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and three who died young, The parents were members of the Baptist church. The father was a Democrat in politics but never accepted any political office.
Everett Bigsby completed his education in Banner county and then went to work, being employed for a number of years on different ranches in the county. In May, 1905, he was married to Miss Leola Hoke. Her mother died many years ago, but her father resides at Palisade, Colorado, where he is engaged in a real estate and parcel post fruit business. Mr. and Mrs. Bigsby have four children: Rupert, Voyne, Derward and Keith, all of whom enjoy all the advantages a careful father can give. Mr. Bigsby homesteaded in 1909 and has a well improved, well stocked farm. He is a Republican in politics but he is not an office seeker. As a neighbor and citizen he is held in esteem.
H. G. GUMAER. -- The community was indeed shocked and saddened Monday morning to learn that during the small hours of the morning one of its most beloved and highly respected citizens had passed to the great beyond after a brief illness, death being caused from heart trouble. Practically all the immediate family were present at the home of his brother, William F. Gumaer, when this grand man gasped his last breath at two o'clock. The deceased had been ailing off and on for the past month but his condition was not thought serious until about ten o'clock Sunday night, at which time the family began to realize that the end was not far off. A few seconds before two o'clock he moved over onto the lounge from his chair unassisted, sat down, made the remark to those present that he was "a mighty sick boy," closed his eyes and passed peacefully away, sitting upright, to that undiscovered country from whence borne no traveler returns.
Henry G. Gumaer was born in Waupaca county, Wisconsin, on October 31, 1855. Died at Oshkosh, Nebraska, October 20, 1919, and would have been sixty-four years old his next birthday.
He was the second child in a family of seven, three boys and four girls, and both father and mother are now dead. The former died while the family still lived in Wisconsin, about 1887, and the latter's death occurred when the deceased was about nineteen years of age. Both parents originally came from New York state.
Mr. Gumaer left Wisconsin in 1879 and came to Grand Island, Nebraska, and in 1880, in company with his brother, Alfred W. Gumaer, he moved to St. Paul, Nebraska, where they engaged in the lumber business, their's being the first venture of its kind in that town. In March, 1885, in company with John Robinson, he left St. Paul with an ox team and trailed four hundred head of cattle. Upon their arrival here they formed the old Oshkosh Land and Cattle Company, the members being H. B. Potter, George Kendall, John Robinson, A. W. and H. G. Gumaer. They erected a set of ranch buildings on the old Mills quarter, which now adjoins Oshkosh on the southwest corner. They also platted the town and named it after Oshkosh, Wisconsin, and erected the first store in Oshkosh which is now known as the old Miller Hotel and stands on the corner of Fish street and Gumaer avenue. This company continued in operation until about 1894 when three of the members dropped out and left the affairs of the company in charge of John Robinson and our subject. This partnership was continued several years thereafter after which, by mutual agreement, the stock and land was equally divided and each went his own way, both accumulating large estates by staying with the country through all the trials and tribulations of the early settler. Up until several years ago the deceased had the ranch well stocked with hogs, cattle and horses. He was one of the first to see the advantages of beet raising and since his move in the agricultural field this section of the county is being known as one of the best beet producing communities in the valley.
Mr. Gamuaer was unmarried. He was a staunch Democrat and was elected the first county commissioner from the north district of Deuel county (which is now part of Garden county) and again in 1903 was elected to the same office and served in that capacity for six years. He was prominent in all county and state affairs. He was also prominent in Masonic lodge circles, being a charter member of Golden Fleece Lodge, of Chapell, and Oshkosh Lodge No. 286, holding the office of treasurer since the latter's organization.
Thus ends the life on earth of one of Nebraska's early settlers, and one of the founders of Oshkosh, a man who was beloved by all who knew him and whose loving way and kind disposition will be sorely missed throughout the years to come. "Hank," as he was commonly known, was a man highly respected and one who had not an enemy in his large circle of friends and acquaintances. He was honest and upright in his dealings with all mankind,
and it can truthfully be said that he lived a man's life among men.
