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MR. AND MRS. GILBERT FRITCHER.
ick, a former mayor of Crawford, who is the bank's cashier, who has been connected with this institution since 1899.
Charles A. Minick was born December 21, 1871, at Orrstown, Franklin county, Pennsylvania, the eldest of three sons born to Peter D. and Anna L. (Hollar) Minick. Both parents were born in Pennsylvania and the mother died in Iowa, in 1907. The father has been a prominent citizen of Villisca, Iowa, for a number of years, serving on the school board for a long time and for four years, during the administration of President Cleveland, as postmaster of Villisca. He is a very successful dealer in real estate all through Montgomery county. Of his three sons, the two younger, Harry M. and Austin A., are in the insurance business at Des Moines.
By the time he was sixteen years old, Charles A. Minick had completed his course in the Villisca High school, after which he gave his father assistance for a time, then spent some years working for the Wells-Fargo and the American express companies, the last two years in this work being at Chadron, Nebraska. When Bartlett Richards organized the Bank of Crawford, in August, 1899, Charles A. Minick came to Crawford to assume the duties of cashier and has been identified with the institution ever since, it now being the First National. The bank has had a prosperous career. Its last statement gives authority for quoting its resources as $700,000; capital and profits over $80,000; deposits $560,000. The present officers are: O. R. Irins, president, and Charles A. Minick, cashier.
Mr. Minick was married at Des Moines, Iowa, June 28, 1898, to Miss Emma Welsh, who is a daughter of William and Sarah (Boomer) Welsh, well known residents of Des Moines. Mr. and Mrs. Minick have children as follows: Charles A., who is attending the Nebraska State University since his return home from military service, having been in army camps and in France for eighteen months; Clifford W., who is connected with the Chicago & Northwestern Railroad at Crawford, and Robert G., John W., R. Quentin and Helen A., all of whom are attending school. Mr. Minick and his family are members of the Methodist Episcopal church, to which he gives a generous support, being liberal minded however and equally generous to all denominations. He takes a deep interest in the Young Men's Christian Association and in fact, encourages every moral enterprise that is practical in its management. A thirty-second degree Mason, he has filled all the offices in the Blue lodge. Earnest and conscientious in his political sentiments, Mr. Minick has long been identified with the Republican party at Crawford, where he served ten years on the school board and fourteen as city treasurer, resigning the latter office in 1915, when elected mayor of the city.
GILBERT FRITCHER, who was one of the early homesteaders and highly respected citizens of Dawes county, was born in Otsego county, New York, January 14, 1832, a son of Adam and Sallie (Lowell) Fritcher, both of whom were born near Albany, New York. The father was a farmer all his life and also was a grower of hops, which he mainly sold to brewers.
Gilbert Fritcher grew up on his father's farm and obtained his education in the country schools. When the Civil War came on he enlisted for service in the Ninety-third New York Volunteer Infantry, in which he served two years, or until severely wounded in the arm. He was a corporal in rank.
At Northampton, New York, on April 3, 1866, Gilbert Fritcher was married to Miss Sarah A. Wallin. Her parents were John and Sarah (Howgate) Wallin, both of whom were born in England and came to the United States when young, the father when a boy of eleven years and the mother at the age of nine. Their subsequent marriage took place in the city of Brooklyn. Mr. and Mrs. Fritcher continued to live in the state of New York until the spring of 1885, when they came to Nebraska, stopping for several months at Lincoln. Mr. Fritcher and their son William drove over the country to Dawes county and took possession of the homestead already secured. It was situated east of Whitney and Mr. Fritcher also had a tree claim located six miles north of Whitney. In the fall of the year Mrs. Fritcher joined the family, but when cold weather came on they went to Chadron, where Mr. Fritcher conducted a livery stable during the winter and the next summer. The first few years on the homestead were disappointing, unusual heavy winds sweeping over the freshly cultivated fields, with such force as to blow the seed out of the ground and scatter it, long drouths following, in which everything dried up. In the earlier years it was almost impossible to get a sufficiency of water in the wells, its transportation from the rivers adding greatly to the drudgery of the farm. In later years, from some cause probably easily explained by scientists, the wells filled with water and thereby the almost barren farm land became fertile.
