of a farm and ranch, on which he has spent a long and useful life. The father of Marshall Croft, James Croft, came from England in 1830, homesteading in Marshall county, Illinois, where the family lived for many years. Our subject's father was raised there, and married there. When our subject was a child of three years his parents moved to Nebraska, purchasing land in section 29, Farmers township, Franklin county, and as he was the only son, lived there together until 1900, when he took charge of the ranch and started in the ranching and stock business on his own account. He feeds, buys and ships about two thousand cattle and hogs each year, and besides this raises a large number which he ships also. He ships each week from Naponee about two car loads of stock, and is one of the best judges of his business in the locality. He devotes his entire attention to his work, and is building up a good farm and home by his good business ability and perseverance. He farms a large part of his ranch, and raises alfalfa exclusively, which is fed on the farm.
In 1900 Mr. Croft married Miss Lou Ray, daughter of John S. Ray, a sketch of whom appears in this work. To Mr. and Mrs. Croft have been born one son, Marshall.
MORRISON R. SCRIPTER.
The gentleman whose name appears at the head of this sketch is one of the acknowledged influential and successful ranchers of Keith county, Nebraska, and was one of the earliest pioneers of the state. He lives on a fine ranch in section 32, township 16, range 41, where he carries on a large and growing stock business.
Mr. Scripter is a native of the
Empire state, being born in St. Lawrence county on a farm January
25, 1840, and was from an old family of the Knickerbocker state,
that had lived in in (sic) the east for several generations. His
parents, Isaac H. and Jane (Day) Scripter, were farmers by
occupation and were honored citizens of their community. When our
subject was twelve years of age the family came west to Sangamon
county, Illinois, locating twelve miles west of Springfield, where
they were among the early pioneers. Here Morrison Scripter was
reared, receiving his education and assisting his parents with the
labors on the farm. In September, 1862, he enlisted in Company F,
One Hundred and Fourteenth Illinois Volunteer Infantry, and saw
service in the south with the Army of the Cumberland. He served
his country for three years, participating in many famous
engagements of the Civil war. He was at the siege of Vicksburg and
at Jackson, Mississippi, was in Arkansas and followed General
Price through Missouri. He was in the battle of Nashville and
participated in eighteen hard fought battles, but he was fortunate
in that he received only one small wound during his service. After
the war was over he returned to Illinois, where he remained for
about four years, going thence to Atchison county, Missouri, where
his father settled in business. Here our subject remained until
1886, when he moved to Nebraska, settling as a pioneer near Red
Cloud, in Webster county. Beginning with 1872 he had from time to
time lived for varying periods in this state. He saw many
discouraging times during these early days - witnessed the
terrible grasshopper scourge which devastated the country for
several years and lost several successive crops from various
causes. In 1888 he removed to Deuel county, remaining there for
about two years on a tree claim. In 1890 he moved to his present
farm in Keith county, where he has resided ever since, building up
one of the best ranch homes in the territory. There were but few
improvements on the place when he came to it - a stone house with
a frame part, but in spite of the drouth and hard times our
subject has worked his way to success and competency. He has four
hundred and eighty acres of good land and devotes his attention to
stock raising and farming. His farm contains a fine grove of
forest trees, nearly all planted by his own hand. There are also a
large number of plum, crabapple and cherry trees and an abundance
smaller fruit. One hundred acres of the tract are irrigable from
Clear creek, which flows an abundant stream through the place, fed
by never failing springs in the sand hills to the north. His
house, built of concrete, is a fine one, of pleasing architecture,
convenient and homelike. A view of the home with its magnificent
groves and rugged, picturesque rock surroundings is presented on
another page of our work.
wife of Frederick Bennett, ranching in Keith county; Leora A., deceased; Irene, teaching in the Keystone schools; Morrison, Earl and Leotta.
During his long residence in the county Mr. Scripter has been active in public matters and has efficiently held various offices. He has been especially interested in educational affairs, helping to establish the schools of the neighborhood and serving as a member of the school board. By his conscientious advocacy of right principles in both public and private business our subject has won a high place in the regard of his associates. Since attaining his majority Mr. Scripter has steadily supported the Republican party.
L. R. SPEER.
L. R. Speer, residing on section 6, township 29, range 45, is well known throughout the community in which he has chosen his home as an industrious and energetic farmer and worthy citizen of Sheridan county, Nebraska.
