NEGenWeb Project
Resource Center-
On Line Library

Compendium of History Reminiscence & Biography of Western Nebraska

Horizontal Bar

page 502

tended him in the early days, we would give the name of the gentleman mentioned above.

     Mr. Mayfield was born in Richardson county, Nebraska territory, in 1860. His father, George Mayfield, as a young man learned the carpenter's trade, which he followed for some years, and later followed farming, and he was married to Miss Ellen Cash, of English stock, as was himself. Our subject was reared and educated in his native state on his father's farm, where he learned to perform all kinds of hard work as a boy, and when twenty-six years of age left home to make his own way. He came to Dawes county in February, 1887, and located on section 13, township 31, range 51, as a pre-emption, later filed homestead papers. Here he built a log house, and has lived on the place ever since, adding to his original holdings until.he owns four hundred and eighty acres of deeded land besides controlling one hundred and sixty acres adjoining. He lives on West Ash creek, and his farm is well supplied with all kinds of timber, running water the year round, wild fruits, and he also has planted fruit trees and small fruits such as strawberries, raspberries, etc. He is engaged in mixed farming, diversifying his crops and attaining marked success.

     Mr. Mayfield was married in 1882 to Miss Ruby Bacon. Mrs. Mayfield is a daughter of Henry and Lura (Davison) Bacon, pioneers of this county, and well known throughout this section, but now residents of Olympia, Washington. Five children have been born to Mr. and Mrs. Mayfield, who are named as follows: Thora, Di., Lura, Walter and Ralph, the two latter bright sturdy boys of ten and twelve years old, who almost run the farm now, as Mr. Mayfield had a bad accident happen to him November 23, 1907, while gathering corn. The team became frightened, ran off and ran over him, breaking his left jaw bone and knocking one eye out and cutting his face badly; but he has recovered to a great extent after such a close call to death.

     Mr. Mayfield has always been a local affairs, and has given much of his time and influence in helping to build up and develop the commercial resources of his section. Politically he is a Republican.



     Prominent among the younger ranchmen of Loup county is Dave L. Williams, whose name stands at the head of this review. He was born in Hamilton county, Nebraska, December 28, 1875, on the farm of his parents. His father, T. W. Williams, whose sketch appears in this volume, was an old settler in Nebraska and of Loup county. His mother was Mary (Lewis) Williams, and both of his parents were born in Wales, coming to America when they were children.

     In the spring of 1876 the whole family came to Loup county and located on a homestead. St. Paul and Grand Island were the nearest trading points and all goods and material had to be hauled from one or the other of those places. Our subject was raised on the frontier and can remember when deer and antelope were plentiful, and occasionally an elk was seen. Dave worked with his father on the home farm until he was twenty-one years of age, helping to improve the home of the family, and then, in the spring of 1896, he went into the sand hills of Rock county, working for the A. D. Cattle Company for ten years. He spent ten years as a cowboy in the county of Rock, and was all over Brown, Cherry and Keya Paha. Our subject bought his present farm while he was still in the sand hill country, but did not move upon it till in 1906, since which time he has made many improvements. He has two hundred acres, with forty acres under cultivation, the balance being devoted to pasture and grass land, which he needs for his cattle and horses to graze on. Mr. Williams still does considerable ranching business and has a bunch of cattle in the sand hill country. His home farm is one mile south of Taylor, the county seat of Loup county, Nebraska. Having come to the county in 1876, Mr. Williams became one of the very earliest settlers and he has done his part in adding to the material advancement of the community.

     Dave L. Williams was married to Miss Mary Harvey in 1900. The bride's parents, Benjamin and Sadie (Ham) Harvey, were pioneer settlers of Loup county. Mr. and Mrs. Williams have been blessed with three children: Gladys, Vera and Dorris.



     Oscar W. McDaniel occupies a prominent place among the large ranchmen of Cherry county, Nebraska, his residence being on section 4, township 29, range 26, where he has built up a fine estate, operating a large tract of land, and has gained a wide reputation as a successful and prosperous citizen.

