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Compendium of History Reminiscence & Biography of Western Nebraska

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has done his full share in aiding in its advancement, and his home in section 6, township 33, range 47, has been gained through the strictest economy and excellent management. The hardships which have fallen to the lot of Mr. Kurt would have greatly discouraged one of less persistent nature, but they have only tended to make him more determined and spurred him to stronger action. With undaunted courage he has faced misfortunes, suffering and privation incident to the life of a pioneer of the west, and has remained to enjoy a fitting reward for his labors. He is now the owner of a fine property, and has the highest esteem of all with whom he has to do.

      Mr. Kurt was born in Switzerland, in 1858, on a farm. His father, Jacob Kurt, was a farmer and factory hand in the old country, and there our subject grew up, serving in the army for several years. He also spent four years in a cheese factory, and learned the cheese and butter making business.

      In 1880 he came to America, and after landing in New York city, where he spent a short time, came west to Canton, Ohio, and there worked in the brick yard and sawmills, spending two years in that locality. He next was employed by the Canadian Pacific railway in Canada, and traveled all through Kansas, Colorado and Iowa, also Illinois.

      In 1884, Mr. Kurt first came to Nebraska, freighting from Valentine, hauling powder for blasting purposes in railroad building, and came to Dawes county, and at that time did some work on the grade himself. He came back in 1885 and settled on a tract of land northeast of Chadron, eight miles from that town. His first building was a dugout and sod building combined. He had two horses, which he purchased on coming here, and both of these he lost. He started to build up a farm, and in order to help eke out a living dug wells all through the section. He suffered considerably during the dry years, but kept on building up his home and farm, constantly adding to his acreage, and is now proprietor of a fine ranch of nine hundred and twenty acres of land of his own, and besides this leases two thousand acres, running large herds of cattle. He has plenty of good water, windmills and every improvement necessary to the proper working of a model ranch, and farms one hundred acres.

      Mr. Kurt was united in marriage in October, 1901, to Miss Maggie E. Maika, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Lewis Maika, of German descent, and old settlers in Dawes county. Mr. Maika is deceased, but Mrs. Maika is still living at the ripe old age of seventy years, and is as active as a young girl. Mr. and Mrs. Kurt are the parents of one son (deceased), born June 10, 1907, and Anna Rose Kurt, born June 10, 1907.

      Politically Mr. Kurt is a Democrat, but is not party bound, and lends his influence and aid in bettering conditions in his locality at all times.



      Henry A. Sherman was born in Worcester county, Massachusetts, in 1853, and was the son of John Adam and Katherine (Bigelow) Sherman, of English a ancestry. In 1872 our subject came west, going first to Nevada, where he worked on a sheep ranch operated by his relatives. He went to Oregon in 1874 and lived there for ten years, when he spent some time in Idaho. He was occupied as a cowboy and roughed it in winter and summer through the states name, many a morning kicking away the snow that during the night had covered the blankets in which he was sleeping. In his travels he visited nearly all the Pacific coast states and he had many thrilling experiences with the Indians, who almost always on the warpath, once discovering the body a white man who had been shot to death by an Indian bullet. In 1877 he crossed the Rocky mountains with a drove of seven hundred head of cattle.

      In 1889 and 1890 our subject came into Nebraska, locating first in Deuel county, close to the Keith county line, where he bought school land and went to farming and hog raising. One year he lost one hundred and forty acres of crops, and becoming disgusted with this setback and determine to try another location. He settled on a homestead of wild prairie land in section 4, township 13, range 39, in Keith county, and started to build up a new home. He broke up his land and built a house, which was destroyed by fire in 1902. The house has been reconstructed and our subject has now a fine home. He owns about seven hundred and twenty acres, with a Kincaid homestead of four hundred and eighty acres back in the hills and he tills about one hundred acres. The ranch is finely improved with buildings, wells, windmills, etc., and our subject is at present engaged in stock raising and dairying, at the present time milking about twenty cows.

