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Compendium of History Reminiscence & Biography of Western Nebraska

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his energy and industry is now seen in his fine farm and home. He has six hundred and forty acres with about three hundred acres under cultivation and all improved in good shape. He has raised all kinds of grain including wheat, oats and corn and has always made a special business of raising cattle and horses of the best registered breeds. Mr. Sawyer imported the first Percheron stallion into this country.

   Ever since coming to the county, Mr. Sawyer has taken an active interest in all that pertained to the wefare (sic) of his adopted state and he could be counted among the progressive citizens. Fred, his oldest son, has lived with his father for the last thirty years and is an up-to-date agriculturist and stockman having grown up with the country. Frank, Fred and George, the three sons, came to the county with their father.


   George A. Janssen, a leading old settler in Nebraska, resides on his well improved farm situated in section 25, township 35, range 29, Cherry county. He was born in Hanover, Germany, November 5, 1855, where his father, Gerhard Janssen, conducted a meat market his entire business career, dying there in 1865, when our subject was ten years of age. From that time he has made his own way in the world, first being apprenticed to a baker; he mastered his trade there, working at it for six years, until 1876, he left his native land and came to America, settling in Grundy county, Iowa, where he resided one year. He then went to Sioux City, where he lived for three years, employed at his trade for a few months, followed by farm work in Bremer county. In 1886 he came on to Nebraska, settling in the homestead where he now resides. He built a sod house, part of which still remains, and lived in this for twelve years, batching it a short time. His first work was done with a yoke of oxen with which he broke and cultivated the land; but the dry years came on and his crops were completely destroyed two years in succession, producing not even enough for seed. By perseverance he met all difficulties and succeded in a marked degree, adding to his farm gradually, until now he is proprietor of six hundred and forty acres of good land, one hundred and fifty of this cultivated and the balance in pasture and grass land. Mr. Janssen has a comfortable residence and a large barn. He has a fine house, twenty-two by sixteen, built partly of concrete, as are chicken house, tool house, hog house and other buildings, all constructed by Mr. Janssen's own hand. There are a number of other commodious buildings of frame construction, making a well equipped farm. Being well provided with concrete houses and yards Mr. Janssen engages in poultry raising on a large scale. He has a fine grove of mulberry trees, also a nice cherry orchard and other fruits, with everything kept up in the best possible condition.

   He has had severe losses since coming to these parts, in 1890 losing his barn and contents, including four horses, farm machinery, hay, grain, corn, etc., by fire, and the following years lost his crops through hail storms, but he was never disheartened, still persevered and is now satisfied with what he has accomplished.

   In 1888 Mr. Janssen was married to Mrs. Johanna (Holm) Bolmiera, a native of Bremen, Germany, she having two children by a former husband, namely Fred and Johannes. Mr. and Mrs. Janssen have a family of five children, named as follows: Lizzie, Wilhelm, Mary, Lonnie and Johanna.

   Mr. and Mrs. Janssen are members of the Lutheran church.

   A view of the residence of Mr. Janssen will be found on another page in this work.

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*The surname is spelled differently in the photo/picture caption.

   Leroy D. Tice, one of the leading old settlers of western Nebraska, has a fine farm in La Vaca precinct, Cherry county, and is a worthy citizen of his community.. Mr. Tice was born in Marion county, Iowa, May 6, 1856, and raised on a farm there, his parents settling in that region in 1844. He lived at home until he was twenty-seven years old, then went to Oregon, where he spent two years carrying chain on the government survey; returning to Iowa and farming his father's place up to 1888. He came to Nebraska, locating on section 2, township 31, range 40, the place which he now occupies. He was farming during the dry years, but not to any very great extent, so did not suffer any very heavy losses, and has never had a total failure of crops since coming here. He has bought only thirteen bushels of seed wheat in all the time he has been here, which is a very good record. He has added to his land constantly, so that he now owns eight hundred and eighty acres of deeded land, besides a homestead. Of this he farms about one hundred acres, and on the balance runs some fifty cattle and half as many horses. His place

Compendium of History Reminiscence & Biography of Western Nebraska

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is well kept, improved with good buildings, all fenced, and is one of the valuable estates in this locality. In the summer of 1907 he erected a large concrete block house supplied with bath and running water, and he also has a water system for irrigating garden and lawn.

