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Compendium of History Reminiscence & Biography of Western Nebraska

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a prominent physician of Iowa. Four children came to bless this happy union: Clara, Henry, William, and one child deceased.

   In politics Mr. Deans adheres strongly to Populist principles. He is prominently identified in matters of local interest, a popular and capable citizen, and a man of whom the people of the surrounding community are justifiably proud. Mr. Deans has had quite an experience in the gold mining business. For six years he was foreman or guard for the Homestake Mining Company for all the gold they retorted. This was a most responsible position and he was thoroughly capable to fill the place.

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   For over a quarter of a century the gentleman whose name heads this review has been associated with the agricultural interests of Harlan county, Nebraska, and as an old settler and worthy citizen he is prominently known.

   Mr. Schrack is a native of Clinton county, Pennsylvania. Later he settled at Freeport, Stephenson county, Illinois. He was raised and educated in Illinois, and enlisted in Company B, Fourth Iowa Cavalry, served in the army of the Tennessee at Vicksburg all through the siege, and at Corinth prior to this siege. While at Collierville he was captured and taken to Andersonville prison, where he was incarcerated in that terrible place for four months and fourteen days, then paroled and taken to Jacksonville, Florida. He was exchanged and discharged at Clinton, Iowa, toward the close of the war. Our subject began farming in Blackhawk county, Iowa, after the close of the war, and in 1870 moved to Dallas county, Missouri. From there he went to Hickory county, and soon after struck Harlan county, Nebraska, where he took a homestead in Eldorado township, also a pre-emption, and began to build up a farm and home. He bought more land later until his ranch comprised four hundred and eighty acres, then sold this out and purchased one hundred and sixty acres near Alma, investing largely in property in that town, and is now owner of four houses and sixteen lots there. In the years 1873-'74 and '75 he experienced his hardest times going through grasshopper raids, and not having had much of a start, he became almost disheartened at his failures. In the year 1876 he lost everything, stables, farming implements, and his year's crop of grain by fire, and had to start all over again. However, he began again and by hard work and the utmost perseverance soon got on his feet and gained back his losses. He was always of the opinion that where one loses is the place to find, and he worked on this principle with great success. The sod school house of his district was three miles distant from his home when he came to this township. This he helped build. He was made road overseer and held this office from 1875 to 1886. He was also superintendent of Sabbath school for five years, and was on the county board for two years. He remained on his homestead for thirty-one years, engaged principally in stock raising, as this county is one of the best for this industry to be found in western Nebraska. He also engaged largely in raising alfalfa when this grass was first introduced in this locality. He usually kept from one to two hundred head of hogs, and a large number of cattle, and found this branch of his work very profitable. In 1902 he moved into Alma, and had his first experience with windmills, as on his farm he had natural springs and hydraulic wells, with water all through the house and barns.

   Mr. Schrack was married in Stephenson county, Illinois, in 1861 to Miss Catherine Meyers, daughter of Conrad Meyers, a Dunkard minister, who came to Illinois from Pennsylvania. Mrs. Schrack shared all her husband's hardships in the pioneer days in the west, and for weeks stayed alone in their home while he was obliged to be away working in order to make a living for the family. She died in April, 1904, aged sixty-four years. They had three children named as follows: John E., residing in Alma, A. G. Schrack, of Caron, N. W. Canada, and Ervin D., now living on the homestead in Eldorado township, which he purchased from his father. In 1906 Mr. Schrack was married Miss Rebecca McHoes, of Phelps county, Nebraska, who came to this state in 1883 from Feyette county, Iowa. She is a native of Northampton county, Pennsylvania. Mr. Schrack is now one of the prosperous citizens of this locality, but he has passed through many discouragements, in 1889 suffering heavy losses on his farm. At one time fourteen of his best cows were killed through poison in the cornstalks, which was so prevalent that year, and also lost fifty hogs from cholera. All this tended to put him back, and he deserves much credit for the stick-to-it-iveness he has exhibited his misfortunes.

