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and to-day has an excellent farm on section 4, township 13, range 1, having converted the wild land on which he settled into rich and productive fields.

      Mr. Williams was born in Louisa county, Iowa, October 7, 1847, and is a son of Isaac and Mary (Story) Williams, who were married in that state, but were natives of Indiana, and Pennsylvania, respectively. His paternal grandfather, Philip Williams, was a pioneer of Indiana, and the maternal grandfather, Kennedy Story, who emigrated from Ireland to Pennsylvania, was one of the early settlers of Iowa, where he spent his last days. The latter had two sons, Thomas and Joseph, who were among the boys in blue during the Civil war, the former being a member of the famous Graybeard Regiment of Iowa, and the latter of the Nineteenth Iowa Volunteer Infantry. Our subject's paternal uncle, Philip Williams, was a member of an Indiana regiment. Isaac Williams died in 1851 in Louisa county, Iowa. Of his four children our subject is the only survivor. The mother is now the wife of E. P. Scull, a native of New Jersey. In 1870 they came from Iowa to Nebraska and located upon a homestead on section 4, township 13, range 1, Polk county, but since 1892 have made their home in Custer county, this state. Of the three children born to them, two are living-William E. and Richard.

      Reared on a farm in Louisa county, Iowa, Joseph K. Williams early became familiar with all the duties which fall to the lot of the agriculturist, and his literary training was much more meager than his business education. At the age of fifteen years he began the battle of life for himself, and until twenty-three he worked as a farm hand in Iowa for sixteeen (sic) dollars per month.

      Mr. Williams was married, October 23, 1870, to Miss Nancy A. Wykert, who was born in Louisa county, Iowa, November 29, 1854. Her father, Francis Wykert, was born in Virginia, in May, 1811, and was a son of Thomas Wykert, a pioneer of Iowa. In the latter state. Francis Wykert married Miss Eliza J. Harnett, a native of Ohio, born May 6, 1821, and a daughter of Elijah Harnett, who at an early day settled in Indiana. Mrs. Williams' parents continued to reside upon a farm in Louisa county, Iowa, until the father's death, which occurred in 1872, but the mother died in Polk county, Nebraska, in 1881. They had six children: Lydia; Nancy A.; Francis H., deceased; Thomas A.; Mrs. Ida Oesterreicher; and Florence V. The children born to Mr. and Mrs. Williams are as follows: twins, who died in infancy; Melville W.; Elijah H.; Robert Nelson, deceased; Oscar J. ; Mary J.; and Lemuel Franklin.

      Soon after their marriage Mr. and Mrs. Williams came to Polk county, Nebraska, and as previously stated located upon their present farm December 7, 1870, at which time the country round about was still in its primitive condition, and their nearest neighbors lived along the Blue. In a little dug-out they lived with his step-father for ten months, and Mr. Williams broke the land on both claims. Upon his own place he built a dug-out in 1871, making it his home for four years, while he gave his attention to the improvement and cultivation of his land. In 1871 he raised no crops; the following year only a small crop of wheat; in 1873, his harvests were very good; but in 1874 the grasshoppers destroyed his corn, though he raised two hundred and nineteen bushels of wheat. During the great snow storm in April, 1873, the wooden latch of his little dug-out was broken, and the family had to crawl out of the east window and make their way to his step-father's home. They experienced all the hardships and difficulties of pioneer life, and in 1870 Mr. Williams had to go as far as Columbus, a distance of twenty-five miles, to market, but as time has advanced and



the country become more thickly populated, the comforts of civilization have been added to their home, and he now has one of the best farms in his community, it being supplied with all the conveniences and accessories of a model farm of the nineteeenth (sic) century. Ho owns one hundred and sixty acres, of which one hundred and ten have been placed under the plow, while the remainder is used for a pasture, orchard and hog pens. He raises both grain and stock, making a specialty of Poland China hogs. After four years the little dug-out was replaced by a good sod house, and three years later, in 1878, a good frame residence was erected.

