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Compendium of History Reminiscence & Biography of Western Nebraska

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parents were of German descent. There were ten children in his father's family, and Fred is one of the twins, his twin brother's name being Ferdinand J. Johansen.

   Fred was raised on a farm and ranch combined, in Sheridan county, attending the country schools during his boyhood, and later the normal school at Rushville. After leaving school he. followed teaching for three years ears in Sheridan county, then went to Chadron, Nebraska, where he attended the academy for a year and following that, five terms at Fremont Normal College, graduating from that institution in the scientific course with the degree of Bachelor of Science in 1899.

   He again took up teaching and taught in Sheridan and Dawes counties. After this he returned to the Fremont Normal College and received the degree of Bachelor of Pedagogy, graduating in the didactic course in 1902. He was then principal of the public schools of Gresham, Nebraska, in the year 1902-03. In the summer of 1903 he established an implement store at Hay Springs and realizes a profitable trade from the surrounding townships. He also sells many pianos, and is a successful real estate dealer.

   In the fall of 1903, the People's party tendered him the nomination for county superintendent of public instruction. There were three tickets in the field that fall, namely: Republican, Democratic and People's party, consequently his chances for election were few. Although not elected, he was the youngest of all candidates and was often termed the "Boy Candidate."

   The following year, on September 3, 1904, he purchased the Hay Springs Leader, a weekly newspaper, and changed its name to the Hay Springs Enterprise. This paper was established in January, 1897, and has changed hands several times, and it has been run under different names also. This paper is of the Democratic and Populist faith, and is one of the reliable mediums of this section.

   F. W. Johansen is a man of marked character, showing a determination to do right in all cases whatsoever. He has always been much opposed to intemperance and he now enjoys, above everything else. the distinction of having been the first person in Sheridan county to start and to sign a remonstrance against the liquor traffic. He now lives in a quiet, progressive town, which has had no saloon for the past three years, and there is none at present in all Sheridan county. Mr. Johansen delights in Christian work also; at present he is one of the deacons of the Congregational church, and superintendent of the Sunday school. He has served the Christian Endeavor as president for a number of years, and was among the first to organize Sheridan County Sunday-School Association, and has served different times as secretary, treasurer and president; the same is true of the Sheridan County Anti-Saloon League. He was its first secretary and foremost organizer. For three years he was scribe of the Congregational church west Nebraska.



   A striking example of what may be accomplished by the exercise of industry, perseverance and good management, is found in the life of the gentleman here named. Mr. Peterson had a very small start, and he is now one of the successful and prosperous agriculturists of Sheridan county, Nebraska, highly esteemed by all who know him.

   Mr. Peterson was born in Denmark in 1857 and was raised on a farm there. His father and mother never left the old country, and he remained with them, the sixth member in their family of eight children, until he struck out for himself and crossed the ocean, locating in Kasson, Dodge county, Minnesota. He had partly learned the mason's trade in his native land, and he followed it in Minnesota for nearly nine years. In 1882 he went to South Dakota, settling in Yankton, where he worked for two years, and in the fall of 1884 first came to Nebraska. The following spring he took up a claim in section 13, township 31, range 46, and the first summer lived in a covered wagon, later building a log house, in which he lives, having sided it over and plastered it inside making a very comfortable dwelling. He went to work breaking up his farm and put in twenty acres of corn and raised a good crop. By the time dry years came on he was farming quite heavily and for three years his crops were a total loss, so that he never cut them. He became discouraged and went to work for the Homestake mines, following his trade of a mason for nearly seven years. During the last four years he has gone back to farming, and raised good crops, but still does quite a lot of mason work. He has added to his homestead until he now owns eight hundred acres of good, rolling farm land, and of this he cultivates about two hundred acres, keeping about one hundred head of cattle and twenty-six horses. He has experienced his share of hard times in the earlier days and would not care to go through the homesteader's life again, although the first years in this section were the best the family ever saw. At one time he would have sold out if he could have persuaded his wife to sign the papers. but is glad he stuck to it, and now intends to make this his permanent home.

