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and wife both being interested in its many avenues of good influence and giving them financial support.
LEMUEL M. HOPKINS, farmer and ranchman in Banner county, is well and favorably known here. For many years he has been a large landowner and responsible citizen, and in many ways has been identified with the substantial development of this section. For a period of eight years, from 1906 to 1914, he carried the mail from Hull to Harrisburg, and during that time through faithful service made many friends. Lemuel M. Hopkins was born in Fulton county, Illinois, March 20, 1875, the youngest of three children born to Warren and Elizabeth (Barnes) Hopkins, the latter of whom was a native of Indiana. The father spent the greater part of his life as a general farmer in Illinois and he died there in 1882. He was a Republican in his political faith but never accepted a public office. Both he and wife were members of the Methodist Episcopal church. She died in 1887 but the three sons survive: Frank, who lives in Kansas City, Missouri; George, who lives at Denver, Colorado; and Lemuel, who belongs to Banner county.
When Mr. Hopkins losts (sic) his mother he came to his brother in Banner county and while here attended school, later accompanying his brother to Missouri and had further school privileges there. He remained in Missouri until 1896 and was married there on September 3 of that year to Miss Myrtle Spear, a daughter of Clarence and Sadie (Spear) Spear, then resident of Missouri. The father of Mrs. Hopkins was born in Vermont and now lives retired at Mitchell. The mother was born in Pennsylvania. Her death occurred December 3, 1916. Mr. and Mrs. Hopkins have had ten children and the following survive: Lyndon, who lives in New Mexico; and Beth, Floy, Byrle. Kenneth and Hester, all of whom live at home, a well educated, interesting family.
Mr. Hopkins homesteaded the place on which he lives on April 9, 1902, and now owns and operates eight hundred and eighty acres, all well improved, divided evenly between farm and ranch land. He is profitably raising good cattle and general farm produce. Mrs. Hopkins is a member of the Methodist Episcopal church and the other members of the family attend. For a number of years Mr. Hopkins has been a member of the order of Knights of Pythias at Harrisburg. He has never felt that he could afford the time to serve in a public office but he is a staunch Republican in his vote as a citizen in ranks.
EARL HARVEY, who is one of Banner county's enterprising and successful farmers and ranchmen, has had much experience in this line of work, to which he has been accustomed since boyhood and engaged in since his school days ended. Almost all his life had been spent in Nebraska, but his birth took place March 19, 1881, in Jones county, Iowa.
The parents of Mr. Harvey, George W. and Cora A. (Williams) Harvey now reside at Kimball, Nebraska. The father was a farmer and stockman in Iowa for many years. In 1885 he moved to Nebraska and three years later came to Banner county, where he homesteaded and secured a tree claim and pre-emption. He maintained the home there thirty years, then sold, bought property in Kimball and has lived retired ever since. He votes the Republican ticket but has never accepted a political office. Both parents of Earl Harvey are members of the Baptist church. Of their seven children the following survive: Lillian, who is the wife of John McKennon, of Merced, California; Charles, who lives in Montana; Ella, who is the wife of F. O. Baker, a banker at Bushnell, Nebraska; Arthur, who owns a garage at Gillette, Wyoming, married Mries Ricke; Earl, who belongs to Banner county; Nina, who is the wife of W. Deacon, who is employed in the post office at Omaha.
Earl Harvey learned many lessons of thrift from his practical father in his youth. During the first ten years after the family came here, the father worked out every summer and left Earl and his brother to care for the homestead. They herded cattle on the home ranch and for the neighbors, and in that way, all of them, for the times, earned quite a sum of money. Mr. Harvey encouraged the boys to save their money and buy calves, and with a small herd secured in this way, they gained their start. In recalling those days Mr. Harvey tells many interesting things. He remembers when oxen were used in this section, and when a load of pine wood hauled many miles to town would bring two dollars, and a sack of flour could be bought for two dollars. Frank Baker had the first horse cart in this neighborhood, and William Silvus was envied by everybody when his well was completed, operated by windlass and horse power, the well bucket holding a half barrel of water. There have been many and wonderful developments since those days, and the present, when the public
prints tell of Nebraska farmers being so progressive that on occasion, they do their threshing with electric motors not only in daytime but equally as well at night. Speaking of the portable motors brings the fact to mind that it was the father of Mr. Harvey's wife who brought the first portable sawmill into Banner county. Afterward he went into partnership with Solomon Langmaid and it was in this first portable sawmill that the lumber was prepared for the building of the first bridge and the first buildings at Gering.
