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Compendium of History Reminiscence & Biography of Western Nebraska

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    In 1903 Mr. Boyer was married to Rose Pool, of Cherry county, Neb., daughter of J. R. and Missouri (Boyd) Pool, of American descent. Mr. and Mrs. Boyer are the parents of three children, namely; Floyd Wayne, Blanche and Pearl, and they form a most interesting and charming family.

    Mr. Boyd occupies a foremost place in his community as a leading old timer, and well remembers the early days in this region when he freighted all over this part of the state in order to get a living and make a start for himself.



    Wyman S. Clapp is a prominent citizen of Kearney, Nebraska, where his high character, integrity and general business ability have won for him the public favor to a marked degree. He deals in insurance and real estate, two lines in which the competition is the keenest, and that he has forged so rapidly to the front, is proof of the man. He knows his business "from the ground up," does not misrepresent anything, and it is a known fact that his word may be trusted. He deals in the various lines of insurance, such as life, accident, and fire, and of late has handled surety bonds very successfully. Some of the most striking transactions in real estate have been completed through his assistance, and he has a steady patronage in that line. He is also interested in various other enterprises, a director, secretary and treasurer of the Kearney Telephone Company, and is also secretary and treasurer of the Midway Gas, Light, Heat and Power Company. Mr. Clapp is the secretary and treasurer of the Kearney Business Men's Association, in the organization of which he was very active in 1900. This association has done many good things for the city, its most important work having been the location of the State Normal at this point.

    While still in the east Mr. Clapp was in the service of the Watson Ranch Company, and came to this state in its interest. The Watson Ranch is a very important enterprise, and comprises within its limits some eight thousand acres, mainly devoted to alfalfa and fruits. It was regarded as one of the sights of the county. Mr. Clapp has been in business for himself since 1898, and in that time has won a name and a competence.

   Mr. Clapp was born in Deerfield, Massachusetts, and was reared and educated in his native state. There he was married to Miss Agnes T. Wait, who has proved a most helpful wife and companion, winning many friends by her charming personality and attractive ways. In fraternal circles the subject of this writing is very popular, being a Mason of high degree, and is a past high priest of the Chapter. He is also an officer in the Commandery. In political matters he is in affiliation with the Republican party, and takes an active interest in its various developments. In Kearney he is known as a successful, active and enterprising citizen.

    A portrait of Mr. Clapp is presented on another page of this volume.

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    For the past quarter of a century the gentleman whose name heads this personal history has been associated with the commercial interests of western Nebraska. Mr. Wilson resides in Kearney, Buffalo county, where he has built up a pleasant home and is known throughout this locality as one of its most worthy citizens, and through his long career as a business man, and as a public spirited man he has become one of the most popular residents in western Nebraska.

   Mr. Wilson is a native of Pennsylvania, and came to Kearney in 1883 from Henry county, Illinois, and from that time up to 1888 was, together with his brother Samuel engaged in the livery business at the town of Kearney, which at that time was a large and important item in the development of this part of the country. In 1888 he was elected sheriff of the county, and after serving that term was re-elected in 1900, acting in this capacity for a period of four years. During the time he held this office there were several murders in this section, also other matters under discussion, and as the great boom was on during these years the civil part of the sheriff's work was extremely strenuous. In 1892 he was elected to the State legislature on the Republican ticket for Buffalo county, and from 1895 to 1900 he held the position of deputy collector of internal revenue for western Nebraska, with headquarters at Grand Island. In 1903 Mr. Wilson assumed the position of special land agent for the Union Pacific railway company for western Nebraska, with the head office located at Kearney. Prior to this he was connected with the land department of that railway, which position he occupied for two years, resigning to accept the former office. In the last four years there has been a big movement in western Nebraska lands, and our subject has sold for

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the Union Pacific company between seventy-five and eighty thousand acres of farming land at from two to five dollars per acre, mostly situated in Cheyenne, Lincoln, Kimball, Keith and Deuel counties. In the last named two counties the U. P. lands are about all sold, and there is great activity in the private sale of lands there at figures much above the above prices. These farms are admirably adapted for the culture of alfalfa, broom grass, millet and for mixed farming and stock raising. The altitude at that point is about 4,000 feet, while in Buffalo county, it is 2,000 feet, thus insuring warmer nights, which is much better suited for the raising of corn. Through these counties macaroni wheat has been known to produce a crop of forty bushels per acre.

    Mr. Wilson has lived continuously in Kearney since October, 1883. He was married in 1880 to Miss Rosa M. Beacher and has three children living: J. H. Wilson, of Salt Lake City, and Ella M. and Richard B. at home.

