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the gold excitement in that state and died while returning to his home. In his native state he had engaged in business as a planter and merchant. Enoch Sawyer, father of our subject, was born in 1816, and was one of a family of five sons. He grew to manhood in Illinois and there followed farming and stock raising as a life work, dying in that state in 1886. His wife passed away in 1893. In the family of this worthy couple were ten children, eight sons and two daughters, of whom two entered the Union service during the Rebellion, and one laid down his life on the altar of his country.

      Simeon Sawyer passed his boyhood and youth in Marshall county, Illinois, and there attended both the common and high schools, thus acquiring a good practical education, which well fitted him for life's responsible duties. He began his business career as a farmer in his native state, where he continued to carry on operations along that line for seven years, or until 1874, when he became a resident of Fillmore county, Nebraska, where in 1871 he had purchased a tract of railroad land, three and a half miles southeast of Fairmont. This he improved, and to its cultivation devoted his energies for many years.

      In 1874, Mr. Sawyer was united in marriage, with Miss Frances J. Devalon, a native of Illinois, and a daughter of Joseph E. and Eliza (Satchell) Devalon, the latter a native of Ross county, Ohio, the former of West Virginia. Her parents removed to Illinois in December, 1849, and in 1879 came to Omaha, Nebraska, where they spent the remainder of their lives, the father dying in 1894, the mother in 1885. Seven children have been born to Mr. and Mrs. Sawyer, namely: Lucy E., now the wife of Leeclair Searles; Fannie E. at home; Lyda J., wife of Lewis W. Dumond; Mary M., Harlan L. and Russell D., all at home; and Jennie G., deceased.

      Politically, Mr. Sawyer was first a Democrat, but is now a Populist, and has assisted in the party councils. In 1883 he was elected county commissioner of Fillmore county, and most acceptably filled that office for one term, and during President Cleveland's first term was appointed postmaster of Fairmont, the duties of which office he most faithfully and satisfactorily performed. Socially, he is a member of the Masonic fraternity and the Ancient Order of United Workmen. In his business career he has met with a well-deserved success in his adopted state, and as a reliable,, upright and honorable man, he has gained the confidence and high regard of his fellow-citizens. 

Letter/label or barBRAHAM TOWNER, familiarly known by his many friends as Abe Towner, is an honored pioneer, as one of the leading and influential citizens of Butler county, who has taken an active part in promoting its substantial improvement and material development. He has the distinction of being the first settler of Read township, having located there on the 17th of April, 1866, and he now has a fine farm on the northeast quarter of section 14, which he has placed under a high state of cultivation and improved with good and substantial buildings.

     In Polk county, Missouri, Mr. Towner was born October 7, 1836, a son of Abraham and Hester (Bolk) Towner, and grandson of Ezra Towner. The father was a native of Bradford county, Pennsylvania, and in that state was married. At an early day he emigrated to Ohio, where he remained until 1834, and then removed to Missouri, where the birth of our subject occurred. When he was eighteen years of age, the family came to Cass county, Nebraska, .and five years later, in company with J. M. Palmer, of Butler county, and Moses Patterson, he started for Pikes Peak, passing



through Butler county on the old trail. Upon reaching Fort Kearney, they changed their minds, however, and continued across the plains to the Pacific coast. At Honey Lake Valley, the little party separated, Messrs. Towner and Patterson going south, while Mr. Palmer proceeded north. Our subject went to the California mining camps, where he engaged in mining with varying success until after the outbreak of the Civil war. At Stockton, California, he enlisted in Company A, Third California Volunteer Infantry, serving three years under General Sully and General Crooke on the plains, fighting Indians. He assisted in building Fort Douglas in 1863, and the following year he was honorably discharged on the expiration of his term of enlistment.

