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MR. AND MRS. FRED EHRMAN AND RESIDENCE.
prospects in Banner county. Mr. Cox is a Republican in his political views but has never accepted any office except membership on the school board. He belongs to the order of Odd Fellows. Miss Elizabeth A. Cox is very well known all through this section. For a number of years she was the accommodating and efficient postmistress at Epworth. She belongs to the Methodist Episcopal church at Epworth, in which she is a devoted worker.
FRED EHRMAN. -- Fred Ehrman's birthday is on the 12th of February, the same as that of Abraham Lincoln, greatest of American statesmen, and of Charles Darwin, greatest of English scientists; so he should have gone into either politics or science. But he wisely perceived that there is more money in farming Nebraska lands than in either of those two callings, so here he is.
He was born in Germany in 1881, and came to the United States in 1890, settling with his father on a rented farm near Hastings, Nebraska. In 1893 the family moved to Colorado, where the father, George Ehrman, died at the age of forty-eight years. The mother, Katherine Ehrman, lives near Gering, Nebraska.
In 1897 Mr. Ehrman went to Brush, Colorado, where he resided until 1910, when he came to Scottsbluff county and has since made his home here. He was joined in marriage with Lola White, the daughter of W. H. White, a farmer in Idaho. Two children were born to them, both of whom died in infancy, and a further bereavement came to Mr. Ehrman when his wife was taken from him by death on May 27, 1918, at the age of thirty-five years.
The home place is a fine irrigated farm of 160 acres, all of the improvements having been put on by the owner himself. It was prairie when he took hold of it, so he is one of the builders of the country. He has fed Shorthorn cattle quite extensively of late years, but one of his most important enterprises for the past fifteen years has been raising thoroughbred Percheron horses for the market. This industry has not only been profitable to him, but has been an important factor in developing the country, for it is only a few years ago that large work horses were scarce in this section, a condition which means lack of efficiency and economy in farming.
Mr. Ehrman is independent in politics. He has been a member of the irrigation district board for two terms and of the school board of his district for a number of years, and is a director of the Farmers' Union.
GUST PEARSON, who is accounted one of Banner county's prosperous and successful farmers and stock raisers, was born in Sweden, May 21, 1869. His parents were John and Christina Pearson, who spent their entire lives in Sweden, where the father was a farmer, but never on so large a scale as his son and grandsons in Banner county.
Mr. Pearson came to the United States in 1900 and located in Banner county, Nebraska, to assist his wife's uncle, the late Carl R. Hanson, who died in 1917. Mr. Pearson homesteaded in Banner county, just north of where he now lives, and worked on the railroad until he had enough capital to stock his land. His first house was half sod and half log, but it had a pine roof which many of the other houses in the neighborhood did not have at that time. Mr. Pearson's first residence did not cost him more than one dollar, a forturnate (sic) circumstance as his entire capital when he reached Banner county was twenty dollars. In contrast, Mr. Pearson has recently sold one of his farms. for $47,000. He still owns three hundred and twenty-five acres, all fine productive land, after giving each of his four sons a farm. Hard work and excellent judgment explain his success, which has been great.
Mr. Pearson was married in Sweden on June 17, 1894, to Miss Anna Hanson, a native of Sweden, whose parents still live in that country. Mr. and Mrs. Pearson have six children, namely; Arland, David, Joseph, Mamie, Elsie and Carl. All live at home in Banner county with the exception of Arland, who married Jennie Pearson and they live in Wyoming. Mr. Pearson is not as active as formerly as his sons relieve him of many responsibilities, all being capable farmers and they not only operate their own land profitably but their father's also. Mr. and Mrs. Pearson are members of the Swedish Lutheran church. He is an American citizen but has never taken an active part in politics, but in voting an independent ticket, he gives support to candidates that meet with the approval of his own judgment. Mr. Pearson is well known throughout the country and is highly regarded.
EMIL JOHNSON. -- One of the well known residents and greatly respected citizens of Banner county, a successful farmer and honorable business man is Emil Johnson, who has lived in Nebraska since he was fourteen years old. He was born in Sweden, February 19, 1879, a son of John F. and Bettie (Larson) Johnson.
