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Compendium of History Reminiscence & Biography of Western Nebraska

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struggle, this building of an empire, this planting of civilization on these wind-swept and sun-kissed prairies, and strong, heroic characters were moulded and welded at its white heat. Who can ever tell the story of settlement or make the coming generation understand what privations and denials and endurance, the lofty courage went into the history of the pioneer days in Nebraska? We can be thankful that they lived, for we have great and noble states as their heritage to the good of the world. Mr. Truax did his full share in the development of the west, and his place among the men who made Cherry county is secure.

     Daniel Truax was born in Fulton, Pennsylvania, July 4, 1843, and was reared on a farm cultivated by his father, John Truax. The father never came to the west, and indeed never left the county in which he was born and reared. His wife, the mother of Daniel, was Julia A. Malatte, and came of French descent. She was the mother of a family of eight children, of whom Daniel was third in order of birth.

     When Daniel Truax donned the Union blue, and went into the Civil war as a member of Company C Eighty-second Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry, he was twenty-one years of age, and began a career of which he and friends are justly proud. His regiment was attached to the First Brigade, Third Division of the Sixth corps of the Army of the East, and played an important part in the stirring events that attended the closing years of the great war. Mr. Truax served until the end of the war, and on the dawn of peace returned to his Pennsylvania home, and resumed the occupation of farming which he had given up for the time to battle for his country, and for eleven years followed the plow in his native state, He was married June 16, 1865, to Miss Anna J. Truax, a native of Fulton county, Pennsylvania, where she was born May 6, 1844. Her people were American born, but came of German descent, and were industrious and home-keeping in the extreme. They clung closely to the old landmarks, and never left their native state to go west and grasp its great opportunities. Mr. and Mrs. Daniel Truax became the parents of a family of seven children, David A., Laura F., and Joseph dead. The others, Harriet, E. Jane, and Joseph and Charles (twins), of whom the three eldest are dead. These children were all born in Fulton county, Pennsylvania, but were reared in Nebraska. In 1871 the Truax family removed to Carroll county, Illinois, and spent five years in farming; while as many more years were spent on an Iowa farm in Hardin county. In 1885 Mr. Truax located in Cherry county, but it was two years later that he brought his family to Nebraska. He did not begin his career in this state under very favorable auspices, as he had only fifteen dollars and a few horses with which to enter upon his work. His first business transaction was to contract a seventy-dollar debt in the purchase of three cows, as the beginning of his herd of cattle. He passed through some very hard times when he began, and a severer strain in 1893 to 1896, the dry years of disastrous memory to so many settlers. Today he owns a half section of choice farm land and four hundred and eighty acres of homestead entry. His land is well improved, fenced, and is largely devoted to horse raising, of which he has about fifty head, with perhaps twenty cattle. He is interested in thoroughbreds and some seasons follows the races. Dale, at the head of his stud, is a most beautiful specimen of running stock. When he first came to this region, it was all wild and but thinly populated, there being only two section houses and a store in Cody. Mr. Truax is a Republican, and remembers with satisfaction and pride that he cast his first vote for Abraham Lincoln, when that eminent patriot was elected president for the second time. During the Indian rising of 1891 he thought it prudent to leave for a time, but soon returned and has never lost faith in Cherry county; he feels much pleasure in considering the very substantial results that have attended his labors.

     A picture of Mr. Truax's place will be found on another page.

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     The Platte Collegiate Institute, Kearney Military Academy, is one of the more noted educational institutions of the state of Nebraska, and in its comparatively brief history has made a record for itself for thoroughness of teaching, high standards of management, and splendid ideals of scholarship second to none in the west. The making of character is recognized as the ultimate of instruction, and a lofty life is held possible for every young man who comes, as all do, into close personal relations with the principal and his assistants. The academy is pleasantly located in the valley of the Platte river, about a mile and a half from the city of Kearney, and it situation is peculiarly favorable to the health and the spirits of its attendants.

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     The buildings are large and commodious and are in good condition.

     The new Cochran Hall has just been completed at a cost of $50,000. It is built of reinforced concrete, is equipped with all modern conveniences and requisites of a first-class school. It contains the rooms of the head master and family, study hall, chapel, hospital, office and dining room, and quarters for masters and eighty cadets.

     Kearney Hall is built of brick, four stories high, and contains carpenter's and blacksmith's shops, laboratory, recitation rooms and quarters for masters.

     Lewis Hall contains the gymnasium, a large well lighted room with about two thousand feet of floor space, completely equipped with apparatus, horizontal and parallel bars, traveling rings, trapeze, etc.

     Cochran Hall contains quarters for forty cadets and two masters.

     Each room accommodates two cadets, is heated by steam, lighted by electricity, and furnished with the usual bed-room furniture.

     The grounds, which are thirty-five acres in extent, are level and afford excellent facilities for drill and for the various forms of athletics so essential to a complete education. Ample space is given for football, baseball, and other outdoor games, and two cement courts for tennis have been laid down this year.

     This school was founded in 1892 by the Rt. Rev. Anson R. Graves, LL.D., for the purpose of providing a thorough preparatory training, either for college or business, for young men and boys at a moderate price.

     The academy commends itself to those parents, who desire for their boys a school whose location is easily accessible, in a country whose climate is unequaled for healthfulness, and one in which, while every care is taken to provide everything essential to the proper instruction and well being of the boy, such as may be found in the best schools of its type, non-essentials are kept down, in order to allow the management to put the fees at such a moderate price as to be within the reach of all.

     The discipline and instruction are of the highest order, the boy is taught to work from right motives, every proper effort is made for his comfort and happiness, and the fact is never lost sight of, that the development upon right lines of the boy's character, is of as much importance as proficiency in studies, and this is more readily done, as the school is not so large in numbers, but that the boy must come into intimate personal relationship with the principal and instructors.