      Fraternally Mr. Williams is a Master Mason, belonging to the lodge in Shelby, in which he has served as junior warden. He is also a member of the Ancient Order of United Workmen at that place, and has held office in the same. As a Populist he takes considerable interest in political affairs, and has been called upon to serve as justice of the peace, a school officer in district No. 30, five years, a director in district No. 67 three years, and as moderator in the latter district. His children have been provided with good school priviledges, one daughter having been a student in Stromsburg college. Mr. Williams has ever cheerfully given his support to those enterprises that tend to public development, he is always mentioned as one of the invaluable citizens of his community, and on the rolls of Polk county's most honored pioneers his name should be found among the foremost. 

Letter/label or barOHN G. MICKEY.--A prominent position among the stockraising element of Polk county, Nebraska, is held by the gentleman whose name heads this article and whose portrait appears on another page. He makes his home in the city of Osceola, where he has resided for some years. He was born in Lancaster county, Pennsylvania, April 3, 1829, and is a son of John R. and Elizabeth (Gearhart) Mickey. His father was a native of Pennsylvania, where he died in 1830, and his mother was a native of Germany. In 1834 Mrs. Mickey moved with her family to Shelbyville, Shelby county, Indiana, where they made their home for two years. They next located on a farm in Henry county, Iowa, near where the town of Trenton now stands. Mrs. Mickey then married a Mr. Mosher and located six miles further north in the same county. She had four children by her first marriage, viz: Oliver P., the father of John H. Mickey, a sketch of whom will be found on another page of this volume; May, who died in 1886; Jane Harman, who resides in Riverside, Iowa; John G., the subject of this biography. Mrs. Mosher had one child by second husband, Elizabeth Farmer, now a widow and resides in Wayland, Iowa.

      John G. Mickey was raised on a farm, and obtained a very limited education. He began life as a farm hand, engaged in working for others a part of the time, and finally started out to make his own way in the pathway of fortune at the age of twenty-one. He engaged in general farming and stockraising, and finally gave his entire attention to the handling of stock. He resided in Iowa, and followed the occupation of his choice in Washington and Henry counties of that state. In 1873 he moved to Nebraska, and located in what is now Canada precinct, on the east one-half of section 30, township t, range 1 west, in Polk county. The land was all wild and unbroken with the exception of sixty acres, which some one had broke, and there was a small sod shanty on the place. Mr. Mickey made his home in the sod house until the following fall when he erected a small frame. house, adjoining it, where he resided about five or six years. He then put up a new frame house, in which he lived until the railroad



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was built to Osceola. He had by diligent labor cultivated and improved the estate, the north quarter of which was a filing and the south quarter was taken up as a tree claim. It was considered the best improved timber claim in the county, when he came to Osceola to live, and engaged in the grain and stock business. He purchased stock at Stromsburg, Osceola and Shelby. In 1883 he made a visit to California, and on his return he again took up his residence on the farm in Canada precinct, where he made his home for the next seven years. He then took up his residence in Osceola, where he has made his home ever since, after selling his other farm in Canada precinct. His present estate was partly improved, but he has since erected the residence, and put in all the modern improvements, as well as constructing the present well devised stockyards. He has been engaged in handling stock ever since he was twenty years of age, and is now considered the best judge of the same in the county. He now feeds from two to three hundred head every year. He has also dealt largely in fine stock, having raised from forty to eighty head of short horn cattle every year for some time past, and the herd of them which he owned he considered the best he had ever seen. He has followed the occupation of a stockman exclusively, and for years he held the reputation of being the best stock auctioneer west of Omaha, having followed that calling in Merrick, Polk and Butler counties. His present holdings consist of a three hundred and twenty acre farm in Osceola precinct, all of which is well improved, his home place consisting of ten acres, and he also owns several town lots in the city of Osceola.