He leaves to mourn their loss two brothers, Alfred W. and William F. Gumaer, of Oshkosh, Nebraska; and four sisters, Mrs. H. B. Potter, of Oshkosh, Nebraska; Mrs. A. L. Covey, of Omaha; Mrs. H. L. Cook, of Lincoln; and Mrs. H. B. Van Decar, of Los Angeles, California, the latter not being able to make train connections in time for the funeral, besides a large circle of friends and acquaintances. It is needless to say that the bereaved ones have the sympathy of the entire community.
All business houses closed their doors and the wheels of industry were stopped for two hours during the funeral services, which were held at the Methodist church Wednesday afternoon at two o'clock, Rev. Benjamin Kuhler presiding, in the presence of a large concourse of people who gathered to pay all due respect to the man who had been a friend to practically all of them. Immediately following the church service the body was placed in charge of his Masonic brethren who accompanied their beloved brother to the Oshkosh cemetery where the beautiful and impressive Masonic burial service was performed over the remains of our most worthy brother. His body has finally returned to the earth and his spirit to God who gave it, but his memory will ever remain with us until time immemorial. "The will of God is accomplished, amen." So mote it be. Farewell brother, we bid thee a long farewell. Yours was a life on earth that makes for good citizenship; you have been a friend in need as well as in deed; your column is broken and your good counsel and timely advice will be with us no more. Farewell brother, farewell!
The pall bearers were: K. A. McCall, Floyd Jones, August Neuman, R. Lisco, Mr. Persinger and J. F. Crane.
SAMUEL KELLY, whose extensive farm and stock operations have made him. prominent in Banner county for many years, was born in La Salle county, Illinois, October 20, 1862. His father, John B. Kelly, was born in Lorain county, Ohio. He was a farmer in Illinois but moved from there to Missouri about 1865, where he bought a hundred and twenty acres of land and resided there until his death on November 8, 1871. A Democrat in politics but never an office-seeker, he was a self-respecting citizen and good man. The mother of Samul (sic) Kelly was a member of the Free Will Baptist church. Their children were as follows: Eunice, who is the wife of J. C. Iker, lives in Page county, Iowa; Samuel, who lives, in Banner county; Rebecca, who is the wife of Frank M. Stockton, of California; John, who lives in Banner county; Georgia P., who lives in Kansas City, is president of the company operating the largest salt mine in the world; and Emma, who married a Mr. Bessy, lives in Colorado. The mother of the above family by a second marriage became the wife of D. M. Davis and at the time of her death, January 21, 1907, left four children: Charles, who lives in Worth county, Missouri; Alonzo, who lives at La Grange, Wyoming; J. E., who lives also at La Grange; and Ruth who is the wife of George Jennings, of Redding, Iowa.
Samuel Kelly was about nine years old when he lost his father and started out for himself when sixteen years old. He attended school in Worth county, Missouri, and worked on farms there and later in Iowa. In the spring of 1887 homesteaded in Banner county Nebraska, locating near Minatare, and *in the spring of 1887, homesteaded in Banner county* and has lived here ever since. Like many other homesteaders he found times hard and took advantage of every opportunity to earn money. Sometimes he had to leave his wife and children alone on the homestead for weeks together. For some time he worked on a ranch south of Cheyenne, in Wyoming; also cut timber from the hills and sold it at Scottsbluff, and thus, in many way of honest contriving and persistent industry, kept his family well and comfortable. In 1890-91 he remembers hauling his wheat a distance of thirty miles, to Kimball, and selling it for twenty-six cents a bushel. To contrast those days with the present brings pleasurable emotion. Mr. Kelly now owns and operates, including his wife's homestead of a hundred and sixty acres, about three thousand acres. His sons are farming seven hundred acres and the rest is ranch land, Mr. Kelly has bred Hereford cattle and standard hogs for many years. Progressive methods are made use of on this farm and the various industries are carried on very profitably.
