter of Daniel Steele, an old settler in Cherry county, the family locating there about 1885. Six children were to Mr. and Mrs. Jones, namely: Margareta, Velma, Garnett, Katie, Dale and Glenn.

     Mrs. Jones died April 8, 1903. A second marriage was contracted November 9, 1907, with Miss Edith A. Gross, a native of Shenandoah, Iowa, where she attended the State Normal School. Later a business education fitted her for responsible positions in the west. She had been teaching in Brown county prior to her marriage. Mr. Jones is a Democrat politically and a member of the Modern Woodmen of America at Ainsworth. A fine view of his home place may be found on another page.

Picture button

     The gentleman whose name heads this personal history is a leading farmer and stockman of Riverton, who has had wide experience in this line of work and has thoroughly mastered the art of getting the best possible results from his operations. Mr. Benson was born in Darke, county, Ohio, in 1840

     He is a son of James and Susan (Murray) Benson, both natives of Maryland. He grew up in Ohio with his brothers, John W., James M. and Ephraim B., and all four served through the Civil war. Our subject enlisted in 1861 in Company G, Forty-fourth Ohio, the regiment being under the command of Colonel S. A. Gilbert, and served for three years, first in the Army of Fremont, Virginia, then under Burnside at Knoxville. His third year as a soldier was spent in General Sheridan's army.

     In later years, after settling in Nebraska, Mr. Benson was first lieutenant of Compny H, First Nebraska National Guards, and served two years. In this time he helped settle the strike in Omaha in March, 1882. His experience in the Civil war gave him his position as lieutenant, and because of this experience he was given a responsible position during the Omaha strike. It was during this strike that a man named Armstrong was killed and Mr. Benson was placed in command of the guard at that time.

     Mr. Benson came to Nebraska in 1873, settling in Nuckolls county, where he took up a homestead and farmed for twenty years, and during nearly all that time served as justice of the peace there, and was one of the leading old settlers.

     In 1893 Mr. Benson came to Riverton, purchasing a farm four miles from the town. There he carried on mixed farming for several years, and in 1901 he went into the stock business, buying, selling and shipping, and has been very successful, shipping thirty-five carloads per year. One year he shipped forty-five carloads, He is also engaged to quite an extent in the real estate and land business, and handles a great deal of farming lands in Franklin and the adjoining counties. Since July, 1908, Mr. Benson has retired from an active business life and intends to take a well earned rest. In 1901 Mr. Benson was united in marriage to Miss K. A. Crilly, daughter of Hugh Crilly, a pioneer settler of Franklin county, who came to this country in his young days from the north of Ireland.

     Mr. Benson has the following children: J. H., who lives on the homestead on one hundred and sixty acres near Riverton; W. H., who enlisted in the Third Nebraska during the late war with Spain, and who was the first one of his regiment to die at Jacksonville, Florida; J. A., who died in 1904, aged thirty-four years. He was a farmer; Myrtle L., now Mrs. Tom Glenn, of Riverton, and Mrs. Charity Susan Merritt, of Altoona, Kansas.

     Mr. Benson has always been a man of ac-

Compendium of History Reminiscence & Biography of Western Nebraska

Horizontal Bar

page 275

tive public spirit, and has assisted materially through his labor and example in the upbuilding of the farming interests of his community, well meriting his high standing as a good business man and worthy citizen. For five years he held the office of assessor of Grant township, and takes a deep interest in all local affairs. He has been past commander in the Grand Army of the Republic posts at Riverton and Nelson, and for a long time was adjutant in that body in both those towns. Mr. Benson is now serving as commander of the Franklin post.

     Mr. Benson became converted in 1857 in Ohio and united with the First Christian church, and since coming west he has joined the Congregational church and holds the office of clerk in this organization. He has taken an active part in religious work for years.


     The gentleman above named resides on a fine estate and is one of the well known old-timers of Cheyenne county, where he has passed about twenty-five years, and has seen all of the stages of the growth and development of that region. Mr. Slawson is engaged in dairying on a large scale, and has a finely equipped dairy place on his ranch in section 30, township 14, range 46, and ships large quantities of cream and other products to Cheyenne, Wyoming.

     Hugh P. Slawson was born in Elmira, New York State, on the 21st day of March, 1854, and when a small boy his parents moved to Pennsylvania, where he grew up, his father being engaged in the lumbering business in that state. During his boyhood he learned the blacksmith's trade, and later went into the piano, organ and sewing machine business, following that up to 1884, when he came west, locating in Cheyenne county. He at once filed on a homestead in section 20, and after farming for several years there sold the place and took up his present ranch, now being proprietor of three hundred and twenty acres, one hundred and sixty of which was acquired by homestead rights and the balance by purchase. Here he cultivates one hundred acres and runs quite a large number of cattle and horses, at present having seventy head of cattle and fourteen head of horses. Connected with our subject in the dairying business is his son, Fred N. Slawson, and together they are doing a fine trade. The son is now occupying the ranch home with his father, he being married and having one, Hugh, born January 5, 1900.

