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his services. Among his many interesting relics of those and other days, Mr. Wilson preserves a fifty dollar Confederate bill.
Mr. Wilson returned then to his home in Indiana and shortly afterward he and his wife moved to Missouri, in which state they lived as farmers for nineteen years. In the meantime those great developing agents, the railroads, began to creep across the country, and both the Wabash and the Southern Pacific sent their representatives through the east and middle west to solicit business for their respectives (sic) lines as the emigration movement began to gather forces with the opening up of government lands. In the neighborhood in Missouri where Mr. Wilson was living, much interest was aroused as to colonizing in northwest Nebraska, by a Mr. Sweat, who reported favorably from his investigations concerning land and climate. The colony was formed in the winter of 1883-4, a part of the colonists embarking on the Wabash lines and coming to Valentine, Nebraska, by way of Council Bluffs, Iowa, and the other on the Southern Pacific to Sidney, Nebraska. Mr. Wilson was one of the thirty travelers to come to Valentine, where the railroad ended, the train of sixteen cars being mainly loaded with household goods. just prior to this a Mr. Schimahorn, with a body of colonists from Indiana, reached Valentine, and as this little frontier town was merely a railroad terminus, there was nothing to do but for the travelers to put up tents.
Many difficulties arose and as days lengthened into weeks before goods could be arranged for transportation across the country, a large proportion of the colonists expressed disappointment and dissatisfaction. Mr. Wilson, like others, did not find prospects quite as he had pictured them and like others met with unexpected hardship and loss, but he never became despondent, always looked forward with hope and in every way in those early days set an example of the celebrated "show me" spirit for which Missourians are yet noted. The Indiana colony left Valentine before the Sweat colony, setting up camp on the present site of Gordon, the latter colony passing them on their way to Dawes county two days later. They found only four houses, no public roads or bridges for a distance of a hundred and fifty miles after leaving the Minniecadoose river.
After reaching Dawes county Mr. Wilson filed on a homestead on Bordeaux creek, which he sold at a later date, buying the ranch that he yet owns. In the fall after coming here, Mr. Wilson returned to his Missouri home.
After several starts, the next fall he went on a hunting party which resulted in the killing of plenty of antelope but no buffalo. Game was very plentiful but birds were few, the latter following the settlers and the seeding of the land. In the spring of 1895, Mr. Wilson came back to Dawes county with his family, and was guide for the second colony of ten people and seven cars, from the same neighborhood. Although the country seemed desolate, there was water in the running streams and timber along the banks for building and for fuel, yet it required courage and hope to really believe in those early days, that this section could ever be developed and made as productive and valuable as some other parts of the state. To offset this, it may be stated that Mr. Wilson owns four hundred and eighty acres of land that is valued at a hundred and twenty-five dollars an acre and adjacent land is yielding from a hundred and twenty-five to eighty bushels of potatoes and two to three tons of alfalfa an acre.
Mr. Wilson set out his first orchard about thirty years. ago and it is still bearing; later set out two others, the last one, set about eighteen years ago on his home farm, produced two hundred and fifty bushels of apples in 1919. Quails are plentiful all through this section and in South Dakota. When Mr. Wilson came here first he brought two pair of the birds and set them free, the present abundance being the increase from that pair. In recalling early days here, Mr. Wilson refers to the lonliness (sic) and anxiety of Mrs. Wilson when it was necessary for him, to make the ten-day trip to Valentine for supplies. While the Indians were usually peaceable, they had the memory of one who proudly exhibited scalps of thirty white people as proof of his prowess at one time, and this sight was not very reassuring when a woman and little children had to be left for a length of time practically alone and defenseless.
To Mr. Wilson and his wife eleven children were born and of these the following are living: Citha Jane, who is the wife of John A. Butler, of Chadron; Edward J., who is a resident of Portland, Oregon, married Sadie Jones; Mary E., who is the wife of Grant Blinn, of O'Neill, Nebraska; Sarah C., who is the wife of William Jeffers, of Clifford, North Dakota; Martha E., who is the wife of A. C. Riemenscneider, of Cody, Nebraska; Thomas J., who lives at Spencer, Wyoming, married Grace Glinn; John E., who is of Edgemont, South Dakota, married Margaret Van Buren; and James C., also of Edgemont,
who married Laura Goble. In addition, there are twenty-three grandchildren in the family and twenty great-grandchildren, wealth indeed, as Mr. Wilson claims.