   Mr. Schrack is an honored member of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows lodge in Alma, also of the Grand Army of the Republic, and has held the office of commander of the local post several times. In politics he is a Republican, having cast his first vote for Abraham Lincoln, and takes a deep interest still in all local and state party affairs. Mr. Schrack had one brother, L. F. Schrack. who formerly lived

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in Harlan county, and had since removed to Oklahoma, where his death occurred. Mr. Schrack has two brothers in Iowa, David and Jonas Schrack. He also has one sister there, Rebecca Betts.


   Jens P. Jensen is a gentleman of active public spirit and sterling character who has taken a leading part in the upbuilding of the region where he chose his home some twenty-three years ago. Mr. Jensen is a typical representative of the westerner who has gone through many hardships and privations in building up a home and fortune by overcoming difficulties which would seem insurmountable to many who come of a less sturdy and independent race of people.

   Mr. Jensen is a native of Denmark, born there in 1861, and reared on a farm. His father owned a good home and farm, and. our subject grew up accustomed to doing all kinds of hard work. At the age of twenty-one years he decided to leave his native land and seek his fortune in the new world, accordingly set out on his journey, landing in New York City at Castle Garden in March, 1882. He was the first of his family to leave his native country, and he promised those he left behind to send for them if he found the new land all that it was pictured to be. After landing here he started west, locating in Douglass county Nebraska, where he worked on different farms for two years, also spending one year in Washington county, where a sister and brother-in-law had settled a few months after he came to the United States.

   In 1890 his parents also came over, settling in Washington county, Nebraska, and along about this time our subject traveled through the western part of the state and came through Valentine looking for a place to locate. He was well pleased with the appearance of the country in Box Butte county, and settled on section 3, township 26, range 50, in the fall of 1885, building a cabin and started his farm. He owned a team of mules and besides breaking up his farm, worked at railroading on the Chicago & Northwestern line, which was being extended through this region. He lived all alone and did his own cooking, "batching it" for a number of years. After just nicely getting started, the dry years overtook him, and he was unfortunate in losing several crops, in 1891, suffering a severe set-back by the hard storms which swept that section, destroying his grain, and he became about discouraged. He purchased a number of cows soon after coming here and during the hard times these were almost his only means of support and their products brought him through many tight places. He gradually worked into the cattle business, also raising horses, and kept on buying land until he owns about one thousand seven hundred and sixty acres, on which he has built seven and a half miles of fence, and the whole place is improved in fine shape.

   In 1887 Mr. Jensen decided to join the ranks of "benedicts" and was united in marriage to Miss Anna Lund also a native of Denmark, our subject having made a trip to his boyhood home for his bride, returning with her to his new home in the summer of the year 1887. Mr. and Mrs. Jensen never had any children, but reared three adopted children, namely: Helga, Christine and Emma, all three sweet and beautiful girls and devoted to their adopted mother and father.

   Mr. Jensen has held different local offices serving as assessor, and being elected county commissioner in the fall of 1906 on the Populist ticket. He is also a member of the school board, and has been sitting in this body for the past twelve years.


   Edwin R. Gould, engaged in farming in Ainsworth precinct, Brown county, Nebraska, is a gentleman of wide experience who has become well known throughout this region as a worthy citizen and representative agriculturist.

   Mr. Gould was born in Chautauqua county, New York, February 29, 1836, of English descent. He is the ninth member of a family of twelve children, and during his infancy his parents moved to Boone county, Illinois, where he was reared, receiving a common school education, and afterwards attending an academy at Poultney, Vermont, where he prepared for a college course, but circumstances were such that he was obliged to give up his college career. After leaving school he began teaching, and followed this intermittently for several years. He had been admitted a member of the Methodist Episcopal conference, preaching in Fayette and Benton counties, Iowa, for a time. During the last year of the war he enlisted in Company E, Seventeenth Illinois Cavalry, being mustered in at Marengo, Illinois, after honorably serving his country as a soldier in the noblest war ever fought; he was discharged at St. Louis, June 6, 1865, and again took up his work in Benton county, Iowa. He remained there for a short time, then came to Saline county, Nebraska, in 1871, where he settled on a homestead and lived a pioneer's life for eleven years. In 1882 he came on to Ainsworth and located on his present

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homestead as a tree claim. He remained here for a short time only, then traveled north through Idaho and Oregon, where for seven years he spent his time preaching and exploring the country; finally drifting back to Brown county, Nebraska, he began to improve his farm and now has a very comfortable and pleasant home of one hundred and twenty acres of excellent farming land, on which a thrifty young orchard and grove are growing.

