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Compendium of History Reminiscence & Biography of Western Nebraska

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mother of Miss Rebecca Hill. There were thirteen children in his parents' family, of whom he is the seventh member, and the family came to America in 1836, settling in Lowell, Massachusetts, where all of the family old enough to work were put in the factory there. They remained in Lowell only a short time, then moved to Pennsylvania, where the father worked in a factory for some time, then moved to New Jersey and afterward to Wisconsin and were pioneer settlers in Columbia county. At this place our subject started in life for himself, following farm work, and went through a pioneer's life, coming to Minnesota in 1860.

     September 22, 1864, he enlisted in Company B, Minnesota Heavy Artillery, First Regiment, walking the entire distance from Blue Earth to Rochester, to enlist. He was ordered to Tennessee with his regiment, and saw hard service at Chattanooga and other places. After the close of the war he went back to Minnesota, purchasing some land on the Winnebago reservation, and farmed there up to 1879, when he sold out and came to Nebraska, locating in Brown county. He drove through from Minnesota by team, accompanied by John Brill, bringing his family with him. In the spring of 1880 he got out logs and built a log cabin, which was the first dwelling ever built on the prairie.

     While putting up this log house his eldest son was accidentally killed, and the sad accident was a hard blow to the little family. His firsts team were of oxen, which he used for farming purposes for several years. During the hard winter of 1880-81, the family experienced much suffering and hardship, but they bravely went through all privation and after getting started did very well on this place. This was no new experience for Mr. Cowley, as he had gone through three pioneer experiences, in Wisconsin, Minnesota, and this state, and did his best in helping to develop the country and build up a home for himself and family. He was one of those who helped to organize and build the first schools in this section, and did his share in every enterprise that looked to the advancement of his community.

     Mr. Cowley was married in 1868 to Miss Eliza Wright and five children were born of this union, namely: Alfred, Kate L., Charles, now residing in Washington, George I., and Roy. In 1901 the family suffered the loss of wife and mother, and in her death they had the sympathy of the entire community. She was a highly estimable lady, and beloved by all who knew her. Mr. Cowley departed this life a few years after the death of his wife, thus closing the career of one who lived a just life and who did much for the betterment of mankind.



      In compiling a list of the names of those who have spent many years of their life in western Nebraska, we mention that of Charles S. Anderson, who was born and reared in this state, and is a typical representative of his native soil. He has seen all the changes which have taken place here since its earliest settlement, and has been a part of its growth and development.

     Mr. Anderson is now a prosperous and successful young farmer, residing on section 10, township 14, range 51, in Brownson precinct.

     Our subject was born in section 9, township 14, range 51, Cheyenne county, on September 15, 1874, and was reared and educated in his native township, attending the country schools. He was the second white child born in the county. His father and mother reside on the old home place, a farm adjoining his own. In 1902 Mr. Anderson left home and started farming on his own account, and is now owner of one hundred and sixty acres, which was originally a timber claim belonging to his father, John Anderson. He farms about fifty acres and keeps a small herd of cattle and stock for his own use. He is engaged in the dairy business, shipping the cream of a herd of twelve to fifteen cows. He is extensively engaged in poultry raising and has annually a large drove of hogs. Mr. Anderson's farm is admirably situated on Lodgepole creek, which furnishes a splendid supply of water for irrigating and farming purposes; twenty-five acres area are already supplied with ditches and the entire, farm, excepting a few acres in the southwest corner, may be subjected to irrigation. Since coming to this place he has had some discouragements in the way of loss of crops by hail and drouths, but has been generally successfully and is well satisfied with the result of his efforts, now enjoying a pleasant home and in a fair way to be the possessor of a competence for his declining years. A view of the home and surrounding buildings is to be found on another page of our work.

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     Mr. Anderson was united in marriage June10, 1903, to Miss Effie Yoakum, the wedding taking place at Kimball, Nebraska. Mrs. Anderson is a native of Johnson county, Iowa, a daughter of David A. and Mary E. (Oldaker) Yoakum. Three children have been

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a result of this union, namely: Susie Lucile, Lowell Rupert and Ella Adelaide.

     In national politics, Mr. Anderson is a Democrat, but in local issues entirely independent. He was reared in the Lutheran church. Fraternally, he affiliates with the Odd Fellows and Royal Highlanders, while Mrs. Anderson is a member of the Degree of Honor of the Ancient Order of United Workmen.



      Emery H. Higgins, a representative of one of the oldest settlers in Nebraska, is a resident of section 12, township 23, range 29, Thomas county, Nebraska, and is one of the best known of the pioneers in Furnas county, where his parents settled in 1884. He has been identified with the upbuilding of the western part of the state for many years, and owns a valuable estate in Thomas county.

     Mr. Higgins was born in Nemaha county, Nebraska, October 29, 1868, and his entire life has been spent in his native state, with the exception of short trips to different states. His father, Jonathan, came here in 1857, from Grayson county, Virginia. He freighted a good deal after coming to this state, from Nebraska City to Denver, Colorado, with ox teams, before the Union Pacific railroad was built through the country. He first settled in Nuckolls county, later removed to Furnas county, where he spent many years. He married Mary Good, a native of Indiana, who came west with her parents about 1860, and she was reared and educated in Nebraska and died in Nuckolls county, in 1881. The father is seventy-two years old and now resides in North Platte city.

