sions, and has brought back a load of five thousand pounds, with the thermometer forty degrees below zero. He was often discouraged, and was tempted to give it up, but he was sure he could in the end succeed. He did endure, and is now reaping the fruit of industrious habits and a mighty persistency.
Our subject was raised in Scotland, receiving a business training as a boy, attending the public schools there, afterwards being employed for some years in a bank, and later worked in a land office for some years, besides some experience in farming. In 1891 he left his native land and came to America. He settled in the Black Hills country, where he worked on a ranch, being in the employ of Clay, Robinson & Company, large ranch owners, and he remained with them for five years. In the winter of 1893 he came to Sheridan county, Nebraska. Three years later he filed on a homestead situated nineteen miles south of Hay Springs, remaining there and proving up on the place, "batching it" all that time, and he succeeded in building up a good ranch, disposing of it in 1903. He then bought land near Ha y Springs, on which he lived for four years, selling this place at a good profit. In 1907 he came to his present location, purchasing part of the place outright, and intends developing it into a first-class ranch. He is owner of a nice residence about a mile from the town of Alliance. In the year 1901 Mr. Bird was married to a daughter of Samuel McCutcheon, of American stock. Mrs. Bird prior to her marriage to our subject was a school teacher in the west, having followed that profession for several years. They have one child, Cecil Elliott Bird. Vernon and Bernice are Mrs. Bird's children by her first marriage. Mr. Bird takes a commendable interest in local affairs, voting the straight Republican ticket.
Mr. Hahn was born in Clayton county, Iowa, in 1867, and raised and educated on his father's farm. He is a son of Peter Hahn, a native of Germany, who came to the United States at the age of eight years with his parents, who settled in Iowa in 1858, where they took a homestead and farmed for several years, and are now living in Kearney, Nebraska. Our subject's mother, who prior to her marriage was Miss Elizabeth Latheman, was born and raised in Germany, and died in this country in 1880, leaving a family of twelve children, of whom he is the seventh member in order of birth. He started out for himself at the age of twenty-one years, and came to this county with his parents in 1886, working out in the neighborhood of their home, then took up a homestead two years later situated in section 29, township 28, range 45, and began to build up his farm. Here he "batched it" for one year, then was married in 1890 to Miss Katie Zurcher, born in Iowa in 1870, daughter of William Zurcher, a native of Germany, farmer by occupation, who came to this country in 1887 and settled in Sheridan county the same year. Mr. Zurcher's wife died in 1872 when Mrs. Hahn was a small child ten months old. Five children were born as a result of this union, who are named as follows: Nora, Ethel, Edna, George and Clara, all born and raised in this locality.
Mr. Hahn remained on his own homestead up to 1906, when he bought his father's place, putting up a new house on it, and operates this farm in addition to his own. When he first came here he engaged in farming, but during the dry years he lost his crops and this put him back considerable. He often felt like giving up his place, but saw nothing better to do, so stayed on and tried to make a living. For four years he was unable to get ahead any, although he never had a total failure of his crops, and managed to make a bare living. He kept buying a few head of stock
Compendium of History Reminiscence & Biography of Western Nebraska
and gradually got quite a herd together, and now engages in mixed farming and stock raising and is doing well. He owns twelve hundred and eighty acres, farming about one hundred of this, using a large part for grazing and hay land, and also rents out some of his farm. He keeps sixty-five head of cattle and about ten horses all the time. He is well satisfied with this region and states that he will remain here permanently, but the only drawback is the great distance to the town, Schill being his nearest postoffice. There is a good school near his ranch, which his children attend, and this is of great advantage. He has improved his farm with good buildings, and has it all fenced, having built over ten miles of fencing.
Mr. Hahn never takes much interest in politics, as he says he has no time to devote to those affairs and lets the other fellow attend to that part of the business, preferring to put in his time in building up his home. He is a Prohibitionist, and has been for a number of years.
An interesting picture of Mr.
Hahn's residence and the family will be found on another page.
FACTS ABOUT ROCK COUNTY, NEB.
By P. H. Davis.
