NEGenWeb Project
Resource Center
On-Line Library



ty, in 1880, to Miss Annie Nicklos, whose stepfather, Peter Ecker, came to Butler county, Nebraska, the year prior to our subject's removal. Here her parents made their home for about ten years. Mr. and Mrs. Belsley have five children, two sons and three daughters, namely: Barbara H., Jesse Joseph, Irvine Cleveland, Evaline Frances and May Bessie.

      In 1879 Mr. Belsley made a trip to Nebraska, but did not locate permanently in Butler county until 1882, when he purchased three eighty-acre tracts of land, including the northwest quarter of section 28, Savannah township, and the north half of the northeast quarter of the same section. In June, 1884, he established the Platte Valley Bank at Bellwood, of which he was president and H. I. Converse cashier until he sold out in the fall of 1886. He then bought one hundred and aixty (sic) acres on section 15, Savannah township, and has since been largely interested in real estate, doing an extensive business along that line in connection with the grain trade at Bellwood. He is an upright, reliable business man, and has the confidence and respect of all who know him. Although a stanch Democrat in politics and an active worker for the success of his party, Mr. Belsley has always declined to become a candidate for office. 

Letter/label or barANIEL BROWN, a leading and representative farmer of Seward county, Nebraska, residing on section 10, precinct L, was born in Monroe county, Ohio, December 19, 1851, a son of. Alexander and Margaret (Brady) Brown, the former a native of Virginia, the latter of Pennsylvania. They were early settlers of Monroe county, Ohio, whence they removed to Iowa in the fall of 1866, locating in Lucas county, where the father died in 1867. In 1871 the mother with her children came to Nebraska and settled on section 10, precinct L, Seward county, but after the marriage of our subject she lived with him and a daughter in Seward until her death, which occurred February 21, 1898. In the family were three children, namely: Mrs. Mary Ann John, a resident of Seward; Daniel, the subject of this review; and Ebenezer, who lives at University Place, Nebraska. By a former marriage the father had two daughters, Margaret and Jane, and three sons, John, James and Benaga. The two latter were soldiers of the Civil war, in Company K, Sixty-second Ohio Infantry, and the last named was one of the pioneers of Seward county, having located in precinct L in 1871.

      Daniel Brown, of this review, spent his boyhood and youth in Ohio and Iowa, acquiring his education in the public schools near his home. He remained with his mother until his marriage, which was celebrated March 6, 1878, Miss Margaret E. Cross becoming his wife. She is a native of Jones county, Iowa, and a daughter of Henry and Catharine (Hedges) Cross, early settlers of Seward county, having taken up their residence on section 12, precinct L, in the fall of 1870. Our subject and his wife have become the parents of seven children, but only three are now living: Clarence Leroy, Willis Irving and Laurence Vernon.

     Mr. Brown commenced life in Nebraska in true pioneer style, his first home being a little sod shanty with a car roof. The first year he raised only sod corn and a few garden vegetables, and in 1872 raised a crop of small grain. The family pre-empted the land first, but later homesteaded it, and Mr. Brown today has a fine farm of one hundred and sixty acres, all under a high state of cultivation, well improved with good buildings, and has an orchard and cedar grove. Here he has made his home since coming to Nebraska, with the exception of a year and a half, and is successfully en-



gaged in general farming, raising both grain and stock. For the past fifteen years he has also engaged in well digging. Politically he is a Populist, and he has been honored with a number of local offices of trust, being township assessor three terms; director of school district No. 42 for twelve years; and the present township clerk, an office he has most acceptably filled for several terms. Socially he and wife are members of the Royal Oaks, at Utica, Nebraska, and religiously his wife is an active worker in the Methodist Protestant church. 

Letter/label or bar. L. MARTIN, the present mayor of Fairmont and one of its most energetic and enterprising business men, has been a resident of that place for over thirty-two years and has therefore witnessed the greater part of the growth and development of this region. In its progress he has manifested a deep interest and has ever taken his part in support of those measures calculated to prove of public good.