     Mr. McDaniel was born in Radford, Montgomery county, Virginia, April 16, 1866. His father, Jacob McDaniel, of Scotch-Irish descent, was a harness maker by trade, and in

Compendium of History Reminiscence & Biography of Western Nebraska

Horizontal Bar

page 503

later years a farmer. He served four years in the Confederate army, was captured and held prisoner at Camp Douglas, near Chicago. The mother, Mary E. (Bradbury), was of remote German ancestry. One of her grandfathers was a soldier in the Revolutionary war. The McDaniel family moved to Sarpy county, Nebraska, in 1874, where they still reside. Our subject was the oldest in a family of seven and began life for himself at the age of twenty-one, farming one year in Sarpy county. In 1887 he came to Cherry county, took up a claim where he now lives and engages during spare time in drilling wells. Since then he has taken up additional land and bought more, at the present time owning a ranch of nine hundred and sixty acres, most of which is hay land. He has started in the stock raising business recently, and finds this more profitable than farming. He has continued to follow his oldtime business of well drilling, and has done this work all over the eastern part of Cherry county, at which he has met with flattering success. He started in his career here with only twenty-four dollars in money and a team of horses, and has accumulated a fine property through his industrious and energetic habits. He is an expert machinist and was employed from May, 1898, to June, 1899, in the locomotive works of the Burlington at Havelock, near Lincoln. For one term he engaged in teaching in a district near home.

     Mr. McDaniel was married February 13, 1889, to Miss Mary E. Rockwell, born in Illinois in 1867, of Scotch-Irish descent. Mr. and Mrs. McDaniel have a family of three children, namely: Ethel, born in 1889; Dwight, 1893 and Ida, in 1900, all born and raised on their present homestead.

     Mr. McDaniel has always done his full share in the building up of his locality, and is regarded as one of the leading citizens in his community. He is a Democrat, but has never held any but local office. He is a member of Wood Lake lodge, No. 221, Ancient Free and Accepted Masons, and also lodge No. 221, Ancient Order United Workmen, of the same place.

     Mr. McDaniel's ranch is very fertile, producing more hay than he needs for the cattle he keeps. This he sells to less fortunate ranchmen who feed large herds on his place, on which they are supplied with water from three never-failing wells. He probably holds the record for potato production in Nebraska, having dug two hundred and fifty bushels from a quarter acre of ground. He knows of no one who has surpassed him. A view of the family residence is shown on another page in this work.

Picture button


     William W. Wood, for many years a well known and highly respected citizen of Rushville, Nebraska, built up an enviable reputation as a barrister, his practice extending throughout Sheridan and adjoining counties. He is now a resident of Alliance, Nebraska, where he is register of the United States land office. Mr. Wood is among the old settlers in this section of the country, having driven here by team in the early days, and has taken an active part in all the events of importance since the early days of this portion of Nebraska.

     Mr. Wood is a native of Jefferson county, New York, born in 1850. His father, Daniel Wood, was a farmer, who during his young days had followed the life of a sailor on the Great Lakes, continuing in this work up to 1838, then begun farming. Our subject was one of a family of four children, and when he was ten years old the family came to Wisconsin, settling in Eau Claire county, where he grew to manhood, assisting his parents in the work of carrying on their farm. He attended the Eau Claire high school, and later graduated from the University of Wisconsin, receiving his diploma in 1876. He taught school there for three years, then came to Kearney county, Nebraska, in 1879, locating at Minden. During the time he was engaged in teaching school he studied law and was admitted to the bar in Kearney in 1879. He first began his practice at Minden, and was elected superintendent of schools in that county, serving for five years, and in connection with this work followed teaching together with law work. In 1882 he formed a partnership with John M. Stuart in the law business and three years later came to Sheridan county. Here he took up a homestead and proved up on it, living in a log house for some time. He soon afterwards moved to Rushville, and in the fall of 1885 opened his first law office here, which was in a tent. He has since that time practiced law constantly, and built up an extensive and lucrative practice. He is also interested in the stock business, owning a small ranch on Pine creek, which he has operated for the past four years.