The subdivision of the state of Nebraska known as Rock county was detached from Brown county, of which it was a part, in 1888. When it was decided by the inhabitants of the territory comprising this county to detach, the same from Brown county and organize a new county certain formalities had to be observed, and the first step necessary for the formation of a new county was to present a petition for the election, and in the petition so presented, the name of the proposed county was a necessary part. A few of the promoters of the new county met at the village of Newport to perfect arrangements for the purpose of circulating the petition and to select a name for the proposed county. At that meeting it was agreed that the county should be named after a stream of water, than which there is no more beautiful stream in all the state, viz., Rock creek. This stream has its source in the hay flats about seven miles northwest of Newport. It flows northward and empties into the Niobrara river. About half way between its source and mouth is a deposit of exceptionally fine building stone, and it is understood this stream took its name in an early day from this deposit of rock. On this stream is the only real rock quarry in the county.
Generally speaking, the soil of Rock county is a sandy loam. It is true that there are some sand hills, but there are also a great many exceedingly fine valleys in it, and for its size no county in the state produces more or better hay. There is also a good deal of excellent farm land in the county, and in the localities where the soil is adapted for farming, as good crops can be raised as are grown anywhere in eastern Nebraska. A large portion is suitable only for grazing and no county in the state has greater possibilities in the line of dairying than it has. Some reasons for this fact are: Practically enough grain is raised to supply the needs of the dairyman and stockman; there is plenty of hay in all parts of the county for home use, with thousands of tons left each year for the outside markets; there are numerous small streams, many lakes and underflow water easily accessible in all parts of the county. No county in the state excels Rock county in the quality, quantity and accessibility in this regard. The native grasses here are as good as are the grasses in any other part of the State on the same altitude, and even the sand hills furnish splendid summer grazing.
No place can you find a larger per cent. of the people prospering and living contentedly than in Rock county.
Before the railroad came through this county a bridge was built across the Niobrara river about ten miles north of this place. Mule trains crossed this bridge and proceeded many miles west on the north side of the river. This bridge was called the Newport bridge. When the railroad was built in 1883 the chief engineer thought it proper to call this place Newport. At that time it is said that the present town site of Newport resembled the famous summer and water resort, Newport as it was partly under water.
Newport bears the distinction of being the largest hay shipping point in the world. It lies nearly in the center of a large hay territory, and which extends into one almost unbroken valley for about twenty-two miles south. The hay business is carried on in some of its branches during every month in the year. About twenty-five thousand tons of hay are exported each year, in addition to the large amount consumed at home.
Bassett, the county seat of Rock county, Nebraska, was named after J. W. Bassett, a ranchman, who came to Rock county in 1871
with a large herd of cattle. For a number of years he ranged his cattle in the head of the now famous Elkhorn valley, having his house and sheds just south of the large Bassett hill southeast of the present town site of Bassett. This hill is one of the highest hills in the country and the view from this place is magnificent. This hill was used by the cattle rustlers in the pioneer days of Rock county as a signal station. Lights were sent up as signals and could be seen for many miles.
The famous "Kid" Wade, the young horsethief who operated so successfully in this section of the country and was finally caught in a barn in Bassett and later taken from the authorities by vigilantes, was hanged to a whistling post just east of Bassett. The next day his body was cut down and buried on this hill.
J. W. Bassett was a widower when he came to Rock county, and during his stay in this county his daughter kept house for him. He left in 1883, just after the railroad came through and settlers began to homestead the land.
J. H. CAMPBELL.
This gentleman has worked long and hard, denied himself in years gone by that he might become thoroughly successful in his life work, and is today reckoned among the leading citizens of Kimball county. He has a residence on his ranch, but also has a town house in Kimball so as to afford school advantages for the children.
