this country much better than Illinois, and thinks it is better for a poor man to get along and make money, as once a renter there, always a renter, while here there is a better opportunity for a man to get ahead and own his own farm and home. The soil is also much easier worked here, one man being able to do as much as two can do in Illinois, while the crops are as good, and in most cases better. His wheat crop here runs thirty-five bushels to the acre, and corn sixty. He has also dealt in stock to quite an extent during the past few years, and finds this very profitable, keeping red hogs, and high grade Shorthorn cattle, with enough horses for his farming purposes. Besides working his own farm Mr. Hornbeck rents land adjoining, operating about four hundred acres in all.
Mr. Hornbeck has three children: Olive, owner of one hundred and sixty acres of land at Maywood, Nebraska; Carl, owner of one hundred and sixty acres of land at Trenton, Nebraska, and Cecil, who owns one hundred and sixty acres at Elwood, Nebraska.
Mr. Hornbeck is highly esteemed by all who have come in contact with him in a business or social way, and is one of the influential citizens of his community. He has gained an enviable reputation as an energetic and successful man, and is a fine example of what the settlers from Illinois in this region have accomplished. In political sentiment he is a Democrat.
JAMES C. FOSTER.
In the person of the gentleman above named we one of the old-time Sand Hill ranchmen and cattlemen, who has been through all the early western Nebraska times, taking an active part in the upbuilding of that part of the state, and who has remained to see what time and progress has done to the country which was in its most primitive state when he settled there. Mr. Foster now resides in Oshkosh, moving into that town in 1907, and is retired from active work on his large ranch, now occupying one of the finest residences in town.
James C. Foster was born in Jefferson county, Pennsylvania, March 5, 1847, and grew to manhood there. At the age of about seventeen he enilsted (sic) in Company B, First Battalion Infantry Volunteers of Pennsylvania, and later re-enlisted in the Seventy-fourth Regiment, and was mustered out at Clarksburg, West Virginia in the fall of 1865. During his service as a soldier he was with his regiment on scouting expeditions, etc. His elder brother, Hiram T. Foster, had entered the army in 1861 and served for three years, then re-enlisted and was killed in action while marching from Petersburg to Richmond, prior to Lee's surrender. The father of our subject had enlisted during the first part of the war, but before the time came for him to join his regiment, he was taken ill and died. Another brother, William M., was in service about two years, and was a prisoner in the famous Libby prison, suffering all the tortures that befell those unfortunates who fell into the hands of the rebels.
At the close of the war Mr. Foster returned home to Pennsylvania, and engaged in the lumbering business in Clearfield county, on headwaters of the Susquehanna river, and also on the Big Mahoning river, continuing in that line of work up to 1876, then came west, locating at Pawnee, Nance county, Nebraska. He spent about twelve years there, ranching most of the time, and for four years worked in the vicinity of the Indian schools for George Willard, a ranchman and farmer. He was proprietor of a ranch in Nance county, which he sold out, finally coming to Deuel county in 1886. Here he filed on a homestead on section 7, township 22, range 44, and became owner of eight hundred acres, which he improved in first-class shape, equipping it with every convenience and stocked with cattle, making it one of the most valuable estates in the. county.
Mr. Foster married Miss Carrie M. Douglas, a native of Minnesota, their marriage occurring at Genoa, Nebraska, on May 2, 1881. They have six children, named as follows: Nettie, wife of Edward Miller, of Oshkosh; Rosalie, wife of Green Ross, living in Deuel county; Mary, Maude, William, and J. C., the four last named living at home on the ranch.
B. J. BURT.
Of the prominent and leading old settlers of western Nebraska, none are held in higher esteem by their fellow citizens than B. J. Burt, who resides on section 12, township 14, range 59, of Kimball county.
