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MR. AND MRS. F. O. WISNER.
RAY A. WISNER, editor and proprietor of the Bayard Transcript, of Bayard, Nebraska has a fine property which he built up from the bottom. The paper came into his hands practically worthless a little over a decade ago, and now it is known and values all over the county, is an influential political factor and recognized advertising medium along progressive lines, while its large subscription list is constantly growing. By inheritance and training Mr. Wisner is a newspaper man.
Ray A. Wisner was born at Kilbourn, Adam county, Wisconsin, May 26, 1883. He is a son of Francis O. Wisner, who was a pioneer in the North Platte Valley and was one of the first and ablest newspaper men in Nebraska, and is well remembered for his journalistic enterprises and his determination to make a newspaper what he believed it ought to be. His standard was high but he maintained it as long as he lived. When he came to Bayard, the nearest railroads touched Alliance, forty miles away, and Sidney, sixty miles distant. journalism was his chosen work and he had already started the first newspaper in Dakota, before the division of the state was made. He found at Bayard, which village was to be his home, a small newspaper which, for six months had been printed under difficulties, in a sod house. This paper he bought, in the hope of developing it into a great journal and conducted it as the Bayard Transcript, along the line of his ambition, almost until the end of his life. He was a man of intellectual strength but he was ahead of his times in thought and action, and never lived to see his journalistic hopes realized, nor to know that in his son there would finally be a worthy successor.
Ray A. Wisner attended the public schools of Bayard, Gering and Hastings. He was brought up in the printing office, learned the trade and has been connected with the gathering and distributing of news all his business life. When his father bought a newspaper at Oshkosh, Nebraska, he disposed of the Transcript, but the new owner failed to maintain the standard of journalism Mr. Wisner had set, and in 1907, when Ray A. Wisner took charge of the Transcript it was necessary to bring about a complete reorganization. Mr. Wisner proceeded with considerable vigor and now has a newspaper plant that is a credit to his enterprise and to the city. After plans of his own he had a substantial brick building erected which houses his newspaper and job presses, together with the modern machinery that belongs to a first class plant and with this equipment he is doing a very large amount of business. Mr. Wisner has quite a reputation also as an editorial writer and does not hesitate to call attention in his columns to needed local improvements while, at the same time, he discusses calmly and intelligently the great problems in public affairs that concern everyone.
In 1913, Mr. Wisner was united in marriage to Miss Gertrude Clifton, who was born at Ewing, Nebraska, and they have one daughter, Gwendolyn, who was born June 24, 1914. Mrs. Wisner is a daughter of Rev. C. W. Clifton, pastor of the United Brethren Church at Elgin, Nebraska.
In politics Mr. Wisner is a staunch Republican. He has been an active citizen in many ways and has served as city clerk. In his busy life he has not found much time for recreation, but he enjoys his fraternal memberships in the Modern Woodmen, the Woodmen of the World and the Odd Fellows, being past grand in the last named organization. Mr. Wisner is in the Wisner Investment Company at Bayard.
ISAAC ROUSH. -- In times of general unrest, the thoughtful citizen is sometimes led to consider how the average substantial men of his acquaintance have attained their comfortable competencies and their positions of public confidence. This friendly inspection generally leads back to hard industrial activity in youth, and in most cases, to continuance of the same until financial independence has been secured. Prominent as an example among Kimball county's substantial and honored citizens is Isaac Roush, county treasurer of Kimball county.
Isaac Roush was born in Snyder county, Pennsylvania, in August, 1863. His parents were George and Caroline (Page) Roush, the latter of whom died when Isaac was ten years old. She was a member of the Lutheran church. Isaac had one brother, Frederick, who died on his farm in 1888. For his second wife, the father married Elizabeth Bolich, and the three children live in Pennsylvania, where the father died in 1896.