Mr. Wilson has always believed in the principles of the Republican party as the best for this country and has used his influence as a citizen to strengthen party control. He was one of the first prominent men of the country to be made a justice of the peace, and was sworn in in the old town of Chadron on the White river. The office in those days carried with it not only honor and responsibility but a large measure of personal danger, Judge Wilson, however, never failing in the strict performance of the law. He bravely met danger in other ways, an instance being given in the following occurrence. With his family he belongs to the United Brethren church and in Missouri, in addition to being superintendent of the Sunday school for fifteen years, was a local preacher. For some time after the colonists settled in Dawes county, there were neither schools nor churches and the only way to nourish the needed religious spirit, was to have meetings held occasionally in the homes of settlers. Upon one occasion he had promised Dr. Gillespie to hold a meeting near his house. A big, burly cowboy objected. When the would-be worshippers had gathered, this man was seen to be present but Judge Wilson assured the crowd that there would be a meeting. During one of the services the call for some one to open with prayer and the cowboy had the audacity to offer to pray. Judge Wilson quietly walked to his side and placed his hand on his head, and through his calm courage so reduced the bluster of the young man that he ever afterward avoided looking Mr. Wilson in the face. Among his Indian treasures Mr. Wilson shows a polished bowl made from a tree knot, and a spoon from an inland stream clam shell, both showing artistic skill. Mr. Wilson moved to Chadron, Nebraska, in 1911, and lives in a beautiful, modern home on Morehead Street. He and his wife are enjoying the fruits of a well spent life, revered and honored by all who know them.
THEODORE R. CRAWFORD. -- Among the younger educators of Dawes county, none have progressed more rapidly or surely in their profession than has Theodore Ray Crawford, superintendent of the entire school system at Chadron. A teacher from choice, he has been thoroughly trained for the work, and nature has assisted in endowing him with those qualities that inspire confidence and arouse ambition. When Professor Crawford tells his pupils that knowledge is the key wherewith they may unlock the greatest of earth's treasures, they are apt to believe him, and from that time on their progress is assured.
Theodore Ray Crawford was born August 23, 1892, near Clyde, Kansas, the only child of his parents, T. F. and Emma D. (Mickey) Crawford. His father was born in Illinois, and his mother in Wisconsin. His remote ancestry was Scotch and Irish. His mother, who died in September, 1912, was a cousin of former Governor Mickey of Nebraska. In 1880, his father came to Kansas and for some years was head miller of a large milling plant in Kansas City, later embarking in a flour manufacturing business of his own. At the present time he is manager of the Farmers Elevator & Lumber Company, at Endicott, Nebraska. In his political views he is a zealous Republican.
Following his graduation from the high school at Blue Hill, Nebraska, Theodore R. Crawford entered Hastings College, from which he was graduated with the degree of B. S., and subsequently took a post graduate course in the University of Nebraska. His first experience as a teacher was as principal of the high school at Edgar, Nebraska, where he continued two years, then as principal of the high school at Alliance and from that place, in 1918, he came to Chadron as superintendent. At Broken Bow, Nebraska, October 11, 1913, he was married to Miss Bertha Barrett, a daughter of Daniel S. Barrett, who still lives in Custer county, to which he came in pioneer days. Professor and Mrs. Crawford have two children: Dorcas E. and Theodore Ray. Politically he is a Republican and fraternally is a Mason. He is on the directing board of the Young Men's Christian Association, and both he and wife are members of the Methodist Episcopal church. They are held in very high esteem at Chadron.
EUGENE A. PATTERSON, who now enjoys a life of peace and quiet in his comfortable home at Chadron, to which he retired in 1916, requires no effort of memory to transport himself back to different times when he justly was acclaimed an Indian fighter. Although forty years have passed since he took part in what proved the massacre at Milk river, a tragedy that aroused the whole eastern as well as western country, he still mourns for his brave comrades who fell victims of Indian treachery. For gallant conduct on that occasion, Mr. Patterson was awarded a medal
that he preserves among his most treasured possessions.