Mr. Kelly was married first to Miss Idella Bowen, who died September 23, 1889, leaving two children, the one survivor being Laura, who is the wife of Ralph Darnell, of Banner county. On February 15, 1893, Mr. Kelly was married to Miss Jennie Skinner, who is a daughter of Richard and Emma (Powell) Skinner, natives of Perry county, Ohio, early settlers and prominent people of this county. The father of Mrs. Kelly is a veteran of the
Civil War. Mr. and Mrs. Kelly have had the following children: Glenn, who lives on the home farm; Earl, who operates the Peter Hanson place; Roy Earnest, who homesteaded at Glenrock, Wyoming; and Vern, Lillian, Lavera and Clifford, all of whom are at home. Mr. Kelly and his sons are staunch Republicans but none have ever desired public office. Mr. Kelly belongs to the A. O. U. W. at Scottsbluff and W. O. W. at Minatare.
MARK H. CROSBY, deceased. Not every early settler who came poor into Banner county improved his prospects by remaining, but some of them did, and one of these is Mark H. Crosby, who is one of the county's most substantial farmers and ranchmen of today. An old team and wagon and thirty-five dollars in money was his fortune when he came here in the fall of 1887; before his death it is probable that Mr. Crosby's name on a bit of bank paper would have been acceptable in any financial institution in the country. He started out for himself when fifteen years old and has made his own way in the world.
Mark H. Crosby was born in Ashtabula county, Ohio, November 20, 1851, a son of Almon and Abigail Hall Crosby, the latter of whom died when he, one of the fourteen children, was but three years old. The father married again and the stepmother died in January, 1911, the mother of six children. Of his brothers and sisters, Mark H. Crosby is the only one in Nebraska. The father lived until 1875. He was a general farmer and owned a sawmill at the time of his death in Henry county, Ohio. He was a Republican in politics but never aspired to public office.
Mark H. Crosby's education was largely gained in the school of experience. When fifteen years old he went to work for farmers at eight dollars a month. In 1875, he went to Jasper county, Iowa, and made his home there until 1884, for two years before moving to Harrison county, Missouri, he worked land on shares. He remained in Missouri for three years, then came to Banner county, as above stated, and in the fall of 1887 homesteaded where he now lives. Mr. Crosby has eight hundred acres and devotes the most of it to ranch purposes, averaging from thirty to forty head of cattle yearly. In early days here and before that, he worked hard at anything that would gain him an honorable living and has had much to contend with. He hauled freight for twelve and a half cents a hundred weight from Kimball; worked from daylight to dark for seventy-five cents, accepted, in fact, almost any work and any wage, in order to get enough to make payments on his land and the cows with which he was trying to start a herd. When making trips to Kimball and other markets he slept on the ground under his wagon in order to save hotel expenses. To sell his first wheat he hauled it thirty miles to Kimball and then received twenty-seven cents a bushel. He has seen many hard times but has lived through them and set an example that deserves emulation. His first home in Banner county was a small structure of which he was very proud because it had a board roof and Nebraska shingles (Butte Clay). In the fall of 1911, Mr. Crosby visited his relatives and they could scarcely believe the experiences he had passed through and in thinking them over, Mr. Crosby was led himself to greatly marvel.
Mr. Crosby was married on November 12, 1882, to Alice Campbell, who died without issue, on June 21, 1911. His second marriage was to Mrs. Cornelia (Hampton) Kimberly, widow of Edward Kimberly, and daughter of William R. and Sarah M. (Deter) Hampton, who came to Banner county in March, 1887, and homesteaded near Hull. Several years later they moved to Harrisburg and there Mr. Hampton engaged in the practice of law until he retired. A short time previous to the death of Mrs. Hampton, on December 4, 1903, they had moved to Gering, where he died December 6, 1904. They had celebrated their golden wedding anniversary on July 3, 1903. They had eleven children, the survivors being: Theodore, living at Hastings, Nebraska; Mrs. Crosby; Ida, wife of Emory Signs of Iowa; Jennie L., wife of Henry Highes, of Mapleton, Kansas; Commodore, living at Gering; William, living at Gering; Russell R., of Baxter, Iowa; and Albert J., living at Gering. All of the five sons homesteaded in Banner county and Mrs. Crosby also homesteaded after the death of her first husband but later sold, retaining, however, valuable residence property at Gering.
