NEGenWeb Project
Resource Center
On Line Library

Compendium of History Reminiscence & Biography of Western Nebraska

Horizontal Bar

page 1033

times of the country, but has only lost one entire crop since coming here. He had some fine farming land, and his corn crop averaged about thirty-five bushels per acres. His farm consisted of two hundred and eighty acres, and of this he farmed sixty-five acres, using the balance for hay and pasture. Besides farming Mr. Hyde has built some of the first buildings in Ainsworth, and has the distinction of having erected the first church ever put up there.

     Mr. Hyde was married in 1857 to Miss Abigail L. Bowerman, born in the same county our subject was, in 1838. To them have been born the following children: Estelle, Abbie, Anna and Cleo, the last three named married and settled near the old home.

     In February Mr. Hyde sold his farm and in May he removed to Ainsworth, where he is enjoying a well earned rest after years of an active and successful life. An interesting event, and one enjoyed but by very few in this life of uncertainties, was the celebration by Mr. and Mrs. Hyde of their golden anniversary on November 19, 1908. Mr. Hyde is one of the leading one-timers of this section of the state, and has taken an active part in the development and growth of his locality. He is a Republican.


      One of the prominent and successful younger ranchmen of Blaine county, Nebraska, is the gentleman whose name heads this review. He was born in West Prussia, Germany, in 1879. His father, John Jochem, was a native of the fatherland and served in the German army. The mother's maiden name was Wilhelmina Bomgaardt. In 1881 the family emigrated from their native land, coming to America, lived for a time in New York city, and from thence they went to Kendall county, Illinois, where they remained for about five years.

      Thence they removed to Omaha, whence, after about a year, they moved to Blaine, county, Nebraska, settling on a homestead in what is know as German Valley. This was in the early days of 1887, and our subject became one of the pioneers of the territory, and with the family he experienced all the hardships that usually come to pioneer life.

     Mr. Jochem was married in 1902 to Miss Louise Schipporeeit, daughter of Christian Schipporeit, one of the old settlers of Blaine county, Mr. and Mrs. Jochem have been blessed with four children: Edwin, Oscar, Freda and Louise.

     In 1901 our subject started out for himself, and by hard work and good management has established himself on a fine financial basis and he has a splendid ranch home. In 1903 he took a homestead on section 9, township 24, range 22, and made this the nucleus of the farm he now occupies. He owns eight hundred acres and leases and operates a school section of six hundred and forty acres. His ranch is well improved with good house, barns, fences, well and windmill. He has a large grove started and an orchard of fruit trees, with a variety of small fruits.

     Mr. Jochem has been moderator of his school district and has held other positions of trust and responsibility in his community, having won the high regard of his associates by his public spirit and enterprise. He has done his part toward the material development of the locality in which he lives.


      The gentleman above named is one of the well known residents of Adams county, Nebraska, an extensive land owner and prominent stockman of his locality. He is a man of excellent business capacity, broad mind and energetic character, and has exerted his influence for many years past in the up building of the community of Heartwell, where he made his home up to 1908, and is held in the highest esteem by his fellowmen. With his family Mr. Westing occupies a beautiful home in Hastings.

     Mr. Westing was born in Grant county, Wisconsin, and raised there. His father, William Westing, was a farmer and an old settler in that state, his death occurring there in 1874. In 1891 our subject came to Nebraska, accompanied by his brother, Samuel A., now of Kenesaw and Charles of Grant county, Nebraska, all three brothers now being large land owners. All own extensive ranches and engage in farming and the stock business. Our subject bought a tract of four hundred acres of land in 1890 located just west of the town of Heartwell, section 17. He resided on this place for eight years, then left and spent one year in California, but returned in 1899 and erected a fine residence in Heartwell, where he lived until 1908. He has added to his acreage of his farm right along since first coming here, and is now owner of about three thousand acres in Kearney county. He has been engaged in raising, buying and shipping high-grade cattle and hogs all this time, and for a number of years bought a Heartwell Station as a shipper. He now feeds from one hundred to two hundred cattle each year, besides from two hundred to four hundred hogs. He also farms a large part of his land, and feeds his crop all out, besides being obliged

