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JOHN F. FRENCH AND FAMILY
means of tractors and other modern machinery. The firm is composed of two brothers, Edwin and James Whitcomb, born in Illinois and sons of Edwin and Mary (Champlin) Whitcomb.
The father of the Whicomb (sic) brothers was born in Virginia and the mother at Chatham, New York. After their marriage they lived in Illinois but later moved to Rochester, Minnesota, which town he assisted in building, as he made all the brick used in general construction. During his last illness be was attended by Dr. Mayo, the father of the celebrated surgeons at Rochester. After Mr. Whitcomb's death, his widow returned to Illinois, with her three sons, James, Herbert and Edwin, having lost a little daughter at the age of three years. The mother looked carefully after the rearing and educating of her sons, continuing her residence in Illinois until 1909, in which year her death occurred.
In 1910 James and Edwin Whitcomb came to Nebraska, locating at Columbus, after a stay there entering into a business agreement whereby they traded their Illinois property for a section of land in Kimball county, assuming a mortgage of $4,000. Nothing much was done until in 1914, when Edwin Whitcomb came to the acquired property, an unbroken tract of miles of prairie as far as the eye could reach. Mr. Whitcomb soon proved how practical he was in business affairs. At Denver he had bought a tent house and in that he and his brother lived until, later on, they had a bungalow erected, equipped with electric lights and a hot water system, the first residence of its kind in the county. Near the bungalow soon appeared other structures, including a garage and a work shop.
In the first year the Whitcombs put out two hundred acres in wheat, reaping 7,200 bushels, and every succeeding year they have increased their wheat acreage, and, carrying crop insurance, hail storms and early crop damages have not materially affected them. In the htird (sic) year of their experiment, they put four hundred acres in wheat, and sold their 10,000 resulting bushels for from $1.90 to $1.95 a bushel, in the market at Dix. It is their custom to summer fallow all their wheat land for a time, merely dragging it to keep it clear of weeds. On the whole estate they have no mules or work horses, all the work being done by tractors and Duplex trucks, the latter carrying the wheat to market. When Edwin Whitcomb came here he formulated plans that have been carefully carried out and successfully expanded. He invested $3,000 in modern machinery and equipments, these including the tractors and trucks, drills, disc drags and three steel grain houses, each one having a 1,000-bushel capacity. Since coming here the brothers have sold several tracts of land but none of the original purchase. They have clearly demonstrated what can be expected from Nebraska soil in Kimball county when intelligently cultivated.
JOHN E. FRENCH. Practical industry, wisely and vigorously applied, seldom fails of attaining success, and the career of John French, now one of the leading farmers of the Henry district, is but another proof of this statement as he is a worthy representative of the younger generation of agriculturists who have played such a constructive part in the development of the valley and demonstrated past all discussion that irrigation of the rich alluvium of the valley brings golden returns to the men who are devoting their energies and time to intensive farm industries.
Mr. French was born in Clay county, Illinois, in 1876, being the son of William and Hettie (Etchison) French, both born in Indiana. William French was a farmer, residing in Illinois until 1881, when he came to Nebraska to take advantage of the public lands which were to be had for the taking in the western section of the state. He first located in Dodge county, but five years later took up a homestead in Cheyenne county early in the fall of 1886. He proved up on the 160 acre tract and after he had broken the land, erected suitable and permanent farm buildings, as well as a good house, became one of the substantial and dependable men of the Panhandle; later he disposed of his farm at an attractive figure. Mr. French was a Republican in politics, and though he never accepted public office, was one of the most progressive men of the section and took an active part in every movement for the development of the county and the uplift of his community. He was one of the first men to realize what inestimable benefit water would be to the valley and helped in building the first irrigation ditch in his locality, now known as the Mitchell ditch. He lifted the first spade of dirt on its construction work, Later he promoted and built over a quarter of the well-known Steamboat ditch that opened up a rich district for intensive farming.
The French family were members of the Baptist church in which they were active workers. He is now dead. The mother lives at Minatare.
