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Compendium of History Reminiscence & Biography of Western Nebraska

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ranch of one thousand four hundred acres, one hundred of which are under cultivation, and he is engaged in the ranching and stock business. He has some fine horses and a large herd of cattle. The place is admirably adapted to his business, as Indian Creek runs through the ranch, furnishing plenty of living water the year around for his stock.

   Mr. Smith was married in Iowa, December 15, 1859, to Miss Missinda Criddlebaugh, who is a native of North Carolina, daughter of William Criddlebaugh, a farmer and shoemaker by trade. Mr. and Mrs. Smith have two children, Chelesta, born in 1860, and Celia, born in 1875. On another page we present a picture of the residence and family group.

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   Among those who have contributed to the prosperity of Sioux county, Nebraska, in no small degree, and whose pushing energy and well-directed industry have brought individual competence, may be mentioned the name of Charles H. Newman, whose valuable estate in section 12, township 30, range 56, evidences his success.

   Mr. Newman is a native of Ontario, born on April 21, 1866. His parents were of English blood, born in Canada, the father a wagon-maker by trade. The family left Canada and came to the United States, settling in Greenville, Michigan, in 1871, and our subject grew up there until he was about ten years of age. At the age of ten years he left home and began working on a farm, and from that early age has made his own way in the world. The whole family moved to South Dakota in 1881, locating in Bon-Homme county, where they were among the pioneer settlers, and five years were spent in that vicinity. In 1886 our subject came to Chadron, Nebraska, walking through the country to Sioux county, and upon arriving here had just seven dollars in money in his pocket. He immediately went to work on a ranch as a cowboy and followed that work for several years, going through many hardships and privations, when for months at a time he slept on the ground through all kinds of rough weather. During a part of this time he worked at freighting, and managed to make a living and lay by a little money. He traveled on horseback all over the western part of Nebraska and into Wyoming, and for a time drove stage into Lander, Wyoming, from Casper, and transferred to the Rawlings line, and was in that vicinity of the country at the time of the Indian outbreak. In the year 1896 Mr. Newman filed on a claim in the Sand Hills, situated thirty miles from Harrison, and there put up a rude shack and other rough buildings, and started in the live stock business. About eight years were spent on this ranch, and he then sold the place for eleven thousand five hundred dollars, left the country and opened a hardware store in Harrison, handling in addition to his hardware stock farm implements, and succeeded in building up a good trade, conducting the business for about two years. He sold out his interests in the business in 1904, and purchased the ranch on which he now resides, located in section 12, township 30, range 56. This place contains one thousand one hundred and twenty acres, all fenced, having in all about fourteen miles of good fencing. There are good buildings and improvements on the ranch, and he is extensively engaged in the stock and grain raising business, cultivating about one hundred acres, and running one hundred head of cattle, and other stock.

   Mr. Newman was married September 14, 1898, to Miss Catherine Christensen, who was born and raised in South Dakota, whose parents were natives of Denmark, the father, Claus, coming to this country when a young man and settling in Sioux county, Nebraska, where he is well and favorably known as a worthy citizen and prosperous farmer, a sketch of his life appearing elsewhere in this volume. Mr. and Mrs. Newman have a family of four children as follows: Arthur, Lottie, Harry and William. Mr. Newman is one of the oldest settlers in the county, and has always taken an active part in local affairs tending to the betterment of conditions in his locality. In political views he is a Democrat.



   Charles A. Skoog, residing on the east one half of section 13, Prairie township, is the owner of nine hundred and sixty acres of fine land, six hundred and forty acres of this being in one block and the balance near by. Mr. Skoog has abiding faith in this country and his sterling qualities in a business and social way, coupled with great thrift and industry, have made him a prosperous citizen. He came here at the age of eighteen, in 1876, with his father, Charles P. Skoog, and on coming of age, in 1878, homesteaded the quartersection of land on which his fine residence stands, surrounded by a fine orchard and grove. He also took the adjoining quarter section as a tree claim, beginning with no capital, and there were some years of disappointment, hardship and struggles, which is the penalty paid in all

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new settlements for the privilege of occupying the virgin soil Mr. Skoog states that they did not know the country nor how to crop and till the soil until they had been here some time and learned by bitter trials and experience. Every one went in for small grains, with spring wheat the leader, while mixed farming would have produced better results, as they now know.