Mr. Fritcher and his family remained on the homestead for nineteen years, then sold and lived near Chadron for a year and a half, afterward renting a farm on Bordeaux creek, and there, several years later, on July 16, 1907, Mr. Fritcher passed away. His widow and two children survive, the latter being: William and Edith, the daughter being the wife of Walter Reed of Clay Center, Nebraska.
The family spent the year 1901, in Morrill county. Wherever they lived, Mr. Fritcher was looked on as a trustworthy, honest man. He was a Republican in his political views and always interested in public matters. in younger years in New York serving in public office. He belonged to the Grand Army of the Republic and was a credit to the organization. In public enterprise in Dawes county, such as organizing the school district, he readily donated his share and helped put up the first school building in District No. 16. It was made of slabs, with a dirt roof, and Mrs. Fritcher remembers when as many as thirty-five children attended, but attendance in later years dwindled to a half dozen. Her first home in the county was a two-room shack, in which the family lived for six years, when it was replaced by a frame house which is yet standing. Mrs. Fritcher and son William reside at Chadron, where he operated a draying line for four years and is now a railroad man.
C. L. LEITHOFF, who is president and general manager of the Midwest Monument Company, is not only prominent in business affairs in Dawes county, but, as mayor of the city of Crawford, occupies a position that fairly indicates the confidence placed in him by his fellow citizens as a leader in civic welfare.
Mr. Leithoff was born on a farm in Gearly county, Kansas, in 1871, the son of Louis and Henriette (Walter) Leitlioff, being the youngest of four brothers, though he had two younger sisters. His father settled in Gearly county, Kansas, in 1863, and Charles spent his boyhood there. He attended the public school but spent more time riding as a cow boy on the range and says that is where he gained the greatest part of his education. He earned money early gathering scrap iron and bones which he sold to a Jew, and traded the junk for a violin, and his parents often had to send him to the barn when he was learning to play it. He became a musician and played for dances in the country, bought a lamb with the money and in time had quite a sheep business of thirty head, but they got into the garden and he sold them to buy calves, which started him in the cattle business, in which he was engaged until 1904. He then engaged in a hardware and implement business for four years at junction City, meeting with success. In 1908, Mr. Leithoff disposed of his interests there and came to Dawes county where he has since lived. In 1912 he built the Gate City Hotel of Crawford, became its successful manager and ran the hotel eight years, but he liked the life in the country and traded the hotel for a large ranch and a bunch of cattle which he still owns. R. N. Leithoff, his oldest son, is manager of the varied interests.
Mr. and Mrs. Leithoff are the parents of five children, two boys and three girls, the oldest and youngest being deceased. The second daughter, Marie, is the wife of C. C. Cropp, of Los Angeles, California, who is connected with the Western Pacific Railroad; the youngest son, Carl, is at home.
Mr. Leithoff is a practical business man. In July, 1917, he organized the Midwest Monument Company at Crawford, purchasing one small plant at Gordon and another at Chadron. Crawford offers better business location in the way of shipping facilities and freight rates. Mr. Leithoff located at first on a side street but the business soon outgrew the quarters there and removal was made to West Main street. His trade territory covers Nebraska and reaches into Wyoming and South Dakota. Steady employment is afforded nine men and the quality of work and material is under guarantee.
MILBERNE G. EASTMAN, cashier of the Commercial State Bank of Crawford, Nebraska, is well known in the banking field in Dawes county and equally well known and esteemed in commercial life in other sections of the United States and even in the Orient. It has been his good fortune to see many parts of the world, in which he has honorably and adequately represented a department of the national government.
Milberne G. Eastman was born at Clarion, Iowa, July 3, 1868, the eldest of five children born to Oliver K. and Henrietta (Graham) Eastman. His mother was born in Michigan and now resides at Crawford. His father, a native of New York, died at Lincoln, Nebraska, in 1913. For fifty years he was in the banking business. In 1886, he engaged in the mercantile business at Crawford, in partnership with E. F. Doerr, some years later moving to Ardmore, South Dakota, where he
established a bank, in later years returning to Crawford. The brothers and sister of Milberne G. Eastman areas follows: H. O., who is vice-president of the Com Exchange National Bank of Omaha; L. M., who is manager of the Handcraft Furniture Company of Lincoln; G. S., who is state bank examiner, lives at Crawford, and Bessie E. Chapman, who is assistant cashier of the Commercial State Bank of Crawford.
