GAGE COUNTY 511
he has been enabled to increase the original acreage of his land by the purchase of eighty acres of adjoining land on section 35, and forty acres of land on section 36, buying his present home in this county in the spring of 1887.
This brief record of the life of our subject shows him to be a man well worthy of the respect and confidence of his fellow-citizens. In his political sentiments he is an earnest Republican, although he was reared in the midst of slavery.
It is worthy of remembrance in view of the present Presidential campaign of 1888, and of the illustrious candidate of the Republican party, that Mr. Acton cast his first vote for William H. Harrison. Our subject takes a deep interest in the development of this part of the country, to which he has contributed so much time and energy, and he cheerfully aids all proposed improvements, but he is not an aspirant for office, preferring the peace and comfort of his own fireside to the responsibilities and worries of public life.
ILLIAM WOOLSEY, Supervisor of Lincoln Township, is also one of its leading farmers, and owns 160 acres of good land on section 6. He came to this place in the winter of 1880, and has since bent his energies to its improvement. He has now a good farm dwelling with barns and outbuildings to correspond, a fair assortment of live stock, and all the other appliances of the modern agriculturist.
Mr. Woolsey came to this section from McKean County, in the northwestern part of Pennsylvania, where for a period of five and one-half years he had been engaged with the State Line Oil Company. In his capacity as foreman he became thoroughly familiar with this valuable product of the subterranean earth, and was greatly interested in the experiments and discoveries made throughout the oil regions in general of the Keystone State. From 1864 until 1880 he was almost uninterruptedly engaged in the matters pertaining to the development of this product.
Our subject was born in Fairview, Erie Co., Pa., March 8, 1843, and is the son of Joseph Woolsey, a native of Dutchess County, N. Y. His paternal grandfather and his great-grandfather bore the Christian name of Sampson. The latter was a native of England, and crossed the Atlantic as an officer of the British Revenue under King George III. Being an intelligent man, he soon perceived the justice of the cause of the Colonists, and accordingly arrayed himself on their side. A large reward was offered by the King for his capture, dead or alive, as he had been a very efficient officer, and was a man of more than ordinary capabilities. He eluded the vigilance of the British, however, did good service as a Revolutionary soldier, and after the conflict was ended settled in Dutchess County, N. Y., where he spent the remainder of his life. Sampson Woolsey, Jr., succeeded his father on the old homestead in Dutchess County, and there died at a ripe old age. He carried on farming, and reared a family of seven sons and one daughter, of whom Joseph, the father of our subject, was the fourth child; all are deceased. Joseph Woolsey was born at the old homestead in Dutchess County, where he spent his boyhood and youth, and after leaving the district school learned the trade of blacksmith. While still unmarried he left his native place, and migrating to Cuyahoga County, Ohio, established a smithy near the town of Cuyahoga Falls. There also he was married to Miss Hettie Brown, a native of that county, and the daughter of Judah Brown. The latter was born in one of the New England States, where he was reared to manhood, and learned the trade of shoemaker. While still a young man he also emigrated to Cuyahoga County, Ohio, where he followed his trade in connection with farming, and where his death took place from a cancer on the face, about 1856.
Joseph Woolsey, the father of our subject, after his marriage left the Buckeye State, and settling in Erie County, Pa., followed his trade there until his death, which took place in 1860, at the advanced age of seventy-six years. The mother survived her husband a period of nineteen years, and her death took place at the age of seventy-seven. Joseph Woolsey was an old-line Whig, politically, and both parents were members in good standing of the Baptist Church. Our subject has in his possession an ancient wine glass of Holland manu-
512 GAGE COUNTY
facture, a curious and handsome article, which was brought to America by one of his ancestors prior to the Revolutionary War. Joseph Woolsey was imbued with the same patriotic sentiments that actuated his father before him, and later did good service in the War of 1812, together with Judah Brown, the maternal grandfather of our subject.
The subject of this history was the youngest of twelve children, four sons and eight daughters, born to his parents. All the sons and five of the daughters are still living, making their homes in the States of Minnesota, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania. William was reared to manhood in his native county, acquiring a common-school education. After the outbreak of the late Civil War he enlisted. Aug. 9, 1862, in Company C. 145th Pennsylvania Infantry, under Capt. Loomis and Col. H. L. Brown. The regiment was assigned to the Array of the Potomac, and fought its first battle at Antietam, Sept. 17, 1862. On the 13th of December following they were present at the battle of Fredericksburg, Va., and here Mr. Woolsey received a bullet wound through both thighs, and crippling his left ankle. This, it is hardly necessary to say, confined him for a time in the hospital, and incapacitated him for further service. He received his honorable discharge in the spring of 1863, and returned to his old home in Erie County, Pa.
Mr. Woolsey early in life had been taught those habits of industry which form the basis of all true manhood, and while young in years was thrown upon his own resources, becoming familiar with hard work. Upon retiring from the service he migrated to the oil regions of Pennsylvania, and there began an apprenticeship which continued for a period of fourteen years. He was married in Erie County, July 2, 1872, to Miss Hannah Wolf, who was born in Mill Creek Township, that county, Feb. 9, 1848. She is the eldest daughter and child of Henry and Caroline (Hayberger) Wolf, who were natives of Tennessee, and who are still living, continuing at the home which they have occupied so many years in the town of North East, Erie Co., Pa. They have attained to a ripe old age, and are numbered among the most highly respected people of that region. Their family included seven children, six of whom are living.
