to the advancement of conditions in his locality. In political faith he is a Republican. The family worship in the Congregational church.
Mr. Versaw is a native of Berrien county, Michigan, and his father was also born in that county, the latter's father having been the first settler in that section. Our subject came to Johnson county, Nebraska, in 1881, with his parents, and his father, F. E. Versaw, now resides in Adams county, where he owns a good farm. He grew up in that section, and began for himself when twenty-one years of age, farming and stock raising, feeding cattle and hogs, and was very successful. In 1900 he came to Franklin county, but before that had bought some land in Macon township, and he now owns over eight hundred acres there. In the past he has paid from thirteen up to fifty dollars per acre for his land, showing the rapid rise in values. In 1906 he bought one hundred and sixty acres of good land in Bloomington township, with a fine residence on the property, and here is engaged in mixed farming. He is about the only man in the county who has met with pronounced success in handling sheep. He engaged in that business for several years.
Mr. Versaw was united in marriage to Miss Minnie Cook, daughter of Ed. Cook, who came to Otoe county, Nebraska, as a pioneer about 1860, when he was a boy, with his parents, and spent all his life here, his death occurring in the village of Cook, Johnson county, 1905, aged fifty-seven years. His father, Andrew Cook, was one of the first settlers in Otoe county, and he afterwards moved to Johnson county with his family, taking up a homestead there. The Cooks came from Racine, Wisconsin, originally from England, landing in America about 1850. Ed. Cook freighted over the plains of Nebraska and Colorado in the early days. He married Mary, daughter of John Brooks, who settled in Johnson county about 1865, coming from near Erie, Pennsylvania. There were several Brooks brothers, all locating in that vicinity.
Honorable Andrew Cook was a territorial officer of Nebraska. (See History of Nebraska of 1882.) He was county commissioner, and one of the organizers of Johnson county, and a very influential man in his community. The town of Cook was laid out by his son, William Cook, taking its name from the father.
Mr. and Mrs. Versaw have a family of four children, named as follows: Paul Edward, Herbert Earl, Willie King and Mary Christine. Our subject's mother was Sarah King, daughter of Rev. Job King, a native of Vermont, who settled in New York state, and then in Ohio, later a pioneer of Berrien county, Michigan, and widely known as an effective preacher of Methodism in those primitive days. The father, F. E. Versaw, was a soldier in the Civil war for four and a half years, a member of the Third Michigan Cavalry, in the western army most of the time, seeing hard service in Arkansas and Texas.
Mr. and Mrs. Versaw are fine representatives of the second generation of Nebraskans, and both take an active and intelligent interest in the growth of their state. They are appreciative of the pioneer founders of Nebraska in their early hardships and struggles, and believe firmly in a great future for the state.
Mr. Versaw has three brothers in Nebraska - Herbert, of Johnson county, and John and Charles, of Macon township.
occasion is complete unless "Pete Watson" is numbered among the participants.
Mr. Watson was born in Henry county, Iowa, in 1848, and was a Christmas present to his parents, first seeing the light of day on December 25th of that year. His father, Madison James Watson, lived on a farm in Cass county, Iowa, about two years, and was widely known through that part of the state as an influential citizen, a great hunter in the early days, meeting his death in 1856 in running wolves with hounds.
Our subject grew up in the vicinity of his birthplace, receiving a limited education, and at the age of eighteen started out for himself. In 1885 he came to Nebraska and filed on a homestead in Sheridan county, which was then barren prairie land, the nearest town being Hay Springs. His first building was a rude shanty, and he started to develop a farm, breaking up land for crops, working in every way to prove up on his land. Soon after locating here he took up a tree claim in Box Butte county, and proved up on that also, farming from two to three hundred acres, bending every effort to gain a good home and improve his property. In those days there was plenty of wild game roaming the state, and as he was a fearless hunter, he can relate some very interesting and exciting tales of hunting trips which he with others took through the country, and it was on one of these expeditions that he first saw Sioux county, coming through that locality in 1896 with a pack of fourteen dogs looking for wolves, which were to be found in plenty in the unsettled portions of the county. He made wolf hunting his business for several years, and on these journeys traveled all through western Nebraska south of the Platte river, at many times having thrilling encounters with the savage beasts. His tactics in killing a big wolf was by putting a club in the animal's mouth and in that manner had the advantage of the wolf. He killed many a gray wolf in the above manner, his dogs catching and holding the beast until he came up to them, when he would let the wolf grab the club and he would dispatch him as quickly as possible. During late years Mr. Watson has done little hunting, as wild game is practically driven out of the country by the settlers, and he has given his whole attention to his ranching and farm duties. He controls in all over five sections of land, part of which is owned by his nephews, and other of his relatives.
