NEGenWeb Project
Resource Center, On-Line Library




the parents of Mr. Nelson to move from Denmark to America, for they had a family of nine children, the youngest being six months old. They accomplished it however and safely reached Racine, Wisconsin, where a relative was comfortably established, and remained there about four months. The father, in the meanwhile, started out to look up a home, finally homesteading in Nebraska. His death occurred at Racine, Wisconsin, and the mother died at Blair, Nebraska. Their children were as follows: Peter, who is a fruit grower in California; Christine, who was the wife of Melbourne Tracy, of Montana, and died March, 1920; John, who died at the age of thirty years; Hans, who lives in California; Bina, who is the wife of John Hanson, of Council Bluffs, Iowa; Jacob M., our subject, who belongs to Potter, Nebraska; Margaret, who died at the age of two years; Phillip, who is in business at Dix; Margaret, who is the wife of Ove Anderson, county clerk for twelve years and now in the real estate business at Blair, Nebraska. The parents were members of the Lutheran church.
   On November 22, 1915, Mr. Nelson was united in marriage to Miss Matilda Anderson, a member of a prominent family of this name in the county, and they have one son, Leonard, who was named in honor of Gen. Leonard Wood, who, at present is an outstanding figure in political as he has been in military circles for many years.
   Mr. Nelson owns two thousand acres of fine land, in addition to having an interest in the old homestead. He has seventy-five acres under a fine state of cultivation and raises a few horses, but devotes his main attention to cattle, running annually about two hundred and fifty head. He is interested in the Farmers Elevator Company at Potter. He and wife are members of the Lutheran church at Potter.

    JOHN W. MORRIS, pioneer, frontiersman, and early settler, is probably one of the oldest men low living within the confines of Scottsbluff county, having passed his seventy-sixth year. He has the honor of having filed on the first claim in the Gering valley, then called Cedar valley. His career has been one in which he has had varied and interesting experiences, from hunting buffalo on the western prairies of Nebraska to the civilized existence of these modern days, and few men, twenty years younger, bear so few of the scars of life. Mr. Morris and his faithful wife ran the full gamut of pioneer experiences and their reminiscences of the early days are most graphic and interesting. They made the overland journey to and through Nebraska with a team of oxen and a wagon and girded themselves with the indomitable valor and undauntable purpose that are ever the prerequisites of success under the conditions that must obtain in the opening of a new country to civilization and progress. Mr. Morris has been in the most significant sense the architect of his own fortunes and few men have played a larger or more important part in connection with the development and upbuilding of Scottsbluff county along both civic and industrial lines. Of this no further assurance is needed than the statement that he has amassed a comfortable fortune, and has so ordered his manner of life as to merit and receive at all stages the unqualified respect and confidence of his fellowmen. It is most gratifying to be able to present in this publication a tribute to Mr. Morris, as a pioneer of pioneers and to enter brief review of a career that has been marked by earnest endeavor, and no history of this county would be complete without the name of the first white settler in the Gering valley. Mr. Morris now lives in gracious retirement in the city of Gering, and though venerable in age, the years rest lightly upon him, while he finds a full measure of satisfaction in reverting to the attractive social and material conditions and environment which he has aided in creating in Scottsbluff county. John W. Morris is one of the gallant sons of the nation who went forth in defense of the Union when the Civil War was precipitated on the country. In response to President Lincoln's call for volunteers he enlisted in the First Delaware Cavalry and when his regiment was dissolved entered the infantry and with this gallant command served out the entire course of the war in the Army of the East, in the Petersburg campaign. In later years Mr. Morris has found pleasure in vitalizing the associations of his military career by affiliation with the Grand Army of the Republic, Gering Post No. 169.
   John W. Morris was born in Caroline county, Maryland, June 4, 1843, the son of Vincent and Elizabeth Morris, the father being born and reared in this state along the bay, and the mother in Delaware. Mr. Morris received his educational advantages in the public schools and while still a boy assumed many of the duties and much of the work on his father's farm. After his schooling was over he established himself independently in farm industry, as that was the business with which he was most familiar and of which he had an excellent working knowledge, but he was an ambitious man, and this old settled county offered few