J. H. Campbell was born in Dekalb county, Illinois, September 17, 1849, and made that state his home until he was twenty-two years of age. He was the youngest in a family of eight children, two sisters now living in Hamilton county, Nebraska, while the balance are scattered about the country. Both parents are dead. In 1871 Mr. Campbell came to Nebraska, settling in York county, where he lived for fourteen years and proved up on an eighty-acre homestead and then moved to Hamilton county, remaining there for two years, and landed in Kimball county (then called Cheyenne county), in 1887. He took a pre-emption and homestead on section 30, township 13, range 55, proved up on eighty acres and later filed on a Kincaid claim on section 14, which comprises his home ranch, although he has large interests in other lands in the vicinity. He has the ranch fitted up in splendid shape with good buildings and every improvement, and raises stock of all kinds, having a fine bunch of horses, also cultivates about one hundred and fifty acres.
Mr. Campbell was married while still living in Dekalb county, Illinois, to Miss Elizabeth Murray, their wedding occurring in October, 1868. Three children were born to them, only one of whom is now living - Iva - wife of Chris Pfeifer, living in Banner county, Nebraska. Mrs. Campbell died February 28, 1876. Mr. Campbell was married again February 20, 1879, in Hamilton county, Nebraska, to Mary L. Murray, a sister of his former wife, and a native of Illinois, born in Kane county. The parents of Mrs. Campbell are both dead. Four children were born of this union, two of whom are living - Roy and Etta Fay.
Mrs. Campbell has two sisters and one brother living in Nebraska. Mr. Campbell has always been active in county and local affairs, lending his influence for the best interests of his community. He was one of the first county commissioners of Kimball county and has held other public offices. In political views he is a Republican.
BENJAMIN F. THORNBURG.
Benjamin F. Thornburg, for many years past one of the leading business men of Potter, Nebraska, and who is also one of the earliest settlers of Cheyenne county, is the senior partner of the firm of Thornburg & Son, dealers in general merchandise at Potter. Mr. Thornburg has been closely identified with the upbuilding of that region, has passed through all the vicissitudes of pioneer life in the west, and well remembers the time when the dugout, in which he lived with his family for many years, was the familiar dwelling throughout the country. A large portion of his career has been spent in farming and ranching in Nebraska, and he is well known and highly esteemed by his fellow-men.
Mr. Thornburg is a native of Newcomerstown, Ohio, born on January 12, 1849, and spent seven years of his childhood in that locality. The family then moved to Fulton county, Illinois, where the father was engaged in farming for about eleven years, at which time our subject came with his parents to Kirksville, Missouri. In 1886 he came to Cheyenne county and took a homestead and timber claim in section 8, township 12, range 51, and followed farming on the place for seven years. During this time he also pre-empted a quarter section in the same vicinity, and was engaged in ranching for a number of years. In 1900 he started in the mercantile business
at Potter, and succeeded in building up a large trade throughout the county and surrounding country. Mr. Thornburg was married February 9, 1871, at Kirksville, Missouri, to Miss Sarah J. Lutes, who was born November 11, 1855, in West Virginia. Her father and mother are now deceased, she being the eldest of a family of five children. Our subject and his wife have a family of four children, named as follows: George A., a member of the firm, who is married, his wife's maiden name being Minnie Hensen; they have two children, Hazel and Georgia. The second son, Edward, is engaged in ranching in this county. He married Margaret Brown, and they have one daughter, Agnes. Thomas F. Thornburg, the third son, is proprietor of a store at Sidney. He also is married and has one child, Dorothy. Susie Thornburg, the youngest child of our subject, is still living at home with her parents and is a charming and accomplished young woman. In politics Mr. Thornburg adheres to the principles of the Republican party and he takes an active part in local and county affairs. Socially he is a member of the Potter camp, Modern Woodmen of America.
J. P. MARSHALL.
J. P. Marshall, an enterprising and prosperous farmer of Williamsburg township, Phelps county, Nebraska, is widely known as a worthy citizen who has closely identified himself with the agricultural interest of his locality, and has built up a fine home and farm, but has not retired from all active business.
