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Compendium of History Reminiscence & Biography of Western Nebraska

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ornamented as it is with deciduous trees and evergreens, interspersed with flower beds. He has a supply tank for irrigating and the house is equipped with two telephone lines. The genial hosts dispense their hearty hospitality in true western style. A full page view of this elegant country place is to be found on another page of this work.

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     Lind Nelson, one of the best known and most highly respected citizens of Franklin, retired, has been a resident of western Nebraska for over thirty-five years. He has acquired a valuable property through his industry and thrift, supplemented by good management and honest dealings, and well merits the success he has attained.

     Mr. Nelson was born in Christianstadt, Sweden, in 1849, and in 1869 came to the United States, locating in Sangamon county, Illinois. He farmed there up to 1872, then came to Nebraska, locating in Nemaha county and lived there for six years; then to Gage county, where he bought a farm which he lived on up to 1900. In 1895 he was elected sheriff of Gage county and served for two terms. The first time he ran for office the Republican majority in Beatrice was seven hundred, and the cry was to defeat a foreigner. Our subject went out among the Bohemians and Germans, who were Democrats, and succeeded in getting enough votes to offset his opponents and succeeded in capturing the office, and the following term was elected without any trouble at all, the cry being to "let that Swede alone." He farmed two hundred acres, buying feeding and shipping stock, and also raised grains, all of which he fed out on his farm and bought more besides. In 1899 he purchased four hundred and twenty-seven acres situated on the river one mile east of the Franklin depot, and engaged in mixed farming and stock feeding, running from three to four hundred cattle each year, and the same number of hogs. In one year his profits from this source alone was six thousand dollars.

     Mr. Nelson is a splendid specimen of the Swedes who have made prosperity for themselves and the state of Nebraska by their perseverance and earnest efforts to get ahead. He is a finely developed man of large frame, enjoying perfect health, genial and generous in disposition, well liked by everyone with whom he comes in contact.

     Our subject was married in 1874 to Miss Anna Miller, of Nemaha county, daughter of Simon Miller, a pioneer of that locality, originally from Pennsylvania. Mr. and Mrs. Nelson are the parents of seven children, who are named as follows: Carl, cashier of the State Bank, of Franklin; L. C., formerly of Cody, Wyoming, connected with Buffalo Bill, and now at Belle Fourche, South Dakota; John, owner of a three hundred and twenty-acre farm at Elsie, Nebraska; Austin, cashier of the State bank, at Naponee; George, at home; Lena, also living at home, and Bessie, wife of C. C. Butler, of San Francisco. All of the children are graduates of the Beatrice or Franklin high schools, and are bright, intelligent young people, highly esteemed throughout their home community. The family are members of the Christian church at Franklin.

     For three terms Mr. Nelson was supervisor of Glenwood township, and on the school board at O'Dell for eleven years. He is an active Republican and takes a keen interest in all affairs of a political or educational nature in his locality. He is a Mason and has been a member of that lodge for over thirty years, and is also an Odd Fellow.



     Thomas H. McCandless, a well-known resident of Hemingford, Nebraska, was for some years engaged in ranching in Box Butte county. He is well known throughout that section and is held in high esteem by his associates. Mr. McCandless is now engaged in the practice of law at Hemingford, and also handles real estate, and is in the newspaper business to some extent.

     Mr. McCandless was born in Mercer county, Illinois, in 1856. His father, William, was a farmer, and was soldier in the Civil war, and was killed during the battle of Stone River at Murfreesboro, Tennessee. The father married Miss Sarah Ann Duncan, of Pennsylvania.

     Our subject was reared in Illinois, and was educated in the common schools, as a boy helping in the work of carrying on the home farm, after the death of his father being compelled to help support his mother and the family. When he reached the age of twenty he went to Iowa, locating in Page county, where he remained for four years, then to Leadville, Colorado, engaging in newspaper work at the latter place, working on the Herald Democrat and other newspapers for many years. He spent one year in Cripple Creek, Colorado, and then came to Box Butte county in 1897, arriving here in July. He immediately went on a ranch and was engaged in ranching up to 1905.