Mrs. Crosby came to Banner county with her first husband, Edward Kimberly, and they homesteaded ten mile northwest of Harrisburg. Mr. Kimberly developed a serious catarrhal infection and they moved from the homestead to Cheyenne, Wyoming, in the hope of improvement, but his death followed there, on August 16, 1913. He was one of the earliest school teachers in Banner county, where he taught for a number of years. When Mrs. Crosby first came here she frequently enjoyed horse-back riding, but even for so daring and skilled horsewoman as herself, there was great danger from the range cattle. She always rode bareback and on many occasions when herd-
ing her cattle, they would get mixed with the wild range cattle and it was only through her dexterity that she escaped injury from them. Mrs. Crosby, like her husband has had many pioneer experiences and their relation is more interesting that a book of romances.
Mr. and Mrs. Crosby were members of the Baptist church, to which he belonged for thirty years. He was always a Republican in his political views and remained identified with that great old American organization. At different times, when time and opportunity justified it, Mr. Crosby accepted public office and for many years served on the school board and for three terms was eleced (sic) school treasurer., Mr. and Mrs. Crosby were very highly esteemed by all who knew them and the acquaintance was very wide. Mr. Crosby died May 27, 1920.
GEORGE SCHINDLER, while by no means the first homesteader in his section of Banner county, has been one of the permanent residents since he came here thirty-one years ago, never leaving the county as did many others, to seek work at intervals, in neighboring states. Mr. Schindler's object in coming to Banner county was to secure for himself and family a home, for which he was willing to face necessary hardships and work to the extent of his ability. He is now one of the county's most substantial citizens and respected trustworthy men.
George Schindler was born in Allen county, Ohio, September 18, 1850. His parents were Dr. George and Susanna (Thompson) Schindler. His mother was born in Pennsylvania and died in Ohio in 1898. His father was born in Germany, was educated there as a physician, took part in the revolution of 1848 and afterward came to the United States and settled in Ohio. Dr. Schindler practiced there until his death in 1861. He was a man of scientific learning, a chemist who compounded his own medicines and was a specialist in the treatment of milk leg fever and cancer. In those days in his section of Allen county, many rivers and other streams were yet unbridged but that fact never deterred Dr. Schindler from going to the relief of his patients, and on many occasions he came home with his clothing frozen about his body from having to ford these unbridged waterways. He belonged to the Masonic fraternity and was a Democrat in politics. Of his eight children there are four surviving, George being the only one of the famly (sic) to come to Nebraska.
George Schindler attended the common schools in Ohio and remained in his native state until he was thirty-five years old. Then with wife and children, he came to Nebraska and lived in Cass county for three years but did not feel satisfied there. Therefore, in the spring of 1888, Mr. Schindler and his family boarded emigrant cars at Weeping Water and by that means reached Kimball, and from there came to his present homestead in section ten, town eighteen, at the same time securing a tree claim, and he still owns all this property. It would be foolish to declare that Mr. and Mrs. Schindler had no hardships to face for these were the portion of every settler of that date and were of such a nature that no foresight, or excellence of judgment, could have prevented them. During the first ten years in Banner county the family lived in a dugout, and for some of these years had to haul all their water, for family use, for stock and crop irrigation, a distance of nine miles. Mr. Schindler provided himself with a span of strong miles as water carriers, but even then four barrels was the limit that the team could haul up a very steep cliff.
Mr. Schindler devoted himself to the development of his land and found that in spite of climatic conditions, he could make it very productive. He has sown as little as two pecks of wheat to the acre and harvested forty bushels of grain. In early days lack of farm machinery was a great handcap (sic), but Mr. Schindler was resourceful and ingenious and did better in this way than many of his neighbors. In early days he paid considerable attention to raising mules and had the reputation of having the best animals in the county. Later he became more interested in Shorthorn cattle and Poland China hogs and during his active years raised many head annually. He has practically retired and has turned the farm industries, to a large extent, over to his son, who is a capable and successful farmer much interested in every line of farm development.
