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Compendium of History Reminiscence & Biography of Western Nebraska

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now stands, selling it for seventeen hundred dollars, and later moved to Iowa. Mr. Shaffer has ten children, namely: Elmer, a farmer in Prairie Dog township, Harlan county; Ed, a farmer in Floyd, Iowa; John, residing in Alma; Charles, living at home with his parents; Alma; wife of S. C. Gould, a merchant at Alma; Mrs. Mary Yokeman, Butler, Marvin, Jennie and Ethol.

   Mr. Shaffer was second commander of the Grand Army of the Republic post at Alma, and is a member of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows, belonging to the latter for the past thirty-five years. Also an Ancient Order of United Workmen and yeoman and deputy yeoman of all Nebraska south of the Platte river. He is a Republican politically, but would never accept any office.



   Among the leading old timers in Brown county, Nebraska, Mr. Chester is given a first place. Mr. Chester is a native of Wisconsin; born in the village of Pewaukee. Waukesha county, December 2, 1838. He is a son of William Chester, an old settler in that region, and a mason by trade. There was a family of eight children, of whom our subject is youngest: he was raised in his native county, and from boyhood became accustomed to hard work, assisting his parents in the support of the family. He had little schooling, and is an entirely self-made man. Starting out for himself at the age of twenty-five years, he came to western Nebraska in company with his brother, Urial Chester (deceased), and took up a homestead in section 3, township 27, range 22, Brown county, on which he put up a sod house and farm buildings, in which he lived for fifteen years. They were extensively engaged in stock raising from the start, beginning with very small capital and gradually increasing their farm and holdings. He followed the life of a ranchman for twenty years. and had a well stocked, finely improved property at the end of that time, and was one of the prosperous men of the region. In 1904 he and his brother sold the ranch for a comfortable sum and retired to Long Pine. Here William Chester bought three hundred and eighty acres adjoining the village and engages extensively in raising hogs. The place is equipped with a comfortable house, numerous barns, hog houses and sheds and has a growing thrifty young orchard. A fine view of the premises is to be found on another page.

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   Mr. Chester was married in Long Pine, May 26, 1891, to Miss Lillie Wanker, a native of Clark county, Iowa. Her father, Ignatius Wanker, was a farmer and old settler in Nebraska, a sketch of whom appears elsewhere in this work.

   Mr. and Mrs. Chester have two children named Marcus and Lila.

   In politics he is Republican and is a member of the clan of Royal Highlanders of Long Pine.



   The gentleman here named has for the past thirty years resided at North Platte, where he is well known as a man of industry and a citizen of true worth. Mr. Anderson is connected with the Union Pacific Railway and is one of the genial and trusted employes of that company.

   Mr. Anderson was born in Sweden in 1832. He came to this country when a boy and located at Chicago, Illinois, where he began working as a railroad man in his young manhood. He was employed by the Northwestern road for six years, and afterwards by the Burlington, making his headquarters at Aurora, Illinois, from 1870 to 1874. In 1876 he came to Nebraska, locating at North Platte, Lincoln county, and associated himself with the Union Pacific in 1877, and three years later was made conductor on a freight train, holding that position for ten years, then was given the position of passenger conductor and continued at this ever since. He is now running on the Los Angeles Limited, and has a splendid record all through his career as a trainman. Mr. Anderson is a member of the Order of Railway Conductors and a prominent Mason in the Blue Lodge, Chapter and Commandery, also a Shriner at Omaha.

   In 1880 Mr. Anderson was married to Miss Mary B. Rose, a native of Sweden, and they have one daughter, Bessie, wife of F. W. Placek.

   Mr. Anderson is a fine specimen of the successful Swede, popular with his fellows, and held in the highest esteem as a citizen in his community and well known and liked throughout railway circles in this section of the country.



   Among the prominent old settlers of Dawes county, John N. Bruer is accorded a foremost place. He has been a resident of Crawford for many years past and is well known and highly esteemed by all who know him.

