NEGenWeb Project
Kansas Collection Books

Andreas' History of the State of Nebraska
Saline County
Produced by Alice Vosika.


Location and Physical Features | Primitive Occupants
The First Settler | Indian Depredations | Pioneer Events


County Seat Contest | Burning of the Jail | Court House
Legislative Representation | Statistical | The Press
Criminal | Schools | Railroads
Crete:   Early History | Doane College | Religious

Crete (cont.):   Schools | Crete Public Library | The Press
Secret Orders | Business Interests
Manufacturing Interests | Opera House
Crete (cont.):   Biographical Sketches
Crete (cont.):   Biographical Sketches [cont.]

Wilber:   Early History | Banks | Manufactories | Schools
Religious | Secret Societies | The Press
Biographical Sketches


Wilber:   Biographical Sketches [cont.]
South Fork Precinct. [Biographical Sketch]

DeWitt:   Local Matters | Biographical Sketches
PART 10:

Dorchester:   Early History | Local Matters
Biographical Sketches

PART 11:

Friend:   Early History | Banks -- Schools and Churches
Societies | Newspaper | Biographical Sketches
Pleasant Hill:   Biographical Sketches
Swan City | Western | Atlanta Precinct [Biographical Sketch]

List of Illustrations in Saline County Chapter


Biographical Sketches. [cont.]

J. R. JOHNSTON was born in North Stanbridge, Canada, July, 26, 1847; lived with his parents on a farm until 1862, when he started out for himself. He went to Connecticut, worked on a farm for a year, and returning home went to school about two years in Stanbridge. He then engaged in the stock business, buying and selling fat cattle, sheep and hogs, also running a meat market. Was very successful at that business, although young for a business man. He was not unlike many other young men, and thought he could make money faster by selling out his good business and going to the gold mines of Upper Canada, against the wishes of his friends. Finding the mines a failure, he did not return home but traveled a good deal in Canada and the United States till 1870, when he came to Lincoln, Neb., and took a homestead in Saline County and commenced improving it. In that year the B. & M. R. R. R. Co. graded their road through that county and laid out the town of Crete, close to the homestead of Mr. Johnston. He proved up on it and moved into town. Built several store buildings to rent. Mr. Johnston was appointed Postmaster of Crete, Neb., November 8, 1871, and held the office till the fall of 1875, when he was succeeded by H. W. Hoyt. He then bought out O. W. Baltzley's interest in the Crete Mills, and formed a partnership with G. W. Bridges, his father-in-law, doing a good business in the mill and also in handling stock until 1880, when the mill was burned down. They continued the stock business till the spring of 1881, when they closed out their stock and rebuilt their flouring mill, completing it in December, 1881. Mr. Johnston is now one of the proprietors of the best gradual reduction flouring mills in the State of Nebraska. It is propelled by the waters of the Big Blue River, and has a capacity of 250 barrels of flour per day. Mr. Johnston was married June 3, 1873, to Miss Ida N. Bridges, of Crete. She is a fine and accomplished lady; was born in Monticello, Wis., December 23, 1853; was educated at Monticello and graduated at a school in Boston, Mass., in 1872, and came to Crete to live with her parents. Mr. and Mrs. Johnston have two fine children, a boy and a girl: George A., born June 3, 1874, and Myrtle D., born July 4, 1876--the great centennial year. Little Myrtle says, "Everybody celebrates my birthday."

FRANK KARTEN, farmer and stock-raiser, Sections 21 and 16, P. O. Crete, was born in Austrian Bohemia, in 1836. Went to Germany, where he learned the blacksmith trade, and where he remained nine years. In 1857 he came to America and located at Milwaukee, where he engaged in selling goods until 1865, when he turned westward and located in Nebraska, taking a homestead on Sections 21 and 16, town 8, Range 4 east, and has remained on the place continually since, turning his attention to stock-raising. In the fall of 1880 he was elected County Commissioner for one term of two years, and again in 1881, was elected to the same office, which he now holds. Was also elected Supervisor of Crete Precinct a few years previous to this. In June, 1851, was married to Miss Rose Brogawha, of Milwaukee, a native of Bohemia, where she was born in 1835, coming to America on the sea vessel with Mr. K. They have five children, Mary, Annie, J. W., F. E., and Amelia. Is a member of Crete Lodge, No. 27, I. O. O. F., of the Crete Lodge K. of H., No. 1496, and Bohemian Society, C. S. P. S., No. 32.