      A native of New York, Mr. Martin was born in Allegany county, August 22, 1828, and is a son of Jeremiah and Polly (Littlefield) Martin, natives of Vermont. During the war of 1812, the father entered the American army and served one year. When hostilities ceased, he returned to his home in Vermont and later removed from there to Allegany county, New York, where he studied medicine and engaged in practice until 1844. From New York, he went to Dodge county, Wisconsin, where, in connection with the practice of his chosen profession, he served as a local Methodist Episcopal minister. He never took any interest in politics or sought office. Both he and his wife died in Wisconsin, the former in 1854, the latter in 1858. In their family were six children, five sons and one daughter, but all are now deceased with the exception of our subject.

      Reared in New York, Mr. Martin, of this review, acquired a limited education in the schools of that state. When very young he began the battle of life for himself, his first employment being as cook in a logging camp. He accompanied his parents on their removal to Wisconsin, and assisted in clearing and cultivating the home farm, on which he worked until reaching his majority. On the 8th of August, 1849, he led to the marriage altar Miss Delight A. Nichols, also a native of Allegany county, New York, and to them were born six children, namely: Horace L., Melvin E., Effie L.; Lucretia A. and Mary, both deceased; and Edwin.

      For some years Mr. Martin remained a resident of Wisconsin, following various occupations, being engaged for three years in the manufacture of looking glasses, and for eleven years in the making of butter bowls. In November, 1868, we find him en route for Nebraska, and on reaching Plattsmouth he proceeded by stage to Lincolm (sic). The same year he homesteaded a tract of land near Fillmore Mills, and laid out and platted the village of Fillmore, continuing to reside there until coming to Fairmont in 1874. Here he has since engaged in business as a dealer in coal, grain, stock and farm machinery, and has succeeded in building up an excellent trade.

      Mr. Martin took an active and prominent part in the organization of the county and townships and was appointed a member of the first board of county commissioners. Later he was elected to that office and served in all seven terms, receiving all the votes in the county at the first election. He was the first postmaster in the county, filling that office at Fillmore by appointment from President Grant. At one time he was the Republican nominee for representative, and although defeated, he reduced the majority of the opposition from one thousand to twenty-two. He tried hard to have the county seat established at



Fairmont, but failed; was a member of the board of supervisors when the first court house was built and also when the poor farm was bought. It will thus be seen that he has been prominently identified with the development and prosperity of the county from the very beginning. Since coming to Fairmont, he has served seven terms as mayor and is still filling that responsible position. Never were the reins of city government in more capable hands, for he is a progressive man, pre-eminently public spirited, and all that pertains to the public welfare receives his hearty endorsment. He has also served as a member of the city council for several years and has ever discharged his official duties with promptness and fidelity, worthy of all commendation. Socially he has been identified with the Independent Order of Odd Fellows for forty-five years, is a charter member of the lodge in Fairmont, and has filled all its chairs. 

Letter/label or barHRISTIAN HOLOCH, one of the first settlers of York county, Nebraska, was born in Wurtemberg, Germany, November 29, 1828. His parents, Jacob and Anna Holoch, were both natives of the same province, and lived and died there. They were farmers by occupation, and reared a family of nine children. Our subject and one sister. came to the United States.

      Christian Holoch, the subject of our sketch, was educated in Germany, and held the position of overseer of a Geological University for ten years. This institution was supported by the government. In 1853 Mr. Holoch came to America, landing at New York, and first found employment in a cabinet maker's shop in that city. Here he remained for two years and then moved to Wayne county, New York, and was there engaged in farming for two years. In 1857 he moved to LaSalle county, Illinois, and worked at farming in that county for nine years. In June, 1866, he went to York county, Nebraska, and filed a homestead claim in McFadden township, near Red Lion Mills. This land he still owns and has added to it from time to by purchase until he has a fine farm of 560 acres, all well improved and in a high state of cultivation. Mr. Holoch devoted his attention to the operation of this farm until 1893, and then rented it and has since lived in the city of York, retired from active life. Being one of the oldest settlers of the county, and locating there before the townships were organized, our subject at once became actively interested in the organization of the township in which he had made his home, and his name is indissolubly connected with the history of its growth and development.