      After being mustered out, Mr. Towner returned home, paying one hundred dollars for transportation overland to Nebraska City, where he arrived December 1, 1864. A year later, on the 20th of December, 1865, he was united in marriage with Miss Amanda Williams, who was born in Henry county, Iowa, February 13, 1846, a daughter of Benjamin F. Williams, of Cass county, Nebraska. The following spring they started for Butler county in a wagon, reaching their destination April 17, 1866, and Mr. Towner located his claim on the northeast quarter of section 14, Read township, owing to a fine grove of timber, a part of which was used to build a cabin. Until it could be erected they lived in a tent. The nearest neighbor was seven miles away at the "Shields place," and for nearly a year Mrs. Towner was the only white woman in the township. Their home was the first house built in the township, and is still standing. Three children came to brighten the household by their presence--Benjamin F., Addie and Daisy Bell.

      The first crop which Mr. Towner planted on his new farm was a failure, and the winter of 1866-67 was one of privations for the early settlers. The next season a fair crop was raised and from that time forward prosperity crowned their efforts, though in those early days they endured all the hardships incident-to frontier life.

      Mr. Towner has always taken an active interest in public affairs, doing all in his power to advance the welfare of his county, and was appointed by Governor Butler a member of the first election board when the county was, organized in 1868. The village of Ulysses was founded about this time and was named by our subject's father. Socially Mr. Towner is an honored member of the Masonic fraternity and the Independent Order of Odd Fellows. In 1886 he erected upon his farm a fine large residence, where hospitality now reigns supreme, the many friends of the family always being sure of a hearty welcome. In politics he is a Democrat and has served on the school board for the past ten years. 

Letter/label or bar. M. HORNER.-- Doubtless the most enterprising young men of the older states have left the confines of their early homes to seek new and wider fields of operation in the great West. Among these was Mr. Homer, now one of the most successful and prosperous agriculturists of Fillmore county, Nebraska, his home being on section 34, Bryant township. Probably no one in the community is a better representative of a purely self-made man. He owns not a dollar that has not been honestly acquired by his own industry, energy and business tact, and in many respects his life is well worthy of emulation.

      Mr. Homer was born in Somerset county, Pennsylvania, in 1844, and is a son of Michael and Catherine (Forney) Homer, who were born, reared and married in Somerset county. The father died at the early age of thirty-five, years, leaving a widow with five children. Later the mother came



to Richardson county, Nebraska, where her last days were spent. There she died and was laid to rest. Both parents were members of the German Baptist church, and were held in high regard by all who knew them. The children were Peter, who is now living in Illinois; Benjamin, a resident of Kansas; Susan, a resident of Nebraska; Henry, who was killed during his service in the Civil war; and A. M., our subject.

      A. M. Homer was only five years old when his father died, and, as his mother was in rather limited circumstances, his educational privileges were meagre, though he attended the common schools of his native state to a limited extent. At the age of eighteen he removed to Illinois and was there married, in 1869, to Miss Anneta Senft Wicks, who was born in Huntingdon county, Pennsylvania, in 1852, a daughter of John and Elizabeth (Dull) Wicks, also natives of Pennsylvania. The father was reared and educated in his native state and there learned the blacksmith's trade, which he followed in Pennsylvania until called from this life at the age of forty-five years, when Mrs. Homer was eight years old. After her husband's death, Mrs. Wicks came to Nebraska and settled, in Richardson county, where she passed away at the age of fifty-six. In their family were eight children, namely: Maggie, Joseph, Ninie, Annetta, Stanley and John, who are still living; Elwood, who the age of seventeen years; and Harriet, who died in infancy.

      Soon after their marriage Mr. and Mrs. Homer left Illinois and removed to Falls City, Nebraska, where he purchased eighty acres of land and engaged in farming for six years. On selling that place he came to Bryant precinct, Fillmore county, where he bought a homestead right to eighty acres of wild and unimproved land, for one hundred and ten dollars. As his financial resources have increased, he has extended the boundaries of his farm from time to time until he now has four hundred acres of valuable land, all in Fillmore county, with the exception of eighty acres which are in Thayer county. This he has placed under a high state of cultivation and improved with excellent buildings, including a pleasant residence.