   During his young manhood years Mr. Gould was one of the most clever and advanced men of his age, possessing an active and versatile mind which enabled him to successfully engage in almost any profession requiring more than ordinary intelligence and quick perception, and it was a severe disappointment to him that he was compelled to forego the advantage of a college education.

   Mr. Gould was first married in Buchanan county, Iowa, April 2, 1866, to Miss Libbie Robinson, to whom two children were born. The surviving one, James B., is a resident of Brown county. The second marriage of Mr. Gould was solemnized at Ainsworth, April 4, 1907, Mrs. Anna Mowery, of Michigan, assuming the duties of helpmeet at that time. Politically Mr. Gould is a Republican.


   Sylvenus Avery, residing in section 21, township 21, range 45, Deuel county, Nebraska, on Pioneer Ranch, is a native of the Green Mountains, Massachusetts, born March 13th, 1837. His parents moved to Canada in the same year he was born and remained there until he was seventeen years of age, then came to Michigan, locating in the northern part of that state. Mr. and Mrs. Avery were both of American stock. and had a family of thirteen children, of whom Sylvenus was the fourth member. Since growing up their children are scattered all over the country. Two were killed in the war of the Rebellion in taking Arlington Heights. Our subject left home at the age of seventeen, and since that time has never returned to his father's home where he was raised, but some of the family have visited him here. He began working on railroads, being employed in the work of grading, and continued at that business up to 1890. He first began on the railroad in Canada, and has always done his work by contract, never working for anyone else. He was following this occupation in the southern states when the Civil war broke out. In December, 1861, he went to Cuba where he worked on grades, and he has the record of having laid the first steel rail on the island of Cuba. While in that country he heard of the Union Pacific road starting out from Omaha, so he went to that place and held the first plow used in the building of that road. This was in 1865, and Nebraska was still unsettled at that time, and Omaha was merely a small village. He helped put this road through and afterwards assisted in the building of every railroad in the state of Nebraska. He has railroaded all over the western part of this state, also in sections of Wyoming and Colorado, working on the Chicago & Northwestern, when it was laid across Nebraska. In 1885 he went to Chadron and worked north of that place for a time, and was a resident of both Chadron and Valentine when they first started as towns, and were without officers of any kind. When the Burlington & Missouri railroad was put across this state he went to Lincoln and helped build it clear through, and while on this road made up his mind to quit the railroading business for all time, so in the fall of 1887 he came to this locality hunting, also looking about for a location for a cattle ranch. He looked the country over thoroughly, and on this trip camped out one night where his house now stands. The following spring he settled on his homestead in section 21, township 21, range 45, Deuel county, Nebraska, and has lived on this place ever since, occupying a sod house for some years, and this still stands where it was built. The first year he tried farming, but lost over four thousand dollars, and then came to the conclusion that farming did not pay in this locality, so started in the cattle business on a small scale. He at once saw that he needed more land so he figured that the thing to do was to "get the land and the cattle will come," and followed this idea, which was correct. He had a hard time the first years as the whole country was infested with cattle and horse thieves, but he was used to rough frontier life and knew something of how to handle them and did not have much trouble from this source.

   Mr. Avery is now proprietor of four thousand acres of deeded land, all hay land, and he also purchased another ranch costing him thirty thousand dollars, and runs about two thousand head of cattle and two hundred horses. He has as fine a bunch of stock as can be found in the hills, and is more than successful in handling his stock. His son Charles, who has been with him all his life, is now interested with him in the business. and when he gets done with the ranch Charles will get this property. They divide the work on the place, the father looking after the horses and the son after the cattle end of the business. Mr. Avery's family consists of his wife and

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three children, they having lost one son by death when six years of age. Those living are Charles, mentioned above, Ellen, now Mrs. Eldred, and Belle, wife of Richard Brennan. Mrs. Avery is a daughter of William Pierce, a native of New Jersey, of English descent, who, with her family came west in 1845, settling in Nebraska in 1857. Mr. Avery first met the lady who afterwards became his wife, while working on the Union Pacific railroad.

