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Compendium of History Reminiscence & Biography of Western Nebraska

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ness and remained at that for two years, then started in the real estate business, in which he has continued up to the present time. He is also a capable auctioneer, and is well known all over Redwillow and the adjoining counties where he has acted in that capacity. He has been judge of probate court for the past sixteen years, and has held the office of police judge for over fourteen years, and has proved himself a popular and efficient public official.

     Mr. Berry was married in 1870 to Miss Amanda L. Mitchell, a native of Illinois. They have six children, who are named as follows: Carl R., with Colorado Iron & Fuel Company as master mechanic, located at Sunrise, Wyoming; Everly N., a druggist at Parsons, Kansas; Floyd M., connected with the Burlington & Missouri railway at McCook; Elbert W., with the Maxwell Company, Chicago; Chester B. was assistant train dispatcher on the Burlington & Missouri railroad for a time and now in the train service at McCook; Mildred F., living at home with her parents.

     Mr. Berry is an active worker in the Methodist Episcopal church at McCook, and now is and for many years has been local minister here. He is also a prominent member of the Grand Army of the Republic, and has filled all the offices in that lodge in the past. He has always voted the Republican ticket, and takes an active interest in all party affairs.



     Charles LaRue, residing on section 34, town 33, range 23, Keya Paha county, Nebraska, one of the leading old settlers in this county, and has always been foremost in helping to develop the region where he chose his home.

     Mr. LaRue was born on a farm in Grant county, Indiana, April 3, 1823. His father, Britton LaRue, was of French-American blood, and followed farming and sawmilling all his life, and Charles also worked at this for many years, beginning when a young man. The mother died when he was so young he does not remember her, and at the age of fourteen he started to make his own way in the world. He followed freighting and mine work in different states, also spent a part of his time in hunting in Colorado, Wyoming, Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas and other western states, and during those years killed an immense number of buffalo, deer, antelope and other game. For fourteen years he wandered all over the western states and saw much of pioneer life in the west, crossing, during that time, every stream between the Rio Grande and the Canadian border, finally settling in Keya Paha county in 1882, where he took up a homestead, on which he now resides. When he landed here he had only ten dollars in money, and a team and wagon. He went to work at once building up his place, and now is proprietor of five hundred acres of good land, farming one hundred and twenty-five acres of this, and runs about seventy head of cattle and the same number of hogs. His land was well covered with timber, and before he was able to build had to clear it off, putting up a log house, which is still a part of the family dwelling. His land has two and a quarter miles of river front. The garden tract is irrigated. There are twenty acres of alfalfa, producing large crops of that excellent forage plant. He has seen hard times occasionally since coming here, and often did not know where their next meal was coming from. He worked out to support his family, but although it was often discouraging, he never felt like giving up, but stuck to it, and has been most successful. At one time he went to Canada to look for land, but came back satisfied to remain here.

     Mr. LaRue was married in Gosper county to Miss Harriet Board, October 25, 1879, and they have eight children, namely: Clyde, Ethel, wife of Fred Hutton, of Rock county; Marion, Lester, Bertha, wife of Bert McDonald, of Wyoming; Leon, Angeline and Therese.

     Mr. LaRue is a straight, unadulterated Democrat. He has been on the school board for the past twelve years, and active in school affairs. He is a member of the Odd Fellows. Mr. LaRue is an interesting storyteller and his account of the many stirring incidents of his life read like romance. Since settling on his present farm he has killed five of the last six deer to cross the place. We present a view of the home and picturesque surroundings on another page.

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   Sam Swinbank, a thrifty and energetic resident of the township of section 13, township 32, range 52, where his business ability has put him well to the front in the ranks of progressive farmers, was born in Westmoreland, England, in 1860. His father, John Swinbank, was a farmer in his native land, and came to this country with his family in 1875. There were eight children, of whom our subject was the fifth in order of birth, and he attended the common schools in England as a lad, growing to manhood in Kane county, Illinois, where the family settled after landing in America. He remained at home with his parents until he was twenty-three years of age, assisting them in carrying on the farm, then

Compendium of History Reminiscence & Biography of Western Nebraska

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came to Nebraska in the fall of 1886, settling half a mile south of Whitney. There he started a farm, and through failure of crops and other misfortunes, lost every cent, only succeeding in raising one crop in five years. While on that place he kept "bachelor's hall," and had a hard time to get along, meeting many discouragements so familiar to the old settlers in this region.

