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EDWIN A. CURRIE, who is now numbered among the substantial agriculturists of Scottsbluff county has been the architect of his own fortune, and having based his life's structure on substantial foundations, has builded (sic) soundly and well. When he entered upon his career he was possessed of little save inherent ability and determination to succeed, and these have proved ample, through their development, to enable him to become a well-to-do farmer, stockman, and banker in a community which does not lack for able men.
Edwin A. Currie is of staunch Scotch ancestry, on both the paternal and maternal sides as the respective names fully indicate. He was born in northeastern Ohio, March 6, 1858, the son of James and Marion (Hamilton) Currie, both natives of the vicinity of the famous city of Glasgow. To them were born four children: Lucille M., who married Jason Beach, is deceased; Edwin; James R., who lives in Ohio, and Maggie H., the wife of Fred Simpson, also lives in Ohio.
The parents were some of the fine Scotch settlers who came to the United States during the nineteenth century, as they emigrated from their native land about 1849 and soon after reaching America located in Ohio where the father followed farming as a life work, being eminently successful in this chosen vocation. The family were members of the Methodist Episcopal church in Ohio, where the father died in 1898, being survived by his wife who lived to a hearty old age, passing away in 1903.
Edwin Currie attended the district schools in Ohio, receiving an excellent rudimentary education supplemented by the instruction of his parents and the reading they induced him to do by himself. He began working by the month for a short time, then bought a team and began running a huxter wagon and dealing in stock. The Ohio valley was thickly settled at this period and the young man determined to take advantage of the opportunities of securing government land in the newer state west of the Mississippi, and the Great Muddy, as the Missouri was known, for here on the rolling prairies was land, and room enough for all who desired to come and take it. On April 6, 1886, the start for the new home in the west was made. Mr. Currie was a bachelor, so it was not necessary to take as much household goods as though more members were to make the trip. In Missouri he and his uncle, John H. Currie, purchased a team and wagon for the long journey overland. Leaving there May 18th it was the 1st of July before Mr. Currie reached Scottsbluff county where he took a tree claim, preëmpted 160 acres and homesteaded another 160 acre tract in 1887. He at once began to make improvements upon his land, engaged in general farming and stock-raising. The early struggles taxed the young man's strength to the full but he possessed determination and persistence and in the end they triumphed over all obstacles. Mr. Currie had the utmost confidence in the county where he had selected to make his and during the drought years of 1890 and 1894, when other settlers were discouraged and were leaving for their former homes in the east, he bought more land, and has lived to reap the reward of this confidence. He still owns the original homestead and claim but has added to them until today he has a rural estate of 6,000 acres dry grazing land, about 600 acres of which are under irrigation. From 1886 to the present Mr. Currie has been actively engaged in agricultural pursuits; his talents seem naturally adapted to these lines and today he is the owner of a splendid enterprise which is but a just reward for a man of industry and energy, enterprise and spirit, which was so well demonstrated during the trying years when crops failed. He is noted for his integrity and the manner in which he lives up to his business obligations.
Mr. Currie was married in 1906 to Miss Jennie G. Richards of New England extraction, as she was born in Vermont and came to western Nebraska while (sic) her father at the time of settlement in this section. Mr. Currie is a staunch Republican in politics; he and his wife are members of the Federated Congregational church, while he is fraternally a Scottish Rite Mason. He now rents his irrigated land and keeps his pasture land. He was one of the organizers and the first president of the American Bank of Mitchell.
ADELBERT A. MILLER, widely known in Western Nebraska as special agent for the Occidental Building & Loan Association of Gering, for a number of years was prominent in the educational field and has also been connected with business enterprises of some magnitude. Mr. Miller was born at Tekonsha, Calhoun county, Michigan, July 14, 1873, and has been a resident of Gering, Nebraska, and a leader in many of its affairs of moment, for the past eighteen years.