John French accompanied his parents from Illinois when they came west and received his
educational advantages in the public schools of this state, early learning to rely upon himself as all boys who were reared in the Panhandle during the pioneer clays did. With his family he suffered the hardships and privations incident upon settlement of a new region, and early learned the practical side of farm industry as carried on in this section and while a boy in years, was able to conduct much of his father's business, as he was the oldest of the family, the other children being: Lorenzo, a ranchman of Big Trail, Wyoming; Jessie, the wife of Charles F. White, deceased, and she now lives in Minatare; Edna, the wife of R. M. Woode, a farmer of Wyoming, and two children who died.
As soon as he was old enough John French took up a claim in Wyoming, consisting of a quarter section of land, where he engaged in general farming and stock-raising. made permanent improvements on his land, and by his industry, executive ability and hard work was soon enjoying a good income. With increased capital he decided to branch out as a landed proprietor and invested his money in more land from time to time until he now owns nearly a thousand acres of fine, arable, valley property, most of which is under ditch. Mr. French has not devoted all his energies to one line but has carried on varied farm industries along with stock-raising, having good grades of animals. He thoroughly believes, as did his father, in intensified farming on irrigated land, as the best proposition in farming and has ably demonstrated his theories on section 16 in township 23-58. Early in his life he became associated with his father in business, first on the farm and then in the contracting business, when William French began construction work on some of the most important irrigation projects in the upper valley. Mr. French found that he could easily carry on both branches of his business, and while he has become one of the largest landholders near Henry and a representative farmer of the section, he stands high among the business men and is rated one of the solid, reputable men of the financial circles of Scottsbluff county. Mr. French still owns the first land he homesteaded here over twenty years ago, to which he has so materially added with the passing years. He recalls vividly the trials and early struggles which his parents and the other pioneers here encountered in contending for victory over the untried forces of a new land, and, notwithstanding the anxiety and arduous toil imposed, he looks back to those days as the happiest of his life.
In 1898 Mr. French married Miss Lowa Dickenson, the daughter of S. S. Dickenson, of whom a record appears elsewhere in this history. Six children have been born to Mr. and Mrs. French, three of whom survive: Doris, Warren, and Dorothy, all of whom are still at home.
Mr. French is independent in his political views, voting for the man he believes best qualified for office; his fraternal associations are with the Modern Woodmen and the Woodmen of the World.
GEORGE H. TURNBULL, a representative citizen of Kimball county, where his well improved stock and grain farm is located, was born in Page county, Iowa, January 9, 1880. He is one of a family of eight sons and eight daughters born to Robert A. and Rebecca Turnbull, the latter of whom died in 1907. They were natives of Illinois, coming to Iowa following their marriage, which took place after the father's honorable discharge from the Federal army. He served through the Civil War for three and a half years, in the Nineteenth Illinois volunteer infantry, participating in such important battles as Cickamaugua (sic), Lookout, Mountain and Stone Ridge. When he and wife went to Iowa they lived at first near Coin, in Page county, Clarinda, is the county seat, much of the county being little settled. The father engaged in farming in Page county during his active years and is now deceased, dying February 8, 1920.
George H. Turnbull was reared on his father's farm and attended the public schools in Page county. In 1908 he came to Kimball county, Nebraska, and homesteaded where he now lives, adding to his original purchase until he had one and a quarter sections, later selling three-quarters of a section to great advantage. He has placed excellent improvements on his land, pays close attention to his business, thrift and good management being in evidence on every hand.
At Pawnee City, Nebraska, Mr. Turnbull was married to Miss Frances Lillian Correll, whose parents were Ohio people. Mr. and Mrs. Turnbull have an adopted son, William Gale, and a daughter, Erthel. He is a stockholder in the Farmers Elevator at Dix and the Farmers Union store at the same place. He has never been particularly active in politics, has never desired public office, but he is one of the reliable, upstanding men of his community, whose good citizenship has never been questioned. He belongs to the order of Odd Fellows at Sidney and both he and wife attend the Presbyterian church. The mother
of Mrs. Turnbull was born in York state and the father in New Jersey. They were the parents of eleven children, six boys and five girls.
