NEGenWeb Project
Resource Center, On-Line Library




family to take up their residence in Nebraska. The little girl was sent to the public schools when old enough and she continued her studies until a four year high school course was finished and she graduated with honors in 1899, and the following year she attended a commercial college, finishing the course in a year. In 1909 she was married at Boseman (sic), Montana, to William Brodrick, who was born at Hubble (sic), Nebraska, the son of William and Mary (Stark) Brodrick, the father being a native of Wisconsin. Mr. Brodrick was the fifth child in a family of eight children and as his mother died when he was a small boy eight years of age, he was from that time compelled practically to shift for himself. He managed in some way to earn his living while yet a little lad and finally by pure grit and perseverance worked up to a good salary and as best he could studied and secured a practical education. One child has been born to Mr. and Mrs. Brodrick, William H., a student in the public schools of Alliance, who lives with his mother. Mrs. Brodrick purchased the American Hotel located over the Harper Store, on August 1, 1919. This location on Box Butte avenue is an ideal location for an European Hotel, and she has thirty-two fine rooms for the accommodation of guests, with every modern convenience for their comfort. The location is central to all parts of the city and of great convenience to the traveling public, and already its patronage is bringing in a fine return for the investment. From present indications Mrs. Brodrick has invested in a most satisfactory business which has a great future. She is a woman of great charm, has unusual executive ability and knows how to look after the many guests to whom she is a considerate hostess.

    CLAUS E. PETERSON, who is one of Banner county's sturdy pioneers and still living on his original homestead on section 2, has made Banner county his home for thirty years, and is widely known and universally respected. He was born in Sweden, September 8, 1853, the second in a family of five children born to Peter and Clara (Anderson) Johnson Peterson, the others being: John, who lives in Sweden; Fred and Ephraim, both of whom live at Minneapolis, Minnesota; and Amanda, who has never left Sweden. The father was a farmer and stockman in Sweden. Both parents died there, the mother in 1915 and the father in 1916. They were members of the Swedish Lutheran church.
   Claus E. Peterson attended school in his native land in boyhood and afterward worked as a farmer until 1888, when he came to the United States. After one year in Iowa he came to Banner county and on January 1, 1889, filed on his homestead. He later took a preëmption and secured eighty acres on a Kinkaid claim. Mr. Peterson now owns 720 acres, mostly range land. He raises about 50 head of White Face cattle annually and other stock. He has one of the best improved ranches in the county and it is a contrast indeed to compare his present fine residence with running water, electric lights and all other modern comforts, with the little dugout in which he sheltered himself in his earliest days here when he had so much to contend with that he gladly accepted a wage of fifty cents a day, paid in trade, in order to sustain himself. With the first money he was able to save, by working in the stone quarry at Fort Collins, Colorado, he bought a team of oxen, paying $75 for this team, which was a necessity in order to break up the tough prairie sod. His first crop was not very satisfactory, in great measure from lack of moisture in the soil. He was too poor then to have a well dug and had to haul all the water used on the place. He struggled on however in spite of discouragements and in the course of time had a fine flock of sheep, about 500 head. A sudden blizzard swept over the land and in its fury drove the sheep before it. When Mr. Peterson was able to search for them he found them all piled together, about two miles distant, all covered with the drifted snow and very few of them alive. This was a serious loss, although he was able to sell the pelts for $1 each. In seasons following Mr. Peterson, through hard work, brought his land to a profitable state of development and for a number of years has been financially independent, but he has not forgotten those old days, nor his old neighbors, and his reminiscences of actual facts are interesting sidelights on the county's history.
   In Sweden, September 8, 1881, Mr. Peterson was married to Miss Hilma Peterson, a daughter of Nels and Bertha (Nelson) Peterson, who came to the United States in 1886 and homesteaded in Banner county in 1888. The following children have been born to Mr. and Mrs. Peterson: Helge S., who was born April 29, 1882, resides with her parents; Ernest L., who was born April 16, 1884, lives in Banner county; Richard M., who was born November 10, 1885, assists his father; Gertrude A., who was born October 24, 1888, lives at Minneapolis, Minnesota; Esther N., who



