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Compendium of History Reminiscence & Biography of Western Nebraska

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residents of his community politically and socially.

   Mr. Thorstonson was born in the county of Eidsskongen, Norway August 29, 1861. After passing his boyhood in his native land, receiving common school education and the training of the children of the middle class in that country at the age of twenty years he left home to seek his fortunes in the new world where everyone has an equal chance to gain a home and competency. Sailing from Christiana, November 26, 1881, to Hull, England, be crossed that country and emigrated at Liverpool on an American line steamer. When half way across the Atlantic a furious storm arose lasting for six days, during which the passengers were locked in the hold. The breaking of a propellor compelled a return to England, and after repairs they proceeded on their voyage, which in all lasted six weeks. After landing in Philadelphia, he came directly West to Nebraska, and located in Sidney, whence he walked through a blizzard to section 12, township 14, range 32. where he filed on a homestead, and here he has resided ever since, bending every effort to gain a comfortable home and competence for his old age. Part of the house in which he now lives is the first building erected on his homestead after arriving here, to which he has added, making a large and comfortable home. He endured all the pioneer hardships and privations in developing his farm, but stuck to the work bravely and gradually improving the ranch and adding to his acreage until he is now proprietor of an entire section of good land, situated on Lodgepole creek, comprising one of the valuable properties of the county. He cultivates only a small portion of the place, engaging on a large scale in cattle raising, running one hundred head annually, and also keeps seventeen horses for farming purpose. A hundred acres of the section are irrigable, for which Lodgepole creek supplies an abundance of water. Mr. Thorstonson has been very successful, and has also been one of the leading men of his community in political and school affairs.

   Since Mr. Thorstonson came to this country he has lost both of his parents, but returned to the old country in September, 1899, visiting his aged mother for three months in the old home. He was married August 30, 1885, at Potter, Nebraska, to Miss Benthine Peterson, who is a native of Denmark, born April 18, 1859, coming to this country when a woman of twenty-four years of age. Mrs. Thorstonson's parents are also dead, her mother passing away in April, 1908.

   Our subject and his good wife are the parents of three children, all at home, named as follows: Fendlay, Hilma and Palmer. Potter is Mr. Thorstonson's nearest trading point and mail station. He has field the office of commissioner for several years. He is a Republican in political views, was reared in the Lutheran church and joined the Modern Woodmen of America at Potter.


   Hoken Olson, of whom it may be said that he is one of the leading citizens and pioneer settlers of Deuel county, is a resident of section 20, township 4, range 44, where he is engaged in operating a fine farm. He has devoted his life to agricultural pursuits, is well versed in his chosen calling and has met with success. He is highly esteemed as a citizen, and has gained the confidence of his fellowmen by his uprightness and honest dealings.

   Mr. Olson was born on March 22, 1856, on a farm in Sweden. He grew to manhood in that country, following farm work, and at the age of twenty-five struck out for the United States to seek his fortune, leaving his parents in Sweden, where they spent their entire lives, both having since died. Our subject landed in America in April, 1881, and located at first in Henry county, Ill., but only remained one year then came to Nebraska, stopping at Kearney, He spent some time in both Phelps and Buffalo counties, finally locating permanently in Deuel county, which was then called Cheyenne county. Mr. Olson paid taxes in Cheyenne county, proving up at Sidney, Nebraska. In April, 1885, he took a homestead on section 18, township 14, range 44, started to build a home, and proved up on the land in due time. He bought an additional tract later on, and is now owner of four hundred and eighty acres, having about one hundred acres cultivated and the place all improved in good shape with a complete set of good ranch buildings, fences, etc. He runs quite a number of cattle, and is one of the progressive stockmen and farmers of his locality. During the early years of his residence in Nebraska, Mr. Olson passed through all the pioneer experiences in getting his farm started, and has seen every side of frontier life. He has gone through good, bad and indifferent times, but has prospered, and is now in a position to enjoy the fruits of his labors, having a pleasant home and valuable estate, all of which has been gained by his own efforts.

   Mr. Olson was married at Ogallala, Neb., on August 6, 1886, to Miss Hilda C. Johnson, and they are the parents of four living children, named as follows: Ellen, Emil, Lillie and Herbert, all at home. Four children have been lost by death.

