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Compendium of History Reminiscence & Biography of Western Nebraska

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     Governor A. C. Shallenberger has for many years been one of the most prominent residents of Alma, Nebraska, and is widely known through Harlan county and the surrounding country as a successful agriculturist and stockman. He is President of the Bank of Alma, which he established in 1887, and of which he was Cashier for six years, from 1887 to 1893 inclusive, then became the head of the institution. He served for some time as Mayor of Alma and represented this district in Congress in 1900. In 1906 he was the Democratic candidate for governor of Nebraska, and again in 1908, when he was elected to that office.

     Mr. Shallenberger was born in 1861 at Toulon, Illinois. He came to Nebraska in 1880, settling in Polk county. He was then eighteen years of age, and for some time after locating here was employed as a clerk in a store in Osceola, Nebraska, and also at Stromsburg, Nebraska. He has five brothers, two of whom are managers for the International Harvester Company, and three are engaged in the banking business, so it was only natural for him to select this line of work. The Bank of Alma has a capital of $30,000. To illustrate the rapid growth of the Bank of Alma it is only necessary to say that while seventeen years ago the deposits were only $8,000, they are today $200,000. Then there were no farmers' accounts, and now the bank carries over five hundred accounts, the greatest portion of them being from farmers, which shows the wonderful progress of this vicinity and the prosperity of the farmers and stockmen. Since 1890 lands in this section of Nebraska have advanced from 200 to 300 per cent. Mr. Shallenberger is the owner of one thousand seven hundred and twenty acres of fine farm land located near Alma, and since 1890 he has raised and fed large numbers of cattle and hogs each year. The farm land about here has become so high that he has gone out of ordinary stock, and breeds only the best, and keeps only thoroughbred Shorthorn cattle, preferring these as they serve the dual purpose of beef and dairy, and the latter pays better on high priced land than beef cattle. At the Nebraska State Fair, in 1906, "Bar None II" took first prize and sweepstakes, and at the Royal Exhibit held at Kansas City he captured second prize for yearling bulls. Mr. Shallenberger captured eleven first prizes in 1907, and in 1908 captured nine first prizes. He has now seventy-five to one hundred, thoroughbred Shorthorns in his herd, and at his sales held each year, buyers come from all over Nebraska and Kansas, recognizing the fact that they will get nothing but the best of stock.

     In 1906, he had forty acres of white corn, yielding one hundred bushels to the acre, which is an enormous crop, the average in Harlan county being fifty bushels per acre. He also has two hundred acres of alfalfa, and is experimenting with Turkestan variety. He is making these experiments at the request of the United States Agricultural and the Nebraska State Agricultural Departments. The average corn crop of Nebraska exceeds the average of both Illinois and Iowa for the same periods, and this state's corn holds the third place in quantity of product for these ten years. Out of ten hay states Nebraska ranks second in quantity and value of hay produced, and still has less acres devoted to its culture than any of the ten, showing a great yield per acre, which shows the immense possibilities

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as this state increases the acreage of hay and alfalfa. An average of 10,000 head of cattle are fed each winter within a radius of eight miles from Alma, and this furnishes a fine market for hay, grain and rough feed.

     There is probably no man in western Nebraska who has made a closer study of the financial and agricultural conditions and possibilities through this section of the state than Mr. Shallenberger, and he recognized as an authority on all matters of this kind.

      Mr. Shallenberger was married in 1884 to Miss Eliza Zilg, of Spring Green, Wisconsin. They have three children, Martin Shallenberger, who is second Lieutenant of the 16th U. S. Infantry; Grace Shallenberger, at the University of Nebraska, and Dorothy Shallenberger, six years of age, at home.



     Hon. Charles H. Cornell, an old settler, and one of the organizers of Cherry county, is one of the most prominent business men in this part of the state. 1877 he went to Wyoming, traveling by wagon from Green River on the Union Pacific Railway, thence to Fort Waskakie, a military post 150 miles north on the Little Wind River, and came from there in 1880 with the troops that established Fort Niobrara in Cherry county, where for a time he was connected with the Traders' Store, at the post. In 1884 Mr. Cornell laid out the town site of Valentine at the time the railroad came in here, opening a general store. He disposed of this store in 1886, to give his entire attention to the Bank of Valentine which he had established two years before and of which he was the head. 1904.