   Mr. Avery has one of the most valuable estates in this section of the country, and would not sell his holdings for two hundred thousand dollars. He is perfectly contented here and will probably spend the balance of his life in this locality. His postoffice is Orlando, located in his house about seven years ago, and his son Charles is the postmaster. His nearest trading point is Alliance, Box Butte county, Nebraska, thirty miles distant. His shipping point is Lakeside, in Sheridan county, on the Burlington and Missouri railroad, twenty-five miles distant. Politically he is a Republican. He was raised a Democrat and always voted that ticket. He was a stanch Bryan man in 1896 and a great admirer of that gentleman for a time, but after meeting him he was sadly disappointed and since then has changed his political views. He does not take any active part in politics further than to aid his locality in voting bonds for railroads.


   Prominent among the old settlers and ranchmen of Blaine county, Nebraska, stands the name of James H. Teaford. He is accorded a high place because of his excellent business traits acquired in early life on the farm and in the employ of one of the leading railroad corporations of the country. No one is more public spirited than he, and his progressive attitude relative to matters of a local nature, bring him to the front in the affairs of his community.

   James H. Teaford was born on a farm near New Albany, Floyd county, Indiana, in 1849. His father Jacob S., was a native of Virginia; his mother Phoebe Hickman, before marriage, was born in Indiana.

   When our subject was sixteen years old, the family moved to Illinois, settling in McDonough county, where he was reared to manhood, receiving a good common school education. He was reared on a farm and, as with most farmer boys, became inured to hard and systematic work. On attaining his majority he went to Hamburg, Iowa, and engaged at clerking. Entering the employ of the Chicago, Burlington & Quincy Railway Company he was made check clerk, holding the position for thirteen years, also performing some work as expressman and baggage man.

   At Hamburg, in 1873, our subject was married to Miss Laura Mapes, a daughter of Thomas and Martha (Swinney) Mapes, who came from Kentucky. Mr. and Mrs. Teaford have four children, all grown to man and womanhood: Mrs. Gertrude Stewart, Ralph, Mrs. Mattie Stewart, of Lincoln, Nebraska, and Samuel.

   In the year 1888 Mr. Teaford came to Nebraska, and located on a homestead in Blaine county, in the North Loup river valley, two miles from the town of Purdum. Here he lived for eight years, building a sod house and, commencing with nothing but wild prairie land, he worked out a fine farm and comfortable home. Then he proved up on his homestead and soon after came to his present location where he purchased a farm of considerable size. He has eight hundred acres in his ranch, has constructed comfortable and commodious buildings and has made many valuable and up-to-date improvements. Our subject's son has considerable land, and, between them, they operate a large ranch of two thousand five hundred acres. This ranch with its excellent improvements, buildings, fences, groves and fine spring of water, is one of which its owner may be justly proud, and the visitor is impressed with the tokens of thrift and good management that present themselves at every hand for Mr. Teaford has been a successful farmer in every sense of the word and has laid broad and deep the foundations of wealth and prosperity. He has done his part among the old settlers in developing the material growth of his community and has been deeply interested in all matters of a local nature. He was county commissioner for two terms and has proven a capable official in various other political positions.


   John Ewbank, one of the well known and most highly esteemed citizens of Kimball county, Nebraska, has been a resident of that region for the past ten years. Prior to locating here he spent many years in western Nebraska, going through all the pioneer times in developing different farms, and has been an important factor in the growth of the localities where he has lived. He now resides about one mile north of the village of Kimball.