In 1870 our subject was married to Josephine Johnson. Mrs. Watson died in July, 1899; and he was married the second time to Mrs. Matilda Albright, November, 1901, and in December, 1907, she, too, passed away.
In personal appearance Mr. Watson is a splendid specimen of manhood, standing six feet two and a half inches, and weighing over two hundred pounds. He is a gentleman of pleasing personality, whole-souled and jovial in disposition, and one whom it is a pleasure to know. He always rides good horses and no one rides ahead of him. In 1890 and 1891 Mr. Watson was at the head of the Indian campaign at Pine Ridge, South Dakota.
Mr. Funk located on the same lands in 1879, and as a farmer and stock raiser has been progressive and successful. He deals extensively in hogs, having about one hundred Poland Chinas on hand all the time. He is the man who introduced Polled Angus cattle in this locality in 1887, and has one hundred of these pure-bred animals, which he sells on the market.
In 1864 Mr. Funk enlisted in the Third Ohio Cavalry, near Toledo, Ohio, and served until the close of the war in the Army of the Tennessee, under Thomas and Sherman in all the Atlanta battles and campaigns, then back toward Nashville, by reason of being remounted at Louisville.
Mr. Funk has been active in getting improvements of all kinds in his community. He was the first in this county to take up the establishment of farmers' telephone lines, and built the line from Funk to Heydon. Also was instrumental in getting free rural delivery routes established. In 1887 he took up the matter of getting a railway station in Divide township, visiting the Burlington officials and pressing the matter upon their attention with such good results that they established the station seven miles east of Holdrege, naming it Funk, after our subject. The population of Funk is three hundred, and more business is done at this station that at any station of its size on this line of railway. They have three elevators here with a capacity of fifty
five to sixty thousand bushels, and the freight laid down at Funk last year amounted to over sixty thousand dollars.
Mr. Funk farmed in Iowa prior to coming to Nebraska, but says this state is far ahead of Iowa, and has great faith in its possibilities as a farming and stock raising country. In 1906 he built a fine modern residence in Funk and located there, his farm being operated by his daughter and her husband. His only son, Harry, is proprietor of a drug store in Funk
In political sentiment Mr. Funk was a strong Republican up to 1890, when he joined the Populist party, and has been very active in working for its principles in this locality and throughout the state in the county central committee and at all state conventions. He is now (1906) candidate for his party for representative in the state legislature, and was elected and served one term, and is now a candidate for re-election. He was a member of the county board in 1884-85-86, and 1903 and 1904, and in 1892 and 1893 served his county as treasurer.
Mr. Randall was born in Iresburg, Vermont, in 1863. His father, Clark Randall, was a jeweler, druggist, marine engineer, a man of much ability and could turn his hand to many things. He also was a native of Vermont, and married Fidelia V. Hanks, of the same state. They lived in Baltimore during the Civil war, then moved to Alexander, Virginia, and spent a number of years there, then located on a farm four miles south of Mt. Vernon, Maryland. When our subject was sixteen years of age the family came to Peoria, Polk county, Iowa, and lived on a farm, for several years, and on that farm his father died in 1883.
William A. Randall came to Ainsworth, Brown county, Nebraska, and settled on a farm about one mile north of Ainsworth, remaining there for about a year, then he left the farm and went to Nonpareil, Box Butte county, Nebraska, in 1885, where he opened a drug store and studied constantly, so that in a short time he became a registered pharmacist. When the town of Alliance was first started Mr. Randall opened a branch store there, and was the first man to engage in that business in Alliance. During the first few years he was very successful, but as the hard times came his business paid very small returns on the investment, so that he was compelled to sell out, and soon after went into the Black Hills. There he worked as a stationary engineer for a mining company for ten years. This was at Lead City, South Dakota, and he remained there up to 1901, then came back to Box Butte county and settled on his present ranch property. He first bought a small tract of land and went to farming, and has steadily added to his farm, so that he now owns two sections and devotes the greater part of it to ranching, cultivating two hundred and forty acres. He handles a large number of cattle and horses. His place is well improved, all fenced and in good shape, and he has made money since his start here.
