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was horn in Lancaster County, Pa., and was of American parentage, though his ancestors were formerly from Germany, and had been for many years American citizens, some of the Wesler family having participated in the War of 1812. The father was engaged in wagon-making, which pursuit he followed until the time of his death; in matters of politics he had all his life been an old-line Whig, and religiously, his family were connected with the Baptist Church. He was married in Pennsylvania to the mother of our subject, Miss Mary R. Rinewait, also of American parentage and German ancestry, who was born and spent her early life near Valley Forge, Pa. Her family were members of the religious denomination known as Dunkards, and she died at Tippecanoe, Ohio. in 1874, at the age of sixty-six years. Our subject was next to the youngest of a family of four children, two sons and two daughters, of whom we have the following record: Catherine was the wife of A. W. Miles, who was the Postmaster of Tippecanoe. Ohio, in which place she died; Sarah died when she was about eighteen years old; Judson, the only brother of our subject, enlisted in the 94th Ohio Infantry, and was killed at the battle of Kennesaw Mountain on the 1st of July. 1863, by a gunshot from the enemy. He was a good man and soldier, and fought bravely for his country before he fell.
Our subject remained in his native county until the breaking out of the Rebellion, when he enlisted, on the 8th of August, 1862, in the 94th Ohio Infantry, Company D, under command of Capt. H. P. Hutchins, with Col. Frizell in charge of the regiment. The latter was assigned to the Cumberland Army, and the first active engagement in which it participated was at Perryville, Ky., the next at Stone River, and then at Chickamauga. Our subject was present in all of the engagements of his regiment during the campaign, and was honorably discharged at Washington. D. C., after the grand parole of his regiment, his discharge dating May, 1865. Fortunately he never was wounded, and was able to respond to the roil call every time, discharging all his duties in a courageous and valiant manner, and proving himself the possessor of a loyal heart.
After he was released from the service of his country our subject returned to his home, and in 1870 he came to Nebraska. Three years later he was united in marriage, on the 16th of November, near Cortland, this county, to Miss Anna Newton, who was born in Cincinnati, Ohio, on the 3d of June, 1857. Her parents, William and Jane (Wilson) Newton, were also natives of that State; the father was accidentally killed while a member of the fire department of Cincinnati, and the mother still makes her home in that city, having married a second time. Mrs. Wesler was quite young when she went to Como, Whiteside Co., Ill., to make her home with her paternal grandparents, and she grew to womanhood under their kindly care, coming with them to Nebraska. She is the mother of six children, one of whom is deceased, and the others all living at home, bearing the names of Mary, Katie, Judson, Ruth and C. H. Vanwyke. Both Mr. and Mrs. Wesler attend the Mission Church in this township. The former has held some of the local offices and is at present the Assessor of the township. He is a Union Labor man in politics, and is a member of the Bricklayers' International Union. His honorable service during the late war entitles him to a membership in the G. A. R., Lodge No. 35, of Beatrice, of which he is a charter member.
ILLIAM N. SPARKS. Among the general farmers and stock-raisers of Lincoln Township, the subject of this sketch occupies a leading position, being recognized as a gentleman capable and intelligent to a high degree, and representing a good property. This is mostly in real estate, embracing 303 acres of land occupying the greater part of section 7, in Lincoln Township. It is mostly in a productive condition, and the improvements, which evince the enterprise and industry of the proprietor, have been effected mostly by his own perseverance and good judgment.
Mr. Sparks came to Nebraska from Illinois, in June, 1871. He was born farther east, in Monroe County, Ind., Aug. Il. 1855, and is consequently a young man. His father, John Sparks, a sketch of whom appears elsewhere in this work, and whose
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tragic death is remembered by many of our citizens, was born and reared on a farm in North Carolina, and removed with his parents to Indiana, where he developed into manhood. After reaching his majority he was united in marriage with Miss Martha E. Holder, a native of his own State, and who also became a resident of Indiana in her youth. Her parents likewise settled in Monroe County, and she lived with them until her marriage.