was born January 18, 1891, is the wife of John Cedarburg, of Minneapolis; Edith E., who was born May 24, 1895, is at home, and Minnie V., who was born September 17, 1898, lives at Minneapolis. Mr. Peterson and wife were members of the Swedish Baptist church. Mrs. Peterson died February 25, 1920. He has been very active in politics but has always voted with the Republican party.

    CHENIA A. NEWBERRY.-- The. business career of Chenia A. Newberry has been significantly characterized by courage, self-reliance, progressiveness. His unchangable (sic) purpose, high integrity have won the confidence and esteem so essential in the important mercantile enterprise to which he has devoted his attention and energies, and through which he has gained high standing in the financial circles of western Nebraska, eastern Colorado and South Dakota. During practically all his business career Mr. Newberry has been associated with the hardware business and no other vouchers are needed to attest his success than the substantial establishments of which he is the owner in Alliance. As one of the. representative business men and progressive public spirited citizens of Box Butte county, he merits specific recognition in this publication of the great commonwealth of Nebraska and its counties.
   Chenia A. Newberry is a Wolverine, born in New Baltimore, Michigan, April 9, 1869, the son of Norman and Fannie (Morris) Newberry, the former having been a farmer. Chenia was the youngest of two children, as he had one sister. The boy passed his childhood and early youth on farms, acquiring the rudiments of an education by attending the common schools of Michigan in the winter time; and after he accompanied his parents to their prairie farm in Buffalo county, Nebraska, was sent to school in a sod house, and though it contrasted to what he had known in Michigan the boy made the best of his advantages. This was in 1881, when the conditions of life and education were far different from those of the present day. On the homestead twelve miles north of Kearney, Chenia Newberry grew to early manhood, enured to the hardships of frontier life which held no fears for him nor daunted his spirit. Until the age of seventeen he remained on the farm, then determined to seek a commercial career. The youth found employment in a hardware store in Ravenna in the northern part of Buffalo county where he laid the foundation for his subsequent commercial career, which reads almost like a fairy story, as few men achieve such great success within such a short time. In 1888, Mr. Newberry came to Alliance to found what is today one of the large, important, and interesting industrial enterprises of this city and Box Butte county, and this publication gives special recognition to this representative corporation, for in the upbuilding of the business has been exemplified the splendid energy and initiative ability of its founder, who has made of his individual success a medium of leverage for the uplifting of civic and material prosperity in his home city and county. Of the inception and growth of the business founded by Mr. Newberry in Alliance, a brief record will be given.
   The present enterprise had a humble beginning. Mr. Newberry first established himself with a hardware stock in connection with which he ran a tin shop; his business grew rapidly, by leaps and bounds; within six years after coming here he found it necessary to build a large structure known as the Glenn Miller building with floor space twenty-five by sixty-four feet; this soon was too small so the building was extended back at the rear for greater floor space. Then followed a tin shop built in 1898, and two years later he erected a brick warehouse of practically the same size near the railroad, but the growing business demanded still larger quarters to house the various departments. To accommodate these a large three-story and basement structure was erected on Fourth street between Box Butte and Laramie avenues, which is entirely given over to the wholesale business, which has expanded to such proportions that at present Mr. Newberry has three salesmen on the road covering a large territory which includes western Nebraska, eastern Colorado and western South Dakota. Five years ago the retail business also was established in a new home; this fine building covers a ground space of fifty by one hundred and fifty feet, is built of brick and fire proof. From basement to roof it is filled with the finest goods of the hardware trade. The basement is used for storage; the main floor for retail trade; the second floor is at present used as a sample room for display of goods; while an up-to-date harness factory with the latest designed machines for this work has been installed on the third floor. Fifty men are



