ments which we behold to-day are the
result of his industry, as at the time of purchase
there were no fences or buildings, in fact no attempt
whatever at improvement. Mr. B. arrived in Nebraska in
the spring of 1868, from Lake County, Ill., of which
he had been it resident since 1850. There also he was
occupied as a farmer, although laboring for others,
but in the meantime kept an eye out for the future,
and saved something with which to cross the
Mr. Balfour was born near the shores
of the Baltic Sea. in the city of Duyzt, Prussia,
April 5, 1845, and on his father's side was of Scotch
ancestry. His paternal grandfather, James Balfour, was
born in the "land of the thistle," whence he emigrated
to Prussia, and was there married to a lady of German
birth and ancestry, and there both spent their entire
lives. His son James, the father of our subject, was
thus the offspring of two of the best nationalities on
the face of the earth. James, Jr., who was one of
three children born to his parents, was subjected to
careful home training, and given a thorough education
in the Fatherland, and when reaching manhood was
married to a most estimable lady, by whom he likewise
became the father of three children, of whom our
subject, William, was the youngest. The mother died
while a young woman, and after her decease James
Balfour brought his three children to America, and
located on a tract of land in Lake County, Ill., where
soon afterward he was again married, to Miss Louisa M.
Hinman. This lady was of American birth, and outlived
her husband, James Balfour having died when fifty-five
years of age.
The father of our subject after the
outbreak of the Civil War hastened to the defense of
his adopted country, and such was the nature of his
services that he was promoted to the First Lieutenancy
in Company I, 45th Illinois Infantry. He served,
however, a period of only seven months, his military
career being cut short by a gunshot wound at the
battle of Shiloh, which ultimately caused his death,
the ball going through the right arm near the
shoulder, necessitating amputation. Prior to this, at
Ft. Donelson, he was shot through the same right arm,
and the second wound naturally aggravated the first.
He had served as Captain in the standing army of
Germany, and was thus admirably fitted for the duties
devolving upon him as a soldier of the Union. Mrs.
Louisa Balfour is still living, a resident of Lake
County, Ill., and has now passed beyond her threescore
years. She receives a pension from the Government.
Our subject was but a lad when
coming with his father to the United States, and
completed his education at the Old Soldiers' College
in Fulton, Ill. So well did he improve his time with
his books that he was given the position of teacher in
the schools of Otoe County, Neb., where he was thus
occupied several winters after coming to Nebraska. He
was married in Wyoming Precinct, Nov. 15, 1876, to
Miss Ella Hughes. This lady was born in this county,
Feb. 16, 1858, and is the daughter of George H. and
Catherine (Rousch) Hughes, who were natives of
Pennsylvania. Her parents were reared and married in
the Keystone State, and came to the West about 1856,
locating in Wyoming Precinct, this county, where the
mother died when a little past middle life. The
father, a practicing physician, then returned east as
far as Indiana, and is now living in that State, being
now well advanced in years.
Mrs. Balfour was quite a young girl
at the time of her mother's death, and was taken into
the home of Mr. Bassett, of Otoe County, where she was
reared and educated, and became proficient in all
household duties. She is now the mother of six
children--Myrtle E., Cyrus L., W. Marvin, George S..
Carl A. and a babe named Max E. She is a lady of much
intelligence, and highly esteemed among her neighbors.
Mr. Balfour, politically, is a sound Republican,
although having no desire for the responsibilities of
office. He takes pride in his farm and home, while at
the same time giving his support and encouragement to
the enterprises calculated to advance the interests of
the people around him.
Our subject soon after the outbreak
of the late Rebellion, inspired by the patriotism of
his honored father, enlisted as a Union soldier, Dec.
5, 1861, in Company I, 45th Illinois Infantry, under
command of Capt. O. A. Bridgeford and Col. John E.
Smith, the latter of whom is now Maj. Gen. Smith, of
Chicago. He was with his regiment at Fts. Henry