502 GAGE COUNTY
A year later, upon the return of the parents to Beatrice, he accompanied them, and when seventeen years old entered the office of the Beatrice Express to learn the printer's trade, a good knowledge of which he gained in the course of his three-years apprenticeship. He was, however, destined to a different sphere, and about 1878 received the appointment of Deputy Postmaster, first under Albert Towle and later under Jacob Drum, serving in this capacity a period of three years.
Mr. Emery entered the Clerk's office as a Deputy in 1881, and after the satisfactory performance of the duties therewith connected for a period of four years, he was elected County Clerk, in 1885, and re-elected in 1887. He has excellent business capacities, is conscientious in the performance of his official duties, and has made a record altogether creditable to himself and satisfactory to the people at large. In July, 1884, he was united in marriage with one of the most estimable young ladies of this county, Miss Julia A. McGee, who was born in Bolton, Vt.. and is the daughter of Andrew H. and Mary McGee, who were natives of Vermont, and are still residents of the Green Mountain State. Of this union there is one child, a son, Calvin A., who was born March 14, 1886. The home of Mr. and Mrs. Emery is pleasantly located in the northern part of the city of Beatrice, and they enjoy the friendship of a large circle of acquaintances, composed of its choicest people. Mr. Emery cast his first Presidential vote for Garfield, and in his political views is a decided Republican.
HOMAS J. RILE, of Blue Springs Township, is numbered among the solid men of this county, and is a good citizen, who has made for himself an enviable record and hosts of friends. A native of McDonough County, Ill., he was born at his father's rural homestead, five miles from the then village of Macomb, May 22, 1854, and is the son of William H. Rile. The latter was born in Montgomery County, Pa., April 26, 1811, and leaving the Keystone State when a young man twenty-seven years of age, emigrated to Warren County, Ohio, settling there in 1838. Five years later he changed his residence to Jersey County, Ill., and in 1840 to McDonough County, where he carried on farming and remained until 1882.
The mother of our subject was in her girlhood Miss Eliza Plowman, and the parental family consisted of six children, four sons and two daughters, three of whom are living. Elizabeth is single and at home; Georgia married W. S. Bouriie, and is a resident of Beatrice, Neb. ; they have two children --Fanny and Etsel. The parents came to this county in the spring of 1882, and make their home with our subject. The property of Mr. Rile lies two miles east of the city of Blue Springs, and comprises a well-cultivated farm 160 acres in extent. The buildings are neat and substantial, the barns and other outhouses all that are required for comfort and convenience, and the homestead in all respects has about it the air of peace and plenty, which is one of the most attractive features of rural life.
Mr. Rile was married, Sept. 20, 1883, to Miss Mary McMillan, who was born in McDonough County, Ill., March 26, 1863, and is the daughter of John and Catherine (Kelly) McMillan, who were natives of Scotland; the father is deceased, and the mother is living in McDonough County, Ill. Of this union there have been born three children, two living, Frederick and Everett B. The deceased child, Alta, died when two and a half months old.
William H. Rile, the father of our subject, is a well-educated man, and during the early history of his section of Illinois was an important factor in its growth and development. Endowed with more than an ordinary degree of common sense, he was one of the most enterprising and useful pioneers of McDonough County. He lived there during an important period of its development, and during the construction of the Chicago, Burlington & Quincy Railroad, which resulted in the establishment of new towns along its line. Mr. Rile being the County Surveyor, was efficient in the laying out of these places, some of which have grown to importance, among them the little city of Bushnell. He located on a tract of land which is now five miles east from the present city of Macomb, being among the very first to venture out upon the fertile
GAGE COUNTY 503
prairie, the settlers having previously clung to the timber under the erroneous impression that the prairie was valueless. Mr. Rile became widely known in that region, and was numbered among its most highly respected farmers. He reared a family, the members of which do him honor in their standing as citizens, and their usefulness in promoting the moral well-being of society. Thomas J., the subject of this sketch, especially, is a man in whom everybody has confidence, and who is held in universal respect.
