GAGE COUNTY 493
On the 15th of September, 1866, Miss Hester A. Henton became the faithful companion and helpmate of our subject, and has shared with him the trials and felicities of life for many years. She is a daughter of James M. and Susan Henton, who are now residing in Oketo, Kan., and was born on the 23d of November, 1846, near Des Moines, Iowa. in which place her parents were among the early pioneers. Later she resided in Illinois, then returned to Iowa, and still later as the wife of our subject she came to Nebraska. She has been the mother of nine children, of whom Albert, Rena and an infant are deceased, and Minnie L., Susie, Ruhama, Hettie, Rebecca and Willie are living.
After his marriage our subject resided for awhile on Indian Creek, then accompanied his father to Lincoln to engage in the livery business, after which he returned to this county and took a homestead on section 11, Midland Township, on which he resided until 1877. In that year he came to his present farm on section 24. where he owns 220 acres of fine land, all under cultivation and devoted to the purposes of general farming and stock-raising. He is a breeder of high-grade Short-horn cattle, and also gives some attention to Jersey stock. He gives special attention to the breeding of road horses, and is the owner of time celebrated stallion "Bret Harte," which is one of the finest road horses in the State, and is resistered (sic) in the Second Volume of Wallace's Trotting Register. For three years our subject has kept a dairy on his farm, and disposes of the milk in Beatrice.
The farm belonging to our subject is crossed by Bear Creek, on whose banks are beautiful groves of native timber, which augment both the value and appearance of the place, while from the stream an abundant supply of water is secured for the stock, as it has its natural course near the stock barns. The house, of which a view is given in this connection, is a neat looking and commodious building, and under its roof is gathered a happy family, presided over by a loving and devoted mother, and in every respect an estimable lady.
After the Indian massacre occurred on the Little Blue River, Mr. Jones was among the first to witness the horrors of that awful scene, and help to bury the unfortunate dead. As an old resident of this County he is acquainted with its history and the progress of its development, and perhaps no one has taken a greater satisfaction in witnessing the changes that have come about from year to year than has he. He is interested in all matters pertaining to church, school and State, and his voice may be heard among those of active men in approving of all measures by which the good of the community can be secured. Politically, he affiliates with the Democratic party. Socially, he is connected with the I. O. O. F., Lodge No. 19, Beatrice Encampment No. 16, and Canton No. 5.
HERMAN P. LESTER. Few citizens of Beatrice are better known than the gentleman whose history forms the basis of the article here offered. He is a native of Connecticut, and was born at Deep River, in Middlesex County, on time 28th of February, 1844. His parents, Elijah T. and Lucy (Wolcott-Pratt) Lester, removed to DeKalb County, Ill., when our subject was about eleven years of age. His father was by trade a plasterer, stonemason and bricklayer; he located in the town of Sandwich, where, in September, 1871, he was killed by the cars. The widowed mother and her two children continued their residence in the same place for some time, and Mrs. Lester still resides there. Her son James H. is a resident of Brown County, Dak., where he is a successful farmer. Grandfather James Lester, now in his ninety-eighth year, is of Irish descent, and was born in Hamburg, Conn., where at present he makes his home.
The subject of our sketch was reared in Sandwich, Ill., and educated in the public schools. At the age of eighteen he entered the Union Army, enlisting in August, 1862, in Company A, 127th Illinois Infantry. The regiment was sent South, and attached to the 15th Army Corps, with Gen. Sherman in command. It took part in seventeen of what might be called the decisive battles of the war, chiefly those that led up to the capture of Vicksburg. Among the more worthy of mention
494 GAGE COUNTY
are: Arkansas Post, Chickasaw Bayou, near Larkinsville, Ala., and many others. He received upon the 16th of June, 1865, an honorable discharge, after a service of three years lacking two months. Upon returning to Sandwich our subject engaged in business at transferring, which he continued to follow for several years.
In 1872 Mr. Lester removed to Beatrice, and the following year began business in a small way as a liveryman. This he has continuously extended, and has supplemented at times by the purchase and shipment of stock; necessarily, and as a legitimate part of his business, he has handled a large number of horses, and has made considerable profit thereby. The points to which his consignments are mostly made would be included in the following States: Illinois, Kansas and Colorado, and Dakota Territory.
In 1883 the business of our subject had so increased as to necessitate larger and better quarters; he accordingly built a fine brick stable, which is 50x100 feet, and 27 feet in height. It has been designed with special reference to its adaptability for its purpose, and is one of the best in the county. Upon an average he uses in his business twenty horses and buggies daily. In addition to the above well-established business our subject owns 320 acres of excellent farming land, about four and a half miles north of Beatrice, the greater part of which he keeps in pasture for his horses and stock, having fifty head of the former, and twenty-five to thirty head of cattle. Upon this property he has a very excellent, commodious barn, 40x100 feet, ground measurement.
Mr. Lester was married, on the 16th of June, 1868, to Miss Agnes Blodgett, of LaSalle County, Ill., and the daughter of John C. and Nancy (Gillett) Blodgett. This lady was born at Gallipolis, Ohio, in January, 1846, and until her marriage resided with her parents and received her education at the public schools. At the time of her marriage she was a teacher. There have been born to this union three children, to whom have been given the names here subjoined: Marion, Violet L. and John E.
