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using the balance for hay and grazing land for his stock, of which he keeps about one hundred head all the time. He has been living in the town of Gordon since 1901, keeping a man on his farm, as he wishes to give his children the advantage of the better schools, but personally superintends the management of his farm.

     Mr. Johnson was married in 1891 to Miss Cena Nelson, daughter of Hans Nelson, then a resident of Cherry county, but now a resident of Sheridan county. Mr. and Mrs. Johnson have six children, namely: Charles born in 1891, Albert, born in 1894, Anna, born in 1897, Clara, in 1900, Eunice, 1903, and Richard, born in 1906, all reared in this locality. Mr. Johnson is well satisfied with conditions in this section of the country and has no desire to live anywhere else. He would not care to go through his earlier experiences again, although he states that those were his happiest days.

     Politically Mr. Johnson is a Populist but does not pay much attention to politics. Says he is well satisfied with the present administration, and content to let other do the work of running the government.


     James W. Wolvington is one of the leading old settlers of western Nebraska, coming to this section of the country in the early stages of its development, and through industry and perseverance has succeeded in building up a comfortable home and valuable estate, and incidentally gained an enviable reputation, as a worthy citizen and progressive agriculturist. Mr. Wolvington resides in section 8, township 31, range 47.

     Mr. Wolvington was born in Iowa City, Iowa, in 1858. His father, David Hamilton Wolvington, was of American blood, a painter by trade, and died when our subject was a small boy. He married Miss Helen Landry, born in Ohio, of American stock. At the age of nine years James started out to earn his own living, going out among strangers and working on farms for his board and with the chance of attending school at times when he was unable to find work to do, which was not often the case, and he grew up used to hard labor form the time of his early childhood. He had many rough and sad experiences in this occupation, and not until he was fourteen years old was he able to obtain any wages for his labors. He remained in the vicinity of Iowa City and Cedar Rapids up to 1889, working in the latter city for seven years, engaged with a transfer company.

     In March of 1889 he came to Sheridan county, where he filed on a pre-emption of eighty acres, five miles southwest of Hay Springs, and built a dugout in which he lived the first summer. Here he started a farm and home, but sold out in the fall of the same year, taking up his present homestead in Dawes county, and building a sod shanty, in which he lived for many years. During the first few years he had a hard time in getting started, the drouths (sic) effecting his crops materially, and for several years he was barely able to make a living. He kept on working hard to improve his property, constantly adding to his farm, and now owns a ranch of one thousand eight hundred and eighty acres, all of which is fenced, having in all about fourteen miles of good fencing. He has built good barns, a large and comfortable house, and all improvements on the place, such as wells, two windmills, etc. He engages in farming and stock raising, cultivating about one hundred and sixty acres of his farm, with the rest in pasture and hay land.

     In 1882 our subject was united in marriage to Miss Mary Hamilton, of Iowa, daughter of Ed A. Hamilton, a blacksmith and farmer of that place, he having come to this country from Ireland in the early days. To Mr. and Mrs. Wolvington have been born the following children: Frank, Willie, Walter, Minnie, Earl, Pearl, Raymond, Mary, Theda and Freda (twins).

     Mr. Wolvington is active in local affairs, and is director of his school district and acted as a member of the board for the past ten years. He is a Republican, and makes a success in any official capacity.


     The above mentioned gentleman is one of the leading citizens of North Platte, where he resides with his family, enjoying the confidence and esteem of a host of friends and acquaintances.

      Mr. Stuart was born in Cazenovia, New York, in 1854. His father, Henry Stuart, was an engineer on the Lake Shore railway before that road was laid through to Chicago. In 1869 he became master mechanic at Wasatch on the Union Pacific railroad, his run being from that place to Evanston, remaining there for several years, then returned to Illinois.

     In 1886 our subject came west, locating at North Platte, and commenced work with the Northern Pacific railway, being employed as

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a fireman, and remained at that until 1890, when he took charge of an engine. He is a faithful and efficient engineer, fully trusted by his superior officers, and has been more than successful in the work he chose. In 1893 he became insurance secretary of the order of Locomotive Engineers, and still holds this position for local Lodge No. 88. In 1896 he was made general secretary of the same lodge, holding this office at the present time, and was elected as a delegate to the international convention at Memphis, held in 1906. He is an active member of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows lodge at North Platte, and a prominent worker for its interest.

