NEGenWeb Project
Resource Center-
On Line Library

Compendium of History Reminiscence & Biography of Western Nebraska

Horizontal Bar

page 472

stead and in 1900 bought his present farm in section 4, township 15, range 41, and commenced making improvements. In spite of the serious hard times and the varying fortunes of pioneer life Mr. Bairn has made a splendid success. He constructed a good stone home, has good barns and general improvements and has established himself on a prosperous plane of life. His early years here were full of hard work and worry to support the family and to make his farm grow in value and importance. Now he has a splendid ranch of six hundred and forty acres, including a recent Kincaid homestead, cultivating about fifty acres and giving the rest of his attention to the stock raising business. Mrs. Bairn has a fine tract of three hundred and twenty acres, watered by Clear creek, improved with a good stone house and substantial barns.

   John A. Bairn was married in 1887 to Miss Emma Johnson, a native of Sweden. This marriage has been blessed with seven children: Charles Oscar, Annie Henrietta, James Adolph, John Arthur, Carl Edward, Tekla and Clara.

   Mr. Bairn is one of the staunch Republicans of the county and has been influential in the movements of his party. He has exhibited a keen interest in local affairs and he has held local offices in both Deuel and Keith counties. He has always been public-spirited and progressive and as a leading old settler has contributed a large share to the material advancement of the locality in which he lives. The family was reared in the Lutheran church.


   For over thirty years the citizens of Kearney county have had in their midst a worthy citizen in the person of the gentleman above named. He has been identified with the development and growth of this section of the state of Nebraska from its beginning, and has succeeded in building up a good home for himself and an enviable reputation, highly esteemed by his fellowmen.

   Mr. Schaper was born in the province of Saxony, Germany, in 1843, and came to America in 1870. After landing in this country he came to New York, and three years later to Illinois, locating in Chicago, where he spent a few years, then to Nebraska in 1874, settling in Liberty township, this county, where he took up a homestead of eighty acres and also a tree claim. He proved up on these and since then has added to his acreage, purchasing three hundred and twenty acres in sections 21 and 22, one hundred and sixty acres in section 34, also eighty and one hundred and sixty besides this, so he is now the owner of six hundred and forty acres, all well improved. He is assisted in his farming operations by his sons, William and Otto, and they have one of the most valuable estates in this region. In 1902 Mr. Schaper moved into the town of Minden, he having purchased the opera house block here in 1899, containing offices and stores. This has a frontage of sixty-six feet, one hundred feet deep, built of solid brick, and the opera house seats eight hundred people. Mr. Schaper also owns and occupies a fine residence in Minden, and he devotes his time to his home and the management of his property here. His sons run the farm, on which they produce grain and alfalfa, raising large crops of wheat and corn. The father is a successful, solid, typical German business man, level-headed and industrious, and his sons are equally successful and respected with their father in the community.

   Mr. Schaper was married in 1873 to Miss Betty Miller, a native of Germany, who came to this country January 10, 1871. Mr. and Mrs. Schaper have three daughters in their family, besides the two sons mentioned above.


   Murray S. Starr, for the past quarter of a century a prominent resident of western Nebraska, lives on his finely improved estate in section 4, township 33, range 35, Cherry county. He is numbered among the old-timers of this region, and is well and favorably known throughout this section of the country as a man of sterling character and a successful and prosperous agriculturist.

   Mr. Starr was born in Vernon county, Wisconsin, February 11, 1868. He is a son of Comfort Starr, an old settler in eastern Nebraska, and a brother of Oscar Starr, whose sketch will be found on another page of this work. Our subject was reared in Nebraska, and came to Brown county in 1883. He followed farming as an occupation from his early boyhood, starting at work for himself at the age of eight years, receiving two dollars per month doing light chores for a farmer. In 1895 he took up a homestead in Brown county and proved up on it, remaining there for seven years, having previously come to Cherry county in 1888, and together with a brother engaged in breaking prairie, then took up an

Compendium of History Reminiscence & Biography of Western Nebraska

Horizontal Bar

page 473

other homestead in 1893. In Brown county he witnessed the drouth periods, and did gardening to make a living for himself and his family, building up his place and working hard until he had proved up on it. Two years were spent in Washington county, and then he returned to this section, where he has secured four hundred and eighty acres of deeded land, three hundred and twenty acres of which he in the hills south of the Niobrara river. The home place lying along the Niobrara river has one of the finest groves of large cottonwoods to be found in the county. He has it in first-class condition, improved with a good set of buildings, fences and all the farming machinery for use on a model farm, and owns one of the valuable estates of this region.