Mrs. Woolsey was reared and educated in her native county, and lived with her parents until her marriage. She and her husband have no children, but have performed the part of parents to a girl and boy, Mary C. and George H., to whom they have given their own name, and who are now fourteen and eleven years old respectively, and continue with them. The Wolf family is of German ancestry, and possesses in a marked degree the reliable and substantial qualities of that nationality. This branch of the family possesses those social and mental qualities which have fitted them to occupy a leading position in the community, where they are the encouragers of those projects tending to the highest good of its people. Mr. Wolf in about 1856 became identified with the People's Savings Bank at North East, Pa., with which he is still connected. Since the time of casting his first vote he has been an ardent supporter of Democratic principles, and socially, belongs to the Masonic fraternity, being a member of Lodge No. 399, at North East, Pa. Mr. Woolsey, politically, votes with the Democratic party; socially, he belongs to the Masonic fraternity, Lodge No. 26, at Beatrice; he is also connected with the G. A. H., Post No. 201, at Plymouth, Jefferson Co., Neb.
HOMAS HAND is a fine representative of the enterprising and energetic young farmers of Gage County who are nobly doing their part toward sustaining and developing its great agricultural interests. He is a son of John Hand, whose biography may be found on another page of this volume. Mr. Hand already has his farm on section 35, Paddock Township, under good tillage, supplied with the necessary buildings, and stocked with cattle of good grades, and he may well feel proud of what he has accomplished within a few years.
Mr. Hand was born Oct. 31, 1857, in the State of Ohio, and there the first years of his life were passed. He was a lad of eleven years when the removal of his parents and their family to Clinton County, Iowa, took place. There the next ten years of his life were spent, and he grew to be a
GAGE COUNTY 513
man, sturdy, vigorous and self-reliant, well able to make his own way successfully in the world, he was twenty-one years of age when he came to Nebraska with his parents. He made his first purchase of land of the Government, buying eighty acres on section 35, and had just money enough to meet the payment. He set to work with a will to improve it and get it under cultivation, and he prospered so well in his farming ventures that he was subsequently enabled to buy forty acres of land adjoining his own, in the same section, purchasing it of his sister, who had taken it under the provisions of one of the land acts and had proved upon it. He now has a valuable farm, well adapted both to grain and stock raising, in which he engages quite extensively with good financial success.
Mr. Hand was married, April 9, 1885, to Miss Bessie Craven, a daughter of Isaac and Ellen Craven. Mrs. Hand was born in England, and when a child of four years came to the United States with her parents. They located in Montgomery County, Iowa, and there Mrs. Hand was reared and educated. In September, 1881, Mr. and Mrs. Craven removed with their family to Marshall County, Kan.
Mr. Hand is a young man of good habits and sound principles; he is intelligent and well informed, and is classed among the best citizens of Paddock Township. He takes quite an interest in political questions of the day, and is a firm supporter of the Republican party. He and his amiable young wife are members of the Evangelical Methodist Church, and they are zealous workers within its fold.
EORGE R. GREER, at present a well-known resident of the city of Beatrice, has spent the most active years of his life as a farmer and stock-raiser, in which business he met with uniform success, accumulating a fine property. Marshall County, Ind., was his early tramping ground, he having been born in the vicinity of Plymouth, Aug. 15, 1842. His father, John Greer, was farmer and carpenter combined. The latter was born in Virginia in 1806, and is now living in Bourbon, Ind.
The mother of our subject was in her girlhood Miss P. M. Parks, and was born in Kentucky, in 1814. The household circle included seven children, six sons and one daughter, of whom six are living, namely: Elizabeth, James M., George R., John F., Marshall F. and Oliver P. George H. was the third child, and spent his time after the manner of most farmer's sons, attending the district school and assisting in the lighter labors around the homestead. Soon after reaching his majority he commenced farming on his own account, settling on a new and heavily timbered tract of land near Bourbon, Ind., consisting of eighty acres, which he cleared and upon which he effected considerable improvement, and where he continued to live until the spring of 1877.
The 1st of April in the year above mentioned found our subject looking around in this county for a permanent settlement. He first located in Nemaha Township, and after living there a year changed his residence to Logan Township, where he purchased 320 acres of new land, upon which he settled and set himself vigorously about its improvement. This locality pleased him and here he continued to reside, adding each year something to the value of his property. He subsequently purchased eighty. acres more, and is now the owner of 400 acres in one body. He has it substantial and commodious residence, a good barn, and all the other out-buildings required for his convenience and for carrying on agriculture in a profitable manner.
Mr. Greer some years ago turned his attention largely to the raising of cattle and hogs, and in the feeding and shipping of these has realized a snug fortune. The family removed from the farm to Beatrice in March of 1885, the parents being anxious to secure for their children a better education than could be obtained in the country schools. Mr. Greer purchased a neat residence on Ella street, where they have since sojourned. The wife of our subject, to whom he was married Oct. 4, 1862, was in her girlhood Miss Margaret Martin, and their wedding took place at her home in Bourbon, Ind. Mrs. Greer was born near Chillicothe, Ohio, Sept. 2, 1843, and is the daughter of Franklin and Louisa Martin, who were natives of Massachusetts. The father is deceased. The mother lives near Bourbon,
© 2004 for the NEGenWeb Project by Pam Rietsch, Ted & Carole Miller