Compendium of History Reminiscence & Biography of Western Nebraska

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   Politically Mr. Olson is a Republican, and takes a commendable interest in party affairs in his locality. He has held various local offices and done his part in the upbuilding of the locality in which he lives. On another page in this work will be found an engraving in connection with this sketch, showing portraits of Mr. Olson and his family.


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   Among the old timers of western Nebraska who have been an important factor in the development and growth of that section of the country, the gentleman above named deserves a prominent place. Mr. Johnson is a native of the state of Nebraska, born in Omaha June 25, 1857. His father, Honorable Harrison Johnson, was a native of Hillsboro, Illinois, of old American stock, of Dutch-Irish descent, who lived in Conncil Bluffs many years, when it was known as Kanesville, prior to moving to Omaha. While here he hauled all the brick used in building the Union Pacific general offices. He served in the legislature of Nebraska, representing Douglas county for two or three terms and was well known in political circles throughout the state, and a leader in the Democratic party in eastern Nebraska. He was an old settler in Brown county. coming here in 1881, taking up a homestead on Plum creek, near Johnstown, where he served as the first postmaster here, at what was called "Evergreen Postoffice." He was one of the men who helped to open up this country for settlement, and run a land locating agency for some years. Our subject's mother, whose maiden name was Minerva Hambright, was a native of Lexington, Kentucky, where she was reared, educated and married. In a family of ten children our subject was the only one to locate permanently in Brown county, where he and his father and one brother, Harry, settled in 1881, the first named taking up a homestead in section 5, township 30, range 23. There he put up a log house and lived in it for seventeen years, going through the drouth periods and suffering heavy losses through failure of crops, etc., and for three years he supported his family by hunting grouse, deer and other game. He still takes hunting trips into the west and has many trophies to attest his skill with the rifle and fowling piece.

   In 1899 Mr. Johnson bought fifty good grade heifers on time, and in this way got a good start after the dry years. The first year after starting in the stock business he raised thirty-six calves, and he now turns off a carload of cattle and one or more of hogs each year, running at the present time from one hundred and fifty to one hundred and sixty head of cattle, one hundred and sixty hogs and thirty horses. He now has a ranch of two thousand four hundred acres, all fenced. Four to five hundred acres of this is cultivated and the rest in grass and hayland, all of which is deeded land except a Kincaid homestead of six hundred and forty acres. A view of the place will be found on another page.

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   On January 1, 1884, Mr. Johnson was married to Miss Lura B. Stevenson, born at Kenton, Ohio, in 1867. She is a daughter of Charles W. Stevenson, an old soldier, carpenter by trade and old settler in Howard county in 1871 and in Brown county, in 1882. Seven children have been born to Mr. and Mrs. Johnson, named as follows: Eva M., Thomas J., Jr., Bessie E., Charles W., William C., Maud L., and Helen G.

   Mr. Johnson has been a stanch Republican for many years past, and is active in all local party affairs. He is a prominent member of the Modern Woodmen of America, of Johnstown lodge, having been delegate to the state convention at Lincoln, and an alternate to the national convention at Peoria, Illinois, in 1908. Mrs. Johnson and daughters are members of the Royal Neighbors. The family all belong to the United Brethren church of Johnstown, in which they take an active interest.


   Albert B. Persinger, one of the leading old settlers of western Nebraska, went to that locality when it was in its most undeveloped state, and has remained to build up a fine property and become recognized as one of the substantial citizens of that part of the country. He resides in Chappel precinct, Deuel county, and is one of the largest landowners in that county, owning and controlling four thousand five hundred acres, in and around section 4, township 14, range 46, Deuel county, and ranges over fifteen thousand acres.

   Mr. Persinger was born in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, on May 7, 1851, and lived in his home county up to the age of twenty-five years. During his young manhood he followed newspaper work, and was publisher and editor of several papers in Alabama, among them the Northport Spectator, published at Northport, the Mountain Eagle, published at Jasper, the Birmingham Iron Age, and others. Later on he became agent for the Drake line of steamboats, running from Tuscaloosa to Mobile, and remained at that work for a number of years.

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