Mr. Burt was born in Essex county, Massachusetts, on the 8th of September, 1844, and grew to manhood in that vicinity. He was one of a family of three children, two girls and himself, and his father lived to the ripe old age of eighty-seven, his death occurring in about 1903. Our subject left in 1869, coming to Cheyenne, Wyoming, and there followed the range as a cowman for a number of years, in 1887 coming to Kimball county, Nebraska, where he took up a homestead on section 12, township
14, range 59, and also purchased railroad land in section 11. He proved up on his homestead and has made a good home out of it, putting up good buildings, fences, etc., and runs a large bunch of stock each year, having at the present time one hundred and fifty head of cattle and quite a bunch of horses. He has a fine grove of trees on his ranch, a good water supply, and everything necessary in the way of machinery and improvements. Mr. Burt has about fifty acres of irrigated land, the ditch running through the farm east and west. This practically insures a hay crop each year.
Mr. Burt was united in marriage October 28, 1891, to Miss Mary Ann Tracy, who was born in Iowa. She was a most estimable and charming lady, beloved by all who knew her, and departed this life on February 20, 1906, leaving a sorrowing family and many warm friends to mourn her death. She was the mother of three children, Isabelle Maude, Earl and Francis, all of whom were born on the home ranch in Kimball county, and now living with their father.
Burt is an active public-spirited citizen, well and favorably known throughout the region where he makes his home, and is one of the very few really old-timers left in this locality. He is a Republican and strong party man. At the present time he is serving as moderator of school district No. 7.
On another page of this volume will be found
portraits of Mr. and Mrs. Burt.
WILLARD M. EVANS.
Willard M. Evans, a well-to-do farmer and ranchman and a leading citizen of Box Butte county, whose residence is located on section 14, township 28, range 51, presents in his own career a striking illustration of the field of opportunity this new western county abundantly offers the ambitious, as well as the rich results that have long waited on industry and integrity. He was born in Freetown, Courtland county, New York, in 1840, a son of Benjamin and Catherine (Familiar) Evans.
The boyhood days of Mr. Evans were spent in his native state, where he attended school and assisted his father in the cultivation of their farm. Realizing the opportunities the great western country offered the ambitious, Mr. Evans, at the age of twenty-five years, decided to seek his fortune there. and leaving his home came west into Michigan and Missouri, where he spent several years. It was in 1886 that he came to Nebraska, settling in Dawes county. For a time he did teaming and hauling from Hay Springs, and assisted in some of the first work of constructing the Chicago, Burlington & Quincy railroad through this part of the country.
Mr. Evans is now the proprietor of a fine ranch of from one thousand two hundred to one thousand four hundred acres of land located on the tableland south of the Niobrara river, three hundred acres of which he has under cultivation. The first building which our subject erected for his home was a sod house. Through years of adversity and prosperity he has held the handles of the plow, working out for himself a comfortable home. He did not escape the hardships with which so many of the early settlers of this western country had to contend. His ranch is now well fenced throughout, and the improvements with which it has been fitted are modern in every respect.
Our subject enlisted in Company F, Nineteenth New York Regiment, and during the civil war served in the army of the Potomac and on guard duty at Washington, and took part in many hard fought battles.
In 1866 Mr. Evans was married to Carrie Kellan, at Syracuse, York. She was a daughter of E. L. and Dorothy Kellan, natives of Germany. Four children blessed this happy union, namely: Jennie C., Willie, who died in September, 1881; Charles H., and Lydia. Mr. Evans is a man whose career is a striking illustration of persistence, pluck and energy, and shows what possibilities this great western country have opened to those who could see an opportunity, and had the courage to embrace it.
Mr. Charles H. Evans, the only living son of Willard M. and Carrie Evans, was married June 13, 1908, to Miss Carrie Grant, daughter of William and Mary Grant, of Whitewood, South Dakota. Mr. and Mrs. William Grant are Americans by birth, being born in the state of Kentucky. Mr. and Mrs. Charles H. Evans live on a ranch which adjoins the ranch owned by Mr. Evans' father. They have built up a fine ranch and have a very comfortable home. His farm is considered one of the model farms of the community, as he has built some of the finest buildings in the county. Mr. Chas. H. Evans' biography appears elsewhere in this volume.
WILLIAM H. HART.