The father of our subject carried on farming in Indiana for a number of years, but after his removal to Illinois established a flouring-mill and engaged quite extensively as a grain buyer. He finally became a resident of Minonk, where occurred the death of his wife, Mrs. Martha E. Sparks, in 1869. By this calamity four children became motherless, and William N., our subject, was the elder of the two sons. The other son is a resident of Gage County, and the two daughters are still living. John Sparks had up to this time been a very successful business man, but he now met with misfortune, losing $6,000 within the space of a few months. He finally disposed of his mill and grain business, and in the summer of 1871 came to Nebraska and purchased a slightly improved farm. To this he later added more land, and at the time of his death, Jan. 12, 1888, possessed the warrantee deed to 640 acres, leaving a fine estate to his heirs. His decease was attended with circumstances unusually sad, he having been caught in a snowstorm and perished.
The second wife of John Sparks, to whom he was married in the early part of 1871, was formerly Miss Martha A. Roberson, a native of North Carolina, and who is still living on the old homestead in Lincoln Township. William N., our subject, came to this county with his father, and continued with him until his marriage, which occurred in Fairbury. Jefferson County, his bride being Miss Carrie G. Langworthy, and their wedding taking place Feb. 1, 1881. Mrs. Sparks is the daughter of W. O. and Caroline (Oldrew) Langworthy, and a sketch of her father will be found elsewhere in this work. She was born in Peoria, Ill., March 23, 1859, and came to Nebraska with her parents about 1876. Of her union with our subject there have been born three children--Chester A., Nellie and Hattie. Mr. Sparks, like his father before him, is a stanch Democrat, politically, and has served as Justice of the Peace as well as Director and Treasurer of his school district, he takes an active interest in everything pertaining to the progress and welfare of his county, and is destined to become one of its leading citizens.
OSEPH. RAMSEY. Among the characteristics of this most esteemed resident of Filley Township, is his love of and his pride in his native land and everything pertaining to the interests of her people. While having due regard for the welfare of his family and the comfort of his home, his thoughts are much with the political situation and the future prospects of the greatest Republic on earth. This spirit also existed with him at a time calling for the exposition of men's principles, during the dark and stormy days of the Rebellion, when with the patriot's zeal he went forth to fight the battles of freedom and union.
Mr. Ramsey is descended from Old Dominion stock. his parents having been born in Virginia, and the mother being of the "F. F. Vs." The father, Joseph Ramsey. first opened his eyes to the light near the town of Abingdon, about 1803. When a young man he emigrated to Iowa, taking up his abode among the pioneers of Appanoose County, where he carried on farming and probably worked some time at his trade of millwright. He was married in Abingdon, Va., to Miss Jane Berry, whose father, for her marriage portion, gave her her choice of a family of slaves or a certain amount of money. Although born and reared under the teachings of the "peculiar institution." Mrs. Ramsey was an Abolitionist and refused ownership in human flesh, taking without hesitation the money instead.
The parents of our subject continued residents of Iowa until 1870, and the mother passed away at her home there in 1868. Mr. Ramsey survived his wife a period of ten years, his death taking place in 1878. Their family consisted of eight children, three. sons and five daughters, six of whom are living: Margaret is the wife of Jonathan Cox, a farmer of Davis County, Iowa; Susan married
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John Bailey, who is tilling a portion of the soil of Hickory County, Mo.; Mary, Mrs. Snell, lives in Cheyenne County, this State; Robert is farming in the vicinity of Beaver City, Neb.; Sarah, Mrs. Jack Evans, lives with her husband on a farm in Appanoose County, Iowa; Caroline is the wife of John Flock, a farmer of Washington County, Kan.; Joseph H., our subject, was the youngest of the family.
Mr. Ramsey was born in Washington County, Mo., Jan. 31, 1843, and while yet a child, his father removed to Appanoose County, Iowa, where he developed into manhood and remained until the outbreak of the Rebellion. His schooling began at the age of thirteen years, the country having not been sufficiently settled before to warrant the establishment of schools. He was trained to habits of industry, and as soon as old enough began to assist in the labors of the farm. Although but eighteen years old at the opening of the war he enlisted the first year, Aug. 22, 1861, and with his comrades remained in camp at Jefferson Barracks, Mo., until January following. He first saw active fighting in the southwestern part of that State, with the Indians under rebel influence, and shortly afterward joined the forces of Gen. Curtis, going down the White River to its mouth, and skirmishing all along the line. The next objective point of this division of the army was at Vicksburg, and young Ramsey participated in the first attack on the city, then marched to Jackson, Miss., participating in the battle there. Thence they went to Canton, and from that place they commenced the famous thirteen days and nights march to Memphis, during which they stopped one hour out of the twenty-four just before daybreak to eat, feed and rest their exhausted animals.