On February 22, 1905, Mr. Harvey was united in marriage to Miss Ethel Cross, a daughter of Benjamin and Cora A. (Williams) Cross, early pioneers of the county. Mr. and Mrs. Harvey have children as follows: Inez, born September 13, 1906; Helen, born February 10, 1908; Elma, born August 25, 1909; Asa, born September 9, 1912; Darrel, born October 23, 1914; Vernon, born April. 14, 1917; and Elsie, born February 6, 1919.
With his homestead and Kinkaid claim, Mr. Harvey now owns and operates seventeen hundred and forty acres of land, devoting one thousand acres to farm purposes and the rest to ranching. He breeds thoroughbred Hereford cattle and ships a car load annually. He has a good set of farm buildings and very comfortable home. He is industrious and progressive in the management of his ranch and enjoys the respect and regard of his neighbors. He belongs to the order of Knights of Pythias at Harrisburg, and in politics is a Republican.
ROLLAND B. BIGSBY, who is one of Banner county's substantial farmers, belongs to a pioneer family that came to this section in the spring of 1887. He was born at Omaha, Nebraska, July 14, 1879. His father, William Bigsby, was a veteran of the Civil War. Further mention of the family will be found in the sketch of Everett Bigsby.
Rolland B. Bigsby obtained his education in Buffalo county, near Kearney. His father homesteaded in Cheyenne, now Banner county, in 1887, thirty miles northwest of Kimball, pre-empted and secured a tree claim, the latter property now being owned by his daughter, Mrs. John Heintz. When the family came here in a covered wagon, they brought with them two cows, a calf and six chickens. Mr. Bigsby remembers that while on the way a windstorm came up that prevented their going forward for a whole day. The father expended all the money he had while they stopped at Kimball, for something to eat, and Mr. Bigsby remembers how lean the larder was for a long time after they were settled on the homestead. Two meals a day was the rule and in summer time the choke cherry trees gave them their only fruit. Money was scarce and the father was no longer a strong, able man, who could labor hard and continuously like many others. Mr. Bigsby tells of one occasion when he was returning from Sidney to which place he had gone to attend to some legal papers, and coming back on foot, was overtaken by exhaustion on the way, owing to his age and the long distance he had traveled. In those days there were no settlers living near together, many miles intervening between the homesteads. Had it not been that two women of the neighborhood happened to find him where he had fallen, as they passed picking berries, Father Bigsby might never have been revived. With the water they gave him he was able to get within calling distance of his home and he was cared for by his family, but they were never willing for him to attempt such a journey again.
In recalling those early days, fortunately so different in many ways from the present, Mr. Bigsby tells of herding his father's cattle, fearlessly running barefooted through the cactus that grew thickly over the range, and his recreation was catching skunks, badgers and rattlesnakes, with the help of his dog. His duties were only those of the majority of boys in that section at that time, but in recognition of the dangers and discomforts to which he was subjected, Mr. Bigsby feels very thankful that his own children have not been through the same experience, that there has never been any such necessity.
Mr. Bigsby was married August 20, 1909, to Miss Clara Fuller, who is a daughter of William D. and Elizabeth (Kimberly) Fuller, pioneers of the county who now reside at Bushnell. Mr. and Mrs. Bigsby have six children as follows: Clifford, Myrtle, Edyth, Ethel, Ruby, and an infant.
In spite of many hindrances and discouragement, Mr. Bigsby has prospered. He has always been careful and industrious and possessed of good judgment. He homesteaded under the Kinkaid law and now owns and operates four hundred and eighty acres. Mr. Bigsby is a well informed, practical man and good citizen. He votes with the Republican patry (sic) and performs every political duty incumbent upon him, but he has never desired public office of any kind.
