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regiment took part in the battle at Mankato, where a number of white settlers were massacred by the Sioux Indians, and later thirty-eight of these savages were executed by the government. After this battle the regiment was ordered south, George Abbott re-enlisting. When the troops were permitted to land from the steamer on the Minnesota river, stopping for a brief visit at Wabasha, a great reception awaited them, and one incident lingers in Mr. Abbott's memory. He was only three years old at the time but he recalls being carried aloft on the shoulder of Duke Wellington, probably on the way to greet his father, but of the brave father he has no recollection, and never saw his again. The latter was wounded at the battle of Nashville, and although it seemed but a slight injury at first, blood poisoning resulted and his death occurred in the spring of 1864. The mother of Mr. Abbott survived until 1917 and her burial was at Minnieska, Minnesota. She was a member of the Episcopal church. There were four children in the family, Christopher G., being the youngest of the three survivors. His brothers are: John H., who lives at Arlington, South Dakota; and William J., who lives at Whitman, Grant county, Nebraska.
Christopher G. Abbott spent his boyhood on the farm which continued family property until the death of his mother. He had school advantages until he was sixteen years of age, when he accompanied his brother John on a proposed trip to California, with the idea of finding and joining an uncle who had gone to that state in 1861. In 1876, the boys progressed no farther west than St. Joseph, Missouri, and they spent the winter working at Graham. Christopher had not abandoned the search, however, for this uncle was his father's favorite brother and he had been named for him. By this time he had discovered that the west was an immensity he had never realized, and that finding his relative would be in the nature of a miracle, and this miracle actually did occur. In the spring of 1877, he went to Colorado with a cow puncher named Wiley Adams, and near Hughes they worked as cattle herders, but Mr. Abbott was not satisfied with what he was earning, therefore went to work on what was then called the Kansas Pacific Railroad, now the great Union Pacific, and worked up on that line to be fireman. He was a dutiful son and during this time wrote letters to his mother and received replies and one of the letters, instead of reaching him, through some mistake in the mails, was delivered to his uncle, who was a well known man in Kansas. Thus a family re-union was brought about in a rather remarkable way.
After working two years on the Kansas Pacific, Mr. Abbott was transferred to the South Park & Narrow Guage (sic) Railroad, with which line he continued until 1881, when he visited his mother for several months and then went to South Dakota until the spring of 1885, when he visited his uncle in Kansas and, in 1886, first started in the cattle business. In that year he went to Phillips county, Kansas, and with a bunch of cattle settled on a ranch on Beaver creek. At that time the building of a railroad was considered something of an interference with their business by the cattle men as they wanted a free range. A cousin of Mr. Abbott's had worked on the trails in the sand hill region of Grant county, Nebraska, and on his assurance that Grant county was so sandy that a railroad could never be built there, Mr. Abbott, on May 1, 1886, joined with the Haneys, provisioned for the long trip, and drove their cattle on toward Grant county. They camped for two days on Broadwood creek, then moved to Proctor's ranch, camped, then located twenty-five miles north for two months and branded calves. On July 3, 1886, he filed on pre-emption and tree claim in North Platte. Mr. Abbott and his uncle resided on this ranch until the spring of 1889. About one week after settling on the ranch, Mr. Abbott happened to notice, from the top of a hill, a party of men, which proved to be white men when seen through his field glasses. At first he could not make out their movements, but later recognized them to be railroad surveyors, notwithstanding the assurance he had received that no road could be laid through that sand. He was glad to see them, however, as life on the ranch was proving very lonesome. The nearest post office was North Platte, ninty-six (sic) miles distant. Among the pleasant occurrences he recalls his first Christmas dinner, when he enjoyed the hospitality of his nearest neighbor, William Proctor, who lived twenty-five miles south of him. It is probable that his hosts never realized what a great kindness they had done to their lonely neighbor. In the spring of 1887, the Circle ranch boys came up to see how the cattle had stood the winter, and he welcomed them with great heartiness.
