The Wertz brothers came from Ogle county, Illinois, where they were reared and where the father was a well know farmer. They came to this section and began in the stock feeding business in 1901, rapidly accumulated property and constantly widening their operations until at times they had a herd of two thousand cattle and the same number of hogs on the ranch. All of their cattle were brought from the West Slope and from the Sand Hills, this state, and nearly every year they had five thousand head which they purchased and fed, marketing them on the St. Joseph, Omaha and Chicago markets, being among the largest shippers in the west. The location of their ranch is the best in the world for business, as there is no spot know where the climate and alfalfa blend as they do here. Also, this region has never been swept by the severe storms which are so frequent west of McCook and east of Superior.
Prior to locating in Harlan County, Messrs. Wertz had been residents of Richardson county for about fifteen years, being in the stock raising and feeding business all of that time. They have exhibited specimens of their stock at different fairs and expositions in the county, and on one occasion had a car of fat yearling steers and heifers at the Interstate Stock Show at St. Joseph, Missouri, which took six first prizes and one second. These cattle were fattened at Alma and secured sweepstakes over the car of cattle that took first prize at the Royal Stock Show which was held at Kansas City in 1906, two weeks after the St. Joe Exposition.
Messrs. Wertz claim that this portion of Nebraska is far ahead of Illinois as a stock country, owing to the splendid climate and the freedom from the mud and dampness, which is the chief drawback to the proper development of the cattle in that state. They are in a position to know whereof they speak regarding these matters, as they have had considerable experience in both sections, and have been successful in a marked degree since locating here. They are classed among the wealthy and influential residents of their locality, and are classed among the largest handlers of cattle in Nebraska.
Both are interesting companions and genial good fellow, and are well like by all with whom they come in contact. Both are members of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows of Alma.
JOHN O. BELDEN.
John O. Belden, an industrious
younger member of the farming community of Court House Rock
precinct, Morrill township, formerly of Cheyenne county, has a
fine estate on section 30. He has been engaged in agriculture and
stock raising but comparatively a few years, but in that time has
met with decided success, and is classed among the successful and
progressive men of the locality. A view of his residence is
presented on another page.
On November 26, 1902, Mr. Beldon married Miss Lovina Judd, and to them have been born four children, namely: Wallace, Mary , Lillie and Amanda.
They have a pleasant and comfortable home and are highly esteemed as worthy citizens throughout the community in which they live. Mr. Belden holds the office of treasurer of the Court House Rock Ditch Company, and is also moderator of school district No. 7. He is a Republican in politics and a charter member of Baird Camp, No 5141, Modern Woodmen of America.
FREDERICK J. HARR.
The gentleman above named is one of the prominent old timers of western Nebraska, who has spent the past twenty-five years of his career in that region, and during that time
has become one of the leading citizens, watching the growth and development of the locality from almost its earliest stages of settlement. He has passed through all the good, bad, and indifferent times so familiar to the pioneers of the state, and has come through it all with great success, now being proprietor of a fine estate in Davison precinct, Cheyenne county, where he occupies a handsome residence. He and his family are among the well-liked and influential residents.
Fred J. Harr was born in La Crosse county, Wisconsin, on April 8, 1862. There he was reared and educated, his parents living on a farm. Here he learned to do all kinds of hard farm work, thus fitting himself for his later labors in this line. When he was twenty-two years of age, he left home and came to Nebraska, locating near Lincoln, securing employment on ranches and spent two years in that vicinity as a cowboy, becoming familiar with all the surround country in following that work.
In the spring of 1886 he came to Cheyenne county and filed on a homestead in section 8, township 16, range 50, and since then he has added to his original one hundred and sixty acres until he now owns five hundred and sixty acres of deeded land and controls one whole section of school land. He has one hundred and twenty-five acres under cultivation on which he raises fine crops, being progressive and up-to-date in his farming methods.
For the past few years Mr. Harr
has been government crop reporter for this section of the country.
He has his ranch fitted up with good substantial buildings of all
kinds, and every necessary improvement for its successful
operation, engaging extensively in stock raising business. He runs
about seventy-five head of cattle annually and quite a bunch of
horses. A view of the remodeled dwelling, with the large stone
barn and other buildings, is to be found on another page in this
In April, 1887, our subject was married Cheyenne county to Miss Hattie Hill, a native of Nebraska, where her parents, William and Arabella (Seman) Hill, were pioneers. The mother lives near Seattle, Washington. Mr. and Mrs. Harr have a family of five children, named as follows: Ruth A., Florence A., Eva M., Mary A. and Vera F.
Mr. Harr takes a deep interest in state, county and local affairs, and is treasurer of school district No. 61. In politics, he is an independent voter. He affiliates with the Maccabees at Sidney, and, with the family, is a member of the Methodist church.