In Putnam county, Ohio, September 27, 1874, Schindler was united in marriage to Miss Mary E. Chandler, a daughter of Truman and Ruth (Gillett) Chandler, the former of whom was born in New York and the latter in Vermont and both are now deceased. Of their six children three survive, Mrs. Schindler being the only one in Nebraska. The following children were born to Mr. and Mrs. Schindler: Charles F., who was accidentally killed in 1907, by a runaway team, married Rachel Van Pelt, who lives at Wheatland, Wyoming; Truman, who lives in Colorado, married Alma Cox; Edward, who lives in Banner county, married Pansy Humphrey; Grace, who lives in Wyoming, is the wife of John Adcock; Ruel, who
manages his father's properties, married Hazel Green; and Myrtle, who is the wife of Maurise Sandberg, of Banner county, all well known and highly respected in their several communities.
In addition to his large estate of seventeen hundred acres of finely developed land, well improved, Mr. Schindler has additional assets, being a stockholder in the Harrisburg State Bank; a stockholder in the Farmers Union Store at Bushnell; a stockholder in the Farmers Elevator Company at Pine Bluffs, and own a block of stock in the proposed Farmers Union store soon to be established at Flowerfield. Mr. Schindler has always voted the Democratic ticket. He is a member of the Farmers Union. In his neighborhood no other citizen has done more to further the establishment of schools and churches nor to advance the best interests of the county generally. In a visit back in Ohio, he was led to make comparisons that convinced him that in the matter of agricultural opportunity, this section far exceeds the older portions of the country. He has always maintained a home of hospitality and sometimes is led to believe that the old days, in their general friendliness and somewhat crude methods of enjoyment, were more wholesome and satisfying than is social life in many communities at the present. time.
JOHN T. WOOD, president of the First State Bank of Oshkosh, the oldest bank in Garden county, had for years been identified with banking interests in Custer county. In 1919 he bought the controlling interest in the First State Bank and came to Oshkosh as president and manager of the institution.
John T. Wood, son of Thomas J. and Betsey J. (Deans) Wood, was born in Greenville, Montcalm county, Michigan, June 19, 1868, and was still a lad when he accompanied his father to Nebraska. He completed his education in the public schools of Custer county and commenced his independent career on the home farm near Ansley, but subsequently went to the depot of the Chicago, Burlington & Quincy Railroad, where he learned telegraphy. Later he was transferred to the station at Edgemont, South Dakota, where he worked for six months, and in all was connected with railroad offices for two years. In 1891, he came to Mason City, where,, with his father, he started a general store business, which was conducted until 1895, at which time he returned to farming. Mr. Wood was identified with various enterprises, one of which was the poultry business, in which he was engaged during 1894 and 1895, during which time he made a trip to New York with a car of poultry. In the fall of 1910, Mr. Wood went to Mason City to become an organizer of the Farmers State Bank, which at the outset had a capital of $10,000, but which later increased to $20,000. A beautiful bank building has been erected, and the institution, having shown itself substantial, safe and conservative, has attracted a large patronage, and now, has average deposits of $125,000. Mr. Wood acted in the capacity of cashier and manager, and a member of the board of directors, and proved himself capable, energetic and courteous, so that he accomplished the dual purpose of gaining the friendship and confidence of the depositors, and attained a place for himself among the capable bankers of Custer county. In 1918, Mr. Wood disposed of his banking interests in Custer county and bought the controlling interest in the First State Bank of Oshkosh, Garden county, taking charge of the institution March 1, 1919, and today is recognized as a leading financier here. Mr. Wood is a Thirty-second degree Mason and a Shriner, and was secretary and treasurer of his lodge at Mason City; he is a member of the Modern Woodmen of America, and also holds membership in the Independent Order of Odd Fellows, in which he is past grand. Like his father, he has long been interested and actively prominent in Republican politics. For eight years, from April 1902 to 1910, he served acceptably as deputy register and register of deeds of Custer county, and was his party's candidate for the Nebraska Legislature. His work as a citizen has always been of a progressive and constructive order. With his family, he belongs to the Christian church.
John T. Wood was married April 6, 1892, to Belle Bryan, who was born at Taylorville, Christian county, Illinois, the daughter of Joseph Bryan who fought as a Union soldier during the Civil War and came to Lincoln county, Nebraska, then to Custer county in 1879. Mr. Bryan homesteaded nine miles north of Mason City, where he died in 1892 and where his,widow still resides. Five children were born to Mr. and Mrs. Wood, of whom three are living: Iowa, who married William A Runyan, who engages in real estate and insurance business in Oshkosh, and they have one son, Roger Wood Runyan; Marie, the wife of Leslie Airhood, manager for the Nebraska Telephone Company, at Farnum, Nebraska, died January 9, 1919, leaving one son, John Pershing Airhood; and George
Clark, a graduate of the Mason City high school, where he established a creditable record both in his studies and in athletics, assisting his school to win several competitive cups, and now assisting his father in the bank. He enlisted in October, 1918, in the Reserve Officers Training Corps at Lincoln, Nebraska.