Mr. Eastman attended the public schools of Webster City, Iowa, completing the high school course, and was nineteen years old when he came to Dawes county, Nebraska, and became manager of the post trader's store at Fort Robinson, a position he filled for several years. Upon being oppointed (sic) a commissary agent under the United States government, he thoroughly prepared himself for such a responsible office, which took him to Alaska, Japan, China, and other far eastern countries. Before returning to the United States he spent several years in the Civil service in the Philippine Islands. In 1910, Mr. Eastman came back to his old home at Crawford, at the time becoming assistant cashier of the Commercial State Bank in which office he continued until February, 1919, when he became cashier of this institution, his only sister succeeding him as assistant cashier.
The Commercial State Bank of Crawford, Nebraska was established in 1886, with a capital of $15,000. The first home of the bank was in a lumber office. It is now housed in a magnificent building of its own, of pressed brick construction, situated in the business center of the city, and its resources exceed $1,000,000. Its first officers were: Leroy Hall, president, and Fred A. MaComber, cashier. Its present officers are: Leroy Hall, president; Andrew Vetter, Frank L. Hall and Claire E. Hall, vice-presidents; M. G. Eastman, cashier, and Bessie E. Chapman, assistant cashier. Practical business men control and manage this bank.
On April 25, 1911, Mr. Eastman was united in marriage to Miss Edith Primeaux, a daughter of Antoine Primeaux, an early merchant of Crawford. Mrs. Eastman died August 6, 1918. Their only child died in 1915, aged three and a half years. In politics he has always been a Republican, and from 1894 to 1898, while his father was serving as county cleark (sic) of Dawes county, he served as deputy county clerk. He is a Thirty-second degree Mason.
DAVID S. COCKRELL. -- There are many residents of the city of Chadron who recall David S. Cockrell, once well known and much esteemed here, where many substantial structures still stand testifying to his skill and thoroughness as a carpenter and builder. He was an early homesteader in this section of Dawes county, and because of sterning (sic) character and sound judgment, was long looked upon as one of the most dependable and trustworthy of men.
David S. Cockrell was born at Charlestown, West Virginia, January 8, 1851. His ancestry can be traced to emigrants who came to the American colonies on the Mayflower. His parents were David Harris and Cecelia (Miles) Cockrell, of old Virginia stock, the former of whom died in 1887 and the latter in 1892. By trade the father was a carpenter but during the war between the states, he became prominent in military life and served as captain of a company in the Confederate army. He was wounded at one time through the bursting of a shell. Of his seven children, David S. was the only one to make his home in Nebraska. An uncle of the latter crossed the plains to California, in 1849.
Mr. Cockrell was a man of natural intelligence and always a persistent reader. In youth he had some academic advantages at Charlestown, and under his competent father had thorough trade instruction. Both before and after coming to Nebraska, he worked as a carpenter and continued in this line as opportunity offered even up to the time of his death, on January 19, 1900. On March 17, 1884, at Charlestown, West Virginia, David S. Cockrell was married to Miss Regina Hilbert, who is a daughter of John E. and Elizabeth (Hilbert) Hilbert, who were natives of Hesse Darmstadt, Germany. Three children were born to Mr. and Mrs. Cockrell, the only survivor being Ruth Manning Cockrell, an educated and accomplished lady, who is an insructor (sic) in the schools of Malvern, Iowa.