The son of a hard-working father, Isaac Roush early learned to be useful, but had country school opportunities until he was thirteen years of age. His home was in a mining district and it was no unusual matter for boys, even at that early age, to go to work in the iron ore mines, in which work he spent two years. Afterward he worked as a farm hand for three years, but as wages were better in the mining district, he went back to mine work
for a time, although he had made up his mind to seek employment in a western state, having settled in Indiana, of which he had heard much. He had labored incessantly to the age of twenty years, yet, when he. started westward had been able to save just enough to pay his railroad fare to Elkhart county, Indiana. He immediately went to work on a farm near Bristol and remained there two years, in the meantime making plans to move still further westward, working hard to earn the means to carry them out. In 1886 he left Bristol with the good wishes of many friends he had made there following him, and came to Kearney county, Nebraska. He was not looking for an easy job and during the next two years worked hard on a stock ranch, and also in a lumber yard for a time.
It was in the spring of 1890 that Mr. Roush came to Kimball county, which has been his home ever since. Here he worked in a lumber yard for three years and then began clerking in the general store of L. A. Schaeffer until 1898. As his acquaintance widened, his business ability was further recognized and ere long public confidence was evidenced by his being mentioned for public office and his appointment by President McKinley as postmaster of Kimball met with universal approval. Mr. Roush served in that office for seventeen years, retiring then for a season of rest after his many years of strenuous private and public effort. Very soon, however, he was called back to public life, being elected county treasurer of Kimball county in 1916, on the Republican ticket. As a resident of Kimball he has given encouragement to many worthy enterprises. He is a member of the Methodist Episcopal church.
CLYDE E. MEGLEMRE, who has numerous and valuable interests in Morrill county, is one of Bridgeport's respected citizens, where he is well known in business and also in official life. He has been a hard worker all his life and through his industry has gained well earned financial independence. He was born in Harrison county, Missouri, November 15, 1870.
The parents of Clyde E. Meglemre were John E. and Sarah A. (Richardson) Meglemre, the former of whom was born in Indiana and the latter in Virginia. Of their seven children Clyde E. is the third of the five survivors. The mother and two sisters of the family are deceased but the father survives and lives at Oxford, Nebraska. He served three years in the Union army during the Civil war, being a member of Company D, Twenty-third Missouri Volunteer Infantry; and was captured by the enemy but was exchanged only to fall into the enemy's hands again at Atlanta, after which he was confined in the dreadful prison pen at Andersonville, Georgia, for nine months. At the close of the war Mr. Meglemre became a farmer, a vocation he followed during most of his active life.
Clyde E. Meglemre went to school in Harlan county, Nebraska, then went to work on a farm and in 1888, came to Cheyenne county, where his mother had homesteaded. He continued a farmer for many years; in fact still overlooks his irrigated farm of a hundred and sixty acres, on which he raises cattle and horses. After coming to Bridgeport, in 1907, he embarked in additional enterprises, in 1908 beginning to work for the Standard Oil Company and continuing to the present time, and also started a draying business. Mr. Meglemre is a practical man and was the first to arrange for the delivery of ice, a business in which he has the whole field at Bridgeport, having made ample provision for supplying this necessity of life.
In 1896, Mr. Meglemre was united in marriage to Mary Rew, who was born in Wisconsin, and they have had seven children as follows: Cecil, who works for his father as his right hand man; Treva, who is the wife of Frank Richards, who is in the oil business at Bayard; Sadie, Dela, Clyde Jr., and Vera, who are at home, and one who is deceased. The family belongs to the Church of the Latter Day Saints. In politics Mr. Meglemre is a Republican. He has led too busy a life to have found time to give to public office to any extent, but he served as one of the town's most efficient marshals for a period of three years. He may well be numbered with the representative men of Morrill county.
FRED R. LINDBERG, one of Bridgeport's most substantial citizens, for many years has been extensively interested in raising cattle and horses, and has also been identified with banking enterprises. Mr. Lindberg has won his way to fortune and prominence through his own efforts and his whole career from boyhood to the present, may advantageously be studied by other youths who find themselves forced to start out early with neither capital nor influential friends.