      Mr. Holloch (sic) was married in 1855 to Miss Anna Kemmele, also a native of Germany. They were married in Wayne county, New York, and their wedded life has been blessed by the advent of a family of nine children, whose names and the dates of their births are as follows: Frederika, born September 12, 1857; Henry, January 21, 1859; George, November 4, 1860; Caroline, July 17, 1862; Charles, March 14, 1864; Christian W., September 29, 1865; Ella and Emma, twins, born February 11, 1870; and Mary, January 28, 1872. Emma died in May, 1886, and Mrs. Holoch died in York, Nebraska, in 1893. In politics Mr. Holoch is identified with the Republican party, but has never sought public office. He has for many years been a member of the United Brethren church and one of the leaders in the society of that denomination in this county. Mr. Holoch came to this county with practically no capital, but by industry, prudence and economy he has won a handsome fortune, a powerful influence in the community and the respect and esteem of all who know him.



Letter/label or barILLIAM LONG, of whom a portrait appears on another page, is a prominent farmer and stock raiser residing on section 34, Franklin township, Butler county. He was born in Muskingum county, Ohio, July 9, 1854, and on the paternal side is of Irish descent, his grandfather, William Long, having been a native of Ireland, whence he came to the United States at the age of twenty-four years, and took up his residence in Virginia. Our subject's father, John Long, was a native of the Old Dominion, and after reaching manhood removed from that state to Ohio, where he was numbered among the pioneer settlers. He was in the ninety days' service during the Civil war, and as a means of livelihood he followed the occupations of carpentering and farming throughout life. His wife, who bore the maiden name of Mary J. Crawford, was a native of Ohio, and a daughter of John Crawford, who was also born on the Emerald Isle, and emigrated to America at about the age of twenty years. Our subject is the eldest in the family of six children born to John and Mary J. (Crawford) Long--three sons and three daughters, all of whom reached years of maturity, with the exception of one daughter, who died at the age of eight years.

      William Long removed to Mercer county, Illinois, with his parents at the age of eight years, and was there reared and educated in much the usual manner of farmer boys. The year 1880 witnessed his arrival in Butler county, Nebraska, and he purchased a tract of eighty acres on section 34, Franklin township, to the improvement and cultivation of which he devoted his energies until 1897, when he sold the place and purchased his present farm of similar size on the same section. In connection with general farming he is interested in the raising of sheep, and is accounted one of the most industrious, energetic and enterprising business men of his community.

      On the 2d of January,. 1890, Mr. Long was united in marriage with Miss Josie Beckner, who was born in Kosciusko county, Indiana, January 2, 1869, a daughter of Jacob and Sallie (Chivington) Beckner, natives of Ohio and Indiana, respectively. She is the youngest in their family of eight children, and by her marriage has become the mother of three children: Arthur, Lena and John B.

      Although Mr. Long is a stanch Republican in politics he has never cared for political preferment, his time and attention being fully occupied with his business interests. Socially he affiliates with the Knights of Pythias, the Independent Order of Odd Fellows, of David City, while his wife belongs to the Daughters of Rebecca, and both are worthy members of the Methodist Episcopal church.  

Letter/label or bar. F. ASHBY, M. D., of Fairmont, is one of the most successful and prominent representatives of the medical fraternity in this section of the state. One of the most exacting of all the higher lines of occupation to which a man may lend his energies is that of the physician. A most scrupulous preliminary training is demanded and a nicety of judgment little understood by the laity. Then again the profession brings its devotees into almost constant association with the sadder side of life-that of pain and suffering-so that a mind capable of great self control and a heart responsive and sympathetic are essential attributes of him who would essay the practice of the healing art. Thus when a professional success is attained in any instance it may be taken as certain that such measure of success has been thoroughly merited.

      Dr. Ashby was born in Carroll county, Illinois, September 10, 1864, a son of John S. and Catherine E. (Bancroft) Ashby, natives of Canada and Ohio, respectively.



