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Compendium of History Reminiscence & Biography of Western Nebraska

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Wheeler county's most important lines of business. The country is especially adapted to dairying, and this industry brings a snug income into many homes yearly. As a county it is putting its best foot forward, and its soil is awakening to the touch of the practical framer who can make two blades of grass grow where his predecessor failed on one. Mr. Cuscaden occupies a beautiful home in Erickson and is one of the leading citizens of his town.



      John J. Meyer was born on a farm in the village of Oerdinghausen, Kries Hoya, province of Hanover, Germany, June 27, 1866. His parents were Frederick and Dora (Klusmann) Meyer. Our subject remained in his native land until he was about twenty-five years of age, serving three years in the German army. In 1891 he came to America, sailing October 22d from Bremen Haven on the Neurenberg and after a voyage of seventeen days landed in Baltimore. He at once came west and on November 10th joined a brother in Brule, Keith county, where he was employed in railroad work until 1895, when he came to his present farm in section 14, township 13, range 38.

      On July 18, 1895, Mr. Meyer was married to a widow, Mrs. Holscher, who died in January, 1897, leaving three children - Frank, Fred and Margaretta Holscher. Mr. Meyer was again married September 27, 1900, to Miss Martha Tuenge. They have four children - Mary, Anna, Sophia and Henry.

      Mr. Meyer settled on partly improved land and has labored constantly to make his farm one of the best in the neighborhood. He has done his work in a masterly manner and now has a fine ranch of eight hundred and eighty acres, with a large house, extensive barns and outbuildings, fences , orchards, and groves. Since coming here Mr. Meyer has done his share toward the material development of his locality. In politics our subject affiliates with the Democratic party. He is a member of the Lutheran church.

      A fine view of Mr. Meyer's substantial home and extensive buildings is to be found on another page of our work.

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      Herman A. Peters, formerly one of the large ranchmen of Sheridan county, now resides in his comfortable home in Hay Springs, Nebraska, where he is numbered among the prominent and worthy citizens of this locality.

      Mr. Peters was born in Edwards county, Illinois, in 1866. His father, John L. Peters, of German birth, was a framer and his family of five children grew up in Illinois. Our subject was the fourth in order of birth, and was left an orphan at an early age, being obliged to get out and hustle for himself when he was six years old. When he reached the age of eighteen he began working out on farms near Hartington, Nebraska, and continued in this until the year of 1884. During this time he spent nine months attending a business college at Burlington, Iowa, then to Hartington, where he again worked out by the day, and the following year came to Hay Springs, taking a pre-emption seven miles southwest of the town. He proved up on this, having lived in a dugout for some time. He afterward moved to the town of Hay Springs, where he was marshal of the village for three or four years. In 1889 he went into the hardware business and ran a store a short time, then sold out and began shipping horses in partnership with H. J. Simpson, under the firm name of Simpson & Peters, also loaning money, and was in this enterprise for two years. During the Indian war of the winter of 1890-91 they had a contract on Pine Ridge Agency for sixty days. They had forty-four teams there, and shod all the government horses. In 1901 he returned to Hay Springs and formed a partnership with C. D. Byram, under the firm name of Byram & Peters, and during the spring of 1892 the concern sold over thirty thousand dollars worth of horses here. They also ran a livery barn, and in 1894 Mr. Peters bought out his partner and continued the business alone. The main part of the barn was sixty-four by sixty feet, with a shed twenty-six by sixty feet, and office sixteen by thirty-two, and he did a large business, but became tired of the business and soon sold out.

     In 1896 he built nine miles of irrigation ditch south of the Niobrara river, and there purchased land and opened a large ranch. Since that time he has been engaged principally in sheep, horse and hog raising, using his ranch of twenty-three thousand acres for this purpose, it being the largest ranch deeded land in the county. He has a fine set of building on this place, has five hundred acres under irrigation, many forest and small fruit trees, three hundred acres of alfalfa and raises immense crops of grain - this year his yield amounted to ten thousand bushels of small grain and twelve thousand bushels of corn.