      Mr. Mickey was married in 1852 to Miss Martha J. Kenton, who was one of the old Simon Kenton stock of Kentucky. She was born in Ohio in 1834, and died in 1866, having been the mother of five children:  Lucy E., the wife of Henry Hughes, who resides in Polk county; they have no children. Emma, the wife of John Kinney, who resides in Merrick county, and is the mother of seven children, five boys and two girls. Henry L., who married Clara Hartman; they are the parents of six children; they also reside in Polk county. Mary J., the wife of a Mr. Hindman; they have no children and reside in Merrick county, and Anna B., the wife of John Rathburn; they have three children and live in Shelby, Nebraska. Mr. Mickey married his second wife, who bore the maiden name of Nancy J. Marshall, April 3, 1867. They have no children, and are both members of the Methodist church. Socially, he is a member of the Masonic fraternity of Osceola, of which he was the organizer and first master, and held that office for six years. He is also a member of the I. O. O. F. He was at first a Douglas Democrat in politics, but has a stanch aderent (sic) to the principles of the Republican party since the first term of President Lincoln. He has taken quite an active part in the local affairs of the county, and for six years he was county commissioner of Polk county, two years of which he served as chairman of the county board. He wields considerable power in the political organization of his county, and exerted his influence in having the railroad extended through Osceola. He has also been an active worker in the educational matters in his precinct, and when he resided in Canada precinct he was a member of the local school district board. He is one of the old settlers of the county, and has watched with interest the rapid growth and development of the same, in which he has performed no unimportant part. He is a man of the strictest integrity, honest and upright in all his dealings with his fellow men, and is justly entitled to the respect and esteem in which he is held by his fellow men.



Letter/label or barOHN L. DORSEY is very successfully engaged in general farming and stock raising on section 30, Arborville township, York county, where he owns a quarter section of choice land. He came here in the spring of 1872, homsteaded (sic) the land where he now resides and immediately commenced its improvement. He has worked untiringly and his labors have been well rewarded.

      Mr. Dorsey was born in Shelby county, Ohio, April 26, 1847, a son of Charles and Hannah (Wooley) Dorsey, who in 1869 removed from the Buckeye state to Logan county, Illinois, where the father died four years later. He was a farmer by occupation and reared to man and womanhood a family of six children, two sons and four daughters. The mother's death occured (sic) in York county, Nebraska.

      His early life being passed in his native state, John L. Dorsey, was educated it the public schools of Ohio, and upon the home farm acquired an excellent knowledge of agricultural pursuits before he had attained his majority. In 1864 he put aside his farm duties to enter the service of his country, enlisting in Company F, One Hundred Forty-seventh Ohio Volunteer Infantry, and during his four months' service he helped repel the raid on Washington, District of Columbia, and also did garrison duty in that city. After being discharged he returned to Ohio, where he continued to make his home until 1865, when he removed to Logan county, Illinois. It was in the fall of 1871 that he came with his brother and S. B. Flick to York county, Nebraska, driving the entire distance. They located homesteads and returned to Illinois overland, where they spent the winter. In the spring of 1872 Mr. Dorsey came to York county, and located permanently upon his land, being accompanied by his wife and his brother's family. He has since made his home upon his present farm, his first house being of sod, in which the family lived until 1877, when it was replaced by a good frame residence. He soon broke his land, and now the entire tract of one hundred and sixty acres is under a high state of cultivation and well improved. He is interested in both farming and stock raising.

      In Logan county, Illinois, in 1870, Mr. Dorsey wedded Miss Blanch A. Latham, a native of Covington, Kentucky, and a daughter of Frederick and Mary (Johnston) Latham, who removed to Illinois in 1864. Nine children bless this union, namely: Ernest L., Maud G., Myrtie M., Harry K,, Lois M, Grace E., Archie K., Elizabeth K., Knight L. The parents are faithful members of the Christian church, and fraternally Mr. Dorsey belongs to the Knights of the Maccabees and the Grand Army of the Republic. He is a stanch adherent of the Populist party and its principles, and has been called upon to fill several minor offices. He is recognized as one of the leading citizens of his township, and his circle of friends and acquaintances is extensive. 

Letter/label or barILLARD P. STAFFORD.--The subject of this sketch stands second to none among the worthy agriculturists of precinct F, Seward county. As a judicious tiller of the soil he has met with success, and as a man and citizen holds a good position among-his neighbors. His life has been one of unabated industry, and his affairs have been so conducted as to win the confidence and esteem of all with whom he has come in contact.

