NEGenWeb Project
Resource Center, On-Line Library



Colorado, where he remained until 1899, when he went to Denver and worked as a railroad fireman until January 1, 1904, He came then to Banner county, having borrowed fifty dollars to come and get established, and homesteaded on section thirty-four, town eight, on which he still lives. To homestead was one thing but to pay for the land and provide for a family was another as Mr. Miller and many other settlers here have reason to remember. A lack of sufficient working capital embarrassed him for some years even though he did not have to contend with some of the disadvantages of earlier homesteaders. His credit was good, however, and he was able to borrow enough to buy his first team, after which he worked for F. 0. Baker, afterward giving a note for the first well he had dug. Food, especially meat, was not plentiful in those early days. Corn bread risen by soda neutralized by vinegar was the daily fare. Hunger has been found to overcome many prejudices, and Mr. Miller tells of several proofs that came under his own observation. On one occasion when a neighbor's steer was killed by lightning, there was no discussion as to the disposition of the carcass, the neighborhood enjoying strengthening meals to which many had long been unaccustomed. Later, when Mr. Miller found that coyotes had invaded his poultry yard and had killed twenty-four chickens by sucking their blood, the neighborhood had another and unexpected feast of meat. These stories illustrate not a prevailing condition but a phase of pioneering that may well be brought forward in the way of contrast with the present. Mr. Miller has recently sold a tract of eleven hundred and twenty acres of land, still owns over twelve hundred acres and has no debts. He breeds White Face cattle, shipping about one hundred and twenty-five head annually, and Duroc-Jersey hogs. Additionally he owns stock in the Farmers Exchange at Omaha, is a stockholder in the Bushnell State Bank and owns considerable other property there. His is a model farm and he operates with two farm tractors and other modern equipment.
   Mr. Miller as married May 15, 1895, to Miss Grace D. Reynolds, of Orleans, Nebraska, a daughter of Oliver F. and Amelia (Reynolds) Reynolds, and they have had children as follows: Lucile, who died April 19, 1917, was the wife of Andrew Miller; Hazel, who is the wife of Drew Davis, of Kimball, Nebraska; Dorothy A. was married December 25, 1919 to George S. Cerveny, a farmer of Banner county; and Paul, Carl, Helen, Grace and Walter, all of whom live at home; and Allen who died in infancy. Mr. Miller and family belong to the Methodist Episcopal church and were instrumental in its organization and in the building of the parsonage. In politics he is a Democrat and for a number of years has been a notary public and a justice of the peace. He is one of the representative men of Banner county.

    ARTHUR G. WARNER, who is ably upholding Banner county's reputation for enterprising, thorough going farmers and stockraisers, belongs to an old and representative family here, extended mention of which will be found in this work.
   Arthur G. Warner was born in Banner county, Nebraska, May 20, 1891, and is a son of Isaiah Warner. He attended school in Banner and Scottsbluff counties and later took a course in a Grand Island business college. For seven years before marriage he lived by himself on a farm he operated, then bought a half section near his home for one dollar an acre. Later he made an advantageous trade of this land for a half section near Flowerfield, on which he now resides. He has a fine place here and understands the best methods of developing it. He is particularly interested in breeding Aberdeen Angus cattle, averaging one hundred head yearly, and Duroc-Jersey hogs, raising sixty head annually.
   Mr. Warner was married September 24, 1913, to Miss Lavina Mitchell, who is a daughter of Wilson and Lila Mitchell, both of whom were born in Illinois. Mr. Mitchell is a substantial citizen of Banner county, to which he came in October, 1887, and operates a large ranch. Mr. and Mrs. Warner have one son, Martin. She is a member of the Methodist Episcopal church. Mr. Warner belongs to the Farmers Union, of which he is a stockholder. He is a Republican in politics but has never served in any public capacity except as school moderator, in which office he faithfully performed the duties incumbent for five years.

