father was born in one of the Rhine provinces, Germany, and the mother in a New England state. The father came to Indiana when young and was married in that state and followed the carpenter trade and was an auctioneer. He came with his family to Butler county, Nebraska, in 1883, and during his later years engaged in market gardening. His family consisted of four sons and two daughters. He was a Democrat in politics, a member of the order of Odd Fellows and he belonged to the German Lutheran church.
Frank R. Becker attended school at David City Nebraska, but left when he reached the eight grade, in order to become self supporting. For eight years he was a clerk with the Diers Bros. firm at Fullerton, Nebraska. In the spring of 1905 he came to Scottsbluff and went to work for the same people, operating here under the firm name of Luft & Diers Bros. After the death of Mr. Luft, Mr. Becker continued with the other partners for three years and then resigned and went to the Mitchell Mercantile Company, where he had charge of the clothing department for three years. He then homesteaded six miles from Mitchell, on Dutch Flats, where he now owns eighty acres of irrigated land. On January 1, 1913, he came back to Scottsbluff to become manager of Diers Bros. Company store, in which he purchased stock, which he increased to a one-third interest on June 8, 1914. Mr. Becker has demonstrated great business capacity, having built up a comfortable fortune entirely through his own efforts.
On August 28, 1912, Mr. Becker was united in marriage to Miss Lacy Bryan, and they have one son, Frank M., who was born August 23, 1916. Mrs. Becker is a member of the Methodist Episcopal church, to which Mr. Becker's mother also belonged. In politics he is a Democrat but no seeker for office. He is identified with the Knights of Pythias and the Scottsbluff Country Club.
JOHN R. KELLY, who is one of Banner County's progressive agriculturists and leading citizens, has lived in this county many years, homesteading in 1888 and never parting with his original purchase, which now comprises some of the most valuable land in the county. He was born in Worth county, Missouri, December 7, 1867.
The parents of Mr. Kelly were John and Jerusha (Millican) Kelly, the former of whom was born in Ohio in 1838, and the latter in Illinois, March 17 1841. Her death occurred January, 1907. She was a faithful member of the Baptist church from girlhood. Of their six children, the two sons in Nebraska are John R. and Samuel. In boyhood the father of Mr. Kelley went to Illinois and lived there seven years as a farmer, married there, and then moved to Missouri, where he died in 1872.
John R. Kelley was only five years old when his father died. He started to go to school in Missouri, later went to school for a short time in Page county, Iowa, and when ten years old went to work on a farm in Kansas. He remained one year and then went back to Missouri, where he followed farm life for six years and then went again to Iowa for two years. After another year in Missouri, on March 23, 1887, he came to old Cheyenne county, now Banner, and in July following secured his homestead. At that time $100 would purchase 160 acres of land that now would bring $50 an acre. Mr. Kelly had to depend entirely on his own efforts, and after securing his claim, found it a serious undertaking to make enough money to make his payments. In those days real money was scarce in Nebraska and remuneration for any kind of labor was small, while farm produce brought but inadequate returns in the market. Mr. Kelly relates that in 1892 he and his brother raised wheat and hauled it a distance of twenty-five miles to Kimball and sold it for twenty-four cents a bushel, and pork, at the present time one of the world's luxuries, commanded so small a price that it became a question whether the raising of hogs was worth while. The interest on money at that time had risen to thirty-nine per cent. In the fall of 1889 Mr. Kelly went to Hall county and husked corn in the vicinity of Wood river for a cent and a half a bushel, working for Fremont Dodge. The latter advised Mr. Kelly to keep his Banner county land at all hazards, and the taking of this advice proved very advantageous to Mr. Kelly, although it necessitated much hard work to follow it. During those early years he worked for $1 a day, then acceptable by workers and employers alike, and to secure this had to travel as far as Greely (sic), Colorado, and Cheyenne, Wyoming.
However, those times have long since passed away. Starting with 160 acres, Mr. Kelly acquired more land as his improving circumstances permitted until at present he is the owner of 3,200 acres. It is mainly ranch land and his stock interests are very important. He believes Hereford cattle and Percheron horses the most profitable and feeds about ten head of horses a year and about 200 head of cattle, and raises annually sixty fine cows for breeding purposes. It was on Mr. Kelly's land that
the Prairie Oil & Gas Company sunk a shaft that struck an extra good grade of oil but at that time and with the company's facilities, did not seem to indicate oil in paying quantity, Further investigation has convinced Mr. Kelly however, that some day he will have a well here with a profitable flow of oil.