ILLIAM P. YULE. The water supply of Gage County is one of which many might be envious, and of which it must be proud, because its facilities are largely increased thereby, its grain and stock farms are of far greater value than they otherwise could be, its crops surer, even in drouth years, and the cattle upon its broad acres are not called upon to suffer as in other places in similar seasons. Grant Township has its full quota of this and the other natural advantages bestowed with such lavish hand by good Dame Nature in this part of her domain. The farm of the gentleman whose life is here succinctly traced, located upon section 15 of Grant Township, possesses its full share of these. Soap Creek, a stream fed by springs innumerable, gives a good supply of fresh water to all the pastures on this property, which to a stock farmer such as our subject is invaluable. The farm, in addition to this, is well and admirably situated, and the face of the country in this district is such as makes it especially desirable for stock purposes, its rich soil amply rewarding the husbandman also for his toil.
Since his coming to the county in 1882 the subject of this writing has devoted himself to the improvement of his property by the erection of barns, stabling, granary, cattle sheds and pens, and all the divers buildings needed upon a stock and grain farm also the putting up of a dwelling that should be in keeping with his social position and demands of his family. He has now a most thoroughly equipped ranch and pleasant, comfortable home. His particular care is given to the raising of stock.
Our subject came to Nebraska from Mercer County, Ill., where he had a farm of 160 acres, which he had owned for about twenty years, and had brought to a very advanced state of fertility and productiveness, supplying it with all the necessary buildings for his purpose, as he has also done for his present property. Mr. Yule was born Feb. 6, 1826, in Cayuga County, N. Y. His family is of Scotch ancestry. His father was a native of the above State, and followed the occupation of a shoemaker. Later in life he became a farmer in Livingston County, N. Y., where he died at the age of fifty-two years. The maiden name of his wife, the mother of our subject, was Permelia Guyle. She survived her husband several years, and after his death went to Illinois, thence removed to Anamosa, Jones Co., Iowa, where she died at about seventy years of age.
Of nine children born to his parents, most of whom are now deceased, our subject was the firstborn, he was about six years of age when his parents removed to Livingston County. N. Y., and continued to reside there until he had attained his majority. He obtained a fair education (at that time it would have been called good) in that county. and subsequently began teaching school, occupied at the same time in reading law, which, upon being admitted to the bar, he began to practice at Mt. Morris. It was not long before he had built up a remunerative practice and represented an extensive clientage, but his assiduous labors began to tell upon his health, and he was finally compelled to quit his practice, and removed to Ogle County, Ill. Thence he went to Henderson County, and finally settled in Mercer County, of the same State.
While thus pleasantly engaged our subject embraced the opportunity of bringing into his life a completer and fuller felicity by taking as his wife Miss Esther Harsha. This interesting event was celebrated Feb. 4, 1857. The lady of his choice was born May 24, 1830, in Washington County, N. Y. Her parents were David and Nancy (Harsha) Harsha, who, although bearing the same name, were not previously related. The husband was a native of Ireland, his wife of Washington County, where
504 GAGE COUNTY
they were married and settled to farming life. Both died at an advanced age upon the old homestead. They were the parents of eleven children, their daughter Esther being the ninth. The youngest child had attained thirty-three years of age before the first member of this interesting family was removed by death; all but one were married, and all but three are now living; the youngest of the surviving members is fifty-two years of age.
The wife of our subject was educated at Argyle, N. Y., and knew no home other than that of her parents until our subject took her to grace his own. They are the parents of two children, viz: Maggie J., who is now happily married to Frank Boggess, a photographic artist at Astoria, Fulton Co., Ill., and Henry L., who remains at home, and is his father's chief assistant in the operation of his extensive farm.
Our subject is identified, in political matters, with the Republican party; he has filled with much credit to himself and satisfaction to the people the office of Justice of the Peace, in which his fine sense of justice, his law experience and clear intellect, greatly assisted him in rendering right and impartial judgment. The religious connections of Mr. and Mrs. Yule are with the United Presbyterian Church, and their membership was in the local congregation of Norwood, Ill. They are held in the highest possible regard by all their fellow-members, and in society, at large none are more esteemed. Their home is such as one might well envy, and their personal character is worthy of all emulation.