The gentleman above named, who came to Nebraska when he was a boy, is today one of the representative farmers of Rock county, where he owns and operates a large tract of land. He has reached his present success through his own unaided efforts, and is numbered among the successful leading citizens of the county.
Mr. Hart was born in Guthrie county, Iowa, June 19, 1867. His father, Daniel Hart, is an old settler in Nebraska, having come here in 1879, with his family. Eight children completed his family circle, of whom our subject is the seventh member. They settled on the Niobrara river, in section 17, township 32, range 18, where they went through many pioneer hardships and privations in getting a home started. Their first building was a log house, and they lived in this for several years. During his young manhood our subject handled ox teams, which were generally in use at that time as it was almost impossible to keep horses on account of the prevalence of glanders in the section. All the supplies had to be hauled from Oakdale, a distance of over a hundred miles. It took eight days to make this trip and the way led over the roughest roads, often having great difficulty in getting to their destination.
Mr. Hart was familiar with all that part of Nebraska, and from boyhood has watched the growth of this section, aiding in its development and becoming one of the substantial citizens. He is now proprietor of a farm of five hundred and sixty acres of deeded land, and engaged in grain and stock raising.
In 1894 he was married to Miss Clara Wallace, a lady of American lineage, born in Iowa. Four children have come to bless this union, namely: Ethel, Belle, Roland and Amos.
Mr. Hart always takes a commendable interest in local public affairs, and lends his influence and aid in the upbuilding of the community where he has made his home. He and his family are highly respected, and their home is one pleasant cheer and generous hospitality. His vote is usually cast for the Republican candidates; his lodge membership is with the Ancient Order United Workmen at Carnes, and the Independent Order of Odd Fellows at Bassett.
Carl Wagoner, one of the prominent early settlers of Cheyenne county, Nebraska, is one of the leading ranchmen of the region, also farms to quite an extent, and has met with marked success in his work. He is a gentleman of untiring energy, excellent business capacity and strict integrity, and well merits his high standing as a worthy citizen and well-known old-timer of western Nebraska.
Mr. Wagoner was born in Coshocton county, Ohio, on December 14, 1857. He lived in that vicinity until he was ten years of age, one of a family of eleven children, and the parents are now living near Peru, this state. In 1864 the family left Ohio and came to Nebraska, settling in Nemaha county, where the father took up land and began farming, improving a place with the aid of his children, and our subject remained at home until 1884, at that time coming into Cheyenne county, homesteading on section 26, township 19, range 48. He went through all the old Nebraska times in getting started with a limited capital, and at times found it difficult to more than make a living on account of the failure of crops, etc., but managed to stick to his farm, and as the better times came on, succeeded in improving the farm in good shape, adding to his acreage as he was able, until he is now owner of a ranch containing one thousand eight hundred acres lying along the river. One thousand acres of the land is under cultivation, the home ranch being in the Sand Hills, while his buildings are on section 21, township 21, range 47. The place is known far and wide as the "Wagoner Ranch," and is one of the valuable properties in the county. He has about seventy acres of sugar beets at the present time, and plenty of grain, hay, etc. His stock includes from 1,200 to 1,500 head of cattle and 100 head of horses. The entire ranch is well equipped with every building and convenience.
In the early days it was necessary to go 25 miles to Camp Clark to get mail. This trip was made only about once a month, and in a busy time, once in two or three months. The nearest railroad town was Sidney, 35 miles away. The trip to town was made once a year, bringing supplies to last for that period. It was 25 miles to the nearest polling place, and churches and schools were unknown for many years in this country.
Mr. Wagoner was married in March, 1881, to Mary Ann Durell, the event occurring in Nemaha county. Mrs. Wagoner was born and reared in Beardstown, Illinois. Her father is dead, but her mother resides in Oklahoma, her parents coming to Nemaha county in 1864, residing near Auburn until 1903.
Our subject is a Republican politically, and active in local and county affairs.
WILBUR A. McNALL.