JOHN W. ROBINSON, who for a number of years was a resident of Kimball county, was considered an able business man and good farmer and was highly esteemed for his sterling personal character. Mr. Robinson was born at Granville, in Putnam county, Illinois, in 1862, and died on his large estate in Kimball county, July 26, 1919.
Mr. Robinson had educational advantages in Illinois. From there, in early manhood, he went to Iowa, spent one year there as a farmer, then went to Gates* county, Nebraska, where he rented land, moving from there to Chappel, in Deuel county, where he lived four and a half years. In 1913 he bought a quarter section of land there, for $38 an acre, which he sold for $62 an acre and then came to Kimball county, where he purchased two sections, which land is still in the possession of his family. At the time of his death Mr. Robinson had one hundred and fifty acres under the plow and sixty-five head of standard cattle. His death was occasioned by an apoplectic stroke.
In 1901 at Blue Springs, Gates* county, Nebraska, Mr. Robinson was united in marriage to Nannie Murgatroyd, a daughter of John and Elizabeth Murgatroyd, natives of England. The father of Mrs. Robinson came to the United States at the age of fourteen years, and the mother was two years old when her parents brought her across the Atlantic ocean. Both families settled in Racine county, Wisconsin. In the spring of 1867 the parents of Mrs. Robinson drove in a covered wagon from Wisconsin to Gates* county, Nebraska, with their one son and five daughters, and one son and three daughters born to the father's first marriage. The father died in Gates* county, April 19, 1891, and the mother, June 9, 1903. They were members of the Christian Science church. Two sons were born to Mr. and Mrs. Robinson, namely: Robartus S., who was born June 15, 1902; and Edward Lee, who was born February 13,1904. They are fine young men and are very successfully carrying on the farm industries their father started so well.
* Probably GAGE county.
JOHN. R. MANNING. -- To Nebraska's invigorating climate, one of Kimball county's enterprising and successful young farmers is indebted for restoration to health. He is Arthur Manning, owner of a half section of excellent land, a son of the late John R. Manning, who for many years was connected with large business houses in St. Louis and Chicago.
John R. Manning was born and educated in New Jersey. He came as far west as St. Louis, Missouri, and in that city was united in marriage to Miss Mary Ebling, in 1890, in which city she was born, reared and educated. Two sons were born to Mr. and Mrs. Manning, namely: Arthur, born June 20, 1892; and John R., born July 18, 1897. For a number of years John R. Manning was manager of the Famous Clothing Company, St. Louis afterward becoming a salesman for the Spicer National Shirt Company of Chicago, and subsequently was agent for this large business house in both Chicago and St. Louis. He was widely know to the trade and was held in high esteem, was a member of the order of Knights of Pythias and belonged also to the Royal Arcanum. Mr. Manning's death occurred in 1906.
In 1904 Mr. Manning had consented on account of his son Arthur's delicate health, that the youth should accompany R. R. Barnes to Nebraska to prove what the climate might do for him. His improvement was so marked that in 1909 his mother and brother joined him and the family has lived in Kimball county ever since. After Arthur Manning had bought the half section that is the homestead, the former owner supplied lumber and Arthur and John erected the farm buildings. They have made improvements since then and now have everything comfortable around them. General farming and stockraising are the industries carried on and the young men have proved equal to all the responsibilities they have undertaken.
Arthur Manning was united in marriage to Miss Lulu Leverne Straub, daughter of Daniel and Phoebe Jane Straub, who came early to Nebraska, settling first near Fairfield but later moving to Kimball county. The father of Mrs. Manning is living but her mother died some twenty years ago. Mr. and Mrs. Manning have two sons: Glen Winfield Manning, who was born April 27, 1918; and Wayne Daniel, born October 25, 1919. Mr. Manning belongs to the Modern Woodmen and the Farmers Union.
JOHN F. BOGLE, who is a prosperous farmer and stockman of Kimball county, is also a keen and successful business man and is closely identified with many of the important interests at Bushnell. Mr. Bogle was born March 3, 1878, in Worth county, Missouri, a son of James W. Bogle, extended mention of whom will be found in this work.