     Mr. Swinbank then gave up farming and started in the stock business, borrowing money for a beginning, and met with better success. He located in Sioux county, in section 14, township 34, range 53, where he built a dugout for his first dwelling place and lived in it for two years. He built up the place in good shape and remained for twelve years, and made a success, purchasing his present farm in 1902. This is situated in section 13, township 32, range 52, which is a well improved property, and he is in the stock raising business, dealing mostly in horses. He has a fine house, supplied with every convenience, with a complete tank and water works system, and uses this as a wintering place, as he also has a large ranch in Sioux county. His ranch consists of six hundred and forty acres here, two hundred of which are irrigated, and he raises large quantities of alfalfa, wild hay, etc.

     Mr. Swinbank was married while living in Sioux county, in 1894, to Miss Katie Raben. Mrs. Swinbank's father was an early settler in that county, also well-known, ranchman of the section. Mr. and Mrs. Swinbank have two children. John Chester and Ruth Marguerite.

     Politically, our subject is no party man, advocating good government and voting for the best man on any ticket.



     John W. Brill, one of the oldest settlers in Brown county, Nebraska, is one of the best known residents in this region. He was one of the first men to take out papers filing on government land in this section of the country, and has resided here continuously ever since, building up a good home and farm, and is recognized as one of the leading citizens of his community.

     Mr. Brill was born in the town of Franklin, Franklin county, Vermont, April 24, 1838. His father, Thomas Brill, was a farmer by occupation and carpenter by trade, who came of old Yankee stock. Our subject was reared and educated in Vermont, and at the age of twenty-one years started out to make his own way in the world, following farm work as an occupation. He came west in June, 1861, settling in Rice county, Minnesota, and was among the pioneers of that state, remaining there for five years. The journey was made by lake from Ogdensburg to Milwaukee, Wisconsin, in the propeller "Ogdensburg," by rail thence across the state to McGregor, Iowa, where they proceeded by boat to Redwing, Minnesota, from which point they went overland forty miles to Rice county. At the close of the war he moved to Blue Earth county, securing land in the Winnebago reservation, and remained there up to 1879 forming the acquaintance of Charles Cowley, with whom he came to Nebraska in that year, driving through the country by team, their families following later on also by team and covered wagons. Mr. Brill located on a pre-emption on Plum creek and a tree claim on the tableland. He, spending most of his time on the latter, which lay in section 5, township 30, range 23, Brown county. His first house was a log cabin built by himself, and his first team was a yoke of oxen, and these he used for several years in breaking up his land and starting his farm. During the years 1894 and 1895 his crops were total failures, and he had heavy losses. He recovered from these as soon as the good years came on, and built up and improved his land until he was the proprietor of as good a ranch as could be found in that locality. In November, 1905, he sold out his place for $4,000, and then located on Evergreen creek, where he owns a section of land, and each of his two sons also owns a section of land in the vicinity of their father's property. They run two hundred head of cattle and twenty horses all the time, constantly improving their herds. During the early days of his residence in this part of the state Mr. Brill hauled all family supplies from Neligh, a distance of one hundred and sixty miles from his home, the distance being reduced as the railroad proceeded westward until their supplies could be procured within a few miles of home. He cut cedar posts, and hauled them all this distance to pay for the provisions needed, camping out nights under his wagon during the trip back and forth through both summer and winter weather. He has seen his share of pioneer life, and is now content to enjoy the fruits of his hard labor in days gone by.

     An engraving of the residence will be on another page of this volume.

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     Mr. Brill was married in Vermont, November 10, 1859, to Miss Helen Coffrin, a native of the town of Morristown, Vermont. Seven children were born to them. three of whom are now living, namely: Nellie R., wife of Alfred Murcuson of Los Angeles, California. He is largely interested in water power, electric light and other utilities in Lower California. They have one daughter,

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Emma Grace; John W. and George. Mr. Brill a stanch Republican in political affiliations, never having voted any other ticket since attaining his majority. 