   Mr. Ewbank was born in Yorkshire, England, August 15th, 1856, and grew to manhood there. Both parents spent their entire lives in their native land, and are now deceased. When

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our subject was twenty-five years of age he struck out for the new world, and after landing in the United States settled in Wisconsin, remaining one year, then went to Custer county, Nebraska. He lived in that section for about six years, homesteaded, and proved up on a tract of land, then went to Wyoming, locating on a ranch situated a short distance northeast of Cheyenne, and followed ranching there for five years, going to Colorado in 1892. There he established a ranch in Weld county, and prospered in a marked degree, now having large interests, owning a big herd of cattle and about twelve thousand sheep. Mr. Ewbank came to Kimball county in 1899, purchased two thousand four hundred acres of land north of Kimball, now known as the "Ewbank Ranch." He has put sixty acres under cultivation, has seventy acres of good alfalfa, and raises small grains, fruit, etc. He has erected a fine house and other buildings, and has every improvement, his ranch being one of the best equipped in Kimball county.

   Mr. Ewbank was married to Alice Ann Wilkinson, May 4th, 1889, in Cheyenne, Wyoming. Mrs. Ewbank is a daughter of John Wilkinson, a well-known resident of Pine Bluff, Wyoming, his family coming from the same section in England as our subject. Nine children were born to Mr. and Mrs. Ewbank, seven of whom are living, named as follows: Mary Alice, Isabel Deborah, Margaret Elizabeth, John T., Robert J., Evalina Ada, and Helen Lenore. Mr. Ewbank is a member of the Kimball town school board, district No. 3, and takes an active interest in local affairs. He is a Republican.

   Portraits of Mr. and Mrs. Ewbank will be found elsewhere in this work.

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   For over twenty-two years the gentleman here named has been closely identified with the farming interests of Cherry county, and during this time he has acquired a valuable estate by dint of his industry and honesty, and is classed among the substantial and highly esteemed citizens of the locality in which he resides.

   Mr. Sones was born in Sullivan county, Pennsylvania, October 15, 1847, and was reared there. His father, Isaac Sones, served in a Pennsylvania regiment during the Civil war, and was a farmer by occupation. Of a family of twelve children born to his parents, our subject was the sixth member in order of birth. At the age of fifteen years he began working out, his first employment being the hauling of iron ore. In 1874 he came west to Warren county, rented land and farmed one year, then returned to Pennsylvania for eighteen months, during which time he was married and afterwards came west the second time in the spring of 1877, locating in Iowa near his former farm; arid here remained for six years before moving to Nance county, Nebraska. Farming there for four years, he migrated to Cherry county, enduring many hardships before arriving at his destination. He was snowbound for five days on the way west and suffered a great deal. After many difficulties in starting anew in the west he was just nicely settled and everything seemingly prospering when the dry years came on and he was compelled to sell part of his cattle and work out by the day in order to make a bare living for his family, at times hauling wood seven miles, with the proceeds of which he purchased scant provisions, at times paying fifty cents a bushel potatoes. He lives in a sod house for a while then in a dugout on his pre-emption which the family occupied for sixteen months, at the end of which time he erected a good log house which with a frame addition makes a good farm residence. The family also owns a neat cottage at Gordon, which they occupy and where the children have been attending school since 1906. The family have seen the hardest of pioneer experiences but conditions have improved in this locality and of late years they have had good crops. Mr. Sones has been adding to his farm until he now owns nine hundred acres, stocked with two hundred head of cattle and a number of horses. His place is all fenced except a very small portion. He has good buildings and plenty of farm machinery, having under cultivation about one hundred and seventy-five acres, partly on leased land of which he controls nine hundred and sixty acres. He has seven acres of alfalfa growing.

   In January, 1876, Mr. Sones was married to Miss Mary Francis, born in Pennsylvania in 1855, of German parents. Mr. and Mrs. Sones have a family of seven children who are named as follows: Annie (deceased), who married Ulysses Hunt; Arthur, John Burton, William (who died when the family first came here), Cora, Minnie, and Elsie. The family enjoys a pleasant home and are highly respected in their community.


   Charles, one of the foremost agriculturists of Dawes county, resides on his farm in section 7, township 32, range 51, where he has built up a good home and is widely known

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