In 1885, Mr. and Mrs. Cockrell came to Dawes county, and homesteaded east of he present city of Chadron. They lived on the homestead for seven years and it was during that time that Mrs. Cockrell had an experience with a prairie fire that she can never forget, not because of any real injury but because of her exposure to almost certain incineration. and her alarm for the safety of Mr. Cockrell. At the time she happened to be in Chadron attending the wants of a sick sister. She heard the fire bells ringing, according to the usual
method of arousing the people, and upon inquiry found that a prairie fire was sweeping over the country south of the city; she could not subdue her anxiety over her husband on the ranch. Her brother-in-law hitched up his horses but they refused to face the dense smoke, They started on foot and one mile from town found that William Birdsall had lost his barn and with the high wind that was blowing, it seemed certain that the Cockrell ranch could not have escaped. Fortunately, however, Mr. Cockrell had seen the danger in time, had turned his cattle loose and when Mrs. Cockrell reached him, worn out with fatigue and anxiety, having passed through lines of fire almost the whole distance, she fould (sic) him safe and protecting the buildings with plenty of water at hand. It was a marvelous escape.
It was also while living on the ranch that on many occasions the family thought it wise to prepare for possible Indian attacks, and an occasion of this kind is humorously told of by Mrs. Cockrell. It was during the uprising at the time of the battle of Wounded Knee and all the settlers were alert and watchful, having little confidence in the peaceful intentions of any wandering Indians. One night Mrs. Cockrell felt alarmed over shadows going over the neighboring hill and communicated her fears about Indians to Mr. Cockrell, and declared to him that rather than be scalped she would jump into the well if they came any closer. In his calm way he replied, "If you do, don't jump until I tell you." But her fears were so great that she had about made up her mind to jump anyhow, and told him that she would use her own judgment as to the proper minute. Fortunately the menacing shadows disappeared and on the following morning the family discovered that the intruders had been the Indians from the neighborhood going to tether their horses.
In 1892, Mr. Cockrell and family moved into Chadron. He had already assisted in the building of the court house, the high school building and the Blaine hotel, and was afterward engaged on many of the most important construction work in that city. Late in 1889, he was called to Lost Cabin, Wyoming, to assist in the building of a fine residence for a sheep rancher, a Mr. Okie. The weather was very inclement and he fell ill with pneumonia.
As soon as Mrs. Cockrell learned of his condition she started for Lost Cabin, which entailed a stage journey of two hundred miles, in January weather. She arrived too late, however, to see her husband alive, as he died suddenly, and after a rest of four hours she started back to Chadron. This experience she considers the worst of many since coming to Nebraska.
In 1908, Mrs. Cockrell bought the store building she yet occupies, and ever since has conducted a novelty store with much success. She is prominent in other than a business way being very active in club work, a member of the Women's Federation Club of Nebraska, which is affiliated with the National Federation, and is somewhat interested in national politics. She belongs to the Order of Rebekah and Degree of Honor. She was one of the early members of the Congregational church in this section and later of the Christian Science church, with which latter organization she is identified. In politics Mr. Cockrell was a Democrat. He belonged to the A. O. U. W. and the Odd Fellows, and in the latter body had been an official. He was known all over this section of the West, having helped in the building of the Pine Ridge agency and also engaged in freighting.
THOMAS J. WILSON. -- Wealth is relative. When some individuals acknowledge possessing it, they refer to their gold, their jewels, their stocks and bonds, but when Thomas J. Wilson, of Chadron, genially declares himself rich, he is not referring to his many acres of valuable ranch land in Dawes county, but to his pride in a large, intelligent, happy family, the sound health of himself and beloved wife, the great esteem in which they are universally held, and the many ways in which he has been privileged to add to the welfare of his fellow citizens during the many years he has lived among them.
Thomas J. Wilson was born in Morgan county, Indiana, February 12, 1839, and was reared on a farm. When the Civil war came on, he enlisted for military service in Company C, Sixth Indiana Volunteer Infantry, and served out that enlistment of three months, was honorably discharged and returned home. On November 14, 1861, he was united in marriage to Miss Elender L. Myers, who was born in Morgan county, Indiana, January 13, 1843. When Mr. Wilson realized that his country had still further need of his loyal service, he re-enlisted in July, 1862, volunteering in Company B, Indiana Sixty-seventh Infantry, for three years, and was stationed at Mobile, Alabama, when the war ended. On the day of his second discharge, he saw the barber who shaved him, wipe the lather off his razor with a ten dollar Confederate bill, gladly accepting the ten cents in United States money as pay for
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