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Compendium of History Reminiscence & Biography of Western Nebraska

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Black Hawk war. He married Nancy M. King. Mr. and Mrs. Green have a family of five children, who are named as follows: Cora L., now Mrs. Frank Sweet; Melvin E., Della L., Leonard L., and Mary Alice, all born and reared in Nebraska.

   Politically, Mr. Green is an independent voter, with a leaning toward the Bryan party in national affairs. He is also prominent in educational matters in his locality, and has been school director since coming to Nebraska.


   The pen of the writer lingers lovingly over the story of the bright and capable young men who have come to this country from foreign lands with scarcely the endowment of the speech of its people, and by grim determination and sheer pluck have hammered out for themselves a fair name and goodly possessions in the course of a few years. Their only possessions were a strong right arm and an honest heart, and over and over again, ten thousand times, is the story told in the lives of the German settler of the western states.

   G. B. Edmund Estler, a prosperous and successful farmer of Sioux county, Nebraska, presents in his own career an excellent example of this story. He was born in Dresden, Saxony, Germany, in 1876. His father was a piano maker in his native land. He married Louisa Wolters, born and raised in the same locality with him in Saxony. The couple came to the United States with their little family in 1878, settling in Kansas, where they were among the pioneers. Our subject spent his boyhood in that state, and remained there until he was nine years of age, then went to New York city, where he began working in a grocery store as a clerk and errand boy, following that occupation up to 1898, then again struck out for the west, this time locating in Sioux county, taking up his present farm as a homestead. He filed on this land March 10th, of that year, and was the seventh settler to take up a claim in that vicinity. He had very little start his farm with, and after his arrival bought two horses and a cow. During the first eight years he had a hard time to get along, making but little more than a bare living. He had several crop failures caused by drouths, and was also hailed out in 1900, but stuck to the place through all the hard years, and eventually succeeded in establishing a home and building up a good farm. The place is situated on section 1, township 31, range 55, and his residence is in section 1, township 31, range 55. His ranch now contains three hundred and twenty acres, all of which is fenced, and he has sixty acres under cultivation. He has erected good buildings, drilled deep wells and has windmills with supply tanks which provide plenty of good water for all purposes on the farm. His home and ranch is one of the well-kept and most pleasant places to be found in his locality, every appointment showing good management and painstaking care in its operation. In 1903 he had the misfortune to be burned out, losing a barn filled with feed, and other property to the amount of $300.

   Mr. Estler is a public-spirited citizen and active in local affairs, having served as road overseer for two terms. In politics, he is nonpartisan.


   Through exceptionally good management and persistent labors the gentlemen above named has acquired a well developed farm, and is enabled to enjoy the comforts of modern farming. He is of a progressive nature, and has had a wide experience and every detail of the work on his farm is carefully looked after and personally supervised by him. He resides in Keya Paha county Nebraska, where he is highly respected as a worthy citizen.

   Mr. Sigea is a native of Hillsdale, Michigan, born July 29, 1859. His father was a baker by trade, who was born in Germany and came to America about the time of our Civil war. He settled in Hillsdale with his wife, who was Mary Stroub, also a native of the fatherland. Mr. Sigea was killed by Indians near Denver, in 1861, while freighting on the plains. The mother of our subject died when, he was fifteen years old, and he lived with his stepfather until he reached the age of twenty-two, the family having moved to Iowa, locating near Council Bluffs. Seeing that his stepfather did not intend to give him an equal share as promised he left home and in 1891 went to Minnesota and engaged in the livery business at Fergus Falls, continuing in this for three years, then moved to Pottawattamie county, Iowa, where he spent two years, following farming as an occupation. In 1886 he came to Nebraska and settled in Keya Paha county. He shipped his belongings to Bassett, bringing a few farm tools with him, and went to work on a farm, putting up a house built of rough logs, topped with a dirt roof. Here the family went through all the hardships of a pioneer life, losing two crops through the drouths, and often becoming disheartened, but he stuck to his farm, gradually

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adding to his possessions, and improving the place with a comfortable house, fitted up with all modern conveniences, and a fine set of farm buildings. He is the owner of nine hundred and sixty acres of deeded land and has built up a good home and valuable estate. In June, 1907, Mr. Sigea built one of the largest and finest barns in Keya Paha county, with concrete basement stables, an ornament to any farm. The dwelling, with its outbuildings, furnishes one of the illustrations of this work.

