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Compendium of History Reminiscence & Biography of Western Nebraska

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     Mr. Weygint was born in 1820 in Oneida county, New York. His father, Tobias Weygint, served six years and seven months in the Revolutionary war and died in 1847 at the age of ninety-six years. The Weygint family originally came from Holland, our subject's mother being prior to her marriage Miss Unis Tower, born in New York state, of Scotch descent.

      In 1862 Mr. Weygint enlisted in the Tenth New York Cavalry in the Army of the Potomac, and was saddlery sergeant of his regiment. He was in the Wilderness campaign and at Gettysburg, and in all took part in sixty-three regular engagements where artillery was used, and in twenty-four skirmishes, and escaped without receiving a scratch. At different times he had two horses shot out from under him, and can tell any number of interesting anecdotes relating to his experiences while a soldier. After the war he located in Cortland county, New York. He had married in 1844, in that county, Miss Sophronia Blanchard, daughter of William Blanchard, who was born in Vermont, settling in Cortland county with his parents when he was four years old. He served in the War of 1812 in the New York militia. William Blanchard married Laura Taylor, of Cortland county. Mr. and Mrs. Weygint had a family of seven children, as follows: Mrs. Frances Campbell, of McCook, now dead; Mrs. Antoinette Warner, of McCook; William B. Weygint, of Antelope county, retired farmer and ex-soldier of the late war, having served in the Tenth New York Cavalry; H. D. Weygint, of Meadow Grove, Nebraska, commercial traveler; Mrs. Eva Starbuck, of Salt Lake, Utah; and Mrs. Martha Stewart, of McCook. Jessie died at the age of four years.

      Mr. Weygint was a member of the Whig party, but in 1856 became a Republican, and was sent as a delegate from Cortland county to Syracuse, where the first state convention of that party was held. There were three delegates from his county. He has always been active in political affairs, and has campaigned throughout the state of Nebraska for his party to a great extent. After coming to McCook he was justice of the peace in Frontier county, and later was active in the organization of Redwillow county. At the first election, held in 1876, there were one hundred and twenty-seven voters, and eighty-four of these were veterans of the Civil war, and Mr. Weygint is of the opinion that the war fitted these men for the pioneer hardships and work of this new west, and that the best and most successful business men and farmers were soldiers for the Union, showing that war does not spoil, but makes men where the material was right. At the age of eighty-eight years he is still active and hearty, attending personally to his property interests and his home. The family are members of the Methodist Episcopal church here and are highly esteemed. He is a member of the Grand Army of the Republic post. A portrait of Mr. Weygint appears on another page of this work.

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     The members of the above firm are among the successful business men of Franklin, where they are recognized as the leading grain and stock shippers of that locality. They are a reliable, hustling concern, and the members are held in the highest esteem as business men and worthy citizens, their trade extending all over that section of the country, buying over a thousand cattle each season in the west, which they sell to the feeders in this vicinity. Besides these, they feed about five hundred head annually on their farm of one hundred and fifty acres, located near Franklin, and one hundred and sixty acres of pasture a short distance from town.

     L. E. Furry is a native of Pennsylvania. He came to Nebraska from Bedford, Pennsylvania, where he was engaged in the milling business, settling here in 1887, starting at once into the grain and live stock business, and has continued at the work ever since. He is ably assisted by his sons, T. R. and C. J. Furry, and they buy stock all over this state, Colorado and Kansas, and ship each year from one hundred to one hundred and fifty cars from Franklin to the markets. Their grain shipments amount to one hundred thousand bushels of corn annually, and they also buy and ship wheat, although this is more of a corn and cattle country. Farmers in this section of the country raise too much wheat, and should put in larger crops of corn, as it is in better demand and feeders are obliged to have large amounts shipped in from neighboring states. The soil is admirably adapted to the cultivation of this grain, and big crops are raised. The state should raise enough to supply the feeders and farmers instead of importing the sixty thousand bushels annually needed to supply their demand.

      The Furrys are this year feeding four hundred cattle and a large number of hogs, and they are satisfied that this is one of the best feeding countries to be found in the west. There are more hogs raised and shipped from


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this region than any other part of the state, and good prices are obtained for them at the nearby and Chicago markets. The people in this vicinity are realizing the importance of getting better grade stock, and many are starting good herds, and it is generally conceded that the pure-bred Shorthorn cattle are the best for all purposes, while the Poland-China hogs are preferred to any other breed.

     Our subjects own an alfalfa farm of one hundred and eighty acres adjoining the town of Franklin, and they also own three hundred and twenty acres of good land in Trenton, Hitchcock county, Nebraska.

      Franklin is recognized as the best shipping point on the B. & M. Railway between Denver and the Missouri river, and the farmers are generally prosperous. It has a population of twelve hundred and fifty, has two banks, with deposits of five hundred thousand dollars, nearly all of this being farmers' money, which shows the prosperity of the people. In the past twenty years land has advanced from ten dollars to eighty dollars per acre, showing a gain of four hundred per cent, in that time.