Compendium of History Reminiscence & Biography of Western Nebraska

Horizontal Bar

page 1034

to buy about ten thousand bushels of corn each year to run his stock on. In the spring of 1907 Mr. Westing had in his herd three steers which weighed a total of six thousand pounds, also twenty-nine head averaging seventeen hundred pounds each, and he has the distinction of being one of the foremost stockmen in this section of the country. He thinks Kearney county one of the best farming and stock counties in the world, as there is so much corn raised right at home and plenty to be had at all times, while the market holds about steady all the time and never gets wild. There is a good deal of hay raised here, too, which makes it easy for the large stock feeders, and Mr. Westing has many acres devoted to hay land and raises all he feeds on his farm.

     Our subject was married in 1894 to Miss Jennie Moon, daughter of George Moon, a well known citizen of Easton township, this county. Mr. and Mrs.Westing have two children, Elmer, aged eleven, and Hazel, eight years of age. Mr. Westing's father and mother were both natives of Germany, who came to this country when quite young and settled in Ohio, and later moved to Wisconsin.

     For many years Mr. Westing was justice of the peace here, also was a member of the town board for a number of years. He has served on the school board of Heartwell for several years.

     In 1908 Mr. Westing bought property in the College addition to Hastings and has erected a fine residence, where he makes his home.


      Simon P. Witters, one of the prominent ranchmen of Cheyenne county, Nebraska, is one of the well know old-timers of that region, having located in western Nebraska during the early part of its development, and beginning with very little except his strong hands and brave heart to build up a home and accumulate a competence from a tract of prairie land. He has succeeded remarkably well in his different enterprises, and is now one of the leading citizens of his community.

     Mr. Witters was born in Hancock county, Ohio, on January 18, 1854. When he was two years old his parents moved to Tippecanoe county, Indiana, where they lived for a bout thirteen years in Wea township. Our subject received the education usual to the youth of those times and was of great help to his father on the home farm during his boyhood.

     Our subject came to Nebraska in February, 1885, settling in York county, and lived there for about a year, then came on to Cheyenne county, filing on a homestead in section 4, townshiop 14, range 48, which is now the home ranch. He has since added considerable land to the original homestead, owning in all at the present time eleven hundred and twenty acres, and has it well improved. He engages principally in ranching, although he has about one hundred and twenty acres under cultivation. The ranch is stocked with a large herd of cattle, Mr. Witters being well known as a breeder of Hereford stock, of which he has some fine specimens on his place. A view of the dwelling, together with a drawing of the original "soddy" is to be found elsewhere in this work.

Picture button
     On December 27, 1881, Mr. Witters was married to Miss Lizzie Whisler, in Tippecanoe county, Indiana, she born in Ross county, Ohio, November 14, 1858. Our subject's parents, John and Nancy A. (Kraft) Witters, are both dead, but his wife's father and mother, Jacob and Martha (Cummins) Whisler, are now living in Cheyenne county, having settled here in 1898. Mr. and Mrs. Witters are the parents of five children, namely: Alva O., who married Viola Clark, is now living in Colorado and is the father of one child; Gertrude, wife of Milo E. Webster, resides in Cheyenne county, west of Dalton; Newton E., Harry E. and John L., living on the home ranch. The family have a pleasant and comfortable home, and are highly esteemed by their associates.

      Many and varied have been the experiences of Mr. Witters since coming to Nebraska. As late as the fall of 1890 there was considerable uneasiness on account of Indian troubles. This occurred at a time when the men were away at work, and the women and children were alone.

     Mr. Witters has been most successful in his ranching enterprises since locating here, and also has taken an active part in the public welfare of his community. He is a Republican and prominent in party affairs in the county, state and nation. The family are members of the Methodist church.

      Mr. Witters affiliates with the Modern Woodmen of America at Sidney.