     Mr. Wood was married in 1884 to Miss Belle M. Alexander, daughter of William Alexander, a pioneer settler in Pawnee county. Mrs. Wood was born in Iowa, of Irish parents. One child was born to Mr. and Mrs. Wood, Wilma M., and she was the first white child born in Rushville. Miss Wood took a four-year course

Compendium of History Reminiscence & Biography of Western Nebraska

Horizontal Bar

page 504

in the Nebraska State University at Lincoln, graduating with the class of 1908.

     In 1900 Mr. Wood was elected county attorney of Sheridan county, and served one term, and in March, 1907, was appointed register of the United States land office at Alliance, Nebraska, and moved to that city. He is a Republican and has always voted that ticket.



     Among the successful agriculturists of Keya Paha county who came to western Nebraska in the early days of its development and who through his perseverance and industry has built up a fine estate, we mention the name of James Riley Swim, who resides on section 23, township 33, range 23.

     Mr. Swim was born in Lee county, Iowa, December 9, 1845. His father was Alexander Swim, a Kentuckian, farmer by occupation, and his mother, who was Miss Elizabeth Phelps, was also a native of Kentucky. Of a family of ten children our subject was the seventh member, and was reared and educated in Polk county, Iowa. He assisted his father and brothers in the farm work, and received a sturdy, practical training. remaining on the home farm until he was eighteen years of age, then enlisted in the Twenty-third Iowa Infantry Company B, and followed the fortunes of a soldier in the Civil war for a year and a half. He participated in many skirmishes and was at the thirteen days' siege of Spanish Fort in Alabama. After he was discharged from the war he began farming in Polk county, and a year later,went to Marion county, remaining fourteen years, and in 1879 came to Douglas county, Nebraska, where he resided for four years, then came to Keya Paha county in October, 1883, where he proved up on a homestead. He lived in a log house for several years, and spent his time in improving his farm and home. In 1887 he went back to Dodge county and remained there two and a half years, following farming, then returned to Keya Paha county on his homestead. He is now proprietor of a farm of three hundred and sixty acres, all of which is fenced, with eighty acres in a high state of cultivation. His farm is well covered with natural timber, and there is plenty of running water on it. He has put up a substantial set of farm buildings, and has a valuable estate.

     On March 22, 1867 Mr. Swim was married to Mrs. Eliza Nokes, of Marion county, Iowa, whose parents, Elias and Sarah M. Fuller, were of American blood and old settlers in that state.

     Mr. Swim was formerly a member of the Grand Army of the Republic at Norden until its charter was abandoned owing to lack of membership and also the growing importance of the Masonic fraternity in the community. Our subject is a man of active public spirit. He has held numerous school offices and takes a commendable interest in local affairs. In political faith he is a Republican and belongs to the Masonic order. A view of Mr. Swim's premise is to be found in this volume on another page.

Picture button


     The gentleman whose name heads this personal history, now deceased, during his life-time held a high position among the leading citizens of Cherry county, Nebraska. He was engaged in agriculture for many years in that section of the country, made a great success of the work, and while building up a good home and ranch for his family, also aided in a large measure in the development and growth of his locality, giving his personal aid and influence to every movement for its' advancement. Mr. Boyer raised a large family, all of whom are now grown and filling honorable positions in the world, several of the sons' names appearing in this volume.

     Hugh Boyer was born on a farm in Grayson county, Virginia, in 1837. His father, John Boyer, followed farming all his life. He was of Dutch origin. His mother's maiden name was Jane Fielder. Our subject was reared in his native state, as a young man owning a good farm, which he carried on successfully. In 1865 he was married in his native county to Margarett James, also of Dutch blood, and to them were born nine children, who are named as follows: John, Reid, Fields, Boyd, Charles, Mack, Crumley, Roby and William.

