into our wagon boxes. His funeral was held on Sunday.
The survey, when I came here, extended to between ranges 28 and 29. There was a government party here in the summer of 1872, going on west with the survey. We held our election here in the year 1873, and the result was that Indianola was selected as the county seat, that is, section 7 and 18, and part of another section. Sixty-three votes were cast at that election, which was held on May 23, 1873,
Mr. Hill was born in Wakeman township, Huron county, Ohio. His father, Leveritt Hill, was born in Bridgewater, Connecticut, and his mother, who was Esther Strong, is a native of Woodbury, Connecticut. Her ancestor was Lieutenant John Strong, who came to America in the next vessel which left England after the Mayflower. The Strongs took a prominent part in the Revolutionary war, and among those who figured in the early history of the United states, and Mr. Hill is a near relative to the Shermans, and the Beechers. In 1856 he was a teacher in the public schools at Hamburg, Iowa.
He cast his first vote for Fremont, and this being the only Republican vote at that point the Democrats refused to accept it. After his father's death, the family moved to Tabor, Iowa. In those days this was the headquarters of John Brown, Jim Lane, and the Kansas anti-slavery forces, and in 1856 Mr. Hill enlisted in a company which was formed there to defend the anti-slavery party, with G. B. Gaston as captain, and Mortimer P. Clark first lieutenant and our subject second lieutenant, and the latter was identified with all the activities of those days. At one time he helped hide Jim Lane, afterward United States senator from Kansas, under a load of hay in order to convey him to a place of safety: and he was intimately associated with John Brown, Jim Lane, C. W. Cook, and all of the men who were interested in affairs which eventually led up to the war between the north and south. His brother, Rev. Edwin S. Hill, was for thirty-nine years pastor of the Congregational church in Atlantic, Iowa, and during the Civil war served as first lieutenant in Company A., Fourth Iowa Regiment, and took part in many battles. He is now located at Redlands, California. Of two other brothers, J. C. is living, and J. M. Hill is deceased.
In 1859 our subject crossed the state of Nebraska on the Califronia (sic) trail, fording the Platte rivers, his destination being California. When Mr. Hill first came to Nebraska he arrived here in company with George A. Hunter, L. B. Korn and W. Weygint, all of whom came from Tama, Iowa. Mr. Hill took a homestead and commuted, later settling on his pre-emption. Mr. Hill farmed on a small scale. This place was located one mile west of town of Indianola, and he also had taken a tree claim of eighty acres adjoining the pre-emption, and he worked both these places for twelve years, and then the Lincoln Land Company purchased eighty acres of his homestead and laid out the town site of Indianola. This was done in 1873, and the Burlington & Missouri railway was laid through here in 1880, and the county was organized, Indianola being made the county seat n 1873. Mr. Hill took an active part in all these affairs, and he has since been one of those who has helped make Redwillow county one of the most prosperous in western Nebraska.
He was appointed commissioner by Gov. Furnas to organize the county. The first white settler in this county, so far as can be learned, was John S. King, now deceased. For many years our subject was county surveyor, and acted as treasurer of the first school board in Redwillow county. He served as county judge for two terms, being the first to hold that office in the county. He enlisted in the Fourth California Infantry, Company G, and served for three years in lower California, Arizona and New Mexico. All through those states the rebels were strong and tried to organize and carry the territories into the confederacy, but were kept in check by the presence of the Union troops.
Judge Hill has the distinction of having married the first couple in Redwillow county.
In 1867 Mr. Hill was married to Miss Delia Jones, of Dover, Windham county, Vermont, daughter of Solomon and Mary (Esterbrook) Jones, who came west and located in Tabor, Fremont county, Iowa, in 1857. Mr. and Mrs. Hill have three children, who are named as follows: George C., located at Cripple Creek, Colorado, president and general manager of the Frees & Hill Lumber Company: Lena E., of Denver, who for the past
seven years has been trained nurse in St. Luke's Hospital. She was graduated with high honors at the head of her class, and since entering the profession has been very successful in her chosen work: and Frank, who died in infancy. Mr. Hill was one of the organizers of the Congregational church of Indianola, and has served as trustee and chairman of the board ever since. At the first county election held in Redwillow county, Nebraska, B. F. Bradbury was elected county commissioner. He died in 1905, and was buried here. The officers elected at that time were as follows: Probate judge, E. S. Hill; county clerk, Isaac Starbuck now of Salt Lake; county treasurer, B. B. Duckworth; sheriff, G. A. Hunter, now of Los Angeles, California; surveyor, Page T. Francis, now of Crawford county, Nebraska; county coroner, J. D. Hill; constables, W. Reddick and William Wilson.