     Mr. Stuart was married in 1885 to Miss Frank I. Meagher, of Aurora, Illinois. Three children have been born to Mr. and Mrs. Stuart, who are named as follows: Frank, a graduate of the North Platte high school, now attending Highland Park College, Des Moines, Iowa; he was captain of the high school cadets in 1905; two daughters, Irene and Maria, are with their parents in North Platte, and are very popular among the young people of the town. Mrs. Stuart's mother's name was Margaret Devine, a daughter of William Devine, who a pioneer settler at Somonauk, on the Dixon & Galena road in Illinois.

     Mr. Stuart is an active, intelligent man who keeps abreast of the time, and is conversant with all affairs of public interest, especially in matters pertaining to his business, and to the interests of the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers. He and his family are members and active workers in the Episcopal church at North Platte, and they have a beautiful home and fine property in this city.


     Helmer Rensvold, one of the prominent early settlers of Box Butte county, Nebraska, is proprietor of an extensive farm in and about section 14, township 26, range 51. He is a man of excellent business qualifications and in whatever enterprise he has embarked he has met with unbounded success. He has also been an important factor in the development of that region, and is widely and favorably known throughout this and the adjoining counties.

     Mr. Rensvold was born in Winneshiek county, Iowa, in 1866, on a farm. His father, Hogen R., was a native of Toten Norway, as was also his mother, Karn Rensvold. Our subject grew up in Iowa, attending the country schools and during odd hours and vacations helped his parents carry on the home farm, and at the early age of fourteen years he was competent to take a man's place on the farm.

     In 1885 the father came to Nebraska, leaving Helmer, with the balance of the family, to run the farm in Iowa, and this he did successfully for two years; at that time they all left the place and moved to Nebraska, coming to Hay Springs by train, and from there drove by team to the homestead on which the father was located, and where the latter died in the spring of 1889. Helmer filed on a homestead in the vicinity a short time after coming here. The family went through the usual pioneer experiences, beginning with very small capital, but by dint of hard work and perseverance succeeded in building up a good home and farm.

     Mr. Rensvold now lives on section 14, township 26, range 51, owning altogether fourteen quarter sections of good land. During the first years in this part of the country he went through the drouth (sic) seasons and saw many hard times, and at one time a whole year passed in which he never saw ten dollars all in a bunch. He is engaged in the sheep ranching business on quite a large scale, having started in this enterprise in 1893 and with a drove of about one hundred sheep, and has made money by the venture, and is increasing his flocks largely; also is going into the cattle business on a large scale. His farm is well improved, and he raises some small grain and has plenty of hay and pasture.

     In June, 1891, Mr. Rensvold was married to Miss Bramine Kvernum, who is a native of Norway, coming to this country with a cousin in 1889. Mr. and Mrs. Rensvold have four children, who are named as follows: Hans P., Hilda, Carl, and a baby, Palmer.

     Our subject takes an active part in local and school affairs, has been a member of the school board for a number of years, serving as director and moderator. He is a Republican in politics, An interesting of the "Homestead Ranch" of Mr. Rensvold will be found on another page.

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     Fred W. Hucke, proprietor of an extensive and well cultivated farm in section 19, township 27, range 49, Box Butte county, Nebraska, was born in Iowa county, Iowa, in 1869, son of a farmer who came to this country from Germany when a lad of ten years, his parents settling in Iowa as pioneers. They came to Nebraska, locating in Box Butte coun-

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ty in the early days of its development, driving from Iowa with a team and covered wagon in 1885. The mother was born in Ohio of German parents. As a boy our subject worked out by the month in his native state, beginning to help support his parents at the age of fourteen years, and in 1886 he came to Box Butte county, Nebraska. After landing here he obtained work at freighting, from Hay Springs, also in winter logging in Pine Ridge, and also a portion of his time was spent in breaking up land for different farmers in their locality, as he had a good team of oxen which he bought on coming to this section of the country.