The gentleman above mentioned is one of the prosperous younger members of the farming and ranching community of Cherry county, Nebraska. whose entire career has been passed in this state, he being born here in 1874, on a farm in Seward county, where his father was
a pioneer. The latter, Wilbur, sr., was well known in that vicinity, and died when our subject was a child of six years, his death deeply deplored as a worthy citizen and progressive farmer, who did all in his power to help build up the section where he chose his home. He married Miss Mary Jackson, who several years after the death of her husband, married the second time to Hiram Edgar.
When Wilbur was twelve years of age the family located in Cherry county, driving up the Loup river by team in a "prairie schooner," arriving in February, 1887, bringing with them a bunch of stock. They located on the North Loup, on section 8, township 26, range 27 and started to build a home and ranch. Our subject lived at home until he was twenty-one years of age, farming using ox teams, and they lived in a sod house during those years. He began for himself in 1900, taking a homestead, on which he proved up in good time, improving it with buildings, and met with good success. He purchased an interest in his father's old ranch in 1895, and later bought the whole place, his parents removing to Valentine where they now reside. When he first came to this region Johnston was their nearest trading point, and remained so for several years, the towns being very far apart, and the pioneers were obliged to travel long distances for supplies, through wild prairie, when the country abounded with wild game and Indians were by no means uncommon sights, and often met with exciting adventures.
In 1901 Mr. McNall married Miss Lillian Correll, born in Greenville county, Tennessee, where her parents settled many years ago. Mr. and Mrs. McNall have two daughters, Hazel and Thelma. The family have a very pleasant home, surrounded with all the comforts of rural life, and a host of friends and acquaintances who enjoy their hospitality. The ranch consists of one thousand, one hundred acres, with good buildings of all kinds, fine groves of trees and many fruit trees, all in the finest growing shape, and is one of the well-kept and best improved ranches in the county. Mr. McNall has always done his share as an old settler, active in local affaairs, and has held numerous township offices.
For many years past Brown county has had a representative citizen in the person of William Lessig, the subject of this review. He has given the best years of his life to the development of the farming, and incidentally the financial interests of this community where he chose his home. Success has crowned his efforts and he is deserving of all that has come to him in his business career.
Mr. Lessig was born in the town of Fannetsburg, Franklin county, Pennsylvania, Septemnber 7, 1844. His father, Jacob Lessig, was a farmer of German descent, and his mother, Maria Moore, of Scotch-Irish stock. He was the eldest member of his father's family of six children and was reared and educated in Pennsylvania, remaining there until after the war. Having served with the militia sixty days, in May, 1863, he enlisted in Company B, 22d Pennsylvania Cavalry, and afterwards was with the 2nd Pennsylvania Heavy Artillery, being one of those who saw service with the Army of the Potomac. He was in the siege of Petersburg and Richmond, through the Wilderness and at Cold Harbor. During the last three years of the war he saw much hard service all the time, participating in many battles, and remainng with his company until he was mustered out at City Point and received as honorable discharge at Philadelphia in 1866. After the close of the war he followed the carpenter's trade in his native town until 1879, when he came west, locating at Great Bend, Kansas. Finding no work at his trade, he went to Leadville, Colorado, where he spent five years in the mines, the smelters, the stamp mills, prospecting and working at his trade; he returned to Pennsylvania, working at different employments for a year. In March, 1887 he again migrated west and came to Omaha, where he worked at his trade until July, 1888, having spent winter at home, working as a carpenter; but becoming dissatisfied with life in the city, he came to Brown county and settled on a farm, near the mouth of Plum Creek, where he lived for a year, before securing his present farm in section 12, township 32, range 23, where he erected his first dwelling, a log shanty, which was his home until 1901. By this time he had accumulated a substantial amount, and began to impove his property, building a large two story house, barns and cow sheds and stocking up the place with a herd of cattle. He is now the owner of four hundred and eighty acres of good land, part of which is irrigated and engages principally in stock raising. He has had experience in farming on the "Table," in Garfield precinct, where he spent some little time. He now enjoys a pleasant home, surrounded by all the improvements and conveniences of modern farming, and is accorded a place among the foremost
citizens of the community in which he resides. A view of the
residence and surroundings, is to be found on another page.