      Mr. Sherman's first wife died in Massachusetts, leaving two a daughters, Carrie L. and Lettie E., both of whom were born in Oregon in a log cabin constructed by our subject. Mr. Sherman was married in 1890 in Miss Geor-

Compendium of History Reminiscence & Biography of Western Nebraska

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giana Rice, whose parents were old settlers and homesteaders of Keith county. The marriage was celebrated in the city of Ogallala.

      Henry A. Sherman is a Republican in politics and takes an active interest in all such matters. He has especially aided in the establishment of the schools and has done all in his power increase to increase the educational facilities of the community.



      In the person of this gentleman we have one of the oldest settlers of western Nebraska, and a man who is well and favorably know to all as a worthy and representative pioneer of the region.

      Joseph C. Johnson was born in Caldwell county, Missouri, in 1842, and reared on a farm. His father was of Irish descent, and was a farmer and stockman, who settled in Missouri as a pioneer. He married Fannie Bryant, also of Irish stock. The family lived in Missouri until Joseph was sixteen years old; he then left home and went to Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, landing at that place May 11, 1885, and began work as a teamster for the United States government, traveling over the plains. He was with a train of thirty wagons and a battalion of troops, going to Fort Laramie, and on this trip had a skirmish with the Indians, the encounter taking place at Horse Creek, Wyoming. He made subsequent rips across the plains, and during the winter of 1855 had an escort of troops to protect them from the herds of buffalo which would cross their path, as they would attempt to stampede the animals with the wagon train. He also crossed the plains to California, where he remained for three years, working in the mines near Hangtown for three months, then went to Santa Rosa valley and engaged in the stock business. While in that region he organized a company of twenty-four citizens, and on May 1, 1860, started to recross the plains, made a very successful trip, arriving at St. Joe, Missouri, on October 10. Incoming through the mountains they were hindered in their progress to some extent by the heavy snows, and were obliged to reduce to one-third rations in order to make their supply last, and on reaching Salt Lake City were on the very last of their provisions.

      In the fall of 1861 Mr. Johnson first served in the "six months state militia." Enlisted in Company G, Sixth Missouri Volunteer Cavalry, and served with this regiment one year and six months, then veteranized in the Thirteenth Missouri Cavalry until the end of the war, most of the time on duty in Colorado. He received an honorable discharge June 13, 1866, and during his service was all though Missouri, Texas, and Arkansas.

      After his retirement from the army Mr. Johnson settled in Harrison county, Missouri, and engaged in business in Bethany, living in that vicinity up to 1884, when he came to Nebraska to what is now Deuel county, and took a homestead one mile east of Chappell, also bought a section of land from the railroad. Chappell was then a mere siding station. He built up a good home and ranch, the place extending from Lodgepole creek to the South Platte river, and devoted himself principally to stock raising. He is owner of seventeen hundred and sixty acres of deeded land, all fenced and improved with good buildings, and has one hundred acres of irrigated land. He has watch the growth and aided in the development of this region from its earliest settlement by the whites, and when he came here in 1884 was the only man to live in a frame house in these parts. At that time the section was known as Cheyenne county, and he was one of the first county commissioners, helping in the organization of Deuel county and the location of the county seat.

      Our subject was married in 1870 to Miss Laura Lewellen, who was born and raised in Pennsylvania, of American stock. To them have been born the following children, all now filling honorable positions in life: Thomas, Helen , Cloy, Lucy, Mollie and Stella. Politically Mr. Johnson is a Republican.



      Robert O. Jones, a progressive and enterprising farmer of Keya Paha county, Nebraska, resides on section 30, township 34, range 24, where he has a fine farm and home. Mr. Jones is among the early settler in this part of the state, and has seen all the changes which have taken place in this locality from its beginning, and aided materially in the development and growth of its agricultural and commercial resources.

      Mr. Jones was born on his parents' farm in Wales in 1856. His father, William Jones, followed farming all his career and lived an died in his native country, leaving a widow and five children, of whom our subject is the eldest. He left home at the of twenty-five years and came to America. He spent a short time in New York and then came west,

Compendium of History Reminiscence & Biography of Western Nebraska

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settling in Columbia county, Wisconsin, where he remained for six years. From there he went to Colorado and worked in the mines and concentrating mills for a time.