Mr. Marshall is a native of Canada, and came to the United States from Renfrew county. Ontario, Canada, in 1878. His father, James B. Marshall, has served as township clerk for many years past, and our subject's uncle, of whom a sketch will be found in this volume, is Hon. T. H. Marshall, who represented Phelps county in the state legislature in 1886. J. P. Marshall came to this township in 1884 with his father, who purchased three hundred and twenty acres of land in section 27, on which he lived until his recent retirement. The family came here from York county, Nebraska, where they had farmed for four years. Our subject owns a farm consisting of one hundred and sixty acres in section 26, Williamsburg township, Phelps county, and began farming for himself in 1887. He also owned and operated a threshing machine, which work he followed in York county, and since his residence here has owned a threshing outfit for over twenty years. He engages in mixed farming, raising quite a number of horses, cattle and hogs, and his grain crops are exceedingly good. In 1902 he had wheat which showed a yield of fifty bushels to the acre, and in 1892 he had a twenty-acre patch of corn which ran seventy-five bushels to the acre. He is one of the successful and substantial young farmers of this county, and an intelligent and public-spirited citizen. His brothers, O. B. and Charles A. Marshall, are together and operate their father's farm. Our subject had five brothers and four sisters.
Mr. Marshall is an Independent in politics. Mr. J. P. Marshall was married in 1886 to Mary Jones, whose parents were old settlers of Phelps county, Nebraska. Mr. and Mrs. Marshall have a family of five children - Ora L., S. Wesley, Abigail, Effie W. and Rhoda Priscilla.
FERDINAND E. NIKONT.
Ferdinand Nikont, known throughout Box Butte county as a man of good citizenship and untiring energy, is a resident of township 26, range 51, where he owns and operates an extensive farm of eight or ten sections.. He has been identified with the upbuilding of that locality for many years, and while acquiring his valuable estate has also gained for himself an enviable reputation as one of the prominent old settlers and influential residents since the pioneer days of this region.
Mr. Nikont was born in the western part of Russia, of German parents, in 1857. His father was born in Russia, and was the first of the family of Nikont to leave Germany. Our subject was reared in the land of his birth, and as a boy attended the common schools and assisted his father in performing all the farm work on the home place. At the age of twenty-nine years Ferdinand and brothers came to America. During his young manhood he had learned the trade of an engineer, and worked in his home vicinity as a railroad engineer for several years. After landing in the United States he came west and settled in eastern Nebraska, where he followed farm work for a year, then came to Box Butte county and filed on a homestead southwest of Hemingford. His first building was a sod house, in which he and his brother "batched it" for several years. They had a very small start and went through the usual pioneer hardships and privations, having a hard time to get along, and when the dry years came upon them they were unable to raise any crops to speak of, also suffered from hail, etc. At this time the railroad was being laid through this ...
region, and both brothers were able to secure work on the road and in this way managed to make a living and improve their farm to some extent.
At this time Mr. Nikont, with his brother and a brother-in-law, owns a ranch comprising ten sections of land, all of which is fully improved and well stocked with cattle, This ranch is situated on section 6, township 26, range 51, and is a valuable property.
Our subject is an independent voter.
Mr. Paxton was born in the village of Wahoo, Nebraska, November 4, 1880, a son of Charles T. and Johannah (Arndt) Paxton, and was the fifth member of a family of seven children, named as follows: Alice T., Albert L. and Alfred V., twins; David E., Benjamin F., Mary L. and Katie I. David died in Lead City, South Dakota, in the summer of 1907. The father was a carpenter by trade, but familiar with farming, to which he turned his attention in 1883, locating his family that year on a homestead in Cherry county. The mother was a German by descent, and reared her children to the industrious habits and honest character peculiar to that race and blood. At first enduring privations the family lived in a small frame house, but later a more commodious log house was erected. The Paxton spirit was strong and a persistent holding of the situation has brought ample success at last.
Benjamin F. Paxton began life for himself at the age of seventeen years, and from the first has manifested a strong and manly character. For a time he was a farm laborer, and did such work as he could command. He was in South Dakota for a time, where he was employed in various capacities, but all the time preparing for his own independent and successful career. In 1903 he began farming in company with a brother, and they now own in partnership two hundred and forty acres, well located along the Niobrara river. He is giving considerable attention to gardening, in which he is making a satisfactory financial success.