     In 1891 Mr. Hucke filed on a homestead in section 4, township 27, range 50. "batching it" for one year, living in a dug-out and frame building combined. During the following year he was married to Miss Hester Ball, a native of Monroe county, Iowa, daughter of J. A. Ball, a well known farmer and ranchman who settled in this county in 1886. After his marriage Mr. Hucke started to farm, and his sole capital was fifty cents in money, two horses and a wagon, so he was obliged to go in debt to the extent of one hundred and sixty dollars. This was just about the time the dry years were coming on and he suffered loss of crops for several seasons, being compelled to work out by the day in order to make a living for his family, and through failures and discouragements he was slow in getting ahead very much, so left his farm and went west (sic) to Kansas in 1901, where he rented land and again tried farming, remaining for a year. This venture proved a failure and he gave up the fight, returning to Nebraska and again settling in Box Butte county, this time renting some land, and as the years were growing better all the time and he was able to raise good crops, he did very well and in 1903 purchased the farm. This was situated in section 5, township 27, range 49, and he has made money since locating there. He raises good crops, constantly improving his place by putting up good buildings, fences, etc. One hundred acres are cultivated, having about four hundred and eighty acres which he devotes to grazing and hay land for his stock, as he keeps about sixteen head of horses and forty cattle. When he came here he paid about seven hundred dollars per quarter for his land, and has since sold a part of it for three thousand two hundred dollars per quarter, which shows the rapid increase in value.

     Mr. and Mrs. Hucke are the parents of five children, namely: Estella, Vern, Carl, Ina and Alta. The family are well liked and highly respected in their community as worthy citizens and good neighbors.

     Mr. Hucke is an Independent voter, and while he does not devote much time to politics, has at different times held local office, and has always done his share as a loyal citizen in helping to build up his locality.


     Oliver P. Billings, Jr., residing on section 24, is a prominent farmer of Keya Paha county. Mr. Billings was born in Winneshiek county, Iowa, in 1877, and is a son of Oliver P., an old settler in this county, born in Connecticut of good old American stock. He was a representative in the state legislature in 1898, and served one term, elected by the Populists. He has also held local office and has always taken a prominent part in politics, is well known throughout the state as a public speaker of note, and has stumped through Keya Paha county many times for his party. He has also served on different committees in the Populist party.

     In 18-- he was married to Nancy J. Smalley, of American blood, and they settled in this county in the early days with their little family of three children, of whom our subject is the eldest. Their first home was in Holt county, and they drove from there by team, a distance of two hundred miles, spending about two weeks on the trip, driving with them a bunch of cattle. Their first building was a dugout, and in this the family lived for two years, then built a log house, father and son handling ox teams and doing freighting through the country.

     Here they went through the drouth (sic) periods, and during the hard times land could be bought for fifty dollars per quarter section, and they farmed all the land at this time they could handle, our subject starting to plow when but eight years of age. Together they handled two hundred acres of land and always had a crop, sometimes, however, not getting very much for their labor, and once losing their entire crop by hail.

     Mr. Billings has been successful of late years in his farming operations and is now proprietor of a nine hundred and sixty-acre farm, two hundred of which is cultivated, the balance all fenced and used for pasture and hay land. He engages quite extensively in horse raising, and always has a large number of these animals on hand.

     Mr. Billings was married in 1898 to Miss Pearl M. Bacon, daughter of William Bacon,

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an old settler in Keya Paha county, originally from England, who married Nancy Melchi, of Pennsylvania Dutch stock. Mr. and Mrs. Billings have a family of three children, namely: Mabel, Jane and Ida.

     In political faith Mr. Billings is a Socialist.


     Alfred Forsling, a prominent ranchman and all-round man of affairs in his section of the country, is proprietor of an extensive ranch situated on Lodgepole creek, known far and wide as the "Buckbrush Ranch," and one of the leading men of his county. His home is on section 36, township 15, range 57, Kimball county.

     Mr. Forsling is a native of Sweden, born December 10, 1861. He is the second child in a family of nine children, five sons and four daughters, and grew to the age of eighteen years in his native land. He then came to the United States, locating in Chicago, stayed there for two years, then went on to Denver, Colorado, where he spent one year and returned to Chicago. In the summer of 1883 his father, mother and three brothers and a sister joined him, and the whole family emigrated to Phelps county, Nebraska, arriving there in the spring of 1884. They lived in that vicinity for about two years, then came to Kimball county, which was then a part of Cheyenne county, the father taking a homestead and beginning to establish a home here. Our subject did not come with the rest of the family, but went to Colorado, where he pre-empted a tract of land, proved up on it and sold out. He remained in Colorado for several years, then he, too, came to Kimball county in 1895, and located on school section 36, township 15, range 57, which is now the home ranch. He has built this up in good shape, putting up good buildings and adding improvements, and has broken up land so that he cultivates about seventy acres at the present time, raising good crops of grain, etc. The ranch contains nearly fifteen hundred acres, and is devoted principally to stock raising, Mr. Forsling running about three hundred head of cattle and one hundred and seventy-five head of horses.

