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(Leighty) Bridenthal, were natives of Pennsylvania, where they were married, and lived until their removal to Ohio in 1845. Their family comprised eleven children, of whom six survive. The father of our subject departed this life in the year 1858, the mother in 1877, both at their home in Indiana. The names of the surviving children are: Sarah, Ellen, Lydia, David and George.
Mr. and Mrs. Bridenthal, with their daughter Mae, are very devoted members of the Christian Church, of Wymore, and are most highly esteemed in that communion. For a number of years our subject held the office of Township Supervisor in Warren County, Ill., and also several other township offices. In matters of political economy he is deeply interested, and although usually voting the Democratic ticket, is more concerned to lend his influence to the elevation to office of a good and able man than a mere partisan.
Accompanying the biographies of many of the leading men of Gage County presented in this volume are their portraits, while of others views of their residence or farm property are given. Among the latter class is Mr. Bridenthal, and the view referred to is presented on an accompanying page.
AMUEL KING, JR. Among the men who have had the forethought to discern the great possibilities of the State of Nebraska is the subject of this sketch, who has been willing to labor and to wait, and who has suffered no discouragements to dismay him. He has had his battles to fight, having met with bitter reverses, but has now found the open sea, and, with the comforts of the complete modern home, is enjoying a large measure of the good things of life.
This branch of the King family is of excellent old Pennsylvanian stock, the father of our subject, Samuel King, Sr., having been born in Chester County, that State, in 1774. He was reared to manhood among his native hills, where he carried on farming for himself a few years, and then changing his location to the city of Baltimore, Md., changed also his occupation somewhat, and tried the experiment of keeping hotel. The venture proved a success, and he followed the business for fifteen years, conducting one of the largest houses there. In 1824, however, he went back to Pennsylvania and purchased a large tract of land, erected tenement houses, and engaged extensively in general farming, including stock-raising, and making a specialty of the latter, dealing in stock, and feeding and shipping. He was thus occupied until his death, which took place June 11, 1841.
The mother of our subject was in her girlhood Miss Ann Phillips, and was also born in Chester County, Pa., in 1783. The parents were married Oct. 4, 1804. The Phillips family were of English extraction. Mrs. Ann King survived her husband a number of years, and died at the old homestead in Pennsylvania. Dec. 12, 1858. The household circle included nine children, six sons and three daughters, six of whom are now living: The eldest, William S., is medical director in a department of one of the Philadelphia colleges; Samuel, of our sketch, is next to the eldest living; Israel D. is a minister of the Baptist Church, in the Quaker City; Benjamin F. is engaged in the lumber trade at Chester, Pa.; Louise B. is the wife of Philip R. Davis (deceased), of Kingman County, Kan.; Amanda H. is the wife of a retired merchant, Ellis Adams, of Fairmount, Ill.
Our subject was the seventh child of the parental family, and was born in Baltimore, Md., on St. Valentine's Day, Feb. 14, 1821. Three years later his father returned to Chester County, Pa., and he continued a member of the parental household until the death of his father, acquiring his education in the common school, and assisting in the labors of the farm. Afterward the family was broken up, and our subject spent some time thereafter traveling, going through the States of Virginia, Tennessee, North and South Carolina, and also westward through Illinois, Iowa and Michigan. At Ft. Atchison, Iowa, he visited his brother William, who had been sent by the Government to that point as Medical Director. The military post organized there at that time was for the purpose of protecting the Winnebago Indians, and was guarded by United States troops.
Mr. King spent some time in this portion of the West, hunting and fishing, and then returned to his
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mother and her family in Philadelphia. He remained with them a year, then going into Spottsylvania County, Va., commenced farming, and a year later, in 1844, was married to Miss Eliza Adams. This lady was the daughter of Joseph and Martha (Post) Adams, and was born in New York about 1822. Her parents were natives of New Jersey, and spent their last days in Virginia. Our subject followed farming in the Old Dominion until the outbreak of the Rebellion. He had been born in a peaceable Quaker community and did not believe in fighting, much less in fighting against the Union, and suffered all sorts of persecution. He was finally ordered into the Confederate army, but refused to serve, but as the means of saving his life took an oath to countenance the Rebellion. He was then allowed to return home, and was left in peace for a year.
At the expiration of this time there was a general conscription into the rebel army, and Mr. King was again chosen as a victim, but through the intervention of friends his release was again secured. Later he was arrested on the charge of disloyalty, and thrust into Libby Prison, where he was confined five months, and suffered in common with the other unfortunates there all the cruel outrages and privations which have become a matter of history. Three out of every four succumbed to their sufferings in that terrible place during the sojourn of Mr. King there, and he barely escaped with his life. He was finally summoned before Judge Baxter of the Confederate Court, and his release again effected through the intervention of influential friends.