Eugene A. Patterson was born at. Massilon, Ohio, March 28, 1855. His parents were William and Mary E. (Warner) Patterson, the former of whom was a native of Canada and the latter of New York. A cabinetmaker by trade, the father followed the same in the east until 1876, came then to Otoe county, Nebraska, but shortly afterward settled permanently in Minnesota and died there March 3, 1888. The mother of Mr. Patterson died September 16, 1890. Of their thirteen children Eugene A. is the only one living in Nebraska. The parents were members of the Baptist church, and the father was a Republican in politics.
Until he was twenty-one years old, Eugene A. Patterson lived at New Lisbon, Ohio, where he attended school and followed farming for a time. He came then to the west and on July 7, 1879, enlisted in the United States army for five years. From Cheyenne, Fort Russell, Wyoming, as a member of Company F, Fifth United States cavalry, he went to Fort Niobrara, on the way to the Ute agency in Colorado. The Indians had become troublesome and this cavalry company, in charge of Major Thornburg, volunteered to drive them back to their reservation in Colorado, The Indians cut them off, corraled them. for six days before help came, killed all the horses and all but twelve of the pack mules and killed eighteen out of the twenty soldiers, including Major Thornburg. They held the Indians back, however, until relief came, nearly all the company coming to the rescue also being wounded, Mr. Patterson suffering with the rest. While stationsd (sic) at Fort Niobrara, he assisted in making three surveys for the government road from Pine Ridge to Buffalo Gap, this being in 1881. It was at that time that the picture that is printed in the Indian chapters, through the courtesy of Mr. Patterson, of the last Indian Sun Dance permitted by the Government was taken, which, together with the picture of the burial place of Red Cloud's daughters, also loaned by Mr. Patterson, are exceedingly interesting bits of local history. Mr. Patterson served his full time of enlistment and was honorably discharged at Fort Robinson, July 6, 1884.
On July 24, 1884, Mr. Patterson was united in marriage to Miss Elizabeth Neu, a daughter of Frederick and Charlotte (Schwaertfagler) Neu, of near Nebraska City, the former of whom was born in Prussia and the latter in Indiana. From the age of five years Mrs. Patterson was well acquainted with the family of Honorable Sterling Morton. Three children were born to this marriage: Frederick, who is a prominent citizen of Dawes county; Myrtle, who is the wife of F. W. Clark, manager of the Patterson ranch, and they have one son, Stanley Paul; and Harry, who is a ranchman in South Dakota, married Anna Davis, and they have three children, John, Harry and Ralph. All the children belong to the Presbyterian church, but Mrs. Patterson was reared in the Christian church.
For two years after his marriage, Mr. Patterson followed farming in Otoe county, Nebraska, then for nine years was located thirty miles south of Chadron. In early manhood he had learned the barber's trade, and during the later years he was in the army worked at the same. At one time he was promoted to corporal but resigned after a few months, finding that he could provide a better income as a barber than he received as an officer. Afterward, for many years he followed his trade both at Lincoln and Dunbar. In 1916, he returned to Dawes county, in the meanwhile having acquired a valuable ranch which is located between Chadron and Crawford. Mr. Patterson belongs to the Modern Woodmen of America and takes part in the work of the lodge at Chadron. Although believing that politics has its established place in representative government, he has never been unduly active, although ever, as in his early manhood, ready to do his full duty when accepting responsibility. He has a wide acquaintance and is held in high regard by all.
PEARL A. REITZ. -- In marking the growth and rapid development of Chadron as a city, due credit must be given not only to its substantial older citizenship, but to the ambition and enterprise of its younger business men. In this connection mention may be made of Pearl A. Reitz, who is president and manager of the Reitz & Crites Lumber Company of Chadron and Wayside, Nebraska.