     Our subject was united in marriage to Ida M. Johnson, on March 12, 1890, in Holdrege, Nebraska. Mrs. Forsling was born in Sweden and came to America in 1881 all alone, both her parents being dead. Six children have been born to them, named as follows: Guy W., C. Luther, Elmer T., Agnes Beatrice, Ellen Amelia, and a baby born August 14, 1908. All are bright and intelligent children, and make a charming family group. They have a pleasant and comfortable home, and enjoy the friendship and acquaintance of a host of people, well like by all.

     Mr. Forsling is prominent in neighborhood affairs, is a director of district No. 21, also served as assessor of his county for two years. During the years 1900-1901 he was county commissioner, being elected on the Republican ticket, and is a strong party man.


     Among the early settlers of western Nebraska who has aided materially in the development and growth of the region in which he settled as a pioneer the gentleman above named deserves a foremost place. Mr. Weisflog resides on section 25, township 34, range 30, Cherry county, and has been identified with the county from the time the family located here, always aiding in any movement which was for the betterment of conditions in his locality.

     Mr. Weisflog was born in Zanesville, Ohio, March 22, 1878. His father, Herman Weisflog, was born in Germany and came to this country when a young man, the family settling in Nebraska in 1885, in this county. The mother, Amelia Harmon, was also of German blood. When our subject was twenty-one years of age he started out for himself and took up a homestead in township 33, range 30, on which he lived for a time, then moved to his present home, where he put up good buildings and rapidly improved the place. He now has a ranch of six hundred and forty acres, much of it good tillable land, with a complete set of good farm buildings, and an abundant supply of water.

     Mr. Weisflog was married November 9, 1904, to Miss Lizzie Porth, daughter of Chris Porth, a native of Germany and an old settler n Cherry county, coming west about 1890. Mr. and Mrs. Weisflog have one child, a daughter named Margaret. They are members of the Lutheran church.


     Frank Mason is one of the leading citizens of Valley county, who owns a well improved farm in section 17, township 20, range 16, and has spent the past twenty years in this locality. Mr. Mason is a man of industrious habits, who has made many friends by his strict integrity and many sterling qualities of

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heart and mind, and is held in the highest esteem by all who know him.

     Mr. Mason was born in Austria in 1856, and grew up there until a young man, following a line of general work, anything he could get to do. In 1884 he left his native land and came to the United States to seek his fortune and build up a home. He first located in New York, spending several years there working as a cigar maker. He came west and located in Nebraska in 1888, settling in Valley county, where he began farming. He went through hard times during the first few years, experiencing many discouragements from poor crops and different causes, but stuck to his work and succeeded in building up a good farm, now owning two hundred and forty acres of good farming land, and is engaged to quite an extent in grain raising principally, also cuts a big crop of hay each year. He keeps quite a herd of stock on his place, raising cattle and hogs for the market.

     Mr. Mason was married in 1885, while living in New York city, to Annie Havacek, also a native of Austria, who came to this country in 1880. Mr. and Mrs. Mason are the parents of six children, who are named as follows: Frank, Annie, Mary, Rose, Joe and Charles. The family are devoted members of the Bohemian Catholic church of Valley county, and well liked by all who know them.

     Mr. Mason has always voted the Democratic ticket up to several years ago, but now leans toward the Independent party, voting for the best man up. He is an admirer of Mr. Bryan.


     Among the large ranch owners and well-known stockmen of Kearney county, Nebraska, the name of Herman Watt occupies a foremost place. He has resided in this locality for the past twenty-five years and has built up a good farm and home through honest effort and industry. Mr. Watt is a man of marked ability, occupies a high position socially, and is highly esteemed as a citizen.

     Mr. Watt was born in the year 1864. In 1884 our subject located in Logan township engaging in stock raising and farming, and has accumulated a nice property, being proprietor of nine hundred and twenty acres of land, three hundred and twenty acres in section 26, Logan township, and the balance in Newark township. He has recently gone into the stock business on quite a heavy scale, running about a hundred cattle, all high grade stock. He has now two hundred and fifty young pigs, which are the finest lot of hogs anyone ever saw. All are high grade Poland Chinas, averaging one hundred and twenty-five to one hundred and fifty pounds each, and certainly will be a nice lot when he markets them. Mr. Watt also handles quite a few horses, and has now about seventy, usually keeping from fifty to eighty on his farm. He has always had the best success with the Poland China breed of hogs. He raises plenty of grain on his farm, and feeds it all out besides buying some to meet his needs. In 1907 his wheat crop was four thousand bushels and corn crop three thousand. He has sixty acres of alfalfa and gets fine crops each season. In 1906-1907 during the winter, he fed and shipped two car loads of horses and two loads of cattle, and got a nice profit from their sale. His brother, W. R. Watt, of Minden, is one of the heaviest and most successful dealers in horses and mules in all western Nebraska. Neither our subject nor his brother are pioneers of Kearney county, but both are held in the highest esteem as business men of success, honesty and push, and deserve a high position among the worthy citizens of Kearney county.