      Our subject received his education in the country schools in Furnas county, and from the time he was eight years of age worked on a farm, doing all kinds of hard work assisting his father in the development of a good home and farm. In 1898 he started for himself, purchasing land there and did very well, succeeded in building up a good home, remaining there up to 1904, when he came to Thomas county. Here he has a ranch of three hundred and twenty acres of deeded land, besides controlling six hundred and forty acres situated three miles west of Thedford on Middle Loup river. He has all of the land well improved, engages in stock and grain raising, and has made considerable money in his ventures.

     While living in Furnas county our subject opened a place on one hundred and seventy acres in the Republican Valley east of Cambridge, making of it one of the best improved in the vicinity, and there he was married in 1904, to Jennie E. Carr, a widow, and most estimable lady of very charming personality, and they have two children, Clinton, aged nine years, and Eula, aged seven years. They have a pleasant home and are popular in neighborhood affairs. Mr. Higgins takes an active part in local government.



      Among the prosperous younger members of the farming community of Cheyenne county, Nebraska, we mention the name of Henry Cronberg, born in Denmark, January 15, 1877, and who spent his boyhood years in that country, receiving a common school education, and early learning to do all kinds of hard labor.

     The whole family came to the United States about the year 1885, sailing from Hamburg to New York in the Bohemia. Settling in Nebraska, they took up a homestead in Brownson precinct, Cheyenne county, and began to develop a farm and build up a home on section 6, township 14, range 52. They went through the usual experiences of the pioneers of this region, having a hard time to make a living and suffering many discouragements, but managed to keep their farm through all their hardships. In 1889 occurred the death of the father, Hans Cronberg. The mother, who was Hannah Rasmussen, resides in Wyoming, where she has four sons and one daughter living, all prosperous and contented.

     Our subject remained in Nebraska on the old home place, working faithfully, and has met with deserved success. He is now the owner of a good farm consisting of three hundred and twenty acres, lying along the banks of Lodgepole creek, the whole place being well improved with good stone buildings, fences and groves, and has about fifty acres under cultivation. Mr. Cronberg is quite extensively engaged in cattle raising, running about two hundred head with quite a number of good horses. Mr. Cronberg has an inevitable reputation as a progressive ranchman, and is well-known throughout the county as a capable business man possessing superior attainments as a gentleman and scholar, esteemed by all who know him. Though a bachelor, he takes a commendable interest n local affairs, voting an Independent ticket. A view of his substantial residence and gram buildings is to be found on another page of this work.

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     R. M. Swindell, residing in Spring Grove township, is one of the prominent citizens and successful men of this section of Nebraska, and for many years past has been engaged in ranching and farming in Harlan county. He is a man of integrity and true worth, and is highly esteemed by all who know him.

     Mr. Swindell is a native of North Carolina, where his family for generations has lived. His grandfather, John Swindell, was a sailor for many years, originally from England. In 1859 our subject's father, L. H. Swindell, left his native state and came west with his family. His wife was Miss Nancy H. Petty, also born in North Carolina, and is now living in Henry county, Indiana, active and enjoying splendid health at the advanced age of eighty-five years. Her family were old settlers in North Carolina. Our subject's maternal grandmother, Mrs. Polk, lived to be over ninety years of age, and all of her brothers lived to a great age. The Polks were relatives of James K. Polk, once president of the United States.

     In 1870 Mr. Swindell came to Cass county, Nebraska, from Henry county, Indiana, where he had lived for some years, and farmed in Cass county up to 1885. Two brothers also came west with him, Frank settling in Kansas and was killed at Lincoln, Nebraska, in 1890. The other brother, W. R., lives in Harlan county. On locating in Harlan county, Mr. Swindell bought one hundred and sixty acres of land and soon after added another quarter section to it, and farmed that for a time. Since then land has advanced in value eight or ten times, and he is now the proprietor of over four thousand acres, all in this county. He raises stock and also does farming, feeding all his crop on his ranch. He keeps about two hundred head of cattle on hand all the time and sells large numbers each year. He also breeds horses for the market, and sells from one hundred to one hundred and fifty each year. He is the owner of Colonel, a thoroughbred stallion, and owns other very fine animals. Mr. Swindell has been phenomenally successful since locating here, and much prefers this as a stock and grain raising state to the eastern states, and as he has had experience in different sections he knows wheof he speaks. His entire attention is given to his ranching and farming interests, and it is no light task to personally manage his extensive possessions. He has some of his farms rented, and on each one is a comfortable and commodious tenant house and buildings.

     Our subject was married in 1877, to Miss Mary Philby, of Iowa, and they are the parents of the following children: L. L., M. R., Willie, Flora, now Mrs. Baxter, and Ella, wife of C. D. Dexter, the two latter residing in Spring Grove township near their parents' home.