     Among the successful self-made men of Cherry county, Nebraska, may be truly noted George W. Freeman. He came to that region when it was but sparsely settled with white men, and has endured many hardships to secure the fine property of which he is now owner, and can recount many thrilling experiences of pioneer days in the state. While building up a comfortable home and productive farm, he has also been one of the foremost public-spirited citizens of this locality, and has added in marked degree to the general welfare of the community where he resides. His residence is on section 7, township 29, range 37, and he is held in the highest esteem by his associates.

      Mr. Freeman was born in Lampassas county, Texas, in 1864. He was raised on a farm, his father, Andrew Freeman, following farming all his life. His mother's maiden name was Missouri Lucky. The family lived in Texas until George was about eighteen years of age, he working on ranches as a cowpuncher for several years, and rode all over that part of the state in rounding up cattle, etc. In 1884 he went to Wyoming, where he followed range work for about twelve years, working for different cattle outfits, also spent some time in Nebraska, and was all along the Powder river in Montana. He came to Cherry county, Nebraska, in 1896, at that time being connected with the Spade ranching outfit, working as a cowboy, and continued with that company for about three years, then took a claim under homestead rights, locating on the land in 1900, during the spring of that year. He at once started to develop a farm, putting up buildings and breaking up land for crops, and worked faithfully until he proved up on his place. He began raising cattle and is now owner of a good herd, with plenty of good pasture and hay land. His ranch contains two thousand six hundred and forty acres altogether, and he uses it almost exclusively as a stock ranch, cultivating only about forty acres. Mr. Freeman runs about fifteen hundred head of cattle, seventy-five head of horses, has five windmills and five flowing wells, and puts up about fifteen hundred tons of hay each season. There are several fine lakes on the ranch and plenty of wild ducks and geese are to found on the lakes, making it fine for sport during the hunting season of the year.



     Although a comparatively recent settler in Alliance, the gentleman whose name heads this personal history is one of the old-timers of Box Butte county, settling in the county in the spring of 1886, and is well and favorably known to the residents of this part of the country.

      Mr. Dougherty was born in Canada, near New London, in 1863. His father, Michael Dougherty, was born in Ireland and came to Canada when a lad, where he was raised, and the mother was also a native of Ireland. When our subject was eight years of age the family left Canada and came to Iowa, locating at Dubuque, where they lived for five years. From there they went to northeastern Nebraska and then to Dakota county. When still a young boy, James started out to make his own way in the world, locating in Box Butte county. He drove here from Hay Springs, camping out nights on the trip, and after coming here he ran a bunch of cattle on a ranch, owned now by R. M. Hampton. He took up a homestead situated six miles west of Alliance and proved up on it, and was in the cattle business on a large scale for a number of years, and also worked as a cowboy for years through the western part of the state. Together with a brother he owns a ranch at Lakeside, which they have leased for a term of five


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years, and he has done exceedingly well in a financial way since settling in this region. In 1904 he moved to Alliance and has since made this his home, where he has bought good property in the western part of town, has built a fine brick house and made other improvements. He has been a prominent member of his community, and taken an active part in local public affairs, serving as marshal for two years, and also was assessor for one term. He is a Democrat and a strong advocate of the principles of that organization. Our subject's father is about seventy-five years of age, but stands erect and is as active as a boy. His mother is deceased.




     Mr. De Lafayette Fancher, an energetic young farmer of Ainsworth precinct, Brown county, Nebraska, was born October 11, 1874, at Floyd Corners, Oneida county, New York, a son of Edward Fancher, a man of prominence in that state. He was a soldier in the Union army during the Civil war. After residing in Iowa and eastern Nebraska for a number of years he removed to Brown county, Nebraska, in 1880, making his home in Brown county, where he settled on a homestead in section 11, township 30, range 23, where he died four years later. The family came from eastern Nebraska in a covered wagon and were about six weeks on the way, enduring the usual discomforts of movers in the early days.

      Mr. De L. Fancher, the third of a family of seven children born to his parents, was a lad of six years when the family moved to Brown county and here he was reared and educated in the early schools of the day, living for a time in a log house. He has memories of the privileges and privations that come to hearty, healthy youth on the frontiers. He remained under the parental roof until his marriage, though he spent some ten months in the Black Hills four years prior to this interesting event.

      Mr. Fancher and Miss Ada Dwyer were married in Ainsworth, December 30, 1900, and she has proved a most helpful and companionable wife. She was born on the home farm near Glenwood, Mills county, Iowa, a daughter of Chester L. and Leonora (Warren) Dwyer. The former was a native of Vermont, and a settler in Iowa at a very early day. In 1884 he located in Brown county, Nebraska, settling on a homestead under a soldier's claim. Mrs. Fancher remembers Brown county before schools or churches were established, and largely received her education at the hands of her mother, who was a highly educated lady. She became a teacher, too, and was engaged in the work of public instruction for some nine years prior to her marriage. She also secured a homestead, upon which she has proved up, and now holds a clear title. It lies in section 4, township 29, range 25, of Cherry county. That she has been able to sustain herself as an applicant for this homestead and meet all the requirements that were thrown around its acquisition by the land office, argues much strength of character and great persistence. Mr. and Mrs. Fancher are the parents of three children - Ruth, Violet and Eunice.