Pearl A. Reitz was born at Barneston, in Gage county, Nebraska, and is a son of C. J. and Mae (Beatty) Reitz, well known residents of Gage county. He was educated in the public schools at Reserve, Kansas, and later had advantages at Lincoln, Nebraska. In January, 1911, he came to Chadron and since then has been mainly identified with the lumber industry. He was connected with Robert Hood for two years, then was manager of the Morison Lumber Company, and in March, 1919, became president and manager of the Reitz & Crites Lumber Company, an enter-
prise of large scope. The company operates in lumber, manufactures shingles and handles coal and wood. This business is one of the oldest in its line in the city, having been established by Robert Hood in 1885 and conducted by him until December, 1913, when he sold to the Schweiger Lumber Company. The new owner continued the business until March 1, 1919, at which time he disposed of his interests to Reitz & Crites. The present firm incorporated and elected the following officers: Pearl A. Reitz, president and manager; F. A. Crites, vice-president; and E. D. Crites, secretary and treasurer. The company maintains yards at Chadron and also at Wayside.
On June 22, 1915, Mr. Reitz was united in marriage in Miss Edith Copeland, and they have one daughter, Priscilla. Mr. Reitz has advanced far in Masonry and is a Shriner. He has not been particularly active in politics, having always been more wide awake to business opportunity, but he is thoroughly interested citizen and his influence is for law and order in every public movement.
ADDISON V. HARRIS, who for many useful, busy years was a man of high standing in Dawes county, came to the state of Nebraska in 1879, and to Dawes county four years later and ever afterward, until his tragic death while in the pursuit of duty, maintained his home here, acquiring a homestead and tree claim in 1884. He was one of the first men to start irrigation projects here, taking out the first water right from the White river and naming the Harris Cooper Irrigation Ditch.
Addison V. Harris was born in Withe county, Virginia, November 11, 1856. His parents were John L. and Mary A. (Eskew) Harris, and his paternal grandfather was a Presbyterian minister. In 1880, the parents came to Nebraska and the mother died in Otoe county, March 11, 1892. The father followed the blacksmith trade and was variously engaged in different parts of Nebraska, but ultimately returned to his old home in Virginia and his death occurred there.
Addison V. Harris was a well educated, well informed young man of twenty-three years when he came to Nebraska in 1879, and located in Otoe county, where he worked as a blacksmith and also engaged in farming. He remained there until the spring of 1883, when he came to Dawes county, where he homesteaded and pre-empted land four miles west of Whitney, Valentine being the filing office. It was a lonely country at that time and all provisions had to he secured from Fort Robinson, then freighted to Sidney and Valentine, from which points the settlers had to transport all supplies, the round trip often consuming six days. At that time there was no town of Crawford, the mail courier leaving his packages with about the only resident, the government then calling the mail station Red Cloud, and neither had Alliance nor Chadron, made efforts to rise from the prairie.
At Lincoln, Nebraska, April 25, 1881, Mr. Harris was united in marriage to Miss Mary M. Mecham, whom he had met in Otoe county, Nebraska. She was born in Lee county, Iowa, in 1846, and was an infant when she was taken by her parents to Illinois during the exodus of the Mormons, They were Alonzo and Nancy (Martin) Mecham, the former of whom was born August 6, 1822, and the latter January 27, 1823. They were Mormons and when driven from Nauvoo, Illinois, went to Council Bluffs, then called Kanesville, Iowa, and from there to Washington county, Nebraska, where the father bought land in Nebraska Territory and farmed it three years before he moved to Otoe county and settled on the middle branch of the Little Nemaha river. He died in Keyapaha county in 1904, when the mother of Mrs. Harris came to live with her and died in 1906. Mr. and Mrs. Harris had three children, the eldest dying in infancy. The second, Emma Leah, married David E. Norman and died May 8, 1909, in Chadron, Nebraska. The third, Albert Von, married Emma R. Grobe, of Texas, and they live at Salt Lake, Utah.
Mr. and Mrs. Harris lived on the homestead, Mr. Harris owning three hundred and twenty acres of fine land and having an interest in several other tracts. He raised thoroughbred Poled Angus and Hereford cattle. Mr. Harris was a good farmer and careful stockman but he had other ambitions as may be indicated by his mastering of the law through study at home and in the office of Judge Crites, and came into so much legal practice that he established a law office at Whitney and one at Crawford, hiring men to operate his farms. He was very active in Democratic politics and was as early as 1885, elected county commissioner with James Patterson and D. W. Sperling, and served three years in that office, also was a notary public and a justice of the peace. Mr. Harris was one of the men who assisted in the organization of Chadron and took an active part in civic affairs. Fraternally he was associated with the Knights of Pythias and the Modern Woodmen. He served in other official capacities and it was while operating as an officer from Judge Crites' office that he met his death on January 17, 1895. He had
gone to a place in Crawford and proceeded to levy on some hay, and was killed while performing his duty as an officer. The loss of a man like Addison Harris was a heavy one in Dawes county. He was universally esteemed and many old settlers yet remember his early kindness and good advice given them, for he had the right kind of public spirit, desired to see the county settled, contended and happy, and made it a part of his business to seek out newcomers and make the way as easy as possible for them.