     In 1902 Mr. Cornell was married to Miss Bertha Childe, whose father, Edwin P. Childe, is a leading physician of Omaha. Mr. and Mrs. Cornell are the parents of two fine boys, Elmore and Cyril. Mrs. Cornell is an active and enthusiastic member of the Episcopal church.

     Mr. Cornell is Republican in politics, standing high in the party councils of the state. He is a member of the Governor's staff, participating in the presentation of a silver service to the battleship Nebraska, in May, 1908, at San Francisco. He has been chairman of the congressional committee of his district since 1902. Fraternally he affiliates with the Minnechadusa Lodge No. 192 of Valentine, and Chapter No. 61, R. A. M., at Long Pine. He also holds membership in the A. O. U. W. of Valentine. A portrait of Mr. Cornell will be found elsewhere in this work.

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     Mr. Calkins was born in Erie county, New York, in 1847. In the civil war he served as a private in Company B, Tenth New York Cavalry, from September, 1864, to June, 1865, and was present with his regiment in actions at Stony Creek Station, Jarrett's Station, Bellfield, Hatchers Run, Dinwoodie Court House, Sailors Creek, Farmville and Appomattox Court House.

     He studied law and was admitted to practice in the supreme court of New York in 1869 and practiced there until his removal to this state in 1873. He settled in Kearney and has practiced his profession there continuously until his appointment as one of the commissioners of the supreme court in April, 1907. He was state senator in 1877 and Regent of the State University from January, 1902, to April, 1907, and president of the State Bar Association for the year 1906. He has been much interested in educational affairs and a member of the school board in his home city for more than twenty years.

     He has been identified with the Grand Army of the Republic since its first organization in Nebraska, having been the first Commander of Sedgewick Post No. 1.

     Mr. Calkins is the only son of Harrison and Elizabeth (Cunningham) Calkins. Harrison Calkins was born in Clinton county, New York, and his father, Elisha Calkins, was a native of Vermont. Harrison Calkins was a member of the state militia in 1837 and served in those disturbances on Canadian border that have passed into history as the "Patriot War." The maternal grandparents of the subject of this sketch, David and Phoebe (Bloomfield) Cunningham, lived in the Mohawk Valley before they settled in Erie county.

     Mr. Calkins was married in New York to Arethusa Jewitt Patch and they have become the parents of the following children: Harrison V. of Lindsay, California; Jessie, wife of George Windel of Payette, Idaho, and Arethusa, who resides with her parents at Kearney.



     Among those who have made Perkins county their home for many years past and who have aided materially in the development of the agricultural and financial resources of the region, the gentleman above named deserves a prominent place. Mr. Watkins has held public office in the county for the past several years, serving as sheriff since 1903, and he makes his residence in Grant, where he has a pleasant home and is one of the leading citizens.

     Mr. Watkins was born in Will county, Illinois, and reared on a farm. His father was Richard Watkins, a native of England, who married Katherine Russell, also born and reared in England, they coming to this country and settling in Illinois. They lived on the same farm until our subject was twenty-five years of age, although he had begun farming on his own account when he became of age. In 1882 he came to Seward county, Nebraska, where he carried on farming on rented land for five years, then moved to Perkins county and homesteaded on section 26, township 9, range 40, driving to his new location from Ogallala. His first dwelling was a frame shack which he put up himself, later went through the "sod house experience," proving up on his claim and improving the place as he was able. He engaged in mixed farming and stock raising, and succeeded in building up a good home, adding to his farm until he became owner of a good ranch of eight hundred acres, all well improved with good buildings, fences, and every convenience for its proper operation.

     In November, 1903, Mr. Watkins was elected sheriff of Perkins county on the fusion ticket. He was re-elected in 1905 and 1907, and is now serving his third term.