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     In 1906 Mr. McCandless located in Hemingford and engaged in his present business, handling real estate all through this section, and also practicing law.

     Our subject's mother came to this county in 1886, accompanied by one son, Wm. J. McCandless, a younger brother of Thomas, who was then a land locater in this section. William became well known in the locality, and went through pioneer experiences, also following the profession of a lawyer, and is well known throughout the county, his death occurring in 1895, after witnessing Box Butte county's early development and growth.



     In presenting to the public a history of Nebraska, the list would not be complete without having mentioned the name of the gentleman above. Mr. Yeast is one of the leading old settlers and prominent ranchmen of western Nebraska, having spent the past twenty years and more in the vicinity of his present homestead. He has always been engaged in ranching on an extensive scale, and has made a complete success of the work.

     Perry A. Yeast is a native of McDonough county, Illinois, born in December, 1861, on a farm. His father was Adam Yeast, of Pennsylvania Dutch stock, and was an early pioneer in Illinois. Our subject grew up in his native county, where he followed farming, assisting his father on the home place, and at the age of eighteen left home and came to Nebraska, locating in Saline county, forty miles from Lincoln. In 1883 he moved to Keith county, locating on the Platte river, and there went into the cattle business, working as a cowboy, rounding up herds of cattle, and seeing every phase of frontier life. About 1887, he came to Grant county, locating south of Hyannis, and has also spent some time in the vicinity of old Alkali Lake, twenty miles southwest of Hyannis. While there he did a great deal of hunting, as game of all kinds was plentiful in the early days in Nebraska, and during his first year's residence on his present ranch a buffalo was killed on the place. He also freighted during those years, hauling stuff a distance of ninety miles, from Ogallala.

     At one time Mr. Yeast went into Iowa and bought a farm, starting in the cattle feeding business there and ran the place for several years. He has also bought and sold numerous ranches, and assisted in the establishing of Wyoming, where he ran cattle and made a success, having built up and operated three ranches in that state. He began in the stock raising business as soon as he settled permanently in Grant county on his homestead, which he improved in fine shape and still owns. In 1888 he began building up the Farm Valley Ranch, situated twenty miles southwest of Hyannis, mentioned above, which is also at present a valuable piece of land. Aside from his own extensive ranching interests, owning in all three thousand four hundred acres, he manages and operates two ranches in Cherry county, which are the property of the Standard Cattle Company, which contain in all about eighteen thousand acres of land.

     Mr. Yeast married, in 1883, Miss Nancy Markland, daughter of Wm. R. Markland, who is an early settler of Saline county, where he still occupies his original homestead, taken in the early Nebraskan days. Three children have been born to Mr. and Mrs. Yeast, namely: Lillie, Frank and Ruth.

     Mr. Yeast may be truly called a veteran ranchman, and during the time he has been in this vicinity has done his full share in the building up of the region.



     What may be accomplished by industry, good management and honest dealings is demonstrated by the life of the gentleman whose name heads this review. For many years past he has been a resident of Keya Paha county, and by honest endeavor has acquired a valuable estate and an enviable reputation. He is an agriculturist of intelligence and capability, operating his farm in a thorough and painstaking manner.

     Mr. Pratt was born in Solon, Iowa, July 23, 1862. His father, Charles Pratt, was born in Maine, and came to Solon in the early days of that vicinity, where he was a prominent merchant, until 1890, when he disposed of his business and moved to Iowa City, where he died in 1906. He had settled in Johnson county, Iowa, in 1840, and during the gold fever in the early fifties, went to California. He married Miss Annie N. True, a native of Maine, and they had a family of six children, of whom our subject is the second member. At the age of twenty-one he started out for himself, working on farms in their locality. He went to Montana in 1884, herding cattle for a time, then returned to Iowa and worked his father's farm for four years. In 1891 he first saw Keya Paha county, coming here in April and locating on section 20, town-

