ing the hard times here taught for three years. He became very much discouraged with conditions at that time and made a trip to Missouri with the intention of trading his homestead for land there, but on looking the ground over was satisfied that this was the better place of the two and returned, determined to make a success, which he has accomplished in a remarkable degree, as is evidenced by his present holdings.
When Mr. Lance first ran for county clerk he was elected by a majority of seven votes. The second time he won over his competitor by a plurality of one hundred and twelve votes, and the third time carried every precinct in the county. He is now acting as chairman of the Populist committee, and has been secretary or chairman of the same ever since coming here. He is active in all matters of public interest, and his influence is felt in every movement pertaining to the welfare of the people of his community.
Mr. Lance was married in the spring of 1890 to Miss Carrie Sloan, born and raised in Iowa, and they have three children, namely: Laura A., Charles J. and Samuel S.
Hervey Ford, a leading citizen of Brown county, Nebraska, was one of the first men to settle on a homestead and build a house on Buffalo Flats. Mr. Ford was born on a farm in Coshocton county, Ohio, August 2, 1837. His father, Robert Ford, was born in Ireland, came to this country with his parents when but three years of age, grew up in Coshocton county, Ohio, and married Miss Sally Boyd, American-born but also of Irish descent.
Our subject was reared in Ohio, assisting his father in the farm work, and attending school during the winter months. At the age of twelve years he started out to shift for himself, working on farms near his home until the breaking out of the war, when he enlisted in Company C, Fifty-first Ohio Infantry, September 3, 1861. After being thoroughly drilled his company was ordered south to Kentucky, and was with the Army of the Cumberland until 1863, marching all over the state of Tennessee. Through exposure and hardship he became afflicted with rheumatism and other diseases and received his discharge on account of disability. He recovered fully from this and in 1864 enlisted in the one-hundred-day service, going to Petersburg and Richmond, where he participated in the siege of those places, and during the summer of that year was almost constantly under fire from the batteries. After the war had closed he went back to Ohio and lived there until 1869, when he came west to Kansas, settling in Wilson, where he lived among the Osage Indians, leading a regular pioneer's life. He remained there for five years, going through all the rough experiences which fell to the lot of the sturdy old settlers of those days, then went on to Indian Territory, where he was engaged in farming on Indian lands for the Cherokees in that region for two years, then returned to Kansas. He was without money and obliged to make his living working at whatever he could find to do, for the most part hiring out to different farmers and ranchmen. He soon became dissatisfied with this, and, leaving Chautauqua county the 7th of June, came to Nebraska, arriving in Brown county August 8, 1880. Here he settled on a homestead in Buffalo Flats, driving through to Buffalo Flats with two yoke of oxen and covered wagon, leading a pony. After the rough journey of two months in the open he took up a homestead and went to work at once, erecting a log shanty sixteen by twenty-four feet, afterwards adding a sod room to it, making a fairly comfortable dwelling. He lived in this for some time, and then took up a tree claim, on which he now resides. He endured hard times while establishing his farm, experiencing much suffering during the winter of 1880-81, being snowed under in his shanty and unable to get out for supplies, which became so low that they were in danger of being entirely without food. At last he was able to dig his way out and secure more provisions to alleviate their hunger. During the summer of 1880 he had broken about ten acres of ground and the next year raised his first crop on this homestead. In 1882 his yield was thirty bushels of wheat to the acre, and from that time on he has produced good crops and enough provisions to supply his family. This place consists of one hundred and sixty acres, one hundred of which are under cultivation, and the balance in pasture. He enjoys a comfortable income annually as a result of his hard labor in the past and with his place well improved and well stocked, with a good set of substantial farm buildings, he can rest content, knowing he is provided for in old age.
In 1868 Mr. Ford was married to Miss Martha A. McMunn, a native of Ohio, of Irish descent. They have a family of three children, who are named as follows: Clemmie May, wife of Howard C. Lewis; Theron B. and Thadius K. Mr. Ford enjoys the confidence and respect of all who know him, and takes a warm interest in all religious and educational
matters in his locality. He has served his district in different capacities, having been director for a number of years past. Politically he is independent, voting for men and principles instead of party. He is a comrade of the Grand Army of the Republic. Portraits of Mr. and Mrs. Ford will be found on another page of this volume.