      Mr. Stafford was born on the 4th of August, 1853, in the city of Providence, Rhode Island, but in 1855 he was taken to Illinois by his parents, Charles G. and Mary (Burrows) Stafford, also natives of Rhode Island. They settled in Fulton county and there spent their remaining days, the mother dying in 1878, the father in 1891. He was



a carpenter by trade, but also followed farming. In his family were four sons, all now deceased with the exception of our subject, and four daughters.

      In the common schools of Illinois Willard P. Stafford pursued his studies during boyhood, and upon the home farm early became familiar with all the duties which fall to the lot of the agriculturist. On laying aside his text books he took up the occupation to which he had been reared and followed farming in Illinois until 1883, when he came to Seward county, Nebraska, and settled on land in precinct D. Two years later, however, he removed to his present farm in F precinct, to the improvement and cultivation of which he has since devoted his attention with marked success.

      As a companion and helpmeet on life's journey Mr. Stafford chose Miss Clarinda Hott, a native of Jefferson county, Ohio, and a daughter of Adam and Barbara Hott, and their marriage was celebrated in Illinois in 1874. Four children bless their union, namely: Walter E., Iva, Charles G. and Glenn C. Politically Mr. Stafford is a Republican, and socially is a member of the Ancient Order of United Workmen and the Modern Woodmen of America. 

Letter/label or barARSTON STAHR, the hard-working and highly respected owner of a farm on section 4 of Beaver township, York county, is one of the men who have helped make Nebraska great and powerful. He came here at an early day, applied himself assiduously to the making of a home out of the prairie wilderness, asked no favor of fate or fortune, but toiled and labored through sunshine and storm, and now as he enters the afternoon of his life finds himself, if not rich and great and powerful, at least comfortable and independent. We honor such, and render the tribute of willing praise to their manly qualities, and it is a pleasure to inscribe their names in this book of remembrance.

      Carston Stahr was born in Oldenburg, Germany, December 28, 1836, and spent the first part of his life in his native town, where he became a farmer. He was married, in 1862, to Margaretta Hopkin, a native of the same state with her husband. Her birthday was June 4, 1838, and ten years after her marriage she came into York county with her husband and settled on the homestead where they now live. At that time there were only a few settlers in the entire region. They lived remote from each other, and were full of cares and anxiety. And yet life on the prairie in those pioneer days was not without its social relaxations and companionable pleasures. They thought nothing of driving fifteen or twenty miles to spend the day, and took more pleasure in neighborhood delights than those who came after them might imagine.

      Mr. and Mrs. Stahr had their first home in a dug-out, in which they lived for about six years. That gave way to a sod house, and that in turn to their present handsome and charming residence, which was put up in 1883, at a cost of fifteen hundred dollars.

      In 1872 Mr. Stahr rented a few acres and raised some corn. He also broke ground and made his place ready for farming the coming year. He suffered from the flying pest of the air in 1874, and saw his corn vanish before clouds of grasshoppers. His wheat did not suffer, and from that time he has been able to gather crops and sell on a good market, and he has crowded his work to the utmost. He owns four hundred and eighty acres of ground. and has it all, with the exception of less than forty acres, under a high cultivation. In addition to this large estate he has given two hundred and sixty acres to his sons, and is proud and happy over the way his boys are doing. He is the father of eight children, all but one of whom are now living.



Their names are William, John, Carston, Lillie, Charles, Frederick and Henry. Mary was the name of the one child who died early in life. Mr. Stahr and his kindhearted wife are members of the Lutheran church, to which they are much devoted and liberal contributors. He has been an official in this religious organization, and has served as cashier of the parochial school board. He is a Republican in his political affiliations. He has been treasurer of the school district in which he lives for three years, and is regarded as an efficient and capable school officer. The success which has crowned a life of toil may be regarded as quite remarkable. Mr. Stahr brought less than two hundred dollars into York county, and all that he owns to-day has come through his hard work and close management. He could not speak a word of English when his feet first rested on American soil, and in the face of all this, which to men of a weaker strain would have been invincible, he has become wealthy and influential. 