Mr. Lessig was married November 12, 1868, to Miss Sarah A. Jones. a native of Franklin county, Pennsylvania. where her parents, Samuel and Mary (Davis) died. Six children were born to Mr. and Mrs. Lessig, namely: Frank, Ortha, wife of Gaylord W. Hurlburt, Jacob, Ethel, Samuel J. and an infant.
Mr. Lessig takes an active interest in all matters looking to educational advancement of his community, and has been instrumental in organizing different schools and assisting in the betterment of the social affairs of the locality. He is a Republican, and for the past seven years has been committeeman in his township. With his family, he is a member of the Methodist church.
A. A. WYATT.
A. A. Wyatt, sheriff of Minden, elected in 1902, and re-elected in 1904, is one of the most popular citizens in this section. He is known all through Kearney county as a man of broad and liberal mind, and esteemed by all who know him for his active public spirit and a gentleman of strict integrity in every way.
Mr. Wyatt is a native of McDonough county, Illinois, born in 1842. His father, Captain J. J. Wyatt, was a pioneer in that section, and a soldier in the Civil war, captain of Company I, 62nd Illinois infantry, serving through the entire war, his death occurring immediately after the close of the war in 1865. Capt. Wyatt was one of the underground railway conductors who assisted many negroes to escape to Canada during those times. He was a Kentuckian, his family originally coming from Virginia, and his wife was Elizabeth Mayfield, of Tennessee. Three sons fought with him in the late war, one having lost his life in the service of his country. Our subject enlisted on May 24, 1861, in the 16th Illinois Infantry, and followed a soldier's fortunes through the entire war, taking part in the Army of the Cumberland, at Chattanooga, Lookout Mountain, Mission Ridge, and was with Sherman on his famous March to the Sea. He took part in the Grand Review at Washington. Mr. Wyatt came to Nebraska in July 1878, and located in Phelps county, taking a homestead in Prairie township, and there farmed one hundred and sixty acres for several years. He then moved to Holdredge, and in 1879 was elected sheriff of Phelps county, serving for one term. He next went on the Burlington and Missouri Railway and for twelve years was engineer on that road. In 1900 he came to Kearney county, locating at Wilcox, and was appointed deputy sheriff, serving for two years.
Mr. Wyatt was married at Roseville, Illinois, in 1871, to Miss Mary J. Sears, of Guernsey county, Ohio.
Mr. Wyatt is a prominent member of the Grand Army of the Republic in Minden, and has gone through all the chairs.
Cephas Ross is well known among the residents of Dawes county, Nebraska, as one of the leading old settlers in this region. Mr. Ross now lives in section 19, township 33, range 51, where he has a comfortable and pleasant home surrounded by many warm friends and good neighbors. His health fails him at times and then he boards in Crawford, Nebraska. He spends a good deal of his time with his son Hiram, who owns a homestead adjoining the father's estate.
Mr. Ross is a native of Montgomery county, Pennsylvania, born in 1838. His father, John Ross, was a miller by trade, of American stock, his ancestors coming to the United States from the north of Ireland. Our subject's mother, who was Elizabeth Stoker, was of German-Welsh descent. He grew up in Pennsylvania on a farm, and at the age of twenty-three years enlisted in Company A, First New Jersey Volunteer Cavalry. He saw service in the Army of the Potomac and participated in a number of engagements during the civil war. After the close of the war he returned to his old home and engaged in farming on his own account, following this up to 1883. He had a nice farm of sixty-three acres, and was successful in operating it, but decided to go west, so sold out and came to Nebraska in 1886. He arrived at Chadron in March of that year, and took up his homestead in Dawes county. He at once went to work building up his farm and now owns one thousand one hundred and twenty acres, and for a number of years has been engaged in stock raising on a liberal scale. His place is well improved with good house and farm buildings, and he has been very successful in his undertakings since coming here, excepting that in September, 1904, his dwelling and the contents were destroyed by fire, and also in July, 1908, another fire destroyed his barns, sheds, corrals and a large quantity of hay. In 1906 he suffered the
misfortune of a severe illness, and since that time has disposed of his interest in the stock on his ranch to his son, Hiram, who now operates the land and the father boards with his son most of the time when not boarding in Crawford, but Mr. Ross still owns his land.