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He has every convenience on his farm and in his home, with telephone connection and rural mail delivery.

   He was married in Yankton, in 1883, to Miss Flora Johansen, a native of Effingham, Illinois, who moved to Yankton with her parents in 1873. Her father, Christian A. Johansen, was born in Denmark, and came to this country at the age of eighteen years. He was a farmer and cooper in the old country. Mr. and Mrs. Peterson have one child living, Charles, who resides with his parents. He graduated, in 1908, from the high school at Hay Springs. They have lost two children, one who died in infancy, and Roy at the age of sixteen, the death of the latter being caused by the kick of a horse. Mrs. Peterson is a great money maker, as well as her husband, keeping her own bank account. She sells large quantities of poultry, eggs, butter, etc.

   Mr. Peterson is a strong Democrat and an ardent admirer of the Bryan faction. He has never held any except local offices, and states that he is not even boss of his own house. The family have a pleasant home, and enjoy the friendship of a host of people in their locality, who frequently partake of their general hospitality.



   Ferd. J. Johansen, one of the leading business men and highly esteemed citizens of the thriving town of Hay Springs, Nebraska, is a young man of exceptional business ability. He is a man of enterprising spirit and strict integrity, and .has gained the confidence and respect of his associates.

   Mr. Johansen was born near Yankton, South Dakota, June 24, 1876, and was reared in Sheridan county from the time he was nine years old, attending the common schools and later the Rushville Normal and Chadron Academy, graduating from the Fremont Normal College in 1899. After leaving school our subject taught school in Sheridan and Dawes counties for several years.

   In 1899, Mr. Johansen became manager of the Hay Springs Creamery Company, and from that gradually drifted into the produce business and later into the general merchandise business. On October 1, 1906, he formed a partnership with Herman E. Clements in establishing a large general store, and they have built up a good trade and made a success of the venture. Mr. Johansen is also agent for the DeLaval Separator Company, also for a threshing machine company and for the Waltham automobile.

   Mr. Johansen was married to Miss Levina May Bolin, daughter of Elridge Bolin, an old settler in this county, who, prior to her marriage, was a teacher in the schools in this county, and a graduate of the Hay Springs high school, class of '99. Mr. and Mrs. Johansen have a family of four children, who are named as follows: Enona Dell, Ethelyn Flora, Burnetta May and Viva Anna Johansen.

   Mr. Johansen is a voting man of great promise, and has already accomplished a great measure of success in the different enterprises with which he has been associated. He is an active member of the Peoples party.



   The gentleman whose name heads this personal history is a native of Denmark, born in 1841. He is a son of Peter Johansen, a Dane. who came to America in 1859, settling in Illinois, where he remained up to the time of his death, which occurred in 1865. Our subject is the fifth member in a family of twelve children, of whom but eight were living at the time the family came to this country. At the age of twenty-one he started in on a farm for himself, as he had always assisted his father in the work on his various farms and was early accustomed to this business. He remained in Illinois, living near his father's farm up to 1873, when he left that state and went to Yankton, South Dakota, where he took a farm and operated it until 1886, but he had hard times there, grasshoppers destroying his crops during the first years and sustaining many financial losses. He liked Dakota and would have remained there, but for the fact that he wanted to get where his children could get free land as they grew up, so bought a relinquishment in Sheridan county, Nebraska, on which he field (sic) as a pre-emption and began to build a home. There was an old sod house on the place when he came, but this soon went to pieces and he then put up a frame house, putting in a large basement and made a very comfortable dwelling. He began breaking up the land and put in some crops and just got nicely started when the dry years came along and caused him severe losses which put him back considerably.

   Mr. Johansen was married in 1862 to Miss Anna Wortman, a native of Ohio, born in 1843, of German descent, whose parents come to this country when they were both very young. Ten children were born to Mr. and Mrs. Johansen, who are named as follows: Flora, Edward, Caroline, Alice, Ferd J. and Fred W. (twins), Dora, Emma, Albert and Arthur, all of whom live near their parents' homestead except one

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daughter, who resides in Iowa, and all are on the telephone lines.