      Mr. and Mrs. Homer have a family of eleven children, as follows: Wiley H., who married Flora Swalp; John W., who married Ona Shipley; Lizzie M., who married Edgar Snavely; Emma A., who is now attending McPherson College, in Kansas, preparing for foreign missionary work; Katie E.: Frank S.; Wilbert J.; Charles L.; Harry S.; Ora B.; and Edna M. The parents have paid special attention to the education of their children and to their moral training. The family are members of the German Baptist church and take great comfort in their religious faith. Their lives have ever been in harmony with their professions and their kindness and charity are proverbial. Within their hospitable doors the stranger is made to feel at home, and their many friends are always sure of a hearty welcome. In political sentiment, Mr. Homer is a Republican, but at local elections votes for the man whom he believes best qualified to fill the office, regardless of party ties. 

Letter/label or barRANCIS M. AUSTIN, one of the early settlers and highly esteemed citizens of Seward County, who was a faithful defender of the Union during the Civil war, is a native of Iowa, born in Jackson county, October 21, 1846, His parents, Bushnell and Ruth (Hadley) Austin, were originally from New York and Ohio, respectively, and became residents of Iowa in 1835, dying there in 1887. In their family were three sons.

      The early life of Francis M. Austin was passed in his native state, where he followed farming until his enlistment, in 1862, in the Union army, becoming a member of Com-



pany I, Twelfth Iowa Volunteer Infantry. He remained in the service until January, 1866, taking part in the battles of Jackson, Mississippi, Vicksburg, Nashville, Tupelo and many smaller engagements, including those of Mobile and Spanish Fort, where he was slightly wounded. Returning to his Iowa home after receiving an honorable discharge, he remained there until 1868, when he went to Omaha, Nebraska, and accepted a position as Indian guard with the Union Pacific Railroad, which was then being constructed through the west. In 1869 he first came to Seward county, and in 1873 bought land here, but did not locate upon his place until 1881, since which time he has devoted his time and attention to its cultivation and improvement with marked success, transforming it into one of the best and most highly cultivated tracts in his township.

      In 1874 Mr. Austin was united in marriage with Miss Lucasy Jackson, a native of Nebraska, and to them were born two children, Bertha M. and Martha J. The wife and mother departed this life in 1884, and in 1889, Mr. Austin was again married, his second union being with Miss Ella Bell, of Jackson county, Iowa, by whom he has four children: Milton M., Baxter B., Charles M. and Bessie B., who are all living. Socially he is an honored member of the Masonic fraternity and the Ancient Order of United Workmen, and, politically, is identified with the Republican party. Wherever known he is held in high regard, and he has a host of friends throughout Seward county. 

Letter/label or barENRY E. OATES is a well-known and prominent agriculturist of Fillmore county, Nebraska, whose home is on section 28, West Blue township. Though born on the other side of the Atlantic, he is thoroughly American in thought and feeling, and that he is patriotic and sincere in his love for the stars and stripes was manifested by his three years of service on southern battle fields during the Civil war.

      Mr. Oates was born March 1, 1839, on the Isle of Man, off the coast of England, and is a son of Thomas and Catherine (Karmode) Oates, also natives of that island, where they spent their entire lives as farming people. The father died in 1867, aged eighty-nine years, the mother in 1892, aged ninety-three years, honored and respected by all who knew them. In their family were twelve children. In his native land our subject was reared and educated. In the spring of 1855 he sailed for America and first located in Chicago, Illinois, where he learned the carpenter trade, continuing to follow that occupation there until 1860. Going to Colorado in that year, he engaged in mining near Central City until the fall of 18.62, when he offered his services to his adopted country to assist in putting down the rebellion, enlisting in Company I, Second Colorado Volunteer Infantry, which was assigned to the Army of the Southwest. He saw much hard service in Missouri, Arkansas and Indian Territory, and at the close of the war in 1865, he was honorably discharged. In 1863 the regiment had been mounted.

      After his discharge, Mr. Oates returned to Chicago, where he spent two years, and then went to Marshall county, Illinois, where he followed farming until coming to Fillmore county, Nebraska, in 1883, since which time he has successfully engaged in agricultural pursuits on section 28, West Blue township, and has improved a fine farm.

