GAGE COUNTY 689
greatest interest and pleasure, and has always been most devout. His political sympathies are with the Republican party, although they have always been adjudged a secondary place in his consideration and interest. At the same time he is most loyal to his responsibility as a citizen of this great Republic.
AMES G. LADD. The farmers and stock-growers of Gage County find one of their most energetic representatives in the subject of this sketch. He is especially devoted to the breeding of fine trotting horses, in which he takes great pride and in which he has been uniformly successful. An excellent judge of horseflesh, he exhibits with pardonable pride some of the finest specimens of that noble animal in Southern Nebraska.
Our subject was born at the farm of his father, near the city of Utica, Herkimer Co., N. Y., May 10, 1826, and there his boyhood days were passed. Olney Ladd, the father, owned a wide extent of land where he raised horses and cattle, and thus James G. acquired the experience and knowledge which have been invaluable to him in his later years. The mother, Mrs. Jane M. (Powell) Ladd, was a native of Wales, and emigrated to America with her parents when a young girl of twelve years. Her father was a sea captain for many years. After coming to the United States he settled on a farm in Herkimer County, N. Y., where both he and his faithful partner spent the remainder of their days. Olney Ladd and his wife are both deceased.
The subject of this sketch received the advantages of a common-school education, and remained with his parents until reaching his majority. Soon afterward he and an elder brother assumed the management of the home farm, and during their two years' operations together netted a handsome sum as the reward of their labors. James G. continued farming and soon began dealing in horses and cattle, selecting the most profitable breeds, which he exhibited at the various county fairs in that locality, sometimes to the extent of fifty head, and which he was enabled to sell at high prices. His business increased rapidly, and even at that early date he soon began shipping by the carload.
A career which had been uniformly prosperous was unfortunately checked by the action of our subject in signing notes for a friend to the extent of $18,000, which, as is usually the case in such transactions, he was called upon to pay. To meet this he was obliged to sacrifice a large amount of property, and his feelings at that time can be better imagined than described. Determined, however, not to give way to discouragement, he resumed business as soon as possible, but this time west of the Mississippi, having secured a small amount of money with which he came to Nebraska.
Upon coming to this State Mr. Ladd began purchasing swine, which he fed and sold to good advantage. He then took up a section of wild land, of which he retained possession five years, then disposed of it for the snug sum of $14,000. With this money he purchased 480 acres, 200 of which was improved, and the balance he devoted to pasture, placing upon it 100 head of cattle. These he sold for $5,500, and thus completed the payments on his land.
In March of 1886 Mr. Ladd visited Kentucky, and purchased the noted horse "Counselor," which has since made a record of 2:24, and in consideration of which he gave his note for $6,000. This horse, a picture of which is shown in the view of Mr. Ladd's farm. Mr. Ladd brought with him to Gage County, and he is now without doubt the most valuable animal of his kind in the State of Nebraska. He has already made over $10,000. He was on exhibition at the State Breeders' Association, which met at Lincoln in August, 1888, and last spring Mr. Ladd refused an offer of $20,000 for him. "Counselor" was bred from the most noted of Kentucky stock, by Robert P. Pepper, of Frankfort, that State.
Mr. Ladd in the spring of 1888 removed from his farm to the city of Beatrice, where he has a comfortable residence in its northeastern portion. He was married in the twenty-first year of his age to Miss Elizabeth, daughter of Hiram Burton, late of Herkimer County. N. Y., and who was killed by the kick of a horse, The mother of Mrs. Ladd is also deceased. This union resulted in the birth of
690 GAGE COUNTY
five children, namely: Olney B., William M.; James A., now the partner of his father; Flora J. and Lizzie.
Mr. Ladd is a very stirring and industrious man, his busy brain always devising some project for the benefit of himself or his neighbors. He is a favorite in the social and business circles of Beatrice, a man genial and companionable, and one who has given a decided impetus to the agricultural and stockbreeding interests of this section. Politically, he supports the Republican party.
OHN W. BREUNSBACH. Not many years ago Illinois was considered the Far West, but many of her sons have gone still further in the direction of the setting sun, and proved themselves to be among the most enterprising, prosperous and useful citizens of the new Territories. Among these might be mentioned the subject of this biography, whose farm is situated on section 36 of Liberty Township, and comprises eighty acres of fertile land, devoted largely to the raising of such hay and grain as are required for his stock, marketing only the surplus.
Our subject was born in LaSalle County. Ill., Oct. 30, 1856, and is the son of Frank D. and Christinia Breunsbach, also natives of Germany, but now residents of Pawnee County, Neb., where they settled in 1869. John W. received no education to speak of, but was brought up on the farm and formed an intimate acquaintance with all the details of farm work. His settlement in this county dates from the year 1879.
In January, 1883, Mr. Breunsbach united his life interests with those of Miss Marion Cameron, who has presented her husband with three children. These received the names William D., Francis D. and Robert R. Mrs. Breunsbach is the daughter of Robert Cameron, of Brown County, Neb., and was born in New York City, June 29, 1859.