    Mr. Wilson has always taken a prominent and active part in public affairs. He has served in the council, and was for fifteen years chief of the fire department. He is a Mason of high degree and also a member of the Benevolent Protective Order of Elks. While living in Henry county, Illinois, Mr. Wilson served as deputy sheriff of that county from 1878 to 1883.



    Alexander Kerns, one of the enterprising and energetic citizens of Cherry county, Nebraska, where he takes high rank for his many manly and sterling qualities, was born in Peoria county, Illinois, in 1865, on a farm, and is a descendant of good old American stock.

   Oliver Kerns, his father, was a native of Ohio, born in Highland county, and he married Kate Huffman, of Pennsylvania. Our subject was reared in his native state and educated in the country schools, devoting all his spare time to assisting his parents in carrying on the home farm. He lived in Ohio up to 1885, then came west, locating in Sheridan county, Nebraska, and began working at railway construction for the Chicago & Northwestern Railway, which was then being put through that portion of the state. After spending about a year in that region he filed on a pre-emption, and built a log cabin, living on the place for a year, then returned to Illinois and spent one year. He came back to Nebraska in 1887, settled on a tract of land in Sheridan county and opened up a ranch and lived on the place up to 1901. There he went through pioneer experiences, having many hard times, and going through the worst times during the years 1890 and 1891, which was the time of the Indian scares, and when the settlers were having so much trouble with the redskins in South Dakota. In 1901 he came to his present ranch on which he filed as a homestead, this being situated in section 5, township 25, range 31, Cherry county, Neb., and he has it improved in good shape. There are 640 acres in the ranch and he is engaged in stock raising principally, but farms from 150 to 200 acres.

    In June, 1886, Mr. Kerns was married to Nora Bell, daughter of James Bell and Hanna Bell of Missouri. Mr. and Mrs. Kerns are the parents of five children, who are named as follows: Addie (married); Alta, wife of Frank Clevenger; and Lena, Elmer and Grace at home with their parents.

   Our subject takes a commendable interest in local public affairs and the family are (sic) highly esteemed by all in their community. He is a Bryan Democrat in politics.



    Dennis D. Cheesman was born on a farm in Cattaraugus county, New York, in 1868, of American parentage. His father, James Cheesman, was a farmer and pioneer settler of Loup county, his homestead being located in the southwest part of Sawyer precinct, to which he came in 1888. The maiden name of the mother of our subject was Emily L. Dye. The father died some time ago.

    Dennis D. Cheesman was reared in New York state, working on the farm and receiving a common school education. In 1888 he came with his father to Loup county and started in business for himself engaging in farming and stock raising.

    Our subject was married in February, 1899, to Miss Josephine Moyer, daughter of Oliver and Malinda (McVey) Moyer, who became pioneer settler of Loup county, Neb., in 1886. This union was blessed with five children, -- Theodore, Mary, James, Florence and Nolah. Mrs. Cheesman taught school in Loup county for several years and is a lady of talent and scholarly attainments.

    Dennis D. Cheesman has always been active in public affairs and has participated in political movements of his community. He is regarded as a man of strong convictions and his conscientiousness has made him many warm friends. In 1900 he was elected county com-

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missioner and served three years and has otherwise been honored in a political way by his friends and neighbors.

   In 1905 Mr. Cheesman was nominated and elected on the independent ticket to the office of County Clerk and was re-elected in 1907. He has made an efficient officer and has strongly entrenched himself in the regard of the people. He still owns a farm in Sawyer precinct but lives in Taylor.



    The gentleman mentioned above is one of the successful and prosperous young farmers of Hooker county, Nebraska. He has a well improved ranch of about two thousand acres, all deeded, belonging to the estate of his father, Joseph Crain, and is well known as a young man of industrious habits and strict integrity, highly esteemed and respected by his fellow-men.

   Mr. Crain was born near Crawfordsville, Indiana, in 1884. His father, Joseph Crain, was a prominent farmer and ranchman of Hooker county, Nebraska, an early settler in that region, and he died on their old homestead June 6, 1900. The mother, whose maiden name was Sarah E. Weaver, died in this county February 22, 1907. There were five children in the family, and they settled in Nebraska in 1887, locating in Hooker county. They drove to that vicinity from Broken Bow, having a team and emigrant wagon containing their goods, and camped out along the road, and afterwards went through all the pioneer hardships and privations, living for many years in that county, and built up a good home there.