The farm is fitted up for practical working, with a comfortable dwelling, stables and other needed buildings. Besides the ranch, the brothers individually own two tracts of land, Benjamin F. having filed on six hundred and forty acres of land in section 26, township 32, range 28, in 1906.
Alfred V. Paxton, the brother associated with our subject in his land deals, was born in 1875, and individually owns a fine farm of one hundred and sixty acres. The push and enterprise of the brothers, together with their clear perception of sound business principles and their readiness to deal straight and square, have made them prominent factors in the agricultural interests of Cherry county.
Mr. Haley was born on a farm near Monticello, Jones county, Iowa, October 4, 1863, of Irish ancestry. The sixth in a family of eight children, he was reared and educated in Sioux county, Iowa, whither the family moved in 1868. At the age of twenty he came to O'Neil, Nebraska, where he was placed in charge of the Wilcox lumber yard, which position he held for five years. In 1888 he came to Valentine and opened an abstract office, having the first and only set of similar books in the county. Since then Mr. Haley has been interested in the insurance and real estate business, principally in Cherry county.
In 1894 he took a Kincaid homestead, engaged in the ranching business and in connection with his other interests bred horses and other stock on his ranch of some one thousand four hundred acres, which is located only a short distance from Valentine. In 1889 Mr. Haley was married to Miss Emma G. McNichols, who was a teacher in the O'Neil high school. She was born in Fond du Lac, Wisconsin, a daughter of Michael McNichols, a farmer and one of the early settlers in O'Neil, coming to the state about the year 1886. Mr. and Mrs. Haley are the parents of eight children, named as follows: William B., who is employed in his father's office; Laurentia, Margaret, Clarence, Cletus, Martha, Zeta and Frank, of whom all excepting William and Laurentia were born in Valentine.
Mr. Haley takes an active part in local affairs, having held county office at different
times, and was appointed postmaster under Cleveland, holding that office for five years. In 1899 he was elected county commissioner for a three-year term on the Democratic ticket, as chairman of the board was instrumental in locating the courthouse on its present site, supervised the construction of the same and had the lawn improved, including the planting of threes. All this was a labor of love, Mr. Haley freely giving his time and attention for the public good. As chairman of the building committee of the board of education he performed similar services for the new high school building, and of his work here any man may well feel proud. He was one of the organizers of the Valentine Building and Loan Association, and served as its secretary thirteen years. He served as deputy assessor for Valentine precinct in 1908 under appointment of P. H. Young.
Together with his family Mr. Haley is a communicant of the Catholic church. Of the social organizations he affiliates with the Modern Woodmen of America, Ancient Order of United Workmen and the Royal Highlanders.
Mr. Jeter was born in Orleans, Orange county, Indiana, September 30, 1856. He is a son of J. S. Jeter, a native of Jessamine county, Kentucky, where the Jeter family have been prominent in the building up of the state, and were among the early settlers whose names figure prominently in the history of old Virginia, having originally come from England to America when the country was still in its early development. Our subject's mother, Miss Mary Sears, is a native of Orleans, Orange county, Indiana, also comes of old pioneer stock. Our subject was reared and educated in Indiana, and remained with his parents until a young man, assisting his father in the postoffice at Orleans, the father being postmaster, and the training he received stood him in good stead in later years when he was obliged to start out in life for himself and carve out a name and fortune for himself. Mr. Jeter began railroad work in 1881 and in 1886 he came to North Platte, and obtained employment with the Union Pacific road and began working his way up step by step, always striving for advancement, and while in one position studying to fit himself for the next higher position, and his efforts were rewarded, for he has been steadily promoted from time to time, and is now passenger conductor on the Union Pacific railway, running from North Platte to Cheyenne. Soon after locating in North Platte, he became freight conductor for this company, and in 1899 was appointed passenger conductor. Prior to coming to North Platte he was connected with the bridge department of the Union Pacific railroad at Omaha, Nebraska. This was in 1881. He has a brother, S. I. Jeter, who is conected (sic) with the Union Pacific railway at Omaha, having been employed in the bridge department of the company for a period of thirty-eight years. Another brother, F. E. Jeter, is with the bridge department of the same railroad, located at Columbus, Nebraska.