DIBBLE. In Blakely Township, and upon section 12, is an exceptionally fine farm some 520 aces in extent, known throughout the State as the Blue Mound farm. It were very difficult to find in Nebraska a more delightful. situation; the house is situated upon one of the higher points of ground, not far from where the Big Blue River winds its way, broad, deep, bright and silent, throughout the entire length of the farm. Along its banks for a considerable distance are heavy timber growths of walnut, ash, maple, elm, cottonwood, willow and mulberry trees, affording in summer luxuriant, cooling shade, and in winter, a most grateful shelter from wind and storm. Beyond and around the ground billows away in gentle undulation or heavier rolling prairie, and yet so considerable is the altitude that from the house, looking away to the southeastward, can be plainly seen the spires, towers, and to some extent, the buildings of the city of Beatrice, and the reflection of the electric lights can be seen in the mirror from the bed which Mr. and Mrs. Dibble occupy. The intervening space is filled, as is all the country round, with well-cultivated farms and long stretches of pastoral ranch land. Such are the surroundings of the home of our subject, and the above may serve as a "hint," at least, of the beauties with which nature has lavishly endowed this delightful spot.
The homestead of our subject upon the above land dates from the year 1865; since that time Mr. Dibble has made a well-nigh national reputation as a sheep-farmer and breeder of the higher grades and thoroughbred stock. As noted above, his land, and in fact that of the entire district, is peculiarly adapted to stock-raising, the climate also being propitious. The presence of the Blue River, which affords an inexhaustible supply of pure living water, coupled with the beautiful and immense groves, and the abundance of succulent, nutritious grasses, all combine to make the ranch of our subject exceptionally available for his purpose. To those who know the rigors of winter in that latitude and the opposite extreme of summer, it would be a matter of surprise to learn that large numbers of stock of all kinds can winter without any shelter than that supplied by the woods upon the ranch, and that without any considerable discomfort, and a loss of less than one per cent.
In the matter of stock-raising Mr. Dibble is by no means a tyro; his whole life has been a constant accumulation of intellectual power to this end, and Nebraska has received from him very much as the one who has largely helped to bring it into prominence as a stock-raising country. Along the line of his business he is very enterprising, and possesses a full quota of Western go-aheaditiveness. In quite a number of instances he has exhibited stock, and in the large majority of cases has carried off
GAGE COUNTY 505
the best of the awards. He indulges in the pleasure of devoting special attention to raising a high grade of Poland-China hogs, Merino sheep, Durham cattle and Norman and Percheron horses.
The reputation of our subject has been made, perhaps, more along the line of sheep-raising than any other, and he has identified himself with the raising exclusively of Merinos, having become one of the largest feeders and shippers of the State, and has the honor of having shipped the first $1,000 worth of wool out of Southern Nebraska. He commenced this branch of the business in the year 1871, having then one ewe, and from that beginning has gone on year by year, ever increasingly successful. He has owned and managed flocks of 1,500 head but usually averages about 1,000. Some idea of the value of the produce may perhaps be gained from the fact that our subject has shipped from his ranch to Boston a carload of wool, receiving for the same the sum of $2,000.
The same energy and spirit of progress that has made him so successful as a farmer and stock-raiser, he has brought to bear upon his surroundings, and has been delighted by it to advance the interests of the county at large, and quite a large number of the neighboring farmers and citizens are located as the result of the hospitality, courtesy and intelligent information communicated and extended by our subject, and at all times he has been ready to sustain such enterprises as were for the benefit of the county or community.
Mr. Dibble is a native of Somersetshire, England, where he was born in Mark Parish, March 1, 1836. The father of our subject was Richard Dibble, a native of the same county, where his family had lived for generations, a thrifty, sturdy race, as the oak, the national tree. As a young man he entered the employ of the "lord of the manor," and later married Charlotte Banfield, who was born in the same parish as himself and had grown up to mature years with him. She first saw the light in the house of the old Temple farm, round which gather a thousand sweet, lingering memories of the family. This farm was part of the property of the Diocesan Bishop of the Established (Episcopal) Church, which church was the religious home of both families for generations. The Temple farm had throughout all its history been the home of the Banfield family, as, likewise, the old farmhouse near the Plach farm, where our subject was born, had been to his family. It is not, therefore, surprising that Mr. Dibble looks forward with a pleasurable delight that thrills his entire being to revisiting in the near future these well-remembered scenes and places. Whenever this occurs it will be the happiness of our subject to be able to impart to his friends and relatives upon the other side much practical information regarding America and Americans, and to describe with graphic lucidity the varied phases of pioneer life in the Great West, as well as that of its unparalleled progress and development.
