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ents, James and Maria (Arnold) Roberson, were natives of the same State as their daughter, and both died in Indiana, the father in Greene County about 1857, when middle-aged. The mother afterward removed to Terre Haute, where her death took place in 1887, at the age of sixty years. They also were natives of North Carolina, and spent the greater part of their lives amid the quiet pursuits of farm life.
To our subject and his wife there were born six children, namely: James E.. Laura F., George W., Ida M., Alice and Andrew C. Of his first marriage there were born to Mr. Sparks four children: William N.; Sarah, the wife of Richard Foyes, a merchant at Diller, this county; Mary B., Mrs. Benjamin Willhoit, of Chicago, Ill.; and John J., who is unmarried and operates the homestead. The family is one of uncommon intelligence, being recognized as belonging to the useful element of the community. Mr. Sparks kept himself well posted upon current events, and uniformly voted the straight Democratic ticket. Mrs. Sparks is a lady of more than ordinary intelligence, and fulfills in a most worthy manner her duties to her children, stimulating them to good deeds and looking carefully after their mental and moral welfare.
OBERT F. HENDERSON. The history of Nebraska reveals a well-nigh unprecedented rapidity of development, of resource, settlement of country, growth of hamlets, towns and citizens, and general progress in every direction. Among the men who have devoted themselves self-sacrificing, earnestly and constantly to the attainment of this result, should ever be mentioned the name of Mr. Henderson, who is with a large measure of success operating 160 acres of land on section 21, Nemaha Township. A view of the place is shown on another page of this work.
The parents of our subject were Alexander and Mary (Lantz) Henderson. They were both natives of the Quaker State. The family upon the paternal side was of Irish extraction, and upon the maternal of German origin. They were married in Ohio, settled in Portage County, and for many years saw much prosperity as a result of their labor in the pursuit of husbandry. Later they removed to Illinois with their family of five children, and settled in Putnam County, but shortly after sold out and went to Bureau County, where, in 1880, Mr. Henderson died, aged seventy-six years. His wife, who is now seventy-four years of age, resides in Beatrice with her daughter. She is the mother of eight children, who received the names, William, James, Denisa, John C., Robert F., Walter L., Lewis R. and Leila A.
The natal day of our subject was the 30th of October, 1844, and the place of his birth, Streetsboro, Portage Co., Ohio. The first twelve years of his life were spent in this place, and the foundation was there laid, but about 1858 his parents removed to Illinois, he, of course, accompanying them. His education was completed in Putnam County, that State, and he continued upon the home farm in that county until he attained his majority. He remained in that county until 1875, and in October of that year came to this State, and for a time made his home at Firth, where he had purchased 160 acres of land some years previous. The only thing that distinguished it from wild prairie was that forty acres were broken, but there were no groves, not even a tree or shrub, nor any building upon the property. This has all been changed gradually, but as rapidly as the work could be pushed forward. Now he has a pleasant, cheerful, comfortable home, by no means lacking either in decoration or furnishing in those features that make home the brightest and most attractive place on earth. The farm too is highly cultivated, and fully supplied with the various buildings, machines, implements and conveniences required for the proper working thereof.
In the month of November of the same year that he removed to Nebraska, our subject was united in marriage with Miss Artimissia M. Steele, a lady of education, refinement, and a high order of womanly character. She is the daughter of John M. and Martha J. (Wardlaw) Steele. Her father was born in Ross County, Ohio; her mother near Bowling Green, Ky. Her parents settled after marriage in Ross County, where J. M. Steele was a merchant at South Salem. In 1853 the family removed to Put-
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nam County, Ill., and in 1874 came to Nebraska, and settled eleven miles north of Beatrice, where they still reside. Mr. Steele has attained the advanced age of sixty-five, his wife that of sixty years. Their family includes seven children, who have been named as follows: Artimissia M., Alice, Anna, Harry, Minnie. Wardlaw and Lucretia M.
Mrs. Henderson was born in Ross County, Ohio, Aug. 9, 1850, and was three years of age when her parents removed to Illinois. There she grew up to womanhood, and received in the days of youth that instruction obtainable in the common school. During the war, while her father was doing duty at the front, in Company E of the 4th Illinois Cavalry, they resided at Granville, Ill. Her father's military experience was confined chiefly to the Central Tennessee campaign. At the time of the removal to Nebraska Mr. Henderson was twenty-four years of age. There have been given to our subject and wife five children, who have been named as follows: Alice, Bessie, Frank. Lois and Robert.