Mr. Randall was married in 1889 to Mazetta Bass, daughter of Moses Bass, who is one of the oldest settlers in this region. He died here in 1892. His wife was Elvira Mobilie, a native of Mobilie, Missouri, of good old southern blood, and Mrs. Randall's father came to this part of the country in 1886, taking up a homestead in section 2, township 26, range 52, where he built up a good home and was one of the leading men of the locality during his entire life. Mr. and Mrs. Randall have had two children: Edna Pearl and Myrtle, the latter deceased. Politically our subject is a Republican.
Mr. Meier was born in Germany in 1864. His father, John Meier, was a farmer in the old country, and August was raised on the home farm, and at the age of eighteen years the whole family came to America, landing in New York city in 1882. The father died
in Nebraska in May, 1907. They settled at first at West Point, Nebraska, remaining for four years, following farming, and then came to Sioux county, arriving here in 1886. Our subject took up a homestead for himself during the same year situated on Hat creek, built a log house, and started to break up his land, using ox teams for all his work. For three years he "hatched it," and saw hard times, often having all he could do to make a living and trying to lay by money enough to make improvements on his farm. However, he lived on that place up to 1891, then came to his present location, which he purchased outright. This ranch is situated on Indian creek, seven miles west of Ardmore, South Dakota. He has added to this, now owning about twelve hundred acres, all of good range land, and runs a large bunch of cattle, farming a small portion of the land and raises small grains. When he first came here he lived in a dugout and log house, but he has erected a good house, barns and other buildings, and has the ranch well fenced. The place is well supplied with good water, and there is quite a large amount of natural timber on the ranch.
A picture of Mr. Meier's
residence and farm buildings will be found on another page of this
Our subject has been one of the foremost citizens of his locality, and has done much to aid the general prosperity of the region. He is one of those who helped build the Burlington & Missouri Railway through the section, and has taken an active part in every movement for the good of the community. He is a Democrat in political views.
Mr. Ferguson was born on a farm in the town of Addison, Oakland county, Michigan, April 22, 1842, where his father, Boyce Ferguson, had followed the tillage of his soil for many years. His grandfather was a native of Scotland. The mother of James A. Ferguson, Delilah Craiger, was born in Pennsylvania, and came of German extraction. She became the mother of fourteen children, lived a long and quiet life, passing away in Shiawassee county, Michigan, in October, 1895, at the age of eighty-four years. Boyce Ferguson was the father of two older children by an earlier marriage.
The subject of this sketch, the seventh born to his mother, was reared and educated in his Michigan home, and on the breaking out of the Civil war was quick to respond to the nation's call for help, enlisting at Altamont, Lapeer county, November 15, 1861, in Company F, Tenth Michigan Volunteer Infantry, and proved himself to be a brave and valiant soldier in the noble cause for which the wearers of the blue fought so long. During his almost four years of active service at the front he saw much hard and dangerous duty. He participated in the great battles around Pittsburg Landing, Corinth and Nashville, as well as in Tennessee, Georgia, Alabama and the campaign around Atlanta. He was severely wounded at Rocky Face Ridge, where he received injuries from which he has never entirely recovered. Anxious to bear his part, he could not abide the hospital, from which he ran away as early as he could get about, and was on the firing line long before he was well. After receiving his mustering out papers at Louisville, Mr. Ferguson returned to his Michigan home, where he was finally discharged in 1865. Here he worked for two years, and in 1867 bought a farm in Oakland county. There for some years he made his home and was known as quite a successful farmer.
Mr. Ferguson was married for the first time in the spring of 1864, when Miss Sarah Taylor became his bride. She died in 1872, leaving a family of three children - Maggie, Mabel and Myron, who died in infancy. Mr. Ferguson contracted a second marriage January 1, 1873, with Miss Christina McLain, and to this union have come eight children: Clyde and Cora, who are twins; Frank, Flora, Boyce, Fred, Jesse and Dale.