     Francis H. Higgin resides in section 10, township 32, range 27, Cherry county, where he has a large ranch, and is listed among the successful and prosperous men of the county. Mr. Higgin was born in Bancroft Hall in Lancashire, England, May 6, 1855. His father, also Francis H. Higgin, was a farmer and both of his parents died in England. Our subject, the third son, was raised and educated there and grew up with his seven brothers and sisters, assisting the family in the farm work, and in 1883 he started out to seek his fortune in the new world, landing in New York in the latter part of the year, and traveled across the United States until he reached Nebraska, where he located. This was his first experience in being away from his parents' roof, and it was a momentous trip for the young man among strangers in a strange land. He settled March 28, 1884, in Cherry county, taking a homestead in section 31, township 33, range 27, and still owns this tract of land. When he landed here this section was a barren country without any improved lands and very sparsely settled. He put up his first building himself, erecting a log house, and lived in this for some time, later putting up a sod house. His sole capital in money when he struck this county, after paying land fees, was three cents, and he was without any
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provisions to start with, but managed to hustle around and get work in the neighborhood and supply himself with a few necessaries and so was able to get along for a time. These were very hard times to him, and he was almost discouraged during the first winter, but he kept hard at it and succeeded in establishing his home and farm. At first he stuck to farming and tried to cultivate his land and raise crops, but soon found that this did not pay. He gradually got into the stock business and made much more money at that, so quit farming and gave his entire time to stock raising. He had given up trying to farm just before the dry years came on, so he was not affected by the drougth (sic) periods so much, and with the exception of losing some horses he has done well since coming here. Has his place well improved with a complete set of substantial farm buildings, and has put up about fifteen miles of fence. He has spent a large amount of money in building up his farm, and bent every energy to make it one of the best ranches in this section. He has planted a large number of trees on his farm, and has a fine orchard. His ranch comprises two thousand five hundred and sixty acres, all good land, and has about three hundred of this broken, but does not aim to raise grain for market, using it all on his farm.

     Mr. Higgin was married December 26, 1882, to Miss Alice Ormesher, of English birth, who came to America a month after marriage. Mr. and Mrs. Higgin have one child, Mary A. Higgin, living at home with her parents.

     Mr. Higgin gives his entire time to the work on his farm, and has never held any office, but votes the Republican ticket, and takes a keen interest in all affairs of the county and section in which he lives. He is one of the leading citizens of his locality, and has added materially in he upbuilding of his community. One of the interesting illustrations in this work is a view of the residence of Mr. Higgin.


     Thomas L. Hopkins, Jr., a public spirited citizen and well known resident of Box Butte county, has a nice farm under first-class improvement, making for him a most creditable and desirable home. He is considered one of the old timers in this region and has taken an active part in the development of the community in which he chose his home many years ago.

     Mr. Hopkins was born in Dodge county, Wisconsin, in 1874. His father, T. L. Hopkins Sr., was a native of England who came to this country and settled when a young man, he having married a young woman who was also born and raised in England, a Miss Sarah Jackson.

     Our subject grew up in Wisconsin and when he was thirteen years of age the whole family came to Nebraska, locating in Box Butte county. They settled near the Niobrara river, and there put up a rough sod building and began the regular pioneer experiences. The second winter they located here Thomas was obliged to walk a distance of three miles to the nearest school. They went through hard times, working at whatever they could find to do, and our subject did freighting, making long and tedious trips through the country, and many a night was spent lying on the ground in all kinds of bad weather. He put all his earnings into the family fund, and remained at home until he was twenty-one. During the dry years they were unable to do more than make a living and were unable to get ahead very much, and one year Thomas and some of his neighbors made a cross-country trip to O'Neil into eastern Nebraska, where they obtained a job husking corn, also working in the harvest fields, and anything they found to do, and thus made a little extra money.