   Mr. Starr was married in Brown county to Miss Maud Wilson, July 2, 1893. She is a daughter of F. M. Wilson, one of the pioneers in Brown county. Her mother was Lucy Ann Fager. Mr. and Mrs. Starr have a family of three children, as follows: Orval, born May 6, 1894; Gaynelle, born January 20, 1896, and Lloyd, September 27, 1902. Mr. Starr with his family is a member of the Methodist church, while politically he supports the principles of the Republican party.


   Among the prosperous young farmers of Dawes county, Nebraska, the gentleman whose name heads this personal review deserves much praise for his strict attention to duty and perseverance in establishing a comfortable home and valuable property through hard and persistent efforts. Mr. Macumber is still a very young man, but has already gained an enviable reputation as a worthy and substantial citizen of his community and commands the respect and esteem of all who know him.

   Mr. Macumber was born in Madison county, Iowa, on a farm, in 1875. He is a son of John Macumber, an old settler in Dawes county, and both parents were of American blood, the father being reared in Madison county, Iowa, and the mother in Mercer county, Illinois. Our subject grew up in Iowa until he was about eleven years of age, then the family came to Dawes county, where they have since resided, Edward remaining at home with his parents until he reached the age of seventeen, then started out for himself, working on ranches in the vicinity of his home and leading a cowboy's life here, also in South Dakota and Wyoming. He came to his present farm about 1899, and it had but few improvements then, but he has built it up in good shape and has a fine ranch and home, owning in all a tract of three hundred and twenty acres. Twenty acres are in alfalfa and he raises splendid crops of this grass and runs quite a herd of stock each year. The place is located on Bordeaux creek, in section 34, township 33, range 48, and is a very valuable piece of property,

   Mr. Macumber was united in marriage in 1899 to Miss Maggie Richardson, daughter of A. J. Richardson, who came to Nebraska as foreman of a big cattle company in 1882, and made this section his home from that time on.

   Our subject is active in local affairs, and has served on the school board in different capacities. Politically he is a Democrat.


   Richard S. Black, whose extensive farming operations mark him as one of the well-to-do and energetic citizens of his locality, resides on section 31, Lake township, Phelps county. He was born near Rushville, Schuyler county, Illinois, in 1849, and reared there. In 1863 he enlisted in the Sixty-second Illinois Infantry and served up to the end of the war. He was in the army of Arkansas, Tennessee and Louisiana, under General Steele, and at the battles of Little Rock, Memphis, Tennessee, and many large actions and smaller. skirmishes, and during all the time he served as a soldier was in actual service. He was twice wounded, once at Memphis, Tennessee, and once at Fort Gibson, Indian Territory.

   After the war our subject returned to Schuyler county, where he farmed up to 1878, then came to Nebraska in 1879. His father was John L. Black, who was also a native of Schuyler county, and was the first white child born in his township. His father, Richard S. Black, came from Kentucky, where he was one of the first settlers in that locality. From his experience in both states, our subject states that Nebraska is by far the better country for farming and stock raising purposes. The crops are as good here and the land easier farmed than in Illinois. Mr. Black has kept ordinary stock for farm purposes. He has a homestead of one hundred and sixty acres, taken in 1881, where he still lives, and owns one hundred and sixty acres in Harlan county. He has a fine large farm residence on his place, commodious barns and all buildings necessary for his stock, etc., a beautiful orchard and grove and well kept lawn taste-

Compendium of History Reminiscence & Biography of Western Nebraska

Horizontal Bar

page 474

fully planted with flowers and shrubbery. It is one of the prettiest homes in the vicinity, and everything bespeaks prosperity and care.