     Isasc Newton Knowles, one of the active and hustling citizens of Rock county, Nebraska, has a homestead farm in Harrison precinct and is numbered among the prosperous

Compendium of History Reminiscence & Biography of Western Nebraska

Horizontal Bar

page 1035

agriculturists of this portion of the state. He passed through pioneer days and though suffering much from the drouth, never lost courage or faith in the future of the country round-about him. He was always ready to turn his hand to any honorable work that he might earn his living, and became quite noted as a house mover in the seasons when the earth was burning brown and bare under a blazing sky and rainless clouds, and farming was not to be contemplated.

     Mr. Knowles was born on a farm in Gibson county, Indiana, August 15, 1854, a son of William and Cynthia (Kimball) Knowles, both of whom came of old American stock, and inherited the best traditions of a Pennsylvania ancestry. He has two full brothers and three sisters and one brother of halfblood, and was the second born in this family. Reared and educated in his Indiana home, he had a thorough training in such work as was common to a wooded country--cut trees, grubbed stumps, made rails, split boards and grew up into a strong and sturdy manhood.

     Mr. Knowles was married October 1, 1879, to Miss Mary Allen, whose parent were born in Ireland. Her father, John Allen, was a lifelong farmer. To Mr. and Mrs. Knowles were born the following children: Andrew, Charles, Cynthia, John, Joe and Newton. While in Indiana they lived on a rented farm, though Mr. Knowles had bought a small tract of land. It was difficult to meet the conditions of the success in so old a country, and in 1886, the Knowles family is found in Rock county, Nebraska, where they bought a farm one mile north of Long Pine. It was quarter section of desirable land and has proved a very remunerative investment. During four years Mr. Knowles was overwhelmed by the drouth, and lost all his crops. Later on he came to his present farm and made a homestead entry on section 12, township 30, range 20, on which he has put all the improvements--house, barn, granaries, trees and other necessities. At this writing (1906) he owns four hundred and eighty acres, and in addition is cultivating another half section. He makes horse breeding a specialty, and has some seventy or eighty horses and mules on the place.

      He is milking about twenty cows, and is widely known as one of the best dairy and stockmen of Nebraska. In political matters he has affiliated with the Populist party in former years, and takes a keen interest in whatever concerns the general welfare of his home and country. He affiliates with the Modern Woodmen and with his family is a member of the General Baptist church. A view of the family home and surroundings is presented in another part of this work.

Picture button



      William M. Harnan was born in Peoria county, Illinois, October 12, 1868. He is a son of William and Mary (Halligan) Harnan, both born in Ireland. The former came to America in the forties, settling in Illinois, and later located near Grand Island, Nebraska, where he started farming, but owing to drouths and grasshopper raids he lost nearly everything he had. His wife's death occurred in November, 1893, and he survived her only five years, leaving a family of eleven children, of whom our subject is the tenth member.

     Mr. Harnan came to Cherry county in 1889, locating on Mud Lake, taking a homestead and living on this for six years. In 1894 he bought his present home and has been engaged in the cattle business ever since settling here. When he started in he had only twenty-seven dollars, and for several years he and his brothers "batched it" on the ranch, he always acting in the capacity of cook for the outfit. He endured some hard times during the early days, losing considerable stock in blizzards and from other causes, but he gradually got ahead and is now owner of a ranch of four hundred acres of deeded land and a homestead of four hundred and eighty acres. He keeps about three hundred head of stock on the place and gives them good shelter. He is living in a sod house at present, but by the time of the publication of this volume will have a commodious residence of concrete blocks. In 1898 Mr. Harnan moved to property near Bassett, Rock county, and remained there, farming for about three years, and then returned to Cherry county, leaving two brothers on the Rock county farm.

     Mr. Harnan was married December 26, 1900, to Miss Mary M. Russell, born in Whiting, Iowa, in 1876. Her parents moved to Nebraska in the spring of 1890, the father losing his life by accident the following September. The mother has a claim adjoining her daughter's home, which comprises some highly valuable land.

