NEGenWeb Project
Resource Center, On-Line Library




spirit of adventure inherent in every youth called out to him and he responded and for several years was as he termed it, "a rambler." He was engaged in farming in several localities for a period of years and in the fall of 1910, came to Box Butte county to visit his brother Fred, but did not settle as the following year he went east to visit New York and New Jersey, thinking that perhaps he might locate there, but the lure of the west was in his blood, the east was too crowded with settlers for him and he returned to Nebraska in 1912, to take up land and begin agricultural pursuits in Box Butte county. Mr. Melick soon became recognized in his section as one of the prosperous farmers, who was well qualified for his vocation and received gratifying returns from the soil for his labor. The family remained in the country until the spring of 1919, when they came to Hemingford, soon after which Mr. Melick purchased the Miller Hotel. He had it thoroughly refitted, put in a cafe and now runs one of the best European hotels in the Panhandle where guests have every comfort and convenience. All his rooms are steam-heated with hot and cold water and electrically lighted throughout. The cafe caters to the residents of Hemingford, and the traveling public and all are to be congratulated on having such service in the hands of a capable and progressive man whose slogan since establishing himself here has been "service." From the volume of business already handled a bright and prosperous future is in store for Mr. Melick.
   In the fall of 1913, Mr. Melick married Miss May Grimes at Hemingford. She was born in Lucas county, Iowa, the daughter of Sidney and Winifred (Patterson) Grimes, the former a native of Lucas county, while the mother was born in Marion county, Iowa. Mrs. Melick was the oldest in a family of six children, was reared and received her education in Iowa and later graduated from the Sheridan high school at Sheridan, Iowa. Mr. and Mrs. Melick have one daughter, Christiana.

    FRANCIS M. TROY, a resident of Gering since 1898, and who has been a public official for many years, came first to Scottsbluff county in 1886, settling here permanently in the following year. Few of the settlers of that date brought a large amount of capital with them and Judge Troy was no exception, but in his case the lack of money was made up by the possession of rare business judgment which guided his early investments and in later life has made him the choice of his fellow citizens for responsible offices. At present he is serving, as he has been for years past, as police magistrate and justice of the peace.
   Judge Troy was born at Oskaloosa, Iowa, March 3, 1856, the second in a family of nine children born to Abraham and Miranda (Malona) Troy, both of whom came of Irish ancestry. The mother of Judge Troy was born in 1846, while her parents were voyaging to the United States, and died in 1909 in Iowa. The father was born in 1832, in Pennsylvania, a son of Benjamin Troy, whose father died in Ireland. He died at Oskaloosa, as did his wife, surviving her five years. Six of their children are living: Mrs. Louisa Carter, of Hutchinson, Kansas; Francis M., of Gering; George M., a farmer in Iowa; Edward, a farmer near Lacey, Iowa; Harry, a farmer in Iowa, and Abraham L., a farmer and stockman near Little River, Kansas.
   Francis M. Troy attended school in Iowa and assisted his father on the farm until he came to Nebraska. Following an inspection visit to Scottsbluff county in 1886, he returned in 1887 and took up a homestead and tree claim and settled down determined to make a success of his undertaking. Evidence of the accomplishment of his purpose was shown ten years later, when his ranch fence extended seven miles in length and three miles in width, and beside other stock, he had seven hundred fine horses in his pastures. He says little about the hardships he encountered, but on account of the conditions at that time they were numerous, but by 1898 he felt ready to give up so hard a life and in that year took advantage of an opportunity to dispose of his farm and stock interests. He came then to Gering and for a few years engaged in no particular business, although somewhat interested along a line which he has subsequently developed. Situated about five miles from Gering and east of the city, he maintains an apiary, with one hundred and twenty-five stands of bees, some of his colonies being pure Italian. It has been much more than a recreation with Judge Troy, although he enjoys caring for his bees, as last year he realized two tons of fine honey from forty-five stands. In the meanwhile, however, he has led a busy and serious life in other directions. After serving for ten years as deputy sheriff, he was made police magistrate and justice of the peace.
   In 1880 Mr. Troy was united in marriage to Miss Lizzie Akins, of New Sharon, Mahaska county, Iowa, and they have four children: C. E., operates a meat market at Minatare, Nebraska; Ida M., resides with her parents; Asa



S., has recently been welcomed home from military service, is cashier in the Union Pacific station at Gering, and Frances M., is the wife of R. L. Beeman, a foreman in the sugar plant at this place, The family belongs to the Methodist church. In his political views Judge Troy is a sound Republican.