A. A. SCOUTT.
A. A. Scoutt, one of the successful young business men and stock growers residing near Kearney, Nebraska, has made that region his home for the past fourteen years, and during that time has won for himself an enviable reputation as a worthy citizen and prosperous agriculturist, and stands high in the estimation of all who have been associated with him either in a business or social way.
Since coming here Mr. Scoutt has made a specialty of raising hay during the summer months and feeding sheep through the winter, and in these different enterprises has been most successful. During the season of 1907 he cut and put up twelve hundred acres of hay and the previous winter fed one thousand head of sheep and got them through in fine shape, they making him a nice profit when shipped to market. He is an enthusiastic admirer of this section of Nebraska, considering the crops of alfalfa and the feeding facilities of Buffalo county to be better than any place he has ever known and fully justifies the high price of land prevailing near Kearney especially, believing that there is no place in the region where the farmer and feeder has a better chance to succeed or obtain better results from his operations. Mr. Scoutt controls a large tract of land known as the Watson ranch, from which place he secures his hay crop and also carries on his sheep feeding work there.
A brother of our subject, who lives in Chicago, Illinois, is a partner with Mr. Watson, owner of the Watson ranch, in the cement block machinery business, and their general offices are located in that city, at 510 New York Life building. They have succeeded in building up a large business and are making money in it.
SIDNEY C. MANNING.
Sidney C. Manning, prominent among the early settlers and prosperous farmers of Grant county, has passed through the experiences of the pioneer Nebraskan, and has remained there through privation and discouragements to become a substantial and influential citizen. He resides on his elegant farm, but has practically retired from its active management, devoting most of his time to his home, surrounded by every comfort, and is prepared to enjoy during the evening of his life the hard won fruits of his earlier labors.
Mr. Manning was born in Anderson county, Missouri, in 1857, and comes of good old American stock. His father was a merchant and farmer, and the family lived in Missouri until our subject was nine years old, then moved to Denver, Colorado, settling on a ranch a short time after going to that city. This ranch was situated six hundred miles from a railroad and there they lived for a number of years, Sidney following the range and roughing it winter and summer, and went through all the hardships incident to life on the frontier. During these years he owned ranches in that vicinity and carried on a successful business. In 1886 he came to Grant county, Nebraska, locating twenty miles south of Whitman, which part of the county was at that time very sparsely populated. He began to develop a farm, went through sod house experience, and during the first few years was obliged to haul all supplies from North Platte, which was eighty miles distant from his homestead, making the trip many times in all kinds of rough weather, spending the nights camped out under his wagon, often encountering dangers in the way of hordes of Indians and wild beasts which roamed the prairies. He occupied the ranch up to 1904 and succeeded in building up a good farm and home, running a large herd of stock each year, and was one of the leading ranchmen of his locality, his place being one of the best equipped in the way of good buildings and every modern convenience of a labor saving nature.
In 1904 Mr. Manning left his ranch and moved to Denver, making that his home for four years, when he returned to Grant county, and settled on a ranch which lies near his son's place, in township 22, range 37. Here he has six hundred and forty acres of land, with every improvement, and is very comfortably situated.
Mr. Manning was married in 1876 to Miss Mollie Dodd, of Colorado. They have one son, mentioned above. Our subject has been a resident of Grant county off and on ever since it was organized. He has always taken an active part in county affairs, and was the first county clerk elected to the office, holding the same for four years.
Vaclav Vacik was born February 8, 1851, in Strejckovicich, Krajs, Plaen county, Prestic, Bohemia, Europe. His father owned a very large farm there and was a dealer in horses, cattle and grain. They had the handsomest house and largest barns in the village of Strejckovicich. His mother was of German descent, a very charming and accomplished woman. There were four boys in the family and four girls, Vaclav being the youngest of the sons, and was always the pet of his mother. On one occasion several of the children came to the house to play, and while the family were in the house the youngsters set the barn on fire and everything was burned to the ground, and the fire even spread to neighboring houses. The Vacik family lost house, barns, grain, horses and cattle, and were completely ruined by the disaster. They started to build up their home again, and during the construction of some building the father was killed. He was at work and in stepping backward over a log fell and broke his neck, although he was not instantly killed, living about two hours after the accident, but not being able to speak before he died. He was fifty-four years of age at the time of his death. After the father's death Mrs. Vacik was obliged to go ahead and finish the building, and Vaclav was compelled to go out to work, as they were running into debt. His first job was working for a cousin at seventeen dollars a year and his board, and after a while was able to earn twenty two dollars a year.