   During the first years our subject met with heavy losses, in 1880 one entire crop being destroyed, and another in 1894, but the last four have been exceptionally good and he has most successful. When the railway was built in here in 1884, a number of Mr. Skoog's relatives and friends were tempted by the one thousand six hundred dollars and one thousand eight hundred dollar prices offered for their land, and sold out and moved to other parts, the result proves his wisdom in remaining and refusing all offers. He has never offered an acre of his land for sale, but, as he prospered bought more at prices constantly increasing, showing his judgment in keeping what he had. He purchased a half section in 1898 and since time another quarter and an eighty. This year - 1906 - has been one of the best for years, and his yield was twenty-five to forty bushels per acre, of A-1 quality, although there was no rain from April until after harvest, which shows the soil here stands a prolonged dry spell. Again, in a very wet season crops are very good and do not drown out as in some sections of the country.

   Mr. Skoog devotes a great deal of his attention to stock raising, always keeping a good grade of cattle, and he now has a few head. His imported Belgian horse, Sacratiff, cost three thousand dollars. Last year he searched the entire country for two imported fillies, and selected from a number of others, paying one thousand dollars for them. As yearlings they weighed one thousand four hundred and eighty and one thousand five hundred and ten pounds, and are both splendid animals. He now has twenty work horses on his farm, and a number of fine colts. He keeps about one hundred and fifty pure-bred Poland-China hogs.

   For several years Mr. Skoog has owned one of the best threshing outfits and corn shellers, operating them each season with great success, contrary to the old adage, "Run a threshing machine until all your money is in." On this account he keeps a good share of his land in pasture and does not farm on so large a scale. He was one of the organizers of and has been president for twelve years, of the Phelps County Mutual Insurance Company, fire and lightning risks. He is also a shareholder and director in the Farmers Elevator Company, and of the Anderson Grain Company, both successful and strong companies. The former has its elevators all paid for and the investors have their money back, and it has been the means of keeping up the price of grain in local markets and a great boon to the farmers of the county.

   Mr. Skoog was born near Johnshipping, in Smoeland, Sweden, in 1856, and came to this country at the age of ten years. In 1882 he married Miss Sophia Bergstrom, a native of Sweden, and they have a family of eight children, named as follows: David, Melvin, Alvin, Alfreda, Esther, Carl, Leone and Iva.

   Mr. Skoog takes a commendable interest in all local and public affairs, is an independent in politics, and was one of the first to join the reform movement and very active in that party, but did not care to hold office. For the past twenty years he has acted as school director in his district, and is a member of the Swedish Mission Church.



   For the past quarter of a century the gentleman whose name heads this personal history has been a resident of Keya Paha county, and has aided materially in the development and growth of the agricultural section of the county. He is among the oldest settlers in western Nebraska, and is familiar with all the early history of these parts.

   Mr. Riley was born in County Cavin, Ireland, March 16, 1832. He was reared on a farm, and learned to do all kinds of hard work there, which experience stood him in good stead during his later years. He came to America at the age of eighteen years, sailing from Liverpool on the "Siddons," a sailing vessel and after four weeks landed in New York City in 1850. He went direct to Vermont to join a brother and sister who has preceded him and there he obtained employment in the marble works, remaining for four years; he then came west and settled in Grant county, Wisconsin. He spent eight years there working in the lead mines during the winter, and in the summer season worked on farms. From there he went to Minnesota, locating at Stillwater, and rafted there for two years in the lumber woods. After this he went into the lumber region of Arkansas and remained a winter, then returned to Wisconsin walking from St. Louis to Dubuque having exhausted his funds. After working in the lead mines for some time, he moved to Iowa Falls, in Hardin county, Iowa, and worked in that town four years, then went to Des Moines, where he was employed in the coal mines an equal period, and in the brick yards for