Picture button




      The Ashby family came to the United States about 1840 and settled in Carroll county, Illinois, where the doctor's father was reared and continues to make his home. By occupation he is a farmer and stock raiser. His wife is still living, also their seven children.

      Dr. Ashby was reared on the home farm and commenced his education in the common schools of the neighborhood, but was later a student for two years in Jennings Seminary, Aurora, Illinois, and for three years in the high school of Thomson, Carroll county. During that time he began the study of medicine under the direction of Dr. A. Van Patten, of Mt. Carroll, Illinois, and in 1883 entered Hahnemann Medical College, Chicago, where he was graduated in 1885. As a homeopathic physician he then engaged in practice in Mt. Carroll for six months, but in the fall of 1885 we find him established at Fairmont, where he was not long in building up the extensive practice which he still enjoys. He is a progressive physician and a close student of his profession, and since locating here has taken a post-graduate course at Hahnemann College, another at the Post-Graduate school of Chicago, and spent some time in study at the Cook County Hospital in that city. He now has a large general practice; in July, 1897, was elected head physician for the Modern Woodmen of America for Nebraska and Wyoming; was appointed railroad physician for the Burlington & Missouri River Railroad, February 7, 1894, and is still filling that position to the entire satisfaction of the company. He is an honored member of the American Institute, and also of the Nebraska State Homeopathic Medical Society.

      In 1890 was celebrated the marriage of Dr. Ashby arid Miss Nellie R. Cowdry, native of Wisconsin and a daughter of William Cowdry, and they now have one child, Ruth C. Socially the Doctor is quite prominent, and is a member of the Masonic fraternity, the Independent Order of Odd Fellows, the Ancient Order of United Workmen, and the Modern Woodmen of America. He joined the Woodmen's Camp at Thomson, Illinois, July 16, 1883, becoming the one hundred and fifty-sixth member of that order, and has since been prominently connected with it. He was one of the founders of the camp at Fairmont, in which he has filled all the chairs; has represented the state of Nebraska in the National Camp three times; and for two years served as state physician for the order. In politics he is an ardent Republican, and has most efficiently and satisfactorily served as city physician of Fairmont for several years. He has met with success, financially, as well as professionally in his adopted state and is now the owner of some valuable property in his town and county. As a pleasant, genial gentleman, he is widely and favorably known, and has many friends. 

Letter/label or barENJAMIN F. FARLEY, M. D., has resided in York county thirteen years. He was born in Crawford county, Pennsylvania, June 9, 1843, a son of Samuel C. and Jane A. (Walker) Farley, who were natives of New York and Pennsylvania, respectively. The father was a carpenter and builder by occupation. In 1845 he moved to Illinois, settled in DeKalb county and there engaged in farming. He died in Ford county, Illinois, in July, 1877, and his wife died two years later. They were the parents of eight children, one of whom died in infancy.

      Doctor Farley was educated in the common schools of Illinois, the Fowler Institute at Newark and the Wesleyen (sic) University at Bloomington, and then engaged for a time in teaching school. He be began the study of medicine in 1866, and in 1867 he entered the medical department of the Uni-



versity of Michigan, and remained there one year, and spent the following summer in the chemical laboratory of that institution. In 1869 he entered the Rush Medical College, of Chicago, Illinois, and graduated from the same in 1870. Dr. Farley also took a postgraduate course in the Rush Medical College in 1878-1879, and also a practitioner's course in the same college and a special course in 1881. In 1889-90 he took a course at the Post-Graduate School and Hospital of New York, and also a course in surgery and gynecology at the New York Polyclinic. In the spring of 1890 he attended the Chicago Polyclinique, and in the spring of 1894 he took a course in the Chicago Post-Graduate School and Hospital.