For two years Mr. Lester has had a seat in the City Council, and in that time made the most of every opportunity afforded him to serve his constituents. He is a stanch Republican, and is generally recognized as a tried and true friend of his party. A view of Mr. Lester's property is presented on an adjoining page.
EORGE THUMANN. This energetic and enterprising member of the farming community of Clatonia Township, owns and occupies a desirable estate on section 9, to which he has given his time and attention since the spring of 1882. He is one of the most worthy representatives of his reliable German nationality, and was born in what was then the Kingdom of Hanover, Jan. 6, 1844. His parents, Henry and Henrietta Thumann, were natives of the same Province as their son, and are now both deceased.
Our subject received a good education in his native tongue, and remained with his parents until reaching his majority. Then, desirous of better opportunities than the Fatherland afforded, he crossed the Atlantic, taking passage at Bremen on a sailing-vessel, and landing in New York City after a voyage of forty-two days. He was there employed in a brewery nearly one year, then migrated westward to Chicago, Ill., where he was engaged as a butcher two and one-half years. At the expiration of that time, longing for a sight of the old faces, he recrossed the Atlantic, and shortly afterward was married to one of the playmates of his childhood, Miss Anne Bear, the wedding taking place in March, 1869.
Mr. and Mrs. Thumann immediately after their marriage boarded a steamer bound for America, and our subject now with his young wife took up his abode in Tazewell County, Ill., where he rented a tract of land and began raising vegetables for the market at Mackinaw. He was thus occupied successfully a number of years, but in the spring of 1882 decided upon a change of location, and accordingly crossing the Mississippi came to this county, and located on the land which he now occupies in Clatonia Township. He here has 160 acres, and considering the fact that he landed in America the first time with $6 in his pocket, which constituted
GAGE COUNTY 495
his only capital when beginning life for himself in the New World, his present condition is indicative of something more than ordinary perseverance and industry. In the building up of his homestead he has reared one of the best monuments to his enterprise and perseverance which could be erected. He is a man who attends strictly to his own concerns, and stands high in the opinion of his neighbors. Politically, he votes the Democratic ticket. He has served as School Treasurer of his district three years, is public-spirited and liberal, believes in educating the young, and is in favor of everything tending toward the moral and intellectual progress of the people. He was reared a Lutheran, and loyally adheres to the faith of his childhood.
To Mr. and Mrs. Thumann there have been born six children, all living, namely: Henry, George, Matilda, Peter, Mary and Minnie. The eldest is eighteen years of age, the youngest three, and they are all at home with their parents, forming a family group of which the latter may well be proud.
OHN WILLIAM CALLAN. In the world's great hive of industry some are leaders and some are followers. Some are only fitted for followers, while some will be found in the front ranks, despite the drawbacks which may assail them. To the latter element is the world indebted for its progress, for no man can labor and contrive successfully without his operations having a material bearing upon the condition of those around him. His very example proves an impetus to many who would otherwise be slothful, while the products of his hand and brain are often wide reaching in their material effects upon the people whom he may never see or know.
These thoughts were involuntarily produced in reviewing the career of the subject of this history, who is one of the go-ahead men of Gage County, one of those not to be kept under as long as there is a top to gain. It is found that on his father's side he is of Irish ancestry, although John Callan was born in Maryland, where he was reared and married a lady whose birthplace was probably not far from that of her husband. She was in her girlhood Miss Harriet E. Hoffman, and after uniting their lives and fortunes they settled in their native State, where the death of the father occurred while he was yet a young man.
After the death of her first husband the mother of our subject contracted a second marriage, with Mr. Samuel Stanton, and is now living in Lee County, Ill. Of her first marriage there were born five children, of whom John William was the eldest. Of the others two are living, one in Odell, this county, and one in Chicago. Our subject was born in Alleghany County, Md., May 22, 1852, and came to the West with his mother and stepfather when he was about sixteen years old. He received the education commonly acquired by the farmer boy in the district school, and at an early age became familiar with the various pursuits of rural life. He lived in Lee County, Ill., until 1873, then migrating to Page County, Iowa, purchased a farm, and carried on agriculture there until the fall of 1882, when he came with his family to this county, and settled on section 32, in Glenwood Township, where he still lives. Here he has 120 acres of fertile land, which yields bounteously the rich crops of Southern Nebraska, and is rapidly instituting those improvements essential to the convenience and comfort of the modern and progressive farmer. His buildings are substantial, the fences, live stock and machinery in good condition. Among the embellishments of the place is a fine array of shade and fruit trees, planted by the hand of the present proprietor, and adding not only to the beauty but the value of his property.
Mr. Callan was married, in Page County, Iowa, Sept. 13, 1877, to Miss Eveline, daughter of John T. and Elizabeth (St. Clair) Calhoun, who were natives of Pennsylvania, but are now residents of Jewell County, Kan. Mrs. Callan was born in Cedar County, Iowa, Jan. 15, 1854, and lived there until she was three years old, when she was taken by her parents to Page County, Iowa. She was reared under the home roof, receiving a fair education, and continued at home until her marriage. Of her union with our subject there have been born four children--Floyd W., Addie M., Lizzie B. and Lois E. The eldest is ten years of age and the youngest five. They form a bright and interesting
© 2004 for the NEGenWeb Project by Pam Rietsch, Ted & Carole Miller