FRANK A. STEVENSON.
Frank A. Stevenson, for many years a successful stockman and agriculturist of Brown county, is the owner of a splendid estate consisting of two thousand seven hundred and sixty acres, conveniently located near the town of Ainsworth. He was one of the earliest settlers of this locality, is widely know and enjoys an enviable reputation as an enterprising and public spirited citizen.
Mr. Stevenson was born in Illinois in 1862, and was reared on a farm there. His father was of Irish descent and his mother a French Canadian. There were five children in the family, Frank being the second, and all were educated in the common schools of Harrison county, Iowa, where they settled during the early days. At the age of sixteen our subject left home and secured employment on the Chicago and Northwestern Railway, spending five years in the shops of that company. In 1883 he came to Nebraska and filed on a homestead on section 31, township 32, range 21, put up a shanty and began to build up a farm. He met with fair success for several years, but during the drouth periods was unable to raise any crops, and lost nearly everything he had made up to that time. Conditions were very disheartening, and he had about decided to abandon his farm, but owing to certain circumstances delayed moving from time to time. Things began to brighten up considerably and prospects appeared more favorable, so he took a fresh a start and determined to remain and make another trial. His crops were better than they had ever been and he was soon able to put up better buildings and also purchased his herd of stock constantly. He is now owner of eight hundred acres of cultivated land, and the balance of his ranch is used for hay and pasture for his stock, having at present two hundred and fifty head of high grade Hereford cattle on the ranch. He is considered one of the largest ranchmen in the vicinity, and is a thorough judge of his business, practical and up-to-date in operating his extensive ranching interests. He has erected a splendid set of buildings and has every improvement in the way of wells, windmills, fences, corrals, et. All of this he has ac-
required but strict attention to duty, as he had no capital to start with, and he well merits his success and the reputation of being one of the leading citizens and one of the wealthiest men of the region.
Mr. Stevenson was married in 1884, to Miss Eliza Taylor, who is a native of Missouri and a daughter of Samuel Taylor, whose life history may be found in this volume on another page. Three children have come to bless our subject's home, namely: Pearl, George and Taylor, all bright and intelligent young people and well liked by all. They have a pleasant home and a host of friends in their community.
During the subject's early residence in this section he gave freely many dollars to help develop the community, and has been one of the foremost citizens in establishing and building up the schools and promoting the general welfare. He has also taken a leading part in local and county politics and has severed in different capacities, holding the office of precinct assessor, besides other offices of trust in his township.
For nearly a quarter of a century the gentleman above named has been a resident of Keya Paha county, and during that time he has closely identified himself with the history of the region. He has succeeded in building up a fine farm in section 21, township 33, range 22, and incidentally gained an enviable reputation as a citizen. Personally he is a man of untiring energy, hones principles and good business management, and is one of the well-to-do men of this locality.
Mr. Patterson is a native of Tennessee, born in 1853. His father, William Patterson, was of American stock and one of the pioneer settlers of Tennessee and later was an early settler in Iowa, enlisting in that state in Company C, Thirty-sixth Iowa Infantry, and served until the close of the war. He returned to Iowa and followed farming after his discharge from the army, and about 1867 moved with his family into Missouri where Jeff was educated. About 1888, they came to Keya Paha county, and lived here up to the time of his death, which occurred several years ago. Mrs. Patterson's maiden name was Betsy Jones, also of American stock, and she died when Jeff was a small boy, leaving three children, of whom our subject was the second member. He started to make his own way in the world at the early age of fourteen years, following farm work in Iowa and later in Missouri, also spent some time in Ohio, working there for one man for six years. In 1883 he came into Keya Paha county and filed on a homestead, and still occupies this tract as his home ranch. There was considerable natural timber on the land, and in addition to this Mr. Patterson has planted a large number of shade and fruit trees and now has one of the finest groves and orchards in the vicinity. His first dwelling was a building made of sod, logs and rough lumber, and he occupied it for eighteen years, then erected a fine frame residence.
During his early residence in this region Mr. Patterson passed through some hard times, suffering crop losses, etc., but never gave up hoping for better times, and he has been well repaid for his efforts in the accumulating of a nice property consisting of four hundred and eighty acres of good land, all lying along Cub creek. About one hundred and fifty acres are cultivated and the balance is used for hay and pasture for his stock, having a small herd of cattle and quiet a bunch of horses and mules, making a specialty of breeding and raising the latter. He also aims to feed about a carload of hogs each years, which he finds a ready market for at Ainsworth.