    Our subject and his family came to Cherry county in 1887, settling on section 27, township 24, range 33, and started to put up buildings, his father's first dwelling being a sod house, in which they lived for seven years, and then built a good frame house. He succeeded fairly well from the start; although he began with very little, and was proprietor of a ranch consisting of sixteen quarter sections, all deeded land, when he died in 1900, the whole being well improved and all good land, most of it devoted to a cattle ranch. Since the death of his father, Homer and his brother Howard have carried on the farm, assisted by their sisters. The other children are: Maude E., Howard V., Burl R., Elsie A., the latter the youngest, born in 1899. Homer also has a Kincaid homestead adjoining his father's estate.

    During the family's early residence in Nebraska they had many hardships to contend with, and suffered from crop losses, but never gave up courage, and they have been richly rewarded for remaining and putting in years of labor.



    L. A. Berry, one of the solid business men and public-spirited citizens of Alliance, Nebraska, is well-known as an able lawyer and prominent politician.

   Mr. Berry was born in Onondaga county, New York, in 2854. His father, Mathias, familiarly known as "Major" Berry, was of Irish stock, a farmer by occupation, who married Sylvia Osborn, of Onondaga county, New York. Our subject grew up in his native state and received a good education, attending the Pompey Academy, and also Whitestown seminary. He was of a studious nature from early boyhood, and read Blackstone while living at home, and gained a good foundation for his studies later in life. On August 4, 1878, he was admitted to the bar in Iowa, having come west the previous year and located at Marshalltown. He first opened an office at Marshalltown and later at Gilman, remaining in those places for several years, then moved to Ida Grove, and practiced his profession for a time, About this time his health failed, and he was obliged to quit the law business and for two years was engaged in other pursuits.

    Mr. Berry came to Nebraska in 1893, going to the western part of the state where he hoped to recuperate his failing health, where he started at work on a ranch owned by his brother-in-law. He lived a free, out-of-door life in that part of the state, and in June, 1896, came to Alliance and opened a law office, and has remained here ever since. He has built up a good practice as an attorney throughout this section of the country, and has also been active in local political affairs. In the fall of 1906 he was elected County Judge to fill a vacancy. He has held the office of Justice of the Peace for several terms, also Police Judge, and to his influence and aid is due much of the prosperity and growth of the financial interests of his community. He is a Democrat politically.

   Mr. Berry was united in marriage at Gilman, Iowa, in 1883, to Miss Minnie Sparks. Mrs. Berry is a daughter of Lyman Sparks, of

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Yankee stock, and Marietta Engram Sparks, of English descent. Prior to her marriage to our subject Mrs. Berry was a school teacher in her native state, and a lady of much charm and superior accomplishments. They are the parents of two sons, namely: Leo and Lyle.



    Frank Rothleutner, one of the leading business and ranch men of Cherry county, Nebraska, is a man of wide experience, having made his way to success by perseverance and diligence, supplemented by honest dealings. He resides at Georgia Station, Nebraska, where he has a pleasant home and is engaged in the general merchandise business.

   Mr. Rothleutner is a native of Bergstadt, Moravia, Austria, born July 29, 1859. His father, Joseph Rothleutner, came with his family to American shores in 1872. They sailed from Hamburg on the steamer Gallert, landing in New York June 16, after a voyage of two weeks. Locating in Platte county, Nebraska, where he was one of the pioneers, the father farmed for many years, and is now engaged in the hardware business at Columbus. Our subject is the oldest member of their family of five children, and remained at home with his parents until he was twenty-four years of age, then struck out for himself, going to Holt county and taking up a homestead there in 1881, before the railroad had been built that far west. He lived in a sod shanty while proving up on his homestead, going through the usual experiences of the pioneers of that section. His first team was a yoke of oxen, with which he freighted to the Black Hills during the years 1877 and 1878. He was engaged in freighting all through western Nebraska, making Holt county his home up to 1892, having acquired a good home and a well improved farm of four hundred and eighty acres.

   On March 20, 1892, Mr. Rothleutner came to Cherry county, settling on the Niobrara river south of Georgia. Here he began stock raising and ranching, and followed that work for two years. This property he sold and purchased a large ranch of three thousand acres adjoining the village of Georgia, and on this runs one thousand head of cattle and two hundred horses. In 1883 he and a brother-in-law, Gus Davis, purchased the mercantile business of John Steinbreaker, established in 1892, and ran it in partnership for a time, when Mr. Rothleutner sold out his interest, but later bought the entire business, and now operates a large general store, selling everything that a farmer, ranchman or Indian may need. He has an extensive trade all over Cherry and the adjoining counties and Rosebud reservation, being one of the successful and prosperous business men of the county. A view of the ranch property will be found on another page of this work.

