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upon emerging from the district school became a student at Geneva College, at Northwood, where he remained two years and until the outbreak of the Civil War. Shortly after the first call for troops he enlisted in Company D, 45th Ohio Infantry, as a private, and was sent to the West, being assigned to duty under the command of Gen. Buell. He was subsequently under Gens. Gordon, Granger and Burnside. He saw much of active warfare, being present at the seige of Knoxville, and in all the battles of the Georgia campaign. He assisted in harrassing the enemy at Buzzard's Roost, during the siege of Atlanta, was at Resaca, Altoona, and in many of the important engagements which followed. On the 4th of July, 1864, he was shot through the right leg by a minie ball, which confined him in the hospital for four months. After being wounded he did clerical duty at the headquarters of Gen. Ewing for a time, then rejoined his regiment at Nashville, and took part in that battle. To his great satisfaction he was permitted to remain with the army until the great conflict was ended, and he was mustered out on the 12th of June, 1865, at Camp Harker, Tenn.
Upon his release from military duty, Mr. Graham returned to his old haunts in Bellefontaine, Ohio, where he secured the position of clerk, but not long afterward re-established himself in the shoe trade at Huntsville, Ohio. He sold out in 1870 and accepted a position with David Torrence, a shoe merchant of New York City, as traveling salesman, and visited all the important points in Ohio and Kentucky at intervals until 1872. He then withdrew from this house to accept a position with the Wapakoneta Spoke and Wheel Factory, and again in the capacity of salesman traveled through the States of Ohio, Indiana, Wisconsin, Kansas, Nebraska, Iowa, Missouri, New York, Pennsylvania, Kentucky, Tennessee, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana. This route occupied six months, and he continued with this house until 1877.
In August of 1877 Mr. Graham located in Clay Center, Kan., where, departing somewhat from his former line of business, he opened a cigar and tobacco store. From this he withdrew in 1879, and coming to Nebraska, located in Nebraska City, and 1880 found him settled in Beatrice and engaged in the hardware trade for the following five years, operating with the firms of G. F. King and C. G. Dorsey, two and one-half years with each. In 1885 he entered the employ of the house with which he is now connected.
Mr. Graham after becoming a resident of Beatrice, was united in marriage with Miss Florence Merrill, the wedding taking place at the home of the bride, Oct. 31, 1881. This lady is the daughter of Chaplin H. and J. M. Merrill, who were natives of New Hampshire and New York. Mr. Merrill is deceased; Mrs. M. is a resident of Monticello, Iowa. Mrs. G. was born near Dundee, Ill., June 18, 1858. Of this union there is one child only, a son, Herbert Eldon. Mr. Graham is a stanch Republican, and Secretary of the Republican County Central Committee, and did efficient service during the late Presidential campaign. He was then elected a member of the Board of County Supervisors, of Gage County. He was exceedingly popular, and in fact, so assured were the opponent party of his election, that they placed no candidate on their ticket against him, he therefore receiving a unanimous election.
AMES PACKER is the son of Capt. James Packer, Sr., who was born in 1812, in Groton, Conn., on the Mystic River. The father of our subject was the son of Capt. Packer, and the grandson of Capt. Eldridge Packer, who figured conspicuously in the War of 1812. He accompanied his father on his voyages on the water when he was very young, and at the age of fifteen years he was placed in command of a Southern vessel. He was prosperous in his voyages, and accumulated a large fortune. In 1837 he was united in marriage with Mary Ann Appleman, a daughter of Capt. John Appleman, and after his marriage be removed to New York City, and in company with his brother Eldridge kept the City Hotel on Broadway. In that enterprise misfortune attended him, and his hard-earned wealth was swept away.
Two years after he had suffered this loss the father of our subject returned to his native place,
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and took command of a vessel coasting between New York and New Orleans, piloting among the reefs of Florida in the effort to save lives and wrecked cargoes. In the winter of 1856, with none but his son James, our subject, on hoard his vessel, while going from Mystic to New York City, he encountered head winds and severely cold weather. From their exposure they both suffered exceedingly, and both barely escaped with their lives from death by freezing; and the father's hand being permanently injured, he paid his friends in Iowa a visit the following summer.