      In 1887 Mr. Jones first came to Nebraska, locating in Keya Paha county, purchasing his present farm. Here he put up a good house and has added to his farm until he is proprietor of four hundred and eighty acres of good land, one-third of which is under cultivation, and he engages in stock raising, running quite a number of cattle all the time. He was here during the dry years, and experienced hard times, ad did so many of the settlers in this locality, one year gathering twenty-five bushels of corn from a patch of twenty-five acres. He often became discouraged and was tempted to leave, but stuck to it, and has made a success, taking a foremost place among the successful and substantial farmers of Keya Paha county.

      Mr. Jones has been a member of the school board for a number of years, also held the office of road overseer for some time. He is a Republican in politics.



      The gentleman above named is a native of Chillicothe, Ohio, born on September 11, 1880. His father, John A. Cuscaden, was born in New York city of 1838, of Irish parents, soon after they landed in America from the old country. John A. Cuscaden married Alice Jones, a native of Ross county, Ohio, who was born in 1855, of Scotch parents, who emigrated in the early part of the century from Virginia and died in 1880, shortly after the subject of this sketch was born. In his younger years his father was a fisherman and an expert oarsman. They finally settled in Cincinnati, Ohio, in the late fifties, where he learned the trade of mechanical engineer.

     When the war broke out he answered his country's call by enlisting in the One Hundred and Seventy-fourth Ohio Volunteer Infantry and saw service during the last two years of the struggle, suffering hardships which impaired his health. Mr. Cuscaden was intellectually ambitious, and soon after his honorable discharge from the army he entered the Lebanon (Ohio) College, from which he was graduated in 1872. He was elected principal of the Cochran (Indiana) schools and taught there up to when he was married to Miss Alice Jones, of Chillicothe, Ohio, who died after one short year of happy married life. After sincerely mourning her death Mr. Cuscaden was married to Miss Gertrude Jones, his deceased wife's sister, who had just completed a course in the School of Medicine at the University of Michigan, and the couple moved to Omaha, Nebraska, in the spring of 1884. Two children were born of this union - Alex, born in 1886, and Thomas S., in 1893. The father continued his profession as a teacher in Omaha up to 1890, when he went into the Omaha post office, where he has since remained. In business ventures outside of his profession he was uniformly successful, owning considerable property in Omaha, as well as in central Texas.

      Fred A. Cuscaden, the subject of this personal history, came to Omaha with his parents in 1884. He attended the public schools and graduated from the Omaha high school in 1898. His brother Robert left for Europe this year (1898) to complete his studies in music, and the chance was offered Fred to accompany him, but the profession of law called him to further study, and he entered the University of Nebraska as a law student in 1898, graduating from there in 1902 with the degree of Bachelor of Law.

      In June of the latter year he married Miss Maude Macomber, second daughter of Judge and Mrs. J. H. Macomber, of Omaha, and to this union was born one child, Gertrude, in 1903.

      It was while in the office of Judge Macomber that the opportunity was presented to him by the latter, who was a director in the Union National Bank of Omaha, of learning the banking business shortly afterward, continuing up to 1905, when he organized the Erickson State National Bank to take entire charge of the new institution. At the opening of this bank the business of banking in Wheeler county was looked upon more as a speculation by a large number of people, and not a few doubted the wisdom of opening up in a country where no one had previously ventured. However, the new bank was started and prospered from the first, more than realizing the fondest hopes of the organizer.

      Wheeler county, along with the rest of the state, has responded nicely to the call of good times, and as a county it has a much larger sphere to fill than is generally recognized. Its early builders have great faith in its ability, and their broad and fertile farms and ranches attest the statement that it is the place for the farmers of moderate means, which class is rapidly filling up the few remaining homesteads and buying up the cheap pieces of land. Farming and grazing of cattle form two of

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