    JOHN VOGEL, for many years one of Box Butte county's best known pioneer farmers, and one of the representative and substantial business men of the Panhandle, came to this section as a youth when settlers were few in the upper valley of the Platte. He was a member of a family that drove into the county in true pioneer style in 1876, settling on a homestead. He and his wife were residents of Nebraska from the time when the only buildings known in the central and western part of the state were composed of sod and they watched the various changes that have been wrought and the sturdy and progressive work of the settlers, and themselve (sic) bore a full share of the labor of development. Mr. Vogel was one of the large landholders and successful agriculturists of Box Butte county, and is entitled to the respect and esteem in which he was uniformly held by his fellow citizens during life. To his sons Mr. Vogel left the example of an honorable and useful life, to his family, the memory of his loving care as a husband and father will remain forever as a blessed inheritance. And now in the beautiful city of the dead, he sleeps the sleep that knows no awakening, awaiting the Master's call.
   John Vogel was born in Dubuque, Iowa, November 16, 1862. He was the son of John and Mary Vogel, both born in the German Empire. They were reared and received their early educational training in that country and later came to the United States. John, Jr., was the second boy in a family of five boys born to his parents. His boyhood and early youth were passed on his father's farm. He early assumed the tasks on the home place that his age and strength permitted and under his father became a good, practical farmer while yet of tender years. He attended the district school near his home until his fourteenth year, when the family came to Nebraska, locating in Stanton county. Mr. Vogel entered the frontier schools after coming west and helped his father on the farm out of school hours and in the summer vacations. As the country was little settled at that period John, like most other lively boys, became a trapper of small game and the first money he earned was trapping muskrats, which he sold and thus had spending money of his own. Mr. Vogel remained at home with his parents assisting his father after his schooling ended until his marriage in May, 1884, at West Point, Nebraska, to Miss Mary Jannuch, who also was born in Germany, being the daughter of Herman and Augusta (Newbower) Jannuch, both natives of that country, Mrs. Vogel was the second child in the family which consisted of four boys and two girls.
   The father was a stone mason in his native county who died when Mary was ten years old. She had already attended school and was very capable and of much help to her mother, who finding it difficult to gain a living for herself and her family in her native land emigrated, as she had heard of the many opportunities for ambitious you men and women in the new world. After landing on our shores, Mrs. Jannuch came west to Chicago, where she had old friends and knew a number of people, settling in that city in 1878. When the family arrived they had some money but the mother, with the well know and admirable thrift of the German people put this away as a nest egg and set to work to save all she could so as to have capital to establish the children in business when the right time came. She secured a position herself and also had the oldest children work, so that they were self-supporting and helped her care for the younger ones who were still too small to do much and were of course sent to the good American schools. The oldest boy, Otto, was established with a cigar maker to learn the trade, and he found it so congenial and financially satisfactory that he still follows that vocation in Chicago. Mary, now Mrs. Vogel, secured work in a tailoring establishment, learned the business and worked at it four years before making a visit to Stanton, Nebraska, to some of her relatives. While there she met John Vogel, a fine sturdy young farmer at that time, who could not resist the charm of the attractive German girl and persuaded her that she would be happy out on the high plains with him and they became engaged. On May 7, 1884, their marriage was solemnized at West Point, and the happy groom with his bride established themselves on his farm. Mr. Vogel was an industrious man and after his marriage his beloved wife became his devoted companion and helpmate, sympathizing when the way was hard and long and not only encouraged her husband but worked with him to build up their fortune, being his mainstay for thirty years. Mrs. Vogel is a woman