opportunities to a man of vigor who determined to branch out, "put fortune to the hazard," and seek out what the "Golden West" might have in store. Mr. Morris had read widely along lilies connected with his business and knew of the offers mads (sic) by the government of fertile lands on the high prairies of the middle west and in 1885 he and his wife severed all the old home associations and ties that bound them to the east and started for Nebraska, then considered a part of the "Great American Desert." Mr. and Mrs. Morris drove into the state in true pioneer style; they had a team of oxen, the best animals for breaking the sod, hitched to their wagon in which were carried their household goods. They drove their hogs and cattle along with them as settlements were few and far between in that early day. It was a long, tedious journey up the river route across the great commonwealth that today is one of the richest in the Union, but they were high-hearted and their faith in this new country kept up their courage. At last they reached Scottsbluff county and took up the first claim in the Cedar valley, later changed to Gering valley. At that time all this great plains country was the range of the great cattle barons, who owned vast herds that ranged from Texas in the winter to Wyoming in the summer and Mr. Morris tells that it was impossible for men or women to go out on foot for fear of cattle running them down, so were forced to go everywhere on horseback. He remembers very well the first day in the valley, when he was running out the line of his claim, that a man came along driving several horses through; they talked and it proved that he was H. M. Springer, who was one of the early residents of Mitchell, a friendship that has continued through the years. Mr. Morris says that he had to drive to Sidney for his supplies, a trip that took four days, and when he decided to replace his first sod house with a frame building he had to drive to Laramie Peak, Wyoming, and freight the lumber into the Gering valley. After getting settled and erecting a log house for shelter of the family and such primitive farm structures that were absolutely necessary, Mr. Morris began the laborious work of breaking the prairie sod with his team of oxen. Soon after arriving in the Panhandle, Mr. Morris put his previous farming experience to good use by buying cattle to stock his land and soon developed a paying business of it. He planted diversified grain crops, but the early years were hard ones in western Nebraska, due to drought, blizzards, crop failures, and the insect pests that destroyed the growing grain. However, the Morrises were not discouraged and they have lived to see their faith in this section proved true, where were only unbroken rolling prairies when they first came is now a smiling countryside, green with the growing crops in the summer, dotted with prosperous, flourishing towns and villages, and with irrigation Scottsbluff county has become the garden spot of Nebraska. Mr. Morris improved his homestead, and when his capital permitted bought other land adjoining the original claim, until he was one of the heavy and substantial landed men of the section and for many years was actively engaged in the various branches of farm enterprise from which he reaped a well deserved return and today has given up active life, disposed of all his holdings but five acres where his beautiful home is located. Now in the sunset years of life he can look back and feel that life has been worth while for he can visualize the changes that have taken place in the thirty-five years since he drove up the valley. In politics Mr. Morris is an adherent of the Republican party but draws no tight party lines when it comes to local elections, believing that the man best fitted to serve the people should be elected.
   October 17, 1872, Mr. Morris married Miss Elizabeth Haskell, born in Scott county, Illinois, February 7, 1847, and they became the parents of three children: Bertram, who lives in Tacoma, Washington; Bertha, who married Sam Lawyer, who died, and she now lives in Gering; and Benjamin, who is the deputy sheriff of Scottsbluff county.
   The foregoing record, implying much to him who can read between the lines as well as appreciate the data of the context itself, will be read with great pleasure by the many friends of Mr. and Mrs. Morris in Scottsbluff county and will prove a definite and worthy contribution to the generic history of this favored section of Nebraska, as their names merit an enduring place of honor and distinction on the pages of the history of Scottsbluff county.

    JOHN G. BAUR, who is a highly prosperous farmer and stockman in Kimball county, has lived here for eighteen years, and during that time has been a witness not only of great agricultural development in this section, but of the actual building of such busy and important towns as Bushnell and Dix. He has done his part in forwarding many of the. enterprises that have contributed to this rapid expansion.
   John G. Baur was born in Germany, November 4, 1862, one of a family of fourteen children. Six of the sons and five daughters came to America. The parents died in Ger-