In the fall of 1862, when Grant was pressing the rebels at Helena, Ark., our subject was with the force that cut them off from Holly Springs, and during one night rode the almost unexampled distance of seventy-five miles. He was present during nearly the entire siege of Vicksburg, and afterward at Memphis and Little Rock. In the vicinity of Little Rock they had under guard 200 loads of army supplies destined for that place, and guarded the outposts for a distance of twenty-five miles from Little Rock until the spring of 1864. Afterward they went home on a furlough of thirty days.
During his visit to his old home in Iowa our subject was united in marriage with Miss Sarah J. Evans, the wedding taking place at the home of the bride, March 3, 1864, and ten days later the bride and groom were separated by the departure of the latter for Memphis, Tenn., where his regiment was encamped. On the 1st of June following they received marching orders, but their destination was unknown except to those in command. After reaching Ripley, Miss., the company of Mr. Ramsey, with another, was sent to collect forage for the horses, and ran into a rebel battery. Upon the alarm being given orders were issued to prepare for an early mount the following morning. Nine days had elapsed since they left Memphis. On the 10th of June they took up their line of march at noon. Meantime the rebel General Forrest, had gathered with his forces at Brice's Cross Roads, Miss., and a desperate battle was now fought and lost to the Union cause. While protecting their supplies, Company 1, our subject's company, was captured. While surrounded by the rebels Mr. Ramsey and his comrades made a dash for liberty, putting spurs to their horses and breaking for the woods. Being unable to cross the streams with their animals they turned them loose, and throwing away their carbines, traveled four nights and slept days. When near White Station, Tenn., Mr. Ramsey, with twenty-four men, was captured by the rebels and sent to Andersonville, where he was confined until the fall of Atlanta.
At Andersonville our subject endured all the horrors and sufferings which have given that rebel stronghold its infamous place in history. Foul and insufficient food and water, exposure and suffering, formed the daily record, and swept off hundreds of the Union soldiers, whose fate could only be guessed at by their friends. After the capture of Atlanta, Mr. Ramsey and others were transferred to Florence, in the northern part of South Carolina, where they were subjected to no less hardship than before. On the 31st of January, 1865, the twenty-second birthday of Mr. Ramsey, he was delirious from the suffering of hunger and thirst, remaining so for a period of fifteen days, when, with others, he was
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taken to Goldsboro, N. C., and kept under guard until February 26, when they were exchanged. Mr. Ramsey was carried to the hospital at Wilmington. S. C., by a comrade, and although weak and emaciated he still had strength to realize the bliss of freedom, and felt that he had escaped, as it were, from the inferno to Paradise.
On the 22d of August, 1865, our subject received his honorable discharge and returned to his bride and friends in Appanoose County, Iowa. There he rented a farm for two years, then changed his residence to Taylor County, that State, where he carried on agriculture for a period of twelve years. In March, 1880, he came to this county, locating in Filley Township, and the following June purchased 160 acres of land on section 34. This was wild prairie, and the family lived in their wagon until Mr. R. could erect a shanty. This latter was 12x20 feet in dimensions, and they occupied it until in the fall, when Mr. Ramsey put up a frame house. His was the common lot of the settler in a new country, the contest with an uncultivated soil, the distant market, and all the other inconveniences attendant upon pioneer life.
There has been, however, a wonderful transformation upon the farm of Mr. Ramsey, who has now one of the most fertile tracts of land in Filley Township. In addition to general agriculture he has operated successfully as a stock raiser and feeder, shipping numbers of cattle and hogs to the market. While mindful of the welfare of his family and his home interests, no man has taken more satisfaction in witnessing the development of this county, and none have evinced in a greater measure the true principles of the public-spirited citizen. He cast his first Presidential vote for Grant, and has always been an ardent supporter of Republican principles. He holds membership in the G. A. R., belonging to the lodge at Beatrice, and is also identified with the A. F. & A. M.