Mr. Fitzgerald was born in county Limerick, Ireland, June 29, 1857. His father, Pat Fitzgerald, had visited this country as early as 1840, then returned to his native land. Our subject grew up there, and as a young man followed the occupation of farming. In 1880 he came to America, and for four years after landing here worked at railroading, and then two years were spent in farming in Cass county, Nebraska. During his work on the railroad he traveled over a large portion of the country, going as far south as New Orleans, north to Deadwood, South Dakota, and in other parts of the United States. While the Chicago, Burlington & Quincy road was being put through Alliance Mr. Fitzgerald was with that company, and later did considerable railroading through this county and also to the north, working for a while in a store in Deadwood.
Mr. Fitzgerald came to his present location in 1888, filing on the land as a homestead. This is situated in section 35, township 24, range 48, and he at once went to work to build up a good home, proving up on the farm in 1894. After coming here his first team was a pair of mules which he used to break up his land and he still one of them, now twenty-six years old, which has done a great deal toward making his place the highly cultivated tract it now is. During the first years he worked out a great deal in the vicinity of his home, freighting through the country, as he had very little money to start with, being just nineteen dollars in debt after getting his farm under way. He experienced all the hardships and suffered the usual privations met with by the pioneers of those times, but gradually became better able to improve his farm, adding to his acreage as he prospered, so that he is now proprietor of a ranch of six hundred acres, located five and a half miles south from Alliance. This place is fitted with good sod buildings and every convenience in the way of modern machinery, etc., and he is now perfecting plans to build a fine grout dwelling. He is engaged principally in stock raising, running at present about fifty head of cattle and ten horses.
Mr. Fitzgerald was married in the fall of 1888, to Mary Hutchinson, who was born and raised in Ireland, where her father followed the occupation of farmer and fisherman all his life. Mr. And Mrs. Fitzgerald are the parents of six children, namely: Martin, John, Mary, Ellen, Maggie and Katie.
Command of General McClellan, and with the Army of the Potomac from 1862, participating in the battle of Antietam and many other severe engagements.
He remained in the army until the close of the war, receiving his discharge May 28, 1866, at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas. He then returned to West Virginia, where he farmed for a year, then came back to Kansas, engaging in farming and cattle raising until 1875. During the latter year he went to Colorado on a hunting trip, in seach (sic) of buffalo which roamed the plains in that region. In the spring of the following year he visited the Centennial at Philadelphia, remaining at that place for six months visiting a sister.
From there he went to Belmont county, Ohio, and lived there until 1885, when coming to Nebraska, he settled in Brown county on the 20th of March. He at first first (sic) rented land near Long Pine, living in a log cabin for a few years: part of the time he secured work in a flouring mill in Log Pine to make a living, having practically no capital to start with when coming here.
In 1887 he settled on a homestead in section 19, township, range 20, and here put up farm buildings and improvements, remaining until he proved up on the claim. He now owns a farm of one hundred and sixty-two acres, with three hundred and thirty acres of Kincaid homestead adjoining, and is engaged in hay and stock raising, meeting with great success in both enterprises.
Mr. Ashworth has gone through many hard experiences since first settling in this section. He has had many misfortunes and financial losses, but by dint of his energy and perseverance has conquered conditions, and it now in a position to enjoy the fruits of his hard labor and take comfort in his old age, with his competence which is a result of much hard work and honest thrift.
Mr. Ashworth was married December 9, 1877, at Martinsville, Ohio, to Miss Mary L. Giles, daughter of Jonathan and Louisa Giles, of Yankee-English stock. Two children were born of their marriage, namely: Clyde and Anna Lilice. Mr. Ashworth has always been active in local affairs, and has held numerous offices in his community. He is Republican in his political views and a member of the Grand Army of the Republic, at Ainsworth.