Mr. Speer was born in Amboy, Lee county, Illinois, in 1868. His father, Z. C. Speer, was born and reared in New Jersey, and was a carpenter by trade. He married Miss Martha Van Ness, of German descent, and they had a family of four children, of whom our subject was the third member. At the age of sixteen years he came west and located in Chicago, working in the Pullman car shops for two years, and on different farms in that vicinity for another couple of years, and in 1889 came to Cherry county, Nebraska, and took up a homestead in section 15, township 32, range 39, and held it up until the dry years came on, then was unable to make thing's go right, so sold out his holdings for five hundred and fifty dollars, which he considered a very good price. He farmed there for several years, his place consisting of a quarter section, and after selling moved to Hay Springs, where he worked for one summer on the railroad, then clerked in a store up to 1906, when he moved to his. present place. This consists of eight hundred acres, well stocked with horses and cattle. He works in partnership with Mr. Bray, of Hay Springs, who owns the ranch. He is sorry he sold his first homestead, as it would have been worth a good deal of money by this time, but will either buy another farm or take up a homestead in the near future. He likes this country better than any place he has yet been, and intends to remain as long as he wants to live in the country.
Mr. Speer was married in 1892 to Miss Bertha Richardson, born in Butler county, Nebraska, in 1874. Mrs. Speer is a daughter of Marcus L. and Clara Spain Richardson, born in Ohio, who settled in Butler county in the early days of that region. Mr. and Mrs. Speer have a family of five children, named as follows: Ruth, born in 1893; Estella, 1895; Mabel, 1901; Fred, 1903, and Harold, in 1906. Mr. Speer takes a commendable interest in all matters of local importance in his community, but has never had much time to devote to taking an active part in politics. Politically he is a Republican.
Should the reader ask for the name of a representative old settler and citizen of Phelps county, Nebraska, a man who came in mature life to breast the storms of the wilderness and hammer a home and fortune out of adversity, give him that of Hamilton Getty, the subject of this review.
Mr. Getty is a native of Antrim county, Ireland, who came to this country in 1859. He came to this state in 1884 and homesteaded one hundred and sixty acres in section 26, Union township, and afterwards bought one hundred and sixty acres adjoining. This he farmed for seventeen years with great success. In 1891 his wheat crop showed a yield of thirty-five bushels to the acre, and in 1892 it was forty bushels per acre, and his corn crop sixty-five. He always fed a large number of hogs, considering them a good investment, as this locality is peculiarly adapted for breeding with success. Before coming to this county, shortly after landing in New York, he obtained employment in training high class trotting horses. He was very fond of caring for these animals, was very successful in the management of them and enjoyed the work of caring for them. He followed this business for some time, then came west to McLean county, Illinois, when he bought land and farmed for nineteen years, and from there he struck out for Nebraska, where he has since made his home..
Mr. Getty cast his first vote in this country in New York, voting for Abraham Lincoln, who was a candidate for the presidency the first time. He was married April 14, 1863, to Miss Ellen Powers, of New York city, also a native of Ireland. They have a family of six children, all of whom have received splendid educations and are now filling honorable places in life. They are named as follows: Annie
Jane, now Mrs. D. J. Davis, of Loomis, whose husband is engineer of the Loomis flouring mills; Josephine, married to Rev. E. M. Johnson, professor in the college at Bethany, Nebraska; Lillian B., teacher of shorthand and typewriting in the Walla Walla Business College, in Washington; W. A. Getty, a traveling salesman, residing at Lincoln, Nebraska; H. N. Getty, locomotive engineer on the Union Pacific railway, and J. E. Getty, a farmer of Union township, living on his father's farm. A sister of Mr. Getty, Mrs. Richard Morrison, mother of Robert M. Morrison, of whom a sketch appears in this volume, resides in Loomis.
Mr. Getty has retired from active business and enjoys a pleasant home surrounded by a large circle of friends in Loomis, Nebraska. In politics Mr. Getty states he is an Abraham Lincoln Republican and a Bryan Democrat.
Paul Serres, one of the earliest settlers of Sioux county, coming here in 1887, is a prosperous and highly esteemed ranchman located on section 5, township 33, range 54. He has accumulated valuable possessions by his own work and judicious management, and is one of the truly self-made men of that region.