On December 25, 1900, Mr. Kelly was united in marriage to Miss Anna McKinnon, the ceremony taking place at Harrisburg, Nebraska. She is a daughter of Hugh and Elizabeth (Mickle) McKinnon, natives of Scotland, who settled in Banner county in 1889. They died in Harrisburg, the father in 1904 and the mother in Scottsbluff, May 3, 1918. Three of their children live in Scottsbluff county, Nebraska, and two others, Mrs. Kelly and Edward McKinnon, in Banner county. Mr. and Mrs. Kelly have had two children, the one survivor, Allison, living at home.
Since early manhood Mr. Kelly has taken an active part in public matters that he has believed come within the scope of good citizenship. Politically he is a Democrat and has wide influence in county politics but has never accepted any public office except that of sheriff, serving one year (1896) by appointment, and two years by election, his term expiring in January, 1899. He is a member of the Farmers Union, and is financially interested in the Scottsbluff Creamery and the Independent Lumber Company of Scottsbluff.
ERNEST H. KLINGMAN, a representative business man of Scottsbluff, proprietor of a grocery house and a storage business, was born in Clayton county, Iowa, September 6, 1864, the son of Lewis and Elizabeth (Lowe) Klingman, the former born in Germany and the latter in Connecticut. The father was a blacksmith by trade and owned his own shop in Iowa, in which state he married and both he and wife died in Iowa. Of their seven children Ernest H. is the only one who lives in Nebraska.
Ernest Klingman had only country school advantages, and after his school days ended he remained at home and worked as a farmer until twenty-one years old. In 1888 he came to Nebraska and settled on the Middle Loup river in Custer county, where he remained two years, then lived one year in Holt county, being a farmer in both places. Mr. Klingman then went to Oklahoma and from there to Kansas, in which latter state he remained six years working for farmers, then came back to Nebraska and accepted employment with Charles Richardson, who conducted a livery business at Broken Bow. In 1901 he came to Scottsbluff county and engaged in a draying business after which he invested in property at Scottsbluff and opened a confectionery store. In 1917 he erected a fine store building on his home lot and put in a stock of fancy and staple groceries from which he has received gratifying remuneration for the money invested as well as the thought and labor he has expended. His storage business is also a profitable source of income. This is but the merest outline of Mr. Klingman's career but it gives convincing proof that persistent industry and honest effort will bring reward.
In 1889 Mr. Klingman married Miss Matilda Predmore, who was born in Hardin county, Iowa, a daughter of John and Nancy Jane (Peters) Predmore, natives of Ohio. Mrs. Klingman was the fourth born in her parent's family of fourteen children, twelve of whom are living. Mr. and Mrs. Klingman have four children: Charles, Roy, May and Lloyd. The one daughter is the wife of John Montz of Scottsbluff. All three sons of Mr. Klingman have been in military service and attached to the heavy artillery and all are safe at home again after overseas service. Mrs. Klingman is a member of the Methodist Episcopal church. In politics Mr. Klingman is a Republican.
JOHN M. MARTIN, who is an enterprising and progressive business man of Scottsbluff, extensively interested in the handling of real estate, is a Nebraska product and is proud of the fact. He was born at Hastings, in 1888, the sixth in a family of ten children born to John and Mary (Rose) Martin.
The father of Mr. Martin was born in the state of New York, one of a large and important family. His father, Solomon Martin, a native of New York, came to Nebraska in 1874 with his son John and family, being then aged ninety-five years. He had 131 grandchildren and great-grandchildren. John Martin drove a team and covered wagon the entire distance from Illinois and when he reached Adams county where he intended to homestead, he camped and tethered his horses on the present site of the courthouse at Hastings. He was a farmer all the rest of his life, his death occurring in April, 1918. He was married in Nebraska to Mary Rose, who was born in Ohio and now resides at Mullen, Nebraska. Her father, Peter Rose, was a veteran of the Civil War. She is a member of the Methodist Episcopal church.