many, the mother in 1886 and the father in 1890. They were honest, virtuous people respected by all in their community and member of the Lutheran church.
   When John G. Baur landed in the port of New York he was twenty-seven years old. In his native land he had learned the shoemaking trade, but his aim in coming to America was to become the owner of a western homestead with material comforts for himself and family. In 1901 Mr. Baur came to Kimball county and settled near what is Bushnell at the present time, but then was represented by a little shed on the site of the flourishing town. He lived there one year during which he was in partnership with his brother-in-law, Charles Snyder, in the cattle business. He then moved to what is the present site of Dix and started into the cattle business for himself, in which he continued for three years and then homesteaded a three-quarter section on the main road three miles from Dix. Thus Mr. Baur succeeded in his desire that had brought him to America, in a comparatively short time. He has placed substantial improvements here, has an attractive and comfortable farm house, commodious barns and other buildings and an air of thrift is everywhere to be observed. Of his homestead he now has three hundred and fifty acres under the plow. Since his first purchase, he has added the other quarter section and additionally has bought a three-quarter section east of the homestead.
   In 1892 Mr. Baur was married to Miss Catherine Funk, who was born in Germany and accompanied her people to the United States. They were very early settlers in Madison county, Nebraska, and her father built the first blacksmith shop. In the early days there the Funk family endured many hardships. They lived a distance of fifty miles from a market and on many occasions the father or brothers of Mrs. Baur would carry a dressed hog to town and exchange it for a bag of flour. The crops were eaten up by the grasshoppers, the only fortunate son of the family being the blacksmith, for the insects could not eat the anvil. Eight children were born to Mr. and Mrs. Baur and all survive except the eldest son, who died at the age of two and a half years. The others are as follows: Walter, who is engaged in farming, was honorably discharged from military service in the great war after training in camp at Fremont, in New Jersey, and at Fort Lee, Virginia; Gertrude, who lives with her parents; Henry, who is manager of a cattle ranch in Wyoming; Otto, who is associated with his father; Frank, who is also a farmer; and John and Eugene, both of whom are attending school. Mr. Baur and family are members of the Lutheran church. Aside from his land and stock, Mr. Baur has other investments, one being in the Elevator Company at Dix. Mr. Baur is an honorable, upright citizen, a competent farmer and business man and a friendly, helpful neighbor.

    CHARLES G. NELSON, who is prominent in business circles at Kimball and well and favorably known in other sections, was born at Stanton, in Montgomery county, Iowa, February 22, 1872. His parents were Lars Peter and Loiuse (sic) Nelson, both of whom were born in Sweden. Their marriage took place in Henry county, Illinois, in 1866.
   Charles Gustav Nelson remained on the farm with his father until he was twenty-five years old. His father died at Stanton, Iowa, February 14, 1901, and his mother at Boone, Iowa, March 21, 1919. In 1897 Mr. Nelson embarked in the real estate business at Stanton, three years later accepting a railway mail route and two years afterward. was appointed assistant postmaster at Stanton. On July 17, 1906, he came to Genoa, Nebraska and became identified with the insurance department of the Modern Woodmen of America and continued in that work for eighteen months. He was then called to Omaha as state manager for the Monarch Land & Loan Company of Kansas City, Missouri. He remained in that position for one year, then returned to Genoa and became associated with C. W. Kaley of Omaha, and became state manager for all of South Dakota and the northern half of Nebraska for two years for the Woodman Accident Association, after which he was with the Woodmen of the World for two years, Mr. Nelson then went into business of handling flour, feed and produce, which enterprise he turned over to his son in July, 1916, and then established the Monarch Land Company of Genoa with William I. Martin. On March 1, 1919, a third interest in the business was bought by Carl O. Heart. On April 1, 1919, Mr. Nelson came to Kimball and established the real estate business in partnership with his son Wayne I., which is operated as the Monarch Land Company. A large land business is now being done in the western part of the county by this firm.
   On June 14, 1895, Mr. Nelson was united in marriage to Miss Julia J. Peterson, a daughter of Gustav and Louise Peterson, who had children as follows: George, who died in in-