When our subject grew to manhood he more and more disliked the idea of being under the Austrian government, also the thought that he was compelled to serve as a soldier,. so decided that he would leave home and come to America, and when but little more than sixteen years of age started out alone on his trip into the world, taking passage on an emigrant ship for America. His mother begged him not to leave his native land, but he told her that he could not bear the thought of having to be a soldier, which was his only object in leaving Austria. He left there on October 6, 1867, and was on the ocean thirteen weeks, landing in Baltimore, and from there came directly to Chicago, Illinois, arriving there on January 22, 1868. He was without money and had a hard time to get along, as he was unable to speak a word of English, and had been used to every comfort and luxury in his own home. For twelve weeks he was not able to secure any employment and in that time got into debt, having met some Bohemian friends who aided him, and he finally secured work from a Frenchman, for which he received three dollars and a half per week for sandpapering molding in a lumber yard. He continued in the work for one year, then went to Champaign county, Illinois, and picked corn on a farm, for which he received twenty dollars a month and board all winter. He returned to Chicago in the spring and began working for the Chicago, Burlington & Quincy railway. This was in 1869, and he held his position for two years, working in the freight yards, saving his money, and at the end of that time had considerable laid by. In 1871 he left Chicago, going to Columbus, Mississippi, but after a stay of ten days and not finding it pleasant to live where the negroes were so plentiful, he decided to try another location. He was told that he could do well in Alabama, so went to Mobile, where he expected to make a good living, but instead of bettering himself found conditions worse and more negroes than in Columbus. He began to think Chicago was not so bad a place after all, and got his partner to go back there, but their money was all gone by this time, and they were obliged to beat their way the best they could. They had to cross the Mississippi river from Columbus, Kentucky, to Cairo, Illinois, and stole aboard one of the steamers and got under a bed, being unobserved by any of the crew, arriving at their destination safely. On trying to leave Cairo they watched their chance and tried to board a freight train, but after Vaclav had thrown his grip in a car he was unable to board it himself and the train rolled away with all his clothes and possessions. He went to the station and tried to get the agent to give him a ticket, but the latter told, him he could not do it, so after Vaclav had told him of the loss of his grip and described it the agent told him that the brakeman had found such a grip and gave it back to him, and you may be sure that he was a very pleased person on regaining possession of it. He again started on his journey, getting as far as Broadline, Illinois, and there hired out as a farm hand on the farm of John Alexander, spending a short time there, then went to Chicago, where he worked for a blacksmith on Michigan street, remaining there through the winter. He again got a job with the Chicago, Burlington & Quincy and continued with them up to 1872, and during this time he became acquainted with Miss Maria Chervenka, and they were married February 11, 1874.
Mr. Vacik made his home in Chicago for one year, then with his wife came to Wilber, Saline county, Nebraska, where Mrs. Vacik's
parents resided. After about three years in that vicinity they returned to Chicago and when they had just gotten located there was a big strike started and a man was unable to secure hardly any kind of employment. This strike is well remembered by most of the oldtimers, as the state troops were called out to suppress the mobs. After walking the streets for a whole month Mr. Vacik had the good fortune to obtain employment at the munificent wage of one dollar per day, but became dissatisfied and returned to Wilber, Nebraska, where he bought a farm of eighty acres, paying six dollars and eighty cents per acre. He also bought a team of oxen, cultivator and put up a sod shanty, and began to farm. He did exceptionally well there at first, and times soon changed, when he was able to trade his oxen for a team of horses, put up better buildings of frame, and rented land from a neighbor. He raised as high as twenty-five hundred bushels of corn one season alone, and all crops were good. He finally got into the hog business, starting with a herd of two hundred and fifty hogs, fed them for two years, then when nearly ready for market they began to sicken and die. The first he noticed of this was one day when he took a load of corn in the pens and was throwing it to the hogs, saw that they appeared sick, and they began to die until he only had three of his entire drove left. This was a serious loss to him and set him back greatly, so he decided to try some other part of the state, and moved west, locating on his present homestead. He had come here through the advice of an agent named Vaclav Kuiera. who had land advertised in the paper. The claim was on section 24, township 13, range 48, in Cheyenne county, and he landed here in 1886. Here he started in full of hope, and expected to raise a crop the same as he was used to do in Saline county, and he plowed and sowed, but never reaped up to 1891-92, when he was fortunate enough to raise a small crop. At this time the drouths began to devastate the region and people began leaving their claims, there remaining only besides our subject, Adam Schimka, who had come here from Wilber county at the same time. After a time some of the old settlers came back and still reside here.