John M. Martin attended school for five
years at Guide Rock, Nebraska, and after this period was over he became an auctioneer, having the gift of ready speech, and continued in that line at Minatare and Mullen, for eight years. He was so successful that his services were engaged by C. H. Irion for the selling of real estate after he came to Scottsbluff in 1916, and since the latter part of 1917 they have been equal partners in the business. The operate all through the Platte Valley, doing a large business in farm property.
On May 28, 1913, Mr. Martin was united in marriage to Miss Sylvia Hendrickson, who was born in Harlan county, Nebraska, a daughter of James Hendrickson, a prominent farmer in Harlan county. Mrs. Martin is a member of the Methodist Episcopal church. Mr. Martin is much more interested in business than in politics, although he is a thoughtful and careful citizen, but he has not identified himself with any particular party, voting according to his own judgment. He belongs to the Odd Fellows. His acquaintance is wide and his personal friends are everywhere.
SAMUEL WILLARD RIPLEY, a well-known resident of Scottsbluff and an active, useful citizen, came to this city in 1900, from his homestead in what was then Cheyenne county, but which has since been organized as Scottsbluff county, Nebraska, where he had pre-empted and taken a tree claim in 1886. He has been greatly interested in the success of the irrigation projects, and perhaps only a few of his neighbors are aware that he, with B. F. Gentry established the first irrigation project in Nebraska, when they ran water by ditch onto a tract of millet, for D. D. Johnson. Later Mr. Ripley was superintendent of the Enterprise Ditch for one year. He was born in Fremont county, Iowa, August 28, 1861, and was a crowing happy infant when his father marched away to take part in the Civil War.
Mr. Ripley's parents were Samuel A. and Nina E. (Barger) Ripley, the former born in the state of New York and the latter in Iowa. The paternal grandfather was S. W. Ripley, a native of New England, who practiced medicine first in Ohio and later in Iowa and died at Fremont county. The family settled in Iowa before the Civil War and from that state Samuel A. Ripley enlisted for service in company E twenty-ninth Iowa infantry, and did his full duty as a private soldier for over three years, never being either wounded or captured. Early in life he was a farmer but later a butcher. He was a fine, honest man whom many mourned when he died in 1889, but, because of his generous instincts never was a success financially. He was a Republican in politics, a member of the Odd Fellows and throughout life was influenced by the Christian training he had received in a good home. He was married in Iowa to Nina E. Barger, who is also deceased, their burials taking place at Weeping Water, Nebraska. She was reared in the Methodist Episcopal faith. Of their eight children Samuel Willard is the oldest survivor, the others being: William Jasper, a farmer and carpenter living in Wyoming; Guy Douglas, in the electrical business in California; Feribey, the wife of Rev. James G. Clark, a Presbyterian minister at Beaver City, Nebraska; and Loy E., the wife of Charles C. Spencer, of Wyoming.
Samuel W. Ripley learned the trade of a butcher and was a successful farmer for two years in Nebraska. In 1886 he located in Cheyenne county, now Scottsbluff county, four miles northeast of the city of Scottsbluff, and lived there until 1900, passing through many of the hardships that made pioneering in the state a difficult and trying process. After coming to Scottsbluff he operated a hotel and a meat business, then was appointed superintendent of the Enterprise Ditch. In August, 1905, Mr. Ripley accepted a position with the Standard Oil Company as local manager, with headquarters at Scottsbluff, and has since continued with this corporation. He has taken part in civic affairs quite actively, has accepted the responsibilities, of office when called on and has and still is assisting in the substantial development of this place.
In 1889 Mr. Ripley married Miss Anna M. Johnson, of Missouri Valley, Iowa, a daughter of D. D. Johnson, a wounded veteran of the Civil War, who makes his home with Mr. Ripley. Mr. and Mrs. Ripley have an adopted daughter, Clara Lois, a schoolgirl of fourteen years. The family belongs to the Presbyterian church. Mr. Ripley is an Odd Fellow and is a Republican in politics. During his service of four years on the town board, he was chairman a part of the time. Mr. Ripley can relate many interesting facts concerning early days here when he was engaged in freighting between Alliance and Gering and Kimball and Gering, when the actual necessities of life were hard to secure and had to be hauled by teams from those railroad towns. Scottsbluff, was only a year old when Mr. Ripley came here and took charge of the hotel with, probably, not over one hundred inhabitants. Since that
early day he has been a continuous resident of this now flourishing and prosperous town.