Mr. King, after reaching his home once more, to which he had been transported in a public conveyance, remained with his family a month, and then determined to escape the surveillance to which he was subjected by the rebel authorities. taking one of his blooded horses, remarkable for its speed and endurance, he set forth one night, and, swimming the Rappahannock, managed to escape the rebel guards and pass in safety through the Union lines into Alexandria. There he told his story, and was summoned before the Provost Marshal and examined as to his allegiance to the United States Government. The result being satisfactory he was sent on to Washington, and shortly afterward his knowledge of the face of the country South was utilized in the mapping out of that section for the benefit of the Union Army. He was thus engaged about three months, and in the meantime his property in Virginia was being destroyed by the rebels, and his family suffering all the indignities which the Confederates dared to heap upon them. His mill building was razed to the ground, the household furniture and piano broken up, and the whole premises laid waste. His farm had been very productive, his crops of melons alone sometimes realizing for him the sum of $5,000.
The family of Mr. King finally joined him in Washington, and, broken in health and spirits, without means and far from his friends, Mr. King commenced as best he could the desperate struggle before him. He finally returned to his native city of Baltimore, and engaged in life insurance, but this proving a failure he next tried farming. He finally effected an exchange of his land for property in Tennessee, to which he repaired after the close of the war, as even then he did not dare to return to his old home in Virginia. The Tennessee land, however, was unproductive, and in 1875 he left that section of country for Vermilion County, Ill., where he followed farming a year, then moved to Dakota, and engaged in wheat-raising quite successfully, having fine crops. He still owns the forty acres he filed there, and which was about the last of the land subject to pre-emption in that region.
Mr. King came to this State in 1887, and purchased his present farm of 160 acres on section 2, in Filley Township. He is now upon his feet again and prospering, making a specialty of corn and stock. The wife of his youth departed this life at their home in Virginia, Sept. 17, 1857. Of this union there had been born four children: Frank M., who was born Dec. 22, 1856, is farming in Pembina County, Dak.; Anna L., born March 23, 1847, is living in Westport, Conn.; Laura M., born April 20, 1849, is in Illinois; and Kate E., Mrs. Booker, born July 16, 1851, is a resident of Dakota.
The second marriage of Mr. King occurred May 19, 1859, with Miss Ann Elizabeth, daughter of James P. and Susan (Phillips) Chartters, who spent the last years of their lives in Virginia. Mr. Chartters was born on the Atlantic Ocean during the
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passage of his parents from Scotland, and his wife was a native of the Old Dominion. Mr. C. was a farmer by occupation, and lived to a good old age, his death taking place in Virginia, Jan. 4, 1886. The mother passed away Aug. 29, 1885.
Mrs. Ann Elizabeth King was born in Spottsylvania, Va., March 15, 1838, and of her marriage with our subject there were born the children whose record is as follows: Lillie, now Mrs. Emmons Davis, was married twice; her first husband was Robert E. Lucas, who was drowned while trying to cross a river in April, 1882; Mr. Davis is occupied in farming in Filley. James W. is farming in Dakota; Mary P. is the wife of Henry R. Haines, of Washington, D. C.: David F., Harry M., Edgar H. and Lelia M. are at home with their parents. It is hardly necessary to say that Mr. King is a member of the Republican party, and in religious matters he and his family belong to the Baptist Church.
The homestead, a view of which accompanies this sketch, is pleasantly situated, the dwelling surrounded with fruit and shade trees, and is without question the abode of plenty and comfort. Mr. King enjoys the confidence and respect of his neighbors, and is contributing his quota toward the development of the resources of this part of Nebraska.
TEPHEN A. SMITH. Old pioneers and settlers of Nebraska have often remarked upon the change of climate, difference of rainfall, and consequent improvement of soil, since throughout the State so much attention has been given to the planting of all kinds of fruit, shade and other trees. If, as is stated, Nebraska has been so largely benefited by forestry, men who, like our subject, devote their time, attention and skill to raising trees and bringing them to a condition. where they may be safe to set out in the open with every reasonable expectation of their flourishing, are much-to-be-prized members of a community.
The subject of this sketch, proprietor of the Blue Springs and Wymore Nurseries, which are situated on section 15 of Blue Springs Township, has brought to this work an intimate knowledge of trees and soils, the various advantageous and deleterious influences affecting favorably or otherwise the tender life of the young tree. To this is owing the large measure of success it is his pleasure to enjoy in his business. He was born on the 17th of March, 1845, in McMinn County, Tenn.. and is the son of Elijah S. and Mary .J. Smith, of McDonough County, Ill. His father is a native of South Carolina, who migrated to Illinois about the year 1848.