      After graduating from the Rush Medical College, in 1870, Dr. Farley began the practice of his profession at Braceville, Illinois, and one year later he went to Buckingham, Kankakee county, Illinois, and was stationed at that place for fifteen years. In 1885 he went to York, Nebraska, and has since made that city his base of operations. February 8, 1865, Dr. Farley was united in marriage to Miss Emly A. Smith, daughter of Dr. S. T. Smith, of Grundy county, Illinois. Doctor Smith is still living, is now eighty-one years of age but is practicing medicine in Florida. Our subject and Mrs. Farley are the parents of a family of three children: Rosie E., wife of O. L. Linch of Denver, Colorado; Edna I. and Bessie M. The Doctor is a member of the State Medical Society, the Nebraska District Medical Society for which he has performed the duties of president for two years, and the York County Medical Society of which he has been president one term. He is a member of the Masonic fraternity, K. of M., and other insurance lodges. He is a man of superior ability, has an enviable reputation for integrity of character and uprightness in business methods, and has been very successful and built up for himself a large and lucrative patronage. In politics he is a Prohibitionist and is a member of the Methodist Episcopal church. 

Letter/label or barROVE DISNEY, whose home has been on section 30, Oak Creek township, Butler county, since the 9th of June, 1868, is one of the most thorough and skillful farmers of his community. In common with the other early settlers he endured all the hardships and privations of pioneer life, but in his efforts to secure a good home for himself and family, he labored steadily until this was accomplished, being now in the enjoyment of a comfortable competence.

      Mr. Disney was born near Baltimore, Maryland, December 15, 1832, and is a son of James and Elizabeth (Leshar) Disney, the former of Scotch-Irish descent, the latter of German origin. His paternal grandfather, James Disney, was a native of Scotland, but came to this country prior to the Revolutionary war and settled in Maryland. As a soldier in the Continental army, he aided the colonies in their successful struggle for independence. The parents of our subject, who are farming people, were married in Maryland, whence they emigrated to Ohio in 1836, settling in Licking county, where they made their home for ten years. About 1846 the father traded his property in that locality for three hundred and seventy-five acres of land in La Grange county, Indiana, which at that time was covered with a heavy growth of timber.

      In their forest home, Grove Disney, who was the fifth son in the family, early became familiar with the use of the ax, assisting in clearing and improving the farm. Of this work there was plenty to keep the boy busy, leaving little time for idleness. Until he attained his majority he remained under the parental roof; and on leaving home in 1852 he started across the plains



to the gold fields of California, via Fort Larimie (sic) and Salt Lake City, to Hangtown, being five months and twenty-six days en route. At first he followed mining, but later engaged in teaming and in various other occupations until he had cleared two thousand when he decided to return to the east. Leaving San Francisco on the 7th of April, 1856, he proceeded to New York by way of the Isthmus of Panama and the Island of Jamaica, arriving in the eastern metropolis about a month later.

      Prior to his going to the Pacific slope Mr. Disney was married to Hannah N. Osborne, who died during his absence, leaving one son, Albert. Six months after his return to the east he located in Rock Island, Illinois, where he remained until August, 1862, when he entered the Union service, as a member of Company I, One Hundred and Twenty-sixth Illinois Volunteer Infantry. He served with the army of the Mississippi and Tennessee until taken sick at Ball's Bluff and sent to the hospital, where he was finally discharged. He did not recover his health for a year after his return home, and then the war was over.

      In Mercer county, Illinois, Mr. Disney was again married, March 29, 1865, his second union being with Mrs. Margrett J. Rogers, whose maiden name was Wellever, by whom he has eight children, namely: Edward; Thomas; John; James, who married Della Scott and has one child; May, who married Charles Fleek and has two children; Elsie; Grove; and Rebecca (deceased). With the exception of the first two all were born in Nebraska.

      After his marriage, Mr. Disney engaged in farming in Rock Island county, Illinois, and in Iowa until 1868, when he decided to come to Nebraska, and with his family, two wagons, two cows and two calves, he started across the country, passing through Plattsmouth and Lincoln. "One had to look close to see the latter city," which at that time consisted of two or three houses and and a sawmill. Securing a homestead of one hundred and sixty acres on Oak creek, in Butler county, Mr. Disney and his family lived in their wagons until a log house, fourteen by eighteen feet, could be erected. The surrounding country was then unbroken prairie, and in the wonderful changes that have since taken place, our subject has been an important factor. Since attaining his majority he has always been identified with the Democratic party, which had but three supporters in Butler county when he took up his residence here. Fraternally he is a member of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows. 