Letter/label or barOHN F. VARNER, a leading and representative farmer of Seward county, residing on section 30, precint (sic) B, was born in Highland county, Virginia, February 11, 1838, and is a son of David and Sarah (Rexroad) Varner, who were also natives of the Old Dominion, where as a farmer the father carried on operations until called from this life. He had a family of six sons and one daughter, of whom Peter and our subject settled in Seward county Nebraska, the same year, and David A. is also a resident of this county.

      John F. Varner was reared and educated in much the usual manner of farmer boys of his day, pursuing his studies in the little log school-house so common in Virginia at that time. At an early age he turned his attention to agricultural pursuits, and continued to follow the same until drafted for service in the Confederate army during the Civil war, becoming a member of Company H, Thirty-first Virginia Infantry. During the three years he was in the service he participated in the battles of Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, and Petersburg and Winchester, Virginia. At Cold Creek, he was captured by the Union forces but managed to make his escape. Besides these engagements he was in many fights of less importance in the valley, but fortunately escaped without wounds.

      After the close of the war Mr. Varner removed to West Virginia, but after living there a year he returned to the old homestead and remained there until 1870, which year witnessed his arrival in Nebraska. He first settled in Plattsmouth, but the following spring (1871) he came to Seward county and took a homestead on section 30, B township. Building a dugout, he lived in that primitive dwelling for seven years, and at once commenced to break and improve his land, but his team soon gave out and the first year he only broke twenty acres. Provisions ran very low in the Varner household and for four days they were without food, but after enduring all the hardships and privations incident to life on the frontier, success at length crowned their efforts, and Mr. Varner is now the owner of a vauable (sic) farm of two hundred and forty acres, all under a high state of cultivation and well improved with good buildings. He gives his attention exclusively to general farming, and the comforable (sic) competence he has secured through his industry, enterprise and good management is certainly well deserved.

      On the 10th of June, 1867, in Virginia, was celebrated the marriage of Mr. Varner and Miss Mary A. Beverage, also a native of that state, and to them were born the following children: Howard A., Sarah A., John D., Thomas C., Leroy, Arthur F., and



Pearl F., deceased. The mother has also departed this life, dying in November, 1896.

      She was a consistent member of the United Brethren church, to which Mr. Varner also belongs. In politics he is a Populist, but has never cared for the honors or emoluments of public office. 

Letter/label or barOSEPH MATOUSEK.--It has been said that biography yields to no other subject in point of interest and profit, and it is especially interesting to note the progress that has been made along various lines of business by those of foreign birth who have sought homes in America--the readiness with which they adapt themselves to the different methods and customs of America, recognize the advantages offered and utilize the opportunities which the new world affords. As a boy of fourteen years Mr. Matousek came to the United States, and with no capital started out in a strange land to overcome the difficulties and obstacles in the path to prosperity. So succesful (sic) has he been that he is now one of the most substantial business men of Brainard, Nebraska.

      Mr. Matousek was born in 1862, in Bohemia, where his father died when he was about three years old, and at a very early age he was thrown upon his own resources. When fourteen he came to this country with his future father-in-law, John Rak, and located hear Lincoln, Nebraska, where he worked on a farm by the month. Subsequently he went to Saunders county, and in 1887 came to Butler county, where he was employed on a farm for one season. For the following four years he engaged in the saloon business, and then embarked in the lumber business at Brainard, where he has continued to carry on operations along that line under the firm name of Joseph Matousek & Company, dealing in lumber and building material of all kinds. He is also interested in the elevator firm J. T. McElvain & Company, at Brainard and Bruno, and owns a good farm in Richardson township, Butler county, all of which property has been acquired through his own unaided efforts and excellent business ability.