     Mr. Swindell has always taken an active part in local affairs and is one of the leading men of his section. He is interested in educational affairs, and has served on the school board for many years, and as town treasurer, besides beholding numerous local offices. In political views he is a Republican. He is an member of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows and Masonic lodges at Oxford.



      G. A. Hanson, an old resident of Phelps county, Nebraska, who has watched the growth of this locality for the past many years, is an enthusiastic admirer of the region, considering it one of the very best farming countries known, with unlimited capacities under improved methods and more careful tilling of the soil than the pioneers were able to give it. Mr. Hanson is a resident of Loomis, where he is engaged in the agricultural implement business. He is also owner of a fine farm consisting of four hundred and eighty acres near the town of Loomis, most of which he rents out.

     Mr. Hanson started in business at Holdrege in 1892, having settled in the county in 1879, coming to the locality as representative of the Chicago Broom Company as the buyer for that concern, and he shipped about one hundred cars per year from this territory. He continued in the employ of that company up to 1888, then started in business on his own account, establishing a house in Loomis at first and later moving to Holdrege, remaining in the latter town up to 1895, then came back to Loomis, and has since made this his permanent residence. Here he has done exceedingly well, building up a good business, and enjoys the confidence of the entire community.

     At different times Mr. Hanson has been a large landowner, purchasing his first quarter section in 1882, situated near the town of Loomis, then scarcely more than a village. During later years he has built on this land a fine residence, and now occupies it as a home. He is a man of energetic habits, of genial disposition, greatly admired by all with whom he has to do either in a business or whom he has to do either in a business or social way. He takes a leading part in public

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matters in his community, has served as justice of the peace, and during the past several years has been a member of the town school board, acting as treasurer for a considerable time.

     Mr. Hanson is a native of Sweden, coming to America at the age of fourteen years. He was married in 1893, to Miss Abbie Barnum, who is a daughter of Edwin Barnum, the latter well known in this vicinity, having held the position of postmaster at Loomis for eight years. He is now a resident of St. Paul, Minnesota. The Barnum family originally came from the New York state, and are of the same stock as the celebrated P. T. Barnum, of world-wide fame as the originator of the modern circus.



      C. W. Tilton, know throughout Rock county as one of the prominent citizens of that locality, is a prosperous and energetic farmer who has built up a valuable property there. He has resided on his present homestead for many years, and during that time by good management and industry has become one of the substantial agriculturists of his locality.

     Mr. Tilton was born in Illinois in 1852, and was raised on a farm. His father, James M. Tilton, was of German descent, coming to Nebraska in 1884 and settling in Rock county *on death occurring on the homestead in 1886. He (had) a farm which he improved a good shape, his death occurring on the homestead in 1866.* He married Susan Hardsty, also of German-American stock, whose parents were pioneers in Ohio. Our subject followed farm work as a boy, and after growing to manhood took a homestead on section 7, township 29, range 19, which is his present home. He is one of the few residents of this region who has not passed through sod house experience, although he has seen some pretty hard times and has suffered privations at different times during the early years. From 1893 to 1895, inclusive, he had the misfortune to lose three crops in succession, but he never once had any notion of giving up the struggle as he was sure that the country offered excellent opportunities to those who were willing to work and wait. Since better times have come he has prospered and is now owner of a fine quarter section, as well improved. He cultivates forty acres and has the same amount in pasture for quite a herd of stock which he keeps each year.

     Several years ago Mr. Tilton planted three acres of trees, including apples, cherries and pears, which are now in fine bearing condition. He also has some splendid cedars on the ranch.

     Mr. Tilton is unmarried. He devotes his entire time to the improvement of his farm, and has also taken an active part in local affairs doing all in his power to further the best interests of his locality. He is a Republican, but has never sought office.

* Portion between the asterisks appears this way in original!


      Pete A. Bower, a worthy and highly respected citizen of Ainsworth, is a pioneer settler of this section of Nebraska, and has done his full share toward the development of its commercial resources. Mr. Bower is a homesteader in these parts, and while he has done but little farming during recent years the greater part of his time has been devoted to the following of his trade, that of builder and contractor, and he has erected a large number of the residences in and around the town of Ainsworth.

     Mr. Bower was born in Pennsylvania in 1852, and was reared on a farm there. His father, Thomas Bower, was of Pennsylvania Dutch descent, and he followed farming in that state up to 1884, then came with his entire family to Brown county, Nebraska. During his boyhood, Pete spent most of his time working in the iron foundries, following it up in 1879, when he came west and settled in Iowa, working as a farm hand for five years. He then came to Ainsworth and took a pre-emption, on which he proved up in due time, and when times were slack on his farm did carpenter work in Ainsworth and the surrounding country. In this was he was able to improve his farm, erected good buildings, and managed to make a nice income. He is thrifty and a good manager, and by hard labor and persistent efforts has gained a comfortable property and the respect and esteem of the entire community.

     Shortly before leaving Pennsylvania Mr. Bower was married to Miss Leah Hoffman, also born and reared in that state. To them have been born the following children: Lydia, born in Iowa: Fred, Thomas, Pete, Amy and Oliver, the last mentioned five having been born in Ainsworth, and all educated in the public schools here. They are a very congenial family, and enjoy the friendship of a host of people.

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