Capt. Packer, Sr., was so enraptured with the country during his visit to Iowa, that he removed with his family to Clermont the next year. He engaged in the flouring-mill with Messrs. Larrabee & Appleman but soon left the mill and removed to his farm in Clayton County, on which he had built a line residence. He was ambitious, and his possessions falling a little short of what he desired, and being unable to place his farm in the condition he wished, he resolved to again try his fortune on the sea in the endeavor to replenish his purse. Misfortune fell upon him, but nothing daunted he still kept persevering making an occasional visit to his family during the summer. On his last voyage, while in port at New Orleans, he was taken sick with the dysentery, but urged on by will force he continued across the Gulf and arrived at Key West, where he was obliged to go to the hospital. He did not rally from this illness, and died in a far-off land, surrounded only by strangers. He was noted for his wonderful energy and perseverance, and his efforts to place his family in affluence, to do which he left his home, and was stricken in death before he reached the goal for which he was striving. His wife, the mother of our subject, is living in Iowa, having reached the age of seventy-seven years. They had a family of five children, whose names are: James, Gustavus, Ella, Maggie and Frederica.
Our subject was born in New York City (in the City Hotel kept by his father), on the 10th of May, 1840, and his youth was spent in Mystic, Conn. At the age of nine years he accompanied his father on his voyages, and began his duties on board the vessel as cook, gradually working his way up to the position of Captain. He followed sailing, off and on, for ten years, having taken charge of ships as Captain for five or six years, and he understands a mariner's life "to a T." His experience has been varied, sometimes participating in the enjoyment of a 'jolly time," and sometimes barely escaping with his life from the perils of the sea. In 1867 he went to Clayton County, Iowa, where he followed the occupation of farming until 1881, in which year he removed to Elm Township, this county, and bought his present farm of 127 acres on section 21. He broke and cultivated all the land, set out orchards and fruit trees, and groves of shade trees, and in various other ways made fine improvements.
Mr. Packer was married in Clermont, Iowa, to Miss Julia Goodrich, who was born in Chautauqua County, N. Y., in 1844. Her great-grandfather, Benjamin Goodrich, was of English descent, and was born in 1715, while his wife, Hannah (Olmstad) Goodrich, was born in 1714. Mrs. Packer's grandfather was Enoch Goodrich, who was born in Rensselaer County, N. Y., in 1764. He was a physician, and as a soldier participated in the engagements of the War of 1812. His wife was Rebecca Gall, who was born in the same county in 1769. The parents of Mrs. Packer were Charles and Rebecca (Brownell) Goodrich, the former of whom was born in Rensselaer County, N. Y., in 1799, and the latter in 1803. The father was a farmer, and the family moved to Clermont. Iowa, but his health being very poor, he and his wife went East for a visit, and he died in Chautauqua County in 1869. His wife returned to Clermont, in which place she died in 1872. They had seven children, whose names were as follows: D. G., Charles H. and Araminta (both deceased), Caroline, Cynthia P., Henrietta and Julia F.
Our subject and his wife have a family of nine children, whose names are mentioned with the date of their births, as follows: Charles J., born Nov. 11, 1865; Hiram A., March 19, 1869; James G., Nov. 26, 1871; William H., Aug. 26, 174; Julius C., April 4, 1878; Edda F., born Oct. 4, 1879, and died Aug. 12, 1880, in Clermont; Walter C., born May 21, 1882, and died March 18, 1884; Maggie Ella May, born June 13,
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1884. Charles married Miss Minnie Brat, and they live in Elm Township, the parents of one child, William C.
Since our subject abandoned the life of a sailor he has given his whole attention to farming, at which he has been unusually successful, and has everything in very excellent shape. He has been a member of the School Board for five years, and for one year he acted as Road Overseer. In matters of politics he favors the Republican party. Mrs. Packer is an admirable woman and possesses rare qualifications as a wife and mother, and the manner in which she presides over her well-ordered and happy home is the outgrowth of a truly refined and Christian spirit. The family is one of intelligence, and ranks high in the community. A view of Mr. Packer's place is presented in this volume.
ELSON S. SPENCER. To the intelligent individual there is a certain pleasure in following the career of the self-made man, noting his struggles and conflicts, and his final victory over the difficulties which beset life's wayfarers. These, although they may he diversified in their character, are seldom absent from the life of any one person. The subject of this sketch, a leading architect of the city of Beatrice, has attained to a good position among his fellowmen solely through his own personal efforts, having begun at the foot of the ladder, dependent upon his own resources. He is now in the enjoyment of a competency, a handsome and comfortable home, and hosts of friends, whom he made simply by the exercise of those traits of character which have commended themselves to their admiration.