     Mr. Boyer left the east and emigrated to the western states with his family in 1882, settling, in Madison county, Nebraska where he farmed up to 1886, then removed to Cherry county, traveling by team through the wild country to their new home. They had covered wagons for the family to ride in and also bringing all their goods that way. They had a long, and tedious journey, obliged to camp out along the road nights, and had several interesting experiences on the trip. Immediately after arriving at their destination Mr. Boyer filed on a homestead in section 17, township 25, range 32, put up a sod shanty for a dwelling house and started to open a ranch, and there they went through the hardships and failures that fell to the lot of nearly all of the

Compendium of History Reminiscence & Biography of Western Nebraska

Horizontal Bar

page 505

early settlers in the region, and kept hard at work, and after many years succeeded in improving a nice property and became one of the well-to-do men of his community. At the time of his death, March 2. 1906. he was proprietor of a ranch of eleven hundred and twenty acres, and which is one of the best of its kind in the county.

     Mr. Boyer was county surveyor for one term; also justice of the peace for several years.


     Michael A. Bannon is one of the well-to-do men and also one of the best known farmers of Sioux county, as a man who has devoted his career to the pursuit of farming and has met with deserved success in his line of work. He has developed a fine farm and is a gentleman of enviable reputation, enjoying a pleasant home. He resides on section 20, township 32, range 54.

     Mr. Bannon was born in Monahan county, in the north of Ireland, in 1852, and came to this country with his parents when a small boy. The mother died when Michael was fifteen years old, and the father with his family settled in New Orleans and remained there for a time, where he died when our subject was an infant. Then the family came to northeastern Iowa and lived on a farm, where our subject grew up, starting out for himself when little more than a child, working out by the day and month for farmers in that vicinity. At the age of seventeen years he went to Montana and spent four and a half years, working as a gold miner at Helena, then returned to Iowa. For twelve years he lived in Clay county, engaged in farming and in 1885, first came to Nebraska, settling in Sioux county, locating in Hat Creek Valley. There he filed on a homestead and began to improve his farm, breaking up the land with two teams which he brought with him from Iowa. His first building was a log cabin, and he lived in it for fifteen years, working at freighting, and doing anything he could find to do in order to get ahead and build up his home, making long trips through the country and camping out at night under his wagon, suffering exposure in the severe weather, and going through all the pioneer experiences. However, he stuck to his farm and succeeded in improving it in good shape and made it his home for fifteen years, and at the time he left the place he owned a ranch of five hundred and sixty acres on which he run a large herd of stock, also engaged in farming on a large scale. In 1901 Mr. Bannon came to his present location, in search of more range land for his cattle raising operations. He finally selected this tract of land, and he with his sons now own about two thousand seven hundred acres. He has made a splendid success here, and has a fine ranch and comfortable home.

     Mr. Bannon was united in marriage in 1871 to Miss Anna McGraw, a native of Massachusetts, and they are the parents of the following children: Frank, William, Thomas, George, John, Margaret, Robert and Nellie.

     Mr. Bannon is one of the leading old timers of this section of the state, and has done his full share in the upbuilding of this region. Coming here in an early day, he has done a great deal to build up Crawford, in Dawes county, and Harrison, in Sioux county, Nebraska. In political sentiment he is an Independent.


     Andrew Keller, a highly esteemed citizen of Lake township, Phelps county, is the proprietor of a fine two hundred and forty acre farm, where he has built up a pleasant and comfortable home. He has acquired a valuable estate, and supplied himself and family with all the comforts of a rural home, and is one of the well-to-do men of his locality.

     Mr. Keller is a native of Bavaria, Germany, and came to the United States in 1883. His father was Michael Keller, owner of large land interests. Our subject came to Phelps county in 1880, purchasing one hundred and sixty acres, on which he built a fine house, barns, and all necessary farm buildings, fenced his land, and has one of the finest orchards and groves in the vicinity. He was possessed of sufficient means to build up a good home and add all improvements when he came here, unlike many of the early settlers who was obliged to start with nothing, and this enabled him to escape much of the hardships and discouragements of a pioneer experience. Mr. Keller has been all over the United States, and likes this part of Nebraska better than any place he has seen, as the land is very productive, the climate healthful, the water Al, which is a combination of conditions not often to be found.