After the death of her husband Mrs. Harris remained on the farm for some time, greatly assisted in getting her affairs adjusted by those of whom she speaks as "good neighbors." She had a hundred and sixty acres pre-emption of her own and was not altogther (sic) unused to business transactions, but the ready kindness of her neighbors made things better for her and she has never forgotten them. In the winter of 1890 occurred the Indian uprising and she had passed several nights of terror alone in her cabin, Mr. Harris being at Omaha, and says she had an arsenal of such weapons as knives, axes and pitchforks, with which to defend herself if necessary. In 1909, Mrs. Horris (sic) sold her farm land but still owns two valuable improved properties at Chadron and makes her home in this city. She can recall many events of true historical interest in which she and her family have taken part, and it is something of a privilege to listen first hand to these reminiscences. Mrs. Harris is a member of the Methodist Episcopal church, and of Ruben Pickett Lodge, D. A. R. of Chadron. She is respected and honored by all who know her.
ROBERT I. ELLIOTT, president of the State Normal School at Chadron, occupies a prominent position in the educational field, and has proved able and resourceful in the executive office. The school over which he presides was established by the legislature of Nebraska in the session of 1909, for the Sixth Congressional District. Its first president was Joseph Sparks and the dean, as now, was Dr. W. F. Stockle. The nominal opening of the institution was in June, 1911, although the first session was necessarily held in the high school building, but since that time the original school buildings have been made to suffice with some few improvements, including the erecting of a girls' dormitory. Under the present management, however, many plans are being formulated for the extension of facilities that Dr. Elliot deems absolutely necessary.
Robert I. Elliott was born at Worth, Cook county, Illinois, April 18, 1883. His parents are John and Marion (Tobey) Elliott, natives of Illinois, who now live comfortably retired at University Place, Nebraska. In earlier years the father of Professor Elliott was a farmer in Illinois, from which state he moved to Wayne county Nebraska, in 1884, and later engaged in banking at Winside, Nebraska. He is a member of the Episcopal church, and the mother was reared in the Methodist Episcopal body. They had the following children: Robert I., who was an infant when brought to Nebraska; Jack, who is a resident of Scottsbluff, Nebraska; Alice, who is a teacher in the high school at Alliance, Nebraska; Olive, who is the wife of Oliver P. Fulton, of Gage county, Nebraska; and Mamie, who met an accidental death.
After attending the public schools, Mr. Elliott entered the Wayne Normal School and subsequently the State University at Lincoln. He began teaching school in 1901, in Stanton county and four years later was appointed county superintendent of the schools of Wayne county, returning then to the university, and from there came to Chadron in 1909, as superintendent of the city schools. On August 1, 1916, he assumed the duties pertaining to the presidency of the Chadron Normal School.
At Cambridge, Nebraska, in November, 1913, Mr. Elliott was married to Miss Anna Babcock, and they have one son, who bears his father's name. They are members of the Congregational church.
President Elliott has devoted his entire life to the cause of education. He is deeply interested in his present work and the three hundred students enrolled from Nebraska, Wyoming and South Dakota, find in him an inspiring leader and helpful friend. It is his hope to have the legislature provide adequately for the erection of an additional school building, a gymnasium and a boys' dormitory, and also he has plans looking to the erection of a model rural schoolhouse on the eighty-acre campus. His ideas are practical in the extreme and doubtless will be carried out. His political opinions have always kept him within the fold of the Republican party but no proposal of political preferment has ever appealed to him, otherwise than educational. For three years he served as deputy superintendent of Public Instruction.