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      He runs eight thousand head of sheep, seventy-five mules, one hundred and twenty-five Percheron horses, eight hundred head of hogs and a few head of cattle. Since putting the irrigation ditch in he has a lake of one hundred acres, twelve feet deep, which is within forty rods from his home ranch. He has seventeen miles of running water on the farm, five windmills and five supply tanks, cut on thousand tons of wild hay each year, and has the place improved with three set of good buildings, all of frame construction, one of the news barns just completed being sixty by seventy-six feet. The ranch is situated in Sheridan, Dawes and Box Butte counties, and is owned by the Peters & Williams Company. H. A. Peters owns the controlling interest. Mr. Peters has erected a fine residence in Hay Springs, moving here in 1904. This house is strictly modern throughout, fitted up with every convenience, having furnace heat, water works, etc., and is one of the finest in the town.

      Mr. Peters was married on February 24, 1897, to Miss Alice R. Rhodes, daughter of George H. Rhodes, who was cashier of the Bank of Hay Springs, now deceased. Mr. Rhodes was the organizer of that bank, established in 1886, and was the first bank in town. He died in the year that his daughter married our subject.

      Mr. Peters is counted among the earliest settlers of this section, and has taken part in the history of the region and from its beginning. During the early days he drove stage from Chadron into the Black Hills, and his first post office was at Bordeaux. He is a strong Republican and has attended many county and state conventions as delegate.



      Among the representative ranchmen and farmers of Sioux county who have aided materially in its advancement and development, a prominent place is accorded Peter N. Summers, who resides on his well improved estate in section 23, township 33, range 57. He is a gentleman of energetic character, and well merits his success and high standing.

      Mr. Summers is a native of Illinois, born in Cass county in 1859. His father, Charles Summers, followed farming in Illinois and is now engaged in farming in the southeastern part of Nebraska. He married Sarah Alexander, of Illinois. While our subject was a boy his parents lived in Iowa, later Missouri, and finally settled in Nebraska, and when he became twenty-two years of age he started out for himself, following farming in the southeastern part of this state, remaining there up to 1887. He then came to western Nebraska, locating near the South Dakota line in Fall River county, where he spent two years. That place was thirty-five miles from Harrison, and sixty-five miles from Crawford, and there he engaged in the ranching business, working as a cowboy, "punching" cows and horses for about fifteen years. He followed the regular frontier life, camping out on the plains many nights, scarcely knowing what it was to sleep in a house, and went through all the hard times known to the early settler in that region.

      For a number of years Mr. Summers was located at Converse, Wyoming, engaged n the horse business, and made quite a little money in that line of work. He finally returned to Nebraska, purchasing his present ranch, which is situated at the head of Jim creek, close to Pine Ridge. The place contains fourteen hundred and eighty acres, all fenced, and supplied with good buildings. He cultivates about fifty acres and has some irrigated land, also plenty of hay and pasture land, running quite a large herd of cattle.

      In 1884 Mr. Summers was united in marriage to Miss Mary Easley, of Fremont county, Iowa, whose father was an old settler in that state.

      Mr. Summers has always taken an active part in affairs of his locality, and is an active public-spirited citizen. He is a typical Nebraskan, for whiles he has lived most of his life in the west, spending many years in South Dakota and Wyoming, he was always thoroughly familiar with Nebraska and took an interest in her welfare from the earliest years of settlement, having traveled over nearly every part of the state as a cowboy.



      Prince C. G. Laing, an old settler of that part of Cheyenne that is now Morrill county, Nebraska, has done his full share toward the development and improvement of its fertile lands. He is owner of a valuable estate in King precinct, and is a prosperous and successful citizen who has the esteem and respect of all who know him.