Mr. Jeter was married in 1889 to Miss Hattie Rankin, who is a daughter of Thomas Rankin, of Orleans, Orange county, Indiana. The Rankins are a prominent Scotch-Irish family, who came to this country and settled in Pennsylvania before the Revolutionary war, and whose members are all strong Presbyterians, widely known for their deep interest in educational, church, and state work all over the United States. Mr. Jeter's wife prior to her marriage was a teacher for several years in Indiana and Illinois, and continued in the work for one year after moving to North Platte. She still maintains an active interest in the different literary clubs and social circles in North Platte, where she is one of the most prominent members, and a very bright and popular woman. Her sister, Miss Clara Rankin, is also a resident of North Platte, and is the proprietor of the leading photograph gallery in the city. She is well known all over the community for her excellent work as an artist, and has been most successful in every branch of the work. Mr. and Mrs. Jeter have two daughter, Beryl and Helen, and they have a host of friends and acquaintances who are frequent partakers of their genial hospitality.
Mr. Jeter is an active member of the order of Railway Conductors, also an Elk, of the Cheyenne lodge, and of the Ancient Order of United Workmen and the Knights of Pythias.
effort and strictest attention to duty, and his high station as a worthy citizen is well deserved.
Mr. Dean is a native of Hendricks county, Indiana, born near North Salem, December 12, 1858. He made that vicinity his home until 1881, having worked out three years; from that date until 1884 he resided in Audubon county, Iowa, and then moved to Nebraska, settling on a ranch in Saunders county, arriving in that region in March, 1884, where he remained for eight years. In the spring of 1892 he took up a homestead in section 35, township 19, range 50, Cheyenne county, and has made that his home ever since. He is owner of a beautiful ranch comprising two thousand seven hundred and forty acres, leasing besides this six hundred and forty acres of school land, on which their district school is located and controls altogether about five thousand acres, which is devoted principally to ranching purposes; on this there is about twenty miles of three-wire fence. He keeps about eight hundred head of cattle and horses, and irrigates seven hundred acres, raising splendid crops of alfalfa and wheat-grass hay. Four miles of Greenwood and Pumpkinseed creeks course through his ranch, which enables him to own and control two private irrigation ditches. He also owns several shares in Court House Rock Irrigation Company.
Our subject is a thorough stockman, and an authority in the matter of thoroughbred animals. He keeps only high-trade stock dealing in Belgian horses and mules, of which he has two hundred head; he owns some of the finest Percheron and Belgian horses in the country. His cattle are all of the Galloway breed, and at present he has a herd of six hundred, and this herd is known far and wide as one of the best to be found in the west. The value of land has increased greatly in Cheyenne county since Mr. Dean settled here; to illustrate this increase, one quarter section of the land owned by Mr. Dean was exchanged for a pair of chickens and a cultivator at one time. Another quarter section sold for fifty dollars. The land is now worth twenty dollars and more per acre.
On October 19, 1880, Mr. Dean was married to Miss Laura Dixon, at Lodoga, Indiana. Mrs. Dean was born in Putnam county, Indiana, in January, 1864. Three children have been born to Mr. Dean and his good wife, namely: Goldie, who married Samuel Livingston, now living in Sidney, and Roy and Roscoe, both at home. The family occupy a new stone residence, and their home is one of the most pleasant to be found anywhere. The large stone barn erected in 1904, together with stone outbuildings, give the ranch its name of Stone Ranch.
Mr. Dean is prominent in state and county affairs, and is one of the well-known, public-spirited men of his community. He has served his township in different capacities, and is at present assessor of Court House Rock precinct. He is a Democrat.
We are pleased to call your
attention to a view of the ranch buildings on another page,
showing as well the picturesque rock which gives the precinct its
Mr. Bender was born in Ingham county, Michigan, in 1854. He comes of good old American stock, his father, Samuel Bender, being of German descent. He married Lydia Lee, who came of mixed blood and is a direct descendant of the celebrated Lee family and near relative of General Robert E. Lee and Fitzhugh Lee, of Virginia.