      On the 1st of January, 1883, Mr. Matousek was united in marriage with Miss Anna Rak, a daughter of John Rak, and they have become the parents of three sons, namely: Edward, Joseph, Jr., and Albin. Politically Mr. Matousek is a stanch adherent of Republican principles, and he is now efficiently serving as township treasurer and treasurer of the school district. Socially he is identified with the Modern Woodmen of America and the Ancient Order of United Workmen. For the success that he has achieved in life he deserves great credit; he not only began life in the new world empty-handed, but on landing here was unable to speak the English language. He is therefore a brilliant example of a self-made man and a grand exemplification of the progress that an ambitious foreigner can make in this land of unbounded opportunities. 

Letter/label or barHRIST SPARLING is widely known as one of the most prominent and influential citizens of Benedict, York county, Nebraska, where he is successfully operating a large and well regulated store of general merchandise. He is also recognized as being one of the first settlers of York county. Mr. Sparling is active, intelligent and progressive, and every enterprise that is calculated to be of benefit to his locality receives his earnest support and encouragement. He was born in the central part of Russia, on June 18, 1862, and is a son of Abraham and Catharine (Faourt) Sparling. They were both natives of Germany, but had settled in Russia some time previous to the birth of our subject. The father was a farmer, and followed that calling in Russia,



until 1874, when they started for the United States, but they had only proceeded as far as Berlin, Germany, when the father died. They carried the body with them to Hamburg, for which they were compelled to pay a fine, as this was contrary to the laws of the country. The widow, however, came directly to the United States, and arrived at New York with her nine children, from whence she came to Lincoln, where they remained but a short time, and then located in York county, Nebraska. They purchased railroad land in West Blue township, upon which they built a dugout, and the widow and family began the onerous task of breaking the land. When the family arrived in this county, they had but ten dollars in money, as the fine they had been forced to pay took nearly all of their hard-earned savings. But Mrs. Sparling was endowed with that persistency of purpose that is one of the chief characteristics of the natives of the "Fatherland" and went to work with the determination to succeed. There could be but one result to such untiring energy, and that is success, and when she died, in 1891, it was a consolation for her to know that she had left her family of nine, which she had raised in the county, well provided for.

      Mr. Sparling, the subject of this sketch, was educated in his native land, and completed his studies after he emigrated to this country. He worked on the home farm for three years, and then secured a position with J. S. Knott, of York, as a clerk in the general store, which place he retained for nine years. In 1887 he came to Benedict to take charge of a branch store, which he and Mr. Knott had established in this place under the firm name of Knott & Sparling. The partnership still exists, and they carry a general stock of dry goods, groceries, boots and shoes. They built and now own the largest store in the town, in which they do a large business.

      Mr. Sparling was married in April, 1888, to Miss Blanch Grievis, a resident of Polk county, and a daughter of James and Sarah Grievis, who came from Iowa. To this happy union were born two sons, Clifford E., and Lynn C., both of whom are still living. Socially he is a member of the A. O. U. W., and the M. W. A. and in his political views he uses his right as a citizen to support the Populist party, of which he is a stanch adherent, though he has never sought office. Mr. Sparling has achieved success in his life's work, and being a man of excellent business qualifications, gifted with a character of the highest order, he has been able to attain a position of prominence in both this and Polk counties. 

Letter/label or barUSTAF MALMQUIST, a well-known and highly respected citizen of Baker township, York county, whose home is on section 19, was born in Sweden, May 6, 1853, and is a son of Paul and Gustav (Malmgrin) Malmquist, now deceased, who spent their entire lives in that country. The father was for ten years a member of the regular Swedish army, but during that time there were no hostilities. Afterward he turned his attention to agricultural pursuits and became the owner of a good farm of about eighty acres.

     Upon that place Gustaf Malmquist spent his boyhood and his youth, receiving a good common-school education, which was supplemented by one year's attendance at college. When his schooldays were over he emigrated to America in 1877, in company with N. B. Swanson, who is now one of his neighbors, and on landing in New York, went immediately to Johnson county, Iowa, where he secured work on a farm. Two years later he went to Henderson county, Illinois, where he worked on a farm for four years, and was afterward employed on a cotton plantation near Vicksburg, Louisiana,

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