county, Virginia, November 27, 1832. His father, Peter Pense, was a farmer by occupation, of German descent, and died when our subject was a lad of ten years. His mother, whose maiden name was Sophia Aleshire, was born, married and lived her entire life in Page county, dying there about 1896. She was the mother of fourteen children, Abraham being one of a pair of twins; he was reared and educated in his native county on a farm, and put in many days of hard work there while still a mere boy. He hoed corn many days when a child, receiving for this work six and seven cents per day.
In 1857 Mr. Pense came west, locating in Cedar county, Iowa, where he started a farm and also worked out by the day and month to make a living. He went into horticulture, working for Hammond & Humphrey, nurserymen, where he learned grafting and horticulture to quite an extent, and followed this for some time. August 7, 1862 he enlisted at Tipton, Illinois, in Company B, Twenty-fourth Iowa Infantry, and saw service along the Mississippi river at Vicksburg and other places. Owing to impaired health, because of fever and ague he was on detached service nearly all of the time, guarding the Indian prisoners at Davenport, Iowa, up to the close of the war.
Mr. Pense had five brothers serving in the confederate army, four of whom were killed, or died of exposure incident to camp life. After the war our subject returned to Iowa again engaging in horticulture, remaining there up to 1887, when he sold his property there, which consisted of an eighty-acre farm near Roland, in Story county, purchased in 1875. He then came to Nebraska, settling on his present homestead in Keya Paha county, May 17, 1884, where he built a log house, in which he still lives, having covered it with weather-boarding. He went through the usual experiences of the pioneers of this region, losing his cattle, five of which died the first spring. He had a hard time to get started, and suffered heavy losses from drouths, storms, and other causes, and often became heartily discouraged, but stuck to it, and now owns a fine farm of three hundred and twenty acres, eighty of which are cultivated and the balance in hay and pasture. He has a fine orchard containing all kinds of fruits, and his farm is one of the best-kept in his locality.
Mr. Pense was married in Iowa, August 15, 1862, eight days after he enlisted in the army, to Miss Sarah Eliza Humphrey, who was born in Tipton, Cedar county, Iowa. Her father, Aaron Humphrey, was a preacher there, and a native of Connecticut. It required courage for a bride of a week to see her young husband march away to battle and possible death.
Mrs. Pense was a woman of much intelligence and good education, having taken a course at the State University, located at Iowa City. Nine children were born to Mr. and Mrs. Pense, named as follows: Ernest E., married and living near Bonesteel, South Dakota, father of six children; Ada, deceased; Severn A., also married and living in South Dakota, father of three children; Etta V., married to Joseph S. Bingham, and mother of six children, residing in Keya Paha county; Lenna, married to William Hastings, also living near her old home with one child; George W., residing with his family near Mullen postoffice, South Dakota; Joy, a teacher in the county schools; and Mary and Lillie E., both dead.
Mr. Pense is a Populist, and is active in all
local affairs. He has held office at different times, and also
served on the school board. The first school organized in this
vicinity was held in his house during the first two or three
terms. Mr. Pense was reared in the German Baptist church and was
at one time a member of the Odd Fellows and Good Templars; the
latter organization he joined while in the army to avoid being
urged to spend his time and money in drink. A view of his
residence, orchards and groves, is to be found on another
The medical profession of Sioux county has no more able representative than Dr. Julian E. Phinney, who has spent nearly all his life in the state of Nebraska, coming here with his parents when a child of five years of age.
Dr. Phinney was born in Walworth county, Wisconsin, in 1860, an the farm of his father, Calvin E. Phinney. The latter was a native of Ohio; and he married Catherine Olp, of Pennsylvania, of German blood. The father died in 1873; the mother is still living at Utica, Nebraska, aged seventy-three years. The family came west and settled in Utica, Nebraska, in 1863, and were among the pioneers of that region. There our subject was raised and received his early education attending the common schools, and when a young man of twenty-six entered Rush Medical College at Chicago, graduating from that institution as a physician in 1889. Our subject's father served about five years in the civil war, acting as a scout a good part of the time.