Mr. Vacik had poor crops for a number of years, then times began to improve. During the year 1904 he had a fine crop of grain. and all ready to harvest when along came a hailstorm and destroyed it utterly. Since then he has met with better success and has raised a very good crop every year. He has nine hundred and sixty acres of land and believes there is no better farming country than western Nebraska. Mr. Vacik engages in stock raising quite extensively, having at the present time one hundred and fifty cattle and about fifty horses. The ranch is supplied with a complete set of good farm buildings, including barns, sheds, granary, and handsome residence. He is considered among the wealthy men of his locality, and states that he is well contented and happy, and if any one wants to know about his start to come and see him and he will tell them, as his life's history is too big to write it all.
Mrs. Vacik was born in Nevezice, Krajs, Pisek, July 4, 1854. She lived in a little village until twelve years of age and was obliged to work very hard as a young girl, as her father was an invalid most of the time, afflicted with inflammatory rheumatism. She was the eldest in the family and all the work of carrying on the home fell upon her shoulders, as they were poor and not able to hire a servant. They lived in a cottage and about their only possessions were two cows and five chickens, and had about two acres of ground, on which they raised potatoes and other vegetables, also some rye, which the mother was obliged to care for cutting the grain with a hand sickle. The father had been a soldier for eight years, and was a rough rider in 1848, taking part in different engagements. Mrs. Vacik had seven younger brothers and sisters, only two besides herself living beyond childhood. After a long time her father recovered from his illness and was able to work, receiving wages of twenty-four cents a day and obliged to find his own meals. They were deeply in debt, having incurred a doctor's bill of over four hundred dollars, and were compelled to sell their cows, chickens, grain and even the home, to pay their bills. After settling all obligations they just had enough to bring them to America, leaving Prague on June 10, 1866. After arriving here they settled in Chicago and Maria secured work as a servant at one dollar per week. The father could not get steady employment, so got a handsaw and went from house to house and chopped and sawed wood, for which he received a few cents a day, and in this manner they managed to make a scant living. When Maria was fifteen years of age she went to work in a tobacco factory and at first received three dollars per week, after a time making as high as eight dollars, and were soon able to buy a home, purchasing a cottage on Burlington street, which was in the district afterwards swept by the fire, and the memory of the great Chicago fire is still fresh in her memory, as it started in the barn of one of
their neighbors. Every one knows the origin of the fire - starting as the result of an overturned lantern when milking a cow, so it is unnecessary to repeat this story.
After the fire they were very fortunate in every way and saved up considerable money. They left Chicago and came to Nebraska, locating on a farm of eighty acres, which Mr. Chervenka purchased for eight dollars an acre, and they still reside on the homestead. He is now eighty-five years of age and enjoys good health. Mrs. Chervenka died eleven years ago at the age of seventy-three years, and one daughter lives with the father and cares for the home. Maria was married to our subject before coming to Nebraska, at the age of twenty.
Mr. Vacik and his family have become wealthy during the past few years, and they have a pleasant and happy home. Some bad luck has attended them, one instance being when their house was struck by lightning and burned to the ground, this misfortune occurring in 1891, and for some little time they were obliged to live in the cellar until another house was built. In the following year, after harvest time, his straw stacks caught fire and quite a loss was entailed. This fire was started Mr. Vacik's little son, who had crawled in a hole in the side of a stack where there were some little dogs which he wanted to see, and as it was dark he lighted a match, with disastrous results. During the same year he lost thirty-six head of cattle and three horses. In spite of all these misfortunes he has come out victorious and is still full of energy and ambition, and feels well repaid for all his labors by his present prosperity and peace.
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