   Mr. Tice was married in 1884 to Miss Katherine Griffin, daughter of James Griffin, born in Ireland, and who came to America when a young man, her mother also being a native of the Emerald Isle. Mr. and Mrs. Tice have three children, namely: James D., Edward D., and Mary A.

   Mr. Tice thinks this is one of the finest countries be ever saw, and is contented to make his future home here, He has always done all in his power to help in building up the region, and takes an active part in school and local affairs, for the past sixteen years serving as school director. He is a Democrat, and a great admirer and supporter of the peerless leader of Nebraska.


   John A. Wilson, a prominent farmer of Box Butte county, resides on section 21, township 27, range 47, and conducts personally his well improved ranch of about two thousand acres in accordance with modern methods and scientific principles. He is a constant and thorough reader, and applies the information thus obtained to practical use in the operation of his large estate.

   Mr. Wilson was born in Harding, Shelby county, Ohio, on September 23, 1859. His father, Hiram Wilson, was a grandson of Col. Wilson, an early settler in that county, who located on government land in 1700. Prior to her marriage, our subject's mother was Curtis Kelsey, born and raised near Rutland, Vermont, daughter of a prominent politician who was a state official in Vermont for many years. Our subject grew up in central Iowa, where his parents had settled in 1867 and lived as pioneers. His schooling was very limited, as the nearest school from their homestead was eight miles away. At the age of twenty-one years he left home and struck put for himself, farming on rented land for several years, but became convinced that this was unsuccessful and gave it up. During this time he had given much time to the study of agriculture and had put it to practical test on his farm, receiving second prize for some potatoes which he exhibited, also securing first prize for corn in Boone county, Iowa.

   In 1885 Mr. Wilson came to Nebraska and filed on a pre-emption situated eighteen miles northeast of Alliance, leaving his family in Iowa until he found a home for them, and the following year, in 1886, they joined him there. He had built a sod shanty and began to break up land for crops with his team of horses, and also used these for hauling supplies from Hay Springs, following the usual custom of travelers of that time, in camping out at night under his wagon. His first crop was sod potatoes and corn, and he also worked out in the neighborhood of his home in breaking up land for other settlers in order to make a living for his family. During the dry years he went through many hard experiences, some seasons not being able to raise even seed for the following year from all he had put in the ground, and during these times he made a living by buying eggs through the country and selling them over again at the nearby markets. He had to borrow money to carry this business on, and kept at it for five years, his egg sales sometimes running as high as four hundred dollars a month. As the times grew better he did well, was able to purchase more land, buying in both Box Butte and Sheridan counties, and reselling much of it, making considerable money through these speculations. In 1893 he began raising blooded horses, and has owned some of the finest animals in Nebraska. Mr. Wilson now owns a ranch of three hundred and twenty acres of deeded land, and besides this he controls two thousand acres, engaging on a very large scale in the cattle business. He has the place well improved with fine buildings, several miles of fence, and everything necessary for conducting a model ranch, cultivating about one hundred acres.

   Our subject is also the inventor of a pitman for use on mowers and binders, which take up lost motion, and this has been considered by experts to be a great success. He is besides this, the owner and inventor of a recipe used for the treatment of all kinds of wood which prolongs its usefulness for many years. Wheels which have been subjected to this treatment never need their tires set.

   Mr. Wilson was united in marriage in 1880, to Miss Emogene F. Schadle, daughter of Joseph N. and Mary (Smith) Schadle, of Pennsylvania. Mr. Wilson had the sad misfortune to lose his wife, while undergoing an operation at Lincoln, Nebraska, April 16, 1908. One child was born of this union, a daughter, named Eva F. Wilson, who still remains with her father and is helping him with a devoted and filial affection that is truly commendable. The family are well known and highly es-

Compendium of History Reminiscence & Biography of Western Nebraska

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teemed in their community and enjoy one of the most pleasant homes in their locality.