After his graduation, our subject immediately begun the practice of his profession, establishing an office at Utica, and remained there for three years, building up a good practice. In 1893 he removed to Harrison, and has extended
his patronage by his skillful labors as a physician and surgeon, throughout the whole county. He is a gentleman of pleasing personality, honest and sincere in word and deed, and has gained the confidence and esteem of his fellowmen, professionally and socially. His practice extends a distance of thirty miles from Harrison, and often he has been compelled to go into Wyoming to attend some patient who desired his services.
Dr. Phinney was united in marriage December 24, 1889, at Utica, Nebraska, to Miss Minnie Learned, of Utica, Nebraska. To them have been born the following children: Ernest,Frank, Brownlee, Pearl and Ruby. Dr. Phinney and his son Ernest are joint owners of a large ranch in South Dakota, on which they keep a large number of horses and cattle. Our subject has devoted his entire attention to his professional duties, and his success is well merited.
For over a quarter of a century John E. Lamb has resided in Nebraska. and has become well-known all over Rock county as a prosperous and progressive agriculturist. He was among the first to settle in this section and has watched the growth and development of this region from its early organization.
Mr. Lamb was born in Lafayette county, Wisconsin, in 1849. His father, Curtis Lamb, was a farmer, of American parentage, born in the eastern states, as was also his mother, whose maiden name was Nancy Pycan. In 1850 the former started for California, spending the winter at Council Bluffs and in Woodbury County, Iowa, where he was a pioneer settler. He built the third house in Sioux City, and this is still standing, a rude log hut, twenty-eight miles from the city. He was born in Indiana in 1818, and is still living. He has always been a strong Republican. and in his younger days was a prominent politician. There were twelve children in the family, of whom our subject is the fourth member. He was raised and educated in Woodbury county, Iowa, on his father's farm, where he was early taught to do all kinds of hard labor. At the age of twenty years he struck out for himself. He spent two years in Kansas, then returned to Iowa, settling in Linn county. He remained there for several years, and in 1879 came to Nebraska. settling in Knox county, where he took a homestead and lived for six years, proving up and building his farm and home up. He put up his first dwelling, which was a dugout, and the only light which entered the place came through half a window which he built in the side of the hut. He started in with a team and wagon, and twenty-six dollars in money. He was very successful on that place, and got a good start through his energy and perseverance, then came to Rock county in 1886, taking up a tree claim in southeast section 34, township 32, range 18. This was entirely unimproved and he at once set out to build up a home. His first work was to build a house sixteen by twenty. He continued to improve the place, getting it partly under cultivation, and raised good crops on it. He never experienced any of the hardships and losses through the dry years that fell to the lot of so many of the old settlers, and altogether has been extremely fortunate in every venture since coming here. Prior to locating here he had made a trip to the Black Hills by team. He went through the hills, then through South Dakota, coming back through Nebraska along the Niobrara river. This was in the seventies, and before there were any settlers in this section, and not a railroad within many miles of this region. His farm now contains six hundred and forty acres of fine land, and he is engaged in stock raising and mixed farming. He has a splendid bearing orchard on his place which supplies the family with all kinds of delicious fruit, and has also many fine forest trees all over his farm.
Mr. Lamb was married at the age of twenty, while living in Iowa, to Miss Elizabeth A. Wright. They have a family of five boys. named as follows: John E. Jr., Curtis M., E. Dewitt, Warren D., and Willie E. They have a pleasant and comfortable home, and all of our subject's time is spent in improving this and surrounding himself and family with all the comforts of a rural home. He is an Independent voter.
George C. Fischer, who, as a land owner of Cheyenne county, has done his share toward the development of the agricultural resources of that region, is a widely known and universally respected citizen. He is a man of wide experience, and his good business judgment and integrity have placed him among the prosperous men of his precinct.