In 1887 Mr. Patterson was married to Miss Geneva Dale, of Nesbit, Nebraska, who settled in this state with her parents when a young girl. Mr. and Mrs. Patterson are the parents of the following children: Ona F., Eva C., Lulu V., June M., William D. and Ezra Keith, all of whom are living at home at the present time.
Mr. Patterson is a Populist, and while he has never taken an active part in politics or held office, he is without doubt one of the leading old settlers of the country, and has done his share in bringing about the present prosperity enjoyed in the region.
JOHN STEVENS, JR.
John Stevens, Jr., of Arapahoe, Furnas county, Nebraska, is a son of Hon. John Stevens, who is a prominent resident of the same place and a native of Virginia.
Our subject is a widely known attorney with a practice extending over the entire western country tributary to Arapahoe, having established his office here in 1896, and in that time had become very successful in his profession. He ia s native of Polk county, Iowa, where his father was a pioneer settler, and also was one of the first to settle in this part of Nebraska, coming her in 1878 and
homesteading in Arapahoe precinct, later removing to Edison. He was one of the organizers of the Populist party in this county and was elected by his party to represent this district in the state legislature, serving during the years 1890 and 1892, inclusive, and is still active in supporting the principles of his party. Prior to his settlement here Mr. Stevens, Sr., was also an active worker in Polk county, Iowa, for the Greenback party. He is a prominent veteran of the Civil war, having been a member of Company A, Tenth Iowa Infantry, who served his country faithfully and well for three years, taking part in many battle, in the Army of the Cumberland, at Fort Donelson, Pittsburg Landing, and in the different sieges of Vicksburg. He is an interesting raconteur and relates many interesting adventures of his life as soldier.
John Stevens, Jr., is a stanch supporter of the Republican party, and held the office of reporter for two terms, serving under the fourteenth judicial district. In 1896 he as elected county attorney and served one term.. He has been unusually successful in this career as an attorney, gaining a large and lucrative patronage throughout the country. He is a brilliant orator and has been thoroughly fitted for his life work by a thorough education derived by years of study.
For the past twenty-five years the gentleman above named has made western Nebraska his home, and during the greater part of that time has been intimately associated with tha agricultural and commercial interests of Brown county, where he has acquired a comfortable property by dint of industry and honesty. He has a nice home and owns a well cultivated farm of eighty acres located on section 2, township 30, range 21, and is one of the substantial and highly esteemed citizens of his community.
Mr. Wheeler was born in Wisconsin in 1868, and reared on a farm. He is a son of J. T. Wheeler, whose sketch appears elsewhere in this book, and is the sixth child in a family of thirteen. When he was about one year old his parents loated in Iowa and grew up there, attending the country schools. In 1880 the whole family came to Nebraska, settling in Hall county. They were practically without funds when they struck that region, and had a hard time to get along, experiencing every form of privation and hardship during their three years' residence in that vicinity. While there they went through the drouth years, losing several crops during the dry times, and constantly getting worse off, finally leaving there without a dollar and worse off than when they landed. They then came to Brown county, arriving here in the spring of 1883. The father settled on a homestead, and after a short time our subject started for himself, securing employment on neighboring farms, and worked out until he was twenty years of age, then rented a farm and began to build up a home. He worked on rented farms for a number of years in different part of the county, mostly on Buffalo flats. In 1889 he purchased his present farm and has improved it in good shape, now having a comfortable home and well equipped farm, also works quite a good deal of rented land. For the past several years Mr. Wheeler has been owner of a threshing rig in partnership with a brother, and they have operated this all over their section of the country, from this source deriving a nice income.
Mr. Wheeler was married in 1888 to Miss Stults, who is a daughter of M. D. Stults, one of the old-timers in Brown county. Seven children have been born to Mr. and Mrs. Wheeler, named as follows: Russell, Maggie, Willie, Dewey, Eddie, Hazel and a baby.
Mr. Wheeler takes a commendable interest in local affairs, is industrious and intelligent, and keeps well posted on the current events of the times.
GEORGE H. LAW
George H. Law, widely known as an upright and industrious citizen, resides on section 4, township twelve, range 44, Deuel county, where he operates a farm. He is one of the pioneers of the table land, and can recount many experiences of the early settlers there. He is energetic and progressive, has opened up a good farm in the locality, and has been an important factor in the development of the agricultural interests in the region, and well merits his success as a farmer and enviable reputation as a citizen.
Our subject was born in Livington county, Illinois, on the 24th day of September, 1870. He was reared and educated there, coming to Deuel county, Nebraska, with his parents in March, 1886. The father homesteaded on section 10, township 12, range 44, and proved up in due time, going through the usual experiences of the earliest settlers in the section. In 1892 our subject filed on a homestead, proved up and then sold out. He came to the farm he now occupies, and here has made a