     When he reached his majority our subject filed on a homestead in section 23, township 28, range 48, and held down his claim, working out in Chadron part of the time until he was able to prove up on his land. He also took a business course at the Fremont Business College, spending two terms there, and when he returned to Chadron, had just twenty cents left in his pocket, so he was compelled to go to work to make a living for himself. This was in the spring of 1894, and he took charge of Putnam's ranch on the White river, and spent four years in that position. After leaving this ranch he settled on his homestead permanently, began farming, and met with good success in his work, all of which was gained through his own good management and hard labor, as he had absolutely no capital to start with. Mr. Hopkins' ranch consists of eleven quarter sections of deeded land, and he also leases seven quarters, all of which is fenced, and he has in all nine miles of good fencing on the place. He had erected good buildings, has a splendid supply of water, windmills, etc.

     September 10, 1903, Mr. Hopkins was married to Myrta D. Bolin, whose father, Eldridge Bolin, is a farmer residing near Hay Springs.

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Mrs. Hopkins was a teacher in the Hay Springs schools for three years, and also taught in other schools in the county. Mr. and Mrs. Hopkins are the parents of two sons, namely: Roscoe, aged three years, and Ronald, aged two years.

     Mr. Hopkins in a Republican, and has held precinct and school offices and since coming here has taken a commendable interest in neighborhood and county affairs.


     Charles L. Latta, residing in Kennedy precinct, Cherry county, is one of the old timers of this region, having come here in 1887, and has done his full share in the upbuilding of the community in which he chose his home.

     Mr. Latta is a native of Noble county, Indiana, born November 6, 1864, on a farm. His father, Robert S. Latta, followed farming, serving as minister in the Methodist church, of which he was for a time an itinerant preacher. He was a native of McLean county, Illinois, a man of superior mind with a vein of poetry in his nature which he was able to express in choice English. Of his many poems none perhaps excels in thought and expression "The Bells of Ligonier." The mother, Mary Trimbleson, was of English and Pennsylvania Dutch stock. Our subject is the youngest in a family of eight children, and was reared in Indiana, attending the country schools and assisting his parents in the farm work until he was sixteen years of age, then started out for himself, following farm work for a time near his home. In 1880 the family came to Nebraska, locating in Gage county, from which region Charles returned to Indiana in the spring of 1882, attending Purdue University at Lafayette until fall of 1885, three school years. In the winter of 1887 the family removed to Loup county, remaining until September, 1890, when they started overland to the Black Hills, settling near Custer City. Here they operated a saw mill and were doing well until the panic of 1893, which proved disastrous to many enterprises. Saving what they could from the wreck of their enterprise the family came to Cherry county in 1893, settling on Gordon creek, where the parents continued to reside until 1900. Our subject took up a homestead of four hundred acres in section 10, township 30, range 30, and proved up on it. He worked this place for himself, and then moved back on his father's ranch, running the two places, the latter situated in section 12, township 30, range 30. The latter tract containing one thousand one hundred and twenty acres Mr. Latta purchased, making a most desirable ranch, all located on Gordon creek. The places are well improved and well stocked, running about two hundred head of cattle and twenty horses, one favorable feature of the region being its freedom from swamp fever.

     On the 1st of March 1896, Mr. Latta was married to Miss Daisy M. Stilwell, daughter of Elias Stilwell, an old settler in Cherry county, now residing on his ranch at the east end of Hackberry lake, where, in 1907, he erected a fine new residence. He first came to Nebraska in 1883, opening a harness shop in Wilsonville, removing to Cherry county two years later, plying his trade in Valentine many years. He was married in Kansas to Miss Emma Crees, of Arkansas. Mr. and Mrs. Latta have a family of four children, named as follow: Willie, Ralph, Oliver and Idell. School is a difficult problem in the sparsely settled ranch country. Being in no district whatever, Mrs. Latta has solved the problem by holding school daily for the usual term in their home.

     Mr. Latta devotes his entire time and attention to the building up of his home and ranch, and is highly esteemed as a worthy citizen and good neighbor in his locality. He is a Socialist and strong believer in the rights of that party. He is a member of the Valentine lodge Modern Woodmen of America.

     A view of the residence with portraits of Mr. and Mrs. Charles L. Latta, also portraits of Mr. and Mrs. Robert O. Latta, will be found on another page of this work.

