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Compendium of History Reminiscence & Biography of Western Nebraska

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was raised there of English stock, his father, Robert Rochford, being a miller by trade, both he and his wife having been born in England. When our subject was twelve years of age he left home and has made his own way ever since. At the age of sixteen years he was in business for himself, running a meat market in New York state, and followed that work up to 1887 when he came to Nebraska. Here he worked on ranches along the Platte river, a brother having located here before he came west. Soon after coming here he bought a bunch of horses and since that time has been engaged in the cattle and horse business, spending two years on the Platte river, returning then to the sand hills.

     In the fall of 1889 he went to Wyoming, but only stayed two years, returning then to the sand hills, remaining for three years, when he went to California looking for a new location, but found nothing to suit him there.

     He traveled all over the west, and in 1895 came back to Nebraska. He was engaged in the meat business in Hill City, South Dakota, for a time, but lost considerable money, and closed out his shop there.

     Mr. Rochford has never used his homestead right here, but took a pre-emption and timber claim and rents these, but is unable to get a homestead with enough hay land to provide for his stock. He is now engaged in the horse business, has a hundred head around him, and is making a success of this line. He has always lived in this locality since coming to Nebraska, and although he has traveled a great deal through different cattle countries, considers that he can do better here than anywhere else. He has made considerable money at different time, but has spent a great deal in different enterprises, and when he needed more would return to this region and get a start again, but is now satisfied to remain permanently.

     In 1898 Mr. Rochford was married to Miss Bridget Dunn, a native of Queens county, Ireland, whose parents never came to America. Mr. and Mrs. Rochford have four children,, three of whom are now living, namely: Mary, Anna and Stella. The other child, Sarah, died at the age of six months. Mr. Rochford is serving as director in his school, but devotes most of his time to the building up of his home and ranch, taking no active part in politics, although he always votes the Republican ticket. His post office is Ellsworth, Nebraska.



     John R. Lucas, one of the prominent citizens of Cottonwood township, Phelps county, Nebraska, is an old settler in this locality and one of the pioneers who came here when the country was practically a wilderness, and has watched the development and growth of the country since its organization.

     Mr. Lucas was born in Illinois in 1861. His parents, Thomas and Minerva Lucas, were natives of Kentucky, and moved from that state to Illinois during the latter's pioneer days.

     The father, Thomas Lucas, died in the fall of 1907 at the advanced age of eighty-seven years.

     In the fall of 1879 his family came west to Nebraska and settled in Phelps county. Our subject first saw the county in 1878, his brother Manlius having come here as early as 1872, at which time there were only a few families in the county, and they went through all the privations and hardships which every pioneer experienced in those days. Buffalo, elk, deer and antelope roamed over the country in large numbers, and tribes of Indians still occupied the river banks and islands. The California trail passes through the lands now owned by our subject, along which for ages before Indians and probably the prehistoric races traveled to and from the valley of the Mississippi to the Rockies and beyond. Along this trail also went all who traveled to Denver, Pike's Peak, Salt Lake And California. During the height of the mad rush westward in the early days, as many as nineteen hundred wagons have passed this trail in one day, and many were experiences of both settlers and travelers, along the way.

     Mr. Lucas often finds relics of these days in cultivating his land, in the shape of iron tips which were used on exen hoofs in traveling long distances, and also other curiosities, which vividly recall those primitive times. During the years when drough caused the failure of all crops he was one of those who worked so hard to save at least a part of his products by irrigating, and people around his locality still hard times they saw, when the daily wage paid to them each night was obliged to be used for keeping their families in bread.

     Mr. Lucas' property now comprise about eight hundred acres of the fines river bottom land on the south side of the Platte, new Elm creek. He engages in both farming and stock raising, always keeping the best grades of animals, as he finds it much more profitable than those of scrub breeds.

     His farm is all fenced, and improved with fine substantial buildings, and all the modern machinery necessary for its operation. Besides the farm Mr. Lucas, together with his father and his brother, M. Lucas, is interested in about fourteen hundred acres of rich farming land in this same locality, which is used partly for farming and hay and pasture lands.