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ship 35, range 18, on which he "squatted" for eight years before filing on it as a homestead. When he landed here he had very little money, but has worked hard and now owns four hundred acres of good land, cultivating fifty acres of it. He keeps twenty horses and thirty mules, and has raised a good many of the latter animals for the market during the last eight years. Prior to that time he dealt extensively in sheep, but gave them up as he thought mules could be made more profitable. His place is well improved with good buildings, fences, etc., and he is one of the foremost farmers in his section of the country, and has done his full share in developing the county and community. We present a picture of Mr. Pratt's place on another page.

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     Although Mr. Pratt is a strong Republican and takes a commendable interest in local affairs, he has never held any office.


     A man's part has been played in the making of Rock county, and conversion of the shining prairies of Nebraska into fertile and well kept farms by him whose name begins this article, and whose home is in Kirkwood precinct. Plain and unpretending in his manner, he is honest and straightforward in his character, industrious in his habit, and has proved himself reliable at every point as does become a man.

     Mr. Estlack was born in Morrow county, Ohio, April 7, 1859, and the farm on which he first saw the light was set in the depths of the towering beech woods. His father, Erwin Peter Estlack, was a farmer through a long and useful life; was of Dutch descent, and a native of Pennsylvania. His wife, Martha A. (Roach) Estlack, was born of Irish parentage, though native to American soil. They had a family of eight children, of whom Edward was the fifth. The year following his birth the family left Ohio and settled in Benton county, Iowa, making their home near Blairstown, where the father died. When he was eight years old the mother, with her family went to Sioux City, where presently a very exciting experience was had with the Sioux City and Pacific railroad. Their coming to that place had preceded the coming to the railroad, and when the right of way for the first road was laid out it passed directly through the center of their little home. No agreement for compensation was reached, and suddenly the railroad hands swooped down on their house, and set it bodily out of the right of way. After this somewhat rough and ready experience the family spent three years in Sioux City, and then settled in Clay county, South Dakota, where the grasshopper plague fell on them in all its malignancy. No headway could be made against so complete destruction, and they returned to Sioux City, where James Edward Estlack mastered the butcher's trade, and was in the employ of one man for a period of fourteen years. Rheumatism compelled a change of vocation, and for some six years he was engaged as express driver and messenger. Then for a time he was in the restaurant business for himself at Yankton, South Dakota, and in 1901 came into Rock county, Nebraska.

     In 1902 Mr. Estlack was united in marriage with Mrs. Mary Ellen Turpin, a pioneer settler of Rock county, and the widow of Robert N. Turpin, who came to what is now Rock county in 1878.

     Mr. Estlack now possesses a well-tilled farm of three hundred and ten acres, in the cultivation of which he takes much pleasure. He also owns one hundred and sixty acres farther to the west, and is pushing rapidly to the front as one of the leading stockmen and grain farmers of this western country. A view of the residence is to be found on another page. As a man and a citizen, Mr. Estlack enjoys the respect and confidence of the public, and taking, as he does, an intelligent and active interest in political affairs, his influence is exerted for the welfare of the town and state. He has been a lifelong Republican.

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     Perseverance and diligence are the stepping stones to success. These characteristics, supplemented by honesty and good citizenship, are among the many attributes possessed by the gentleman herein named. Mr. Francis has resided in different parts of the state of Nebraska for the past forty years, and is one of the representative men of the west, highly esteemed by all who have met him either in a business or social way.

     Mr. Francis is a native of Maine, born on the 12th of February, 1843. His parents, Samuel and Naomi (True) Francis, lived in Androscoggin county, where the former owned and operated a farm for many years. Our subject grew up in his native state and at the age of eighteen years enlisted in the Third Maine infantry. He participated in the first battle at Bull Run, and was with the army of the Potomac for the first two years. He was in the Peninsula campaign, and was severely wounded at Fair Oaks, being discharged soon after on ac-

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