In November, 1865, Mr. Ross was married to Miss Johanna Carr, of Hartsville, Pennsylvania, who died there in 1882. In 1894 he married the second time. He has a family of three children. namely; Harvey and Hiram by his first wife, and May, by his second marriage.
Mr. Ross has always taken a commendable interest in local affairs. He was elected county commisisoner (sic) in 1891 and served for one term. Politically he is a Republican.
GEORGE E. FOWLER.
George E. Fowler, one of the energetic and aspiring young farmers of Brown county, Nebraska, who is taking a prominent part in the agricultural development of the country adjacent to the town of Ainsworth, has chosen a vocation in which he many of the most pleasant features of life. Its independent character pleases him. and he is ready to meet its demand for hard work and close application. Its free out of door activities stimulate his sturdy manhood and the winds that sweep across these broad Nebraska prairies are welcome, as they tell a story of liberty, competence and opportunity not surpassed anywhere in the wide world.
George E. Fowler was born on a farm in Jasper county, Iowa, October 15, 1867, and from his early youth was familiar with hard work. His father was a farmer during his active life and an early settler in Brown county. He is still living in Ainsworth, a sketch of his career appearing elsewhere in this work. Of the five children born to his parents, George E. Fowler is the third in order of birth, and one of three now living. The father brought his family to Brown county in the spring of 1883, and made a homestead of the northwest quarter of section 20, township 30, range 22, and here the subject of this narration grew into manhood, having enough hard work to occupy his mind and strengthen his sinews. When he came into the county there were no schools in the town, the first being established in the winter of 1883 and 1884. The young George helped his father build up the family homestead and put the family fortunes on a solid foundation. He passed through some hard times at home, and found it difficult to maintain a stand against the disasters that followed in the wake of the drouth, but he remained at home until he was twenty-two years of age, and in after years had no regrets that he did so.
George E. Fowler and Miss Mary E. Barrett were married February 24, 1897. She was more commonly known under the nickname of "Lydia." She was born in Indiana, where her mother died when "Lydia," the nickname by which Mrs. Fowler was commonly known, was nine years old. Her father. I. B. Barrett, was auditor of Bartholomew county, Indiana. at the time of death in 1898. Mr. and Mrs. Fowler have one child, Frank, born February 3, 1902.
Mrs. Fowler came to Nebraska in 1887 to join her sister, Mrs. Dr. G. O. Remy, who had cared for her after the death of her mother. Illness for three years prevented her going west at the time the Doctor and his wife migrated to the frontier.
After their marriage the young couple lived for some two years on old Fowler homestead, but in 1899 built a house on their own land, where they have now a neat and attractive farm of one hundred and sixty acres. About ninety acres are under the plow, and the balance devoted to pasturage. In addition to his general farming Mr. Fowler is making much of stock raising, and more and more is throwing means and energy in that line.
The family belong to the Congregational Church and Mr. Fowler affiliates with the Modern Woodmen of America, of Ainsworth. In political faith he is Republican.
E. G. WALLIN.
E. G. Wallin was born in Sweden, March 30, 1857. Coming to America, in 1880, he made his home in New York City for six years, but during that time he made a six months visit to his native land. In June, 1886, he came west to Nebraska, settling in Kimball (then Cheyenne) county. He took a pre-emption claim and homestead, and also a Kincaid homestead later. His home is located on the southeast quarter of section 4, township 13, range 53, where he has surrounded himself with many evidences of wealth, prosperity and comfort. He has been very successful with his farming operations and cultivates a considerable portion of his land, having also a nice bunch of cattle and horses. He has good improvements and his farm is well equipped in
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