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a period of forty years, remaining a widow. and died at the same place at the advanced age of eighty-seven. They had a family of twelve children, six sons and six daughters, only five of whom are living. These are: Sarah, the wife of Thomas Casement, a farmer living near Grand Forks, Dak.; Samuel, a produce dealer of North Peterboro, Ontario, Canada; Martha, the wife of Joseph Fitzgerald, of Lakefield, Canada; Margaret. Mrs. Braden, a widow, living in the town of Smith P. O.; and Ann, the wife of our subject.
Mrs. Nicholls was born in North Peterboro, Canada, Jan. 30. 1841, and reared not far from the early home of her husband. She enjoyed the advantages of the common school, and remained a member of the parental household until her marriage. Mr. and Mrs. Nicholls commenced the journey of life together on a farm in their native Province. which had been purchased by our subject about that time, but four years later Mr. Nicholls sold this property and purchased land in an adjoining township. This also he disposed of a year later, and operated rented land four years. At the expiration of this time he again invested in farm property, in Smith Township, which he owned and cultivated for sixteen years. In 1882 he left the Dominion, and making his way to the region west of the Mississippi, resolved to cast his lot among the people of Southern Nebraska. Being pleased with the outlook in this county he purchased the west half of section 7, Filley Township, and renting his farm in Canada, has here since centered the main portion of his interests.
In the spring of 1883 Mr. Nicholls commenced breaking the prairie of his new purchase, and a few months later had 105 acres of his estate in this county under cultivation. He employed men to stir the soil of this, and put fifty acres in flax, followed later by the same acreage in wheat. He then returned to Canada, remaining there until midsummer of 1884. He then revisited Nebraska, to see about his crops, harvested 1,000 bushels of wheat, 1,600 bushels of corn and 1,500 bushels of oats. In November he went to Canada for his family, and the winter following commenced the erection of the dwelling which he now occupies. It was completed in the following February, and the family took possession of one of the most tasteful and attractive residences in this part of the county.
Mr. Nicholls, besides the thorough cultivation of the greater portion of his land, which has been no small task, has planted several thousand forest and shade trees, an apple orchard and the smaller fruits. His pleasant and intelligent family consists of his wife and three sons: William J., Raymond and Warden, at home, and a daughter. the wife of W. A. Waddington. Postmaster of Filley, member of the hardware firm of Waddington Bros., and also a railroad engineer. Our subject and his wife are members of the Baptist Church of Filley. of which Mr. N. is a Trustee. He maintains a lively interest in the temperance movement, and votes with the Prohibition party. He makes periodical visits to his old home in the Dominion, to see his friends and look after his property. No man stands higher in his community, or enjoys in a greater measure the esteem and confidence of its people than he.
Among the rural homesteads shown among the illustrations given in this work may be found that belonging to Mr. Nicholls, which is essentially representative of the excellent community in which it is situated.
IRAM P. CROCKER. The homestead belonging to this gentleman. which is pleasantly situated amidst the delightful farming community of Filley Township and a view of which the publishers present in this connection, occupies the west part of section 16, and bears fair comparison with anything of the kind in this region. The fields evince careful and judicious tillage, the buildings are tasteful and substantial, and the general appearance of the premises indicates the exercise of cultivated tastes and ample means.
The main points in the family history of the subject of this sketch are substantially as follows: His father, Oscar F. C. Crocker, was born in New York State, July 10, 1810, was reared to farming pursuits, and followed these during all the years of his active life. The paternal grandfather was of German descent, but born also in the Empire State, where with his excellent wife he spent his entire
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life. The latter was of ancestry similar to that of her husband. Grandfather Crocker was a tanner by trade. but preferring agriculture left the tannery for the farm, and with his wife died at their rural homestead in the same year.
Oscar F. Crocker upon attaining manhood was married to Miss Abigail Weatherlow, in Sardinia Township, Erie Co., N. Y., about 1815. Her parents, like his own, were of German descent, and were early settlers of the Empire State. The father of our subject became a very successful farmer and accumulated a very fine property. He settled first in the vicinity of Waterloo, N. Y., but later removed to Erie County, where the death of both parents occurred. Their family consisted of five children, one of whom died in childhood, and two sons and two daughters are now living. Of these, Hiram P., the subject of our sketch, is the eldest; Helen is the wife of Gaylord Sherwood, of Lima, Livingston Co., N. Y., a pump dealer and farmer; Leland D. is farming in the vicinity of Ceylon, Erie Co., Ohio; Mercy H. is unmarried, and lives in Sardinia, N. Y.
Mr. Crocker, our subject, was born in Sardinia, N. Y., July 22, 1839, and lived there with his parents until a lad of thirteen years, attending school and assisting his parents on the farm. Afterward he made his home with his grandfather Weatherlow in the same town, and lived with him seven years, attending school and working on the farm. His studies were completed in the academy at Yorkshire, and he then commenced working by the month for two uncles, being thus employed three years.
Young Crocker, at this time anxious to he more his own man, now returned home and assumed charge of his father's farm, which he conducted until his marriage. This very important event in his life was celebrated Oct. 6, 1864, his bride being Miss Ella L., daughter of Joseph and Sylvia B. (Pickard) Cheney, old and well-known residents of that section. Mr. Cheney was born in Freedom, Cattaraugus Co., N. Y., June 28, 1819, and his wife Sylvia, March 5, 1824, in Springfield, Otsego Co., N. Y. After marriage Mr. and Mrs. Cheney settled in Holland, Erie County, whence in 1853 they removed to Protection, where the father carried on farming and blacksmithing, and spent the remainder of his days, passing away June 9, 1884. Mrs. C. is still living, making her home on the old homestead with her son.
To Mr. and Mrs. Cheney there were born six children, only two of whom are now living: George E., of Warsaw, Wyoming Co., N. Y., and Ella L., the wife of our subject. The former is a farmer and flour manufacturer. Mrs. Crocker was born March 20, 1846, at Holland, Erie Co., N. Y., and remained at home with her parents until her marriage. Soon afterward our subject assumed partial charge of the farm of his father-in-law, where he remained until the spring of 1869. Then removing with his family to Warren County, Ill., he operated there as a farmer until migrating to Nebraska in the spring of 1874. Soon after landing in this county he purchased a tract of land on section 16, in Filley Township, then designated Mud Creek. He did not locate here then, however, but returned to Illinois, and remained there until the spring of 1876. He then came to the vicinity of Beatrice, and lived on a rented farm until he could prepare a portion of his own land for the raising of crops. He broke 130 acres that year, and in the spring of 1877 put up a small house, of which he soon took possession with his family, and upon this place has since remained.
The farm of Mr. Crocker, however, bears little resemblance to the tract of land which he purchased upon first coming to Nebraska. Then there was nothing to indicate that the eye of man had rested upon it. Now there is the complete modern homestead, with its well-appointed buildings and latest approved machinery, a fair assortment of live stock, a valuable apple orchard of 300 trees, at least sixty trees of cherries, and all kinds of the smaller fruits. The farm is largely devoted to the raising of grain and stock. He has met with losses, like most men, but, spending no time in lamentation, went about repairing them in the most manly and sensible manner. He added to his first purchase, but in 1877 sold eighty acres, and in 1884 sold twenty-four, so that he now has 320 acres, the whole of which he superintends himself. Besides the fruit trees already mentioned he has planted 1,000 catalpas, 200 box elders and 100 maple trees, besides willows
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