In the spring of 1887, occurred the prairie fire near Anselmo, in which several lives were lost, Mr. Abbott being safely at home at the time, assisting his uncle to preserve their belongings. In the fall of that year the grading was finished and the steel laid for the railroad as far as Whitman, which was a tent city with
stores, dance halls, saloons and other lines of frontier settlement. Fairchild & Bodine had the first store at Whitman. In the summer of 1888, the railroad was extended to Broncho lake, now Alliance, the rails being laid that fall. The Lincoln Land Company had platted a town and sold lots by auction. It was in June, 1887, that Mr. Abbott killed a buffalo on Gunshot lake, southwest of Whitman. It had come into the water with range cattle, and was the last buffalo ever shot in that part of the country. The flesh Mr. Abbott sold to the railroad boarding car at nine cents a pound; the hide he presented to a doctor at Anselmo; the head became the property of a conductor on the railroad work train, and the horns Mr. Abbott still owns.
In 1889, Mr. Abbott sold his ranch to Sylvester Carothers, who is now a member of the Nebraska legislature. He then homesteaded in Cherry county and lived there until 1897, improving the property in the meanwhile, and then sold it to his brother. In the spring of 1893, he lost nine head of cattle in the worst prairie fire he ever experienced, some of his neighbors losing their lives in this fire. On July 13, 1906, Mr. Abbott came to Crawford and bought a part interest in a saloon business with Ed Henderson, in May, 1908, purchasing the Henderson interest. He continued alone in the business until 1910, when he sold to the firm of Cottom & Newcomb, since which time Mr. Abbott has lived retired.
In the spring of 1895, in Grant county, Mr. Abbott was married to Jessie Manning, who died six months later. In 1898, he was married to Bessie Chamberlain, whose widowed mother lives in North Platte. Mrs. Abbott left one daughter, Hazel M., who is the wife of Omar Slayter, of Kearney, Nebraska. In the fall of 1905, Mr. Abbott was married to Laura Shearer, of Sioux Falls, South Dakota. Mrs. Abbott is a member of the Lutheran church, while Mrs. Slayter is an Episcopalian. Mr. Abbott is not a member of any body, but he helped to organize and to build the Methodist Episcopal church at Whitman. A strong Republican, as was his father, he was quite active politically while living in Grant county, which he helped to organize and of which he might have been sheriff but declined the nomination. He served on school boards and two terms as assessor of Grant county. For many years he has been identified with the Odd Fellows, has passed the chairs in the local body and belongs to the Encampment, and also is a member of the order of Elks.
HORATIO G. NEWCOMB. -- While probably no section of the United States can show more genuine culture at present, or more evidence of substantial development than western Nebraska, it must be acknowledged that at one time there was an element here that gave trouble to the authorities and menaced the peace of the quiet settler and industrious ranchman. There are men yet living who, in official capacities, had to deal with this unruly element, an example being found in Horatio G. Newcomb, a retired resident of Crawford, but formerly deputy sheriff of Dawes county and later town marshal of Crawford.
Horatio G. Newcomb was born in Franklin county, Vermont, in November, 1851, a son of Frank Newcomb and wife, the former a native of Boston, Massachusetts, and the latter of Canada. The mother of Mr. Newcomb died in 1855, before he was old enough to realize her maternal care. Of the three children in the family, Horatio G. was the only one to come to the west. The father of Mr. Newcomb moved to Montpelier, Vermont, in the early fifties, where he opened a meat market and continued in the same business there throughout his active life. He died there in 1895.
Until he was seventeen years old, Mr. Newcomb remained in his native state and attended school at Montpelier. With a boy's desire for adventure, he determined to see the great western country, finally taking passage on a coastwise vessel and in the course of time reached California, by way of the Isthmus of Panama, little dreaming of the great engineering feat that would change that region in the future. It came about in California that he secured a job to drive cattle, with which work he was not unfamiliar as he had assisted his father in handling cattle back in Vermont. He made friendly acquaintances and one of these offered him work as range rider in Wyoming. He thought the terms fair and accepted with the reservation that he should be given the opportunity of returning to Vermont on a matter of great importance, this being his marriage, which was celebrated at Pigeon Hill, Canada, April 20, 1875, when he was united with Miss Martha Holsopple, whose people were Canadians.