      In 1872 Mr. Oates led to the marriage altar Miss Mary Bermaster, a native of Stark county, Illinois, and to them have been born six children, namely: Henry, William J., Thomas A., Robert, Oscar and Harriet J., all still living. Fraternally Mr. Oates is an honored member of the Grand Army of the Republic, and politically is a



stanch supporter of the Republican party and its principles, but has never sought nor desired official honors. The success that he has achieved in life is due entirely to his own efforts, as he has been the architect and builder of his own fortunes, and he has builded wisely and well. He has also gained the confidence and esteem of all with whom he come in contact either in business or social life 

Letter/label or bar.LFRED F. TURPENING, a well known and highly respected citizen of David City, first came to Butler county, in the spring of 1871, at which time he located on section 10, township 14, range 1 east, Reading township. He was born June 3, 1863, on the Lundy's Lane battle-ground, at Niagara Falls, Canada, within hearing of that mighty cataract. His father, Peter F. Turpening, was a native of Saratoga county, New York, and by occupation was a harness maker in early life and later a farmer. Going to Ontario, Canada, he there married Miss Elizabeth Durham, a native of that province and a daughter of Edward Durham, who was born in Ireland and on crossing the Atlantic took up his residence in Ontario, Canada.

      The subject of this sketch was the oldest child of the family and until ten years of. age he made his home in Canada, acquiring his early education in its public schools. He was then taken by his parents to their new home in Reading township, Hillsdale county, Michigan, where he grew to manhood. Feeling that his adopted country needed his services during the Civil war, he enlisted in Company F, Eleventh Michigan Cavalry, and with the Army of the Cumberland was first in battle in Kentucky, John Morgan having command of the rebel forces. Subsequently Mr. Turpening was with Stoneman's Independent Cavalry Corps, and when the war was over and his services were no longer needed, he was honorably discharged and mustered out at Knoxville, Tennessee, in June, 1865.

      Returning to Michigan he there engaged in farming for some time, and in Hillsdale county was married, in 1866, to Miss Mary Rising, of that county, who died in Butler county, Nebraska, in 1874, leaving one son, George, born in Michigan and now living in Reading, that state. For his second wife, Mr. Turpening married Miss Sarah Reynolds, formerly of Michigan, and one daughter graces this union--Edna.

      Coming to Butler county in the spring of 1871, Mr. Turpening located on a farm and continued to engage in agricultural pursuits until 1882, when he removed to Rising City, which had been laid out on a part of his homestead and was becoming a flourishing village. On selling his farm he built a residence in that place, but in 1883 he went to Grand Island, Nebraska, and engaged in the lumber business with the Goodman, Bogue & Sherwood Lumber Company for three years. At the end of that time he took up his residence in David City, being appointed deputy county clerk under his brother-in-law, D. C. Reynolds. While not endorsing fully the acts of the present administration, he is still a Republican in politics as he always has been; and socially he is identified with A. Lincoln Post No. 10, G. A. R., in which he has served as adjutant. For a quarter of a century he has been a resident of Butler county, and as a public-spirited and progressive citizen, has given his support to all measures for the public good. Over his life record their falls no shadow of wrong. 

Letter/label or barANIEL TOPHAM.--Sound judgment combined with good executive ability, industry and enterprise have enabled the subject of this sketch, a well-known farmer of Seward county, to attain a substantial




success in life, though he came to this country without capital and had no influential friends to aid him in securing a start.

      Mr. Topham was born in Huntingtonshire, England, April 22, 1843, and is a son of John and Hannah Topham, who were also natives of the same shire, and there spent their entire lives. In his native land our subject was reared and educated, and for some time he there engaged in farming, railroading and various other occupations by which he might earn a livelihood. He came to the United States in 1867, landing on the shores of this country on the 11th of November of that year, and he proceeded at once to Woodford county, Illinois, where he made his home for seven years. The year 1875 witnessed his arrival in Seward county. Nebraska, where he purchased a tract of one hundred and sixty acres of railroad land, which he commenced to improve in connection with the operation of a rented farm. The following year he built a small house upon his own place, and to its further development and cultivation devoted his entire time. Acre after acre was soon placed under the plow and he now has one of the best farms of the locality. The Indians had not left this region at the time of his arrival and he often saw them.