Mr. Miller's parents were Daniel S. and Elizabeth Ann (Harsh) Miller, both born near Canton, Ohio. The grandparents were Peter Miller and Adam Harsh, both natives of
Pennsylvania who moved to Ohio, where the latter died but the father passed away in Michigan. Daniel S. Miller served in the Civil War as a member of the Ninety-eighth Ohio infantry and accompanied his regiment with General Sherman on the memorable march to the sea. In 1866 he moved to Michigan, bought land in Calhoun county and there both he and wife died. They had the following children: Maggie the wife of William Creore, of Battle Creek, Michigan; Adelbert A., who resides at Gering; Lawrence L., a retired merchant at Gering; and two who are deceased. The father was reared in the Lutheran faith and never changed his church relationship, while the mother was a faithful member of the Methodist Episcopal church. Mr. Miller's father continued his interest in the Grand Army of the Republic up to the time of his death, belonging to the post at Tekonsha, Michigan.
Adelbert A. Miller attended the country schools near his father's farm and afterward the normal school at Ypsilanti with the intention of making teaching a part of his life work and for a number of years he was very prominent in the educational field, first in Michigan, later in North Dakota, where he was superintendent of schools of Milnor, in Sargent county, for four years, and afterward at Gering, where he filled the same office. Mr. Miller then embarked in the lumber business, which he followed for nine years, retiring from that line to enter the mercantile business with his brother. Six years later he sold his store interest to accept the position of special agent for the Occidental Building & Loan Company, a business concern of large importance, and Mr. Miller now has charge of all the loans in Western Nebraska. He devotes all his time to furthering the interests of this corporation, but during the progress of the World War, he put aside most of his personal interests in order to work for the public weal, serving early and late as a member of the Council of Defense and as food administrator.
In 1898 Mr. Miller was united in marriage with Miss Elsie Johnson, who was born in Southern Michigan, a daughter of Homer Johnson, who was a substantial farmer. To Mr. and Mrs. Miller the following children have been born: Margaret, educated at Gering, occupied a position of chemist in the sugar factory here for one year, and is now ticket and express agent for the Union Pacific Railroad at this point; and Murray, Dorothy, Stanley, Esther, Adelia, Jack, Elizabeth and Catherine. Mr. Miller and family belong to the Methodist Episcopal church. Politically he is a staunch Republican and frequently he has served in public offices at Gering. He was the first city treasurer and has served on the school board for twelve years. He is prominent in the order of Odd Fellows and is a member of the grand lodge, having passed through all the chairs. Mr. Miller is recognized as one of Gering's representative citizens.
HENRY EBERHARDT, who is engaged in the mercantile business at Scottsbluff, has, in a few years, built up a large business enterprise here, on a foundation of business honesty and courtesy to everyone. Mr. Eberhardt came to the United States from a far distant country, but soon adapted himself to American ways and is able to count his acquaintances as friends.
Henry Eberhardt was born in Russia, April 12, 1891, the youngest of a family of six children born to Jacob and Mary (Milburger) Eberhardt. The other members of the family are: George and Jacob, who are farmers in Russia; Mary, who lives with her mother in Russia; Fred, who came to the United States and is in the creamery business in Kansas; and Lizzie, who lives in Russia. The father died on his farm in Russia when Henry was but six months old. He attended school in his native land and thus was well informed when he came to the United States and settled in Kansas in 1910. There he worked in a store and also learned the. language of the country with the quick intelligence for which his countrymen are noted. In 1914 he came to Scottsbluff and started a small store, stocking it with reliable and seasonable goods, and from that modest beginning has built up a large trade and now has a commodius (sic) general store. Having sold this out he and Dr. C. N. Moore bought the Harris market on Broadway and have one of the most modern and up-to-date markets in Western Nebraska.
In 1915 Mr. Eberhardt was united in marriage to Miss Mary Kuxhousen, and they have two children, namely: Leo and Ruth. They are members of the Lutheran church.
WILLIAM L. SIMMONS, who is one of the leading contractors at Scottsbluff, is a member of a very important old family that settled first in Dodge and later became known in other couties (sic) of the state of Nebraska. He was born at North Bend, Dodge county, June 7, 1882, and is a son of Charles H. Simmons, extended mention of whom will be found in this work.