In May, 1875, Mr. and Mrs. Newcomb reached Cheyenne, Wyoming, and he began his life as a cowboy, riding range for Hi Kelly, who was a well known cattleman and freighter between Omaha and Laramie City, Wyoming. His work on the Cross-T ranch kept him from home much of the time, and
had Mrs. Newcomb realized the danger attending her, with predatory and savage Indians wandering alone and in groups through the country near her dwelling, she would not have felt safe and contented as she did at that time. Fortunately no harm ever came to her from this source. Late in the fall of 1877, Mr. Newcomb managed to put up a two-room cabin, but the lateness of the season prevented "chinking" on the outside. They spent the winter in comparative comfort but in March the worst blizzard that Mr. Newcomb ever encountered in his whole western experience, came upon them, lasting for seven days and nights. The furious wind drove snow to the depth of seven inches through the unchinked crevices of the back room of the cabin. When the storm ceased Mr. Newcomb remembered that he had loaned his shovel to his nearest neighbor, a mile distant, and in order to dig a tunnel to where he had left his horses, he had to secure the shovel. In looking after his own affairs as best he could under the circumstances, he found a small herd of cattle all bunched together, only their backs showing above the snow. Thousands of cattle perished on the ranges during that storm and a dreadful condition came about when the rangers, with no wells of water available, had to risk typhoid fever by drinking water from the streams infected by the dead cattle, this being particularly the case along Bear creek.
During 1884-5-6, Mr. and Mrs. Newcomb operated the hotel at Fort Laramie, and for three years following he served as deputy sheriff. These were real wild west days and Deputy Newcomb witnessed many exciting encounters and took official part in many dangerous adventures. In 1889, he and wife moved to Crawford and went into business and continued unil (sic) 1891, when he sold out and joined a party going to the Klondike in Alaska. While in the gold fields there he found ore but not in quantity to pay for the labor and desperate hardship involved. The party of four remained in the far north through June, July and August, putting in most of their time in hunting and trapping caribou, moose, bear, foxes and martins. In 1892, Mr. Newcomb came back to Crawford and re-engaged in the saloon business, in which he continued until 1917, when he retired.
Mr. and Mrs. Newcomb have two children, a son and daughter: Jay, who was born July 20, 1876, on the Cross-T ranch, resides at Grass Creek, Wyoming; and Jessie, who was born December 25, 1880, is the wife of Lieutenant Randolph, an officer in the United States army, stationed at Denver. Mr. Newcomb has always voted with the Democratic patty. He has never been anxious to serve in political office but there have been times when a man of his personal courage and known resoluteness would have been deeply appreciated by his fellow citizens and he has been induced to accept responsibility. During 1909, he served as town marshal of Crawford. He belongs to the fraternal order of Eagles, and was treasurer of the local lodge for three years, and to the Knights of Pythias, serving this organization three years as vice chancellor.
EDWIN C. McDOWELL. -- Extensively interested in the production of cattle and growing of alfalfa, in Dawes county, Edwin C. McDowell devotes his three ranches situated near Crawford to these industries, and is probably one of the most progressive and enterprising agriculturists in this part of the state. Mr. McDowell is widely known and his acquaintances are generally also his friends.
Edwin C. McDowell was born in Holmes county, Ohio, November 12, 1861, one of a family of five children born to Robert and Elizabeth (Thompson) McDowell. Both parents were born in Ohio, where the mother died in 1873. In 1874, the father moved to Iowa, in which state he lives retired, owning property at Ames and Des Moines. Of the family, Edwin C. and a half brother, Earl, live at Crawford, the latter being an attorney.
After completing the common school course at Ames, Iowa, Edwin C. McDowell became a clerk and was in the mercantile business until he came to Nebraska. On April 1, 1886, he filed on a homestead on Little Cottonwood creek, in Sioux county, which he later sold and filed on a tree claim in the same county not far distant from Ardmore, South Dakota, subsequently selling that also. He came to Crawford before the first tent was raised in which the earliest merchants disposed of their wares. The first general merchandise store was owned and operated by H. F. Cluff and was located about one mile northeast of the present city, to which it was moved when the railroad reached here. Mr. McDowell recalls those days well. He worked for a Mr. Eastman during the winter of 1886-7. His employer had a tent business house and a warehouse, the latter being a small frame affair with earthen floor. Mr. Eastman slept in the board building while Mr. McDowell had his nightly rest in the tent. Both of them barricaded themselves in at night, a sense of prudence urging them because of friction existing at the time between soldiers at the fort and
cowboys that made promiscuous shooting a not unusual occurrence at night. At the best of times the ground was not altogether a couch to be enjoyed peacefully, as the shelter afforded by the walls of the warehouse and tent seemed to attract rattlesnakes. They were dangerous as well as unwelcome visitors and Mr. McDowell tells of occasions when but for great ingenuity and quick action with his gun he would have probably lost his life in the encounter.