The father of Mr. Johnson preceded his family to the United States, reaching here April 5, 1884 and coming on to Wahoo, Nebraska, because a brother-in-law lived there. He worked in that neighborhood until 1887 and then homesteaded until 1900, then came to live with his son Emil and his death occurred February 16, 1905. Of his six children five are living.
Emil Johnson attended school in Sweden and before coming to the United States in 1893, had visited Norway, Scotland, and Denmark. With his mother he took passage on the ship Iceland, sailing from Gothenburg, December 12, 1893. On New Year's night trouble developed in the ship's machinery and because of the high seas the vessel almost foundered, but good seamanship saved her and the passengers were safely landed in the harbor of New York on January 5, 1894. They joined the father in Nebraska and the mother survived until in November, 1906. Young Emil found hard times awaiting him in the new home. He worked on his father's farm and for others and managed to save a part of his small wages. His father's homestead was in an arid region and as there was no money to dig a well, which was a serious undertaking on account of the depth, water had to be hauled seven miles. Mr. Johnson remembers when game was plentiful and he has seen one hundred head of antelope at one time. After proving up on their first claim of one hundred and sixty acres improved with a large barn, Mr. Johnson sold the place for seven hundred dollars, which was considered a good price, although the same property now would bring seven thousand dollars.
From having nothing to start with, Mr. Johnson has been remarkably successful in his business operations. He owns eleven hundred acres of land suitable for farming purposes in the main, breeds Duroc-Jersey hogs and Hereford cattle, averaging about twenty-five head yearly. He owns also a blacksmith shop and some building lots at Bushnell, Nebraska, where he formerly owned a livery stable. For a number of years he has been land salesman for this part of Banner county and has succeeded well in this line. He has the reputation of being a far-seeing business man but one whose word is as good as his bond.
Mr. Johnson was married January 14, 1906, to Miss Annie Olsen, who is a daughter of Lars Olsen, extended mention of whom will be found in this work. Five sons and five daughters have been born to Mr. and Mrs. Johnson, as follows: Marie, Gertrude, Ivon, Lars Frederick, Ida, Helen, Alvin, Carl, Agnes and Leonard.
In politics Mr. Johnson is a Republican. He has served frequently in public office, for nineteen years being a school officer and every year on the election board, and at present is road supervisor. He is a stockholder in the Farmers Union, and he belongs to the order of United Workmen. During the World War he was a very active worker on behalf of the Y. M. C. A., the Savings Stamp and the Red Cross drives.
JAMES PATTON, who was the father of one of Banner county's large and most highly respected families, came here thirty-one years ago, and through hard work and good management, became one of the wealthy men of this locality. He was born in Ireland, a son of John and Jane Patton, and although he never revisited his native land after coming to the United States in 1861, he never forgot it and throughout life always kept a warm place in his heart for any native of old county Down. His death occurred December 7, 1912.
At Newburgh, New York, in March, 1865, James Patton was united in marriage to Mary Carse. She was of Scotch-Irish stock and was born at Ballymacrurnble, county Down, Ireland. In May, 1861, she came to the United States and entered domestic service and until her marriage worked in private families for a wage of six dollars a month. To the above marriage eight children were born and the following survive: Elizabeth, who lives at Dixon, Illinois, is the wife of James Bennett; Margaret, who also lives at Dixon, is the wife of Hugh Bennett; Isabella and John, both of whom live on the old family homestead; Mary, who is the wife of R. N. Biggs, lives in Colorado; and Letitia, who resides on the homestead, the brother and two sisters all having abundant means.
After their marriage James Patton and his wife came as far west as Dixon, Illinois, where they lived during the next six years and then moved to Fayette county, Iowa, but a few years later went to Pottawattomie county, Iowa, where Mr. Patton worked on farms and through his own industry and his wife's frugality, they prospered. Desiring to secure a homestead still farther west, Mr. Patton decided upon Banner county, Nebraska, and came here March 9, 1888, and homesteaded near where his children yet live. He was accompanied by a brother and brought with him nine head of cattle, some hogs, six horses and six hundred dollars in money, which in those
days in this section represented unusual wealth. He brought also the household goods. The mother of the family, and uncle and the children, all came as far as Kimball on the railroad and from that time until the present has been prominent in many ways and at all times useful and worthy members of the community in which they have lived.