John T. Wood took an active part in all war work after the United States declared war on Germany, being chairman of the Field Committee in all the Liberty Bond drives in both Custer and Garden counties. Today he stands high in the financial circles of the Panhandle, as a progressive and substantial banker, who has won and holds the confidence of the public.
MRS. LOUISA HEWITT, one of the brave and courageous pioneer women of the Panhandle who took up a homestead here in 1887, has run the full gamut of frontier experiences and her reminiscences of the early days are graphic and interesting. The final steps of her journey to this section were made on a train, though railroads were far apart in that early day. Girded with undauntable purpose and the valor which are necessary to succeed under the conditions existing in a new country just opening to civilization and progress she established a home on the frontier, proved up on her land and became one of the well known residents of the Lodgepole district.
Louisa Saddington Hewitt was born in Appleby-Magna, Leicestershire, England, April 7, 1846, the daughter of Edward and Eliza Saddington. She was reared and educated in her native village and lived there until her marriage. Mrs. Hewitt grew up self reliant and with marked executive ability. March 1, 1877, was solemnized her marriage with Walter Hewitt, the service being red (sic) in the cathedral at Manchester. Walter Hewitt was born at Edgefield, England, June 1, 1853, the son of William and Fanny Hewitt, and he died at Chicago, Ilinois (sic), August 1, 1885. After their marriage Mr. and Mrs. Hewitt remained in England until 1884, when they came to the United States. Soon after landing on our shores they came west and the next year Mr. Hewitt died in Chicago, leaving his wife with the one child Henrietta.
Mrs. Hewitt learned of the good land to be obtained in Nebraska for a small sum and determined to have a farm of her own. In 1887, she came to this state and filed on a homestead in the Lodgepole district and today is the owner of a quarter section in 30-15-45, She was brave and had a great ambition which helped tide over the terribly hard early years when the first settlers in the Panhandle suffered from drought and the winter blizzards, but she had determined to succeed and did so. By sticking to her land in time crops were raised, the railroad came through this section and she is now the owner of a valuable farm. It was through her ability and well organized energies that she was enabled to withstand the hardships and privations incident to life on the frontier--a woman whose strength has been as the number of her days and who has had a demarkable (sic) share in pioneer experiences in the great west. For more than thirty years she has viewed the many changes and the rapid development of a country that was virgin prairie when she first viewed it and has been known far and wide for her kindness and good deeds.
HERMAN KUEHNE, pioneer ranchman and successful farmer of Deuel county, is one of the men who came into the Panhandle in the early days, believed in the future of this section and has lived here to see his faith justified and profited by the many changes and development of the Big Springs section. He was born in Germany, November 14, 1858, the son of Frederick and Wilhelmina (Opferman) Kuehne, both natives of that country, where the father was shipper and sailor on the river boats plying between Saxony and Hamburg. He died in 1864 and his wife in 1910; they never left their native land.
Herman Kuehne was educated in Germany and then learned the roofing business, made slate roofs, built chimneys and allied work. In 1883, he came to the United States and while in Cumberland, Maryland, contracted malaria fever. His doctor ordered him to a higher altitude and learning of the fine opportunities to secure cheap land in western Nebraska, Mr. Kuehne came to Deuel county in April, 1885. His first home was a sod house with sod roof. He put in crops and says that in all the hard early years they never had an entire failure; some product was always raised and when there was not enough of one commodity they ate others, such as oats or any grain that had done well. Mr. Kuehne says men did not farm then to make a fortune but a living. With the passing years he has adopted modern farm methods and machinery and has a finely equipped farm. He has been a Democrat many years; served as road overseer, is a member of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows of Big Springs and now fills the office of Noble Grand.