Mr. Fisher was born in Switzerland on April 24, 1845, and in that year his parents emigrated to America with the family, sailing from Havre to New Orleans, then went by river to Nashville. Tennessee. thence by wagon to Morgan county, Tennessee, where they lived until he was fifteen years of age. At that time they
moved to Nashville, living there three years. Prior to their migration to Highland, Madison county, Illinois, where they lived for many years. In 1884 our subject came to Nebraska, taking up a homestead in section 12, township 12, range 50, and settled permanently on the land the following year, where he has lived constantly ever since. This was raw prairie, but he at once began improving and developing, and has made it one of the valuable estates in the locality, putting up good buildings and improvements of all kinds. He now owns about three hundred and twenty acres of good land, farming one hundred acres, and using the balance as bay and pasture land for his stock, of which he has a large number. He has at different times during the early years in this region met with losses, and had a hard time to get along, but has worked hard and faithfully, and is now recognized as one of the progressive and substantial farmers and ranchmen of his county, prospering through good management and strict attention to the details of his farming, and enjoys a comfortable rural home. Mr. Fischer was married in Madison county, Illinois, on the 30th of December, 1869, to Bertha Bossart, who is now the mother of seven living children; one daughter, Mary, died August 31, 1897. They are named as follows: John Henry, Bertha, Lena, Edward, Eliza, Rosa and Amelia. Lena is now the wife of Edward Colling, and Rose married Elmer Bowman. both living in Cheyenne county, while Eliza married Will Young, at present residing near Crook, Colorado. John H. Fischer, the eldest, born January 13, 1873, is living at home, assisting his father in carrying on the home farm.
Mr. Fischer is a respected citizen of his township; in political sentiment he adheres to the Republican party.
Thomas Quinn, occupying a leading position in Hooker county, is one of the old timers there who has played an important part in its development and growth. He resides on his well-kept and valuable estate.
Mr. Quinn is a native born Nebraskan, and was the first baby boy born in McPherson county, June 17, 1884, being born in a wagon. His father, John B. Quinn, was an old settler in that locality, coming there in 1883, he having been born and reared in Ireland. He married Margaret Elliott, also a native of Ireland, in Iowa, in 1882, then struck out for Nebraska to build a home for themselves, traveling by team to their new location. They raised a family of three children: William J., Anna M., and our subject, Thomas. Their first location after coming to Nebraska was on a homestead in sections 1 and 2, township 20, range 35, McPherson county, and there for three years, Mrs. J. B. Quinn never saw a woman. He worked hard on the home farm, having erected sod buildings, and on December 17, 1899, the father departed this life, leaving to his widow and their children a good ranch and an untarnished reputation as a worthy, public-spirited citizen. He had served as county commissioner for three or four terms in McPherson county. The nearest trading point to the ranch for four years was North Platte, a distance of seventy miles. They were extensively engaged in stock raising, the sons assisting their father in this work up to the time of his death, when Thomas took full charge of the ranch, also filed on a homestead of his own in section 35, township 21, range 35, and has improved the place in fine shape.
Our subject's mother is the owner of a ranch comprising fourteen quarter sections, and besides this she and the children own three Kincaid homesteads, making one of the largest and most valuable estates in the county, and indeed, in that part of the state. On the ranch there are from eight hundred to one thousand tons of hay cut each year, furnishing support for over eight hundred head of cattle.
In 1906 Mr. Thomas Quinn was married to Mabel Sanders, daughter of W. T. Burnham, (Sanders being her step-father's name). She taught school in Hooker county for some time prior to her marriage, and is a lady of good education and charming personality. Our subject has one child, Myra Josephine, now a baby of two years.
While Mr. Quinn takes a commendable interest in public affairs locally, he devotes the larger part of his time to his family and home. His ranch is beautifully situated in the vicinity of Cody Lake, and the old Colonel Wm. F. Cody (Buffalo Bill) ranch is comprised in his property.
Among the leading old settlers in western Nebraska who has always done his full share in the development of the locality where he chose his home, and who has spent much of his fortune in aiding the public good, we mention the name of John R. Lee, now a resident of section 32, township 27, range 28, Cherry county. Mr. Lee has held many local offices since coming here, was the first postmaster of Brownlee and the first school director, justice of the peace, notary public and road overseer, and has always been
held in the highest esteem as a good citizen and accommodating neighbor, and is one of the most popular men of his locality today.