     In 1904, while still sheriff, Mr. Watkins moved to Grant, and has since made it his home. He was married in 1877, at Joliet, Illinois, to Miss Eleanor Francis, of English descent, born and raised in Illinois. To them have been born the following children: Martha, John, Sylva, Clarence, Emery, Arthur, Lucinda, Elmer, Ora and Rosco.

     Mr. Watkins has always taken an active interest in public affairs. He served as justice of the peace in Grace precinct, near Venango, for four years and has held some school office twenty years out of the twenty-one years he has lived here.



     The gentleman above named is one of the leading citizens of Mullen, Nebraska, and for many years past has taken an active part in the development and growth of the western part of the state. He is editor of the Hooker County Tribune, also the Thomas County Herald, the latter being under the management of his son, Ross H. Welton, and published at

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Thedford, Nebraska, and has always been unceasing in his efforts to boom every laudable enterprise which has been started for the benefit of Hooker county. As a citizen he is broad-minded and public-spirited to the last degree, and he had taken a prominent part in local politics, at the present time serving as United States commissioner of the Nebraska district.

   John H. Welton was born in Cleveland, Minnesota, January 12, 1865. His father, Barnabas, was a native of New York state, a farmer by occupation, and he married Adelaid Huntley, daughter of Lodwick Huntely, a famous Indian scout and fighter, both he and Barnabas Welton being among the pioneers in the state of Minnesota. During their early settlement there they took part in several Indian battles and skirmishes with General Sibley, at New Ulm and Mankato, and later on served in the United States regular army with the Fourteenth Minnesota Heavy Artillery, and saw hard service in the civil war.

    Our subject grew up in his native state, following the typical life of the frontier, father, mother and six children coming to Nebraska in 1879, and settling in Holt county, where they were again among the earliest settlers. There they established a ranch, and the former was elected one of the first sheriffs of that county after its organization, later served as police judge for several terms and became one of the best known men of the county and a leading citizen of the times. He died at O'Neill, February 27, 1894, at the age of sixty-four years, and was greatly missed by all as a man of superior judgment and active public spirit, always standing for the best interests of his community.

   Our subject grew to manhood in Holt county, receiving his education in the country schools, later attended high school at O'Neill, and there first started in the newspaper business. For a while he published the Danbury Review at Danbury, Iowa, but in 1897 returned to Nebraska, settling in the western part of the state and there followed newspaper work in various towns. He was connected with the Beacon Light, at O'Neill, during a number of years, which paper exposed the startling robbery of $94,000 from the county treasury by grafters, which theft, was perpetrated while our subject was a resident in that town.

    He was married to Mary M. Chisholm in 1893, and four children were born to this union. In 1901 he was married to Mattie E. Everett, to which union one son was born, the little one passing away at the age of one year.

   Mr. Welton was finally compelled to seek change of climate on account of failing health, so traveled through the west for a time, but returned to Nebraska and settled permanently at Mullen, purchasing his present business in 1901. This paper was established in 1895, by F. M. Cudebeck, and subsequent proprietors had charge of the organ in the order mentioned: Edgar Phillips, from 1897 to 1898; Charles Schilling, from 1898 to 1900; E. L. Everett, from 1899 to 1901, and the paper then came into the hands of our subject, who has since been sole owner, editor and publisher. It is at present the only newspaper in Hooker county, and is loyally supported by the people of the county with a circulation of more than 700 copies, and an advertising patronage that gives promise of a prosperous, steady growth.

    In political matters Mr. Welton is a Republican, and a member of the congressional committee for the sixth district, also chairman of the Republican county central committee, and takes a prominent part in all party affairs. He is a member of the village council, and his life has been spent in doing all in his power to help build up his part of the state.

   Mr. Welton has now devoted twenty-seven years to newspaper work in Nebraska, is one of the best known men in the profession, and also has followed the business in South Dakota, Iowa and several other states in the Union.



     Charles W. Potter occupies a foremost position in Brown county, Nebraska, as a citizen of worth, and a successful and prosperous business man of Ainsworth.