Before leaving Iowa Mr. McDowell had learned something of the barbering trade, and while yet with Mr. Eastman some of his friends prevailed upon him to open a shop to accommodate them. He bought an old barber's chair that he found at Chadron, brought it to Crawford and made barbering a side line. In this connection Mr. McDowell tells an amusing story which has for its foundation the fact that he was busiest as a barber on Sunday. Every business man worked through Sunday just as any other day. On one Sunday as he was busy with a customer in one end of the tent, a preacher of his acquaintance came in and announced that by invitation of Mr. Eastman, a meeting was about to be held in the tent, the church people beginning to crowd in. He evidently was a man wise in his day and generation. Seeing how Mr. McDowell was engaged he hastened to say, "You just go ahead, I'll not interfere with you or you with me." Not at all indifferent to the religious services, the young barber found himself getting very nervous during the prayers, singing and preaching, and to such an extent, that one of the customers under the razor whispered, "Brace up, that's what Gladstone said to Bismark"
At one time Mr. McDowell was in a general mercantile and hardware business with the early merchant, H. F. Cluff, and later, operated a branch hardware store along the railroad as partner with Ellis E. Camp. As the building continued west, Mr. McDowell moved his store to keep up with it. In those days freighting was done by team, and he recalls when "Arkansas John," a noted character, passed many times over the trail with his freighting outfit of a hundred and eighty mules, sometimes ten mule teams to a wagon. In contrasting transportation facilities of that day with the present, Mr. McDowell was led to speak of his first automobile ride, when he was the guest of Mr. Dick Richards. He thinks that apart from the honor, he earned the ride, as at every hill he had to climb out and assist the owner of the machine to push it up to level. It may be added that Mr. McDowell travels in a very different kind of car at the present time.
At Staplehurst, Nebraska, April 11, 1899, Mr. McDowell was married to Miss Effie Gorton, a daughter of Edward and Jane Gorton, the former of whom is deceased. The mother of Mrs. McDowell resides at Crawford. Four children, two sons and two daughters, were born to Mr. and Mrs. McDowell: Robert, who went as a soldier with the American Expeditionary Forces to France and served there nine months, is now at home assisting his father; Esther, who is a college student at University Place, Nebraska; Catherine, who died when aged eleven years, and Charles, who is at home. Mrs. McDowell is a member of the Methodist Episcopal church.
Mr. McDowell is now devoting his entire attention to his three ranches, all of them situated within six miles of Crawford. For some of this land, which he bought at from a dollar and a quarter to a hundred dollars an acre, he has refused to sell for a hundred and fifty dollars an acre. Formerly he raised many sheep and horses, but sold all that stock some years ago and now breeds Durham cattle and raises alfalfa, in 1919 producing eight tons an acre for which he received twenty-five dollars a ton in the stack. He operates according to modern methods and has introduced some unusual features, and has his own private irrigation system, which is fed by seven artificial lakes, as an example of modern agricultural progressiveness.
All his life Mr. McDowell has been more or less interested in Democratic politics, and for many years has served in public capacities at Crawford. He served on the school board for nine years, on the city council and its chairman for a protracted period, and, in 1917, was elected mayor of the city. The only fraternal organization with which he has united is the Knights of Pythias and he is one of the active members of this body, according to its foundation principles and benevolent aims, at Crawford.
CHARLES A. MINICK. -- Among the thousands of careful business men and conservative concerns that have found it profitable to maintain commercial relations with so solid and reliable a banking institution as the First National Bank at Crawford, Nebraska, there are many having a personal as well as business acquaintance with the men who serve as the bank's officials. Perhaps none of these officials in Dawes county is better known or more universally esteemed than is Charles A. Min-
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