After the marriage of the parents of our subject they settled near their native place, and Mr. Dibble, Sr., continued after the death of his first, and also his second wife, and there also married his third. After some years, during which several children were born of this third family, Mr. Dibble removed, and with his wife and family emigrated to the United States and located in Yorkville, Racine Co., Wis. In this place, after a settlement of some years, the father and step-mother of our subject went to their last rest. The third wife died in 1881. at the age of fifty-three years, the father having preceded her to the better land in 1870, aged about seventy years. The first and second wives of Mr. Dibble, and seven of his children, repose beneath the sod in the churchyard of St. Mark's Church in Somersetshire. The family of this gentleman included about twenty children.
Our subject was one of two children by the second marriage, the other being his sister Charlotte, now Mrs. Ostrom, of Grand Rapids, Mich. The brother and sister were separated for a period of twenty-one years, and met at Grand Rapids but a few years since, and from that time our subject has made a practice of visiting her at regular intervals. He was sixteen years of age when he came with his father and step-mother to the United States, and settled at Yorkville, where he continued until he attained his majority. Then for a few years he traveled throughout the South and West, and being of an observing and inquiring disposi-
506 GAGE COUNTY
tion, he gathered a vast store of curious, amusing and instructive information. In his Western journeyings he stood amid the stupendous and over-whelming magnificence of the Rocky Mountains, and also crossed the apparently limitless extent of Nebraska's rolling prairies. This was as early as the year 1857. and while he was yet unmarried. From thence he drifted back to the Wisconsin home, reaching it in the year 1859, and from that time on continued industriously and steadily in farming until 1864, when he went into the service for the defense of his adopted country, serving in the 1st Wisconsin Heavy Artillery, but although in the service for about eight months, he did not happen to be in many major engagements, and in April of 1865 received an honorable discharge.
At Waterford, not far from the Wisconsin home of our subject, he was united to Miss Johanna Johnson, on the 23d of April, 1860, who was born near the city of Christiania, Norway, Nov. 15, 1833. She is the daughter of John Johnson, a native of the same county, by occupation a farmer. The maiden name of her mother was Anna Hanson, a native of the same place. Her father died at the same place in which he was born, in the year 1839, while yet in middle life. His widow survived him many years, and died at the home of her daughter, Mrs. Dibble, and had then attained the advanced age of eighty-one years and six mouths, dying March 21, 1885. She had spent the last year and a half of her life with her daughter, from whom she had been separated for thirty-three years by the Atlantic and half the western continent. Such a journey at so advanced an age is very unusual, and is only possible by reason of the facile transit in the floating and rolling palaces of modern travel. Until that date she was the oldest lady who had crossed the Atlantic. She had all her life been a devout member of the Lutheran Church, and died in the comfort of the Christian faith; she was a grand, noble, motherly woman, and greatly beloved in her own land, and although her life in this country was of such short duration, the same womanly graces had won for her a large circle of friends.
After Mr. and Mrs. Dibble were married their efforts were united and their ambitions one in regard to the desire to build a home for the future. They decided therefore, to brave the West with its pioneer hardships, trials and difficulties, and proceeded hitherward even before the aborigines had deserted it. They accordingly settled in what is now Nebraska. It was not altogether unusual for Indians to camp upon his farm, and once or more as many as 400 or 500 of the Otoe tribe made their camp in the vicinity of his home. Upon one occasion our subject was badly scared while returning from the settlement that has since grown to be the city of Beatrice. He was nearing his house, where he had left his wife and family, and heard near by a noise, strange. unusual and unaccountable. His fear's taking shape in a moment, he supposed that his family were being massacred, and leaving his team rushed to the house, where his affectionate solicitude was satisfied to find that there was no danger; but the noise was still unaccounted for, and it was only later that he discovered that the scare was needless and without foundation, its cause and originator being a strange animal of the bovine tribe that had strayed into the neighborhood. This Mr. Dibble tells partly as a joke upon himself, and yet it points to the fact that their life was not without danger nor lacking in adventure.