Mr. Lee was born in Ireland, in the town of Monaghan, in 1838. His father, Thomas, was of English blood, a farmer by occupation, who married Ann Martin, of Scotch-Irish descent, they coming to America with their family in 1849. As a small boy our subject attended school in Ireland, and after arriving in the United States he finished his education in the common schools, his parents settling in Wyoming county, Pennsylvania. They lived there up to 1834, then came to Wisconsin where they spent three years, and next to eastern Nebraska. Soon after landing here John begun work as a freighter, and during the early days here hunted all over the state, shooting buffalo on the plains in the western part of Nebraska, and also worked as an Indian trader for three years. much of his time being spent with the redskins in their camps, and he learned to speak their language as fluently as his own. He was always honest in his dealings with them, and they considered him a friend and was glad to have him come amongst them.
In 1877 Mr. Lee went into the Black Hills and did government work at Fort Laramie, for several years leading the typical frontier life, traveling all over the plains and for months at a time did not sleep in a house. He was an eve witness of several battles between the Pawnee and Sioux Indians, himself taking part in some of these engagements. He has traveled all over Wyoming and Colorado, and since those years has been all over the United States. engaged in different enterprises, and is a man of most interesting personality, well-read and intelligent, with whom it is a privilege and pleasure to converse, as he relates some of the most wonderful tales of life in the west during its early settlement.
Mr. Lee finally returned to Nebraska, settling in Saunders county at Wahoo, which town he named, and was the first white man to build a house there. He opened a store and blacksmith shop, and kept the first postoffice at the place, making it his home for about six years, and during that time was instrumental in having the county seat removed to Wahoo. In 1886 he came to Cherry county, landing here in July of that year, his first location being northeast of Brownlee, where he lived for about a year, then moved into the town. He was the organizer of the town of Brownlee, naming the place after a Mr. Brown who was the first man to file on the land where the town was started and himself, making the two names (Brown and Lee) into one. He established a general store there and continued in the business for eight years, also was postmaster of Brownlee. About this time he brought a large bunch of cattle in the county and started in the ranching business, still making his home in the town with his family for about fifteen years, then moved to his present ranch on North Loup river. Here he is owner of nearly seven thousand acres, which is one of the most extensive ranches in Cherry county, nearly all of it good hay land, and. stocked with a large herd of cattle and horses.
While living at Wahoo Mr. Lee was united in marriage to Miss Mary D. Olson, born in Denmark. They have a family of six children, all filling honorable positions in the world, named as follows: Robert S., William M., Charles J., Mary Alice, Henry H., and Roy. Of late years Mr. Lee has given the active management of the ranch over to his sons, who are all good ranch men and capable business men.
William S. Bacon, among the early settlers of Keya Paha county, Nebraska, has a well improved farm on section 8, township 34, range 24, Norden precinct, and is well known as an industrious and energetic man, highly respected and esteemed in his community.
Mr. Bacon was born in Sheffield, England, December 18, 1849. His father, William Bacon, came to this country in 1856 with his wife and child. The father was a preacher in the Methodist Episcopal church. and his wife prior to her marriage was Miss Susanna Wamsley, also of English birth. The family settled on the Monongahela river in Allegheny county, Pennsylvania, in the village of Rock Run, and there our subject was reared and educated until the age of twenty-one, at which time he started out for himself, working in the coal mines. following that work for twenty-one years. He did very well at the mining and accumulated quite a comfortable amount of property, then left Pennsylvania and came west. settling in Cherry county, Nebraska. in 1887. There he bought a farm and lived on it for two years, in 1889 moving to Keya Paha county, locating on a farm in section 4, township 34, range 24. He made many improvements. and succeeded in building up a good home and farm, and spent seventeen years on that place.
In 1906 Mr. Bacon took up his present farm as
a homestead, the tract comprising three hundred and twenty acres,
on which he is adding improvements all the time, and as it is
beautifully situated, he will have one of the valuable estates in
this section. A view of his dwelling, new barn and outbuildings is
to be found on another page.