July 8,1884, Mr. Kuehne married Miss Wilhelmina Hemken, the daughter of Frank and Wilhelmina (Loeneker) Hemken, natives and
residents of Germany. Eight children form the family: Fred, at home; Wallie, of Deuel county; Hattie, the wife of John Leff, of Colorado; Frank, lives in Wyoming; Carl, William also live there; Marie, the wife of Ernest Koberstein, of Nebraska; and Herman, at home.
When Mr. Kuehne first came to this section he hauled water from Big Springs and Ash Hollow for family use and the stock, a distance of twelve miles, which shows what persistance (sic) he had. The nearest neighbor was five miles away, when visiting people cut across the open prairie. Soon after he located here other settlers came, though wild antelope were common and deer were to be found in the hills. Mr. Kuehne recalls the fraudulent county seat election and tells of many other pioneer experiences. He and his family have warm friends and are highly respected here.
SYVER JOHNSON, pioneer settler of the Panhandle who has worked hard and overcome all the trial and privations of life on the frontier and today is one of the prosperous farmers of the Big Spring district, was born in Norway, May 12, 1848, the son of John Erickson and Carolina Olson, both natives of Norway. The father came to this country and located in Hamilton county, but remained only five years and then returned to Norway where he spent the remainder of his life. There were eight children in the family, six sons and two daughters, four of whom reside in this country.
Miss Martha Kardesen, daughter of Kardesen Peterson and Gjoren Jensen was born in Norway, February 15, 1852. Her parents, were both natives of Norway. There were six children in the family, one daughter and five sons, all of whom reside in this country and Canada.
On October 3, 1875, Mr. Johnson and Miss Kardesen were united in marriage in the old country, where they had grown to manhood and womanhood, both having been educated in the excellent public schools of that country.
During their residence in Norway Mr. Johnson worked at the mason trade but desiring to own land of his own he migrated with his family to the United States in 1881, locating in Hamilton county, Nebraska, in May, remaining there three years before coming farther west to take up a homestead in Deuel county. In 1884, Mr. Johnson broke a little of his land but did not bring his family out until the following year. When he came to the Panhandle, Mr. Johnson drove across coutry (sic) with a team and wagon behind which were hitched two cows.
The first home was a sod dugout with a brush roof and when it rained out it also rained in. The first two years were exceptionally rainy and everything thrived without but not so well within. There was no water on the place and it was hauled for ten years for family and stock.
Having but a small acreage broken the first year it was planted to melons, crooked neck squash and gourds, the seed having been brought from the east. These grew in abundance and were of enormous size and were stored in cellars or eaves, forming the chief forage crop for the stock the first winter.
Prospects were soon blighted by the dry years that followed. Crops were very poor and Mr. Johnson went east to look for work in order that the family might have the necessities of life. He worked at the mason trade in Hamilton county, also in Omaha and Lincoln. He would often be gone several months at a time while Mrs. Johnson and the children stayed on the homestead and fought against fate for sustenance. Mrs. Johnson also worked for her neighbors whenever she could. She would walk two and one-half miles to town, carying (sic) one youngster and leading another, do a hard day's work, washing clothes or cleaning house and then walk back at night. Often after her return she would have to go a mile and a half to the spring for water. She had nothing to drive except a runaway team hitched to a wagon, and the way they traveled over the black-root knolls wasn't slow. One night when she reached home there was but one spoke left in one wagon wheel.
For years the forage crops had to be cut with a scythe and raked with a hand rake. The brunt of this fell on Mrs. Johnson and the children, as Mr. Johnson was often away in search of work at the harvest time. Many were the times when there was nothing left in the house to eat. Mrs. Johnson would take a muzzle-loading shot gun (which many men wouldn't understand the loading of these days) and go hunting rabbits. Often she would have to walk for miles over the sand hills before she would be able to scare one up, but when bunny made a move he was a dead rabbit. The meal for the bread was ground in a coffee mill which was a long and tedious task.