   Mr. Black was supervisor of Lake township, and as such on the county board for eight years. He has filled all local offices and served on the school board ever since the organization of that body. He is a Democrat and takes a keen interest in local and county politics.

   Mr. Black was united in marriage in 1876 at Rushville, Illinois, to Miss Harriet A. Dunlavy, daughter of James Dunlavy. Mr. and Mrs. Black are the parents of eight children, who are named as follows: Howard, a farmer, who resides in Harlan county; Claude, of Harlan county, also a farmer; Atwell, farmer, residing in Harlan county; Richard S., the fourth of this name in direct line. One daughter, Clara, is the wife of Hall Elliott, of Harlan county; Katie and Ruth, all living at home at the present time, and Mamie, who is married to Henry Talmage. Our subject's mother was Nancy Peckenpaugh, of Illinois, whose parents were pioneers of Schuyler county, Illinois.


   James C. Wood, who is a prominent farmer of Dawes county, is a worthy representative of the agricultural interests of this part of Nebraska, residing on section 27, township 29, range 50.

   Mr. Wood was born in Oxford county, Ontario, Canada, forty miles east of London, July 5, 1846. His father, James H., was a farmer of English descent. The Wood family originated from three brothers--one who settled on Long Island, another in New York and the third in Pennsylvania. Our subject comes from the family which settled on Long Island. His mother, Mary S. (Underwood) Wood, was a native of Canada.

   At the age of nineteen years he left his home and came south into Fayette county, Illinois, where his father purchased a farm. Here his mother died and shortly afterward he came west to Iowa. In 1879 he settled in Furnas county, Nebraska, and was one of the pioneers of eastern Nebraska. He farmed there for a while, and in 1880 went into the mountains of Colorado, where he purchased a ranch, returning three years later to his old home in Nebraska. Some time later he took up a homestead in Dawes county, locating on the Niobrara river, where he did some irrigating. He is now the proprietor of a Kincaid homestead, comprising an area of four hundred acres of good land. He spent two years with the Burlington Railroad Company in the capacity of a carpenter and two years running a steam pump, taking an active part in constructing the Burlington road into Dawes county.

   Mr. Wood was married July 5, 1887, to Miss Jennie Vincent, daughter of Hiram and Mary Ann Vincent, of Iowa. Mrs. Wood's father was a farmer in Iowa, of American stock. The Vincent family was formerly from Indiana. Mrs. Wood taught school several years in Iowa and taught some in Furnas county, Nebraska.

   Since taking up his residence in Dawes county Mr. Wood has always been identified prominently in local affairs, having served as road overseer, and has also held the office of assessor for three years. He will ever be referred to among the prominent old settlers of Dawes county as one of their worthiest associates. All of his neighbors speak well of him. He is strictly Republican in politics.

   Mrs. Wood has been a great help to Mr. Wood in farm work as well as domestic work, she being an expert in handling farm machin- (sic)* always (sic) taken an active part in the Sunday schools of the district and is a leader in the literary societies. Mr. and Mrs. Wood are in the possession of one of the oldest books on record in this part of the country, the Life of Christ, dating back to 1723. Portraits of Mr. and Mrs. Wood will be found on another page of this volume.

Picture button
*There is probably a line missing in this last paragraph. It has been reproduced as appears in original book.

   Robert Kittelman, an able representative of the farming community, is an old-time resident of Box Butte county, Nebraska. He has developed a fine farm, is a man of energy and thrift, who by his strict integrity has become one of the highly esteemed and respected citizens of his locality.

   Mr. Kittelman was born in Germany in 1856, the son of Wilhelm Kittelman, a tailor by trade. His mother was Anna Farson, and both parents came to this country in 1883, the mother dying in 1902, while the father is still living in Alliance, Nebraska. Our subject grew up in Germany and served for three years in the German army, coming to the United States in 1881, two years ahead of his parents, and after landing in New York city came directly west to Cuming county, Nebraska. The first nine months he worked on a farm, then began railroading, and continued at the work up to 1885, at that time settling in Box Butte county. He and John O'Mara

Horizontal Bar

Prior pageSpacerContentsSpacerName indexSpacerNext page

© 2001 NEGenWeb Project Resource Center, Marilyn J. Estrada, T&C Miller