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     C. E. Johnson, known all over Henry county, Illinois, and the adjoining counties by the reason of his large purchases of cattle as "Ed. Johnson," came to this section twenty years ago, locating on the south one-half of section 35, Centre township, owned at that time by J. H. Anderson, our subject's father-in-law, now deceased. Mr. Johnson has been engaged in the stock business since that time, and during that time has bought and re-sold many farms in this locality, on all of which he has made large profits. Besides the half section on which he now resides, he owns a quarter section in 36, and 33, also a whole section in Cottonwood township, Phelps county. During all of this time he has been engaged in buying cattle, sorting out the feeders and shipping some forty to fifty cars to market annually in some years. He now ships from ten to fifteen cars each year. Before coming to Nebraska he fed cattle in Illinois, and states that in his opinion Nebraska is far ahead of that state for feeding purposes, and that cattle can be

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fattened much quicker and cheaper in Nebraska than in Illinois.

     Mr. Johnson is interested in South Dakota lands, owning one hundred and sixty acres in that state. He has a fine residence in this county, and has built up a comfortable home here, where the family is well known and highly esteemed. He was married in 1887 to Miss Emma C. Anderson. Seven children have been born to Mr. and Mrs. Johnson, named as follows: Martin (adopted), Joseph, Burnie, Ruthy, Roy, Carl and Walter.

     Politically Mr. Johnson is a Republican.



     Rufus S. Jones, who has done his full share in heping the settlers build up the farming interests in Nebraska, is a resident of Brown county, where he is engaged extensively in stock and grain raising. Mr. Jones was born August 20, 1841 in Stark county, Illinois. He is a son of Sheridan Jones, a farmer of Welsh descent and his mother was Miss Ann Meek, of old American stock. The family consisted of six children, the youngest being our subject. He was reared on his father's farm, remaining under the parental roof until his enlistment in Company I, One Hundred and Fifty-first Illinois Volunteer Infantry, seeing service in Georgia, Aabama and Tennessee, following a soldier's fortune for over a year, when he was discharged and returned home. He remained with his parents until 1871, then went to Iowa, settling in Clark county. Here he followed farming for the two years, when he grew discontented and wandered back to his old home in Illinois, remaining for 10 years before turning again to the west. Coming to Brown county, he took up a homestead in section 32, townshp 32, range 21, and was among the first serttlers in this locality, and from his farm not a single house could be seen in any direction. He had brought with him a team of horses, and went to work building a rude house out of logs. After this was completed he began breaking up his land, and at the same time continued working at his trade as a carpenter. He had a hard time in getting started, and when the drouth periods struck the locality for two years, he faithfully planted his crops but was unable to raise even enough for seed the next year.However, he stuck to it and through sheer persistence, after experiencing all kinds of hardships and privations, succeeded in accumulating a nice property. His farm comprises three hundred and twenty acres, one hundred and fifty acres under cultivation all improved with good buildings, fences, etc., and well stocked. There are a number of springs on the place and an abundance of timber in the canyons. He is engaged principally in stock-raising, whih he finds very profitable.

     In March, 1866, Mr. Jones was married to Miss Mercy Taylor, a native of Kentucky. They are the parents of seven children, all of whom was born in Illinois, and who are named as follows: Ralph E., Minnie L., Gertrude M., John L., Pearl C., Stella B. and Bert J.

     Mr. Jones devotes his entire time and attention to the building up of his home and farm, and is a man of thorough and systematic methods in his work. He has gained success through his perseverance, indistry and good management, and may be truly classed among the self-made men of this region. In politics he is thoroughly independent of party ties and the party lash.


     Thomas M. Thornton, residing now with his son Benjamin on section 20, township 30, range 52, Dawes county, Nebraska, is one of the pioneer settlers of the western part of the state, and he has helped by every way in his power to build up the region where he chose his home in the early days of the state's history.

     Mr. Thornton is a native of Pike county, Illonois, (sic) born in 1837 on his father's farm. He is the son of Joel Thornton, born in 1800 in Pike county, of English and Welsh descent. The father died May 5, 1876. Our subject's mother was Annie Honaker, of German Stock, born in 1804, and died in Page county, Nebraska, in 1896.

     The subject of our sketch enlisted August 12, 1862, in Company K, Iowa Infantry, and saw hard service during the war, engaging in thirty-two battles. He was severely wounded near Camden, on the Washita river, in Arkansas, April 7, 1864, and still carries the bullet in his leg. He was honorably discharged September 7, 1865.