     On July 4, 1873, Mr. Slawson was united in Marriage to Alice E. Brooks in Pennsylvania, she being a native of Potter county, that state. Two children were born to them, named as follows: Fred N., who is with his father on the ranch, and who owns three hundred and twenty acres adjoining, thus making six hundred and forty acres in one body. The other is Rho, married and living in Council Bluffs, Iowa, engaged in the mail service, also carrying on a grocery business there. He has two sons, Rho, Jr., born April 9, 1901, and Kenneth Brooks, born September 14, 1904. The parents of both our subject and his wife are now deceased. In political matters Mr. Slawson is an independent voter.

     Mr. Slawson was indeed a pioneer in the new country in which he settled in 1884. He built the first frame building in the town of Lodge Pole excepting the railroad buildings and the little school house. His new building stood on the site of the present Park Hotel. He afterwards went on his homestead in section 20, township 14, range 46, and built a home for his family, which consisted of four sod walls (with the luxury of a floor), the roof being boards bent over a piece of timber, sod and dirt being freely applied to shut out cold and storm. That year his children attended school in town, two and one-half miles away, that, by the way, being their nearest neighbor. The next year Mr. Slawson was active in organizing a school district, No., 25, and as it was the first of its kind it was called the "Pioneer" district. The school house was built of sod, 16x20, minus a floor. Here his boys attended school, while his wife taught the school two years after the district was formed. Mr. Slawson drilled the first well that was ever drilled on the north divide, erecting the first windmill. Afterward drilled many wells and put up mills in the surrounding country.


      Andrew J. Robbinault, one of the oldest settlers of Blaine County, Nebraska. lives on a fine ranch of eight hundred acres on the North Loup river. He was born in Crawford county, Pennsylvania, in 1860. His father, Jeremiah Robbinault, was of Pennsylvania Dutch stock, and was a pioneer of western Nebraska. The mother, Margaret Gillespie in her youth, was of Irish parentage.

     When our subject was six or seven years old the family came west, locating in Crawford county, Iowa, where they were among


Compendium of History Reminiscence & Biography of Western Nebraska

Horizontal Bar

page 276 

the earliest settlers on a farm three miles from the town of Denison. Our subject grew up accustomed to plenty of hard work. He remained with his father until he was twenty-six years old.

     Andrew J. Robbinault was married in 1887 to Miss Ella A. Golson, who was reared in southern Nebraska. She was the daughter of J. C. Golson and Della (Trainer) Golson, pioneers of Blaine county, Nebraska, where they settled in 1884. Mr. and Mrs. Robbinault have two children--Della, now Mrs. Porter C. Riggs, and Joseph.

     Our subject and one brother came to Nebraska in 1883, picked out land and located a homestead on the Little Wild Horseshoe Flats, later called Edyth Valley. They drove through from Iowa with team and covered wagon and were two month on the road, doing some carpenter work at Cedar Rapids, Nebraska. The brothers put up sod shanties, very rudely constructed, and their first good house was built of prairie sod. The same year another brother-in-law came out and in the fall the father joined his sons. They all drove through in covered wagons, bringing all the stock they could. The nearest railroad town was North Loup, eighty-five miles away, and from this town all the supplies were hauled.

     When Blaine county was organized Mr. Robbinault was elected the first sheriff of the county and was widely known as the "boy sheriff." He, with his brother as deputy, captured the notorious criminal Yocham. Since those days our subject has participated in political affairs, holding various political positions with honor to his community and credit to himself. He has been a constable and also a justice of the peace. He is now United States mail carrier from Dunning to Prichard, Blaine county.

     Mr. Robbinault's first ranch was ten miles from Brewster, where he lived until proving up on his land in 1893. He then went to California, locating twenty-two miles from Los Angeles, living there fourteen months. From thence he went to Dickinson, Texas, where he remained a year, then to Houston, where he lived six months, and then he returned to Blaine county, Nebraska.

     Our subject has had many trying ordeals through which to pass, among them the destructive fire which burned him out in 1893, destroying barns and buildings on his Nebraska ranch, at which time he lost six fine horses in the flames. In spite of all the setbacks, however, our subject has constantly made headway and has established his fortunes on a safe and gratifying basis. His fine ranch of eight hundred acres is well improved with a good home, barns, wells, fences and trees, and he has some of the finest hay land in the county. He cultivates only about sixty-five acres, giving almost all his attention to stock raising. Mr. Robbinault occupies a prominent and influential place in the affairs of his county and is looked upon as one of the most progressive and well-to-do old-timers.


     Although the gentleman above named is still a young man, he has spent considerable time in the pursuit of agriculture in western Nebraska, and during that time has managed to accumulate a nice property by dint of industry and good management, and is classed among the successful citizens of his community. Mr. Stilson resides in section 4, township 27, range 36, Cherry county, where he has a pleasant and comfortable home, and is highly esteemed by his associates.