Our subject was the first Moderator of the district, and has since served for five years. He is at present School Treasurer, and also Township Treasurer. In his political relations he is connected with the Republican party, and is honored and respected for his manly, straightforward and honorable conduct. In every relation he has sustained and effort made, he has unswervingly followed the dictates of his conscientious principles, and at all times looked to the interests of the county and State, as well as those of more private limit.
ARVEY O. MASON. The farming community of Lincoln Township recognizes among its members no better man than the subject of this sketch. He possesses those social qualities which have made him popular among his neighbors, and those elements of character developed in the home circle which render him careful and conscientious in the discharge of his duties toward his family and friends as well as those of public life. In his labors as a tiller of the soil he has been more than ordinarily successful, taking the best advantage of modern methods and machinery, and bringing about the most admirable results. In addition to general agriculture, he gives his attention largely to stock-raising. His farm, which is pleasantly located on section 1, forms one of the most desirable estates of the county, being embellished with good buildings, and the land in a highly fertile condition. Although being its possessor only since 1887, be has effected very material improvements in its condition. Lying about three miles from the city of Beatrice, it is consequently valuable, and will continue to grow more so as time passes on.
Mr. Mason came to this vicinity from Jefferson County, Neb., where he was at one time the owner of five farms, the land of which he mostly redeemed from its original condition through his own perseverance and industry. He has been a resident of Nebraska since 1867, first locating near the city of Omaha, where he engaged in farming two and a half years. After disposing of his property there at a good round sum, he returned to his native State of New York, whence he once more crossed the Mississippi and located in Jefferson County, this State, where he lived until coming to this county.
Our subject was born in Farmington Township, Ontario Co., N. Y., March 25, 1841, and is the son of Robinson and Mary (Brandt) Mason, who were both of New England ancestry, but born, reared and married in Ontario County, N. Y. There also they settled until after the birth of all their children, and in 1851, disposing of their property in the Empire State and bidding adieu to their old friends and associations, they sought the wilds of Columbia County, Wis., where they took up their residence, although the father as a lumberman did business largely in Portage and Chippewa Counties. Later in life the parents with the greater part of their family returned to their native State, and the father secured a fine farm in one of the choicest sections of Monroe County. He had now accumulated a fine property, and became interested in the oil regions of Pithole, Pa., obtaining from this product ample returns for his investment of capital.
The father of our subject, finally becoming seized with the Western fever, started toward the Rocky
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Mountains, and afterward became interested in the gold mines of Sweet Water Valley in Wyoming Territory. He was there engaged successfully for some time in quartz mining and in the operation of a stamping-mill. Finally he returned to the Empire State, and once more settling on the farm in Monroe County, superintended its operations until he was stricken down with paralysis, in March 1874. He lingered, however, nearly eleven years afterward, and eventually passed away at the homestead, Oct. 10, 1885, when seventy-four years old, His mind remained bright and active until his death.
The mother of our subject is still living with her two children at the old home in Monroe County. N. Y., and although seventy-four years old is still bright and active in mind and body. She is a lady of more than ordinary intelligence, and has the general oversight of her fine property. In the midst of comfort and plenty Mrs. Mason is spending her declining years, beloved by her family and a large circle of friends. In all the relations of life she has distinguished herself by that temperance of judgment and kindness of heart which will be remembered long after she has departed hence.
Harvey O. Mason was the third child in a family of five sons and one daughter, all of whom are living. He was a little lad nine years of age when the family removed from New York to Wisconsin, and remembers many of the incidents of settlement in a new county. He was there reared and educated and attained his majority. He accompanied his parents upon their return to his native State, which he left the second time about 1867, while still a single man. He met his fate in Jefferson County, this State, in the person of Miss Jennie Shindoll, to whom he was married at Plymouth, Feb. 3, 1876.
Mrs. Mason was born in Kalamazoo County, Mich., Nov. 30, 1856, but when five years old her parents removed to Racine County, Wis., where her father, Jacob Shindoll, purchased a tract of land and engaged successfully in farm pursuits. Mr. S. after the outbreak of the Civil War enlisted in a Wisconsin regiment, served in the army three years, making a good record, and returned home in safety. He is still living, his home now being in Jefferson Counts, this State, where he still carries on farming. The mother of Mrs. Mason was in her girlhood Miss Mary Nilson. The parents were natives of Germany. Their family consisted of seven children.