     Mr. Thornton came to Dawes county, Nebraska, May 17, 1888, settling on a farm nine or ten miles from Crawford, and there built up a fine ranch and home. He has been very successful since coming here and at one time owned five sections of good land in the western part of the county, where he was extensively engaged in stock raising. Of late he has sold out to his sons and their uncle, retaining for himself only about two hundred acres. The sons and their uncle, Mr. Abbots, own about eleven sections of land and they run from three hundred to five hundred head of cattle and from seventy-five to one hundred head of horses every year. They stand high as the leading stockmen of this part of the country. Their places are finely improved, supplied with several fine sets of buildings, three wind mills

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and many miles of fencing, in all about thirty miles of three wires. The Thornton farms are well supplied with natural timber, wild fruits, etc., and there are streams of good running water the year round on the north farm.

     Mr. Thornton was married at Montgomery Iowa, February 28, 1869, to Miss Augusta F. Abbots, of American stock. To them have been born the following children: Walter J., Freeman C., Lewis M., and Benjamin A., all living here and on adjoining lands.

     Mr. Thornton takes a deep interest in all local affairs and is classed among the prominent and leading citizen of his county, highly esteemed by all who know him.


     Robert H. McNamee, the subject of this personal history, resides on section 33, township 31, range 26, in Cherry county, Nebraska, where he has built up a fine home and farm through his industry and good business management.

      Mr. McNamee was born in Jackson county, Ohio, June 5, 1852, and was reared and educated on his father's farm. He is a son of Hiram and Mary (Henry) McNamee, the former of Scotch-Irish, and the latter of Irish descent, though both American born. In 1860 the family moved by wagon to Harrison county, Missouri, the journey of one thousand miles consuming two months' time, where they remained for twenty-five years. Our subject at the age of nineteen married and began farming on his own account, which he continued in Missouri until his advent to Nebraska. November 12, 1885, he moved into Brown county, settling near Bassett, after a journey of four hundred and fifty miles by wagon, consuming fourteen days, the mother and children coming by train. He only lived there for one and a half years, then located in Cherry county, where he has lived continuously ever since. He took up a homestead near the town of Merriman, residing in the west end of the county seven years, about six years of this time acting as foreman on a large ranch near Pine Ridge reservation. Selling this tract Mr. McNamee located near Wood Lake, where he built up a fine home, which he sold in 1890 and moved to Wood Lake, where he engaged in the hotel business, putting up a large building and equipping it in fine style for a village hotel. Ranching had greater charm for our subject, so he disposed of his hotel after twenty months and came into possession of his present tract of two thousand and forty acres, which was improved and nearly all fenced. This is in five different fields, and is a valuable piece of property. He keeps three hundred cattle, and besides this runs stock for other people in the vicinity, in all pasturing about five hundred head. About eight hundred acres of this land is fine hay land, and he cuts a large crop each year, the surplus being sold.

      Since coming to this state he has built up and improved three places, spending between four and five thousand dollars, building and furnishing the hotel, putting over two thousand five hundred dollars' worth of improvements on one ranch, and over two thousand in buildings, etc., on the ranch where he now resides.

      Mr. McNamee was married March 19, 1871, to Miss Clara Butcher, born in Jackson county, Ohio, in 1850. They have eight children named as follows: Spencer R., Kenton B., Leonard P., Hesse E., Lolia, now Mrs. Arthur W. Richardson; Lillie, wife of W. T. Bailey; Hervey R., and Herman, of whom the five elder were born in Missouri, and the three younger in Nebraska.

      Mr. McNamee has always been active in politics, and has never missed a vote since coming of age. He adheres to the principles of the Republican party. He holds fellowship in the Wood Lake lodge of Modern Woodmen of America.

      A view of the residence with portraits of Mr. and Mrs. McNamee will be found on another page of this work.

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     Albert Haley, postmaster at Sparks, Cherry county, Nebraska, is well known throughout the vicinity in which he resides. Mr. Haley is among the early settlers in Sparks precinct, and has watched the growth and aided in the development of this region from its beginning, and is counted one of the leading worthy citizens of the place.

     Mr. Haley was born in Fayette county, Illinois, September 30, 1866, on his father's farm. The latter, John Franklin Haley, was of Irish descent, born in Illinois and lived there all his life, his death occurring in 1880. The mother, whose maiden name was Mary J. George, was also born and raised in the prairie state, dying there in 1867. Albert was the youngest in his parent's family of three children, and on the death of his father, started out for himself when fifteen years of age, going to Nodaway county, Missouri, where he followed farm work for two years. Coming to Cherry county, he drove ox teams, did freighting, hauled posts, etc., handling five and six yoke of oxen at a time. He was thus employed for about three years, camping out nights winter and summer under his wagon, traveling all over this part of the coun-

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