Mr. Hopping was born in Jasper county, Iowa, April 12, 1861. His parents were of American stock, the father a farmer by occupation, and our subject grew up on a farm, receiving a common school education and during boyhood learning to do all kinds of hard farm work. When he was a small boy his father died, William remaining with his mother in Iowa until he was twenty-five years of age, then came west to Nebraska, locating in Perkins county in 1886, homesteading on section 9, township 9, range 35. When he first landed in this country he drove from North Platte by team, coming by train to that point and having with him his family and all their goods including horses, cattle, machinery, furniture, etc. He built a shanty and went through all the pioneer experiences in getting his farm started, witnessing drouths and suffering crop losses, but never became discouraged even if it was hard work in get along the make a living. He stuck to his claim, proved up on it and managed to add improvements little by little.
Two brothers of Mr. Hopping came to the region about the same time he did, and went through the same hardships in establishing their homes, and both of them, Sidney and Timothy, are now well-to-do farmers. The mother, one sister and another brother now own an extensive ranch adjoining our subject' s place, and all are well-known and highly esteemed as progressive citizens.
Mr. Hopping's ranch is well fenced and cross-fenced, and he has a complete set of good buildings on it. He is engaged in stock raising to quite an extent, but cultivates considerable land, raising grains, hay, etc. He makes a specialty of horse raising, keeping the draft horse exclusively, and he has some of the finest animal on the market. Every horse on his place is raised as a pet and can be safety handled by anyone.
Mr. Hopping has always taken a commendable interest in local affairs, and has served as county commissioner for one year, his brother Sidney also holding this office for one term.
His father, John Troxel, was a farmer and pioneer
settler of Saunders and Loup counties, Nebraska. His mother's maiden name was Mary Groves, and she now lives in Taylor, Nebraska, the deceased father' s biography appearing elsewhere in this volume.
The family came to Loup county in 1879 and engaged in farming, the subject of our sketch remaining at home working on his father's farm until 1894. John W. Troxel was a hard working young man and very materially assisted in making the old home farm a success.
In the summer of 1894 he carried the mail from Burwell to Almeria for four months, and then went to Wyoming, where for part of two years he was engaged at different jobs. In 1898 he went into Custer county, working out for others at farm work and also did some farm work for himself.
In 1902 John W. Troxel and Miss Hattie Gunnarson were united in marriage and one child has come to bless this union, Francis. Mrs. Troxel was a native of Sweden, her father being Oscar Gunnarson.
Mr. Toxel purchased the farm where he now lives in the fall of 1907, and he now owns three hundred and twenty acres in section 23, township 24, range 25, and section 25, township 21, range 19. This ranch is in a desirable condition with good buildings, orchards, groves and gardens, making a good home, with eighty acres of plowed land now, but this amount will be steadily increased. Mr. Troxel is one of the leading men of the community and he stands well among his neighbors and friends. He is industrious and thrifty and is on the road to wealth and prosperity.
Mr. Fickes was born in Bedford county, Pennsylvania, January 11, 1858. There were nine children in his father's family, of whom he was the youngest. He grew up there and his brothers and sisters still make that locality their home, although both parents are now dead. In 1878 he left home and started for himself, going into Ohio where he remained for a time, then returned to Pennsylvania and followed farming there for several years.
In 1888 he drifted to Tennessee and spent about four years there, coming to Deuel county, Nebraska, in the fall of 1892. Here he took a homestead on section 25, township 17, range 44, and still occupies the place, which he has built up into a fine farm. The home place contains three hundred and twenty acres, and he also has a quarter section of upland, cultivating about one hundred and fifty acres and using the balance for hay and pasture. Mr. Fickes has erected good buildings of all kinds, and has every convenience for the proper handling of his farming interests.
In 1884 Mr. Fickes was married to Miss Irene Fought, the event occurring in Sandusky county, Ohio, she being born and reared in that state. Both Mrs. Fickes' parents are deceased. Two children were born to our subject: Howard, now twenty, and Orvin, seventeen years old.