The year of his second marriage Mr. Fer-
guson sold out his Oakland county property and removed to Macomb county and made his home on a rented farm near Romeo for twelve years. He found, however, that he was not making headway in the old community, and after much thought determined to seek his fortunes in the newer west, selecting Rock county, Nebraska, as the theater for the struggle for a home and competence. In 1885 he made homestead entry on section 26, township 30, range 20, where with a team and wagon, two cows, a modest supply of household goods and some thirty dollars in money he began what has proved a very successful career on the frontier. For two years after his coming he rented land, while he was building on his homestead and making ready for the family. During these years it seemed as if many kinds of calamity waited on him, but could not crush him. In 1885 he lost his best horse, which was not the only hard luck that came to him. For three successive seasons he watched the burning sun and the cloudless skies for weeks and weeks, as his crops withered and died in the dry and burning heat. He was not discouraged, and after several seasons of dry weather bought a half section of land where he is found at the present time. Here he has put up the needed buildings, and at once put sixty acres under the plow. He also has under his care four hundred acres of school land, two hundred of which are under active tillage. He is largely engaged in stock raising, and is making the dairy one of his most important interests. Politically he is known as a Bryan Democrat, and from the earlier days has taken much interest in party affairs. The family are members of the Methodist church, while Mr. Ferguson holds fellowship with the American Order of Protection and the Grand Army of the Republic.
Mons Johnson was born December 24, 1858, in the town of Skrurup, Sweden, and there grew to manhood, following farming as an occupation until he reached his twenty-second year, when he left his native land and came to America. On April. 29, 1881, he embarked at Malma for Hull, and after crossing England sailed from Liverpool. A voyage of eleven days, during which they weathered two severe storms, landed the traveler in New York city. He came directly west to LaSalle county, Illinois, and spent three years at work near the city of LaSalle, then moved to Seward county, Nebraska, and remained in that vicinity for an equal period. His next location was in Cheyenne county. Coming here in the spring of 1886, he immediately filed on a homestead on section 2, township 14, range 48, then returned to Seward county, sojourning but a short time. In the fall he became a permanent resident of Cheyenne county and built a dwelling on his claim and has since spent his entire career in the section, going through all the pioneer's experiences in developing a good farm and ranch. He has succeeded admirably in his undertakings, now owning about eleven hundred and twenty acres, all of which is well improved with good buildings, windmills and fences He has about two hundred acres under cultivation, and runs one hundred head of cattle and a small bunch of horses.
Mr. Johnson takes an active and leading part in local and county affairs of importance, and is one of the prosperous and successful men of his community. He has helped build and establish the schools in his neighborhood, having acted as director of district No. 39 for a number of years, and at present is serving as treasurer. Politically he is a Democrat
Mr. Johnson was married in Cheyenne county, September 29, 1887, to Emma Wilson, who was born and reared in Woodford county, Illinois, but came to Cheyenne county with her parents in 1886. Her mother is a resident of Sidney. Mr. Johnson's parents, who are both dead, were the parents of five children, of whom he was the eldest. The marriage of our subject and his wife was the first to take place on the North Divide.
Six children have been born to Mr. and Mrs. Johnson, namely: Marna E., Clyde A., Essie Florence, Lee W., Leslie M. and Earl N., all living at home. Though reared in the Lutheran church, Mr. Johnson is now a member of the Church of Christ.
the distinction of being one of the few men who have been in this region for so long a time. When he first came here he was almost the only white man in his locality, and Indians were thick all around his place, the forests were overrun with all kinds of wild game, and he relates many interesting anecdotes of those times, when the pioneers lived in dugouts and were obliged to use every sort of a makeshift in order to get along and establish a home.
Mr. McDonald was born in Henry county, Illinois, in 1861. His mother was a native of Glasgow, Scotland, and his father of Dublin, Ireland. They emigrated to the new world when young people, settling in the state of New York for a time, and then came to Illinois.
Our subject was reared on a farm, attending the country schools during his boyhood years when he was not engaged in assisting in the farm work. When he was thirteen years of age he spent some years in the mining town of Lovejoy, Illinois. He was just twenty-two years old when he first struck Nebraska, accompanied by his father, who filed on a government claim of one hundred and sixty acres in section 15, township 24, range 14. Three years later the son also took up a claim of one hundred and sixty acres, located in section 15, township 24, range 14, and the McDonald ranch now contains nine hundred acres and is considered one of the finest ranches in Garfield county. This is owned at the present time by our subject and a brother. They raise a great deal of stock, dealing principally in high-grade Shorthorn cattle, and raise plenty of corn, oats and other grain for feed on the place. Besides cattle they raise quite a number of horses and some hogs each year, making a nice income from their stock raising operations.