ASA E. CHILES, who represents one of the leading piano and music houses of the country at Scottsbluff, the A. Hospe Company of Omaha, Nebraska, has been located in this city since 1917, and has assisted in developing a fine musical taste here. In addition to being an excellent business man, Mr. Chiles has shown a hearty interest in everything pertaining to this city and has made many personal friends.
Asa E. Chiles was born at Riverside, Washington county, Iowa, May 23, 1880. His parents are Jacob S. and Susan E. (Armagost) Chiles, the former of whom was born in Maryland and the latter in Pennsylvania. In 1872 the father went to Iowa and was married in 1876, and they have three children: Asa E., who is of Scottsbluff; George S., who is chief draftsman for the American Steel Foundries Company, Chicago; and Amy, who is the wife of Lewis E. Schmidtt, who is in the telephone business at Council Bluffs. In politics the father is a Republican and belongs to the order of Knights of Pythias. Both parents are members of the Methodist Episcopal church at Clarinda, Iowa, where they live retired. The father engaged in farming for many years in Iowa and owns a body of land in Canada, on which he spends a part of his time, Asa E. Chiles was educated in Page county, Iowa, and attended the high school at Clarinda. He has been the builder of his own fortune, beginning with Swift & Company, packers, at the age of fourteen years and continuing with that company until he was twenty-two. Musically inclined and possessing musical gifts, he then accepted the opportunity to go into the piano business at Bushnell, Illinois, where he remained two years. During the next six years he was on the road in special sale work for different piano houses, following which, for four years he was with E. L. Benedict & Sons at Clarinda. In 1916 he became associated with the A. Hospe Piano Company of Omaha, and on May 3, 1917, came to Scottsbluff and took charge of their piano and music business here and future prospects are all that could be desired. Mr. Chiles has six employes, five in this city and one at Alliance.
In 1899, at Clarinda, Iowa, Mr. Chiles was united in marriage to Miss, Sudie I. Leffler, who was born at Des Moines, Iowa, and is a daughter of George W. Leffler, who is in the book and music business at Butte, Montana. Two children have been born to Mr. and Mrs. Chiles: Aileen, aged fourteen years, and Warren, aged twelve years. She is a member of the Methodist Episcopal church. Mr. Chiles is not particularly active in politics but has always been identified with the Republican party. He belongs to the order of Knights of Pythias and to several musical organizations.
LOU SCHWANER, who is, in the jewelry and optical business at Scottsbluff, is associated with his brother, Charles H. Schwaner, and they operate under the firm name of Schwaner Brothers. They were born in Valley county, Nebraska, Lou Schwaner on March 6, 1883, and Charles H. Schwaner on May 10, 1885. They have practically spent, their entire lives in the jewelry business, the older partner beginning at the age of twenty-one and the younger when fourteen years old.
The parents of the Schwaner brothers are H. J. and Margaret (Reese) Schwaner, the former of whom was born in Wisconsin and the latter in Indiana. They came to Iowa when young and were married in Polk county. In 1882 the father homesteaded in Valley county, Nebraska, and his children have heard him tell of the hardships that faced the pioneers of that time when the nearest neighbors, were four miles distant over a trackless prairie covered with high-growing, wild, red-topped grass. Fortunately easier times succeeded and it is a great satisfaction to their sons that the parents are now enjoying all the comforts of life at Ord, where they live retired. Besides the two sons mentioned they have two daughters, namely: Lydia, who is the wife of R. E. Mickelwait, a banker at Richfield, Idaho; and Minnie, who is the wife of H. Snedeker, a farmer near Thompson, Iowa.
Lou Schwaner obtained his public school education at Ord, Nebraska. His first venture in the jewelry business was at Greeley Center, Nebraska, where he remained from 1903 to 1904, when he returned to Ord and in partnership with his brother, bought the business of the jeweler with whom they had learned the trade. They continued together until 1909, when they sold, and both moved to Gooding, Idaho, where they engaged in farming for four months and then C. H. returned to Ord, and Lou bought a store at Loup City. In 1913 Charles H. sold his store at Ord and during that winter engaged in the real estate business in sounthern (sic) Texas, after which he was in the jewelry business for three years at Burwell, Nebraska, then traveled in the same
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