Compendium of History Reminiscence & Biography of Western Nebraska

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     Mr. Lucas was married in 1887 to Miss Eliza Waller, of Kentucky, who died in the year 1892. They had one child, Francis.

     Mr. Lucas is a Democrat politically. Since 1906 our subject and brother, M. Lucas, have bought three sections of land in Lincoln country. In the year 1908 our subject raised one thousand nine hundred bushels of wheat.



     Prominent among the earliest settlers of Dawes county, Nebraska, a gentleman who has spent many years in building up a farm and home out of wild prairie land and soley through his own efforts and persistent labors become out on the prosperous citizens of the western part of his state, is George K. Cogdill, who resides in section 27, township 32, range 48. He was familiar with this section before there were any settlers in the region and no signs of towns or railroads, and has watched its development and growth from the very first, aiding very materially in its progress by his influence and help.

     Mr. Cogdill was born in Gentry county, Missouri, in 1866. His father, Miles Gogdill, was a farmer and blacksmith, also a carpenter by trade, who settled in Missouri in the early days, and died there in 1872. Our subject grew up in that state, helping his mother in carrying on the home farm, and spent about five years in Stanberry, where he worked in different employments. When he was eighteen years of age he left home and came to Nebraska, being with a freighting outfit from Valentine, and in 1885 came out on another trip, and from here went to Wyoming, where he worked as a cowboy for six or seven yers, and traveled all through that state, also Montana and northwestern Nebraska on horseback, camping out wherever he happened to be. He trailed three big bunches of cattle from Wyoming to Montana in 1889, and in 1891 trailed one bunch from Orange Junction to Red Water, Montana for the H.S. outfit. In 1891 he went to Glendive, Montana, and from there to Chicago, paying a visit to his old home. Mr. Cogdill is a great lover of good horses and attributes his success to dealing in and training them: he has a fine lot of draft horses and roadsters on hand all the time. In the spring of 1891 he has filed on a homestead in section 27, township 32, range 48, and the following year took possession of it and started in to improve the place, which was nothing but a wilderness. His house is built of some of the first lumber ever cut on Big Bordeaux creek.

     His ranch consists of one thousand two hundred and eighty acres, located near the head of Big Bordeaux creek, and it has plenty of good natural timber of all kinds, running water the year round for his stock and domestic use, and there are wild fruits of all kin on the farm. It is one of the best farming ranches in the section, and he has it well improved, and all this has been accumulated from a start of nothing, which speaks well for his ability and good management.

     In 1891 Mr. Cogdill was married to Miss Eva Clark, daughter of William Clark, who was one of the pioneers of Dawes county. Her mother was Miss Louisa Conic. To Mr. and Mrs. Cogdill the following children have been born: Denver, Hazel, Edna, Dale and Raymond.



     J. J. McCarthy was born in Cork county, Ireland, in the year 1860. His father, Charles M. McCarthy, was a native of Ireland and lived and died in that country. His mother, Margaret Murphy, was also a native of that country and still lives there. Mr. McCarthy came to America in 1880, coming first to Louisville, Kentucky, where he remained one year. From there he went to Pottawatomie county, Iowa, where he spent two years, leaving there for Keith county in 1884. He obtained employment with the Ogallala Land & Cattle Company when he first came to Keith county and continued with said company until they closed up their cattle business in Nebraska. When Cleveland ran for President in 1884, Mr. McCarthy ran for ballot box from White Tail precinct to Ogallala, enduring many hardships. At that time there was only one bridge across the North Platte river bridge at Camp Clark. At that time he was obliged to swim the North Platte river through snow, slush and ice.

     In 1888 he was married to Miss May H. Holway, daughter of David P. Holway, an early settler of Keith county, who is now at Spokane Washington. Her mother was Susan E. Stanly in her youth. Mr. And Mrs. McCarthy have four children: Margarette, Eleanor, Marie and Justina.

     In 1888, shortly after his marriage, he settled on a homestead sixteen miles from Ogallala, close to Keystone post office, The first house they built was of sod and still stands on the place. It was the largest sod building in Keith county when built and in those days it was considered a palace. He first went into horse raising and was in that business to a great extent until 1893, when a prairie fire that devastated four-

Compendium of History Reminiscence & Biography of Western Nebraska

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teen western Nebraska counties, put him out of business. Mr. McCarthy has witnessed very hard times. During this great fire of 1893 he lost all his stock. At the present time He has a ranch of five thousand acres, but spends all his time at stock business.