Mr. Serres was born in Luxemburg, Germany, in 1842, and was reared on a farm. He received a good practical training, and at the end of twenty-five years came to America, making his first settlement in Wisconsin, where he followed farm work. He was married there in 1877 to Miss Mary Friece, a native of that state, born in 1857. Mrs. Serres is the daughter of Peter and Mary Annie (Conrath) Friece, early settlers in Wisconsin, and well known farmers of that region. The young couple started a home and lived in Wisconsin for about ten years, and then came direct to Sioux county, Nebraska, where they settled on a homestead, building a log house with sod roof, and spent many years in that dwelling, but later put up a good residence, gradually improving their place. The first years were hard ones to them, as they were unable to raise any crops to amount to anything, and after trying hard to get along Mr. Serres became discouraged and had fully made up his mind to pull up stakes and try it some other place, but as he was on the point of loading up their possessions in a covered wagon and abandoning their farm, he determined to start again and trying stock raising, so he took an additional homestead in section 5, township 32, range 54, and got together a few cattle, and this was the beginning of his success. He now owns a ranch of over nineteen hundred and twenty acres, and besides his homestead, two sons are proprietors of six hundred and forty acres each in the same locality. The ranch is built up and improved in good shape, and there is a splendid water supply, two creeks running through the land. Every appointment of Mr. Serres' ranch shows the most careful management and good business judgment, and all has been accomplished by his own efforts, from a very small beginning.
Mr. Serres' family consists of himself, wife and nine children, as follows: Joe, Mary A., Herman, Theresa, Kate, John, Barbara, Louis and Paul. Three sons, John, Herman and Louis, died when young children.
In political sentiment Mr. Serres is a Democrat, but he does not give much attention to public affairs, nor seek public preferment although he is always ready and willing to assist in every way possible any movement started for the good of his community.
EUGENE L. HUTCHISON.
Eugene L. Hutchison, a successful farmer of Keya Paha county, Nebraska, resides on section 6, township 33, range 24, and has been identified with the history of the development of western Nebraska from its beginning.
Mr. Hutchison was born in Calhoun county, Michigan, October 4, 1856, and in 1858 went with his parents to Wisconsin, living for ten years in Walworth county and in Juneau county two years, when they removed to Carroll county, Illinois, where they resided for the next decade. His parents came from New York, the father being a wagon maker in his early days, and later a farmer. Our subject was the seventh in a family of twelve children, and when twenty-two years old left home and came to Nebraska, settling in Buffalo county. There he bought railroad a land and started a farm, "batching it" for several years. He built up a good place and did fairly well, but in 1884 rented his farm moved to Keya Paha county, where he took a pre-emption, which is his present farm. He was unable to prove up on it, so took out homestead papers and now has a farm of one hundred and seventy-one acres, besides some leased school land. This is all well improved with buildings, fences, etc., and he runs forty cattle, the same number of horses and about sixty hogs, cultivating eighty acres on which he raises good crops, having sufficient pasture
for his stock. When first coming here he had a hard time to make a living, and in 1893-'94 he lost all his crops and was compelled to work out by the day, hauling cordwood to Fort Niobrara, fording the river with his load, to make enough to support his family; also hauled bones from the prairies to Valentine.
Mr. Hutchison was married in Loup City, Nebraska, November 26, 1881, to Miss Rebecca Roberts, whose parents were early settlers in Sherman county, where she grew up. Her father, James Roberts, was a soldier in the Union army. The mother was Susannah Ballard. Nine children were born to Mr. and Mrs. Hutchison, named as follows: James R., Alice, Effa, Lee, Blanche, Lawrence, Ballard, Joseph and Neva, most of whom are settled near their parents' home.
Mr. Hutchison is a strong Democrat, and his always voted that ticket. He has at various times held local office, and always has been an active worker in school affairs.
ORLANDO M. GUNNELL.
Among the very old settlers of western Nebraska we mention the gentleman whose name heads this review. Since locating here many years ago he has done much in the way of helping to develop the country, and is one of the successful and prosperous business men of Keith county at the present time. He is engaged in the general merchandise business at Paxton, and is a leading citizen and active in local affairs.
Orlando M. Gunnell was born in Fayette county, Pennsylvania, August 8, 1849. His father, John Gunnell, a native of Westmoreland county, Pennsylvania, was a farmer in Illinois, settling in Rock Island in 1852. He came to York county, Nebraska, in 1876 and moved on to Keith county in 1893, where he died twelve years later. He married Clarissa Mitchell, a native of Fayette county, Pennsylvania. She lives at present at Benedict, York county, with a daughter, Mrs. Charles Wonderly. Our subject was raised on a farm in Illinois, following that occupation during his boyhood, also learning the plow maker's trade, at which he worked in Rock Island and later at Moline, Illinois. In 1884 he came to York county, Nebraska, with his family, where he farmed for one year, then located at Stromsburg, engaging in the livery business for five years. In 1890 he moved to Big Springs, and established a lumber and grain business, remaining at that for about six years, but from 1893 to 1896 trade was not very profitable owing to the hard times in that vicinity. He disposed of this business and settled in Paxton, where he opened a store of general merchandise, and has done exceedingly well since coming here, having built up a good patronage throughout the surrounding country. He has a well equipped store, and a full line of general goods.