Mr. Fickes is prominent in all local affairs and is interested in all things pertaining to county and state matters. During the fall of 1908 he was elected county commissioner, and will hold that office for three years. In politics he is a Republican and is one of the leaders of his party in the county.
When Mr. Fickes first settled in this county he had poor crops; the years 1894-'95 were almost total failures, making it difficult to get along. Since 1896 crops have been very favorable and Mr. Fickes is prospering. He now has a very fine orchard on his farm.
David A. Lawler was born in DeKalb county, Illinois, November 26, 1856. He is a son of Joseph Lawler, a farmer of that section who was born in county Clare, Ireland, and emigrated to America in 1849; and his mother was Ellen (Halborn), born in Brooklyn, New York, also of Irish parentage. They were married in DeKalb county, Illinois. Our subject was raised in his native state, attending the country schools, and was taught early in life to do all kinds of farm work. He lived with his parents until he was twenty-five
years of age, then came to Keith county in 1884, locating on
his present farm in the spring of that year, building a frame
shack as a dwelling, which he occupied for many years and now uses
a barn. His first team was a yoke of oxen, and he went through all
the pioneer experiences, witnessing the drouths and grasshopper
raids. For a number of years he did contracting and building
through the country, then went into stock raising, all of the time
holding to his farm and adding improvements as he was able. Often
he had a hard time to get along, on account of losing crops and
meeting with failure in different enterprises, but he finally was
able to get ahead and lay by a little, adding to his original
tract, so that he now has a ranch containing four sections,
including a section of school land, with nine hundred acres
cultivated, on which he has raised as high as fourteen thousand
bushels of corn and ten thousand bushels of small grain in a
season. He has a complete set of good farm buildings and
improvements, a large, commodious barn with many other
outbuildings, and keeps quiet a herd of stock, some two hundred
cattle and thirty-five head of horses. He also has a good orchard
started, and some small fruit. We are pleased to present a view of
the home and its pleasant surroundings on another page of our
Mr. Tissot lived on this place for several years, and was there during the Indian scare, but remained there through the dangerous time, and never had any serious trouble with the redskins. When he landed in this region the road ended at Valentine, and he filed on a pre-emption and started to work for the Hunter & Evans outfit, remaining with that firm during the winter of 1884-'85, and continued working our on different ranches up to 1887. During the latter year he was married to Miss Jennie Van Camp, born in Wisconsin in 1870. They had two children, namely: Arthur E. and Mabel J., and in 1895 the mother died. Two years later Mr. Tissot was married to Miss Cecile Franc, a native of Switzerland, born in 1864, who came to America in 1897.
Her father, Louis Henry Franc, was engaged in the hotel and butcher business in that country, and neither parent ever left their native land. Three children resulted from this marriage, named as follows: Jules H., Cecile and Ernest Eugene, all of whom were born and raised in this locality.
Mr. Tissot settled on his homestead in 1887, putting up his first buildings of sod. During the first years he farmed, but during the dry years he quit trying to farm any, and went into the stock raising business, which helped him out to considerable extent. He had a hard time to keep in feed, being obliged to haul hay for twenty-one miles with which to keep his stock. In the spring of 1905 he sold thirteen hundred and sixty acres of deeded land and three hundred and fifty-seven head of cattle and nineteen horses, besides all farming tools, and moved to California, where he invested in a fruit ranch. He paid ten thousand dollars for this ranch, and in less than a year sold it for fifteen thousand five hundred dollars, which was pretty good interest on his money. He went out there principally for his health, but did not entirely recover it, and in
1906 returned to Sheridan county. He has not as yet purchased any land here, but intends to invest in this county. He may buy back his old place, as he has it in fine shape, supplied with an irrigation plant. He was secretary of the Mirage Irrigation company in his locality during all the time he lived in that locality.
Mr. Tissot has done exceedingly well since coming to Nebraska, and has accumulated a large estate here, and will undoubtedly make this his future home, as he states he would never go east to live. He was postmaster at Mirage for nine years, and has held local office at different times, although he is a straight Republican. He cast his first vote for a Republican candidate and has voted that way ever since.
