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Compendium of History Reminiscence & Biography of Western Nebraska

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count of these wounds. In 1863 he re-enlisted in the Thirtieth Maine regiment and saw service in Louisiana. He was with General Banks, up the Red river, and was again wounded at Cain River Crossing and transferred to the Veteran Reserve Corps, and during the balance of the war served in Pennsylvania, hunting deserters and clerking on court martials.

     In 1867 Mr. Francis came west, locating in Otoe county, Nebraska, as a pioneer. He bought government land, and soon sold this out and came further west, settling in Webster county in 1870, where he remained for two years then moved to Redwillow county. He hunted buffalo all through this section, and became thoroughly familiar with all of the country. He went into the Black Hills from Sidney on the Union Pacific, from 1876 to 1880, and during the entire winter of '76 slept out doors under his wagon. He had always made his Redwillow farm his home up to 1895, and then came to Dawes county where he took charge of the ditching of the Crawford Irrigation & Water Power Company, and ever since that time has been identified with that work. He is at present acting under the secretary of state, and board of irrigation. In the early days Mr. Francis freighted lumber from Nebraska City to Lincoln before the railroad had reached this part of the country.

     Mr. Francis was married in 1882 to Miss Betsy Johnson, and to them have been born four children, namely: Frank, a sheep rancher in Montana; Ruth, working as a teacher in Chadron; and Bonnie and Grace, at home.



     Benjamin Jenkins, Ainsworth, Nebraska, was very active in the settlement of Brown county, and is widely known as an earnest and reliable citizen, an energetic and hustling farmer, and a man who is to be relied upon and trusted in any and every circumstance. Coming here when northern Nebraska was a wilderness, and the coyotes close neighbors, he has seen the wilderness, and the wild beasts vanish, while blooded stock and alfalfa came into the land.

     Mr. Jenkins was born in New York in 1849, on a farm on which his parents had lived for many years. Coming of an old American family the best traditions of the east are preserved in his career. He was the only child of his parents, and when he was some four years old, his mother removed to Illinois and settled in Carroll county. His father had already died in New York. There he was reared to manhood and given such educational advantages as the rural schools of the day afforded, finishing with a year at a more pretentious military school. In 1870 he was married to Miss Nora Green, a daughter of an old American family, though her mother's people were Irish. This union has been blessed with eleven children: Lizzie, who married Louis Pouton; Frank, Floyd, Lydia, Maude Ethel, Nellie, Daisy, Clara Belle, Elmer, Earl and Harry. The first three of the children were born in Illinois; the others were Nebraska born. Mr. Jenkins lived in Illinois for nine years after his marriage, and was employed part of this time by "the Diamond Jo" line, a noted Mississippi river transportation company. Before leaving that State he was also engaged in farming for three years. In 1878 he came to Nebraska, and lived for some three years in Hamilton and Merrick counties, before his removal to Brown county, which occurred in 1884. He made the trip across the State in a covered wagon, and had many unique experiences on the way. He secured his present farm property as a tree claim. He began operations here on another farm, but finally made permanent settlement where his is found today. Here he has lived some fifteen years, and out of somewhat hard and unfavorable conditions has reaped a rich reward. He owns a half section of land, about two hundred acres of which are under a high degree of cultivation and the balance devoted to pasture and meadow, and commands the respect and confidence of the community as a fair and straightforward man and a citizen of good repute.

     In politics Mr. Jenkins is a Democrat.



     P. L. Mairs, who is owner of a good ranch, is an old settler in Kimball county. He was born in Sullivan county, Missouri, on July 17, 1862, and was the fourth member in a family of six children, having two brothers and three sisters. His father and mother were both born in Ireland, came to America when quite young and were married in Virginia, the father coming to the United States about 1840, settling in Jackson county, West Virginia, and afterwards went to Kansas and located in Ness county, where he died in 1904. Our subject grew up in Missouri, following farming there up to 1900, then came to Kimball county, Nebraska, and at once settled on a homestead on section 18, township 12, range 53, securing in all one thousand two hundred acres, which is the home ranch. Here he cultivates about two hundred and fifty acres, and has met with splendid success.