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three years. His next move was to near Council Bluffs, Iowa, where he opened a farm and operated it for seven years. Then he first came to Keya Paha county, landing here in 1883, driving through the country with a team and wagon, camping out at night along the way. His wife came as far as Long Pine by train, and when she arrived there could find no hotel accommodations. Their first experiences in this section were very hard, as they were obliged to haul all supplies from Stuart, a distance of thirty miles. He located on section 21, township 32, range 19, building a log cabin in which he and his family lived for a year and a half. His first crop on this land was utterly ruined by hailstorms, and the following year met the same discouragement, then came the dry years, and for two years was unable to raise anything. However, he stuck to it, and kept on cultivating his land, and adding improvements gradually, until he now owns a farm of three hundred and twenty acres, with about seventy-five acres under cultivation on, which he raises fine crops, and the balance is devoted to pasture and hay land. The whole place is fenced, and he is engaged largely in stock raising, running from forty to fifty head of cattle.

   Mr. Riley was married in Des Moines in July, 1867, to Miss Matilda Powell, a native of Missouri, whose father was a farmer originally from Kentucky, and her mother of an old Virginia family, and who located in Iowa when she was twelve years of age. Seven children were born to Mr. and Mrs. Riley, who are named as follows: Mary, Edward R., Rose Ann (deceased), John P. (deceased), Elizabeth Julia, Thomas W., and Frank. During the past twenty-five years the whole family have never been off the farm but one night. Mr. Riley votes the Democratic ticket. and is a member of the Catholic church.


   D. K. Atkins was a native of Iowa, his birth occurring in Davis County, February 1, 1871. His father, P. L. Atkins, was a farmer by occupation but after years of residence in the Hawkeye state, left and went with his family to Missouri in 1882, from thence in 1887, removing to Kimball county (then Cheyenne county), Nebraska. The father, the mother and two sons composed the little family that here started the foundations of solid and advancing fortunes. They homesteaded the southwest quarter of section 30, township 16, range 53, and in the fall of 1886 took a tree claim. After living on the old homestead for about twelve years they purchased and moved to a large ranch of nine hundred and sixty acres, being the northwest quarter of section 2, township 15, range 54, and all of the school section adjoining. The father died December 12, 1907, and the widowed mother is now residing in the town of Kimball, Nebraska. Our subject lives at his original homestead on the southwest quarter of section 26, township 16, range 54, which he located in November, 1900 and he also owns all the balance of section 26, which is his Kinkaid homestead.

   D. K. Atkins was united in marriage, on April 15, 1900, at Potter, Nebraska, to Miss Minnie Brothers, daughter of Ben E. Brothers, an old settler, of whom more extended mention appears on another page. Three children have come to bless this union -- Vernon D., Florence L. and Glen D. The home of the Atkins is an important factor in the social life of the community and Mr. Atkins is a prominent figure in all public affairs, being now director of School District No. 12. He is well and favorably known as a successful man and ranch operator. Mr. Atkins is administrator of his father's estate attends to the management of the old home ranch. On our subject's home farm the visitor sees good buildings and improvement of all kinds, his herd of cattle numbers about one hundred head and he also runs a small bunch of horses. In politics Mr. Atkins trains with the party of Jefferson and is faithful in his adherence to Democratic principles.


   In listing the self-made men of Cherry county, who have become well-to-do agriculturists and ranchmen and have aided materially in the development of the farming interests of this region, a prominent place is accorded the name of Gustav Wendler. For many years this gentleman has followed this line of work in section 33, township 29, range 28, and has met with pronounced success and is now known as one of the substantial citizens and well merits his high standing.