When Mr. Erickson first arrived in this section, there were but few white settlers in the vicinity where he took up a homestead, which was in section 6, township 16, range 52, and there was but little being done in the way of improving the country. He at once went to work to build up a home and develop a farm, proving up on his homestead and gradually adding substantial buildings and improvements. He now has a farm of three hundred and twenty acres, part of this being a Kincaid claim which he took in 1903. He has about seventy acres cultivated, and the balance in hay land and pasture. He keeps forty head of cattle and a small bunch of horses, and is on the high road to wealth, devoting all his time and attention to his farm, and as one of the old settlers he can contemplate the growth of the county, the history of which he knows by personal experience from a very early day.
Mr. Erickson was married in Warren county, Illinois, in 1884, to Mary Carlson, who died in Cheyenne county in July, 1894. Mrs. Erickson was a native of Sweden. She left a family of three children, namely: Edith, Mabel and Edwin.
Since coming to western Nebraska Mr. Erickson has done his full share toward the development of the commercial and farming interests of his locality, taking an active part in local matters generally. He is Republican in politics and a member of the Free Mission church.
Mr. Potmesil was born in Bohemia in 1871 on a farm, and is a son of John Potmesil, Sr., also born and raised in that country, who served in the army in Italy in 1865, during the Austria-Italian war. He married Rose Sixta, also born and raised in Bohemia, where they married and where they had five children, of whom our subject was the second member, named as follows: Anna, James, Rose, Silvine, Frank and then later, Alice, who was born in Box Butte county, Nebraska. The family came to America in 1882, landing in New York city, and immediately struck out for the west, locating in Saunders county, Nebraska, where they made their home for three years, farming in that vicinity. In May of the latter year they came to the western part of the state, driving through with a team and covered wagon, camping out at night, and when they landed here they had just one sack of flour and fifty cents in money to start with. Our subject and a sister had stopped at Valentine, where they worked out by the week for some time.
The father selected a tract of land located near the Niobrara river, where his first building was a sod shanty, and he went to work picking up bones and hauling them for thirty miles where he sold them to make a living for his family. On two different occasions he was caught in severe snow storms and suf-
fered terribly from exposure, and one time shortly after settling here he made a trip of one hundred and fifty miles from their homestead to Valentine to get a sack of flour when he had left there on their way through from the east. This trip consumed quite a number of days to accomplish, as the roads were rough and unbroken, and camped out at night under his wagon. While he was away the family were left without any protection and in danger of wild beasts which roamed the region, also from the Indians, and they had barely enough to eat to last them until he returned: but this in only one of the many instances where they suffered by the hard experiences of those early days. Our subject and his father bought ox teams after locating here, with which they broke up their land and put in crops, and they bought their first cow in the fall of 1885, purchasing her from the proceeds derived from their bone picking. They had just got nicely started when the drought came and then they lost considerable money through failures of crops, and as they could not do much in the way of farming, decided to go into the cattle business, and this was a lucky venture for them, as they have built up a good home through their success in this line of work.
John and his brother, James, each took up a homestead in section 30, township 29, range 47, and together they now own a ranch of five thousand acres lying along the Niobrara river, three hundred acres of which is irrigated, all of it fenced and improved. They have good barns and sheds, a fine system of water works, stock yards, et., and farm two hundred acres, keeping about five hundred head of cattle and one hundred horses. Mr. Potmesil is a Republican and a strong party man.
Mr. Hart was born in Green county, Wisconsin, in 1876. When he was seven years of age his parents moved to Arkansas, where they remained for a year and a half, then came to Ord, Nebraska. His father, Philip Hart, was a farmer all his life, of German descent, and both he and his wife, who was Miss Elizabeth Verlie, were born in Wisconsin. They had three children, our subject being the eldest. At the age of eighteen years he started out for himself, following farm work in Nebraska, and has stuck to that business ever since. He bought his present homestead located on section 31, township 35, range 17, consisting of three hundred and twenty acres, and this he has well improved with good buildings, fences, etc. He farms about two hundred acres, and runs quite a number of cattle, leaning mostly towards the hog business, and keeps two hundred of these animals all the time. He only has horses enough for farm use, and finds that raising hogs for market is very profitable.