    ELMER E. THOMAS, who is well known in Banner county where he has large land and stock interests, makes his home on his ranch and takes an active interest in civic affairs and general development.
   Elmer E. Thomas was born at Ames, Nebraska, July 10, 1887, and is a son of Henry and Belle (Zorn) Thomas. They came to Banner county in 1887 and Elmer E. was born shortly afterward. He has an older brother, Roy Thomas, who married Cordelia McCullough, and they reside at Bushnell. The par-



ents homesteaded in the neighborhood of Gary and lived there until 1898, removing then to Harrisburg. Later they went to Chicago and still later to St. Louis, Missouri.
   Elmer E. Thomas attended school at Harrisburg but has been interested in farming since sixteen years of age, when he rented land near Bushnell and operated it for three years. In 1907 he moved on his brother's homestead and managed the same until 1913, when he came to Bushnell and for a year the brothers were associated in a hardware business. Mr. Thomas returned then to the farm and remained until 1918, when he again took up his residence in Bushnell. He owns one section of land and leases another and has capable tenants. He breeds Shorthorn cattle and Red Jersey hogs, also a few horses, averaging very well.
   On August 10, 1914, Mr. Thomas was united in marriage to Miss Mable Wilson, who is a daughter of J. M. Wilson, of Harrisburg, and they have one daughter, Theda. In politics a sound Republican, Mr. Thomas is much interested in political campaigns, but has never accepted any office for himself with the exception of one term as assessor of his precinct.

    WILLIAM W. WARNER, who is an enterprising and progressive general farmer of Banner county, belongs to one of the fine old families of this section, extended mention of which will be found in this work. Mr. Warner was born at Brownington, Missouri, November 12, 1887, and is a son of Isaiah Warner, long one of the county's most substantial citizens.
   William W. Warner enjoyed excellent educational advantages, first attending the country schools, later the public schools of Gering and still later completing a full business course in a commercial college at Grand Island. He remained on his father's homestead until 1908, in which year he homesteaded on section eighteen, town seventeen, on which he still resides. He has three hundred and twenty acres here, all fine farm land. Mr. Warner is following intelligent methods in his agricultural operations and no farmer in this section of the county makes use of better or more modern farm machinery.
   Mr. Warner was married July 5, 1911, to Miss Minnie Palm, who is a daughter of John and Helga Palm. The parents of Mrs. Warner were born in Sweden and came to Banner county as pioneers. They now reside at Pine Bluff, Wyoming. Mr. and Mrs. Warner have three children, namely: Bernice, Raymond and Vernon.
   In politics Mr. Warner is a Republican in national matters but votes independently on local affairs, his good citizenship leading him at all times to give support to movements that promise to be of permanent benefit to his own community. He has never been anxious, for political preferment but has served as school treasurer. He belongs to the Farmers Union and is a stockholder in this organization, and he has been an Odd Fellow for many years. He has the respect and good will of the entire community.

    WILLIAM VAN PELT, who is one of Banner county's veteran homesteaders, is well and widely known in this part of Nebraska, where he is a man of large estate. He was born in Highland county, Ohio, August 26, 1855, and is a son of Thomas C. and Nancy (Lucas) Van Pelt. His father was a soldier in the Civil War and died from exposure contracted in the service, in 1863. His mother, who was born in Highland county in 1825, resides in Banner county, venerable in years but not in fact, for she is alert both in body and mind, faithful in church attendance and entertaining in family and social circles. Mrs. Van Pelt homesteaded in Banner county and still owns her land, and is the oldest living Homesteader in Banner county.
   William Van Pelt was an infant when his parents moved to Iowa and he was educated and reared there, remaining with his mother until he was thirty-eight years of age. When a decision had been made in the family to move to Banner county, Mr. Van Pelt and his sister, Mrs. Johnson, came from Des Moines to Grand Island. There he loaded a car of stock and came with it to Banner county, March 25, 1887, having in the previous fall filed on a homestead at North Platte. He lived there several years, then sold and moved on the place on which he still lives. In 1904 he filed a Kinkaid claim of three hundred and twenty acres, mainly ranch land. He raises high grade White Face cattle, about thirty head yearly, and enough horses for his own use. Mr. Van Pelt has a valuable home property, commodious residence and well kept farm buildings.
   On December 27, 1893, Mr. Van Pelt was united in marriage to Miss Blanche Snyder, who is a daughter of Mack and Adelaide Snyder, natives of New Cork (sic). They came to Banner county in 1888 and homesteaded east of Harrisburg. The father of Mrs. Van Pelt died in 1905, but the mother survives and lives in Tennessee. Mr. and Mrs. Van Pelt have two



children, namely: Effie, who is the wife of Ernest W. Pickett, who operates one of Mr. Van Pelt's farms; and Roy E., who lives with his parents. In politics Mr. Van Pelt is a Republican, but the only public office he has ever accepted was that of school treasurer of district number sixteen, in which he served four years. Like all members of his family, he is held in high regard in Banner county.