   Mr. Bruer is a native of the state of Ohio, born at Toledo in 1861. His father, Jacob

Compendium of History Reminiscence & Biography of Western Nebraska

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Bruer, was born in Germany and followed the career of a sailor during his younger days, coming to America in about the year 1858.

   When our subject was a lad of twelve years he left home and started out to make his own way in the world. He went to Iowa, locating in Carroll county, and worked out on farms in that vicinity up to 1878, then went west to Colorado, obtaining employment on a railroad. which occupation he followed for a year. He next entered the government service, located at Fort Russell, Wyoming, remaining there for about a year. In 1880 hestarted in the ranching business in Nebraska, settling on the Niobrara river, in what is now Dawes county, and followed ranching up to 1890. He also took up a homestead and proved up on his land. He did well at the work, but went through some hard times and led rather a tough life, as did so many of the settlers here in those days. He spent many nights in camping out on the prairie, and when he located here there were only two ranches established between the Platte river and Pine Ridge agency. He came to Crawford in 1890 and started in business, still retaining his ranching interests and personally superintending the management of his property. Mr. Bruer is engaged in the real estate and saloon business.

   Mr. Bruer was married in 1887 to Miss Minnie Rich, an estimable lady of German descent. To Mr. and Mrs. Bruer six children have been born, namely: Elinora, Flora. John H., Clara, Willie and Minnie. The family occupy a pleasant home and are well liked and popular throughout the community.

    Mr. Bruer has always taken an active interest in all local affairs, and has done his share in the building up of his locality and the development of educational and commercial interests there. He is a Democrat in politics.



   As a citizen of integrity and true worth, and a man of industrious and energetic character, the gentleman above named is well known to the residents of Brown county, Nebraska. Mr. Halstead was born in Lynn county Iowa, March 20, 1858, of American stock. His father, J. M. Halstead, is a carpenter by trade, and was a homesteader and early settler in Brown county, Nebraska, now residing at Cripple Creek, Colorado. The Halstead family was among the pioneer settlers who landed in America from the old country during the early colonial days. Our subject was the eldest member in his father's family of five children, and was reared in Iowa on a farm. where he grew up accustomed to hard work during his boyhood years. At the age of eighteen he began railroading in his native state, and it was while he was engaged in this work that he had the misfortune to lose his right leg in an accident which occurred on the C., R. I. & P. Railway. This unfitted him for a railroad career, and he went to work in a brick yard, remaining for one year, and became an expert brick thrower. In 1880 he came west, locating in Dodge county, Nebraska, and the next four or five years were spent on a farm there: then he left that place and moved to the northwestern part of Brown county. taking up a homestead where he lived for eight years, at the same time proving up on a tree claim in the same locality. His first dwelling place was of the familiar dugout variety. and the second building he erected was a log house. Progress was slow at the start. as he had no capital to begin with, and the first years were spent hauling hay for ten miles over unbroken roads, through all sorts of weather, for an income. He also cut and hauled posts to help eke out a living for himself and family. During these years he never shaved, but allowed his whiskers to grow to considerable length, and many times during the severely cold weather he was obliged to thaw the ice off his face before he was able to eat his meals. However, he stuck to this place through all kinds of hard luck up to 1889. and then moved on his present homestead located in section 32, township 30, range 22. This property was improved with a log house and barn, and he at once began putting up fences and planting trees and making necessary improvements. His farm now comprises one hundred and sixty acres of land, one-half of which is in a high state of cultivation, and on this he raises fine crops. He rents other land, so that in all he has three hundred acres in operation, together with half a section of hay land.

   Mr. Halstead was married in Avoca, Iowa, July 24, 1880, to Miss Mary Ella Plum, a native of the state of Illinois, born of American stock, her father being an old soldier and one of the pioneer settlers in Illinois. Mr. and Mrs. Halstead have a family of thirteen children, who are named as follows: Harp, Hazel, for three years a teacher in Brown county, now engaged in teaching in Montana; Hollis, Hal and Hugh (twins), Mary, Heath, Holcomb, Harold, Harry, Hope, William Harvey and Helen. All excepting the two eldest chil-

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