     Since coming to this locality our subject has done exceedingly well, although he has had many discouragement and losses at different times. He now has a fine farm and comfortable home overlooking the beautiful valley of Snake river. He takes an active interest in all matters of local interest and is always ready to do his share toward advancing the

Compendium of History Reminiscence & Biography of Western Nebraska

Horizontal Bar

page 1036

interests of his community. Politically he is an independent voter, always casting his vote for the best man on the ticket. Fraternally he holds membership in the Modern Woodmen of America.


     The above name gentlemen are among the well known residents of Indianola, Nebraska, the former being at the head of the live stock business of Harrison & Harrison, and full manager of the same, while the last named is manger of their merchandise store in this city.

     Messrs. Harrison are natives of County Donegal, Ireland, and came to the United States when young men, and were raised on their father's farm, where they were engaged in the breeding of pure bred Shorthorn cattle. In 1885 they went into the ranching business, also opening a general merchandise establishment in Indianola. On their ranch they handled several hundred grade cattle, but in 1892 closed these out and went in for a pure bred Angus herd, starting without any experience in this line, buying a small herd of these cattle in Kansas, and soon after bought another herd in Iowa, and a few years later purchased a herd in eastern Nebraska. This made a herd of two hundred register red cattle, and they now have one hundred fine animals, most of them being Blackbirds, Erickes, Prides, Queen Mothers and Barbaras, all from the very best strains. The first four mentioned are the best Angus strains in the world. This firm has raised more good Queen Mothers and Barbaras than other breed. Their sales have been at best prices, and at the first combination sale they topped three out of five, receiving two hundred and fifty dollars for one cow. They sell bulls at their farm, receiving one hundred and one hundred and fifty dollars for an animal as a yearling or under, and their cows are sold when about two years of age. Every man who comes to their place is pleased with the stock and never goes away without purchasing. They ask a reasonable price, and insist on getting it, never cutting the established figure. They have sold stock to parties all over Colorado, Kansas, Iowa, Minnesota and the Dakotas, but mostly in Iowa and Nebraska. Two years ago they sold thirty-eight bulls within a radius of fifty miles from their home. They keep in touch with conditions at the home and foreign markets, take records of prices at the Chicago market, which competes with the world, and in this matter know just exactly how things are going all over the country. They have found that the Angus cattle are the best for beef in quality, weight and prices obtained at all times, and hence are the best grade for the farmer. At the present time their herd is headed by an imported Pride bull, which was the first selection out of fifty head imported by Charles Esher, of Irwin, Iowa. He was bred in England, and is called Squire of Theskston. Their second herd bull, Scotch Eric, a Trogan Erico, was bred by the noted breeder, L. McWhorter, of Aledo, Illinois. The get of Squire Theskston proves that he is one of the best bulls at the head of any herd, and has a remarkable record as a sire. On their ranch of one thousand acres situated half a mile from Indianola they keep their cattle, which is called the Alfalfa herd, being one of the best herds in Nebraska.

      Only a short time ago Harrison & Harrison refused one hundred dollars per acre for the part of this ranch which lies near Indianola. On this they have eighty acres of alfalfa and are constantly increasing it, with the aim of raising enough to feed their cattle. They recently made a trip to Iowa and purchased five Blackbird cows, paying as high as five hundred dollars for one animal, which they added to their herd. The firm is starting in the horse business now, beginning with registered Percheron mares, and they recently sold two of these mares for eleven hundred dollars. They always have on hand some of the best trotting stock of the Morgan-Wilkes and Electioneer strains, one of which sold in Omaha for the round sum of one thousand dollars, and also have a number of fine ponies. They bred Nebraska Chief and sold him to Mat Hedland, of Holdrege, Nebraska, and this horse is a prize winner wherever shown.

     The Harrison brothers are the type of men who have made the sons of Erin famous the world over in all departments of business. They carefully study the subject in hand in all its bearing and then aim to produce the best the market affords and to produce from this start better than the original stock, and are honest and fair in all their dealings.