B. C. KERR, druggist, was born in Illinois, 1845. In 1862 enlisted in the Sixty-fifth Illinois Infantry, Company F, and served three years. Was slighty wounded several times and was taken prisoner once or twice, but succeeded in getting away. In 1866 located at Dixon, Ill., and was employed as clerk in a drug store, where he remained eleven years, settling in Nebraska in 1877, and in company with C. M. Burket opened a drug store, which they carried on until January, 1882, when they sold out to A. J. Barrager, Mr. Kerr being retained as prescription clerk. Was married in February, 1877, at Dixon, Ill., to Miss Sarah E. Gillen. Has two sons, M. S. and Charles G. Is a member of Crete Lodge 27, I. O. O. F. and of Holland Post No. 75, G. A. R.

JOHN H. KERSENBROCK, Crete Brewery. Was born in Westphalia, Germany, in 1850, where he learned the trade of brewer, remaining there until 1869, and located in Cincinnati, where he remained some time, then to St. Louis and back to Chicago, settling there three days before the great fire, and losing what he had therein. He then went through the West, St. Paul, San Francisco and other places until 1875, when he made a permanent settlement in the State, located in Omaha, where he was employed by Bowman as foreman in his brewery, remaining one year, then to the North Platte, where he bought a brewery. In 1877, went to Columbus, and started a brewery there, remaining nearly three years, from there to Crete and purchased the brewery, and has put in many improvements and is manufacturing and shipping through the States with average sales of $20,000. Was married in 1877 to Miss E. Henggeler, of Columbus. They have three children.

F. LADERS, livery and stock dealer. Was born in Ohio in 1844, remaining there until 1857, when he moved with his parents to Schuyler County, Ill., remaining seven years, when he moved to Cass County, and engaged in butchering and running a meat market. Was in the business about eight years when he commenced buying and shipping horses, and after making one or two trips to Nebraska concluded to settle in the State, and in March, 1879, located in Crete, where he opened a livery stable, and in connection with Mr. J. R. Neil, is buying and selling horses and feeding stock for market, and has made good work of shipments that convinces him that stock is the business for Nebraska farmers to embrace. Was married in 1859 to Miss A. Baker, of Illinois. They have three children, Lena, Rosie, and Annie. Mr. Laders is a member of Saline Lodge, No. l,496, K. O. H., and of Crete Lodge, No. 27. I. O. O. F.

GEORGE LONG, livery. Was born in Waukesha County, Wis., in 1841, where he lived until 1869, when he was in different parts of the county, engaged in some enterprise until 1871, when he came to Nebraska and took a homestead in York County, on Section 24, Township 9, Range 1, west, where he remained until 1880, farming and stock raising, then going to Fenville he engaged in shipping horses into the State, remaining there one year. He then went to Crete, where he is now engaged in buying and selling horses and running a livery stable. Also carries on his farm, the original homestead which he still owns. Was married in 1874 to Miss Martha Block, of York County. Has two children, Willy and Maggie.


JOHN S. LEE, lumber and coal dealer. Was born in Paw Paw, Mich., in 1839, where he remained until 1863, when he went to Kansas and located in Franklin County, remaining there two years, going back to Paw Paw, Mich., where he remained until the winter of 1865-6, when he again traveled West and located in Saline County, Nebraska, and took a homestead on Section 22, Range 4, Township 8, where he remained farming and stock raising until 1870. Then he opened lumber and coal yard in Crete. Sold his original homestead for a part of the town site. Was married to Miss Mary Woodman, of Paw Paw, Mich., in 1862.