Mrs. Ramsey was the second child of Jesse and Mary (Ferguson) Evans, whose family included two sons and five daughters, all of whom are living: Rachel is the wife of Hammond Ellis, a farmer of York County, this State; John is farming in Appanoose County, Iowa; Elizabeth is the wife of Jesse Payne, of York, Neb.; Margaret, Mrs. Stewart, is also living in York County; Edward E. is farming in Hamilton County, as is also John Cain, the husband of Mary. The parents were natives of Pennsylvania, where they lived until 1858, when they emigrated to Appanoose County, Iowa. Mr. Evans was born about 1818, and is now living in Hamilton County, this State; the mother died in 1858.
To our subject and his wife there have been born five children--Frank S., Minnie, Merrill, Ralph and Roy. The eldest is twenty-two years of age, and the youngest one year. They form an interesting and intelligent group, giving promise of becoming useful and reliable members of society. The family is widely and favorably known throughout this section, and Mr. Ramsey is one of the most popular men in this part of Gage County.
HOMAS J. SMITH. There is more truth than fiction in the old adage which declares that "Truth is the medium line between two extremes." The same principle is true in regard to the innate qualities or forces in the mental sphere; selfishness, unless it run to the extremes, is an essential quality in every life, though it may be above or below par, and become a life-embittering force; pride is another of such attributes; it may go to the extreme which produces the overbearing and tyrannical, or the coxcomb and fop, in the one case a source of dread, in the other of contemptuous amusement. A man without pride is also without self-respect or ambition. If there is any one case where pride is justifiable, it is that where a man with these latter qualities, self-respect and ambition, has overcome those things which are opposed to his success, and won in spite of all a home for himself and those who are the nearest and dearest integral parts of his life and happiness. The present sketch is intended to present succinctly the more prominent points in the life of such an one.
Our subject is a native of East Tennessee, and was born in that State, June 29, 1848. When he was about three years of age his parents went to McDonough County, Ill. There he was reared and received what education could be obtained in the district schools of that day. His father was by
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occupation a farmer, and from his youth Mr. Smith has been familiar with all the various phases of that life. It was the great affliction of our subjects and the calamity of his life, that in the years of childhood his mother was removed from him by death, and because no one could possibly have for him maternal affection, no one could be to him a mother.
The parents of our subject were natives of Tennessee. His father was Elijah Smith, who was born July 25, 1815, and became the husband of Eliza Collier. who was born Sept. 21, 1818, and died Aug. 31, 1842. On the 4th of April, 1844, he married Mary Winton, the mother of our subject; she was born Nov. 21, 1816. After an exceptionally happy wedded life of about nine years Mr. Smith was left with five children, of whom our subject was the fourth.
While quite a young man our subject came to Nebraska, and in the year 1871 located upon the farm where he now lives. It was not, however, at that time in any wise different from the miles of broad prairie by which it was surrounded. The deer and antelope grazed there, the wolf prowled in search of his prey, and the cayote raised his voice in dismal howling with a serene contempt for the pioneer who had intruded upon his domain. But, nothing daunted by these or less distinguished previous occupants, our subject set to work to build his house, break and improve the eighty acres which constituted his claim, and he may well be allowed a laudable pride in the good results obtained. Not only has he a very pleasant and comfortable farm dwelling, and in addition the usual barn and other out-buildings, but possesses to-day a highly cultivated, well-tilled, fertile farm, an extensive and flourishing orchard, besides a fine collection of shade and forest trees. In addition to this property upon section 9, Sicily Township, he is the owner of ten acres in the southern part of section 16, which is covered with a heavy growth of choice timber.
Mr. Smith was married, on the 2d day of July, 1874, to Miss Clara Bell, a lady in every way fitted to advance those interests which by that act she made her own. She is the daughter of John J. and Elizabeth (Kelly) Bell, who were natives of Ohio. Their daughter was born at Nevada, Ohio, on the 28th of March, 1857. The family circle of our subject includes four children, whose names are as follows: Retta, Alfredda, William A. and Maude.