Fred R. Lindberg is a native of Sweden, born in 1866, and brought to the United States the following year by his parents, Abraham and Anna Louisa (Boxtrom) Lindberg. They
settled in Missouri and his father was a laborer in a stone quarry and on railroads for some years but later bought forty acres of land in Missouri and died on that farm. Three of his four children still survive: Annie, the wife of Andrew Feruquist; Peter, of Republic county, Kansas; and Fred R., of Bridgeport, Nebraska. After the father's death the mother moved to Republic county, Kansas, where she subsequently was married to Mr. Lindberg, and two children were born to that marriage: Ellen, who is the wife of Jonas Johnson, a Kansas farmer; and Joseph L., who lives on the old home farm in Kansas. Mr. Lindberg's parents were members of the Lutheran Church. His mother died in Republic county, Kansas.
Mr. Lindberg attended the country schools for awhile, first in Missouri and later in Kansas, but as soon as old enough to make his services valuable, went to work on farms. It was hard work, for at that time in that locality, farmers made use of little labor-saving machinery, but he kept sturdily on and remained with one employer for six years. In 1888, he came to Nebraska and decided to remain in this state, shortly afterward homesteading in what was then old Cheyenne but now Morrill county. He remained on that homestead for fifteen years, then went to work by the month, on the Lyon Brothers' ranch and for three years of the five he remained there, had sole charge. When the owner of the ranch died, Mr. Lindberg bought both the ranch and the horses keeping the property until 1909, when he sold to advantage. In the meantime, through good business judgment, Mr. Lindberg had acquired other property and still owns a ranch of six thousand acres near Reading, where he feeds and grazes three hundred head of cattle and a hundred and fifty head of horses. After coming to Bridgeport he became interested in business enterprises here and assisted in the organization of the Bridgeport Bank in 1901, of which institution he was the first president.
In February, 1906, Mr. Lindberg was united in marriage to Miss Lillian Pearl Waitman, who was born in Iowa, and they have one son, Garland Frederick, who was born January 30, 1909. The family attends the Presbyterian church Mr. Lindberg has been an active citizen for many years and has been prominent in the Democratic party. He has served honestly and efficiently in different local offices, as assessor and school director, and for six years was a member of the board of county commissioners of old Cheyenne county and afterward served for seven years on the Morrill county board, this service covering a period of great public responsibility. For many years he has belonged to the order of Odd Fellows, also to the Modern Woodmen, and in the latter organization has passed through all the chairs of the local body.
HEYWARD G. LEAVITT, who may, perhaps, be called a founder of the sugar beet industry in Nebraska, and also the inspiration and financial support of the earliest irrigation projects in Scottsbluff county, is pre-eminently a man of action, and his life for two decades past has been devoted to such useful effort that it amounts to public beneficence.
Heyward C. Leavitt was born in New York City, March 22, 1861. His parents were Henry S. and Martha A. (Young) Leavitt, both of whom were born at Brooklyn, New, York. The father died in New York City in 1904, at the age of seventy-eight, while the mother still resides there. Of their seven children five are living, Heyward G. being the only one making his home in Nebraska. A sister, Emma, is the wife of William Fellows Morgan, who is in the cold storage business in New York City. For fifteen years he was president of the Y. M. C. A. there and Mrs. Morgan is president of the W. C. T. U.
On both sides of the family Mr. Leavitt came from solid financial ancestry. His paternal grandfather, David Leavitt, who was a native of Goshen, Connecticut, was president of the American Express National Bank for many years in New York City, and his maternal grandfather, Henry Young, was also a banker there and the financier that lent the money to complete the dredging of the Sanitary Canal, Chicago. He was the builder of the first gas plants in New York and Chicago. Henry S. Leavitt, father of Hayward G., was a banker in New York City during the greater part of his life. He was a Democrat in his political views, and both he and wife belonged to the Episcopal Church.
Hayward G. Leavitt was fortunate in his early environment and educational advantages of an excellent character were his while growing up. He prepared for college under tutors and in private schools, then entered Harvard and was graduated in 1882. Two years later he was graduated from the Columbia Law School, and entered upon the practice of his profession in his native city, making a specialty of patent law. Some years later he turned his energies in another direction, becoming to some extent interested in his grandfather's gas plant business, and after attending to the
installing of such plants, in many eastern cities, came west to Chicago, in the same business, and subesquently (sic) to Grand Island, Nebraska. Many things contributed to Mr. Leavitt's then becoming deeply interested in the beet sugar industry. He began at the bottom, distributing beet seed to farmers in Hall county, Nebraska, where he bought a farm for experiment, taught farmers how to make the tests and during the eight years he lived on this farm designed different implements for the extraction of sugar, and implement men from all over the country visited him to learn of their value.