     J. V. Harrison is married, but has no children. D. Harrison has a son, John T. Harrison, who resides on the ranch and takes an active part in the raising and development of the splendid stock placed there by his father and uncle. Several years since J. V. Harrison visited his native country, and was greatly impressed by the wonderful changes which had taken place there. Small towns had sprung up and many improvements added, so that it was hard to recognize it as the same place where he spent his boyhood years.

Compendium of History Reminiscence & Biography of Western Nebraska

Horizontal Bar

page 1037


      Lars E. Fodness, a popular farmer and leading citizen of Box Butte county, presents in his own career a striking illustration of the field of opportunity this new western county offers the ambitious children of the old world, as well as the rich results which have long waited on industry and integrity. He was born in Valders, Norway, on a farm, in 1865. His father, who was a farmer, came to America with his family, arriving July 4, 1872. They settled in Alamakee county, Iowa, where his father rented a farm and spent two years. They then went to Stanton, Nebraska, where they lived for one year, and finally located in Boone county. Here they settled on a homestead and are numbered among the prominent pioneer citizens of that county.

     The early days of our subject's life were spent on his father's farm, where he assisted materially with the work, starting in the harvest fields at the early age of then years. He received his education attending the country school, which was held at the neighboring houses.

     In 1894 Mr. Fodness was united in marriage to Miss Bertha Johnson, a native of Norway. Her parents were pioneers of Box Butte county, having settled here in 1887. Mr. Fodness's wife had taken a homestead in section 6, township 26, ranch 48, and after their marriage they settled on this place and started the work of making it a comfortable home in which to pass their lives. Two children have been born to Mr. and Mrs. Fodness: Lewis and Ludwick, the latter deceased. They have an adopted son named Walter.

     The first building the family lived in was made of sod, but Mr. Fodness set himself to the task of erecting a more commodious building. He has worked with unremitting zeal and has met with a great measure of success. He is now the possessor of six hundred and forty acres of well appointed land, which is well fenced, and upon which are good farm buildings, wells and windmills. He cultivates about ninety acres. His first two years were trying ones indeed, his crops being almost total failures. He went to Pine Ridge, where he chopped wood and hauled it to Alliance in order to help make a living.

     Mr. Fodness engages in the raising of horses and cattle, of which he has over sixty-five head. In matters of politics he adheres to Republican principles, and takes a lively interest in local affairs. Through years of adversity and prosperity he has held the handles of the plow, working out for himself a comfortable home and giving his energies to the up building of the locality in which he resides.


      Edmond Root is one of the leading old settlers of Cheyenne county. He is a farmer and stockman, thoroughly understands both lines, and has gained an enviable reputation throughout his community as a man of upright character and industrious habits. Mr. Root is a successful horseman and widely known as a dealer and breeder of fine animals.

     Our subject was born in Kalamazoo, Michigan, August 27, 1862. He was reared and educated in Michigan, living in his native locality until he reached the age of twenty-five and then in 1887 came to Nebraska, locating in Potter. He later filed on a homestead in section 14, township 16, range 52, the tract comprising one hundred and sixty acres, on which he proved up and later sold. He next took a Kincaid claim in section 6, township 13, range 51, filing on this on the 28th day of June, 1904, which is his present location. He owns four hundred and eighty acres, and has developed a good ranch, using most of the land as hay land and pasture for quiet a herd of stock, a few cattle and about seventy-five head of horses.

     Mr. Root has gone through both good and bad times since coming to Nebraska, and during the early years passed through the usual experiences of the pioneers in that region in getting his home started, but in now comfortably situated financially and is a prosperous, progressive and successful rancher and horseman.

     Mr. Root takes an independent position in politics, although he has strong Democratic tendencies.


      Among those who have a large measure contributed to the success of the city of Johnstown, Nebraska, the gentleman whose name heads this personal history takes a leading place. Mr. Scattergood was born at Burton-on-Trent, Staffordshire, England, May 8, 1841. His father, Robert Scattergood, was a brick manufacturer, and his mother, who was Mary Oakton, was a lineal descendant of the Offlows of Derbyshire, whose ancestors can be traced back nine hundred years. The father also comes of proud old English stock, the ancestors being known for eight centuries. Our

Compendium of History Reminiscence & Biography of Western Nebraska

Horizontal Bar

page 1038

subject was reared and educated in his native land and married there on June 11, 1865, to Miss Caroline Blake, also of pure English stock.