The rattle snakes were quite a menace in the early days. It was not an uncommon sight to see them disapear (sic) into the walls of the sod house or find them basking in the sunlight on the door step. The older boys would
go snake hunting and a trophy of two dozen rattles wasn't an unusual day's hunt. A snake spear was used for killing them, which consisted of a spearhead on a long handle. None of the family was ever bitten by a snake, but the oldest daughter was one time bitten by a tarantula. The forethought and quick action of the father saved her life. Centipedes were very numerous and would often drop from the ceiling to the floor.
During the drought years of 1893, 1894 and 1898 the family suffered severely; the father became discouraged but the mother never did. Provisions were sent from the east for the relief of suffering humanity, but through mismanagement very little of it, ever reached the places where it was most needed. Many of the old timers left during the drought years, but through the courage and industry of the mother the Johnson family stuck it out and today are in comfortable circumstances.
For the past ten years Mr. Johnson has raised cattle; but with the loss of the open range finds farming profitable.
Mr. and Mrs. Johnson raised a large family, there being eleven children in all, eight of whom are living; Lena, the wife of James Brown, former Commissioner of Deuel county; Johann, deceased; Charles, a farmer of Deuel county; Fred, a farmer of Deuel county; Selma, the wife of Dan Trojan, ranchman of Oregon; John, a merchant of Big Spring; Joseph, a farmer, of Deuel county; Edward, deceased; Nora, postmistress, Big Spring; Morton, ex-service man, Oregon, and George, who gave his life on the battle fields of France in the recent war.
Mr. Johnson is a Republican, his wife is a Presbyterian, and they are both members of the Farmers' Union.
JOHN ELMQUIST, old settler, well known farmer and successful cattleman, has well demonstrated that a man who came to the Panhandle in the early days could succeed if he had the grit and perseverance. He was born in Sweden May 8, 1858, the son of Peter and Sarah Elmquist, natives of Sweden. The father was a farmer who came to the United States with his family in 1883; settled in Polk county, Nebraska; lived there over three years and then came to Deuel county, both the father and son John taking up homesteads here. When the mother died in 1906, the father returned to Sweden to pass the remainder of his days and died there in 1917. They were the parents of four children, but John is the only one here. Mr. and Mrs. Elmquist helped to organize the South Swedish Church nine miles northeast of Chappell and school district No. 24. The father was a Republican and a member of the Swedish Lutheran Church.
John Elmquist was educated in the public schools of his native land and has been a farmer all his life. He came to the United States in 1882; lived in Polk county until the fall of 1886 and that year took up a homestead here which he still owns. The first seven years he hauled water, lived in a sod house, pastured cattle and had a team of mules with which to farm. In 1889, he returned to Polk county to work and make money, later went to Wyoming while his wife remained on the farm with the children, though the nearest neighbor was two miles away. They burned buffalo chips for fuel as that was all they could get, and sold calves for their provisions. Conditions were bad and it was hard to get along, but the Elmquists were not to be discouraged and today can hardly realize the changed conditions, for they now own three sections of land, have three tractors, a well improved farm and breed white faced cattle for the stock market. Mr. Elmquist also breeds high grade horses and enough hogs for his own use.
June 6, 1885, Mr. Elmquist married Miss Anna Anderson, the daughter of John and Johanna Anderson. She was born in Sweden in 1886 and came to this country when a child of less than three years of age, and after her marriage became the mother of thirteen children, twelve of whom survive: Joseph, at home; Oscar, on the old homestead; August, at home; Emilie, the wife of Charles Carlson, of Deuel county; Harry, deceased; Frank, Fred, Selvia, Ruth, Arthur, Elvin, Annie and Arvid, all at home.
Mr. Elmquist is a Republican, for years has been director in school district No. 24; helped organize and build the Celia Swedish Church and is now helping to organize and build the Abreva Swedish Church north of his home. He is a stock holder in the Farmers Elevator at Chappell and one of the well known and highly respected men of the district.
GODFREY M. ZALMAN, one of the large landholders and substantial farmers of Deuel county who came to the Panhandle with little and today is a well to do and progressive business man, was born in Cook county, Illinois, April 8, 1860, the son of Henry and Eunice (Bower) Zalman, both natives of Bavaria, the former born in 1819, died in 1900, the latter born in 1828, died in 1918. The father was a farmer who came to the United States about 1841, settled in New York where he lived for
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