      Mr. Potter was born in Whiteside county, Illinois, October 19, 1841. His father, Martin M. Potter, a farmer, was a native of Cattaraugus county, New York, descended from old Yankee stock, and came west settling in Illinois in 1831 or 1832. The nearest market place from his farm at that time was one hundred and twenty-three miles away, and this was Chicago, then a comparatively small town. Dianthony Pratt, a New Yorker, was our subject's mother, he being the third member in a family of four children. His boyhood days were spent on his father's farm, where he secured a good sturdy training which fitted him for the work of his later years, and at the age of nineteen enlisted in Company G, Thirteenth Illinois Infantry, under Colonel John B. Wyman, in the year 1861, one of the first regiments to go to the front during the war. He was at the battle of Vicksburg, at Wilson Creek and Pea Ridge; he was with the Army of the Tennessee,

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and with Sherman to Atlanta, where his time expired and regiment was discharged in Woodville, Alabama. He immediately re-enlisted in Company I, Fifty-sixth Illinois Regiment, and served until August, 1865, receiving an honorable discharge at Little Rock, Arkansas.

      After the war closed he was transported by sea from Savannah to Washington, taking part in the Grand Review, a spectacle at which the nations of the Old World marvelled (sic). During all his career as a soldier he was never severely wounded, receiving slight scratches from time to time. In the spring of 1865 he returned to his old home and began farming, remaining here until the spring of 1872, when he came west, locating in Shelby county, Iowa. He remained at that point until 1884, then came to Nebraska, settling on a farm in Brown county. He lived on this place for eight years, then leaving the farm moved to Ainsworth. In 1899 he was elected county judge by the Populist party, serving two terms. In 1905 he was re-elected, and is serving his county in that capacity at the present time. In 1889 he was the nominee of the Independent party for lieutenant governor, on the ticket of which David Butler was the head.

      Mr. Potter was married on Christmas day, 1866, in Prophetstown, Illinois, to Miss Harriet Shorett, a Canadian. Her parents were of French descent, residing at Toronto, Canada. Mr. and Mrs. Potter have a family of two sons, Marion J. and Clayton W.

      Mr. Potter is one of the old settlers in the western part of Nebraska, and has done his full share towards the building up of the country. He is now a Democrat in politics and a member of the G. A. R. Post at Ainsworth.



      George S. Todd, residing in section 18, township 21, range 13, who came to Nebraska many years, in 1884, and is well known all over Garfield county as a progressive and successful agriculturist, is now living on twenty acres of land where he settled twenty-five years ago, having sold most of his land of late years.

      Mr. Todd was born in Ohio in 1841, and is of Scotch descent, his grandfather on his mother's side being one of the Stuarts of the family of the Queen of Scots. He was reared as a mechanic, and followed that work in his native state until he was twenty-five years of age. He joined in the struggle of his county for liberty and freedom, entering Company B, Twenty-fourth Iowa Volunteer Infantry, in 1862, and served for three years. He saw active service through the Vicksburg campaign, to the Gulf, and then to Washington, District of Columbia, where he was mustered out. In 1866 he engaged in the work of building and contracting in Iowa, which he followed for some years.

      In 1887 Mr. Todd settled in Nebraska, starting a farm in Wheeler county. He put all his energy into his enterprise and succeeded in developing a splendid farm, which he has sold of late, only retaining twenty acres. He is well satisfied with the results of his labor in this state, and thinks a man's chances are much better here than in the East, as the investment of a small capital here will bring greater returns in a less number of years. However, to make money, a man must be industrious and able to adapt himself to the country and prepared to fight hard and overcome many discouragements and failures. A poor man, can of course, make a good living here, but if a man has a little capital to start with he is able to build up a fortune rapidly. Land here has advanced nearly a hundred percent, in the past ten years, and one who began with a small farm then and has added to its acreage constantly since that time would now be a pretty wealthy man.

      Mr. Todd was married in 1865 to Miss Eda L. Brainard, a native of Ohio, daughter of L. D. and Maria (Vaughn) Brainard. To Mr. and Mrs. Todd have been born nine children, seven of whom are living, named as follows: Zeros Z., Clara E., Mabel M., Viola V., Samuel S., Nina R., Logan D., Tetulah M. (deceased), and Stuart (deceased). The family are members of the Methodist Episcopal church and all are held in the highest esteem in their community. Mr. Todd is a member of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows and also of the Masonic lodge at Correctionville, Iowa. In 1893 he was elected county judge of Garfield county, by the Republican party. He still takes a deep interest in local politics but does not seek office, preferring to lead a quiet home life.