In the matter of education our subject is better off than many of his fellows, for, in addition to receiving the usual instruction in the classes of the common school, he took the full course in the Burlington Collegiate Institute, in the city of that name in Iowa. After this he gave his attention to farming until the year 1870, when he came to this county and settled in Sicily Township, six miles west of Blue Springs and seven miles south of Beatrice.
In 1870 our subject settled upon the property he occupies at present, which includes 160 acres, all of which is devoted to his special line of business. It is his successful endeavor to keep on hand every stage of developing perfection, every variety of budded fruit, and the large miscellany of standard trees for which there is always a demand. Those of the Russian species, which are more adapted to this climate, receive from him special attention. His business has grown steadily and rapidly, it being his reputation to be in all points strictly honorable, and in all matters of business of unquestionable integrity.
Our subject was united in marriage, on the 11th of November, 1874, with Ettie Tobyne, who was born in Ogle County, Ill., July 19, 1855, and is the daughter of James and Caroline Tobyne. natives of Canada and Germany respectively, and the former of whom is deceased. To our subject have been born three children, whose names are as follows: Allen, Elton and Estelle.
Mr. Smith and his wife are members in good standing of the Methodist Episcopal Church, and enjoy the entire confidence and regard of not simply their fellow-members, but of the community at large. Alive to his responsibility as a citizen, and ever ready to take his part in the same, he is, however, not enamored of office, and has never sought
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any of these public trusts, Political questions are by him carefully studied, and he is well posted upon the issues before the country and State. He usually votes with the Prohibition party, but reserves for himself the privilege of voting rather according to principle than party.
EORGE BLACHART. In Adams Township no man is more highly respected than the subject of the following narrative, who, the only unmarried child of his aged parents, is giving to them his tender, filial care, and smoothing their pathway down the decline of life. With them he occupies a good farm in Adams Township, and in his agricultural and business operations is meeting with deserved success.
William and Catherine (Fuller) Blachart, the parents of our subject, are natives of Fulton County, Pa. The father engaged in keeping hotel at Blairsville, Indiana Co., Pa., until being burned out in 1856. This involved the loss of all his earthly possessions, and left him a poor man with a family of five children on his hands. Believing that he could do better in the young and rapidly growing State of Illinois, he repaired thither with his family, settling in Henderson County, where he engaged in farming several years, and until coming to Nebraska.
The father of our subject upon coming to this section secured 320 acres of land in Adams Township, and here he has since continued to reside. He has now reached the advanced age of eighty years, and the mother is seventy years old. Their son William B. married Miss Anna Grund; J. E. married Miss Jennie Helems. and has two children--Katie M. and Fayette E.; Mary became the wife of J. O. Morris, and is the mother of three children--Lily, Myrtle and Darley; Anna, Mrs. D. H. Moore, resides in Adams Township, and is the mother of seven children, namely: Guy W. Ray I., Fred, Leon, Ernest and Burnus (twins), and Hugh.
George Blachart was born in the native county of his parents, Fulton, Pa., Oct. 9, 1842, and received a good education in the schools of Indiana County, that State, to which his parents removed when he was a child. As the oldest boy he was at an early age invested with serious responsibilities, especially after his father lost so much property by the burning of his hotel. Upon the outbreak of the Civil War, however, he devised a way by which he could be spared from home to go and assist in the subjugation of the enemies of freedom and union. He enlisted in Company H, 156th Illinois Infantry, for one year or during the war, and with his company was most of the time engaged in the reconstruction of railroads, guarding rebel prisoners, and such other duties as were inseparably connected with the success and well-being of the Union forces. At the time of Lee's surrender Company H was stationed at Memphis, Tenn., and there Mr. Blachart received his honorable discharge. Our subject after leaving the army hastened home, and since that time has been the mainstay of these now dependent upon him. He has little time to devote to matters outside, but keeps himself well posted upon current events, and uniformly votes the Republican ticket.
OHN W. WAGNER, of Midland Township, is numbered among the early citizens of this county, his residence here dating from July, 1867. He is the owner of a whole section of land, the accumulation of a life of industry and economy. A native of County Cork, Ireland, he was born on the 28th of March, 1816, and about the year 1819 his parents, William and Barbara (Patterson) Wagner, left their native country and came to America, locating on a farm embraced in the parish of Westfield, near St. Johns, New Brunswick. The mother died about 1852, and the father ten years later, in 1862. They left a family of eight children, of whom our subject is the eldest and the only one born in Ireland. Of the sisters and brothers two are deceased, their names being Sarah and Jane; the latter departed this life on the 1st of September, 1839. Mary, the wife of Thomas Seeley, and Ann, Mrs. John McCluskey, are residents of New Brunswick; Margaret is the wife of Joseph Burden, of Chelsea, Mass.; Richard remains
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