     He has been successful here from the beginning, and is well satisfied with the result of his labors. He is interested in stock, raising a large number of cattle, also hogs and horses. Mr. Keller is married and has three

Compendium of History Reminiscence & Biography of Western Nebraska

Horizontal Bar

page 506

children. A brother of our subject, Joseph, resides at Defiance, Ohio, and two others, Richard and Dato, are in Washington. His grandfather, Conrad Keller, was a very wealthy man in the old country, owning three mills, besides farms and town property, which was all under the control of the status of landlords in Germany at that time. Politically Mr. Keller is an Independent.


     There is no one on whom the title of "a leading old settler "is bestowed with greater truth than the gentleman above mentioned. Mr. Serres is one of the wealthy ranchmen of western Nebraska, having a fine estate in Sioux county which has been developed and put in the very best condition by his hard labors and constant attention to his duty of building up a fortune, and incidentally, he has gained an enviable reputation as one of the foremost citizens of his community by his active public spirit.

     John Serres was born in Luxemburg, Germany, in 1852. His father, Andrew, was a farmer all his life, and lived and died in his native land. John remained at home until he was twenty years of age, working on the farm, and in 1872 came to this country, utterly without means and not versed in the language or American customs, but was determined to succeed and whatever drawbacks he afterwards encountered did not daunt his courage. After landing in New York city he went to Wisconsin, locating in Washington county, and there followed farm work for about twelve years, spending some of that time in Michigan and in the Wisconsin lumber woods. About 1880 he went to Milwaukee, where he was employed for a time, eventually securing work on the street railway, as a driver and conductor. He was married in Milwaukee in 1881, to Katherine Ruffing, whose father, Michael Ruffing, was a shoemaker by trade, and spent many years in that city, his death occurring there in 1893. Her mother's parents were natives of Germany, Annie Mary Pung being her maiden name.

      Mr. Serres went to South Dakota in 1885, arriving there in March of that year. In company with his brother, Stephen, he took a team and drove into Nebraska, having a most dangerous journey through the wild country, coming through Valentine and landing in Sioux county. He picked out a location and filed on land in Hat Creek Valley, where the brothers built two log cabins, and bought several head of cattle from some settlers in that vicinity. Their nearest trading point was a distance of fifty miles from their claim, and it took five days in which to make the trip and return, driving ox teams. He opened land and began farming, doing breaking for people who lived in the neighborhood, but soon the hard times struck him, his crops failed and everything went against him. Provisions soared so high that it was all he could do to make a living, being obliged to pay four cents a pound for potatoes, with pork at eighteen cents a pound and flour four dollars a hundred pounds. In 1896 he had a fine field of flax, with the crop growing nicely, when some big cattlemen in the vicinity turned a drove of stock into the grain, utterly destroying the crop. This was the way the larger ranch owners showed their hostility to the smaller farmers who came into the region, hoping to discourage them so they would abandon their claims, and leave the field clear for their own herds. This incident was a severe loss to our subject, as it was really his first crop. After that time, for several years he had fairly good success, then came the dry years, when he was unable to raise anything, even losing the seed he planted, so he determined to engage in the stock business and got together a few cattle, which was the beginning of his career as a ranchman. For a number of years, part of his time was spent in working on the railroad doing construction work, in order to make a living for his family. However, after a time he met with better luck, and gradually added to his original possessions, until he is now owner of a thousand-acre ranch, all fenced and cross fenced, supplied with water for all his needs from springs on the ranch, and he has one hundred and twenty acres under cultivation, raising large quantities of grain each year. One season his crop amounted to over two thousand bushels. The ranch is well equipped with a complete set of substantial buildings, and is one of the best improved places in the county.

     Mr. Serres is the father of seven children, namely: Emma Margaret and Hattie, born in Milwaukee; Lena Katherine, Elizabeth Mary, John Stephen, Rose Theresa, and Edward John, born in Sioux county, the two eldest married.


     John Law, one of the genuine old-timers of Deuel county, Nebraska, has retired from active farm work, although he lives on the home ranch in Swan precinct, where he has spent many years and succeeded in building up a

Compendium of History Reminiscence & Biography of Western Nebraska

Horizontal Bar

page 507

good estate and valuable ranch. He has now reached the venerable age of eighty years, but is still in the enjoyment of good health and is a genial old gentleman, held in the highest esteem by all who know him.