      In 1869 Mr. Topham was united in marriage with Miss Sarah A. Bond, also a native of England, who was born in the same shire as her husband and came to this country the year of her marriage. To them have been born twelve children, but only three are now living: Daniel, Frank J. and Emma E. The parents both hold membership in the Christian church, are widely and favorably known and have made many friends in their adopted county. In his political affiliations Mr. Topham is a Republican, but has never aspired to official honors, preferring to give his undivided attention to his business interests, in which he has met with good success. 

Letter/label or barR. O. P. BAKER.--In past ages the history of a country was the record of wars and conquests; to-day it is the record of commercial activity, and those whose names are foremost in its annals are the leaders in business circles. The conquests now made are those of mind over matter, not of man over man, and the victor is he who can successfully establish, control and operate extensive commercial interests. Dr. Baker is unquestionably one of the strongest and most influential men whose lives have become an essential part in the history of Filmore (sic) county. He is not only one of the leading dentists of Exeter, but is also prominently identified with its business interests along various lines, and has probably done more toward the building up of the county than any other one man.

      The Doctor was born in Windham, Windham county, Vermont, September 13, 1837, and is a worthy representative of an honored old family of the Green Mountain state, of which his grandfather, Elijah Baker, a farmer by occupation, was also a native. In his family were four sons, two of whom removed to Illinois, but the others spent their entire lives in Vermont. The Doctor's parents, Squire and Fanny (Torrey) Baker, were life-long residents of that state, and upon the old homestead where the former was born and reared, he continued to reside until called to his final rest in 1854. He has always followed agricultural pursuits. The mother died in 1863. To this worthy couple were born three sons, two of whom are still engaged in farming in Vermont, and one daughter, now living in Keene, New Hampshire.

      In early life Dr. Baker attended the academies at Chester and East Townsend, Vermont, and in 1856 entered Oberlin College, at Oberlin, Ohio, but owing to ill health was obliged to give up his studies at the end of a year. He taught one term of school in his native state and another in



Ohio, and in 1858 went to Curran, Sangamon county, Illinois, near Springfield, and successfully engaged in teaching in that county for eight years. He also taught for two years at Loda, Illinois, and from there removed to Tonica, Illinois, and began practicing dentistry there in 1865, from there removed to Morrison, the same state, in 1870, where he opened an office and engaged in the practice of his chosen profession, at the same time conducting a drug store there for ten years.

      Coming to Fillmore county, Nebraska, in 1873, Dr. Baker purchased a quarter section of land one mile east of Exeter, for which he paid eight dollars per acre. In the interests of the Burlington & Missouri Railroad Company, he brought the first excursion from Illinois to this county in 1874, and of the two hundred and seventy-five persons who came with him quite a number purchased land near Exeter. The following year he made up an excursion of two hundred and sixty-five and this time was also successful in promoting the interests of the state, being the means of bringing many thousands here to make their future home. Of these two hundred and thirty located .within a radius of fifteen miles from Exeter: In 1880 the Doctor took up his residence in that place, where he has engaged in the practice of dentistry uninterruptedly with the exception of two years. He also owns and operates quite a large amount of. land in this region, and in connection with his professional duties he engaged in the jewelry trade for some time when he first came to Exeter. The town has since grown quite rapidly and is now quite a thriving village. In 1884, Dr. Baker assisted in organizing the First National Bank, of which he was one of the first directors and later president, and in 1886 he was one of the organizers of the Roller Mill Company, and was manager of the same the second year. He has also assisted in organizing other companies and has been most actively and prominently identified with many of the business enterprises of Exeter.