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    Mr. Rothleutner was married January 16, 1884, to Miss Cornelia Davis from New York state. To Mr. And Mrs. Rothleutner three children have been born, namely: Joseph Augustus, Stanley and Celia.

   Our subject is a Populist in political faith and helped organize that party, which elected him their representative in the state legislature in 1894 for one term. Mr. Rothleutner was reared in the Catholic church. Fraternally he is a member of the Modern Woodmen of America.



    William N. Tompsett, numbered among the pioneers of section 34, township 15, range 49, has built up a good home in Cheyenne county, and there resides surrounded by the comforts of life and esteemed by his associates. He came to that region during the early days of its settlement, and during his career as a frontiersman has seen all the phases of western life, and is one of Nebraska's substantial citizens and a worthy representative of his adopted state.

    Mr. Tompsett was born in Canada in March, 1854, and lived there until he was seventeen years of age, receiving a limited schooling, and worked with his father as a boy, coming to the United States and striking out for the western states. He crossed the Missouri river on a ferry, landing in Omaha in 1871, and remained there up to 1877, and during the latter year went into the Black Hills on a prospecting trip. He afterwards traveled all through the western states and became familiar with all that country, leading a roving life for a number of years. In 1885 he came into Cheyenne county and made settlement at Sidney, locating on the northeast quarter of section, 34, township 15, range 49, his wife taking up a homestead on the northwest quarter of section 34 shortly afterwards, which place is now their home ranch. Mr. Tompsett has a good farm, cultivating seventy-five acres, and using the balance for hay land and pasture, running quite a herd of stock. He has all good buildings, and is a prosperous and successful farmer and ranchman.

    Mr. Tompsett married Julia F. Grafton at Sidney, Nebraska, in 1890. Mrs. Tompsett was born in Iowa, and both her parents and her husband's are now dead. They have a family of three children, named as follows: Lambert H., Clyde P. and Tom V., all living at home, and are now getting to be a great help to their father in carrying on the farm work. Our subject is a member of the Democratic party, and a stanch supporter of Bryan principles.



    The above named gentleman was a prominent resident of Ainsworth, Nebraska, born in the town of Plattsville, in Grant county, Wisconsin, February 4, 1846. His father, Stephen O. Paine, was a prominent attorney in that state, and served in the Black Hawk war. He came of old American stock and was a member of the Sons of the American Revolution. The Paines originally came from Rhode Island, and were associated with the history of the early days of that state. Our subject's mother, Miss Pamela B. Bronson, was a native of New York state, her people being among the first settlers on Staten Island. Of a family of five children, our subject was the second member, and was reared and educated in Wisconsin, attending the common schools as a boy and later the Plattsville Academy. May 5, 1864, at the age of seventeen years, he enlisted in Company A, Forty-first Wisconsin Infantry, receiving his discharge September 23, 1864, and with his regiment saw hard service in Tennessee, Mississippi and Georgia. After his discharge he was employed in the quartermaster's department until May 15, 1865, when he was discharged, settling in Omaha on his release from the service. He clerked in a store and remained in this work here and at Council Bluffs, Iowa, where the firm had a branch establishment.

    In 1869 he returned to Nebraska, and locating at Fremont, was appointed postmaster and served in that capacity for sixteen years. He was a popular and efficient public official and won the esteem and confidence of all the people in that town. In the fall of 1885 he removed to Ainsworth, which was then a small village, and established a real estate and loan office. He was very successful from the start and continued in this work for twenty-two years, handling lands all over this and adjoining counties. He devoted all his time to this business, and consummated many large deals in land around the town of Ainsworth. He was actively engaged in business at the time of his death, June 22, 1908.

   He had always been one of those who materially assisted in the growth and development of the commercial interests of this section of the country. He was a member of the Old Settlers' Association in Nebraska, and prominent in county and state politics. He was a member of Governor Crounse's staff for two years, and intimately associated with all the men prominent in public affairs of the state.

   Mr. Paine was married at Fremont, January 13, 1874, to Miss E. Frankie Blackman, born in Wisconsin. Her father, John C. Blackman, was station agent or car accountant on the Union Pacific Railway at Fremont for twenty-three years to a day, closing his service with the company on the anniversary of the day he began. The Blackmans originally came from New York state, settling in Nebraska in 1869. Mr. and Mrs. Paine have been blessed with four children, who are named as follows: Loraine O., Sidney P., Pearl (now Mrs. George C. Mills and the mother of two sons, George C., Jr., and Richard Hiram), and Charles K., who graduated in May, 1908, from the Ainsworth high school.