   F. JOHN PALM, whose substantial success as a homesteader in Banner county, came about through good judgment and hard work, now lives comfortably retired at Pine Bluffs, Wyoming, but still retains possession of large estates and heavy stock interests in Banner county.
   Mr. Palm was born in Sweden, July 21, 1857. His parents were Jonas and Anna (Andrewson) Johnson Palm. The father was born in Sweden January 29, 1827, and died there February 9, 1883, and the mother, born March 4, 1834, died December 22, 1885. The father was a small farmer and stockraiser. Both parents were members of the Swedish Lutheran church. Of their children, F. John was the eldest, the others being as follows: Clara, who is the wife of Carl J. Soderstrom, of Greeley, Colorado; Emma, who is the wife of Andrew P. Malm, of Greeley; Gust, who lives in Banner county; Augusta S., who is the wife of Peter Lundberg, of Banner county; and Charlie E., who lives at Salt Lake, Utah.
   F. John Palm attended the common schools in Sweden, afterward working as a railroad man for about eight years. He was married November 27, 1885, at Gockhom, Sweden, to Helga Anderson, whose people were lifelong residents of Sweden. In April, 1886, Mr. Palm and his wife came to the United States, locating at first in St. Paul, Minnesota, where he worked until 1890, moving then to Lyons, Colorado, where he obtained work in a stone quarry. In the meanwhile a brother of Mr. Palm had become established in Banner county and it was his suggestion that F. John and wife should visit him and see the country. They set out in 1894 and drove from Lyons to the brother's home in this county. The appearance of the country, although wild and a free range for cattle, pleased Mr. Palm and he decided to file on a homestead and took a Kinkaid claim of three hundred and twenty acres. He now owns eleven hundred and twenty acres of land, all valuable and improved with fences and substantial farm buildings. Mr. Palm has averaged one hundred head of cattle yearly and many head of Poland China hogs. Mr. Palm carried on his farm operations with the assistance of his son until 1915, when he turned his industries over to Charles W., who lives on the homestead and is still further developing the property.
   The following children were born to Mr. and Mrs. Palm: Minnie, who is the wife of W. W. Warner, of Banner county; Charles W., who married Hazel Mercer and they reside on the Palm homestead; Esther M., who is the wife of Victor M. (sic), of San Francisco, California; Ruth E., who is the wife of George Carlstrom, of Pine Bluffs, Wyoming; Anna S., who lives at Cheyenne, Wyoming; and Mabel M., who resides at home. Mr. Palm has large financial interests here, being a director and stockholder in the Pine Bluffs State Bank, and also owning stock in the Farmers Union at Pine Bluffs. He is a Republican voter. Mr. Palm is well known and is held in esteem for he has always been an honorable, upright business man and reputable citizen.

    PHILIP R. BARKELL, who is a prosperous general farmer and a useful and representative citizen of Banner county, is a native of Wisconsin, born in Grant county, February 7, 1876, and accompanied his parents to Nebraska in the winter of 1888.
   Richard Barkell, father of Phillip R. Barkell, brought his family to old Cheyenne, now Scottsbluff county, Nebraska, in the above year, having homesteaded at the head of Pumpkin creek in the preceding fall, and, under rather hard conditions the family lived on that place until 1993, when the father relinquished his Scottsbluff land and filed a claim in Banner county. He died, however, February 19, 1904, before he had proved up, but his son Thomas, extended mention of whom will be found in this work, assumed responsibility and cleared the title. The mother of the family passed away on April 5, 1912.
   Philip R. Barkell attended school during boyhood and gave his father assistance on the homestead. His own home place of one hundred and twenty acres is well improved and his entire three hundred and twenty acres is devoted to general farming.
   On June 24, 1902, Mr. Barkell was united in marriage to Miss Harriet C. Leftwich, who is a daughter of James E. and Catherine (Nelson) Leftwich, residents of Missouri but natives of Kentucky. Mr. and Mrs. Barkell have children as follows: Mary G., Dewitt E., Una M., Dorothy B., and Roseland. In order to afford his children the best of educational