     Henry Strohm, a representative farmer and agriculturist of Rock county, Nebraska, resides on his valuable estate in Long Pine precinct. He is among the early settlers in this locality, and can recount with accuracy many of the pioneer experiences of the settlers of this county who braved the hardships and privations, becoming permanent settlers and prosperous farmers. The above mentioned gentleman has succeeded in acquiring a good farm and home and gained the confidence and esteem of a large circle of acquaintances.

     Mr. Strohm was born in Washington county, Wisconsin, April 24, 1860. His father, George Strohm, was born in France on the Rhine, and after serving about fourteen years in the French army emigrated for America about 1846 and made his home in Wisconsin some five or six years later. The mother of our subject, Mary Mogal in maidenhood, was born in Germany, near the Rhine, and of her nine children, Henry is sixth. He was reared on his parents' farm in Wisconsin, receiving a common school education in the country schools there. He was early taught to do all kinds of hard farm work and the training he received at home fitted him for the hard labor he encountered in later years. At the age of twenty he left home and moved to Tama county, Iowa, where he remained for two years. He then went to Hamilton county, Iowa, remaining about two years before returning to the former place, where he lived for another twelvemonth.

     In 1884 he came to Nebraska, and at Valentine filed on a pre-emption claim on the White river. He remained there for a short time only, then came on to what is now Rock county, driving overland, camping out nights under his wagon. He traded for a relinquishment on which there was a log house, covered it with a dirt roof, and where he lived with his family for a time. During these first years he had but one horse, one cow, a heifer, and a few chickens with which to make a start as a stock man. Prior to locating his present farm, Mr. Hastings had made several trips to Colorado by team, coming back by way of Colorado Springs and Hastings, Kansas, preferring Nebraska, settled on the farm where he now resides. When he located on this there were no improvements whatever, except the log house above mentioned, which has since been replaced with a substantial dwelling, good buildings and fences. He has planted trees and now has a fine orchard started. Rock creek runs through his farm, and this stream furnishes plenty of good water the year round for his stock. The farm comprises a homestead entry of one hundred and sixty acres and four hundred acres of deeded land, of which seventy acres are under cultivation. He is largely engaged in stock raising and dairying, running eighty-five head of cattle with ten or a dozen milch cows. At one time he, together with J. R. Hughes, owned and operated a threshing outfit, and carried on this business for three years in the early days, covering a territory of some thirty miles square, throughout which they became thoroughly acquainted. He was obliged in the early days to haul wood to help make a living for his family, and turned his hand to whatever he could find to do.

     In 1887 Mr. Strohm was married to Miss Mattie A. May, whose father, Thomas May, was among the early-settlers in Rock county, having come here in 1883. Mr. and Mrs. Strohm have two children, Lura and Etha.

     A Republican in politics, Mr. Strohm uses his influence and vote for the candidates of that party. He is a member of the Workmen's lodge at Carnes.



     Charles W. Hickox is a native of Ohio, born in Summit county, born January 25, 1839. His father, Watson Hickox, who was American born, was in business as a clothier, and came to Illinois in 1840; the mother, Sarah Scott, was a native of the state of New York.

     Charles W. Hickox was reared on a farm in Lee county, Illinois, until he was fourteen years of age, when the family moved to Waukesha and thence to Richland county, Wisconsin, where they were among the early pioneers. Our subject spent a number of years in the timber of northern Wisconsin, lumbering and logging, and learned woodcraft thoroughly. In 1861 he enlisted in Company H, Fifth Wisconsin Infantry, and was sent south, joining eastern army corps. He saw three years and three months of active service, being in twenty-six engagements. He was severely wounded in the battle of Rappahannock Station and was confined in the hospital until he was discharged from the service.

     After his discharge, Mr. Hickox returned to Wisconsin and was married August 11, 1864, to Miss Julia Dean, a native of Ohio, and daughter of Charles W. and Ellinor (Seeley) Dean; her

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