on the payroll of the Newberry Company which amounts to over $8,000 a month, which gives some slight idea of the immense amount of business transacted within a year.
   Mr. Newberry is progressive in policy which implies up-to-date service to all his customers, and his equipment has all the modern facilities for this purpose. His various establishments are a source of pride to the city of his adoption and its many residents. In other words, "He has put Alliance on the map." Today this man is one of the best known residents of the northwestern section of our great commonwealth, because of his own reputation as a keen, shrewd, farsighted man and a wholesaler; he is full of life and energy which is well displayed in his business houses for he is the busiest one of the fifty or more men to be found on the premises every working day, putting in many more hours at his desk than any of his many employes.
   July 23, 1893, Mr. Newberry married Miss Nellie Brennan, the daughter of Martin and May (Fitzgerald) Brennan; the latter being a native of Michigan. Mrs. Newberry was the sixth oldest in a family of twelve children, consisting of ten boys and two girls. There are five living children in the Newberry family: May, the wife of Frank Abegg, the cashier of the First National Bank of Alliance; Norman M., who graduated from the high school and then engaged in business with his father; Agnes, a student at St. Agnes Academy, of Alliance; Helen, also attending the same school, and Master Bill, a sturdy boy of eight. While Mr. Newberry is interested in all movements for the civic and public uplift of the community, he has been far too busy with the many responsibilities of his business to take public office, believing the man best fitted to serve should be elected, and votes with this idea in mind. Fraternally he is connected with the Woodmen and Knights of Columbus.

   NATHAN A. ROCKEY, the senior member of one of the progressive business houses in Hemingford, which is doing an important part in the development of this section, is one of the best known automobile agents and dealers, in the Panhandle. Nathan Rockey was born in Green county, Pennsylvania, in June, 1868, the son of Samuel and Rosanna (Ernst) Rockey. The former was descended from a long line of early Pennsylvania settlers. Nathan was the youngest of the seven children born to his parents and his father died when he was but a year old, from diptheria (sic) and scarlet fever, which also took some of the children. The father had been a farmer and the mother assumed her burden of raising the remainder of her family. She remained on the farm until the oldest son reached maturity and married, some seven years later. After that she felt that he was provided for and that she would not have to work so hard, and was just beginning to take life comfortably when she married a man named Daniel Ackley. Young Nathan continued to live with his mother, attended the public schools during the winter terms, helped on the farm during vacations and Saturdays and while yet a small boy had learned the practical side of farm work. He early learned the value of money by working for it, for he helped a neighbor hoe and tend his corn, receiving half the crop, and when just a boy earned his first dollar, which proved to be eleven as his fair share of the corn crop. Like all boys he desired a fine saddle and that is what the money was used to purchase. When only seventeen years of age the boy started out in an independent business as a liveryman with one team of horses and a buggy. He made good on this venture from the start and as soon as his older brothes (sic) saw this he backed Nathan so he bought another team and from this start in West Alexander, Pennsylvania. His business grew rapidly and for eleven years he was engaged in this vocation. At one time his stable burned and as it was not insured the fire caused him a total loss, but notwithstanding this calamity, having only one team and buggy left, he began again and when he closed out his business brought a handsome profit of $5,000 and had made a good living all those years. On October 31, 1889, Mr. Rockey married, at Washington, Pennsylvania, Miss Minne Lloyd, a native of the Keystone state, the daughter of Joseph and Amanda (Long) Lloyd. She was the oldest in a family of six children. After disposing of his business interests in West Alexander, Mr. Rockey moved to Claysville, Pennsylvania, purchased a grocery store and became a merchant, a business in which he engaged for ten years; but he had heard of the many fine openings for an energetic, resourceful man in the west and after looking the country over came to Nebraska in 1904, locating in Box Butte county, where he returned to the calling of