During the first years after locating in Banner county the crops were poor but that did not mean to James Patton that his family should want for anything. On the other hand, he hastened to Cheyenne and secured work in the railroad shops. In the meanwhile his family carried on the home affairs well and wisely under the capable management of the mother and when Mr. Patton returned and resumed farm work, he found conditions much improved and from that time on prospered in his agricultural industries. As his children grew older they gave their parents dutiful assistance, and the mother for many years was as his right hand. In early days both Mr. and Mrs. Patton would haul the produce of the farm to Cheyenne, sixty-five miles distant, where they would find ready sale. Finally, however, the mother had a stroke of paralysis. The family planned a trip for her to New York on a visit but before she could start she became so ill that the journey had to be abandoned. She lived ten years longer, her death occurring June 21, 1909, But she had been an invalid add (sic) that time. Both parents were members of the Presbyterian church when early meetings were held in the home of David McKee, who had been a neighbor in county Down, Ireland.
Mr. Patton was not only an industrious man but was able in business and when he died left a large estate, at that time owning fourteen hundred and twenty acres of land. In early days almost all the settlers at one time or another put mortgages on their property and on one occasion Mr. Patton mortgaged a horse and cow for twenty-five dollars in order to lay in seed corn, a temporary loan that was immediately paid back. While the Pattons came up with such hardships as having to haul water a long distance they never lacked sufficient food, nor did the children fail having educational opportunities, Mr. Patton was one of others in the neighborhood to put up a schoolhouse, a structure twelve by sixteen feet in dimensions. The twenty-one children who attended that school had none of the helpful appliances of modern school children, few books, and had only boxes for seats. The first teacher was a resident of Kimball, who was a little dramatic as she dashed up to the little school house every morning, riding her pony without a saddle, but she evidently imparted knowledge to the children as their later progress showed. Still later Miss Nettie McKinnon taught the school for two terms, driving back and forth a distance of nine miles every school day. The Pattons have always been hospitable people and from the first have taken part in the neighborhood social life. In politics Mr. Patton was a Republican as is his son John, but neither desired political office.
WILLIAM. P. MILLER. --A truly interesting story is that of the Miller family of Banner county, which lost in the death of William P. Miller, on September 23, 1908, not only its honored head, but one who, after fighting valorously in his country's battles, so faithfully turned his attention to the arts of peace, that no name in this community is mentioned years afterward, in terms of greater respect.
William Palmer Miller was born September 18, 1831, at Alburgh, Grand Isle county, Vermont, a son of Duncan and Laura (Wiles) Miller, natives of Vermont. The parents moved to Brookfield, Illinois, near Ottawa, in the great Illinois corn belt, and there the father and his eight sons cultivated a great expanse of land and became wealthy and influential. He died in 1870, and his eight sons have passed away also. Their mother lived until 1877. William P. Miller was educated at Alburgh and at Plattsburg, New York, and afterward he assisted his father until he enlisted for service in the Civil War, on August 13, 1862. He served in the One hundred and fourth Illinois volunteer infantry until July 12, 1865, following which was a long hospital illness from which he never really recovered.
On October 12, 1869, Mr. Miller was married at Duquoin, Illinois, to Anna M. Burbank, a daughter of George W. and Mary J. (Hatch) Burbank, the former of whom was born in New Hampshire and the latter in New York. To the above marriage the following children were born: Charles P., who is in the furniture business at Gibbon, Nebraska, was the first barber in Kimball county and for two years taught school at Flowerfield, married Nellie Henline; Mary A., who is the wife of J. W. Hoke, lives in Colorado; Harry I., who lives in Banner county, married Grace Reynolds; Walter A., who is survived by his wife, Myrtle Bigsby, died near Harrisburg, Nebraska, when aged twenty-three years, George P., who died aged twelve years;
one who died in infancy; Benjamin L., who lives near Stoneham, Colorado, married Mary Pennington; and Ward E., who lives with his mother.