The family of Mr. and Mrs. Dibble includes six children, whom it has been their pleasure to see well started in life, and who evidence those manly traits and womanly attributes that are so desirable and indispensably integral factors of the true nobility. The names are as follows: Charlotte A., Alla M., Harry A. J., Etta M., Lillie D. and Lucy F. A. The eldest daughter is the wife of Palmer Stevenson, a builder and contractor at Lincoln; her sister Alla is happily married to Oliver C. Sherman, a farmer of Blakely Township, operating a part of the homestead, together with her brother. The latter is the husband of Ellen Shattenkirk. The three younger members of the family are still at home.
Mr. Dibble still continues his faithful allegiance to the religious faith in which he was reared, and which has been to him a guide and comfort throughout the years of his life. His wife, likewise, continues in the faith of her fathers. He is socially connected with the fraternity of the A. F. & A. M.,
GAGE COUNTY 507
and is a member of Blue Lodge No. 26, in Beatrice. His political faith is along the line of the principles of the party founded by Jefferson, and so ably represented at the White house in the person of President S. Grover Cleveland and his most estimable lady. Enough has been said concerning our subject to indicate to the reader the character, aspirations and disposition of the man, and further remark would be superfluous. While such men are at the head of our households, while such wives and mothers as Mrs. Dibble have the care and training of the children of the Republic, America must and will rise in the scale of nations, and advance in every quality, attribute and power that makes a nation great, and that without any fear of retrogression.
At one time Mr. Dibble acted as reporter for the Agricultural Department at Washington, D. C., for Southeastern Nebraska, many of which have appeared in the monthly reports from the department of agriculture.
OHN L. HILL. The home surroundings of this gentleman are more than ordinarily pleasant, and as the natural consequence in the case of the man who helps himself, he has been assisted by "all the favoring winds that blow" to a generous portion of the good things of this life, namely, a competency and a host of friends, which comprise a large proportion of this world's treasures.
Our subject is the offspring of a good family, being the son of Nathan Hill, who was a native of Luzerne County, Pa., where he was reared to manhood and married Miss Judith Billhimer, whose birthplace and childhood's home was not far from that of her husband's. They lived in that locality for a time after their marriage, the father engaging in farming, and about 1853 emigrated to Lee County, Ill. There also Nathan Hill pursued his former occupation of farming, and departed this life at his home in South Dixon Township, in June, 1876. The mother still survives, and makes her home on the old homestead in Lee County, Ill.
To Nathan and Judith Hill there were horn eleven children, seven sons and four daughters. Of these all are living; six are residents of Illinois, one of Minnesota and four of Nebraska. John L., our subject, was the fifth child, and was born in Luzerne County, Pa., Dec. 27, 1845. He was a little lad eight years of age when his parents removed from the Keystone State to Illinois, where he was reared to manhood and acquired his education in the common schools of Lee County. Early in life he became familiar with farm pursuits, and with the exception of one year spent in St. Joseph, Mo., was a resident of that county until going to Iowa, in March, 1873.
In the Hawkeye State Mr. Hill followed farming for a period of four years, then determined to cast his lot with the people of this county. In 1879 he selected a tract of land 160 acres in extent., and embracing the east half of the northwest quarter of the west half of the northeast quarter of section 31, in Glenwood Township, and since that time has given his attention to its improvement and cultivation. He has now a neat. and substantial set of frame buildings, fruit and shade trees, improved farm machinery, a fair assortment of live stock, and the other essentials of the modern profitable farm estate. The evidences of enterprise and intelligence are to be seen oil every hand, and the homestead in all its appointments forms one of the most attractive pictures in the landscape of this region.