     Mr. Law was born in England, April 23, 1828, and lived there up to 1845, then came to America with his mother, to join the father who had gone on to prepare a home for them in the new country. They settled in Jersey City, New Jersey, and lived there about fifteen years, then went to Livingston county, Illinois. In September, 1862, John enlisted in Company E, One Hundred and Twenty-ninth Illinois Infantry, and saw active service up to December, 1865. He was with Sherman on his march to the sea, and took part in the following battles: Siege of Atlanta, Lookout Mountain, Tennessee, Resaca, and was through the Carolinas and saw service in Kentucky, northern Alabama and Georgia. He was mustered out of the army at Washington, D. C., returned to Illinois and remained there up to 1885, then came to Deuel county, Nebraska, taking a homestead on section 10, township 12, range 44, which is his home ranch and on which he now resides.

     Mr. Law was married to Hannah Hodges, in Jersey City, New Jersey, on the first day of January, 1850. Mrs. Law was born in New Jersey in 1826, and is the senior of her husband by two years, the lady now being eighty-two, and a very charming gentlewoman, loved and admired by all who know her.

     Mr. and Mrs. Law are the parents of eleven children, eight of whom are still living, as follows: James, married; Charles, who is a widower; Lottie, married; Sophie and Sarah, twins, the former single and the latter married; Millie, married; George H. (whose sketch appears in this volume), and Daisy, married. All are filling honorable positions in life, and are esteemed citizens of their respective localities. A portrait of Mr. Law appears elsewhere in this work.


     Clark N. Ditto, a leading citizen of Keya Paha county, Nebraska, is classed among the successful and progressive farmers of western Nebraska. He is a gentleman highly esteemed by his fellowmen, and his high standing is well merited.

     Mr. Ditto is a native of Clinton county, Ohio, and was born in 1844. His father was a farmer by occupation. born of American stock, and his mother, Miss Priscilla Black, was a Virginian of English descent. Of a family of eight children our subject was the fourth member, and was raised and educated in the county of his birth, attending the country schools, where he received a good foundation training which well fitted him for the events of his future years. He enlisted in the army at the age of seventeen years, joining Company M, Second Ohio Cavalry, and with his regiment went into Kentucky and Tennessee. He was one of those who took part in the siege of Knoxville under General Burnsides, and in all served for two years and ten months in the service of his country, experiencing many exciting times, and seeing hard service all through.

     At the close of the war he entered the employ of a produce firm, and later was engaged in the mercantile business for a time. In 1868 he came west to Illinois, settling in Champaign county, where he spent eighteen years following farming. He then went to Iowa, where he remained for one year, then came on to Nebraska, locating in what is now Keya Paha county, going to farming at once. He built a dugout and lived in this for several years, going through the regular pioneer existence and encountering all the hardships and discouragements in the shape of drouths, storms, grasshopper raids, etc. His farm was situated in section 29, township northeast 34, range 17, and he kept at work improving his place, building up a home, and is now owner of two hundred and forty acres of good land. One hundred and twenty acres of this is cultivated, and the rest in pasture and grass, all of it fenced and cross-fenced. He has planted numerous small fruits, such as currants, and berries of all kinds, and also has nice orchards which bear fine fruits.

     In 1894 Mr. Ditto was married to Mrs. Ellen Ross, of this county, whose father, Barnett Smith, was an Englishman, a farmer, and mason by trade. Mrs. Ross was a widow with five children - Robert, Cecil, Percy, Herbert and Mabel. The family came to Keya Paha county in 1883, and were among the old settlers in this part of the state.

     One child was born to Mr. and Mrs. Ditto, a girl named Anna S., born in 1897. Mr. Ditto is prominent in all matters of local interest, and does his share in the advancement of educational and commercial affairs in his locality.


     Edwin C. Williams, who lives on a fine ranch in section 28, township 16. range 41, is one of the most influential of the old-timers of Keith county, Nebraska. He has lived a long, useful

Compendium of History Reminiscence & Biography of Western Nebraska

Horizontal Bar

page 508

life, serving his country with unselfish patriotism and making a record in his community as a man of strong principles and successful business methods.