   Mr. Paine was a prominent member of the Grand Army of the Republic post at Ainsworth, where he had served as commander, as he had done in Fremont. He was also a member of the Sons of the American Revolution. In politics he was stanchly (sic) Republican, voting the party ticket straight.



    Charles Klingaman, of Chadron, dealer in lumber, lime, cement, plaster, all kinds of building material, coal, wood and posts, is one of the substantial business men of that place. He is a man of sterling citizenship who has met with deserved success in his business ventures, and commands the respect and confidence of all with whom he comes in contact in a business or social way.

    Mr. Klingaman is a native of Tama county, Iowa, born in 1864, and reared and educated in the village of Traer. His father, Hiram Klingaman, was born in Pennsylvania, and when a young man came west, settling in Iowa, where he was one of the pioneers. When a boy our subject learned the butcher's trade and followed that work for some years in Iowa, and in 1884 he came to Nebraska, locating in Dawes county. He teamed from Valentine,

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seeing considerable of frontier life, roughing it, sleeping under his wagon many nights and camping out wherever he happened to be, and the first year in that locality operated a ranch. The following year he came to what is now Chadron, then simply a spot on which a few shanties were built, and here he worked as a carpenter, helping to build up the town. He followed this occupation for two years, then, together with two brothers, opened a meat market, and they carried this on for three years and at the end of that time Charles bought a market of his own and ran it for nine years, and in that time had a splendid trade built up and did a large business. He then sold out his butcher shop and went into his present business. He has associated with him Mr. Jacob Kass, and they are doing a good business, and are well satisfied with the general outlook of the northwest as the coming country.

   In 1892 Mr. Klingaman was married to Miss Bertha Stein, whose parents were among the early settlers in Iowa, where she was born and raised. Mr. and Mrs. Klingaman are parents of three children, who are named as follows: Fowler K., Kenneth and Lee.

   Mr. Klingaman is a Democrat and takes an active interest in party affairs, and is one of the public-spirited citizens of Chadron. He is a member of the city council and has been on that board for the past six years.



   Louis F. Weber, one of the leading business men of Chadron, Nebraska, is a gentleman of sound business judgment, intelligence and enterprise who enjoys an enviable reputation as a worthy and influential citizen.

   Mr. Weber was born in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan in 1854. His father, Anton Weber, was a farmer, and both he and his wife were born in Germany, coming to this country when quite young and settling in Ontonagon, Michigan, where our subject was raised. At the age of thirteen he came to Nebraska with his parents, the family locating in Fremont, where they lived for a short time, then moved on a farm and began building up a home and farm. In 1876 Louis left home and accompanied the first expedition which went into the Black Hills, the party driving overland with teams and covered wagons, the trip being very dangerous through the wild country and they had many exciting experiences. He remained in that section for four years, doing freighting, contracting, etc. Their mode of life was most primitive, much of the time winter and summer being spent in camping out and often suffering from storms and other hardships. In 1880 he began working on a cattle ranch and continued at that up to 1885, then came to Chadron, where he engaged in the grocery business, his first store being in a tent, as there were few buildings there at that time. He ran his business during the summer in the tent and in the fall, moved to his present location, having carried on the store for twenty-two years, and through industry, good management, and honest dealings has gained a nice property and built up a comfortable home. His business is conducted in a systematic manner, and his whole attention is devoted to keeping up an up-to-date stock of goods, in every way meeting the needs of his customers.

   Mr. Weber was married in 1889 to Miss Agnes Joyce, whose people were early settlers in Indiana, where she was reared.

   Our subject takes an active interest in local affairs of importance and has aided materially in the development of the commercial interests of that locality. He is a member of the Pioneer Club of the Black Hills, and is highly esteemed for his genuine worth of mind and heart and his friendly and courteous spirit. Politically he is a Bryan Democrat.



   George E. Edwards, the popular and efficient county clerk of Perkins county, Nebraska, is one of the rising young men of that locality. Mr. Edwards is a native-born Nebraskan, and is a typical western man, having spent all his life in the freedom of the plains, and is a healthy, wholesome and capable business man who has before him a promising career.

   Mr. Edwards first saw the light of day on January 28, 1881, born on a farm in York county, Nebraska. His father, William, was a native of England and came to America when he was a child five years old, landing in this country in 1858. He was a pioneer of York county, settling there as early as 1880, and after a residence of six years in that vicinity moved to Perkins county and there went through pioneer experiences, becoming one of the foremost citizens of the county. His wife was Miss Lillie E. Wright, born in New York State, and her father was also a British subject, who settled in the United States many years ago, the family coming to Nebraska and

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