On May 25, 1881, while living in Rock Island, Illinois, Mr. Gunnell was married to Miss Catherine Johnston, whose father, William A. Johnston, a shoemaker, came to America from Ireland about 1851 or 1852 when a young man. He plied his trade in Philadelphia for a time and then came to Rock Island. Her mother, Mary Kane in maidenhood, was also born in the north of Ireland. Both parents were Protestant Irish and both died in Rock Island. Mr. and Mrs. Gunnell have one child, Clarissa, born at Rock Island, Illinois, August 27, 1882. She is now the wife of John Clair Cox, holding a responsible position with the Colorado Southern railroad, at Fort Collins, Colorado.
Mr. Gunnell is a strong Republican in politics, a member of the Odd Fellows and the Masonic order, holding membership in the blue lodge at Stromsburg, the Chapter and the Commandery at North Platte and the Shrine at Omaha.
JOHN HENRY FRANK.
Among the most respected and worthy of the old settlers of Loup county is John Henry Frank, who came to Nebraska in 1890 and has ever since identified himself with the interests of that grand western state.
Mr. Frank was born in Jackson county, Iowa, April 4, 1861, being the son of George W. and Mary S. (Wilcox) Frank. The father was born in Montgomery county, New York, where he remained until early manhood and then, in 1857, came to Iowa with the early pioneers, serving in the Civil war in Company F, Thirty-first Iowa Infantry. The mother was a native of Jackson county, Iowa.
John Henry Frank and Miss Ida M. Burlison were united in marriage November 12, 1887. Mrs. Frank's father, Charles Burlison, was a pioneer settler of Iowa, saw active service in the Civil war in the same regiment in which Mr. Frank's father served, and thus the elder men were old-time chums and comrades. Mrs. Frank's mother's maiden name was Mary Little, a native of Canada. Mr. and Mrs. Frank have had two children to brighten their home - Ralph S. and Viola Pearl.
When Mr. Frank brought his family to Loup county he found the most primitive pioneer conditions. The nearest railroad towns were Burwell and Broken Bow, but he had come to found a home and he went to work with a strong will. For six years he rented land in both Loup and Custer counties. He had almost nothing to start with - no team nor household goods, two trunks and six dollars and fifty cents in money and a wife and child were all his possessions. But these were enough when coupled with hard work and a strong determination to win. He got along, worked all the time, fought prairie fires many times to save his property and experienced all the rigors of pioneer life until finally he won out and now has a fine farm and ranch of six hundred and eighty acres. In 1897 he located a homestead on section 34, township 21, range 20, on which there were twelve acres plowed and a sod house with no roof. This became the start of his fine farm, on which he now has a fine house, also barn and sheds, the land being fenced and cross fenced. Mr. Frank has made a good home and is entitled to the competency he has attained as the result of constant and intelligent effort. He has done his share in developing the country as a pioneer settler.
HENRY I. DAINTON.
The gentleman whose name heads this personal history is a well known citizen and very successful farmer with a pleasant home on section 22, township 24, range 50, in Box Butte county. He is a man of untiring energy and enjoys an enviable reputation as a publicspirited citizen and industrious agriculturist, who has placed himself in the front ranks of the well-to-do residents of that region, and who has acquired a valuable estate by his perseverance and good management.
Mr. Dainton was born in England. His father, Isaac Dainton, was also born and reared in England, following the trade of stonemason all his lifetime. He married Elizabeth Langdon, also born and bred in that country. When our subject was but one year of age the family left England and emigrated to the United States, and on landing in New York immediately went west to Wisconsin, where they located on a farm near Milwaukee. In 1875 they came to Nebraska, at first settling in Saline county, and lived there for about three years, then moved to York county, where Henry grew to manhood and the family saw many pioneer experiences while living in that region. In 1886 our subject came to Box Butte county and filed on a homestead in the sand hills, twenty miles from Alliance and worked on the railroad in that vicinity during a good part of the time, also worked in the silver mines of Colorado. Mr. Dainton kept on improving his farm and bought additional land as he became able, and got into the ranching business on quite an extensive scale, and now has a well developed ranch consisting of nineteen hundred and twenty acres, all good land, and has built all good farm buildings on the ranch. Soon after arriving here, after filing on his homestead, he had just fifty cents in money in his pocket, and from this start he has accumulated a nice property by dint of hard labor and strict attention to business. He has witnessed all the changes that have taken place in the vicinity since its early settlement, and has done his full share in helping to develop the region, establish schools, etc.