fancy; Amanda, who died in infancy; Lydia, who is the widow of Herman Anderson; Emily, who lives at Genoa, Nebraska; George, who is deceased; Julia J., who is Mrs. Nelson; Annie, a twin sister, who died aged two and a half years; Gerhard, who is in the greenhouse business at Denver; Albert, who is a farmer near Genoa; Helga, who lives in Sweden; John, who is a merchant at Hult, Sweden; and Edith, who died when nine years old. The parents of Mrs. Nelson died at Hult, Sweden.
   To Mr. and Mrs. Nelson were born three sons and two daughters, namely: Frances, who is the wife of Reuben Dawson, a farmer north of Bushnell, and they have a little daughter, Dorothy; Hazel, who died when fifteen years old; Wayne I., who is associated in business with his father; Morris, who is a farmer north of Bushnell; and Leland, who is attending school. Mr. Nelson and his family belong to the Lutheran church. He belongs to the Odd Fellows, the Woodmen of the World, the Woodmen of America and the Royal Neighbors. Mr. Nelson is one of the county's far-sighted, trustworthy business men.

    EDWARD L. ROLPH, M. D., physician and surgeon at Kimball, a man of wide professional experience, was born at Chautauqua Lake, New York, in 1859, a son of Lyman D. and Willoughby (Crandall) Rolph, the latter of whom is deceased, but the father of Dr. Rolph survives and resides at Pender, in Thurston county, Nebraska.
   Edward L. Rolph comes of old American stock, the family name, properly Rolfe, belonging to early Virginia history tracing back to the marriage of the young Englishman Rolfe to Pocahontas. Like many names, the change of spelling came about for reasons now lost to the family, and for generations back the name has been Rolph. Dr. Rolph enjoyed superior educational advantages in his native state and secured his medical training at Louisville, Kentucky. He engaged first in practice in South Dakota, in 1894 locating at Pender, in Thurston county, Nebraska, and it was during his years of professional work in eastern Nebraska that he so endeared himself to the Winnebago Indians, that they conferred on him the greatest mark of confidence and esteem, making him a member of their tribe. In 1909 Dr. Rolph went to Old Mexico, and in 1916 came to Kimball.
   In 1894 Dr. Rolph was married to Miss Edith E. Stebbins, of Pender, Nebraska. Although Dr. and Mrs. Rolph have had no children of their own, that has not prevented their having young life about them, for out of the goodness of their hearts they have given shelter and parental affection to several orphan children. An adopted daughter is no longer living, but an adopted son has grown to fine young manhood and during the great war was in military training at Camp Dodge, Dr. and Mrs. Rolph are members of the Methodist church. He belongs to the Masonic fraternity and Mrs. Rolph is a member of the order of the Eastern Star.

    CHARLES E. JACOBY, proprietor of the only photographic studio at Kimball, has been in this line of business ever since he left school. Mr. Jacoby was born at Wilton Junction, Iowa, in 1870, where he was reared. His parents died in Iowa.
   Charles E. Jacoby was educated in Muscatine county and is a graduate of the public schools. From boyhood he manifested certain artistic tastes, and when nineteen years old, left to his own choice of profession, he decided to learn photography. He established his first studio at Sioux Rapids, Iowa, where he continued twelve years in the business. In 1910 he came to Kimball county, Nebraska, homesteaded and lived on his land until 1914, when he came to Kimball, erected a building suitable for studio purposes and occupies a large part of it for photographic development. He has kept fully abreast of the time in the photographic field, and his rooms are equipped with all necessary instruments and high priced lenses, together with draperies and settings that may be found in establishments of this kind in metropolitan cities.
   In 1894 Mr. Jacoby was united in marriage to Miss Pearl Noll, of Wilton Junction, Iowa, where she was born in 1872. The father of Mrs. Jacoby is deceased but her mother survives and lives at Walnut Grove, Minnesota. Mr. and Mrs. Jacoby have had four children, namely: Esther, Maurine, Phyllis and Charles I. Mr. and Mrs. Jacoby are members of the Methodist Episcopal church. While living in Iowa Mr. Jacoby was active in the Odd Yellow and Rebekah lodges. He owns property at Kimball which includes his studio buildings and a handsome modern residence.

   CHARLES J. OLDAKER, who is a widely known representative and worthy citizen of Kimball county, has been a resident of Nebraska for many years, and owns a large body of richly cultivated land in Kimball county. He was born August 10, 1860, in Johnson coun-

Prior page
General index
Next page

   © 1999, 2000, 2001 for NEGenWeb Project by Pam Rietsch, Ted & Carole Miller