Neither our subject or his brother are married, a sister living with them as their housekeeper, and the three have a pleasant and comfortable home, happy and peaceful. They are all members of the Roman Catholic church, and highly esteemed in their community as industrious and worthy citizens. W. H. McDonald has served his township as road overseer for five terms.
Mr. Osburn was born on a farm in Decatur county, Iowa, January 11, 1854, but grew to manhood in Monroe county, in the same state, where he received such educational advantages as the times afforded. His father, Jonathan Osborn, came of an old American family, and while he was by trade a carpenter, devoted his life mostly to farming, in which he was notably successful. His wife, Julia A. Stocker, the mother of Richard Osburn, was of German blood, her parents having come into this country from Germany in the early years of the past century. Jonathan Osburn and wife were the parents of a family of six children, of whom the one whose career forms the subject of this sketch was the first born.
Mr. Osburn began life for himself when about twenty years of age, and for a few months was engaged in farm work in Kansas, but soon removed to Nodaway county, Missouri, where he bought a forty-acre farm, on which he made his home for some ten years. He was married to Miss Nancy Halsey. March 31, 1884. Her people were of New England descent, though her father, Zebidee Halsey, was born and reared in Virginia. Her mother, Cecilia Chatham, was a lady that well fulfilled the best ideals of American womanhood. To Mr. and Mrs. Richard Osburn have come nine children, all of whom were born on the farm where we find them today, and all of whom are now living: Della May, Joseph Mills, John Wesley, Frank Edgar, Albert Marion, Richard Evart, Floyd Emmet, Earl and Sylvia Anne.
In the spring of 1884 Mr. and Mrs. Osburn came to Nebraska and pitched their tent, where their home is found at the present time in Cherry county. They are still living in the log house which was erected to shelter them at their first coming, though it has been greatly improved and enlarged, so that it bears little resemblance to what was the first structure on the place. The land itself has been greatly improved by thorough and systematic cultivation. Mr. Osburn found life an uphill
road during the first years of his residence in Cherry county. He was glad at times to get anything to do in which he could find scanty support for his family. During the long drouth between 1893 and 1896 he raised no crops whatever, fully realizing what it means to have a famine in the land. The next year was more prosperous and he began to forge ahead, so that now he is very comfortably situated, with no fear for the future. He is the owner of four hundred acres of good farm land, and has at least one hundred and fifty acres under active cultivation. Mr. Osburn devotes much attention to cattle, hogs and horses, and is keeping about fifty head each of cattle and hogs, with half as many horses. The very satisfactory results of his experience in stock encourage him to still further efforts in this line. During the unrest when an Indian uprising was threatened in 1891 Mr. Osburn moved his family twelve miles nearer the fort for safety, but shortly returned to the farm, fearing no danger since.
Mr. Osburn is a Democrat in his general political affiliations, and takes a commendable interest in local and school affairs. For some fifteen years he has been a member of the school board, and may be counted on for a quick response to every appeal for a better community, and the advance of educational and moral institutions. He is a member of the American Order of Protection at Valentine.
In 1899 he went to Wisconsin and engaged in the mercantile business, but had just got started when fire destroyed everything he had, so he returned to Nebraska with what little he had left, having spent just eleven months in Wisconsin. He has since then been on his farm constantly, engaged in the cattle business and farming, and now has four hundred and eighty acres of good farming land and runs sixty head of cattle and twelve horses. For the first six years he was on his farm he had to buy all the seed he planted, and considers he has done well since locating here. He is nicely situated now, having the postoffice on his place and telephone connections in his home, and intends to remain here for the future.