      The above gentleman is known as one of the successful business men of McCook, Redwillow county, Nebraska, and recognized as among the best judges of live stock and all

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conditions of ranching, farm lands and markets in the western part of the state of Nebraska. He is an authority on the subjects of breeding and feeding all kinds of stock, and one of the leading men of this locality.

      Mr. Wilcox was born in Canaan and reared in Columbia county, New York, settling in Gilman, Iroquois county, Illinois, in 1870, where he was engaged in the mercantile business for fourteen years. His brother, the Honorable J. A. Wilcox, is a merchant residing at Alma, Nebraska, and his sketch appears in this volume on another page. Our subject first came to Nebraska in 1884, embarking in the mercantile business, and the following year started in the live stock business in addition to his other interests, buying and shipping stock. He owns a large ranch of seven hundred acres situated on the river opposite McCook, and this he uses for feeding purposes. He is also the proprietor of another ranch of one thousand seven hundred and twenty acres on Dry Creek, and on this he keeps one hundred head of registered Hereford cattle, having one of the finest herds in this locality, selling these animals at private sales throughout this state, Colorado and the west, where he is well known. He begun (sic) with Hereford cattle in 1902, and has been most successful in this line of work. He ships about two hundred cars of hogs and the same number of cattle each year, and during the year 1907 expects to even exceed this amount, now having on feed about one thousand one hundred head of cattle which he bought in Nebraska and Colorado. Since first locating here he has raised, bought and shipped hogs, and finds this very profitable. He was one of the first in this locality to sow alfalfa, beginning in 1889. This has added greatly to the wealth of this state, and is a wonderfully successful product. His first crop in 1889 cut five tons to the acre in 1906, and has never needed re-seeding. He has refused eight dollars per ton, which equals forty dollars per acre for this grass. He contends that this country is as nearly perfect as can be found anywhere for feeding and fattening cattle, as the cattle do well through the mild and dry winters. One winter he fed at Hooper, Nebraska, and says he would give from five to eight cent per bushel more for corn here owing wholly to weather conditions, as a person can make cattle so much more comfortable here and fatten quicker and cheaper. All of the Divide land has doubled in the last eighteen months, and he has bought and sold a great deal. Bottom lands are scarcer and have been held firm owing to the culture of beets and alfalfa. The land here today is not selling for one-half what it is worth, when a man can raise from thirty to forty bushels of wheat to the acre. Mr. Wilcox has now on his three places about nine hundred head of hogs. He always selects the best breeds, but these he does not register. He has settled on the Black Poland China as the best suited to his purpose, after trying all other breeds, as when fat they sell for more money and they mature quicker and it takes less corn to fatten them.

      Mr. Wilcox was married in 1875 to Miss Katie Lovejoy, and this union has been blessed with one child, a son, named Harry J.

      Mr. Wilcox is one of the representative men in western Nebraska, highly respected and esteemed by his fellowmen. He has built up a fine home in McCook, and is one of the wealthiest men in this locality.



      Peter M. Person, residing on section 18, Lake township, Phelps county, is proprietor of a fine one hundred and sixty acre farm, which he took up as a homestead in 1879, building a sod house and starting a home and farm. For the first five or six years he was unable to raise a crop, and up to 1884 he met with much discouragement in his work. After that he had good success, and for the past six years has raised a fine crop of winter wheat each season, and as he has tried all kinds, states that winter wheat is the best for his locality. When Mr. Person first settled here Kearney was the nearest market place, and the country very thinly settled, and he has watched the development and growth of the region from its earliest beginning, and has been no small factor in its development.

