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and before he was aware of it he had become capable of undertaking the management of a farm for himself. He received as good an education as was possible for him to obtain in the common school, and from the time of leaving it until he was twenty-four years of age he continued to reside at home and work upon the home farm. Upon arriving at that age he joined the army of "benedicts," being united in marriage with Barbara A. Bowers. This lady was the daughter of Andrew and Mary Bowers, and a native of Delaware County, Ind.
After their marriage Mr. and Mrs. Funk resided for two years in Henry County, afterward in Madison County, and in the eighteen years of their residence in the latter county saw a large measure of success. At the close of that period they determined to go West, believing that a larger opportunity was accorded their family in that newer country. After stopping for six months in Nemaha County, they came on to Gage County. While in Madison County, Ind., he had made several investments in real estate, and was the owner of 100 acres of land, which he sold on coming to Nebraska, in order to invest upon arrival in this State. From that time to the present he has been interested in stock-farming, and it has been for him a succession of successful years.
The family of our subject includes seven children, whose names are recorded as follows: Clement E., Nora A., LaFayette L., James W., Charles N., William W. and Wade H.
Mr. Funk is a gentleman of enterprise and industry, and although not politician and somewhat independent in the disposition of his vote, he is everywhere received as an honorable, useful and valued citizen. In representative politics our subject is a decided Democrat.
OSEPH M. MESERVE. Our subject is one of the largest. most enterprising and wealthiest farmers in the county. He comes from a family and ancestry who have occupied prominent positions since anti-Revolutionary times.
The great-great-grandfather, Col. George Meserve, came to America in 1745, a Colonel in the British army, and fought through the French and Indian War. When this was over he settled in the southeastern part of New Hampshire, near Dover, and the estate is still in the hands of a distant relative of the family, and bears the family name. In the agitation which led to the Declaration of Independence, the Colonel took his stand with the Colonists, and the old "garrison" house or barrack, a large, commodious, and especially strong building, is still standing.
In the Revolutionary War all the sons of Col. Meserve took part; he served with them at Concord, Bunker Hill, and in the major part of the engagements, and at the close retired to his estate, where he died about the year 1790. His son Joseph, the grandfather of our subject, took up as his chosen occupation agricultural pursuits, and lived upon the old homestead. His family comprised three sons and two daughters, whose names are recorded as follows; Samuel P., Joseph, William, Eliza and Mary. The father of our subject was Joseph, the second son of the above; he also was born in the New Hampshire home, the same as that of Col. Meserve. The father of our subject as a young man devoted himself to farming, but afterward entered into mercantile life. As a business man he was very successful, but his health failed him, and his physicians advised a change of climate. Following this advice, in the spring of 1850 he removed with his family to Illinois, settled in LaSalle County, and returned to farming. He became the owner of a very unusually large estate, which upon his demise he left to his wife. He was twice married; by the first union he became the parent of four children, who were named as here subjoined: William H., John W., Joseph M. arid Marietta.
Our subject is the third son of the above family, and was born in Coos County, N. H., upon the 20th of December, 1833. This district is one of the most beautiful in the East, perhaps in America. The estate is situated about fifteen miles from the White Mountains, sometimes called the Switzerland of America. Amid the magnificent surroundings and stupendous grandeur of Nature's work in this district our subject was brought up. His education
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was received in the schools of his district, supplemented and completed by the full curriculum of instruction at Lancaster Academy, in the city of that name in New Hampshire, and Wilson Collegiate Institute, of Wilson, Niagara Co., N. Y. He was eighteen years of age when he went with the family to Illinois; there he began to teach school, but finding there was little money and less glory in that work, he abandoned the profession, and turned his attention to the fertile, widespread prairie of Illinois, and set to work to solve the problem of the adaptability of three or four yoke of oxen, aided by the usual implement, to breaking the surface of the same.
Until he reached his majority the subject of our sketch remained with his father, but then started for himself, bought land, and soon had a very fine farm of his own. He was married, Feb. 29, 1855, to Miss Elizabeth Call, a lass of exceptional refinement and womanly grace. She was born in Essex County, N. Y., Jan. 1, 1833, and is the daughter of William and Olive (Trumbull) Call. Her mother was a native of the same county; her father of Clinton County, of the same State. By occupation her father was a farmer, and settled in Essex County, after a time removed to Clinton County, which was their home for about five years, then removed to LaSalle County, and became neighbors of the Meserve family, purchasing a farm in their immediate vicinity. She has presented her husband with ten children, who have received the names here appended: Amelia A., Joseph M., William Henry Harrison, Marietta M., David W., Harriet L., Jessie A., Archie, Charles S. and Minnie C.
After his marriage our subject continued upon the Illinois farm until 1863, but in the latter years, owing to the general depreciation of values, he suffered large financial losses. He therefore sold out his interests in LaSalle County, and went to Iowa, settling in Poweshiek County, and there continued his farming with a much better outlook and success than was expected. This was their home for about twelve years, and the birthplace of nine of their children. Then they came to this county. and settled upon section 20 of Nemaha Township, which is still their home. At the time of their settlement, in common with the greater part of the county, this land was in its original condition, but before very long there were abundant evidences of the fact that a master mind, strong will and ripe intelligence were at work, resulting in even larger prosperity and success than ever before.
The primitive building material provided by the prairie is frequently used in the construction of the dwelling of the pioneer farmer, and in entering upon that life our subject, although used to a different order of things, had determined to follow the usual custom of that time in this regard. There are sod houses and sod houses, everything depending upon the builder. Concerning that of our subject, it is sufficient to say that after being in use for fifteen years, it is still better than many in the first year of their erection. There is something particularly picturesque and refreshing to the traveler who has been riding over the prairie for hours, and, wearied with his journeying, sees before him in the distance what at first appears a beautiful green bank, but upon nearer approach resolves itself into a human habitation--a home. A sod house can be made not simply habitable, or even comfortable, but "a thing of beauty, and a joy," for the term of its existence. Such is the home of our subject. The site of this sod house measures 20x50 feet, and, as above stated, is still the home of our subject, and has continued to be thus used for fifteen years, and within it have been spent the happiest years in the whole history of Mr. and Mrs. Meserve.
The farm of our subject comprises 390 acres, all under the plow. The remainder of the section he has filled up with two tenant houses and their grounds. Near his own house our subject has an unusually fine grove of cottonwood trees, and upon the east side of the section he has fifteen acres, in which he has planted fruit trees, including apple, pear, plum. apricot and similar fruits. He has also set out groves of shade trees in different parts of the place. An additional feature of beauty and utility is the fish pond he has constructed upon the most scientific principles, and has stocked with much care. In the operating of his farm Mr. Meserve keeps five teams constantly employed. The barns, stabling, granaries, cattle sheds and other necessary farm buildings are models in their line,
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