Letter/label or barRANK DURHAM.--Among the prominent and progressive young men of Fillmore county, who are turning their attention to agricultural pursuits, is Mr. Durham, whose home is on section 26, Belle Prairie township. Although young in years, still, having excellent business ability, he has already placed himself in a position with the prosperous and well-to-do farmers of this portion of the county, and is ranked among the best citizens of the township.

      For a quarter of a century Mr. Durham has been a resident of Fillmore county, being only four years old when he came here with his parents, George and Anna B. (Stowell) Durham, who were among its honored pioneers. The father was born in England, July 26, 1830, and at the age of twenty-three crossed the Atlantic and took up his residence in Canada, where he was married in May, 1859, to Miss Anna B. Stowell. She was born in New York state, September 27, 1841, and obtained only a common-school education. Her parents were Oliver and Mary (Church) Stowell, who were married in this country. Mrs. Stowell was a native of England and died in New York at the early age of twenty-.



seven years, leaving a husband and three daughters to mourn her untimely death. Mrs. Durham being at that time only five years old. The other children were Martha and Mary, of whom the latter died at the age of two, soon after the mother's death. Subsequently the father married Miss Mary Sipes, and to them was born a son, Ralph Stowell, who lives on a farm in Belle Prairie township adjoining that of Mrs. Durham. The father died in New York state at the age of thirty-eight years, but his second wife is still living and a resident of Nebraska.

      In the spring of 1872, Mr. and Mrs. Durham, the parents of our subject, came to Fillmore county, Nebraska, and in Belle Prairie township took up a farm of eighty acres, on which the mother and son still reside. At that time the family had only one team and a small amout (sic) of personal property, but by industry, perseverance and economy, they have accumulated a good property and now have two hundred and forty acres in Fillmore county. Their first home here was a sod house, in which they lived for ten years, but it has since been replaced by a comfortable and attractive residence, surrounded by good out-buildings, a beautiful grove and orchard. At one time they removed to Frontier county, this state, where they owned a quarter section of land, but three years ago returned to the old homestead in Fillmore county, where the father died January 14, 1896, at the age of sixty-five years, leaving a widow and three sons to mourn his loss. His remains were interred in Harmony cemetery, Fillmore county. He was a devoted husband and loving father. He was a true Christian, being a life-long member of the Methodist Episcopal church, and was greatly beloved and respected for his many qualities and noble character, George Durham, the oldest son, married Miss Ida Randolph, a native of Illinois, who came to this state with her parents. She died on the Durham homestead at the age of twenty-three years and was laid to rest in Harmony cemetery. She left one son, Merton R., now twelve years of age, who lives with our subject and his grandmother. For his second wife George Durham married Miss Lillian Brown, and they now live in Frontier county. John Durham, the second son, married Miss Neola Crawford and resides in Frontier county.

     Frank Durham, who completes the family, continues to reside upon the old homestead with his mother and nephew. He can relate many interesting incidents of pioneer life and has watched with interest this region change from a wild, unsettled prairie to a thickly populated and well improved country. In this transformation he has borne an important part by aiding in the development and cultivation of a fine farm. The early settlers experienced many hardships and privations but they also had many pleasures, and their little log cabins, sod houses were the scenes of great merrymaking and keen enjoyment. At times they also displayed great heroism, and Mr. Durham can vividly picture and relate heroic acts of many of the noted homesteaders in Fillmore county. His family has ever been one of the most prominent and highly respected in this region and have always given their support to all enterprises calculated to advance the moral, social or material welfare of the community. They all hold membership in the Methodist Episcopal church., Politically Mr. Durham is a Republican. 

Letter/label or barEVI HAFER, an industrious and thrifty farmer, has been an important factor in the upbuilding and development of Seward county, where he has now made his home for thirty years. The difference between past and the present can scarcely be real-


Horz. bar

Prior page
TOC part 2
Next page

© 2002 for the NEGenWeb Project by Pam Rietsch, Ted & Carole Miller