Both Mr. and Mrs. Smith are members of the Methodist Episcopal Church, and it is their constant endeavor that this should be something more than in mere name, and as their endeavor is largely successful in the adornment of their profession with a consistency in everyday affairs, they are proportionately esteemed in that communion. In political matters our subject is an affiliate of the Republican party, but is somewhat inclined to withdraw himself from the heat and excitement of political affairs, and votes more with reference to the requirements of the people as he understands them, than the party to which the candidate belongs.
ARLEY J. SHAW. When we hear the name of a famous General or titled soldier our thoughts instantly revert to the inspiring scenes of the particular battlefield in which he so distinguished himself as a commander; but the honorable title expresses still more than the military prowess and skill of the bearer; it is a still broader term, and includes the loyal devotion and dauntless courage of thousands of brave men, without whose daring deeds the title could never have been won. A General may possess military genius, but if his commands do not fall on the ears of tried and true men, men of intrepid daring and unconquerable zeal, of devotion to cause and utter disregard of self, then his genius avails him naught. One of the bravest of brave soldiers who helped to maintain the honor of our famous Generals during the late Civil War, and forever placed a grateful country under obligations to him because of his zeal in her behalf, is the gentleman in whose honor we write this sketch, and not only has he distinguished himself by his honorable and ardent war career, but he has proved himself in every sense a noble, patriotic, industrious, intelligent and progressive citizen, whose name deserves to be handed down in history. Our subject is now residing on the southeast quarter of section 19, Rockford Township, where he is engaged in farming on 160 acres. His par-
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ents, Samuel and Lydia (Renulds) Shaw, were born in Onondaga County, N. Y. Both the paternal and maternal grandfathers of our subject distinguished themselves as soldiers, the former in the War of 1812, and the latter, Col. Renulds, in the Revolutionary War with Gen. Washington. He had a wonderful vitality and lived to he one hundred and four years old. The parents of our subject were married in their native county, where the father was engaged in the occupation of milling, and he afterward removed to Wisconsin, making his home at different times in Waupaca, Green Bay and Stevens Point. The father is sixty-eight years old, and the mother sixty-three years old; they make their home with our subject and his brother, Frank Shaw. There were five children in their family, who were named Harley J., Frank B., James Samuel (deceased), an infant daughter and Adolplius Samuel.
Our subject, the eldest son, was born in Onondaga County, N. Y., on the 25th of December, 1841, and was three years old when his father removed to Wisconsin. After residing in that State for five or six years the family returned to their native State, and in the common schools of Navarino, Onondaga County, our subject received his education and imbibed the precepts which have since controlled his actions. He remained in his native county until the breaking out of the war, when he enlisted in the army, in January, 1862, at Syracuse. He was mustered into service at Palace Garden, New York City, and started for Washington under command of Capt. Jennings, Battery F, 3d New York Light Artillery. They were engaged with the heavy artillery at Ft. Corcoran, and when their guns came they departed to the scenes of Bull Run, where they fought under Gen. McClellan. Among the many engagements in which our subject participated with much ardor we mention the expedition of Gen. Burnside to New Berne, N. C.; at Kingston, where he had his horse shot from under him with two balls, and sustained a desperate charge, being at the first gun which held the bridge; at Whitehall, Goldsboro, Little Washington (the latter including two engagements), and at Plymouth he distinguished himself and gave proof of his dauntless spirit. Then, under Foster's command he was detailed as a sailor, and started for Hilton Head, S. C., where they ran by old "Ironsides." He was under Gilmore at the siege of Charleston, where he was under fire for three months, and was also at Wagner, Gregg, James Island, Jacksonville, Fla., and Savannah. At the last-named place his term of enlistment expired, but he continued in the service through the engagements at Honey Hill, Ft. Telego and Seabrook Island.
In the many encounters in which our subject met the enemy he escaped without even a wound, and was never sick or absent from a battle, or failed to respond at roll call, a Divine Providence seeming to have charge of his life. He was mustered out of service at Hilton Head, S. C., and honorably discharged there on the 14th of March, 1865. He then returned to his native county, and remained with his friends until the fall of the same year, when he came to Nebraska, and took up his residence in Otoe in November, 1865. In the following winter (1865-66) in company with his father he took charge of the Otoe grist and saw mill, and that winter will always be remembered as the one in which he cast the first vote for the adoption of the State Constitution.