     Mr. McCarthy is a Democrat in his political belief and practice. He was elected county treasurer in November, 1907. He was Democratic candidate for state senator in 1904 in the thirtieth senatorial district. He has also been on the Democratic state central committee and was chairman of the county committee for years. He is a consistent member of the Catholic church, No. 2228, Modern Woodmen of America, and holds membership in the North Platte council, No. 1211, Knights of Columbus.



     The gentleman here names is widely know as one of the leading old settlers and influential citizens of Keya Paha county, Nebraska. He is extensively engaged in farming, his home being situated in Holt precinct, and he is a prosperous and progressive farmer.

     Mr. Hamilton was born in Monroe county, Ohio, February 8, 1850. His father, James Hamilton, was of Irish-American stock, who was a farmer all his life, the mother, who was Elizabeth Long, bore a family of eight children, our subject being the youngest. When he was one year old his parents moved to Bureau county, Illinois, where he was reared and educated on a farm, and in the spring of 1866 the family went to Harrison county, Iowa, whence after eighteen months they moved to Pottawatomie county, where they lived several years, then started a farm for himself in the vicinity of his home. He remained there until 1884, then came to Washington county, Nebraska, and lived there for four years, coming thence to Keya Paha county, where he took a homestead on section 25, township 34, range 21, and still lives on the same place. Here he went to work building up a farm and home, planted five acres of forest trees, besides six hundred apple trees which he set out in 1905. He now has on hundred trees in bearing, including apple and small fruits, and is proud of the fact that his if the vest orchard in the county. During the first years he saw many hard pioneer experiences, as he had not much capital to start with, but worked hard and stuck to it through all the hardships and privations of the early days, and has been well repaid for his perseverance and industry. He is proprietor of seven hundred and twenty acres of land, two hundred and fifty acres of which are under the plow, with the balance in hay and pasture. He keeps forty head of cattle, and raises each year fifty hogs, and has just enough horses to use in carrying on his farm work. He has one of the best farms in the county, and has never had an entire failure of crops any year.

     Mr. Hamilton was married in 1877 to Miss Geneva Lewis, a native of Wisconsin, reared in Iowa and Texas, whose people were of English-Yankee descent. Mr. and Mrs. Hamilton are parents of four children, who are named as follows: Amelda, wife of Fred Whitney, of Carroll, Iowa; Lila M., who married Fred Cherington, of Norfolk; and Charles A., living near the old home.

     Mr. Hamilton is a Republican, but has never had time to taking an active part in political affairs. He is a member of the Methodist church.



     John Byerley was born in the city of Davenport, Iowa, in 1862, and was the son of Jacob and Anna (Bracher) Byerley, both natives of Germany. The father came to America when he was seventeen years of age, and the mother when she was but a little girls. Mr Byerley, Sr., was a carpenter by trade, but engaged to some extent in farming.

     John Byerley was reared on the farm in Iowa, in Jones, Jackson and Clinton counties. He came west in January, 1884, and located his present homestead on section 26, township 21, range 20. When he came, the nearest railroad point was North Loup, about sixty miles distant, and the long trips for supplies were tedious and discouraging. Part of the way was through an extensive Bohemian settlement, and these people were unfriendly and inhospitable, and several times Mr. Byerley has had to go supperless to bed under his wagon because no one would provide him with a meal or bed. On his land he built a sod hut, ten by sixteen feet in dimensions, with a small half window for light and a rude home-made door. He had very little money to live on. He had started from his home in Iowa with one hundred dollars, but this was eaten up by railroad fares, filing fees and in getting located.

     His first crop was sod corn, and, as Mr. Byerley had to be away working, the crop was about destroyed between the deer and the antelopes in the spring and the geese in the fall. His crops continued poor for a number of years and in 1894 there was a total failure, but in spite of all this, Mr. Byerley has

Compendium of History Reminiscence & Biography of Western Nebraska

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stuck to it and has paved the way to success.