     The various members of the teaching force are men and women of much natural ability, broad and thorough scholarship, and bring to their work an enkindling enthusiasm that awakes quick response in the youth before them. The discipline of such a school is stimulating and not repressive, stirring up to the doing of what is right and good, and only negative in a slight and lessening degree. A semi-military training has long been found most helpful in the formation of habits of punctuality, neatness and promptness. The daily drill gives physical exercise of the best sort, and the management makes its discipline a means to an end, and the performance of duty never becomes in its sight mechanical.

     The academy makes an especial point of its manual training, and gives a course covering two years' work, strictly modern and up-to-date. The wood shop is fully equipped with benches, each one being supplied with a complete set of tools, and lathes for both wood and iron work.

     The general course of study covers four years of work with a preparatory course for younger students. It includes the studies taught in the public schools up to the eighth grade, with the addition of a year in beginning Latin. It gives much attention to a reading course, which is intended to develop a taste for good reading. It has produced most satisfactory results.

     A marked feature of the academy is its cadet organization, representing as it does the very best educational ideas of the day along this line, and subject to such improvement as the experience of similar schools elsewhere may suggest.



     Should the reader ask for the name of a representative old time of western Nebraska, who has spent many years of his life in the building up of a farm and home in a country where but a few years ago there was a vast wilderness, and who is familiar with the early growth and development of this section, we would mention George D. Clark as a typical westerner, a man of sterling character and energetic force of will, who has helped to make the history of this locality. Mr. Clark now resides in section 25, township 31, range 49, and is held in the highest esteem by his fellowmen and associates.

     Mr. Clark was born in St. Lawrence county, New York state, in 1852. His parents lived on the banks of the St. Lawrence river, the

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father being a tanner and harnessmaker by trade, who died after settling in Illinois, during the Civil war. The mother was Katherine Wilson, and both parents were of mixed nationality, of English and Irish stock. Our subject grew up in his native state until he was sixteen years of age, following farm work, and then learned the harnessmaker's trade after his father, and continued at that work for thirty years off and on. During his younger years Mr. Clark was quite an extensive traveler, having been all along the Pacific coast and the western states, and did not live long at any one place up to the year 1886, then came to Nebraska and settled in Dawes county. He located on a farm fifteen miles south of Chadron, and remained until proving up, then moved to his present place, taking this as a homestead, and also proved up on it. Here he went through pioneer experiences, witnessing the drouth periods, although he was more fortunate than many of his neighbors in that he never had a total failure of his crops, and was always able to make a comfortable living, besides constantly improving his place and building up his home and farm. He has been most successful in his different ventures, and steadily added to his possessions, now owning a ranch of eight hundred and eighty acres, and is engaged principally in stock raising, running a large number of cattle and horses. He does mixed farming, and finds time to still follow his trade as harnessmaker a little here at home.

     In 1875 Mr. Clark was married to Isabelle Colton, whose father. Benjamin F. Colton, was a farmer in Michigan. In 1888 Mrs. Clark died, leaving a family of two children: Hattie and Frank. Mr. Clark was married again in 1903 to Mrs. Elizabeth Allen and has one child by the second marriage, namely: George Edward. Mrs. Clark had six children by her first marriage: Daisy, Joe, Fred, Fay, Margreta and Vernon.

     Mr. Clark has always taken an active interest in local and county politics, and served his district in different capacities since locating here. He is a staunch Republican.



     Mr. Norton, one of the prominent citizens of North Platte, Nebraska, has been associated with the commerical (sic) interests of this locality for many years. He is an old settler in western Nebraska, and is well-known and highly esteemed by all who know him.

     Mr. Norton is a native of Cook county, Illinois, and is a son of Philip Norton, who was a contractor connected with the building of the Union Pacific railway on the line which runs out of Omaha, constructed in 1865-'66 and '67, also in building this line further west. He died at Ogden, December 1st, in 1882, having been a contractor on the short line up to the time of his death, and having worked at this business nearly all his life. He was a native of Tipperary, Ireland, and came to this country when a youth with his wife, who was Elizabeth Sheldona, born in England. Our subject was reared in Illinois, and on reaching his twenty-first year obtained employment with the Northwestern Railway Company, traveling all over the western part of the country, and was with the Union Pacific railway from 1874 to 1876. He continued at this work for several years, and in 1881 located in North Platte, where he has resided ever since. For four years he was foreman of the roundhouse in North Platte, and in 1887 was made engineer, in which position he has been successful and faithfully served the road. He has a splendid record in this capacity, and in all the time he was with the railway company never had an accident to his train.

     Mr. Norton was married at Council Bluffs, Iowa, in 1880 to Miss Lizzie Holden, a native of Iowa City, daughter of James and Ann Murphy Holden, of that place, her father having been born in County Mayo, Ireland. Mr. and Mrs. Norton have one son, Philip James, who is connected with the Union Pacific railroad, holding a responsible position in the company's shops at Council Bluffs, Iowa.

     Mr. Norton is a member of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows lodge at North Platte, also the Ancient Order of United Workmen and the Maccabees. He belongs to the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers, George W. Vrooman Lodge No. 88, of North Platte.



     Carl Heumier, a well-known ranchman and farmer of Sioux county, Nebraska, resides on section 21, township 32, range 54, where he is the owner of a valuable estate.

     Mr. Heumier was born in Wilstock, Brandenburg, Germany. in 1852. His father was a spinner and weaver in the woolen factory in that town, and Carl grew up in his native town and worked as a day laborer and teamster to help support the family. When he came of age he entered the German army and served the regular three years required by the laws of the country.

     In 1879 Mr. Heumier was married to Car-

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