whose strength and good deeds are as the number of her days and who has had a remarkable share in pioneer experiences in the great west, for she has taken active part in the development of her husband's land. Mrs. Vogel found a great part of the Panhandle still known as the "Great American Desert," and has seen the marvelous transformation of what was considered prairie become valuable farm land. Six children were born to Mr. and Mrs. Vogel: Ida, deceased; William H., who married Rose Knapp and they now live on a fine farm which they own near Alliance, having three children, all girls; Walter, married Beulah Reeves and they live on his ranch not far from town, and have a son, Ervin E.; John O., married Fern Johnson and they have twin girls. They make their home on a farm and Mr. Vogel also is a well known and prominent hunter and trapper not far from Alliance. Edward is the next child, who is now a machinist and makes his home with his mother in Alliance, and Herbert, a farmer who also resides with his mother. Mr. Vogel and wife lived on their farm for many years and there reared and educated their children in great prosperity. They were a happy loving family and it was a great blow when he was hurt by being thrown from a hay stacker on his farm ten miles west of Alliance, August 30, 1914, and died from the effects of his injury on October 12, of that year leaving his widow the management of their twelve hundred and eighty acre ranch. Help became very hard to secure after the outbreak of the war. Mrs. Vogel found that she and the boys could not possibly carry on such a large place alone and before long discovered that the strenuous work was undermining her health, so in 1918 she leased the ranch and came to Alliance, buying a fine home at 804 Big Horn Avenue. She is resigned to taking life a little more easily after the many years of endeavor of which few women can show a similar record. She is a charming, gracious woman who keeps well abreast of all movements of the day in both the social and business world. For many years she has had a large circle of acquaintances in this section of the country and since coming to Alliance has made many more and in recounting the experiences of the early days she ever gives the humorous picture of the hardships and privations she endured rather than the true situations for the events have become mellowed by time, and as she looks at her fine, upstanding boys, feels well rewarded for whatever may have happened in the early years.
   Mrs. Vogel dispenses a cordial hospitality to all the old friends and is an addition to the residents of Alliance for which the city may well congratulate itself.

   MILLARD F. DONOVAN, pioneer frontiersman, buffalo hunter, early settler, ranchman and now one of the best known and wealthy real estate dealers of Alliance and Box Butte county is a man, whose varied career has given him many and interesting experiences on the plains. Few men today, twenty years his junior bear so few of the scars of life. Mr. Donovan is a Hoosier, born in Owen county, Indiana, November 15, 1857, the son of Harvey and Emaline (Berry) Donovan, the former a son of Ireland where he was reared and received his early. education before coming to America. It is from his father that Mr. Donovan has inherited his ready wit, sense of humor and the ability to look matters in the face and then work out his problems of life. Millard was the third in a family of five children. His boyhood was spent on the farm and he was given but two terms in school, but his Irish genius led him to become a wide reader and he learned more from books, and newspapers than many a boy in years at a desk under a good teacher. His mother died when Millard was twelve years old and from that time he had to shift for himself almost entirely. His father moved into Indianapolis and the boy sold papers in that city and also worked in a furniture factory, but he loved the country and returned to it, working on a farm in Johnson county for three years at six dollars a month, but when he came to settle up with the farmer, the latter said Mr. Donovan owed him money but gave him seventy-five cents. When only seventeen years of age the young man joined the regular army at Indianapolis, was sent to Newport, Kentucky, and before long was transferred to Austin, Texas, and from there the new recruits marched a hundred and eighty-five miles to Fort McCavit, with their heavy equipment and Springfield rifles. Mr. Donovan was assigned to Company I Tenth United States Light Infantry which was assigned to service at Fort McCautt on the extreme frontier, to hold back the Comanche and Kickapoo Indians, where he served until 1877. The spirit of the west and of adventure had entered into Mr. Donovan's soul and wanting to see more of the country he joined a party of four other adventurous youths who went to the Texas Panhandle, near the south fork of the Sweetwater river. They established a camp and built two