      Mr. Person is a native of Sweden, who came to this country when about twenty-six years of age. He was a sailor on the lakes, settling in Chicago after landing in this country, where he remained for eleven years. He was captain and owner of a two-masted schooner, and was also engaged in carrying lumber on the lakes. Prior to this he spent twelve years on the ocean as first mate on the brigs Rosetta and James Crow. While in this work he traveled all over the world and had many interesting experiences, being shipwrecked at one time. Before going as a sailor four or five years he attended the navigation school in his native country, and graduated as captain of a first-class ship under a rigid examination. His father, Martin Person, was a teacher for thirty years

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in the public schools there, and his son naturally followed in his footsteps and acquired a splendid education. He has been treasurer of Lake township for several terms, and his early training and education has eminently fitted him to take a leading place among his fellows. From all his experience gained by travel of the different parts of this country, he considers this part of Nebraska the best he has ever seen, for health, farming or stock-raising, and he is content to remain here for the balance of his time.

      Mr. Person was united in marriage in 1873 to Miss Hannah Erickson, born in Norway, who came to this country about 1865, at the age of fifteen. Their marriage has been blessed with a splendid family of children, who are named as follows: Edwin B. is manager of the grain elevator at Funk, Phelps county; Albert W. is holding the same position at Sacramento, this county; Julius and Ernest T. are both living at home, and one daughter, Annie Caroline, is the wife of A. T. Curtis, of Sacramento, manager of a grain elevator at that place. Emma died at the age of twenty-one. John Martin is in the wholesale store of Granger Bros. at Lincoln, Nebraska.

      In political sentiment Mr. Person is an independent and reform voter.



      Floyd H. Field, residing at Dunning, in Blaine county, Nebraska, is one of the old timers of that region. He came to the locality ahead of the railroads, when the country was full of wild game of all kinds, and most of the land raw prairie with settlers few and far between, and has watched every change which has taken place here since that time, and has the satisfaction that much of the success now enjoyed by the people of the locality has come about through his aid. He is one of the wealthy residents of his county, enjoying a fine home, and is held in the highest esteem by all who know him.

      Mr. Field was born in Cook county, Illinois, in 1852. His father, Oliver, who married Narcissa Miner, was a farmer, and both were born and raised in Vermont. Floyd grew up in Illinois, twenty-two miles west of Chicago, and helped his parents carry on the home farm until he was about eighteen years of age, then left home and begun (sic) railroading on the Chicago and Northwestern Railway, working as a trainman for eleven years. During his career as a trainman he was in two serious wrecks, and on one occasion was buried in the debris of a baggage car, but was fortunate enough to escape without injury.

      He and his brother, F. W., came west to southern Colorado and worked in the mines at Silverton, remaining there for two years, then they came to Merna, Nebraska, landing there in 1880. He filed on a homestead and improved the place to the extent of one hundred and twenty-five dollars, than sold out for twenty-five dollars, living on the place for a part of one year, then went to Cherry county, south of Fort Niobrara, where he spent three or four months. His next move was to Lena, near where Dunning now stands, and there he began working for the C. O. D. Cattle Company, and worked as a cowboy for two years, roughing it all of that time, most of the time camping out on the plains, winter and summer. He finally went into the stock business for himself in 1884, establishing a ranch near Dunning on land which had formerly been used by the C. O. D. Cattle Company, and has been in the business ever since. He has a ranch of three thousand acres of deeded land, and runs from five hundred to seven hundred head of cattle each year. The place is well improved with substantial buildings and fences, has fine water supply, etc., and is one of the widely known stock ranges of the west. Our subject and his brother, F. W., have been associated in business together ever since they came to Nebraska, and personally superintend their large ranch and both have fine residences in Dunning.

      Mr. Field is married and has one child, Albert Floyd Field. Our subject is among the prominent men of his section, and remembers all the old Nebraska times, having hauled posts from Upper Dismal river to Grand Island, which he traded for groceries in the first years of his residence here.



      Harvey L. Millay, banker and successful business man of Springview, Keya Paha county, is accorded a high station among the worthy citizens of this locality. Mr. Millay is the active manager of the Stockmen's Bank of Springview, organized in 1900, incorporated and opened for business March 1st, of that year. This bank was the first institution of the kind in Springview since 1893, and is now the oldest bank in the town.

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