H. C. MERRICK, Postmaster and junior editor Saline County Union, Crete. Was born in Sandusky County, Ohio, in 1844, going to Will County, Ill., with his parents in 1848, and in 1854 removed to Kankakee County, where he remained until 1864, when he enlisted in the Eighth Illinois Cavalry, Company A. Received his discharge at the close of the war, July 4, 1865. Returned home and engaged in farming until 1868, when he emigrated to Schuyler County, Mo., and engaged in farming until 1870, when he engaged in the hotel and livery business at Glenwood. Settled in Crete, Neb., in June, 1871, as agent for the Singer Sewing Machine Co., until 1877, when he was appointed Postmaster at Crete. Was married in Glenwood, Mo., in 1871. to Miss Helene England. Is a member of Crete Lodge No. 27, I. O. O. F., also a member of Saline Lodge, No. 1496, K. of H., and also of Holland Post, No. 75, G. A. R., Crete.

T. H. MILLER, merchant, was born in Germany, in 1846. Emigrated to America in 1866; coming west to Omaha in the fall of 1866, remaining there a short time, then went west, along the U. P. R. R. stopping in Cheyenne, Laramie, and at last at Salt Lake City, where he remained about eighteen months. From there went to Sweet Water Mines, remaining about fifteen months. Then went to St. Louis, and again reached Omaha, where he remained about two years, as salesman in a dry goods store. Then went to Grand Island, and from there to Crete, in 1871. For a time was engaged in farming, near the city, took a homestead on which a part of the city is now located. In 1874, opened a store of general merchandising, which proved to be a success. Has put up several brick buildings, one 76x24, two stories; one 76x22, one story, and one 22x50, two stories, besides several private buildings, and a good residence. He has about 150 resident lots, and has put about $25,000 in buildings in the place. His annual sales amounted to $31,000 in 1881 and his clerk force consists of T. H. Haden, August Lange and Fred Dachtler. Mr. Miller entered the Prussian army in 1864, serving nearly two years, and went through the Prussian war in 1866, previous to coming to America. He was married in 1872, at Crete, to Miss Mary George. They have three children--Matilda, Henry and Bertie. His father and mother have a home with him, having come to America since he has made a foot hold.

J. R. NEILL, merchant was born in Trumbull County, Ohio, in 1837, where he remained until 1852, when he removed with his father's family to Rushville, Ill., where he resided for twenty-nine years, being engaged in stock raising, farming, merchandising and livery business until January, 1881, in company with Mr. Carse, bought the stock of goods of Mr. J. T. Holland. In 1882, Mr. Neill bought Mr. C.'s interest. Mr. N. is also engaged in the livery and stock business with Mr. Lader. They have leased a 1,200 acre farm, for stock raising, and have about 200 head of cattle, and 500 hogs. In 1869, was elected as County Superintendent of Schools, holding the position four years. In 1881, was elected President of Saline County Agricultural Society. Is a member of Crete Lodge, No. 37, A., F. & A. M.; also Mt. Zion Chapter, No. 17. In 1859, at Rushville, he was married to Felicia H. Richmond. They have two children--Lillian H. and Richmond L.

DAVID BRAINERD PERRY, was born in Worcester, Mass., in 1839. Lived there until 1859, when he entered Yale College, graduating in 1863, and with degree of A. B. From there went to Princeton, N. J. attending Theological Seminary at that point. In 1864-65, attended the Union Theological Seminary in New York City. The following year returned to Yale College as a tutor, at the same time finishing a theological course in Yale Theological Seminary, from which he graduated in 1867, receiving degree of S. B. T. In the same year took a trip to England, Germany, Italy, Switzerland and France, returning to America late in the fall of 1868, stopping a few months at Worcester, Mass., where he followed preaching and theological writing. Then removed to Yale College, where he taught for a portion of 1870, school year and college year of 1871 removed to Nebraska in 1872, having resolved to quit teaching, and make preaching his life work, failing health making it necessary to have out door employment, so for three months preached in three small churches in Clay and Hamilton counties. At that time, contrary to his desires, in view of failing health, was induced to accept charge of Doane College, at Crete, Neb., an institution founded by the Congregational churches of the State in 1872. The first college year commencing in September, 1872, began the work, which was simply preparatory, forming classes, etc. Married in July, 1876, in Charlestown, Mass., to Helen Doane, daughter of Col. Thomas Doane, formerly a resident of Crete. They have one child living--Thomas Doane Perry; one Brainerd Clark Perry, deceased. Are members of the Congregational Church.