Following their marriage William P. Miller and wife lived at Brookfield, where he taught school for a year, then moved to Ottawa, Illinois where he bought a cutlery factory and remained in business there for seven years, doing all the cutting himself. His health was poor, however, from the exposures endured in the army, and partly on that account, and partly for business reasons, he began to entertain thoughts of the great West. This resulted in his moving to Smith county, Kansas, in 1878, where he pre-empted land and during seven years of drouth, attempted to farm. In the meanwhile he taught school for one year, supposedly for a wage of fifteen dollars a month but had to discount all his checks,. During his last year in Kansas he worked for the American Bible Society at Columbus, and he did well as his tastes were literary and his education solid. In 1887 he was offered and accepted a position as school teacher in Adams, county, Nebraska, hastening home from Columbus in order to make preparations for removal. He found his wife sick but in order to fulfill his contract, he secured covered wagons and hastened on the way to his school district in the neighboring state, only to find, when he reached it, that the directors had become impatient and had hired another teacher. In after years Mr. Miller could smile over such a situation but at that time it was tragic.
In this emergency the family took shelter in a sod house that had been used for the storage of broom corn for a few weeks, then moved into a frame house which they secured rent free on condition that they would keep it comfortable for its owner and cook his meals. They had plenty to eat as the owner was a great hunter, and traded off game, quail and prairie chickens for other provisions. In the general discomfort, Mrs. Miller fell ill again and her recovery was slow as there were no physicians near, but in the following spring another move was made. Mrs. Miller owned an old family heirloom, a gold watch, and this she gave to her husband and he was able to trade it for a lease on eighty acres of school land in Webster county. They moved on that land and a year later it was sold for two hundred and fifty dollars and they came to Kimball county and homesteaded seven miles west of Kimball. On that place they lived seven years, then put their children in school in Franklin county. Mrs. Miller removed with her parents who were getting old and needed her care and then settled twelve miles northwest of Harrisburg, where Mr. Miller died. For forty years of his life he had been a school teacher and faithful to his charges. There are many who remember him with feelings of gratitude because of his patience in instructing them.
After Mr. Miller died Mrs. Miller and her youngest son homesteaded in Nebraska near the Wyoming line, but when the great war called her son the homesteads were sold. She still owns four hundred and eighty acres in Banner county, is perfectly capable of looking after her own affairs and has always enjoyed social life wherever she lived. Highly educated both in books and in music, it was hard for this cultured lady to leave the comforts and associations of her eastern home and to bear with cheerful courage the hardships, which later attended her. She has done so, however, and has, additionally, helped others with neighborly devices and loving sympathy, and is universally held in esteem. She has not entirely buried her talents, for she has been the highly appreciated correspondent of the Nebraska Farm Journal and Banner news for the past twenty years.
HARRY I. MILLER, who is numbered with the substantial men of Banner county, owns large bodies of valuable land and is a successful breeder of the famous White Face cattle. He is one of the progressive agriculturists of this section, operating with the latest improved farm machinery, and not only keeps in touch with scientific farm development for his own advantage, but as a contributor to the Nebraska Farm Journal of Omaha, has been the means for a number of years, of imparting vital information, clothed in interesting language, to those who need this knowledge.
Harry I. Miller was born at Ottawa, Illinois, April 28, 1875, and is a son of William P. and Anna M. (Burbank) Miller, extended mention of whom will be found in this work. He enjoyed excellent educational advantages, attending school at Franklin, Nebraska, the Methodist Episcopal College at Orleans, and Franklin Academy, while his home environment was always of a high intellectual standard. His father gave forty years of his life to the teaching profession, and his mother enjoyed, in her youth, both literary and musical opportunities.
In 1895 Mr. Miller started out for himself as a farmer in Franklin county. In 1897 he was appointed park superintendent of Greeley,
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