Mr. Hart was married in 1895 to Miss Esther L. Wallace, born in Merrick county, Nebraska, in 1879. Her people were of English descent, born in America, who settled in this state about 1877, and still live three-quarters of a mile from the place on which they settled when first landing here. Mr. and Mrs. Hart have one child, Florence E.
Mr. Hart is a Democrat, and although he takes an interest in local affairs, is not in any sense of the word a public man, preferring to devote his time to the development and improvement of his farm and home.
Mr. Steward was married in Bureau county, Illinois, December 17, 1882, to Sarah Estabrook, a native of Illinois. They have nine children, named as follows: Alice M., Blanch V., married to Loren D. Root and living in Keith county, Nebraska: Archie C., Gertrude
Irene, Pearl V., Clarence L., Ruby M., Ruth and Marvin D.
At the time Mr. Steward settled in Deuel county, the country was new and thinly settled. The hardships the settlers were compelled to endure, were severe, and Mr. Steward has had his full share. In those days, the settlers were satisfied if they could secure the necessities of life and the luxuries were unknown. When Mr. Steward settled in Deuel county, he lived n a house partly built of sod: even this was a step forward, for many houses were constructed entirely of sod. He at first had a pair of ponies to use in his work and later, a yoke of oxen. Good water was hard to secure, inasmuch as the settlers were not equipped with the necessary tools with which to dig wells. Water was hauled by Mr. Steward a distance of seven miles, and when he dug his first well, it was necessary to go down two hundred and thirty-six feet; his second well was two hundred and fifty feet deep. To add to the troubles of the pioneers, crops were uncertain; so little of the country was settled and the soil broken, that drouths were frequent, and many crops were almost or totally destroyed. At the time Mr. Steward lost his crops by drouth, he was compelled to work out and went to Colorado, where he secured employment. Later he returned to Deuel county and by hard labor and perseverance, has now a well improved place, equipped with all that is necessary to carry on successful operations. He has good buildings and improvements and today is blessed with a goodly share of this world's goods.
Marvin Steward, the father of our subject, was an old settler in Deuel county. He was a veteran of the Civil war, and the hardships he endured while in the service of his country injured his health so seriously that he never fully recovered, and in an effort to obtain relief he went to Chicago, where he submitted to a surgical operation, which caused his death.
The mother of Mrs. John C. Steward, Mary (Farrell) Estabrook, was a pioneer in Deuel county, where she homesteaded a claim and later proved up on it. She died in 1904, after an active and useful life.
Politically, Mr. Steward is a Republican, taking an active part in affairs of public interest.
He has served as assessor, road over-seer and is at present constable of Big Springs precinct. He takes an active part in educational matters and helped to organize the first Schools in the county. The first schoolhouse was constructed of sod and his building was also used as a church and Sunday-school.
Mr. Gragg is a native of Oakland county, Michigan, born on a farm there in 1877. James T. Gragg, his father, was a farmer by occupation, and is well know in Nebraska, having gone through pioneer experiences in Redwillow and McPherson counties, coming there in 1881 with his family. Our subject grew up in his home locality, assisting his father in the farm work until he reached the age of fifteen years, then started to work for himself, going to Hooker county and securing employment as a cowboy, later traveling all over that part of the state following ranch work. In 1901 he settled on the ranch he at present occupies, beginning with absolutely nothing excepting a team of horses. He took up the land as homestead, and proved up on it in the fall of 1907. Besides this ranch he also lives on a Kincaid homestead of four hundred and eighty acres, and has the property well improved. He as abut seventy acres under cultivation, and intends breaking up seventy-five acres more as soon as possible.
Mr. Gragg was married in 1900, to Miss Gertrude Bassett, whose father , Thomas M. Bassett, was a pioneer n McPherson county, Nebraska, and a successful farmer and ranchman of that locality. When he first struck that region he was a poor man, and in order to make a living for his family, began to pick up bones from the prairie and sold them for nine and ten dollars per ton. Mrs. Gragg's mother was Viola Hayward, of Iowa. To Mr. Gragg and his good wife have been born the following children: Robert, aged seven, George, eight and Hazel, two years.
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