JAMES W. RHINE, was born in Jay County, Ind., September 5, 1840. In 1847, with his parents, removed to Blackford County, where he remained until 1861. In September of that year, enlisted as private in Thirty-fourth Indiana Regiment. By the premature discharge of a cannon, on the 26th day of May, 1862, his right arm was shattered, necessitating amputation above the elbow; was discharged August 9, 1862. Returned to his home in Blackford County, Ind.; attended Franklin and Siber colleges until June, 1865. In August, 1865, removed to Sedalia, Mo., where he engaged in teaching. In May, 1866, removed to Falls City, Neb., where he taught school until April, 1870, when he removed to Saline County, taking up a homestead six miles from Crete. Taught school in the winter months, attended the farming in its season, until November, 1876, when he removed to town; was appointed Postmaster of Falls City in 1869, but resigned upon removal to Saline County. Has held the office of Assessor several times, City Clerk once; was elected member of City Council in 1878, and re-elected in 1881; was Assistant Sergeant-at-Arms of the State Senate in 1881, and was elected Sergeant-at-Arms of the Senate at the extra session in 1882. Is present Secretary of the Saline County Agricultural Society. Married, in 1869, in Lincoln, Neb., to Nancy A. Goodin. They have four children living--S. V. Retta, Nellie V., Fannie C., and James Madison, and one deceased, Olive May. Mr. R. is a member of the G. A. R., and Knights of Honor.

A. D. ROOT, M. D., physician and surgeon, was born in Portage County, Ohio, in 1836. In 1850, went to Kentucky, remaining there until 1854; then back to Portage County, where he commenced the study of medicine, and in 1856 went to Wisconsin, locating in Hartford, Washington County, where he completed his studies. In 1867, took a course of lectures at Cleveland Medical College, and graduated in 1870; remaining in Washington County until the fall of 1872, when he settled in Nebraska, locating at Crete, where he has since remained. In 1878, took his son into partnership with him. Was married, in 1857, at Hartford, Wis., to Miss Emeretta Root. They have six children. He is a member of the Crete Lodge, No. 27, I. O. O. F., K. of H. No. 1496. His eldest son, E. F., who is associated with him, was born in Dodge County, Wis., in 1858, and commenced the study of medicine with his father in 1876, finishing his course and graduating at Cleveland in 1880; has also studied dentistry, and commenced practicing at Crete in 1878. He is a member of Crete Lodge, No. 37. A., F. & A. M. He was married in September, 1881, at Crete to Miss Emma Kind.

EUGENE SCHILLING, farmer, was born in Wurtemberg, Germany, in 1840, where he remained until 1858, when he removed to America, settling in New York City, engaging in mercantile business until spring of 1861, when he enlisted as a private in Eighth New York Militia, serving until after discharge after first battle of Bull Run, when he enlisted in One Hundred and Second Veteran New York Volunteers; was promoted for bravery to Corporal, Sergeant, Sergeant-Major, Orderly-Sergeant, First Lieutenant, and Captain, serving on staffs of Gens. Mower, Geary, and Slocum, and mustered out as Major-in-Chief of Twentieth Army Corps, of Gen. Hooker's Division. Then returned to New York City, engaging in mercantile business until 1870, when he removed to Burlington, Iowa, where he published a German paper for one and one-half years, then engaging in mercantile business until 1877, when he removed to Crete, Neb., buying and improving a valuable farm near Crete. Married, in 1860, in New York City, to Estelle Harriott; one child, Harriott Gustavus, living and six deceased. He is a member of Saline County Agricultural Society, and President of that Society in 1881; is member of Episcopal Church.