   Mr. Wendler was born in Saxony, Germany, in 1860, and was reared on a farm. His father, Frededick Oswald Wendler, was a shoemaker and mason by trade, following that occupation during his lifetime. His death occurring when Gustav was thirteen years of age, and he has been on his own resources ever since. His mother, whose maiden name was Ernestine Geier continued to live in their native province after her husband's death, and raised her little family, our subject remaining in Germany until he was twenty-three years of age, when he struck

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out for the new world, landing in New York City, May 1, 1884. His first location was in Cedar county, Nebraska, spending six months in that vicinity, then went to Dickson county for three months, coming to Cherry County from there, settling thirty miles from Wood Lake. After filing on a homestead he was ten dollars in debt, but he worked hard and improved his place his circumstances permitted, learning during these early days to master the English language. He met with hard luck at times, having all he could do to make a living, his dwelling for many years being a sod house, and he also used sod barns and other buildings. He broke up his first ground with a pair of bulls, and went through all the pioneer experiences witnessed by those who tried so hard to build up homes in the West. He gradually became more prosperous, starting in the stock business and in that way accumulated money more rapidly, which he put in land constantly, and now owns nine hundred and sixty acres of deeded land, with four hundred and eighty acres of Kinkaid homestead, which he uses exclusively as a stock ranch, running a large herd of cattle and other stock. He has most of his ranch fenced, has all good buildings, a nice residence thirty by forty-eight feet, fitted with many modern conveniences, substantial and commodious barns, etc., and a fine grove of trees surrounding his buildings. There are wells and windmills, which furnish a good supply of water for all purposes.

   There were five children in our subject's father's family, namely: Gustav, first in order of birth, then Herman, Henry, Ida and Max, the latter coming to America with his family in 1908, and now resides with his brother Gustav.

   Mr. Wendler is a man of sterling qualities of heart and mind, and a good neighbor, bearing an excellent reputation as a friend and citizen,


   Henry Deans a well-to-do farmer and stock raiser of Dawes county, presents in his own career a striking illustration of the field of opportunity this western country offers the ambitious children of the old world, as well as the rich results that have long waited on industry and integrity. A portrait of him appears on another page. He was born in Roxburgshire, Scotland, in 1849. His father, Peter Deans, was a game keeper. His mother, Agnes (Elliott) Deans, was a daughter of one of the Elliotts of Lidysdall.

   When our subject was ten years of age the family came to America, landing in Quebec, Canada, and settling in the province of Ontario, about thirty miles from Godrich. Here he spent the early years of his life, where he assisted his father in clearing one hundred acres of land.

   In 1871, Mr. Deans decided to seek his own fortunes, and with this end in view came to Michigan, where he worked in the lumber woods for two years. He then became associated with the Wisconsin Central Railroad Company, assisting in the surveying. While working on the surveys of this road, our subject had many hard experiences. On a certain trip of over ninety miles, Indians had been hired to carry provisions, but soon after the start, however, the Indians deserted, leaving the provisions in the snow. Mr. Deans and his companions took one day's supply, and, expecting to find a camp but a short distance, made a start for that point. Upon their arrival, however, they were disappointed, for the camp which they had expected to find was no longer there. Starvation stared them in the face from Tuesday until the following Monday, one cup of tea being the limit of food or drink, and there being no other alternative they commenced to walk the ninety miles through deep snow and brush, arriving at the starting point exhausted and nearly starved to death. After spending a winter in Wisconsin and Michigan, and stopping for some time in Hancock, Michigan, Mr. Deans went to Cheyenne, Wyoming. He traveled extensively throughout the west. He spent winters in Wyoming and Nevada, and then became associated with the Southern Pacific Railroad Company in California in the capacity of a foreman. He returned to Nevada, and after spending one summer on an alfalfa ranch, went into the Black Hills, working in a saw mill. In 1873 he made a trip to Lead City, but remained in the Black Hills until 1877. He then went into the Big Horn Mountains, where he spent but a short time, and returning to Lead City, worked in a mining camp until 1894. During this period the Indians were very hostile in this section of the country. While on the trail to the Big Horn Mountains, just outside of the Black Hills. our subject found many men who had been murdered by the Indians, six being killed in one day.

   After making a trip to the exposition in New Orleans, Mr. Deans returned north and settled in Dawes county, Nebraska, where he has a large ranch of six quarter sections of land. His residence is located in section 32, township 31, range 49. He cultivates one hundred and twenty acres. Mr. Deans engages extensively in stock-raising, having a herd of one hundred and forty cattle and twenty horses.

   In 1887, Mr. Deans and Miss Anna Luther were united in marriage. She was a daughter of

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