The eldest of five children comprising the family of Aquilla and Mary (Hetler) Spencer, our subject was born at Dixon, Lee Co., Ill., Dec. 3, 1857. His parents were natives of Center County, Pa., and removed from the Keystone State at an early period, pitching their tent among the early pioneers of Illinois. Aquilla Spencer was a farmer by occupation and is still living, making his home in Beatrice. The mother entered upon her final rest at the homestead in September, 1882. The other children of the family, all of whom are living, are residents of Nebraska and Illinois.
David Spencer, the paternal grandfather of our subject, was a native of Pennsylvania, where he spent the years of his life. Grandfather Nathan Hetler was of German ancestry, and died in Illinois at a ripe old age. Nelson S., our subject, passed his boyhood in Lee County, Ill., and commenced his education in the district school. When a youth of twenty years he entered the Illinois State University at Champaign, and devoted the greater part of his time and attention to architecture. After a five-years course he was graduated in 1882, and then coming to Beatrice entered upon his business career by opening an office, since which time he has adhered closely to time profession in which he takes great pride, and in which it cannot be denied that he excels. He made the plans of the majority of the finer business houses of Beatrice, notable among which are the People's Bank building, the Beatrice High School building, and others of which the city is reasonably proud.
The marriage of our subject with Miss Ida Rush, of Champaign, Ill., was celebrated at the home of the bride, in September, 1882. Mrs. Spencer completed her studies likewise in the State University of Illinois, and there made the acquaintance of her future husband. She was born Oct. 20, 1862, in Ohio, and is the daughter of Clark and Catharine M. Rush, who were natives of Ohio. Mrs. Rush died Oct. 5, 1888. The father still resides in Champaign. Of this union there have been born two sons--Clifford R. and Charles B. The home of the Spencers is situated in the southeastern part of the city, on one of its finest streets, and indicates both within and without cultivated tastes and ample means.
Our subject put up the Spencer Block in 1887. Few persons passing through the city of Beatrice fail to notice it. It is three stories in height above the basement, and occupies an area of 46x80 feet The lower rooms are occupied as stores, and the upper for offices, in one of these latter Mr. Spencer may generally be found during business hours, where he has around him all the paraphernalia of his profession. He has invested a
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part of his capital in a drug-store at Beatrice. He also owns a planing-mill at Blue Springs which is devoted to the dressing of all kinds of lumber, and is one of the best equipped establishments of its kind in Southern Nebraska.
Mr. Spencer began in life entirely without capital, and worked his way upward by degrees. He is a member in good standing of the Congregational Church, and in politics a Prohibitionist. Socially, he belongs to the Masonic fraternity, being a member of a lodge at Urbana, Ill., and is also identified with the Modern Woodmen at Beatrice.
AKE BRIDENTHAL has for two years held the position of Cashier for the Citizens' Bank of Wymore with much credit to himself. His father, James W. Bridenthal, living in Sicily Township, is a native of Pennsylvania, his birth occurring on the 28th of April, 1836. He removed with his parents to Wayne County, Ohio, in 1845, where he was educated in the common schools of the district. Then he moved to Huntington County, Ind., thence to Marshall County, and in the spring of 1855 he again changed his residence, to Woodford County, Ill., where he remained for one season. After this he moved to Peoria County, Ill., where he remained until the spring of 1860, and then went to Warren County.
On the 26th of October, 1860, the father of our subject was united in marriage with Miss Ella L. Butler, and to them have been born six children: Kenneth D.; Lake, our subject; Maude, Mae, Charlie and Dick. All the family are living except Maude, who departed this life on the 1st of July, 1887, aged twenty-two years. The father, mother and daughter Mae are members of the Christian Church, of Wymore. For a number of years the father held the office of County Supervisor in Warren County, Ill., and he has also held some township offices.
Lake Bridenthal, our subject, was born in Larchland, Ill., on the 26th of August, 1864. In that city he received his early education in the common schools, and then took an elective course of two years at the Presbyterian College of Monmouth.