   Mr. Johansen has had the experiences of a pioneer settler in two new countries, both in Dakota and here, and state's that were he voting again he would not mind trying it over. He had a large family to support, and his labors were hard and they suffered much hardship during some years, but his heart was in the work and they were happy together, and through all the trials he enjoyed himself and has no fault to find with those times. He has done well and accumulated a fine estate, his farm now comprising three hundred and twenty acres of good farming land, cultivating about two hundred acres, and runs sixty head of stock. He does not feed much through the winter, but roughs them through, and also keeps some stock on shares. In addition to operating his own land he leases a school section which he uses for hay and pasture for his stock. He milks a good many cows, and derives a snug income from this source, and it was due to this that he was enabled to get through the dry seasons with so little financial loss and suffering. He also manufactured a large amount of cheese which he shipped and for which he received a good price. He has improved his farm, and has good buildings and fences, also a large number of trees growing nicely. He says that he hardly knows where he saw the hardest times, whether in South Dakota or Nebraska. In the former state he did not have much to start with, but it was harder to make a living, and since coming to Nebraska, has had more money but always had a large family to support. His children have been a great help to him since growing up, however, and at one time he had seven children engaged in teaching in Sheridan county.

   Mr. Johansen is an independent voter in local affairs, but in national matters leans toward the Populists. Although he takes a keen interest in all matters of county and state he has never had time to devote to party work, and never cared to seek office.



   Among the successful self-made men of Box Butte county, Nebraska, may be mentioned John Sauerwein, who came to the United States from his mother country, Germany, when he was a young man twenty-three years old, and since his residence here has displayed an enterprising spirit and the exercise of good judgment by the manner in which he has forged ahead, that commands the respect and esteem of all who know him. He now resides in section 13, township 27, range 50, and is one of the prosperous farmers of his locality.

   Mr. Sauerwein was born in 1860, in the Province of Hessen, Germany, on a farm. His father, Jacob, farmed all his life in his native land, assisted by his sons, who lived at home up to 1883, and after his father's death, which occurred in 1877, our subject carried on the home farm alone, and was the mainstay and support of his mother. Mr. Sauerwein left his native land in 1883 and started out to seek his fortune in the new world, and after landing in New York went to Pennsylvania, where he worked in the mining regions, employed in the car shops as a carpenter and at odd jobs around the plant.

   Our subject came to Nebraska, locating in the eastern part of the state and followed farm work for about six months, then in the fall of 1885 came to Dawes county, making his first settlement seventeen miles west of Hemingford, on the Niobrara river. There he built a log house and worked in the timber regions, hauling wood, etc. He handled ox teams and worked on his place, and for seven years hauled water from the Niobrara river. He lived in Dawes county about eleven years and succeeded in building up a good farm and ranch and accumulating a nice property there, although he suffered many failures of crops during the dry years, and during several seasons was only able to raise enough of the different grains he planted, to get the seed back. He sold his place there and moved to Box Butte county in 1896. Here he bought the place he now occupies and has built up a fine farm and ranch, owning altogether seven hundred and eighty acres, and farms about one hundred and sixty of it, using the balance as hay and grain pasture for his stock, as he runs quite a herd of cattle on the ranch. He also raises quite an amount of small grain and makes raising potatoes a specialty.

   Mr. Sauerwein was married in 1886 to Mary Marchen, a native of Germany, who came to America as a young girl. Mr. and Mrs. Sauerwein had a family of four children, namely: Jacob. Amelia, Anna and Susie. In 1893 the mother departed this life, and after three years, our subject married the second time, taking his wife Emma Hoffman, daughter of Rudolph Hoffman, one of the oldest settlers in Dawes county. She was reared and educated in Germany. Of this union seven children were born named as follows: Birdie, Eliza, Minnie, Fritz, Hattie. Ruth and Albert.