Our subject and his family receive the respect of the community because of the high character always sustained by them, and their uniform readiness to interest themselves in the enterprises which promise to be of value to the community. The homestead as will be seen by the view on another page, forms one of the pleasant retreats for which Liberty Township is noted, and which has been built up by the exercise of the most persevering industry, economy and good management.
ATHANIEL E. MILLER, contractor and builder, occupies a good position among the artisans of the city of Beatrice, and enjoys an ample share of the patronage of the business men. He is a Pennsylvanian by birth, his early home having been in the vicinity of Sporting Hill, Lancaster County, where he was born June 30, 1849. To his parents, George R. and Catherine (Eicholtz) Miller, there were born seven sons and two daughters, of whom our subject was the fifth child. Of these eight are still living, all married and with families of their own.
The parents of our subject were likewise natives of the Keystone State, where the father is still living. He was born in 1816. During his earlier years he was engaged in the butcher business, and made a good living for his family. The mother, who was born in 1813, died at the old homestead April 18, 1881. The family was one of the most highly respected in that region, possessing those high moral principles by which their own lives were uniformly guided, and which led them to rear their children in such a manner as to make of them useful and worthy members of society.
Nathaniel E. Miller remained on the old homestead until sixteen years of age, acquiring but a limited education, attending school about two months each year. He then began an apprenticeship at the carpenter trade, of which he obtained a thorough knowledge in two years, and was then employed as a journeyman five years. At the expiration of this time he established in business on his own account as a contractor and builder, still continuing in his native county. In 1870 he migrated to Wayne County, Ohio, spending one year in the Buckeye State, and then took up his line of march toward Illinois. Locating in Decatur, he spent one summer there, then changed his residence to Sterling, where he met his future wife. Their
GAGE COUNTY 691
wedding was celebrated Nov. 7, 1872. This lady, formerly Miss Fanny M. Penrod, was born Jan. 1, 1852, in Wayne County. Ohio, and is the daughter of Jacob and Sarah (Fouch) Penrod, who were both natives of Pennsylvania.
After his marriage our subject returned with his young wife to Ohio, sojourning for a time with his father, who was carrying on a store of general merchandise in Wayne County. N. E. continued a resident of the Buckeye State until 1880, then making his way westward across the Mississippi to Nebraska, took up his residence in Beatrice, and at once established himself as a builder and contractor, being successful from the start. A large proportion of the prominent business houses in the city were erected under his supervision, as well as many of its fine residences. Being a thorough and skilled workman himself, he consequently has the judgment and discretion to give employment to none but the same class of men.
To Mr. and Mrs. Miller there have been born two children only, a son and a daughter--Amanda L. and Arthur Laveine. Their pleasant and comfortable home is situated on the corner of Eleventh and Ella streets. Besides his town property Mr. Miller has a good farm of eighty acres in Midland Township, and has three dwellings aside from the one he occupies, the rents of which assist in swelling his comfortable income. Politically, he is a stanch Republican, and while a resident of Paddock Township was Moderator in his school district. Considering the fact that he commenced in life without other resources than his own industry and resolution, he has ample reason to be satisfied with the results of his labors. He and his wife are members of the Methodist Episcopal Church.
ILLIAM BEER Among the prosperous and well-to-do farmers of Barneston Township is the gentleman whose life is herein sketched, who resides upon his farm, which is situated on section 29. He was born in Allegheny County, Pa., on the 26th of June, 1819, and is the son of William and Margaret Beer, natives of Pennsylvania, the former born in Beaver County.
They were married in that State, and became the parents of twelve children. The father is now deceased. The educational facilities were such that our subject could not do more than receive a rudimentary education, there being none but subscription schools, and these not of time best, besides which the terms were quite brief and it was easier to forget between the terms than to learn while they were in progress.
With the exception of perhaps about three years, farming has been the occupation of our subject since his youth. He removed to Fulton County, Ill., in 1836, and settled in Young Hickory Township. In 1852 he started overland for California, driving an ox-team the entire distance. In crossing the forty-mile desert they took a supply of water and grass for the oxen, giving them one feed and one drink about midway. Their pathway was strewn to the right and left with the bodies of dead horses, mules and cattle, and although many of them had lain there for three or four years they had not decayed, only dried hard.
Upon arriving in California our subject continued mining gold for about three years, and then returned in 1855 and settled in Peoria County, Ill., where for twenty years he made his home and engaged in farming. At the end of that period, i. e., in 1875, he removed to Page County, Iowa, and in 1881 he came to this county and settled upon his present property. He is the owner of 200 acres of splendid agricultural land on section 29. which he operates as a grain and stock farm. His long experience has made him fully acquainted with all the minutia of such work, and his success, other things being equal, is quite good. He has been enabled year by year, slowly but surely, to accumulate a competence that will remove all fears from the future, wherein labor will be an impossibility.
On the 23d of July, 1844, our subject was united in marriage with Adeline Belshee. This lady was born in Ohio, March 22, 1828, to Joseph and Hannah Belshee, the former of whom is deceased. Of the above union there have been born to our subject twelve children, eight of whom are still living. The names these have received are here subjoined, viz: John T., Angeline, William C.,
© 2004 for the NEGenWeb Project by Pam Rietsch, Ted & Carole Miller