To our subject and his estimable wife there have been born five children, namely: Llewellyn K., Byron L., Frank G., George R. and Harvey S. The eldest is nine years of age, and the youngest one. They form a bright and intelligent group, and still continue under the home roof, being the subjects of careful parental training and receiving the education in keeping with their station and prospects in life. Mr. and Mrs. Mason are members in good standing of the Congregational Church at Beatrice, and Mr. M., politically, is a stanch Republican. He has distinguished himself as a liberal and public-spirited citizen, and to all enterprises tending to the progress and welfare of the community he lends his cordial and substantial aid. He is widely and favorably known throughout this section as one of its most useful and worthy men.
ILLIAM W. SILVERNAIL. Years hence the early history of Southern Nebraska will be valued more highly perhaps than at the present, just as rewards are frequently offered for old coins and other articles of a by-gone age, and the men who to-day are building a record for the perusal of posterity, instead of being forgotten will be recalled by the thoughtful individual, and due credit given for the manner in which they have labored to redeem a country from the wilderness and make it an abode of comfort and luxury for the generations coming after them.
These thoughts involuntarily arise in reflecting upon the career of such a man as the subject of this sketch. An offshoot of the Empire State, he is of excellent parentage, his father having been John Silvernail, of Columbia County, N. Y., and his mother in her girlhood Miss Magdalena Gardner, of Rensselaer County, that State. After marriage they settled in the former, where the father carried on farming for eight years, and then removed to Lewis County. Subsequently he changed
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his residence to Berkshire County, Mass., where his death took place at the age of fifty-three years, in 1859. The mother only survived her husband two years, passing away in the spring of 1861, when fifty-six years old. They were the parents of nine children--Margaret, James, Elizabeth, Mary, William W., of our sketch, Leonard, Amelia, Sarah and Annie.
The subject of this sketch was born in Columbia County, N. Y., in December, 1834, and was a child one year old when his parents removed to Lewis County. He completed his studies in the common schools of Berkshire County, Mass., and at the age of twenty-one resolved to seek his fortune among the pioneers of the West. Leaving New England, he set out first for Wisconsin, landing in Kenosha County in the early part of November, and began working on the farm of Mr. S. P. Shaw. Here his labors were sweetened by the companionship of Miss Rebecca, one of the charming daughters of the house, and the industry and intelligence of the young suitor commending him to the good opinion of her relatives, their marriage was celebrated some time later, Nov. 20, 1856.
Mrs. Rebecca Silvernail is the daughter of Stephen and Hannah (Hicks) Shaw, a very old and highly respected family of this county, who are inseparably connected with its history, and the leading members of which are amply represented in this volume elsewhere. Not only have they placed their sign manual upon the broad and fertile prairies of the West, but generations ago, in the time of the Pilgrim Fathers, established upon the wild New England coast, and there inaugurated the spirit of freedom to obtain which they had left their native land and dared the danger both of earth and ocean. Those sturdy spirits after battling with the elements, with war, with savages and the other ills with which Colonists contended, have gone to their reward, but a posterity has arisen which do them honor, and which, if the exigencies of the times demanded, would be no less brave than they.
During the absence of her husband, who had gone to fight the battles of his country, the paternal great-grandmother of Mrs. Silvernail escaped capture and death at the hands of the Indians by fleeing with her son Benjamin to the mountains. After the war they settled in Saratoga County, N. Y., where they were rejoined by the husband and father, and there spent the remainder of their days. That boy Benjamin was the grandfather of Mrs. S. He married, reared a family, and spent part or his life in Dutchess County. Stephen P. was the father of ten children--William, Egbert, Margaret, Emily, John B., Almira, Hannah, Rebecca, James I. and Stephen V.
Mrs. Silvernail was born in Dutchess County, N. Y., Sept. 26, 1886, where she lived until a little girl eight years of age, then accompanied her parents to Litchfield County, Conn. She attended school in both States, and was fourteen years old when the family emigrated to Wisconsin, in 1850. She completed her education in Kenosha County, the latter State, and is of the opinion that even at that early period in the history of the Badger State the school advantages rivaled those of the East. She was twenty years of age at the time of her marriage.