      At Springfield, Illinois, March 28, 1861, Dr. Baker was united in marriage with Miss Adelia E. Cassidy., a native of New York, and a daughter of Henry and Fidelia (Dewey) Cassidy, natives of Ireland and Vermont, respectively. The Docter (sic) and his wife are leading members of the Baptist church of Exeter, and in social circles occupy an enviable position. His political support is always given the Republican party; he has been an influential member of its different conventions; and was once its candidate for representative in the Lower house of the state legislature. He has always taken a deep and commendable interest in educational affairs, and for nine years has most efficiently served as a member of the school board and as a trustee of Grand Island College. Socially he is deservedly popular, as he is affable and courteous in manner and possesses that essential qualification to success in public life, that of making friends readily and strengthening the ties of all friendships as time advances. 

Letter/label or bar. W. PETERSON, a well-to-do and highly respected agriculturist living in Bryant precinct, Fillmore county, claims Sweden as his native land, his birth occurring there in 1849. His parents were lifelong residents of that country, where the father died at the age of seventy years, the mother at the age of seventy-two. Our subject has four brothers and three sisters, all of whom remained in Sweden with the exception of one sister who is now living in California. In the public schools of his native land A. W. Peterson acquired his literary education, and was there confirmed in the Swedish Lutheran church, Believing a fortune could be more easily secured in the



new world, he sailed for America in 1869, and landed on the shores of this continent with only a few dollars in his pocket. He commenced life here by working on a farm in Illinois, and after three years spent in that state went to California, where he worked in the mines for eight years.

      Returning to Sweden in 1879, he was married to Miss Ida M. Johnson, who was born in that country in 1854, was also educated in its schools and confirmed in the Lutheran church. Her parents were John and Mary Johnson, the former of whom died at the age of sixty years, but the latter is still living in Sweden at the age of seventy-five years. One brother is now living in Bryant precinct, Fillmore county, Nebraska, but the remainder of the family, one brother and three sisters, are still residents of Sweden.

      The wedding journey of Mr. and Mrs. Peterson was their trip to the United States and they at once took up their residence in Bryant precinct, Fillmore county, Nebraska, where our subject purchased one hundred and sixty acres of raw land for six dollars per acre. He immediately erected a small frame house and sod stables and turned his attention to the improvement and cultivation of his land, which he was not long in transforming into one of the best and most desirable farms of the precinct. At first the family had many hardships with which to contend; the first summer Mr. Peterson lost both of his horses, and later his crops were destroyed by the grasshoppers, and drought, but finally success came to them and they are now numbered among the most substantial and prosperous citizens of their community.

      Of the four children born to Mr. and Mrs. Peterson, two are still living: Fred is an accomplished young man of nineteen years, who is now preparing for business at the Swedish College in Rock Island, Illinois; Effie is a lovely little child of four years.

      The family holds membership in the Swedish Lutheran church at Stockholm, Nebraska, and are true and earnest Christian people, who have the confidence and high regard of all who know them. Mr. Peterson cast his first presidential vote for General Grant, and has since been an ardent supporter of the men and measures of the Republican party. Five years ago he returned to Sweden and spent a very pleasant time in visiting relatives and the familiar scenes of his boyhood. He has never regretted his emigration to the new world, however, for here he has prospered, and has secured good a home and comfortable competence for himself and family. 

Letter/label or barANIEL GRAVES. Honored and respected by all there is no man in York county who occupies a more enviable position than Mr. Graves in agricultural and business circles, not alone on account of the brilliant success that he has achieved, but also on account of the honorable, straightforward business policy he has ever followed. He possesses untiring energy, is quick of perception, forms his plans readily and is determined in their execution; and his close application to his business affairs and his excellent management have brought to him the high degree of prosperity which is to-day his He makes his home in Arborville township, where he owns several hundred acres of valuable land. On another page appears a view of his present residence.

     Mr. Graves was born in Rutland county, Vermont, June 22, 1844, and is a son of Daniel and Almira (Rogers) Graves, both natives of Vermont and representatives of old and prominent families of New England. For nine generations the Graves family have been residents of the United States, its founder being Thomas Graves, a native of England, who came to this country about 1640 and died in 1662. His son, John, was



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