     In 1882 Mr. Scattergood came to America, sailing from Liverpool July 22 on the steamship Alaska, and landing in New York city August 1st. He came directly west to Omaha an din the winter came to what is now Brown county. On February 25th he located on a homestead in section 18, township30, range 23, where his first house was shanty twelve by fourteen feet, in which he lived alone for a time, the family following three years later. Here he built up and improved his farm, the original piece of land containing one hundred and sixty acres, and from this has grown to a ranch of our thousand acres. He has loaned considerable money on land in the vicinity, and as hard times came on the owners, unable after ample opportunity to redeem, relinquished their land, and much of his property comes from that source.

      He started here with small capital, bringing with him less than two thousand dollars, and has made the balance through his thrift and good management, now being numbered among the largest land holders in this part of the state. During the dry periods of 1893-'94 he started the town of Fairfax, South Dakota, at one time sending fifteen families there to settle. He owned the first hotel and the first four stores put up there and still owns much property in that place. He organized and opened the first bank in Johnstown, established in 1887, and is active in the building up of the place. Mr. Scattergood has been justice of the peace for many years, and also held the office of school director for a long time, being deeply interested in all educational movements in the locality. Politically he is Republican and member of the Episcopal church.

     His family consists of one son and four daughters, named as follows: Arthur W., an attorney, of Ainsworth; Eva, Clara, Bessie and Mabel, all born in England.


      Among those who have recently come to Holdrege and taken up their residence here none has met with greater success in a business way or manifested more true public spirit and gained the esteem of his associates by his honesty and persistent labors than the subject of this personal history.

     Mr. Burge is a native of Louisville, Kentucky, born April 26, 1875. He came to Holdrege in 1899 with the Burlington railway as train dispatcher. Previous to this he had been connected with the Rock Island road as dispatcher, and in 1902 he resigned from the railroad service to take up the telephone business. He was one of the organizer of the Phelps County Telephone Company, formed in December, 1902, and since that time has held the office of vice-president and general manger of that company. It is largely owing to his business ability and "push," combined with his obliging ways in dealing with the public, that during the year 1906 the Bell Telephone Company capitulated and sold to the Phelps County Telephone Company their right here and have withdrawn from the county. In March, 1904, this company began operations by putting up ten thousand feet of aerial cables and providing four hundred telephones, and in one and a half years they have grown to fifteen miles of aerial cables and have in operation seven hundred and fifty city telephones and twenty-two hundred county telephones, with exchanges at Holdrege, Funk, Loomis, Atlanta and Holcomb, and long distance connections nearly all over the state of Nebraska and adjoining states. The business has grown to immense, proportions, and it service is of the very best to be found anywhere. The company has a capitalization of sixty thousand dollars, with W. H. Cowgill as president, our subject vice-president and general manager and E. P. Dunlop as secretary and treasurer, all of whom are prominent and successful business men of Holdrege.


     A. I. Scribner, one of the oldest settlers in Sheridan county, Nebraska, is a successful stock raiser and farmer, who has acquired a snug property by dint of faithful efforts and honest labor. He has seen all the ups and downs of pioneer life in the west, and although often meeting discouragements has steadily kept onward and richly deserves the success he has attained.