In the spring of 1857 Mr. and Mrs. Silvernail concluded to join the tide of emigration settling west of the Mississippi, and in company with others, whose effects were loaded onto a train of six wagons, set out for Southern Nebraska. Starting out on the 6th of May, they arrived in Nebraska City on the 23d of June, and crossed the Missouri River. On the 4th of July following they were on the Blue River, Neb. The lands of the Nemaha Valley, however, presented the fairest tract of country which they had yet found, and they accordingly returned to the vicinity of their present location, which they had passed on their way further west. Mr. Silvernail preempted 160 acres of land, and the family took up their abode in a log house. They remained there five years, then sold out. In 1862 they returned east as far as Grundy County, Ill., where Mr. S. engaged in farming until 1866, then came back to Nebraska, and here has since been contented to remain.
The property of our subject includes 160 acres of thoroughly cultivated land, upon which he has effected first-class improvements, good buildings, and the other appliances of the modern country estate. One of the most pleasing features of the prem-
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ises is the large number of trees planted by the hand of the proprietor, cottonwood, maple, white ash, elm, walnut and box elder. There is also a fine apple orchard of 150 trees, besides quantities of the smaller fruits--cherries, crabs, plums, grapes, strawberries, gooseberries, etc. Under their flourishing roof-tree there have been born six bright children, namely: Herbert, Leonard, Bertha, Sadie, and William C. (the latter twins), and an infant deceased, unnamed. The eldest son, Herbert. married Miss Minnie Disher, and is farming in Adams Township; they have one child. Leonard married Miss Lillie Nevins, and is following the trade of carpenter in Lincoln Center, Kan.; Bertha is the wife of John Galloway, of Adams Township, this county; the other children are at home with their parents.
Mr. Silvernail for a period of thirty years was identified with the Republican party, but his strong temperance sentiments led him in 1886 to wheel into the ranks of the Prohibitionists. He was the first Justice of the Peace elected on Nemaha Creek, and for nine years has officiated as Director in his school district, which is accredited with the possession of the best school in the township. He has been sent as delegate to various Republican County Conventions, his sound judgment and practical good sense making him a valuable aid to the interests of the party in this section.
Both our subject and his excellent wife have given uniform encouragement to the projects calculated to result to the best interests of their community, and Mrs. S. has for many years been a valued member of the Methodist Episcopal Church. Mr. S. was a charter member of the I. O. G. T., and during its existence of fifteen years in Adams has occupied its important offices, and officiated as a delegate to the Grand Lodge at Lincoln.
ANIEL K. NETZLY. Hanover Township has few more sterling specimens of industrious, hardworking, intelligent, honorable and progressive manhood, than is the subject of the present sketch, whose home is situated on section 6 of the above township, and who operates 560 acres of agricultural and pastoral land, divided as follows: 160 acres of his own property on the above section, 160 on section 7, in the same township, and 240 on section 1 of Holt Township. A view of the place is shown in this connection.
The subject of our sketch was born in Lancaster Township, Lancaster Co., Pa., on the 7th of October, 1846. His father went to DuPage County, Ill., in 1850. where he engaged in agricultural pursuits, and owned 157 acres of land; this was his home until 1868, in which year he died, being about fifty-five years of age; his wife survived him until the year 1883, when she also crossed the River of Death, after having attained the age of sixty-seven years. Fourteen children were born to her, eight of them being boys, and our subject was the ninth child.
It will be noticed that our subject was four years of age when he went to Illinois with his parents, and by the time he had reached his tenth year he was already becoming accustomed to the lighter duties of the farm; about that time, however, he began to follow the plow, and from that on took his place in all farm work so far as his strength would allow. Agriculture became his life occupation, and is that of which he knows the most, for there are very few things about practical farming with which he is not fully conversant, or any work he is incompetent to execute.
Mr. Netzly continued to make his home with his parents until 1886, in September of which year he was united in marriage with Eliza Hartronft, who was born in Lancaster County, Pa.; she was about one year old when her parents removed to Illinois, the date of her nativity being May, 1847. There have been five children born to Mr. and Mrs. Netzly, who are developing such characters as promise a bright future. Their names are as follows: Levi H., Burton G., Carrie A., Aggie Lucy and Nora Charlotte.
Upon starting for himself in Illinois, our subject rented a farm and was very prosperous. He came to Nebraska in the spring of 1883, and settled upon his farm on section 6, which he had purchased two years previously. He has greatly improved this property, and has devoted much time and attention to its cultivation. In stock-raising, to which our subject has latterly devoted himself more especially,
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