Mr. Bacon was married in 1873, in Pennsylvania, to Miss Nancy J. Melki, and they have a five children. named as follows: Anna, wife of W. C. Jones, of Bruce, South Dakota; Oella, wife of Jacob Swim, of Keya Paha county; Pearl, who married Porter Billings, living near home; James, now at Bruce, South Dakota, and Linnie, wife of John Todd, of Homer, South Dakota.
Mr. Bacon is Republican in politics: he holds membership in the Odd Fellows, the Knights of Pythias and the Improved Order of Red Men.
The gentleman above named came to Harlan county, Nebraska. in 1873. In the spring of that year he built the first house on what is now the site of the town of Alma, and in April a town site company was organized with Mr. Shaffer as president, Judge A. N. Cook, Captain Murray, Mr. Richmond, Mr. VanNess, Jack Young and Peter Londeville on the committee. They laid out one hundred and sixty acres, and staked off forty acres. and to those who would build they presented a lot. During the following year a blacksmith shop was put up by Mr. Broadmore. and a store by Sappington & Moore. The town began to grow gradually, Mr. Guyer building a store in 1874. and he was appointed the first postmaster. In the same year the county was organized and Alma was made the county seat, a big fight being made over this. In 1883 the railroad was put through the town, the population then being about three hundred, and from that time on the place grew more rapidly. Mr. Shaffer was then in the livery, hotel and implement business. He built the largest hotel west of Hastings, called the Shaffer House, and was the only implement dealer in this county up to 1875. He had a large trade all over this section, selling an immense amount of machinery to the settlers who came to the state and engaged in farming, hauling goods from Beatrice, which is seventy-five miles east of Lowell and from Lowell fifty-five miles east.
He continued in this business up to 1886, then sold his implement store to A. B. Laferty, and the latter was engaged in business here until 1908. Our subject sold his livery barn in 1888, and in the same year rented the hotel to J. B. Hamlon, and subsequently the place was destroyed by fire and a new hotel put up. In 1873 Mr. Shaffer killed a huge buffalo on the spot where the postoffice now stands. He bought farms all over this county, and owned about twenty-two hundred acres at one time, devoting his entire time and attention to the farming and stock raising business. He raised, bought and shipped a great deal of stock. The Alma opera house was built and is now the property of our subject. He started the largest general store establishment in Alma in 1877, which was at that time the largest store in western Nebraska, operating it up to 1887. This was the Double Store, now owned and operated by his son-in-law, S. C. Gould, whose personal history appears on another page of this volume. Our subject now is engaged in farming west of Alma. The farm consists of one hundred and eighty acres of river bottom land and timber and fourteen acres of land in Alma, on which he resides. He is a successful breeder of Poland China pure bred hogs, and sells his stock at private sales. He also feeds from fifty to sixty head of cattle each winter. He breeds standard horses, and produces some fine animals. One month he sold five hundred and sixty-four dollars' worth of hogs, and is of the opinion that the hog business is much more profitable than cattle. as a man can turn hogs from three to four times per year, and this state is an ideal place in which to raise and fatten them cheaply and quickly.
Mr. Shaffer is a native of Pennsylvania. He is a son of Jacob Shaffer, a native of Somerset county, Pennsylvania, who settled in Iowa and owned a large tract of land, including the site where Waterloo now stands. Our subject lived in Butler county, Iowa, prior to coming to Nebraska, and there held the office of deputy sheriff, at Parkersburg, which town he laid out, and was engaged in the livery business, also running a hotel from 1886 to 1872 (sic). He enlisted at Waterloo in Company C, Thirty-second Iowa Infantry, serving for three years and three months, and was appointed sergeant and elected first lieutenant, but was so young would not qualify. Four brothers who entered the service were all killed. Our subject was ordered east with his regiment, and was at the famous battle of Shiloh, at Pittsburg Landing, on the Red River expedition (after Banks's defeat), under General A. J. Smith, when eighty men in his regiment were killed at Pleasant Hill. He was at Vicksburg, and later in Alabama at the battle of Nashville, then in the Atlanta campaign. He was mustered out at Trenton, Iowa, in September, 1865.
Mr. Shaffer was married in 1872 to Miss Jennie Gutchus, daughter of Morris Gutchus, who at one time owned one hundred and sixty acres of the land on which the city of Chicago