In 1900, Mr. Leavitt organized and financed the Standard Beet Sugar Company and erected a factory in the village of Leavitt, where the earlier operations of the company were carried on before the plant was moved to Scottsbluff. No less interested was Mr. Leavitt in the great subject of irrigation. In 1902, he came to this county and after a thorough inspection of the valley, assumed charge of the Farmers Irrigation project, then in the hands of a receiver. As previously indicated, Mr. Leavitt has never been an idle dreamer. He has "the vision" and with it has the sound judgment that insure his dreams coming true. His first practical move was the purchasing of thirty-six thousand acres of land. Four years later he organized the Tri-State Land Company which he financed in the construction of the canal at Scottsbluff. At that time Scottsbluff and Bridgeport had a hundred and fifty families and representatives of only eight of these are here now. Mr. Leavitt at one time owned the controlling interest in the Winters Creek Irrigation Company; was concerned in developing the plants on the Republic river and the Pathfinder Dam; and in all progressive enterprises that have done so much for this section in a substantial way, Mr. Leavitt has assisted by the expenditure of time, money and legal advice. At present he is looking mainly after his extensive agricultural interests, holding large land leases, although in earlier days he leased at one time as large a tract as thirteen thousand acres.
In 1899, Mr. Leavitt was united in marriage to Miss Alvina Welter, who was born in Saxony, Germany, a daughter of Conrad Weller, who was an early settler near Grand Island and an extensive farmer and stockman. Mr. and Mrs. Leavitt have one daughter and three sons: Martha, who has just completed a three years course at Radcliffe College, Cambridge, Massachusetts; Heyward Lathrop, who has just entered Harvard College; David Henry, who is attending school at Omaha; and George Conrad, who is in school at Scottsbluff. Mr. Leavitt still preserves his Greek letter fraternity memberships and also belongs to the Harvard A. D. club, of which he was president while in college. He and his family are members of the Episcopal Church at Omaha.
FREDERICK ALEXANDER, to whose energy, adaptability and progressiveness Scottsbluff is largely indebted, has been identified with business enterprises and city development here since 1902, and perhaps no citizen could be named who cherishes a deeper sentiment of civic pride, or is actuated by more unselfish motives. Mr. Alexander was the first mayor of Scottsbluff and it was under his able administration of that office that the present admirable public utilities were installed. At present he is secretary and general manager of The Platte Valley Telephone Company.
Frederick Alexander was born at Norwalk, Connecticut, May 30, 1875, and is the only surviving son of Louis F. and Helen Louise (Curtis) Alexander, both of whom were born near Hartford, Connecticut. The mother of Mr. Alexander died in New York City. His father lives retired at Scottsbluff. For a number of years he had been in the life insurance business in New York City prior to coming here quite recently. The Alexanders are of Scotch-Irish descent,. but the family is old in Connecticut. the paternal grandfather, Louis Robert Alexander, having been born and passed his life in that state. On the maternal side, the name of Curtis is equally well known in the "land of steady habits," Curtisville, a flourishing town perpetuating the name of Frederick Curtis, Mr. Alexander's grandfather, who was a manufacturer of silver ware.
When Frederick Alexander was a boy, the family frequently spent a part of the year on his father's estate in Florida. There he went to school and remembers earning his first money by herding a flock of sheep. On account of the prevailing malaria on the Florida plantation, it was thought best for young Frederick to leave there and he was sixteen years old when he went to New Mexico, where he remained until 1900. He had become interested in several small telephone companies in New Mexico, but in the above year began to desire a wider field for his business energies, and after disposing of his interests in New Mexico, came to Nebraska. He resided first at Gering, but came to Scottsbluff to make his home, in 1902, and put in the first telephone in Scottsbluff county. From that beginning an
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