The family lived in Michigan and farmed there for many years. Lineus was educated in the common schools as a boy, and later attended Albion College. The father died in 1859, and after that time our subject was obliged to strike out for himself, and followed farm work, also clerked in a store in different places for some time.
Some years were spent in northern Michigan, and he was married in 1880 to Miss Hattie Casey, daughter of William Casey, of Albion, Michigan. In 1898 Mr. Bender came west to Nebraska, locating in Sioux county, settling on the place known as the old Gray ranch, which is situated nine miles northwest of Crawford on Soldier creek. He was employed for two years by the Chicago & Northwestern railroad at Chadron, and after that time gave his undivided attention to the ranch, and has developed a fine place. There are three hundred and twenty acres, which Mr. Bender is owner of, and his son, Casey, also owns six hundred and forty acres of adjoining land.
Our subject spent many years of hard and constant labor in building up his estates, but has been well repaid for his efforts, and is now
in position to enjoy his years of toil. He has witnessed many hard times, and while he has suffered exceedingly, fully realizes that nothing is worth having that is acquired without a struggle, and does not regret the time he has put in accumulating his property.
Mr. and Mrs. Bender have a family of seven children, who form an interesting and charming family group;. They are named as follows: Casey W., Guy F., Samuel, Beulah, Lee, Margie and Carl. All the family are held in high esteem by their associates, and they occupy a foremost place in the community as worthy citizens.
Mr. Alderman is a native of Collins county, Texas, where he was born February 26, 1862, being the third child of a family of seven sons and one daughter. His father, James M. Alderman, Sr., was a ranchman and farmer, originally from Virginia, from whence he moved to Ohio and from thence to Missouri before settling in Brownsville, Nebraska, in 1854. After living here for a time he moved to Texas, later to Kansas City, Missouri, and then returned to Brownsville in 1870. He died in Newport, Nebraska, at the residence of his son. The mother was Miss Sarah Jane Kinder, of American blood. The family returned to Brownsville, a small town in Nemaha county, Nebraska, and here our subject was reared and educated. At the age of eighteen he started out for himself and for fourteen years was engaged in railroad work on the Burlington & Missouri railway and the Chicago & Northwestern railway, being employed as an operator and station agent. Beginning in 1880 he was stationed at Holdrege, Dorchester, Plattsmouth, La Platte, Oreopolis Junction, for shorter periods, and during 1887-88-89 he was on duty at Johnson, Nemaha county, Nebraska, followed by short assignments at Saxonville, Ashton and Hat Creek, St. Paul and Palmer. For several years he was bill clerk for the Wells Fargo Express Company at the Burlington & Missouri depot at Omaha. Returning to railroad work he served a short time at Scribner, and between the years of 1890 and 1894 he was station agent at Newport, Nebraska. In the latter years he quite the railroad and established a general merchandise business there, which he operated for two years; then disposing of his mercantile business he went into the hay business at that point. He remained there up to 1899, when he moved to Bassett and opened up the same kind of a business there, continuing this up to 1900. In that year he went into the hardware and supply business under the firm name of The Bassett Hardware and Supply Company, in partnership with E. L. Meyers. They had a large trade form the start and had developed an extensive enterprise at the time he disposed of it in 1907. In that year Mr. Alderman built a large hay shed and has engaged exclusively in that line of work ever since, some years shipping as high as a thousand cars of hay.
Mr. Alderman was married, May 15, 1887, to Miss Edith Morrison, a daughter of William F. and Elizabeth (Jones) Morrison, whose marriage occurred at Fort Madison, Iowa. They were old settlers at Plattsmouth, Nebraska, coming to that place about the year 1865, before any railroads had reached that point. Mr. Morrison was formerly a school teacher and later engaged in the meat business at Plattsmouth. Mr. and Mrs. Alderman have a family of six children, named as follows: Gertrude, Charles, Ruth, Ralph, Esther and Thelma.
Mr. Alderman takes an active part in county politics, and is a man of active pulbic-spirit (sic). In political sentiment he is a Democrat and serves his village on the town board. He is an Odd Fellow, a Workman and was formerly a member of the Pythian lodge.