John F. Bogle was reared on his father's farm and in boyhood alternated herding cattle with attending school. He was well trained in every agricultural industry and encouraged in every manly endeavor. In 1907 he came to Kimball county and homesteaded under the Kinkaid law six hundred and forty acres, six miles north of Bushnell, proved up and then sold advantageously. Mr. Bogle further displayed business judgment in buying a quarter section north of Bushnell, a half section one mile east of Lodgepole creek, and ten acres adjoining the town of Bushnell, which, in the course of time will no doubt become a part of this thriving town. Mr. Bogle is engaged in general farming but gives a large part of his attention to his fine Holstein cattle and thoroughbred Poland China hogs, and additionally is doing a profitable land business.
In 1905 Mr. Bogle was married to Miss Rosa May Snider, a member of one of the prominent old pioneer families of the state, and they have three children, namely: James F., who is employed in the Farmers Union store at Bushnell; Merlyn Alva, a student in the Bushnell schools, who is preparing to enter a commercial college at Grand Island; and Ada May, who resides at home. Mr. Bogle is a man of high standing in his community and while not unduly active in politics, has opinions on public matters that he is not backward in making known when occasion calls for such action.
GEORGE A. ERNST, owner and proprietor of a fine estate in Kimball county known as the Pleasant View farm, has been a resident of Nebraska for thirty-five years. He was born near Hamilton, in Butler county, Ohio, December 10, 1862; a son of Jacob and Elizabeth Ernst. They were both born in Bavaria, Germany and from there came to the United States in 1848, and after their marriage in Butler county remained there for many years. They were members of the Lutheran church.
George A. Ernst remained in Ohio until he was twenty years old, attending school in Miami county, south of Dayton, then went to Illinois, and from there, five years later, came to Nebraska in company with his brother John, on January 30, 1886, settling near Aurora in Hamilton county. In the spring of 1910 Mr. Ernst accepted a contract to break one thousand acres of land in Kimball county, for H. A. Clark of Columbus, and came with his tractor to accomplish what was a rather big undertaking. He was a pioneer in the sod breaking business here and continued in that line for about three years. In the meanwhile he had bought his present estate, a railroad section, and to its cultivation and improvement he has devoted much time and profitable effort. He has about three hundred and sixty acres under cultivation, keeps some stock and takes pride and pleasure in his fine orchard. He set out seven hudred (sic) and fifty tree (sic), some of which he lost during a severe hail storm, but his plum and cherry trees weathered it well. In addition to having an abundance of fruit for home use, he has had cherries to sell. His experiment has proved that fruit will do well in Kimball county if proper precautions are taken. Mr. Ernst has erected a fine modern residence and his barns, out-buildings and fences are all substantial, the result being that Pleasant View farm justifies its name.
On December 22, 1887 Mr. Ernst was married to Miss Anna M. Donner*, a daughter of Jacob and Veronica Doner*, who came from Illinois to Hamilton county, Nebraska, in the spring of 1883. Mr. and Mrs. Ernst have had four children, namely: Ezra J., who was born April 25, 1893, is assisting his father and is a very reliable young man; Esther V., Mary E. and Ruth E., all of whom have been afforded educational advantages, Ezra J. being a graduate of the Aurora high school in the class of 1911 and the others from the Kimball high school.
Mr. Ernst and his family belong to the Christian Science church. He has never been particularly active in politics, but in the interest of law and order is careful when he casts his vote, believing that the privilege of citizenship carries with it a large amount of responsibility. Mr. Ernst has been quite prominent in movements for advancing the welfare of the farming community, is a member of the Farmers Union, and is president of the Farmers Co-operative Company at Kimball. At a meeting of the board of directors Mr. Ernst was put in as manager on February 12, 1920, with the assistance of his daughter, Mary E., who had taken a course in state university commercial work and they soon restored the business in the confidence of the public, and from the time Mr. Ernst has taken charge, the affairs of the company have been much improved.
* Two spellings of surname, as appears in book.
WOODFORD R. JONES, who is a large land owner and prosperous grain farmer in Kimball county, is a worthy representative of an old American family of many genera-
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