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     Mr. Mairs is progressive in his methods of operating his ranch, and has many improvements in the way of farm machinery, every kind of good buildings, etc. He deals extensively in sheep, running from four thousand to six thousand each year, and derives a handsome income from the same. He runs from one thousand five hundred to two thousand on each of his three improved ranches, marketing his sheep at Omaha.

     Mr. Mairs was married in Kirkville, Missouri, February 24, 1885, to Miss Ida Wilks, who is a native of Missouri. They have two children, Charles Allen, who has taken up a homestead on section 12, township 12, range 54 adjoining his father's home place, farming in summer, teaching school in winter; also Elsie Lee, who is attending school. Mrs. Mairs' mother is a resident of Kimball, living with a daughter. Mr. Mairs has two sisters living in Kansas, one in Oklahoma; one brother in Missouri and the other brother in Kansas. Mr. Mairs and his family occupy a comfortable residence in Kimball, but he give his entire time to active management of his ranch. He is a Republican and strong party man, is well and favorably known, and since coming to this vicinity has taken an active part in local affairs and has left his impress on the history of his county. He is a member of the county committee, chosen in 1905. He was active in establishing a county high school, the first in Nebraska.



     John B. Tillinghast, an influential and reputable pioneer of Loup county, lives on his comfortable home farm in section 8, township 21, range 17, where he located in the year 1883. Mr. Tillinghast was born in the town of Exeter, Washington county, Rhode Island, in 1853, his parents being Clark and Sarah (Brown) Tillinghast. His father was a farmer by occupation and was of old English stock, and he reared five boys, Clark, Frank, John, Thomas and Byron; also four girls, May, Sarah, Annie and Nellie. John and Thomas are the only ones that came west. Thomas remained until 1895, then went to Mississippi.

     John B. Tillinghast was reared and educated in Rhode Island, and, later, followed farming in Rhode Island. He came west to Loup county in 1883, and located on his present farm, and he has worked hard to improve his fine ranch of three hundred and twenty acres. He drove here with team and covered wagon and camped out several weeks on the way. His first buildings were built of sod, in the pioneer style, and he passed through many of the hard and rough experiences that always come in the history of the pioneer. Drouth (sic) and hail storms worked havoc with his crops several years and then, to add to his troubles, fire came and destroyed his barns and harnesses, etc. But Mr. Tillinghast has weathered the storms of adversity and hardship and is now enjoying the well-earned fruits of his hard labor, and intelligent planning.

     Our subject has always been interested in the political movements of his community, and he has, by word and deed, sanctioned everything that tended toward the betterment of the vicinity in which he lives. He is an honored and respected citizen. Mr. Tillinghast is surely one of the old-timers and it is a pleasure to meet him and hear his interesting reminiscences of early days.



     John R. Chaloud, whose biography forms an interesting page in the history of the early settlement of Nebraska, is a resident of section 22, township 28, range 29, Cherry county, where he has become widely and favorably known. He has developed a fine farm and ranch there, is one of the energetic and prosperous citizens, and enjoys a pleasant home and many warm friends.

     Mr. Chaloud was born in the province of Moravia, which is a province of Austria, in 1872. His father was of German stock, born in Moravia, and when John was a child of three years the family came to America, settling at first in Colfax county, Nebraska, and were among the pioneers in eastern Nebraska. The father took a homestead and begun (sic) to build up a home, our subject attending the common schools as a boy, assisting his parents in the farm work. When he was fourteen years old he left home and secured employment on farms and ranches in the vicinity of their home, and for the first four years gave all his earnings to his family. He came to Cherry county, in 1887, and worked out on ranches for fourteen years, beginning as a stock ranger, and working himself up to be foreman of big ranches. He rode all over the western part of the state as a cowboy, camping out on the plains both winter and summer, and knew every bit of the country as well as a scout, in his work of rounding up cattle. He trailed herds of cattle from Wyoming and Colorado into Nebraska, and has seen as much of western ranching life as any man of his age here. In 1903 he started in business for himself, his first location being on Goose Creek, where he lived for two years, then came to his

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present ranch, which is situated twelve miles northwest of Brownlee. Here he has worked hard to build up and develop a good ranch, and is now proprietor of one thousand two hundred acres which is all fenced, with good buildings and improvements. He has a fine grove of trees which he planted, also plenty of fruit trees for home use, and farms a small portion of his land, raising small grain and vegetables for his family. There is a good supply of water from wells, with wind mills, and everything is in the finest shape possible. His surroundings are very pleasant, and he is justly recognized as one of the leading ranchmen of his township.