William L. Simmons did not have the educational advantages that he is able to afford his own children, but he remembers when school was held in a sod house within walking distance over the prairie from his father's homestead. He helped on the farm but his inclination was toward mechanics and when eighteen years old he learned the carpenter trade and has spent the greater part of his time at Scottsbluff ever since as a carpenter and contractor. He is now associated with his brother, O. W. Simmons, and they do a large volume of business, running two crews of men all the time. The business reputation of the firm is above par.
In 1904 Mr. Simmons was united in marriage to Miss Alpha McCartney, who was born at Sibley, Iowa, a daughter of James S. and Alice (Darling) McCartney, natives of Illinois who were married in Iowa, to which state they were taken when young. The father of Mrs. Simmons was a farmer. He died January 15, 1913. The mother resides at Scottsbluff. Mrs. Simmons has two sisters: Mary, the wife of W. G. Munser, a farmer in Wyoming; and Alice, the wife of Arthur Marley, a farmer near Lingle, Wyoming. Mr. and Mrs. Simmons have a son and daughter, Harry and Harriett, now fourteen years old and attending school, who have the distinction of being the first twins born in the city; and Fred, who is ten years old and also in school. Mrs. Simmons is a member of the Presbyterian church. Mr. Simmons is a Republican in politics but he has never desired any political office. He is somewhat prominent in the order of Odd Fellows, belonging to the grand lodge and the Encampment.
DAVID W. HILL, who is a highly respected citizen of Scottsbluff, has been one of the county's extensive cattle feeders for many years, and since moving into this city in 1914 still devotes his Scottsbluff irrigated land to this industry. Mr. Hill has been a resident of Nebraska for thirty-three years.
David W. Hill was born at Lockport, New York, December 15, 1864, one of a family of fourteen children born to Minard and Almira (June) Hill, the former of whom was born in England, and the latter in New York, in which state they were married. In 1865 removal was made to Michigan, where the father bought land and both parents died there. They were quiet, Christian people, and both belonged to the Methodist Episcopal church.
Of the seven surviving members of his parents family, David W. Hill is the only one living in Nebraska. He was afforded a thorough public school education, being graduated from the high school, in Van Buren county, Michigan, after which he intelligently took up work on the home farm, paying considerable attention to stockraising. In January, 1886 he moved to Buffalo county, Nebraska and shortly afterward took a pre-emption in Banner county, and for a number of years following lived in that section. For fifteen years he was in partnership with T. C. Eggleston in the cattle business, their operations being extensive in raising and handling high grade and registered White Face cattle. Mr. Hill then came to Scottsbluff county and bought irrigated land and went into the cattle feeding and shipping business, in which he continued actively engaged until 1914, when he came to Scottsbluff and took possession of his comfortable residence on Avenue A and identified himself with the best interests of the place.
In the spring of 1894 Mr. Hill was united in marriage to Miss Gertrude Grafiuse, who was born in Pennsylvania and is a daughter of Thomas and Jennie (De Remer) Grafiuse. The parents of Mrs. Hill moved to Buffalo county, Nebraska, in 1879, homesteaded and resided on their land until the father's death in 1910. Mrs. Hill has one brother, Charles, who is a hardware merchant at Kearney, Nebraska. Mr. and Mrs. Hill have the following children: Bernice, who is a student in the state university; Jennie, who is also a university student; and Ivis, Charles and Dorothea, all of whom are in school with higher educational advantages in prospect. Mrs. Hill is a member of the Baptist church. Mr. Hill was quite active in Republican politics while living in Banner county and for six years served as a member of the board of county commissioners. He belongs to the Odd Fellows and the Knights of Pythias and is past chancellor in the latter organization.
FRANK E. COWEN, who is a representative business man of Scottsbluff, has been engaged here for a number of years as a cement contractor and has built up an unquestioned reputation for reliability. Mr. Cowen was born in Marshall county, Iowa, July 2, 1873, and is a son of Elisha M. and Elvira (Triplett) Cowen, extended mention of whom will be found in this work.
Frank E. Cowen attended the public schools in Chicago, Illinois, in boyhood, then came to Cheyenne county, Nebraska, worked at farming for some years and also, at times on the
"round ups" in Wyoming. In 1904 Mr. Cowen came to Scottsbluff and has been interested in the cement business and identified with the Cowen Construction Company, ever since, with the exception of three years which he spent as a farmer in Arkansas.