   Mr. Wilson was elected postmaster of Box Butte postoffice in the early days, now changed to Marple postoffice, and has served in that capacity for many years. He has been connected with the mail service here since 1886.


   Chris. Hansen, whose fine ranch in Box Butte county is a credit to his locality, is a man of untiring energy, and is classed among the substantial agriculturists of the community in which he lives. He has cleared a large portion of wild prairie land for cultivation, and become the owner of a ranch of over one thousand four hundred and forty acres. He is a thorough farmer and up-to-date business man.

   Mr. Hansen was born in Denmark in 1865, son of a farmer and miller, who died when our subject was five years of age. Chris. was reared and educated in Denmark, being apprenticed to a blacksmith when a young boy, following that trade in his native country for a number of years, and in 1884 came to America, landing in New York city June 8th of that year when nineteen years of age. He went to Canada shortly after arriving here, there being employed on the Canadian Pacific railroad in the Rocky mountains, helping lay that road across the Columbia river. He spent about a year and a half in the west, and while in that region passed through many exciting and interesting experiences with the Indians in that country who were very hostile to the whites at that time. After getting through with that work, Mr. Hansen went to Omaha and worked at ice business one winter, then bought a pair of horses and did teaming, also railroaded near Omaha. He next went to Blair, Nebraska, settling on rented land and did farming for a short time, coming to Box Butte county in 1888, and taking up a pre-emption on which he proved up in due time, also filed on a homestead after proving up on his pre-emption. He still occupies the pre-emption, which is situated in section 7, township 26, range 50, and his first buildings were of sod, beginning as all of the pioneers did, with a very small capital and going through the drouth periods when he lost a number of crops, when he was hardly able to raise enough for feed for his few head of stock and provisions for his family. He had one cow and a few chickens, and these helped furnish him with food. He kept at his farm work, and after a time did well, raising good crops and improving his ranch, and he now gives most of his time to stock raising only cultivating about one hundred and. forty-five acres, on which he raises small grain, potatoes, corn, etc.

   In 1887 Mr. Hansen was united in marriage to Anna Mary Peterson, also a native of Denmark, who came to this country in the spring of that year. Four children have been born of this union, who are named as follows: Hans, Marie, Elinora and Grace, all born and reared in this county.

   Mr. Hansen is classed among the oldest settlers in this section of the state, and has always taken an active part in neighborhood affairs from the early days of its settlement. He is well acquainted all through his precinct, and has served as township assessor for five years. Politically he is a Populist.


   The gentleman whose name heads this review was born in Cass county, Iowa, August 31, 1858, and is a son of John Dyer, a blacksmith and farmer, of American stock; the mother was Mary A. Porter prior to her marriage. Of a family of nine children our subject is the second member, and he was reared on his father's farm, following the plow from the time he was thirteen years old and being accustomed to all kinds of hard work. He struck out for himself when he reached the age of twenty-one, following farm work. For four years he farmed, on rented land, living at home. About the year 1883 he established a mercantile business at Reno, Iowa, in partnership with R. F. Breen, and they carried this on for two years being moderatly (sic) successful, then disposed of the store and come to Nebraska, locating in Keya Paha county, settling on a farm in section 36, township 33, range 18, and began improving this land. He also operated a blacksmith shop which he ran for twelve years. His first dwelling was a log house, and later built a sod addition to this; he took up a homestead in section 14, township 33, range 18, where he lived for ten years in a sod house. During these days he worked at all kinds of things, driving ox teams and working out by the day, and remained on this place up to 1897, when he bought his present farm of about one thousand three hundred acres, with an equal amount under lease; he has never sold a foot of land that he has ever owned. He has been engaged largely in stock raising and has done an immense business in this line. He has im-

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