     Mr. Williams was born on a farm in Chautauqua county, New York, August 13, 1841, and was of old American and Yankee stock. His father, George D. Williams, was a shoemaker and farmer. His mother was Susan Dutton, of Connecticut ancestry: she died in Nebraska at the residence of her son.

     The subject of our sketch was reared in New York state until he was twelve years of age, when the family came west to Wisconsin, settling in Portage county, where the father died. February 14, 1864, our subject enlisted in Company D, Third Wisconsin Infantry, being sent south with his regiment to join in the Atlanta campaign. He marched through Georgia and was with Sherman through the Carolinas. While on this campaign, on March 16, 1865, at the battle of Averysboro, North Carolina, he was severely wounded in the right leg, which had to be amputated. Ten minutes after he was wounded his regiment was relieved and never saw active service again. Such were the fortunes of war, that, after serving through the entire Atlanta campaign to almost the close of the war, Mr. Williams was wounded and lost his limb in the last ten minutes of fighting; he was discharged September 1, 1865, at Prairie Du Chien, Wisconsin.

     After the war was over our subject returned to Wisconsin, and July 4, 1868, was married to Miss Roxalina Woodworth, who was born and reared in Pennsylvania. Her father, John Woodworth, died when she was an infant. Her mother was Lovina Acres in her youth and the parents were descendants of eastern people. Mr. and Mrs. Williams have been blessed with four children: Etta May, married Charles Gorman; Lottie Maud, married Harry Robins; George Henry, and Susie Lovina, wife of Michael John Thies, all living in Keith county and doing well.

      In the summer of 1869 Mr. Williams came with his family to Rice county, Minnesota. and made his home there for some sixteen years, owning one hundred and sixty acres of land in East Prairie, about half way between Owatonna and Faribault. He sold his Rice county farm in 1885 and came west to the North Platte river valley in Nebraska, and settled on his present homestead. The country was very new and his farm was nothing but raw prairie land. He lived in a small board shanty until he could build a stone house, his present residence; he is the only one left of several Minnesota people who settled here in those early days. And they were days of hard times for the pioneers; all supplies had to be hauled from Ogallala, a long, hard trip, somewhat dangerous because the North Platte river had to he forded, there being at that time no bridges. Now Mr. Williams has a nice comfortable home and fine farm of one hundred and sixty acres, with sixty acres under cultivation. The land is located on Clear creek which furnishes running water the year around and there is to be seen a fine orchard of fruit trees and all the up-to-date improvements necessary to the successful operation of a farm. Our subject used to run large herds of cattle, but of late years he has been curtailing his business and is now living a somewhat retired life.

     Mr. Williams has been active in political affairs, was elected county commissioner in 1889, and has served his community in a number of minor offices. He is Republican in politics, and while in Minnesota was a member of the Grand Army of the Republic.


     A. O. Stockton, one of the enterprising and prosperous old residents of Perkins county, owns a valuable estate on section 21, township 9, range 39. He settled in the county in 1886, and is one of the best known men in the country, highly esteemed as a worthy citizen and progressive agriculturist.

     Mr. Stockton was born in Platte county, Missouri, on a farm in 1848. His father was a native of Ohio and his mother of Indiana, they coming west about 1840, settling in Missouri, where our subject grew up. Our subject lived at home up to 1886, then came to Nebraska, driving to Perkins county from Ogallala, and settled on section 19, township 9, range 39. He put up a dugout at first, and lived in that for five years, going through all the pioneer experiences in starting his farm, and often had a hard time to make a living. He returned to Missouri about 1892 and began farming on a seventy-five acre farm, remaining for four years, then sold the place and came back to Perkins county. He located on a preemption on section 21, and has since added to the place, now owning four hundred and eighty acres, nearly one hundred of which is now cultivated, and the entire ranch fitted with good improvements. He engages in stock raising and farming, has a good income from the farm, and is one of the solid and substantial agriculturists of his township.