After that he came West with his parents, and engaged for two years in the profession of teaching, first at Filley, Neb.. and then in the Indian Valley School, his home school. His father having bought a fine farm, our subject spent his vacations with him, and then he came into the bank as bookkeeper, which position he held for one year. His marked ability and strict integrity soon secured for him the position of cashier, and he was probably the youngest cashier in the State, being only twenty-two years old when he accepted the position.
Our subject, having conducted himself in an honorable and exemplary manner, and given strict attention to business, is still the incumbent of the same responsible office, and he performs his duties in a manner satisfactory to all concerned. He affiliates with the Democratic party, is a straightforward, honest man, and enjoys the esteem of all the citizens of Wymore.
The father of our subject has a very fine farm, consisting of 320 acres two miles west of town, and on it he has made so many improvements that it is now one of the finest places in Sicily Township. He has several times been asked to become a candidate for the Legislature, but he has not consented to the use of his name, though there would probably be little doubt of his election.
EORGE H. DAVIS is the gentlemanly and enterprising young Telegraph Operator and Station Agent at Holmesville, and the proprietor of the stone quarry. He is very favorably known as a man who is interested in the advancement and progression of public institutions and enterprises, to which he lends his aid as far as he is able. He is a son of Obadiah and Maria (Palmer) Davis, the former of whom was born near the celebrated springs in Saratoga County, and the latter in Jefferson County, N. Y. His paternal ancestors were natives of Holland, and they. as well as his parents, were members of the Society of Friends, commonly called Quakers. After their marriage the parents made their home in Saratoga County, of their native State, where the father was engaged in farming, and although he is now seventy-eight years
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old, he still follows the vocation of his earlier years. The mother is now seventy-three years old, and has cared for a family of five children, named John H., Adelaide, Timothy (who died at the age of ten years), George H. and Anzonette.
Our subject was born on the 4th of August, 1857, at the old homestead in Saratoga County, which had been the birthplace of his father and his brothers and sisters. He spent his early years on his father's farm, and remained at home until he was twenty-one years old, in the meantime having enjoyed very good educational advantages and derived much benefit from them. When he reached the years of manhood he turned his attention to the pedagogic profession, which he adorned in his native county for two years, after which he began to study telegraphy, and attended the School of Telegraphy in Janesville, Wis.; he finished his instruction in that art at the school in Plover, Portage County. The first office of which he took charge was at Bancroft, on the Wisconsin Central Railroad, and in the fall of 1880 he came to Holmesville to take charge of the office in which he has since remained. On the 1st of January, 1880, the first train ran over the Omaha & Republican Valley Railroad, and our subject was the first Station Agent in charge.
Our subject has become interested in property in Holmesville, now being sole proprietor of the Big Blue Valley Stone Quarry, to carry on the work of which he hires from ten to twenty men. He supplies stone to the railroad company and ships to different points in the eastern part of the State, viz.: Kearney, Fremont and Schuyler, furnishing stone to the contractors in those cities to the amount of fifteen cars per week. The stone is a good quality of magnesian limestone, and has been supplied for the Masonic Temple at Fremont, the First National Bank building of Beatrice, and two mill foundations in Columbus.
On the 10th of December, 1885, our subject was united in marriage with Miss Carrie L. Sears, who resided in Monticello, Green Co., Wis. There were two children named Carrie L. and Trilla P. in the family when the father died, and the mother was married a second time, to W. F. Crangle, by whom she had six children, named Lora, Schuyler, Fred, Aurelia, Mina and Chester. The mother now lives in Rockford Township. Mrs. Davis was born in 1863, in Green County, Wis., and came to Nebraska in 1883. By her marriage with our subject she is the mother of two children, named Lona and Carl, to whom she is loving and devoted.
Mr. and Mrs. Davis are members of the Methodist Episcopal Church, of Holmesville, which the former helped to build, he having been a charter member and Trustee from the organization. He has also done much good work in the Sunday-school, and is now serving his second year as Superintendent. He is an ardent advocate of the temperance cause, which identifies him with the Prohibition party in politics, and is a highly respected and good citizen.