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   Mr. Sigea was married near Crescent, Nebraska, April 24, 1884, to Miss Annette B. Paris, whose father, a native of France, was a miller and shoemaker by trade, who settled near Crescent in 1876, where he lived at the time of his death, February 7, 1887; the mother, Eliza Selzer, was of German blood, and is now residing in Keya Paha county, Mr. and Mrs. Sigea have had four children: Millie A., born in Iowa and wife of Clarence A. Lambert, living on an adjoining ranch: August, Clarence and Clinton, the three younger children being born where they now live.

   In political sentiments Mr. Sigea is a Democrat, and he affiliates with the Ancient Order of United Woodmen fraternity at Carnes.


   Among the old settlers in Nebraska who braved the hardships and privations of a pioneer life in order to carve out a name and fortune to bestow upon their posterity, the gentlemen above named occupies a foremost place. He has succeeded in building up a comfortable competence, and is highly esteemed by his fellowmen.

   Mr. Litz is a native of Monroe county, Indiana, born on a farm February 28, 1867, the third member in a family of seven children, all boys. He remained at home until he reached the age of seventeen years, when he took upon himself the burden of his support. The father died in the early seventies; the family settled in Lucas county, Iowa, in 1884, but only remained there for two years. In the fall of 1885 Ben Litz came to Nebraska and took a homestead in section 28, township 30, range 19, in Rock county, and "batched it" for a short time. He at once put up a sod house, and lived in that for the following five years. When he first came here he had very little to start with. His mother moved here with him, but she soon after died, leaving him alone. He remained on that place and proved up, and afterwards sold his holdings there, settling in section 14, his present home, where he has had bountiful crops and now has a farm of four hundred and eighty acres, improved with a neat cottage residence, a good set of farm buildings, and sufficient fences. He is engaged principally in stock raising and dairying, finding a profitable enterprise in shipping cream to the cities east. His farm is worth, at a conservative estimate, $15,000, but he is well satisfied with his home and does not care to sell. The place has increased in value wonderfully since he first came here, as at that time it could have been bought for $1,000. He has planted a fine grove of trees, and everything on the whole farm bears evidence of good care and good management in its operation.

   In the fall of 1892 Mr. Litz was married to Miss Kate Likins, whose parents settled in Rock county prior to the completion of the railroad to the region; the family experienced all the pioneer privations that befell the early settlers in this section of the country. Her father, Samuel Likins, endured many hardships to establish a home for his family in the west. Shortly after coming, their horses were all stolen by the Indians, necessitating the father's walking a hundred and fifty miles to Niobrara City for the family's supply of flour, which he carried on his shoulders that long and weary way. This is but a sample of the fortitude and endurance of the pioneer. Mr. and Mrs. Litz have a family of three children, namely: Lena, Leonard and Nettie. In politics our subject is a Democrat and is a member of the Ancient Order of United Workmen of Bassett.


   Thomas W. Hull, residing in Grant, Nebraska, is one of the well known "old-timers" of Perkins county, and has been a potent factor in the development of the agricultural resources of that locality. He is now engaged in the real estate business and is a leading citizen in commercial and political affairs in his town.