JAMES C. SMITH, attorney at law, was born in Albion, Calhoun County, Mich. When seven years of age, his parents moved to Branch County, and he spent his younger days on a farm. In 1861, enlisted with First Michigan Infantry, but was discharged at end of two years, for disability; at the battle of Malvern Hill, was wounded in the knee. Returning home, he attended the Union School at Coldwater about two years, and from there went to Hillsdale College, remaining two years, and then to the State Normal School, remaining about one year; then went to Coldwater, and commenced reading law, and was admitted to the bar in 1869, and commenced the practice of law. In 1873, located at Ludington, Mich., where he remained until 1876, when he settled in Nebraska, locating at Wilber until 1877, when he opened an office at Crete. Was married, in 1877, at Beatrice, Neb., to Miss Rose Newer. They have two children, Guy A. and Roland E. Is a member of Crete Lodge, No. 37, A., F. & A. M.

E. F. STEPHENS, proprietor of Crete Nurseries, two and a half miles south of Crete. Was born in Maine, February 22, 1844. When at the age of seventeen he enlisted in Company H., Tenth Maine Infantry, and went through the Valley campaign with Banks, and then under General Pope, in Virginia, and at the battle of Cedarville, while the regiment was making a charge, he was wounded, and lay in the hospital for three months, then rejoined his regiment, but being taken with the swamp fever, which incapacitated him from service, he was discharged in May, 1863. Shortly after he went to southern California, where he engaged in farming for two years, returning at that time to Illinois, to take charge of his father's farm. In 1871 he came to Crete and established the Crete nurseries, in a small way. In 1871 and 1872 he was chosen by the officers of the B. & M. R. R. to superintend the setting out of trees along the cuts on the north side of the road, between Lincoln and Lowell. The prairies were bare from being burnt off each fall and the snow drifted into the cuts, causing the road a great delay and considerable expense to keep it open. Col. Doane, the chief engineer of the road, conceived the idea of an extensive tree planting, consisting of a variety of forest, fruit and ornamental trees, and with a view of testing them successfully, they were planted along the cuts in seven rows seven feet apart; the north line was of honey locust, and set one foot apart, for the double purpose of wind break and hedge; then two rows of European larch. Then three rows of native forest trees, such as ash, soft maple, cottonwood and willow, and the seventh or last row of evergreens. The forest trees were planted only near the stations. In this way 140,000 honey locust, 65,000 soft maple, 20,000 forest trees, 45,000 evergreens, 72,000 European larch, and ash, cottonwood and willow to make a total of 750,000 trees. The ground was prepared in 1872-73 and the planting done in the spring of 1873, and at the time of official inspection in the fall only a small percentage of this planting did not grow, so thorough had the work been done by Mr. Stephens. In the spring of 1874 there was planted 18,400 ash, but early in August great swarms of grasshoppers came and this line of trees was about the only feed for these pests; they attacked, leaving nothing but the bare, barkless stem standing. The following year the railroad did not pay expenses, and commenced retrenchment; the trees were left grow as best they might, and as the grass was not burned off in the fall, it caught the snow and such protection was no longer needed. The expense of setting out and cultivating this vast number of trees was about $15,000 and was the largest tree planting ever undertaken and carried out in the State. In 1872, Mr. Stephens, with a view of finding a location for a commercial orchard and nursery, consulted the various nurserymen in eastern Nebraska, and under the advice of Gov. Furnas bought 240 acres of land, lying on both sides of the Blue River, two and a half miles south of Crete. This land slopes to the northeast, to a deep ravine, and is accounted a valuable location. In 1873, twenty acres were planted in nursery stock and 20,000 fruit trees set out. Hedges and wind breaks were planted around the entire place. The following year the planting was largely added to and in the spring of 1874 $10,000 worth of stock was sold from an original outlay of $500. In 1874 the grasshoppers almost destroyed his nursery and his customers discouraged, his business was nearly ruined in 1875, but with persistent energy he refilled his stock. In 1876 the grasshoppers came again, doing considerable injury to the nursery. In the spring of 1877 he replanted, but the young grasshoppers cleaned out the nursery and Mr. S. was financially ruined. But again he started to plant; at this time he found that apple seedlings could be grown more successfully here than in the East; he planted largely and has been very successful, so at that at this time he has 8,600 fruit trees, besides nursery stock and small fruits. His business amounts to $12,000 per annum and he employs some twenty hands and pays $5,000 per annum for labor, and has demonstrated the fact that fruit can be successfully grown in central Nebraska. Mr. Stephens has been twice married. First in 1872, in Earlville, Ill., to Miss Sophia Mann, a neice of O. W. Merrill, of Merrill Hall, now Doane College. In 1874, was married in Crete, Neb., to Miss Mary E. Gregory, a neice of Rev. H. Bross, of Crete. They have one child--Frank B. Is a member of Post No. 75, G. A. R., Crete, Neb. Besides his nursery, Mr. Stephens is engaged in breeding Poland-China and Berkshire swine.