THOMAS W. G. COX, who is a representative citizen of Banner county, prominent both in public affairs and business enterprises, is satisfactorily proving today the fertility of Nebraska soil under proper cultivation, and illustrating also the sure reward that follows persistent and well directed industry. Coming to Banner county thirty-one years ago, a young man practically without capital, he now owns farm, ranches and stock, and is accounted one of the leading breeders of Holstein cattle and Shire horses in this part of the state.
Mr. Cox was born in Peoria county, Illinois, February 17, 1866, a son of Jacob and Herminia (Humphrey) Cox, the former of whom was born in Rose County, Ohio, February 18, 1830, and died in Nebraska, August 18, 1904; and the latter was born in Dallas county, Missouri, December 25, 1836, and died in Nebraska. Of their eleven children, Thomas W. G. was the fifth in order of birth, the others being as follows: Elizabeth A., who lives on the old home place in Nebraska; John, who died June 26, 1916; Rastus, who resides with his sister on the old homestead; Margaret A., who is married, lives at Forest River, North Dakota; Charles H., who lives with his family lives in Banner county; Edwin, married, who lives in South Dakota; Jacob, married, who lives at Bushnell, Nebraska; and two who died in infancy. The father of the above family worked as a carpenter and blacksmith in Ohio, Missouri, and later in Illinois. From the latter state in March, 1880, he moved to Nebraska and for about ten years was engaged in farming in Cass county. In the fall of 1889, he came to Banner county, pre-empted and homesteaded and resided here until his death. He was a man of great enterprise and possessed the sound common sense that marked many of the sturdy, early settlers. He engaged in general farming and stock-raising, and surprised his neighbors by his farm success, as it was the general opinion at that time, that the soil here could not be made to produce crops on account of lack of moisture. He did more than prove they were mistaken, for he set out one of the first orchards and carefully cared for it, with the result that the trees are still bearing fine fruit. In these directions he was really a public benefactor. He was a staunch Republican and enjoyed taking part in political campaigns but declined to accept public offiice (sic), but served in official positions in the Masonic order to which be belonged many years. At the time of his death be owned eight hundred acres of land.
Thomas W. G. Cox attended school in Illinois and later in Cass county, Nebraska, and remained at home until over twenty-two years of age. On May 6, 1888, he came to Kimball, Banner county, and homesteaded in what was locally known as Bachelor's Bend, at the head of Bull canyon, so designated because all the homesteaders had been unmarried. His nearest neighbor was three miles away. After one year a brother joined him and secured a claim and they made a bargain by which the brother should take care of both claims and each should have half the crop, while Thomas W. should accept work in Colorado and give his brother half of his wages. With the money he earned in Colorado, Mr. Cox bought three horses and two cows, and that was the nucleus of his present extensive horse and cattle industry. At one time later he borrowed the sum of three hundred dollars and gave thirty horses as security.
Mr. Cox lived on his homestead and looked after his own domestic affairs for the next eight years, during this time hauling all water a distance of eight miles, a task indeed when contrasted to present rapid methods of transportation. Between 1891 and 1899 he raised wheat, about twenty bushels to the acre. Again comparison is suggested because then Mr. Cox had to pay ten cents a bushel for threshing, take his own time to assist the owner of the thresher to haul his machine back and forth, then wagon the wheat thirty-five miles to Kimball and sell it for twenty-five cents a bushel. In 1897 he bought one hundred and sixty acres for one hundred dollars and his ability as a farmer has been shown by the production of twenty-eight bushels to the acre on that land, year after year. When he was ready to sell that land he received thirty-five dollars an acre for it. Mr. Cox has proved his knowledge of land and has bought and sold numerous tracts advantageously. He now owns nine hundred and sixty acres of land in Banner county, three hundred and twenty acres in Wyoming, leases one and one-half sections and breeds Holstein and Jersey cows, Shire horses and standard hogs. Probably Mr. Cox has the best improved property in Banner county. He is making preparation to follow the example of his father and set out a fruit orchard and also a grove of shade trees, expecting to make a certain success of his venture, because he will use the same care and scientific knowledge with his trees that have proved so satisfactory in the growing of grain. Progressive and enterprising men like Mr. Cox are very valuable in a community.