     William E. Stilson was born in La Salle county, Illinois, in 1870. He is a son of Samuel E. and Melissa Ferguson Stilson, both of Scotch descent, the former both in America and the latter in Canada. they having been married in 1869 in Illinois. There was a family of six children, our subject being the eldest. The others are Cora, Gertrude, Sarah, Samuel and Grace, and they all grew up in Illinois, coming to Aurora, Nebraska, about 1885, where they were among the earliest settlers, the father engaging in the grain and milling business. They lived there for five years, then removed to Hyannis, arriving there on December 20, 1890, bringing with them fifty-three head of cattle and their household goods, driving in a covered wagon. They took a homestead six miles south of Hyannis and started to develop a farm, proved up on the claim and remained for six years, then sold the place at a profit, having improved it in good shape with substantial buildings, etc. They went through hard times while living there, and Mr. Stilson was obliged to hunt grouse for a living, worked as a cowboy on ranches in the neighborhood, and did anything that would bring a little money to help in the support of the family. They next moved to a ranch north of Hyannis, and farmed for three years, coming to his present location in July, 1900. This is situated on section 4, township 27, range 36, his ranch consisting of about sixteen sections, located thirty-eight miles north of the town of Hyannis, which is devoted prin-


Compendium of History Reminiscence & Biography of Western Nebraska

Horizontal Bar

page 277

cipally to the ranching business, running about seven hundred head of cattle at the present time. He makes a specialty of breeding and raising Aberdeen Angus cattle, and has a fine bunch of these animals at the present time.

     The father of our subject was a prominent and public-spirited citizen in his section of the country, having been elected county judge for three terms, and was the third man to hold that office in Grant county. He had traveled all over western Nebraska on hunting trips during the very early days, and while engaged in the grain business made many heavy shipment of grain into the county.


     Louis K. Mote, one of the best known pioneers of Dawes county, Nebraska, was one of the first settlers of that region, and is a business and public man of more than ordinary capacity, conducting numerous extensive enterprises during his career. He is possessed of wide and varied experience and a character of the highest integrity. Mr. Mote resides in Chadron, and is now filling the office of sheriff of Dawes county, elected in 1905 by the Republican party.

     Mr. Mote was born in Miami county, Ohio, on May 15, 1859. He is a son of Samuel and Anna (Macey) Mote, the former a farmer of American blood, who settled in western Nebraska in 1891, coming from Marshall county, Iowa. They are both still living at the advanced age of eighty-two and seventy-three years, respectively. Our subject was reared in Iowa, where his parents had settled on a farm in Marshall county in 1865, and his boyhood days were spent in assisting his father in the hard work on the home farm. He received a good education, attending a Quaker school, and later the academy at Le Grand, Iowa.

     In January 1886, Mr. Mote came to Chadron, where he took up a homestead and for seven years farmed and engaged in the ranching business. In 1893 he left his farm and moved into the town of Chadron, where he entered the business world, opening up a feed and transfer establishment and ran this for several years, selling out his holdings in 1905. He had been appointed deputy sheriff in 1901, and held the office for four years, then was elected sheriff and is still acting in that capacity. His services to the county which he represents have been invaluable, and of such a character that he has become universally esteemed and admired by his fellow-men and associates.

     Mr. Mote was married March 4, 1886, to Miss Carrie E. Gifford, daughter of William B. Gifford, now a resident of California, the family coming from Albany, New York, where Mrs. Mote was born. To this marriage six children have born, namely: Walter, who is a bookkeeper in the First National Bank in Chadron; George, Ester, Howard, Anna and Francis.


     C. L. Granlund, of Holdrege, Nebraska, deputy county treasurer of Phelps county, is one of the honored public officials of the county and a business man of enterprise and capability.

     Mr. Granlund was born in Sweden in 1861. His parents, John and Caroline Granlund, were born in Sweden and came to the United States when young people, locating in Porter county, Indiana, where they settled on a farm near Porter Station, later removing to Illinois. The father was a successful farmer, and in 1879 the family came to Nebraska, settling in Laird township, this county, taking a homestead in section 8. Here they broke up the land and farmed one hundred and sixty acres, the father dying in 1891 at the age of fifty-eight years. Our subject remained on the homestead up to 1887, then started in for himself clerking in stores. Mr. Granlund finally sold the father's property in Laird township, which he had previously bought from the heirs. During the years 1891 to 1902, inclusive, Mr. Granlund was engaged in the general merchandise business at Loomis in partnership with C. E. Magnuson, and the firm did an extensive business.

     Mr. Granlund located in Holdrege in 1902 and since coming here has been one of the leading men in public affairs, being elected county treasurer of Phelps county in the fall of 1901 and 1903, serving two terms. He is a strong Republican and one of the best known men in this locality, popular with all classes and enjoying an enviable reputation as a worthy citizen and good neighbor, always lending his influence for the betterment of matters in his community. He was deputy county treasurer of Phelps county for one year.

     Mr. Granlund is a member of the Swedish Mission church here, and while living in Loomis served as secretary of the church at that point. He has one brother, Andrew E.

Horizontal Bar

Prior pageSpacerContentsSpacerName indexSpacerNext page

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