On December 31, 1894, at Harrisburg, Banner county, Nebraska, Mr. Cowen was united in marriage to Miss Maude Dennison, who is a daughter of Edward and Mary (Urban) Dennison, the former of whom was born in Illinois, and the latter in Bohemia. The parents of Mrs. Cowen live at Scottsbluff and her father is interested in the cement industry. Mr. and Mrs. Cowen have had children as follows: Grace, who died when aged eighteen years; Luretta, who is employed by the local telephone company; Vera, who is also a telephone operator; and Lovella, Nellie and Edward Mason, who are yet in school. Mr. Cowen has taken much interest in civic matters ever since coming to Scottsbluff and his attitude on many public questions has won him the confidence of his fellow citizens, which they have evidenced by electing him a member of the city council for the third time. He belongs to the Masonic fraternity and to the Modern Woodmen.
ELISHA M. COWEN, who is at the head of the Cowen Construction Company, Scottsbluff, for the past fourteen years has been identified with building interests here, and to him the city is largely indebted for the substantial character of the larger number of its residences and business houses. The Cowen stamp on a building marks material and workmanship the best that can be secured.
Elisha M. Cowen was born at Cummington, Berkshire county, Massachusetts, March 28, 1848. His parents were James M. and Julia M (Mason) Cowen, the former of whom was born at Glasgow, Scotland, and the latter in Massachusetts. In early youth James M. Cowen was bound out to an uncle, in whose cotton-spinning mill at Preston, England, he learned the trade of spinner and before leaving the mill had become a foreman. In 1840 sic he crossed the Atlantic ocean to the United States in a sailing vessel and found work in one of the great mill districts of Massachusetts. Of his two children Elisha M. is the only survivor.
Elisha M. Cowen was educated at Albany, New York, passing through the high school and the normal college, and in 1863 was graduated from the Bryant & Stratton Commercial college of that city. While attending school in Albany, he was occupied during a part of the time with the duties of a page in the House of Representatives there. Although opportunities were afforded him for a professional or possibly a political career, for he made many influential friends at the capital, his inclinations were in an entirely different direction. He learned the bricklaying trade and worked at the same in Albany until 1866, when he went to Chicago, Illinois, worked there at his trade, then to Iowa for three years, and then to Banner county, Nebraska. Mr. Cowen then homesteaded and remained on his land for seventeen years, removing then to Colorado Springs, and from there, in 1905 came to Scottsbluff. Mr. Cowen has been very successful in his business undertakings and is ranked with the leading men in his line in this part of Nebraska.
On January 25, 1870, Mr. Cowen was united in marriage to Miss Elvira Triplett, who was born at Princeton, Illinois and is a daughter of Edward and Lucinda Triplett, natives of Ohio. They moved on a farm in Illinois and both died there. Mr. and Mrs. Cowen had two children born to them, namely: Nellie and Frank E. The latter is prominent in public affairs at Scottsbluff and is serving in his third term as a member of the city council. He is a cement contractor and is connected with the Cowen Construction company.
The only daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Cowen, Nellie, was the widow of W. M. J. Brozee, and had two children: Stanley and Etola, the latter of who is the wife of Frank H. Burbank, who is a railroad man. Stanley Brozee was an employe of the Mid-Continent Oil Company at Bartlesville, Oklahoma, prior to entering military service in the World War, in May, 1918. He was trained in ambulance service at Tarrytown, New York. His mother died in 1900 at the early age of twenty-two years. Mrs. Cowen is a member of the Baptist church. Since 1870 Mr. Cowen has belonged to the order of Odd Fellows and for many years has been a Mason and twice has been master of his lodge.
PHILO J. McSWEEN, chief of Police Department at Scottsbluff, occupies a position that requires personal courage, together with a large measure of discriminative judgment and understanding of human nature. Since entering upon the duties of this office, Chief McSween has enforced the law intelligently and without fear or favor and to the fullest extent enjoys the confidence of the law-abiding public.
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