   Mr. Hull was born in Bureau county Illinois, in 1856. His parents were of American stock, his father being a carpenter by trade and a prominent pioneer of Perkins county, settling there in 1885. He was among the first homesteaders in the section, later served as county judge for two terms, and at his death, which occurred in 1906, there was a feeling among the residents of his community that they had lost one of the foremost pioneers. Our subject grew up in Illinois, assisting his father in carrying on the farm, and attended the common schools. At the age of twenty-five years he started out for himself. He came to eastern Nebraska, and farmed there for about four years, then moved

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to what is now Perkins county, then known as Keith county. He settled on a claim seven miles south of Grant, and there followed stock raising, farming, and during the first years worked at whatever he could get to do to make a living and make money to improve his homestead. He lived in a sod house for several years, and followed a typical frontier life. In the fall of 1891 he was elected sheriff of the county and was re-elected at the expiration of his term, and during that time moved to Grant, but later returned to the ranch and made that his home up to 1906, then went back to town to live. He succeeded in acquiring six hundred acres, then sold his holdings, after improving it in fine shape. In the real estate business he has built up a good patronage, handling land all over the county, and promoting the public good in every way possible.

   Mr. Hull married Miss Martha E. Hannah, a native of Illinois, in 1881. They have one son, Roy, who is now grown up and married, and is in business at Grant, Nebraska. Politically Mr. Hull is an Independent.


   The subject of this sketch, George W. Snider, is regarded as one of the most successful of the old settlers. He was born in Clark county, Illinois on a farm near the town of Westfield, in 1846. His father, David Snider, was a native of New Albany, Indiana, and was of American nationality. His mother, Sophia Evinger, was born in Indiana and her people were Germans. Mr. Snider's father and mother both died in Illinois. He lived on the farm in Clark county for many years, at times working out for the neighboring farmers when a boy, dropping corn in the old fashioned way and getting twenty-five cents for planting ten acres. When he grew older he was employed to plant thirty acres and was paid one dollar and fifty cents for the work. This was regarded as very good pay at that time. He often carried eggs to town, selling them for three cents a dozen. In those days the people were obliged to pay one dollar and twenty cents per gallon for kerosene. Mr. Snider took charge of the home farm when he was fourteen years old and managed it as successful as a man of mature years. Two of his older brothers went to the war in 1861. He remained on the farm until he was twenty-one years old, leaving it at that time to go into the grocery business at Westfield, Illinois, his home town, with a brother, W. A. Snider. They conducted this business for eight years, all of that time he being deputy postmaster. In 1876 he went to Charleston, Illinois, and, taking H. E. Bradley, his brother-in-law, for a partner, again opened a grocery store in that city. He conducted this business for ten years, making a success of this as he had with the other store in Westfield.

   In 1888 he left Charleston for Terre Haute, Indiana, at which place he engaged in the furniture business, which he conducted for several months. After selling this business he went to Madrid, Nebraska, where, in February, 1889, he became a partner and cashier of the Bank of Madrid, which position he held from 1889 to 1896, giving great satisfaction to the officers and stock-holders of the bank, which was one of the strong financial institutions of Perkins county. He was also prominent in politics while in Madrid, holding the positions of notary public and village treasurer. He always voted with the Republican party and at one time he was instrumental in carrying an election for his party, which would otherwise have been defeated, he was one of the men who foresaw the great possibilities of the region and was actively connected with a county fair association which did much to build up the town of Madrid, where he held an interest in a creamery and flouring mill in 1889.

   He later became interested in real estate and helped to lay out the town of Wauneta, in Chase county, Nebraska, in 1888, and moved to that town in 1900, engaging in the stock business. He has platted an addition to West Wauneta and done much to improve the town. This town has electric lights and, through the efforts of Mr. Snider and other enterprising citizens of the town, will soon have an up-to-date water plant installed, as the best water power in Nebraska is on the Frenchman river within the town. He also sold farm machinery and buggies., He remained in this town for about eighteen months, leaving it for Denver, Colorado, where he stayed for a short time and then went to Glenwood Springs. He remained here about a year in the hope of benefiting his wife, who was in poor health.

   In 1907 he came to Ogallala and, with Mrs. Jennie Forsythe, a sister-in-law, and Malcom McClain, he established the first state bank in the county. Mr. Snider was president of this institution for several years, selling his interest in 1905. He then went to California for recreation and travel, remaining there for about a year. He established and was interested in a grocery business at Los Angeles, California, which is now owned by a nephew. In 1906 he returned to Ogallala, becoming interested in the real estate and insurance business in which he was very successful. He is also interested in the farm

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