In addition to the other good things which have fallen to the lot of our subject he has been fortunate in the selection of a wife and helpmate, Mrs. Hill possessing those qualities most essential to the comfort and happiness of a home, namely: thrift, industry, neatness and cheerfulness. She was in her girlhood Miss Frances J. Black, and they were married at the home of the bride, in Page County, Iowa, Dec. 25, 1878. Mrs. Hill is the daughter of James and Susan (Wolfe) Black, who were natives of Washington County, Pa., where they settled after their marriage and lived until emigrating to Lee County, Iowa, at a very early day. Thence they went into Page County, Iowa, about 1853, where they now reside, the father carrying on farming. They are the parents of seven children, four sons and three daughters, of whom Mrs. Hill was
508 GAGE COUNTY
the fifth child. She was born in Page County. Iowa, Oct. 29, 1859, and reared to womanhood in that county. Her education was acquired in the common schools, and she remained a member of the parental household until leaving it to preside over one of her own.
To Mr. and Mrs. Hill there has been born one child only, a son, Raymond, March 31, 1880. He is now a bright boy eight years of age, and it is hardly necessary to say, the light of the household. Our subject keeps himself posted upon matters of general interest to every intelligent citizen, and without meddling much in politics, gives his uniform support to the Democratic party. He believes in education and all the moral reforms of the age, and is a man whose opinion is generally respected. Although having served as School Treasurer in his district, his preference is to leave the responsibilities of office to those less absorbed in the peaceful pursuits of agriculture.
ILLIAM N. ACTON, a respected resident of Paddock Township, is prosperously engaged in agriculture, owning a valuable farm, which lies partly in Gage County, Neb., and partly in the adjoining county of Marshall, in Kansas. He is pre-eminently a self-made man, as all he is and all he has he owes to his own tireless and energetic labors, he having had to encounter many adversities, and to endure many hardships in his early life that would have daunted a less resolute and courageous mind, and his personal history should serve to awaken the emulation of the youth of to-day, or of future generations, who may peruse these pages.
Our subject was born in Charles County, Md., Randall and Sedocia (McDonald) Acton, natives of Maryland, being his parents. Very early in life that saddest misfortune that can happen to a child befell him, as he was deprived by death of a kind mother when he was very young. As soon as he was large enough to work he was thrown on his own resources, as his honest, hard-working father found life too severe a struggle with poverty to properly care for his son. Under this discipline he became a manly, sturdy. self-reliant lad, well able to cope with the difficulties that beset his pathway. When William was seventeen years old the death of his father severed the last tie that bound him to the old home in Maryland, and he started on foot on the long journey across the Alleghany Mountains to Richland County, Ohio, arriving at his destination footsore and weary, having traversed a distance of 600 miles, mostly over wild and mountainous country. He subsequently went to Franklin County, Ohio, and being an honest, open-hearted lad, willing to labor, he found no difficulty in securing a position as a farm hand, and was thus employed by the month until his first marriage, which took place Sept. 9, 1839, to Miss Almira Wilcox. He then rented a farm, on which he lived until 1842. In that year he removed with his family to Henry County, Iowa, and there his first wife, a most estimable woman, passed away July 9, 1846, after a few years of happy wedded life. Two children had been born to that marriage--Emeline, who died in 1843, and George. The son, now a conductor on the Northwestern Railway, did valiant service in the late war for three years, having been a member of the first cavalry company organized in Henry County, Iowa. The second marriage of our subject, which took place in Iowa, Dec. 23, 1847, was to Miss Jemima E. Cook, who has ably seconded his efforts in establishing a pleasant and comfortable home. Their union has been blessed to them by the birth of six children, namely: Frank W., Albert B., Ella M., Oscar D., John L. and Charlie M.
In the spring of 1873 Mr. Acton removed to Wichita, Kan., and resided in that then small hamlet, a mere trading-post, until the fall of 1874, when he returned to Montgomery County, Iowa. He continued to live in that State until 1882, and then returned to this part of the country, and securing a suitable location in the northern part of Marshall County, Kan., he bought a farm, comprising eighty acres, in the Indian reservation, adjoining Gage County. In the few years that have since intervened he has been more than ordinarily successful as a farmer, and by incessant labor and able management he has made many fine improvements and brought his land to a high state of culture. He has besides made money enough so that
© 2004 for the NEGenWeb Project by Pam Rietsch, Ted & Carole Miller