On December 25, 1898, Mr. Cox was united
in marriage to Miss Hula V. Cronn, a daughter of Clarkson and Mary Runyon Cronn, pioneers of 1888 in Banner county, who homesteaded at Flowerfield, near Wild Horse corral. They retired in 1908 and resided at Kimball until 1918, removing then to California, and now residing in Oregon. They became the parents of thirteen children, of which family Mrs. Cox is the youngest. The others were as follows: Margaret, who lives near Harrisburg, is the wife of John V. Brodhead; Charlotte, who is deceased, was the wife of Jacob Kishpaugh; George, who lives in Washington, married Anna Campbell; William, who lives at Kimball, married Hattie Longworth; Sadie, who lives in Wisconsin, is the wife of Charles Park; Abraham, who died in Pennsylvania when eighteen years old; Scott and Wesley, both of whom died in infancy; Edwin, who lives in Wyoming; Carrie, who lives in California, is the wife of Edgar Morford; Florence, who lives in Oregon, is the wife of Harold Parker; and Chester, who lives at Kimball, married Bertha Warnor. Mrs. Cox says that when her father landed in Banner county with wife and five children, he brought with them a cow, a calf and five dollars in cash, and that when he retired he owned his homestead, one hundred head of cattle, thirty head of horses and other stock. Like others who have done well here, he lived a busy, frugal life for many years, but he brought up a large family in comfort and has the satisfaction of seeing them all well settled in life.
Mr. and Mrs. Cox have children as follows: Violet, born January 3, 1900; Florence, born January 21, 1901; Archie, born August 3, 1903; Doris, born August 28, 1904; Edna, born January 23, 1905; Ethel, born January 25, 1907; Una, born June 8, 1908; Josephine, born March 22, 1910; Edith, born August 16, 1913; Velma, born January 16, 1916; Gladys, born January 17, 1917; and Glenn, born June 10, 1919. This large and interesting family living in happy concord and unbroken ranks in their beautiful home, in the banner section of Banner county, under the wise and loving protection of father and mother, promise well for the next active generation that will push still further the car of progress in this section.
In his public attitude, Mr. Cox is an outspoken American and his influence in county and community matters is marked. He is a Republican in political affiliation and has frequently served on election boards and in other capacities and offices of responsibility, and for many years has been a useful member of the school board. He belongs to the Farmers Union organization, and both he and wife are members of the order of American Yeomen.
ERASTUS W. COX, a prosperous general farmer and stockraiser in Banner county, belongs to an old pioneer family of Nebraska, and accompanied his parents to the state when five years old. He was born in Stark county, Illinois, January 10, 1863, and is a son of Jacob and Hermonie (Humphrey) Cox, both of whom died in Nebraska. The father was a native of Ohio and the mother of Missouri.
The parents of Mr. Cox came from Illinois to Nebraska in March, 1880, lived in Cass county until 1889, came then to Banner county and pre-empted and homesteaded. The preemption is now owned by Mr. Cox and his sister, Miss Elizabeth, and they reside on it. The father was a man of considerable consequence in the county and the entire family has always been held in high regard. Extended mention will be found in this work.
Erastus W. Cox attended the country schools in boyhood and lived at home until twenty-one years old, mainly occupied with farm work. In those days a farm of two acres was considered quite a grain field and when it was ready to thresh the neighbors all came to help, and as a harvester, Mr. Cox has travelled all over the country and at one time every face he saw was friendly and familiar. With the passing of years he often feels as if he only meets strangers now. At that time the farmers raised hogs only for their own use, often dressing as high as six hundred pounds, which, if sold, would not have brought more than six or seven cents a pound, Growers of hogs at the present day do not do business on any such basis. Mr. Cox had many head of Duroc-Jerseys on his one hundred and sixty acre farm and is making plans to breed more extensively in the future.
In the fall of 1892 Mr. Cox came to Banner county and homesteaded on section 20-18-58, Flowerfield precinct, now called Epworth precinct, and lived on that place for six years. He then became traveling representative of a threshing machine company of Oklahoma City, with which he continued six years, his territory reaching as far north as Winnepeg, Canada. He returned then and settled on his father's old homestead in Banner county and has resided here with his sister ever since. A year after his return, his old company made a flattering offer to him that would have taken him to Argentine Republic, South America, but he declined it, having tried commercial traveling and being well satisfied with his agricultural
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