ALBERT A. VANNATTA. -- There are numerous things in life in which people may take pleasure and pride, but it is doubtful if
any offer more solid satisfaction than the realization of work well done. There is justifiable pride when any goal has been reached through one's own efforts, and there are few of his fellow citizens at Chadron who will not agree that Albert A. Vannatta, proprietor of the Van Buren Hotel, deserves the good fortune that his own industry has brought about.
Albert A. Vannatta was born at Danville, Illinois, December 15, 1882, and is a son of Samuel and Clementine (Knox) Vannatta. The father was born in Rantoul, Illinois, and the mother in La Salle county. She resides at Danville, Illinois, Albert A. being the only one of the five children of the family to live in Nebraska. The father died at Danville in 1908, where for twenty-five years he has been a carpenter and builder.
In his native city Albert A. Vannatta had excellent school training and completed the high school course. In July, 1909, he came to Nebraska and went to work on a farm in Dawes county, farm wages at that time being twenty-five dollars a month. He had his own way to make in the world and had accepted conditions cheerfully and hopefully, proved steady and reliable in his new surroundings and soon made friends. On June 22, 1910, he was married to Miss Lenora M. Spracklen, who is a daughter of John W. and Dora (Gilmore) Spracklen, who have been residents of Dawes county since 1884. Mr. Vannatta by this time was receiving forty dollars a month. He and young wife started housekeeping in a one-room log cabin, and through their combined industry and frugality he soon found himself able to rent land and for two years he devoted himself to raising cattle. In the third year he bought a farm but found crop raising less profitable than the growing of cattle, therefore, sold his land one year later and re-entered the stock business and later purchased a ranch. He averaged four hundred and fifty head of fine cattle yearly. During all these years he has handled land to some extent and because of careful investments, has found the business quite profitable and still remains interested in land and cattle although not giving his personal attention to the same since 1919. In that year he moved into Chadron and bought the Van Buren Hotel, which he operates as one of the leading hostelries of the city. Mr. Vannatta, in a comparatively short time has built up a comfortable fortune, and his example of industry, energy and enterprise, might properly be brought to the attention of other young men who lament lack of opportunity in Dawes county.
Mr. and Mrs. Vannatta have children as follows: Blanche M., Lawrence, Lester and an unnamed infant, the older children already being apt pupils in the Chadron public schools. In politics Mr. Vannatta is a sound Republican and deeply interested in all the leading questions of the day, and undoubtedly as a citizen of Chadron his influence for law, order and economic city government will be beneficial.
BYRON L. SCOVEL, whose long connection with the banking interests of Dawes county, universally trusted and highly esteemed here, has been one of the substantial upbuilders of Chadron. He came to the west from New York in 1888, and immediately found congenial duties and promise of an honorable career, and Mr. Scovel has, perhaps, become as thoroughly Nebraskan as a native son. He was born at Burke, Franklin county, New York, October 24, 1856. His parents were george (sic) T. and Amy C. (Tower) Scovel, the former of whom was a native of Vermont and the latter of New York. His father, from the age of seven years until he retired and came to live with his son in Dawes county, Nebraska, was a farmer and resident of Franklin county, New York. He died here in 1918. His mother died in New York in 1894. Mr. Scovel, senior, was largely interested in the manufacture of potatoe starch, an industry of great import before other starch bearing plants had been analyzed. He was a staunch business man, a Republican in his political opinions and a member of the Baptist church. Of his two children, Byron L. alone survives.
In the country school near his father's farm and later in Malone Academy, Byron L. Scovel was well instructed, and when seventeen years of age went to a commercial school in Boston. Afterwards he became interested for a time in a general store near Burlington, Vermont. In June, 1888, he came to Dawes county, and entered the employment of Bartlett Richards who owned the controlling interest and was the financial backer of the First National Bank of Chadron. Mr. Scovel worked three years as bank clerk, then ten years as assistant cashier and sixteen years as cashier. When he first entered the employ of this bank it was the largest in Dawes county, had $75,000.00 deposits and charged two per cent interest monthly. During the hard years in the early history of Dawes county, the officers of the First National Bank worked through many discouraging seasons; as for Mr. Scovel, he kept at his desk without vacation or relief seven days and six nights in the week, and undoubtably
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