tepees and began to hunt. Arriving on the hunting grounds September, 1877, they engaged in hunting until March, of the following spring., The buffalo were very plentiful on the open prairie and often overran their camp so that it was not necessary to go any great distance to secure them. They sold the meat of the animals to the grangers from the settlements during the winter and when they broke camp had nine hundred hides for sale. The grangers had willingly traded various provisions for the fresh meat so they remained at the one camp throughout the season. When ready to leave they disposed of the hides to a traveling buyer of the Curley and Company at Fort Worth, which made a business of sending men out across the prairies for this purpose. When we consider what a buffalo robe brings today it seems hardly possible that they sold each hide for seventy-five cents. Soon after leaving the camp Mr. Donovan went back on the San Saba river near Minard, where he became established on a cattle ranch in the fall of 1879. After becoming successful in this business he later traded his property and livestock for a band of horses on San Saba river and in the spring of 1880 drove them, five hundred and fifty in all, over the western cattle trail to Ogallala, Nebraska, selling them to farmers who wanted Mexican ponies, for about fifty dollars each. After disposing of all the horses Mr. Donovan took a sub-contract to do grading on the right of way of the Union Pacific railroad which was being built from Julesburg to Evans, Colorado. On May 2, 1883, Mr. Donovan married at St. Paul, Nebraska, Miss Zella Caven, a native of Marengo, Iowa, the daughter of Benjamin and Hannah (Strong) Caven, the former a Pennsylvanian, while the mother was a Hoosier. Nine children have been born to this union: Arthur, a farmer, who married Addie Brown and they have three children; Jay O., an automobile mechanic in the Cousrey-Miller garage of Alliance; Floyd R., a harness maker, who married Nettie Nation and served eighteen months in the service during the World War as a member of the Thirty-third Battalion, receiving his training at Waco, Texas. They are members of the Methodist church, while Mr. Donovan is a Modern Woodman; Claude B., who owns a ranch in the sand hills, married Emma Bowers and they have two girls; Cecil M., a member of the Baptist church and also an Eastern Star, has charge of the parents' home at 423 Big Horn Avenue; and Edna, who married Charles Walters, manager of the John Deer Implement Company of Scottsbluff. He is a Mason and Mrs. Walters is an Eastern Star. She graduated from the Alliance high school and later held several fine clerical positions in Alliance, was a popular member of the younger society set before her marriage and both she and her husband are members of the Methodist church. Roy C. is the seventh child, who when only thirteen years old went to visit his brother Jay on his ranch and while there was dragged to death by a pet pony. The boy was a favorite in Alliance and the Times honored him by printing an extra edition announcing his sudden and sad death. John H., the eighth in order of birth, is a senior in the high school, is a fine, athletic boy, a member of the football team, and when through high school expects to go to college; and Ruth I., also in school, is a member of the Methodist church.
   Mr. Donovan came to Box Butte county in October, 1888, and located on a farm thirty miles west of the present site of Alliance. He built a frame house, quite a departure from the usual "soddy" and in order to do so had to go to Pine Ridge, thirty miles away to cut out the logs and then hawl them two miles to a saw mill, paying six dollars a thousand feet for sawing, after which he freighted the lumber to his farm. He broke his land, put on good improvements and three years later sold to buy a ranch twenty-five miles south of Alliance making a goodly sum of money by the deal. The new home was located near Camp lake where he again put time and work on the place to bring it under cultivation and thus was enabled to dispose of it at his own figure. After this sale he for a second time located nearer the county seat as the new tract of twenty-three hundred acres was only eighty (sic) miles west of Alliance, where for eight years he was engaged in farming and cattle raising, making a success of both lines of endeavor. In 1907, he sold out at a gratifying and handsome profit and came to Alliance. The same year he opened a real estate office which he has since conducted. He buys and sells farm and ranch property and has built up such an excellent reputation of square dealing and honesty that his judgment on land and its value is taken by all the prominent men of the county. Mr. Donovan does not sell on commission as a usual thing, but actually purchases the property, holds it as his own and then transfers it to the purchaser. For many years while living in the country, Mr. Donovan took an active part in all public affairs of his community and since coming to Alliance has been equally identified with the movements

Prior page
General index
Next page

   © 1999, 2000, 2001 for NEGenWeb Project by Pam Rietsch, Ted & Carole Miller