Mr. Dainton was married in 1894 to Miss Delia Steyer, born in Pennsylvania in 1870. Her father, George Steyer, was a farmer a his life, son of Absalom Steyer, a well known pioneer in the eastern states, who fought with General Washington in the Revolutionary war and had a brilliant record as a soldier. Our subject and his good wife are the parents of six children, who are named as follows: Chester I., Roy, George, Wayne, Anna and Frederick Archie. The family occupy a pleasant home and are well liked by all in their community as congenial neighbors and worthy citizens.
JOHN N. SCHERER.
John N. Scherer, whose biography forms an interesting page in the history of the early settlement of Nebraska, is a resident of Court House Rock precinct, Morrill (formerly Cheyenne) county, where he has become widely and favorably known. He has developed a fine ranch there and is one of the energetic and progressive agriculturists of his community, where he enjoys a pleasant home.
Mr. Scherer was born seven miles north of Hillsboro, in Montgomery county, Illinois, March 15, 1859, a son of John H. and Nancy (Peters) Scherer, grew up there, attending the country schools and passing through the usual experiences of the country boy in those days and remained in his native vicinity until 1887. In 1886 he made a trip to western Nebraska. and being favorably impressed with the country filed a homestead entry in section 4, township 16, range 49, and also on a tree claim. The following year, as above noted, he brought his family to the west and has been a citi-
zen of the country ever since. In 1889 the parents came west,
and since the death of his father in 1896 our subject has secured
title to the old homestead and in 1907 enlarged and greatly
improved the dwelling, making a finely finished two-story home. A
large concrete barn adds to the comfort of the stock and to the
looks of the place. One of the three large reservoirs on the ranch
is in front of the dwelling, making a beautiful lake and rural
view. We present an engraving of the place, known as the Mud
Springs ranch, on another page. The mother has filed on a
homestead in the same section, but makes her residence most of the
time in Sidney, where she owns a commodious town house.
Mr. Scherer was married in Montgomery county, Illinois, on January 1, 1884, to Miss Etta Lipe, a native of that county, and daughter of Noah and Elizabeth (Weller) Lipe. They have a family of three children, namely: Pearl, wife of M. M. Davis, residing in Sioux county; Leitha Fay and Ralph L., both at home.
In politics Mr. Scherer is a Republican and is of active public spirit, a gentleman of the strictest integrity of word and deed, who has a host of friends in his community. He is a member of the Ancient Order of United Workmen at Sidney.
The well regulated farms of Potter precinct contribute largely to the wealth of Cheyenne County. The gentleman whose name introduces this review is proprietor of a fine estate in section 12, township 14, range 52, is one of the substantial and highly esteemed citizens of his locality and has aided materially in its growth and development.
Mr. Gunderson was born in the
village of Eskow, Norway, on October 20, 1847. He grew up in his
native village and followed the occupation of farming and
lumbering during his young manhood. In 1869 he left home and took
passage July 10 from Christiana to Leeds, Scotland, proceeding
thence to Glasgow, whence he sailed in an Anchor Line steamer, and
after a stormy passage of nineteen days landed in New York. He
came directly to Omaha and secured work at Florence, where he
followed farming and logging on the river for about three years.
He next came to Cheyenne county, arriving here on August 5, 1872,
and for four years worked in the track department of the Union
Pacific railroad, being promoted to a foremanship within nine
months. For ten years he lived on section 2, township 14, range
52, without the formality of making a regular entry. In 1886 he
filed on a homestead located in section 12, township 14, range 52,
which is his present farm. He had a hard time in getting along
during the first few years, suffering all the hardships and
privations that fell to the lot of the early settlers in this
section, but he never thought of giving up the struggle, and by
dint of hard work and sturdy determination that marks the courage
of the brave Norwegian emigrant to this country, has succeeded in
accumulating a nice property. He is now owner of nine hundred and
sixty acres, situated on Lodgepole creek, of which he has about
one hundred acres under cultivation, all irrigated and a large
portion is used for pasture and hay meadow. He runs about two
hundred head of cattle and keeps fifteen horses for farming and
domestic purposes. He is also owner and runs a fine flour and feed
mill, which is located on his premises. the motive power being
supplied by water from Lodgepole creek. To this, in 1908, he added
a dynamo, installing electric lights in his residence, one of the
finest and most substantial stone ranch houses in the valley. The
stables, granary and other outbuildings are also of stone
construction, making one of the best equipped establishments in
the county. A view of this excellent place is to be found in our