advantages, it is Mr. Barkell's intention to retire from the farm for a season, moving into one of the intellectual centers where school facilities may be best secured. He is a Republican in his political views, but, aside from school offices, has never accepted preferment, serving many years on the school board in school district number nineteen. He is one of the solid, dependable men of the county and during the World War proved his patriotism in many ways. He was a member of the Council of Defense for the county and was vice chairman for his precinct.

   GEORGE W. LEAFDALE. -- A family of considerable prominence in Banner county bears the name of Leafdale, and a representative member of the same is George W. Leafdale, of section thirty-two, town twelve, an extensive farmer and enterprising young man. He has many friends in this neighborhood and his appointment as mail carrier between Kirk and Harrisburg, on July 1, 1919, met with general approval.
   George W. Leafdale was born at Central City, Nebraska, May 12, 1987, the sixth in a family of ten children born to Martin and Cecelia (Munson) Leafdale. The father of Mr. Leaf dale was born in Sweden in 1849 and the mother in 1852. They came to the United States in 1886, and for some time resided at Central City, Nebraska. In the fall of 1887 the father homesteaded in Cheyenne county, on the Banner county line, and the family lived on that land until 1909. He moved then into Banner county but still owns almost a section of land in Cheyenne county, and followed ranching for about seven years, in 1916 retiring to Potter, Nebraska. Ever since coming to this state Mr. Leafdale has been a man of extreme worth. In his own country he had previously preached as an ordained minister of the Swedish Mission church, and after coming to America, as opportunity offered, he has traveled over the United States on mission work, and for ten years preached in Cheyenne and Banner counties. He assisted in the organization of the flourishing Sunday school at Kirk. While living on his homestead he served on the school board in his district, and also served in the office of justice of the peace. In addition to George W., the following members of his family survive: Anthony M., who lives in Cheyenne county, married Flora Johnson; Anna, who is the wife of Eric Anderson, of Cheyenne county; Emit, of Cheyenne county, who married Ruth Olsen; Selma, who is the wife of Edward Swanson, of Cheyenne county; Alfred, who lives with his parents; Harry, who is a farmer on his father's land; Mable, who lives at home; and Esther, who is the wife of Carl Osberg, of Cheyenne county.
   George W. Leafdale attended school in Cheyenne and Banner counties, and assisted his father until 1909, when he established himself as a farmer in Banner county. For eight years he rented farm land and carried on general crop production, then bought his present home place, where he carries on extensive farm industries. He now owns eight hundred and eighty acres of fine farm land and additionally has a one-third interest in three sections of range land. He is a member of the Farmers Union and is a stockholder in the Farmers Elevator Company at Potter.
   On December 18, 1918, Mr. Leafdale was united in marriage to Miss Minnie Larson, who is a daughter of Swen Larson, a prominent settler of Banner county, extended mention of whom will be found in this, work. Mrs. Leafdale, a lady of culture and intellectual attainments, is also a practical business woman. After completing her education, she taught the Lorraine school from 1913 to 1914, holding the sessions in a sod house, the only available structure in the neighborhood. Later she taught one term, at the Twin Tree school house. In 1915 she assumed the duties of county superintendent of schools to which office she had been elected by a flattering vote, and served two terms, retiring from the office January 1, 1919. Ever since reaching womanhood she has been deeply interested in educational work and as her motives have been sincere and her ideas practical, she has accomplished a great deal for the public schools of the county. She was instrumental in having the Junior Club work started in the common schools. She also brought about that admirable system of education, the Home Demonstration movement. Since girlhood she has been active in Sunday school work, and the love of reading good literature that now is a notable and encouraging feature in many homes, may, in part, be attributed to her influence. As may be inferred, Mrs. Leafdale found, during the progress of the World War, ample causes to arouse her sympathy and patriotic interest, and she was particularly active and useful in Red Cross work, and in the war savings stamps and Liberty loan drives. Personally she is a lady of attractive presence and engaging manner.

Prior page
General index
Next page

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