     Mr. Chaloud lived a bachelor existence up to 1906, on January 26th of the year taking as wife Miss Helen Anderson, born in Sweden, and daughter of Herman Anderson, a prominent old settler in Omaha. Two children have been born to them, Delmer Luverne and Vera Christine.

     Our subject takes a leading part in township affairs and has done his share as a public-spirited citizen.



     Steven L. James, a successful and prominent ranchman and farmer of section 18, township 25, range 31, Cherry county, Nebraska, was born in Alleghany county, North Carolina, close to the Virginia line, in 1853. His parents, James Y. James and Elizabeth (Scott) James, were of old American blood, farmers by occupation, and our subject was reared on the home farm, remaining with his parents up to 1880. In that year he emigrated to Texas, and settled on rented land and tried to open a farm. He first started to raise cotton, but was unable to make a success of it, and after remaining there for seven years and not getting on very well, gave up the struggle and came to Nebraska, filing on a pre-emption and tree claim in Cherry county. The first five years were spent in working hard to get his ranch started, breaking up land, and also working out in the vicinity to help in getting a living, and went through all the pioneer experiences.

     In 1893 Mr. James took a homestead, built a sod house and started to develop the farm and ranch where he now resides, using a pair of oxen for all his work, and while he did pretty well, saw many hard times. He kept at it, however, and added improvements as he was able, and each year was able to raise some crops. He worked faithfully, gradually adding more land to his original possessions, until he is now proprietor of a fine ranch of six hundred and forty acres deeded and besides this deeded land controls and operates quite a big tract of leased land and also has a Kincaid homestead, engaging in cattle raising and mixed farming. He has built up a good home, with fine improvements, orchards, etc., and is numbered among the well-to-do and progressive ranchmen of his community.

     Mr. James was married in Grayson county, Virginia, to Virginia Boyer, daughter of John Boyer and Jane (Fielder) Boyer, both of whom died in Grayson county, on their old homestead. Five children have been born to Mr. and Mrs. James, named as follows: Enice, Fay B., Loy, Lillian and Cora. Both sons are homesteaders and have good farms near the father's ranch, and are also extensively engaged in the stock business, and are energetic and successful ranchers.

     Mr. James is a leading citizen, active in local affairs, and is a prominent member of the Independent party. Portraits of Mr. James and his family, together with a ranch scene on his property will be found on another page.

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     Among the prominent settlers of western Nebraska we mention the name of John H. Dieckman as being one of the best known from the fact that he has spent the past fourteen years of his career in this region, and during that time has devoted his best efforts to aiding in the development of the natural resources of Sioux county, and helped to build up the community in which he chose his home. He is now a resident of Harrison, where he occupies a pleasant home and is a partner in the firm of Lacy and Dieckman, handling hardware, harness, lumber, coal, machinery of all kinds, grain, etc.

     Mr. Dieckman was born in Holstein, Germany, in 1871, and came to America with his parents, the family settling in Chicago, where they remained for about five years. They next moved to Iowa, and lived in Ida county up to 1895, then came to Nebraska, locating in Harrison, landing here on January 11th, of that year. John located on a homestead situated four miles southwest of Harrison, where he started a farm, "batching" it in a rude shack and began to improve the claim. He lived on this homestead for five years, then moved to Harrison and purchased a livery business which he conducted for about five years, then sold out the establishment and returned to his ranch and farmed for two years. He moved back to Harrison at the end of that time and went into the hardware and lumber

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