      Mr. and Mrs. Fancher made their location on the farm where they are found at the present time in 1900. It is in section 17 and was originally a tree claim, constituting a part of the family estate inherited from his father. In political views Mr. Fancher is a Democrat, is a member of the Methodist church and affiliates with the Modern Woodmen of America of Ainsworth.



      Samuel J. Hedges, whose labors in Cheyenne county entitle him to a foremost place as one of the developers of the agricultural interests of the locality, resides on an elegant farm in township 15, range 50. He is a pioneer of that region, his wife and himself coming into the county by ox team from Buffalo county with a covered wagon containing all their earthly possessions, leading two cows and having several pigs and a few chickens to start their new farm with. When they finally arrived at their new location all the money they possessed was thirty-five cents, and from this beginning he has carved out a considerable fortune, and is one of the progressive and well-to-do farmers of the community.

      Mr. Hedges was born in Lansingburg, New York, nine miles north of the city of Albany, on December 28, 1853. He grew up there, his mother dying in 1866. His father was a soldier in the Civil war, and lived in New York state up to the time of his death, which occurred in 1893. When our subject was twenty-six years of age he came west, locating in Buffalo county, Nebraska, later moved to Washington county, where he farmed for three years, then returned to his first location, following farming up to 1886, then came to Cheyenne county, filing on a homestead on section

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24, township 15, range 50. He constantly improved his farm, adding good buildings, fences, and gradually got into the stock business on quite a large scale, and has done exceedingly well, owning at the present time half a section of good land, of which he cultivates two hundred and fifty acres and keeps fifty head of cattle.

      Mr. Hedges married on March 28, 1883, Mary E. Allen, a native of Pennsylvania, born in Erie county. Her mother is now living in Lincoln, Nebraska, while the father is dead. Four children have been born to our subject and his estimable wife, named as follows: Allen W., Edgar M., Lucy J. and Roy T. The first mentioned has a homestead on section 2 township 16, range 15, on which he resides, while the others live at home.

      Mr. Hedges is prominent in local affairs, also in all matters of importance pertaining to his county and state, voting the Prohibition ticket.



      A. H. Gericke, a well-to-do farmer, energetic and industrious, a typical representative of the sturdy German race, who came to this country to establish a home and accumulate a competence for his old age, resides on his fine estate in section 6, township 22, range 15. Mr. Gericke is one of the old-timers of western Nebraska, settling in Cuming county in 1878, and since coming to this part of the country he has taken a leading part in every movement for the benefit of his community. He now lives in Burwell, having traded his farm in the spring of 1908 for a hardware and implement business. He is working up a fine trade in this place.

      Mr. Gericke was born in Germany in 1864, and grew up there, remaining with his parents until he was a boy of seventeen years of age, when he left his native country and struck out for himself, coming to America August 31, 1878, and on landing in New York City came direct to Nebraska, as he had relatives who had settled in this state some years previously. He lived in Cuming county for quite a time after coming here, but as this county was becoming so thickly settled and the land was getting very high, he decided to leave, and moved to Garfield county, purchasing one hundred and sixty acres of land in section 6, township 22, range 15, and has since added to his original possessions, until he is proprietor of about four hundred acres, engaging principally in raising grain, growing corn, wheat, oats and rye. He keeps quite a number of stock, including cattle and hogs, with enough horses for his farming purposes. Here he has made considerable money, making a splendid success of his different enterprises. After locating here he was able to obtain some very cheap land on account of some of the settlers here becoming discouraged during the poor years and who left their homes to return to the east, and Mr. Gericke thinks that a man's chances here are as twenty to one as against those in that part of the United States. He has always been lucky about his crops, and has never had a total failure since coming here. He has plenty of water for every purpose, having good, deep wells, fitted with hydraulic force pumps and supply tanks, as have most of the larger farmers in this section, and he has never been out of water since having his well put down.

      Mr. Gericke was married in 1889 to Augusta Moritz, also a native of Germany, who came to this country with her parents in 1878. To Mr. and Mrs. Gericke have been born nine children, named as follows: Lewis, Lizzie, Henry, Rudolph, John, George, Dick, Sussie and Annie. The family are active members of the German Lutheran church and well liked by all in their community.

      Mr. Gericke is numbered among the wealthy residents of his locality and is a prominent citizen. He has held the office of road overseer for several years. He is a Republican in politics.



     For the past twenty-five years the gentleman above named has been prominently identified with the farming interests of Keya Paha county. He resides on section 5, township 34, range 21, which he took as a pre-emption when he first settled here, and since that time has always been found supporting public interests and lending his aid toward the development of the social and commercial life of his home community. He is one of the leading men of his precinct and county and highly esteemed by all who know him.

     Mr. Niehus was born on a farm near the town of Elmshorn, Holstein, Germany, July 20, 1860. His father, Claus Niehus, never came to America except for a visit during the World's Fair in 1893, spending three months here, then going back to his native country, where he died in 1900. The mother never left Germany, where she still resides at the age

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