      Mr. Laing was born in Fremont county, Iowa, December 25, 1861, and while yet an infant his parents moved to Nebraska, locating south of Omaha, then to Sarpy county, Mr. Laing remaining in the latter vicinity until the spring of 1887, at which time he came to Chey-

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enne county, homesteading in section 1, township 19, range 49. He also took a tree claim in section 2, and at present has the home ranch in the northeast quarter of section 9, township 19, range 49, which was acquired by purchase, and consists of one hundred and sixty acres, about eighty of it being under irrigation. In all he has about four hundred and eighty-six acres of fine land. He has passed through all the early Nebraska times, meeting with many discouragements and often failure of crops, but stuck to his farm through all hardships, and has been well repaid for his endeavors. He has a well improved property, cultivating about twenty-five acres, and runs twenty cattle and the same number of horses.

      Mr. Laing was married to Miss Alice M. Covalt on March 11, 1891. Mrs. Laing is a native of Nebraska, her parents, John and Charlotta (Keeler) Covalt, now residing in Cheyenne county, while Mr. Laing's parents, Charles G. and Louisa (Roberts) Laing, still live in Sarpy county. Five children have been born to this worthy couple, named as follows: Victor K., John A., Charlotte, Lena and Kenneth C., all living at home. They have a pleasant home, surrounded by a large circle of acquaintances. Mr. Laing is president of Brown Creek Irrigation Canal Company, and is also moderator of school district No. 3, taking an active part in all local affairs. In political views he is a Democrat.



      In driving through the country districts of Box Butte county, many well kept, highly cultivated and well improved farms are in evidence, and none are more carefully conducted or furnish a better opportunity for gaining a good livelihood than that owned by the subject of this review. Mr. Butler has spent the past twenty years of his career on this ranch, and has become well versed in all the modern methods of operating a model farm, and acquired a wide knowledge by experience and observation, to which his success is in a large measure due.

      Mr. Butler was born in Milbury, Massachusetts, in 1855, and is of Irish-Scotch descent. His father was born in Ireland, learned the blacksmith's trade as a young man and followed that occupation in his native land for many years, then came to the United States, and worked at his trade a number of years. He came west in 1878 and farmed in Platte county, Nebraska. Our subject was reared in Massachusetts, and lived there until he was of age, working on the railroad as a young man, and after coming west, was a trainman in Wyoming, Dakota, Montana, Colorado and Nebraska. In 1885 Mr. Butler came to Nebraska, settling on a claim n Box Butte county, and was one of the earliest settlers in that part of the country. When he landed here he had some money which he had saved from his railroad work, and had a better start than most of the emigrants to this region. His first location was in the vicinity of Valentine, which was his post office and nearest supply point, but soon afterwards Chadron and Hay Springs were started and grew rapidly into thriving towns. He did his share in building the railroads through the region, and remembers well every movement toward the development and growth of the locality in which he took an active part.

      Our subject has accumulated a nice property. He has lived on his ranch for the past fifteen years, and during that time has built it up in good shape, adding every improvement necessary in the way of the buildings, fences, machinery, etc. He owns in all one thousand nine hundred and sixty acres, all deeded land, and, besides this, leases a large tract for ranching purposes. He has erected a handsome house, forty by twenty, fitted with many modern conveniences, and has another good frame house on the place. He keeps one hundred and fifty head of cattle and twenty horses. Mr. Butler raises some crops, and during the year 1907 had a crop of oats which showed a yield of sixty bushels to the acre, corn twenty-five, and potatoes on hundred bushels per acre.

      In 1883 Mr. Butler was married to Miss Elizabeth Weber. Her father was of German descent, born in that country, a farmer by occupation and who settled in America during his youth. Mr. and Mrs. Butler have one child, a daughter, named Mary.

      In political sentiment, Mr. Butler is a Republican.



      Should the reader of this work ask for the name of a man who was a representative old citizen and early settler of Brown county, a man who came in mature life to breast the storms of the wilderness, and beyond the dreams of youth, to hammer a home and fortune out of adversity, let him have the name that introduces this article.

      Mr. Cowley was born in Glocestershire, England, in 1829. His father, Thomas Cowley, was a factory hand in England, and his

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