     The subject of this sketch was first married in 1885, but his wife lived only two years thereafter. In 1890 Mr. Byerley was married to Miss Anna Meyers, whose father was an old settler of Loup county, but returned to Illinois, where he died. Mr. and Mrs. Byerley have five children, namely: Pearl, Claud, Bessie, Florence and Lola.

     The history of any individual pioneer, when written in detail, reads like a romance. They pass through many trying experiences-experiences that seem overdrawn to the uninitated.

     And the history of Mr. Byerley's pioneer life is no exception. He lived alone and "batched it" for months and months, improved his farm with very little hired help and worked early and late. All these years he was assisting, too, in the management of public affairs, helped organize and establish the school district, held various school offices, was assessor at different times and is now a justice of the peace. He has been public-spirited in every way and is esteemed and respected by all who know him. He has three hundred and twenty acres in his home farm and has land in other localities. By his thrift and industry he has built up a fine home place, has a good house, barns, farm implements and all necessary improvements. He has several good groves of forest trees and a nice orchard. It can be truly said that Mr. Byerley is one of the leading old settlers of Loup county.



     The prosperity enjoyed with the borders of Morrill, formerly Cheyenne county, Nebraska is due almost altogether to the enterprise and thrift of the agriculturists of that region. Their well improved and well tilled farms evidence good management and painstaking care, and in no locality is this more apparent than in Bayard precinct, where the gentleman above mentioned resides. He is a substantial farmer and ranchman, who has acquired a good home by persistent industry and honest dealings, and is highly esteemed as a worthy citizen and progressive agriculturist.

     Henry E. Randall was born in Trempeleau county, Wisconsin, April 25, 1869, where he grew to the age of nine years, at which time the family moved over the Mississippi into Minnesota, after a short time settling in Houston county, on Money creek. The father was James Randall, a native of Michigan, while the mother was born in Syracuse, New York, and died in Scotts Bluff county in 1886. James Randall served in the Civil war as a member of Company I, Thirty-sixth Wisconsin Infantry. He is now living at Gering, Nebraska. The entire family left Minnesota in the fall of 1885, coming to Butler county, Nebraska, and came on to Scotts Bluff county, which at that time was a part of Cheyenne county, the following spring. Our subject took a homestead in section 22, township 20, range 52, proved up on it, and has constantly added to his original quarter section until he is now owner of five hundred and sixty acres, two hundred acres of which are under the Chimney Rock ditch. He has improved the tract, erecting good buildings, built fences and has good wells, windmills, etc. About one hundred acres are cultivated, with one hundred acres in alfalfa, which in time will be doubled. The balance of the ranch is in hay and pasture land for about one hundred and forty head of cattle and a small bunch of horses.

     On December 24, 1891, Mr. Randall married Miss Melissa Belden, who was born in Kansas, and came to Nebraska during girlhood. Her parents now live near Redington, in Morrill county. Three children were born to Mr. and Mrs. Randall, Gerald, Gladys and Mack. In political faith Mr. Randall is a Republican, taking a deep interest in local, county and national politics.

     He is at present serving as director of school district No. 50. Fraternally he is a member of the Bayard lodges of Odd Fellows and Modern Woodmen.



     David Cruickshank, one of the early settlers of Keith county, lives on a fine farm home on section 24, township 13, range 41. He has a fine large ranch of one thousand two hundred and eighty acres, and is one of the most successful stock raisers of western Nebraska.

     Mr. Cruickshank was born in Aberdeenshire, Scotland, in the parish of Oyne, October 4, 1852, a son of William and Annie (Law) Cruickshank, natives of Scotland and farmers by occupation, who both died in their native land.

     Our subject was reared and educated in his native land, remaining there until 1885, when he sailed from Liverpool in the Liberia April 27, landing in Boston. On this trip he had in his charge fourteen fine blooded horse, all Clydes, which were consigned to owners in the United States. For about three years Mr. Cruickshank lived in Blandinsville, McDonough county, Illinois, whence he went to Fort Collins, Colorado, remaining for about four months. Thence, in 1888, he came to his present location in Keith county, joining the little band of pioneers who had settled in that Territory. He began farm-

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