   Mr. Sauerwein is of the Seventh Day Adventist religion and has followed this faith closely, adhering strictly to the rules of the observing the seventh day of the week always

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as the Sabbath day. Politically, our subject is a Republican, taking an active part in local affairs since he located here, and has served his township as road overseer for two years,



   The gentleman above named was for many years one of the leading citizens of Keith county, and to his efforts were due much of the prosperity enjoyed in that region. He was a man of strong character, and during his lifetime enjoyed the esteem and respect of all with whom he came in contact, and his memory is cherished by a host of warm friends throughout the country.

   Elisha C. Rice was born in Springfield, Massachusetts, January 31, 1834, and grew up in that state, during his young manhood being engaged in newspaper work. He was business manager of the "Norwich Morning Bulletin" for fifteen years, and later established an evening paper at Norwich, of which he was editor and proprietor. On account of ill health he came to Nebraska in 1885, locating in Keith county, in company with his father-in-law, John C. Palmer, and they were partners in establishing what was called the "Lone Tree Ranch," situated on the North Platte river. On this tract they put fine improvements, and the old "Lone Tree Ranch" will be long remembered by old settlers in these parts as a place of large cattle operations. The buildings are all on section 26, township 14, range 36, and the house on the place is today the largest ranch house Keith county. The tract contains two thousand acres lying along the river, and is a valuable property.

   About the year 1890 Mr. Palmer established a bank at Paxton, which was one of the first banking institutions in the county. Both he and Mr. Rice were active in building up the commercial resources of the region, and they were largely instrumental in getting the first church and Sunday-school established in the eastern part of the county.

   Mr. Rice was married April 22, 1874, at Norwich, Connecticut, to Mrs. Susan A. Mason, only daughter of John C. Palmer, above mentioned, who, in his younger life, was a wholesale provision merchant at Norwich. His wife was Miss Louise Brown, and all are natives of Newport, Rhode Island. Mrs. Rice had been previously married and had three children, namely: Elmer P. Mason, Kittie L. Mason, now married and living at Springfield, Massachusetts, and Julia May, now deceased. To our subject and his good wife were born two children: Leon C. Rice president and manager of the Ogallala and Keystone telephone line, and Grace M., now married to George P. Boardman, a merchant of Paxton. Mr. Rice departed this life January 17, 1896, and Mr. Palmer died on December 30, of the same year, leaving the entire management of the ranch and other large interests to Mrs. Rice, who at once saw that she could not handle the extensive herds successfully, so she had a sale and disposed of the greater part of them. She afterwards imported some pure blood Shorthorn cattle, and was one of the first ranchowners in this part of the state to begin the raising of registered stock for the market. By this move, in reducing the size of her herd by one-half and improving the quality of her stock, she has made a decided success, and in the present year, 1908, she has begun to dispose of the entire herd and intends retiring from the active management of so large a business. The same year the ranch was divided into farms and sold, leaving Mrs. Rice free to spend the winters in the south and summers in the east with her children.

   Mr. Rice was a Republican in politics and a strong advocate of prohibition. He was a lifelong member of the Baptist church, and while in the east affiliated with the Masonic order, as did Mr. Palmer.



   The gentleman above named, residing in Gordon, Nebraska, has won for himself a good standing, where he is highly respected for his many excellent qualities and manly worth.

   Mr. Schmitt was born in Germany in 1852, in the village of Poppenrod. His parents were farmers and never left the fatherland. Our subject was raised there until he was nineteen years of age, then came to America and located in Indiana where he remained for a short time, then went on to Chicago where he obtained employment as a bricklayer, having learned this trade during his young days in Germany. He left Illinois in 1877 and wandered to South Dakota, settling west of the city of Yankton, there taking up a homestead and began to build up a home. He first put up a frame shanty and lived in this for some time, breaking up his land and doing teaming for a living, and, in fact, anything that he could get to do. After remaining there for eight years he struck out for Nebraska and landed in Sheridan county in 1885, driving here by team. He located in Gorden, and was one of the first men to enter into business in that town, opening up a mercantile establishment. He began on a very small scale, in a store twenty by twenty-six feet, and he has gradually increased his trade so that he now occupies a building

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