In 1894 our subject was married to Miss Annie M. Van Doren, born in Brown county, Wisconsin, in 1874. She is a daughter of Stephen Van Doren, a native of Holland, who came to this country and settled in Wisconsin in the early days, then was a pioneer in Platte county, Nebraska, where he remained for twelve years. He came to Sheridan county in 1887 and has been here for nineteen years. To Mr. and Mrs. Peters have been born the following children: Stephen, Mary, Nellie, Delia, Arthur, Ella, Charles and Richard, the baby, all born and reared in this county. Mr. Peters votes independent of party, always going in for the best man. He has held local office at different times, and at present is serving as justice of the peace and notary public. He was nominated by the dominant party of the county for county judge in 1897, being only twenty-five years of age at that time, and the youngest man ever nominated in Sheridan county for any office.
this locality for many years past. He was born in 1840 in Chester county, Pennsylvania, and was raised in Morgan county, Illinois. His father, E. H. Carlile, and his mother, Anna M. (Cooper) Carlile, were both natives of Chester county, Pennsylvania. His grandfather on his father's side married Phoebe Curtis Hoops, of Pennsylvania, who distinctly remembers the wintering of Washington's army at Valley Forge.
Mr. Carlile came to Reuben township, Harlan county, Nebraska, in 1881, and lived there up to 1906, then settled on his present place. He took up a homestead near Mascot, in Spring Grove township. He remembers many interesting events of the early days, and saw the famous Kit Carson and heard the Lincoln and Douglas debates. In 1861 he enlisted in the First Missouri Volunteer Cavalry and served in the western department under General Curtis. He was at the battle of Red Ridge and Sugar Creek, through Missouri, Arkansas, Kansas and Tennessee, and served for four years and two months in all, being mustered out in the spring of 1865. He is a prominent member of the Grand Army of the Republic, Orleans post.
Mr. Carlile is engaged in farming, assisted by his son Edwin, who is of invaluable help to his father in his declining years. Our subject was married January 25, 1882, to Miss Mary Ann Cooper. Mrs. Carlile is a daughter of Enos R. Cooper, and she came from Athens county, Ohio, in 1878, and took a homestead in Phelps county, near Atlanta. Her mother was Mary A. Miller, and both parents were pioneers in Ohio. Mrs. Carlile is a lady of excellent business ability, and to her foresight and good judgment her husband attributes their present prosperity. She was educated at Albany, Ohio, and was a teacher there for nineteen terms, and after coming to Nebraska taught for four terms, coming here alone, and at once secured a title to a homestead and pre-emption containing in all three hundred and twenty acres. She was never discouraged by the failures of crops, which worked such a hardship to so many, but kept on developing her place, and also dealt in considerable land, handling altogether twelve hundred and forty acres in five different pieces, and has made handsome profits from her investments. During the years that Mr. and Mrs. Carlile have been married they have lived in five different sod houses and two frame houses, their present home being a comfortable two-story twenty-eight by thirty-two building, fitted up with all the modern improvements, and a very handsome dwelling. There is hot and cold water connections, fine bath room, furnace and every convenience for comfort and utility. The exterior is adorned by a portico which surrounds three sides of the house, one side completely screened in to secure greater comfort for the occupants. From their home can be seen miles of beautiful rolling country, and they enjoy the refreshing breeze from these valleys, which makes it one of the most desirable locations in that locality. Mr. and Mrs. Carlile are very grateful for the events which brought them together in fertile Nebraska, and for the prosperity which has attended them. They have the blessing of thoughtful children, and the son and daughter of the house relieve their parents of many burdens, the former carrying on the farm and the latter taking much of the household work from the shoulders of her mother. The blessings of an honest, industrious and consistent life are untold, and those who have spent many years in toiling earnestly for a competence for their old age are indeed fortunate in being able to find so much peace and enjoyment as the subject of this sketch and his good wife. During the years 1881 to 1886 Mr. Carlile kept Pleasant Ridge postoffice at his house, and it was there also that the elections were held for the first ten years.
Mr. Reed was born in Portage county, Ohio, in 1860. His father, Harlow Reed, was a miller by trade, and later a farmer. He came of old Yankee stock, and was a native of Connecticut and married Fidelia Griffin, also of American blood. Our subject was raised in Ohio until he was four years old, when his parents moved to Ottawa county, Michigan, settling on a farm in the timbered section, and lived there for eight years. In October, 1872, they came to Nebraska and settled in Merrick county, where they went through pioneer experiences, starting a farm on the wild land, which they filed on as a homestead, and there