     In 1872 Mr. Stockton was married to Mary

Compendium of History Reminiscence & Biography of Western Nebraska

Horizontal Bar

page 509

L. Ballard. They have five children, named as follows Owen, Myrtle, now Mrs. Blayny; Grace, now Mrs. O'Connor; Florence, and Bryan. One son, Martin, is deceased. Mr. Stockton is active in local affairs, always taking a deep interest in and aiding to the best of his ability any movement for the good of his community.


     Mufflin P. Brosius was, for many years prior to his demise, one of the leading citizens and agriculturists of Cherry county. The farm residence is on section 11, township 34. range 28, one of the largest and best constructed dwellings on the north table surrounded by barns and outbuildings far above the average.

     Mr. Brosius was born on a farm in Lancaster county. Pennsylvania, June 1, 1855. His father, Jesse Brosius, was of German descent, and his mother was Miss Elizabeth Taylor. Our subject was reared and educated in Pennsylvania, whence he migrated to Mt. Pleasant, Iowa, in March, 1877. In November of that year he came to Louisville, Cass county, Nebraska, working at the painters' trade, at the same time operating a market garden and poultry yard. On March 21, 1883, he arrived in Cherry county, where he had filed on a homestead September 27, 1882. His first buildings were a sod house, with a log barn, and he lived in this house for nine years. The farm now comprises six hundred and forty acres, which is divided in two pieces improved with fine farm buildings, machinery, fences, and everything necessary to facilitate the work of a thrifty farmer. A large part of the land is set out to small fruits, which yield a snug income to the owners.

     Mr. Brosius went through many privations in the building up of his present estate, including drouth periods, grasshopper raids, hail and other misfortunes that fell to the lot of the old settlers of this locality. When he arrived in Cherry county his possessions were as follows: a blind team, wagon, one cow and his household goods, together with one dollar and a quarter of borrowed money. The first summer was spent in a tent, but as winter came on he was compelled to find something more comfortable and put up his first building, which was a sod house, twenty-four by sixteen feet, with a kitchen addition. The first crop which he raised on his farm was a sod crop of potatoes and corn.

      On April 12, 1877, he was married to Miss Eliza Guss, of Mt. Pleasant, Iowa, whose father, Samuel Guss, was of German descent, He was a harnessmaker by trade, being also engaged in farming and the livery business. Ten children were born to Mr. and Mrs. Brosius, named as follows: Jesse, married and now living on a ranch; Nettie, dead; Clara, married; Will, who runs the farm for his mother; Viola, Walter, Harrison, dead, Ralph, Laura, dead, and Leroy. Six grandchildren complete the family circle.

     Mr. Brosius died April 29, 1903, and was deeply mourned by his family and a large circle of friends as an exemplary husband, lather, neighbor and citizen, universally respected and esteemed by his fellowmen. Originally a Republican, he later affiliated with the Populists and fraternally was a member of the Ancient Order of United Workmen and the Degree of Honor. A portrait of Mr. Brosius will be found elsewhere in this work.

Picture button

     William S. Barker, mayor of Valentine, is an efficient and popular city official, as well as editor of one of the leading publications of northwestern Nebraska.

     He is a native of Oskaloosa, Iowa, born April 15, 1865. His parents, Charles E. and Sarah J. (Ginn) Barker, are both of English descent. The family came to Burt county in 1865, settling on a farm, and were among the pioneer settlers at Tekamah. Here our subject was reared and educated, attending the Tekamah high school, assisting his father on the farm out of school hours. At the age of nineteen he came to Valentine and for about three years worked at the printers' trade, having begun his apprenticeship while in Tekamah. About 1887 Mr. Barker purchased the Cherry County Republican, a weekly paper, the name of which he changed to "The Republican." This is one of the first papers established in Valentine. There were only two others, "The Valentine Reporter", and "The Minnechaduza Republican," having been published prior to "The Cherry County Republican." During the first year he did all of his own work, writing, composing, printing and using a small hand press. Now his business occupies a space twenty-five by eighty feet, he has a steam plant, power press, and employs two or three assistants all the time. Business in the art preservative has steadily increased until he now does all kinds of fancy calendar and job printing under the name of "Barker Art Printery"

     Since Mr. Barker established his business

Horizontal Bar

Prior page
Name index
Next page

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