GEORGE D. STEVENS, cashier State Bank, was born in Caledonia County, Vt., in 1851; received a liberal education at the St. Johnsbury Academy, finishing his course in 1866. In 1867 engaged in the drug trade at St. Johnsbury until 1873, when he accepted the position of teller of the First National Bank of that place until 1875, when he was promoted to assistant cashier, remaining there until 1879, when he accepted his present position as cashier of the State Bank of Crete. Is treasurer of Doane College. Is a member of St. Johnsbury Lodge, No. 27. A., F. & A. M., and of Saline Lodge, No. 1496, K. of H. Was married in 1875 in Vermont, and has two sons, Wood and Robert.


JOHN L. TIDBALL, banker and lumber dealer, was born in Newcastle, Pa., in 1844, where he lived until 1865, attending school, when he entered the Commercial College in Pittsburg, but in December of same year removed to Warren, Ohio, and accepted position of bookkeeper in a wholesale grocery house. In 1869 removed to Ashland, Neb., engaging in the lumber trade, but in following year came to Crete, Neb., where he followed general merchandizing, in the firm of Valentine, Tidball & Co., furnishing railroad contractors at this point supplies, etc., until 1874, when he entered into copartnership with H. S. Fuller, under firm name of Tidball & Fuller, in lumber and grain business, establishing in addition houses at Friendville, Fairmount and Exeter. In May, 1881, the Citizens' Bank was incorporated under State laws, and J. L. Tidball elected president. He was married in 1871 in Warren, Ohio, to Emma S. Fuller. Has three children, Clayton F., Mary S. and Katie L. Member of Blue Lodge and Chapter A., F. & A. M. Mr. Tidball built the first business house in Crete before the town was laid out, as supply depot for railroad contractors.

THOMAS TOOGOOD, stock dealer and general merchandise, was born in England in 1841. In fall of 1849 came to America, settling in Milwaakee for the winter, but in the following spring removed to Dane County, Wis., afterwards to Jefferson County. In August, 1862, enlisted in Twenty-ninth Wisconsin, serving until July, 1865. Was in all the battles of his regiment. Followed farming until the fall of 1870, when he removed to Crete, Neb., engaging in general merchandise and stock shipping with V. C. Toogood, under firm name of Toogood Brothers. Have usually fed a large number of cattle, but the past winter have turned their attention more to hogs, expecting to resume stock dealing in the spring.

V. C. TOOGOOD, general merchandise, was born in Dorsetshire, England, in August, 1847. In 1849 his parents moved to America, settling temporarily in Milwaukee, Wis., but permanently in Dane and Jefferson counties. Followed farming until 1870, when he removed to Cheyenne, W. T., in meat supply store for Fort Russell. In same year moved to Crete, Neb., engaging in general merchandising and stock shipping business with Thomas Toogood, under firm name of Toogood Brothers. Married in 1879, in Crete, Neb., to Mary Bosak. They have one child, Vincent. Mr. T. is a member of the I. O. O. F., and Blue Lodge of A., F. & A. M. Was member of the City Council in 1873.

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