     Mr. Scribner was born in Washington county, Iowa, in 1847. His father, Abraham Scribner, was a farmer, and died when our subject was a lad of five years, and in 1857 the mother moved to Stark county, Illinois, with her family of six children, all of whom are now dead except himself and brother. The family was one of the earliest to settle in Washington county, and after the father's death his widow gave up her farm and from the time he was ten years old he has made his

Compendium of History Reminiscence & Biography of Western Nebraska

Horizontal Bar

page 1039

own way in the world. Up to the time he was eighteen years old he never received any wages for his labor, merely getting his board, and attending school during the winter months, then only part of the time. He has always had a hard time and knows what it is to be thrown on his own resources and obliged to go out among stranger from the time was little more than a baby. In 1865 he went to Oregon, where he spent six years, working out by the month there, and in 1871 returned to Washington county, Iowa. The following year he took up a homestead in Webster county, Nebraska, and at that time buffalo were still running so thickly through that region that the settlers were afraid they would ruin the crops by roaming through them, but in about three years they were almost cleaned out. He improved his farm and lived on it up to 1884, then his health failed and he decided to make a change and came to Sheridan county, where he liked the looks of the place so well that he filed on a tree claim in section 20, also an pre-emption on section 17, township 30, range 45, and still owns these places. Here he engaged in farming and continued at it until he was unable to buy seed, losing several crops in succession, and one year after putting in two hundred and fifty acres of grain did not even get back enough for seed. He then began to gather stock, and has followed that line of work ever since. He rented his farm and moved into the sand hills, remaining there up to 1900, then came back to his old place and went to farming and stock raising, now operating six hundred and forty acres of land, all fenced and improved with good buildings, etc., one hundred and sixty acres being under cultivation, and he raises large crops of grain, selling only his wheat and feeding out the balance on his farm, running one hundred head of stock.

     Mr. Scribner has seen his share of the hard times in a new country and does not want any more frontier life. He is satisfied with what he has accomplished and would not care to go east to live. Many times he wanted to leave the place and would have sold out had he received a good offer, but is now thankful he could not get away. When he first came here he filed on the first pre-emption in this precinct and was one of the first settlers in this valley. During the years 1885 and 1886 he went to Webster county and stayed for two and a half years in order to give his children the advantages of better schools, and this and the time spent in the sand hills is the only time he has left his farm since settling on it.

     Mr. Scribner was married in 1876 to Miss Ellen Smelser, born in Washington county, Iowa, in 1857, a daughter of David Clark Smelser. Mr. and Mrs. Scribner have a family of six children, named as follows: Bertha, Omar, Ira, Effie L., Cora and E. Ross, all born and reared in Nebraska. Mr. Scribner is a Populist in political sentiment, but does not take an active part in politics.


      Ilus Couch occupies an enviable position among the extensive ranchers and prominent settlers of the valley of the South Platte river, where he operates a very large and growing stock business. Ilus Couch was born in Tiskilwa, Bureau county, Illinois, October 7, 1857. His father, Benjamin C. Couch, was a native of New Hampshire, born in the village of Boscawen, September 19, 1822. His parents were native of England. Our subject's mother, Martha J. Calf, was also a native of Salisbury, New Hampshire, born March 3, 1825, and died December 31, 1860, when he was but three years old.

     The subject of our sketch was reared in the state of his nativity and attended the common schools. At the age of fourteen he started to work out at farm labor and various other employments. In the spring of 1882 he married, came west and followed farming for two season in Carroll county, Iowa, after which he came further west to Clay county, Nebraska, in the spring of 1884, and remained during the summer. In August of that year he located a homestead in Keith county, his present place, and built a house, his family joining him in the fall. The country was very new and when they arrived in Ogallala they found it to be a typical wild west town. Pioneer days were full of trying experiences and many hardship and losses of crops, but our subject kept at his improvements and made a grand success.

     The first crop in 1885 was a good one and this helped to give the family a start, but in 1890 and 1894 the crops were poor and Mr. Couch gradually turned his attention from farming to cattle and horse raising. He has now a splendid ranch comprising eighteen hundred and fifty-eight acres along the South Platte river and running back into the hills. He cultivates only about fifty acres of this, devoting the remainder of his extensive cattle and horse business. He has fine buildings, has the farm well fenced and has a fine grove of forest trees and some apple, plum and cherry

 Horizontal Bar

Prior page SpacerContentsSpacerName indexSpacerNext page

© 2001 NEGenWeb Project Resource Center, Chris Geis, Ted & Carole Miller