his childhood and engaged in farming for two years; then as the country looked good to him, he took a homestead of four hundred and eighty acres and bought a quarter section five miles north and two miles east of Hemingford. For eight years he remained on the farm, made good and permanent improvements on his land and became favorably known as one of the prosperous men of his community. Wishing to give his family the many advantages to be obtained in a town, Mr. Rockey traded some of his land for a store property in Hemingford in 1912. This ground has a frontage of a hundred and twenty-five feet on Main street and is a hundred and thirty feet deep. One store on the street has a frontage of fifty feet and is the main part of his garage while the remainder of the ground is covered with a store building. Associated with him in his business Mr. Rockey has his son Earl S., who married Gladys Danbom, a native daughter of Nebraska, and they have one child, a boy. Earl Rockey and his wife are both graduates of the high school in Hemingford and Mrs. Rockey also took a business course in the Lincoln Business College, Lincoln, Nebraska. The Rockey Company is agent for the Chevrolet, Ford and Chandler automobiles, and in connection they run an up-to-date repair shop, carry a fine line of accessories and maintain an excellent service station. The Rockey family belongs to the Methodist Episcopal Church.

    THOMAS J. O'KEEFE, register in the United States Land Office at Alliance, was one of the pioneer newspaper men of Box Butte county and the Panhandle, and as an editor occupies a vantage ground from which to mould public opinion, and the community has reason to congratulate itself that for so many years one of the leading papers of this section was in such safe, sagacious and thoroughly clean hands. Mr. O'Keefe is a genial Irishman, versatile with his pen, to whom the people of Box Butte county owe much for his fearless discussions of public and domestic questions while he owned the Hemingford Herald.
   Mr. O'Keefe was born at Fulton, Illinois, June 12, 1874, the son of John and Sarah (Killey) O'Keefe, the former born in Ireland, where he was reared and received his early educational training and then emigrated that he might take advantage of the many opportunities offered a young and ambitious man in the new world. There were four children in the O'Keefe family, three boys and a girl, all of whom were sent to the public schools. Thomas attended with his brothers and sister until the family came to Nebraska in the spring of 1886, locating in Box Butte county, when he entered the employ of Jean Heath, the owner and editor of the Jean Heath Grip, a paper edited and printed at Nonpariel, Nebraska. Mr. Heath was one of the old school newspaper men and Mr. O'Keefe says that he was very eccentric in character but a writer of marked ability and his paper was very popular among the early settlers of the county. Thomas remained in association with Mr. Heath three years and there laid the excellent foundation for his newspaper career. After severing his connections with the Grip, Mr. O'Keefe accepted a position with C. A. Burlew, the publisher of the Box Butte County Rustler, which was issued at Hemingford where he remained for several years gaining still broader experience in journalistic work. Desiring further experience, Mr. O'Keefe went to Omaha to take a special course in a commercial college, returning to Hemingford in June, 1893, to become deputy postmaster of the town, as his father had just been appointed postmaster under President Cleveland. A year later Mr. O'Keefe purchased the Box Butte County Democrat published at Hemingford, changing its name to that of the Hemingford Herald which he continued to edit and publish at Hemingford seven years, removing to Alliance in 1901 and at the same time bringing his printing establishment with him. Here the paper was printed until 1909, when it was sold to Thomas Pierson. Mr. O'Keefe had established a fine job printing business in connection with the paper and received good support from the citizens of the community in both enterprises. After disposing of his business Mr. O'Keefe opened a real estate office which he conducted until 1915, when he was appointed Register of Deeds in the Government Land Office at Alliance, succeeding Judge W. W. Wood in this office. In 1894 Mr. O'Keefe had been appointed Government Land Commissioner and transacted a great amount of business in regard to land and land laws from his office in Hemingford and Crawford and it was, no doubt, due to the excellent service he rendered at that time that he was appointed to the vacancy in the land office where he is again demonstrating his executive ability as a government official.

Prior page
General index
Next page

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