In the spring of 1866 our subject took up a homestead claim of 160 acres in Rockford Township, on which he still makes his home. In the fall of 1867 he married Miss Flora Andrews, and by that marriage he became the father of five children, named Lovilla L., Corey A. (accidentally shot in 1887), Addie E., Miles S., Eleanora, and Ralph, who died when one year old. The mother of these children died in 1884 at the age of thirty-three years. Our subject married a second time, on the 17th of April, 1886, Miss Mary L. Berry, a daughter of William and Eliza Berry. Mrs. Shaw was born in Iowa in 1867, and when a little girl she moved with her parents to Kansas and there grew to womanhood, coming to Nebraska in 1886. She has one son, named Clementine.
Besides being engaged in milling, our subject for a time carried on a freighting business to and from St. Joseph, Beatrice and Lincoln. In various ways and for many years has he been connected with the public institutions, and is a promoter of the public welfare in this county, having been instrumental in
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organizing the county into townships; organized District No. 133 by dividing up District No. 19 in 1888. For ten years he has been School Director, and for two terms has served as Assessor. He is a member of Rawlins Post, G. A. R., of Beatrice, and being an ardent Republican he was sent as a delegate to the Republican County Conventions in 1880, 1882 and 1884. In the judiciary courts he has served on the Petit Jury, and his name is everywhere mentioned in terms of the highest respect and praise. Both Mr. and Mrs. Shaw are influential members of the Methodist Episcopal Church, at Holmesville. Mr. Shaw is now in the prime of life, and will doubtless enjoy many years of happiness and the full fruition of his early labors, but his name will never be forgotten nor will his noble and exemplary life record be erased from the pages of the history of the State in whose behalf he has done so much.
UGUST WARDEL. There are few more worthy representatives of the German Empire than our subject, who is the owner of a beautifully kept and well-cultivated farm of 320 acres, situated on section 24 of Grant Township, of which he is a prominent citizen. The farm is watered by the Snake Creek, which makes it most valuable as a stock farm, since even in dry seasons there is a sufficiency for the cattle. The property has been in his possession since 1875, and he has since spared neither time, trouble nor expense in order to bring it to a well-nigh perfect state of agricultural efficiency, and to supply it with the divers necessities and conveniences in daily requisition upon a stock ranch. His farm buildings are unusually fine, being substantially built, commodious, and in arrangement convenient.
Previous to removal to this county our subject was a resident of Logan County, Ill., where he made his home in Lincoln for about four years, having an interest in the furniture and hardware business. He came to the United States in 1871, and located at Lincoln, being about twenty-nine years of age at that time. Previous to coming to this country he had been a resident of the city of Berlin, Germany, for about eleven years, and was there engaged in piano building. The place of his birth was the city of Kiel-Raisdarf, in Sleswick-Holstein. This interesting event occurred on the 19th of January, 1842. In this place our subject was brought up, educated, and learned the trade of furniture-making, after which he continued to work four years as a journeyman cabinet-maker, and after spending three years in various parts of the Fatherland repaired to Berlin, as above noted. He was a skilled workman, but his health failed him, and was the immediate cause of his seeking another climate and of his coming to the United States. His quest of health has not been fruitless, for he has gained this in a remarkable degree.
While residing in Berlin our subject became the husband of Carlena Bree, in the year 1866. This lady was born in Werbelin, on the 16th of December, 1843, and is a descendant of a good old German family. Both herself and husband are well educated in their native tongue, and it only required that they should become conversant with the English language in order to utilize it in this country. They are the happy parents of one son and four daughters, to whom they have given the following names: William, Anna, Clara, Lizzie and Berta. Our subject and wife are both members of the Lutheran Church, in which faith they were reared. In his political sympathies our subject is Democratic. He takes great pleasure in studying the various issues before the nation, and his former patriotic sentiments in nowise interfere with his loyalty to the Republic. He has sought to make himself thoroughly well acquainted with the institutions and government of this country, and appreciates them to the fullest possible extent, and is in fact in every way worthy of mention as a representative German-American citizen.
DWARD BARTLETT, of Blakely Township, has been well known among the people of this county for a period of nearly twenty years, having come to this locality in the winter of 1869. He has the greater portion of his life been engaged in farming pursuits, and has been successful in his labors. As a pioneer of Southern Ne-
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