Mr. Vath was born in Mechlenburg-Schwerin, Germany, in 1869. His father was a brick-layer and died in Germany in 1871. The mother, whose maiden name was Sophia Eicholz, together with her children, came to America in 1880. After landing in New York city they came west to Madison, Wisconsin, settling at Middleton, eight miles west of Madison, where our subject grew up, attending the common schools. He was passionately fond of music, and grew to be quite a musician, being entirely
self-taught. From the time he was fifteen years of age he has made his own way in the world, following farm work up to 1891, in Wisconsin, then came to Schuyler, Nebraska, where he worked for his elder brother William. He remained there up to 1901, then went to the Pacific coast, and was also all through Washington, Idaho, Utah, Wyoming, Oregon and California, spending altogether fifteen months traveling through the western states. In 1898, during the Spanish-American war, he enlisted in Company K, Second Nebraska Regiment and was sent south to Chickamauga, remaining there for several months, and then, like many others, was discharged, seeing no very active service. He was through Nashville and other large cities of the south on this trip. In 1903 he settled at Sidney, engaging in business and has remained here since that time. He has been successful since starting, but suffered quite a loss caused by fire, June 21, 1903, although partly covered by insurance, and the accident only caused him to close his business for twenty-four hours. Mr. Vath was married in 1903 to Miss Mary Salak, daughter of Martin Salak, an old settler in Colfax county, Nebraska. Mr. and Mrs. Vath have two children, Ralph and Paul.
Mr. Thurston was born in Iowa county, Iowa, in 1875, on a farm. His father, David Thurston, was a well known farmer and ranchman in Nebraska, locating in Grant county, in 1888, also was a pioneer in the eastern part of the state in Cass and Furnas counties. He married Emily Wight, and both were of old Yankee stock. Mrs. Thurston, the mother, resides in Hyannis, Nebraska, the father having died several years ago. When our subject was a lad of seven the family settled in Furnas county, after spending one year in Cass county. Charles and a brother, John H., grew up in Furnas county, and during their young manhood did a great deal of hunting, as the country was full of all kinds of wild game, many buffalo being killed in those days. During their first winter in that region they lived almost entirely on buffalo meat and corn bread. All supplies had to be hauled from Bloomington, a distance of eight miles from their homestead. In 1890 the two brothers made settlement close to Hyannis, and started at ranching, both working as cowboys, and they gradually improved their place and together built up a good home and valuable estate, the property containing five thousand acres, which is devoted to ranching purposes, and they have made a splendid success of their venture.
Mr. Thurston is active in local political and business matters, and one of the substantial citizens of his community. In 1907 he was elected sheriff of Grant county, and is at present serving his first term in that capacity, proving a most popular and capable official. Our subject lives part of the time with his mother in Hyannis.
Mr. Ray is a native of Venango, Pennsylvania. In 1885 his parents moved to Jackson county, Iowa, where they were among the pioneers of that state. The father, Thomas Ray, married Mary Sullivan, her father coming to America from Ireland in the early days, and settled in Pennsylvania. The Rays are of Scotch descent, our subject's great-grandfather having been a soldier in the war of 1812, was captured by the Indians near Lake Erie, Pennsylvania, escaping from them after a time. In 1862 our subject enlisted in the Civil war, joining Company I, Twelfth Iowa Infantry, and served with his regiment in the army under Rosecrans and Halleck, taking part in the siege of Corinth, and subsequently at the battle of Corinth, which was one of the most thrilling experiences in his career as a first sergeant of his company. He was also at the siege of Vicksburg, Jackson, and was one of Smith's guerrillas during the Atlanta campaign, as the Confederates called them. He marched through Mississippi, and then raided after Price through Arkansas and Missouri. He took part in the battle of Nashville, then on to Mobile, and at the siege of the Spanish Fort. His regiment was on the way near Blakely, and was engaged in the last battle of the war. He was mustered out at Memphis,
© 2000, 2001 for NEGenWeb Project Resource Center by T&C Miller