IMON S. GRAVES. There is probably no homestead in this county which for the length of time in which it has been instituted gives better evidence of the industry and enterprise of the proprietor than that which belongs to the subject of this sketch. He is the owner of 480 broad acres, embracing the west half of section 27, Glenwood Township, and 160 acres of the northeast quarter of section 35, the whole of which is under cultivation, and presents one of the most attractive pictures in the landscape of this part of the county. The fences are well built, to keep the animals of the farm within bounds, or prevent the entrance of any not belonging there; the farm machinery is of good description, the buildings all that are required for comfort, convenience and profit, and the whole premises regulated after the ideas of the modern and progressive agriculturist. The land is mostly devoted to stock farming. His farm on section 35 he has rented. Mr. Graves keeps on an average a little over 100 head of cattle, and about the same number of hogs, and fifteen head of horses. The half-section that he lives on is fenced hogtight, and all except sixty acres is in tame grass.
Mr. Graves is a native of Ross County, Ohio, his birth taking place in Liberty Township, March 18, 1844. He was there reared to manhood, becoming familiar with the employments of country life at an
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early age, and acquiring his education in the district school. When twenty years of age his father came westward to Peoria County. Ill., and settled in Princeville Township, where he engaged in farming, and where he still lives. Simon S. came also, and continued with his parents until nearly twenty-four years old, when, deciding to establish a home of his own, he was married March 1, 1868, to Miss Martha Drummond, the wedding being celebrated in Ross County, Ohio, and the young people settling first in Princeville Township, Peoria Co., Ill.
William Graves, the father of our subject, was born in North Carolina, of English ancestry. His paternal grandfather emigrated to America in Colonial days with William Penn. The Graves family have always been a sturdy race, possessing in a marked degree those substantial English attributes which have made of them reliable citizens and honest men. The wife of William Graves was in her girlhood Miss Ann Ratcliff. She was born in Ross County, Ohio, where also her death took place when she was comparatively a young woman, in 1856. Their family consisted of seven children, all of whom are living.
The parents of Mrs. Graves were William and Ruth (Cox) Drummond, who are still living in Ross County, Ohio. Their household included seven children, six of whom are now living. To our subject and his wife there have been born seven children, namely: Elba, Quincy; Pearl, who died when one and one-half years old; Florence, Alma, Miley and Charles. They are a promising and intelligent group, blessed with the advantages of a practical education, and there is every reason to suppose will do honor to their parents in future years.
No man in this part of Gage County takes a livelier interest in the matters pertaining to the general welfare and progress of the people, and to the enterprises tending to this result he gives his uniform and cheerful support. To such men as he is this county indebted for her moral and financial growth, and the standing she has attained among the other intelligent communities of the Great West. In the building up of a creditable homestead, the cultivation of the soil, the introduction of modern methods, both of life and labor, every man thus contributes to the value of landed property, and to his section of country as a desirable dwelling-place. Too much credit cannot be given him who has thus improved his time and opportunities, and as the Scripture says, 'his works do follow him" long after he shall have been gathered to his fathers. In politics Mr. Graves is a stanch Democrat.
A fine view of the farms of Mr. Graves appears in this work.
OHN B. NICHOLLS, a leading and wealthy farmer of Filley Township, is the owner of a valuable estate, including 320 acres of land in this township and a valuable farm in Peterboro, Province of Ontario, Canada. He is a native of the Dominion, having been born in Peterboro, July 20, 1838, and is the son of W. D. and Ann Nicholls, a sketch of whom will be found on another page in this volume. It will be seen that he is of excellent ancestry. and naturally endowed with those traits of character which have constituted him successful in life, and a man recognized everywhere as possessing more than ordinary ability.
Mr. Nicholls was reared and educated in his native town, attending school quite steadily until a lad of eleven years, and afterward working on a farm in summer, while in the winter he resumed his books. About 1847 his father purchased a farm, among whose employments the youth was thereafter steadily occupied until ready to establish a home of his own. On the 26th of February, 1862, he was united in marriage with Miss Ann Nelson, daughter of John and Margaretta (Johnson) Nelson, the wedding taking place at the home of the bride in Smith Township, Canada. Mr. Nelson was a native of County Cavan, Ireland, and born about 1798. He emigrated to America in 1820, settling at Port Hope in the Province of Ontario, Canada, where he remained two years with his family, his wife having been a native of his own county in Ireland, and born in the same year as her husband.
From Port Hope the Nelson family removed to North Peterboro, where the death of Mr. Nelson took place in 1842, at the early age of forty-seven years. The wife and mother survived her husband
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