NEGenWeb Project
Resource Center, On-Line Library



so that today his is one of the finest properties in the district. He has not confined himself to farming alone as he has ever taken an active part in communal affairs and for two years was postmaster at Colton, an office he filled efficiently and well. Since first coming to Cheyenne county he has been an advocate of good schools, good roads, and intensive and for more than thirty years has served as a school director in district No. 64. In politics he is a Democrat and though he never has had time or aspired to public office, takes a keen interest in the local elections. Both he and his wife are members of the Brethren church (Dunkards) of which they are liberal supporters.
   Before coming to his western home, on October 21, 1880, Mr. Kline married Miss Fannie Floy, also a native of Virginia. She was born in that state May 26, 1852, the daughter of Samuel Floy who was born, reared and educated in his native state, who after attaining his majority and engaging in farming in the Old Dominion for some years, came west to Keokuk county, Iowa, where he was an early homesteader. There he spent many years as a tiller of the soil and was a minister of the Brethren church and did much church work. He passed away on his farm after living out the psalmist's span of "three score years and ten" for he was eighty-eight years old at the time of his death.
   During the years he has been a resident of this locality Mr. Kline has not only gained material success and become established as one of the productive farmers of the Panhandle, but at the same time has built up a personal reputation for honesty in business industry in the daily affairs of life and public spirit as a citizen of the community.

    PATRICK O'GRADY, who undoubtedly is one of the best known men of Banner county, is serving in his third term as sheriff of the county, an office he has filled with remarkable efficiency. On many occasions he has proved his great personal courage, and the record of his public services shows that fidelity to duty has always been his aim, irrespective of danger or loss to himself. Hence Sheriff O'Grady enjoys a large measure of public esteem, all men being his friends except those who have broken the law.
PATRICK O'GRADY   Patrick O'Grady was born in County Sligo, Ireland, February 3, 1873, the only child of Owen and Mary (Casey) O'Grady. His father was a tanner by trade and this he followed all his life either in Ireland or England. Both parents were faithful members of the Roman Catholic church.
   When Patrick was thirteen years old, he came to the United States. He had already had some schooling but had additional school training in America, but the greater part of a very sound and effective education Sheriff O'Grady no doubt obtained in association with others as his life experiences have brought about. He landed on United States soil April 11, 1886. His first work was in connection with railroading and for five years he lived at Miles City, Montana. For a short interval he worked in Banner county but went back to Montana, and it was several years later that he came to Banner to establish his permanent home. In 1893, he homesteaded and engaged in farming until called to public office.
   On June 14, 1892, at Corning, Arkansas, Sheriff O'Grady was married to Miss Florence Cripp. Mrs. O'Grady died in 1896 leaving no children.
   In politics the sheriff is a republican. He served one term as deputy sheriff under Sheriff Ingalls, then was elected sheriff and has served ever since. During the continuance of the World War, he was chairman of the county draft board. He belongs to the order of Royal Highlanders and also to the Knights of Pythias and in the latter organization has passed all the chairs in the local body.

   JOHN B. KILGORE, who owns a fine, irrigated farm in Morrill county, successfully carries on large farm industries here, for he is thoroughly experienced, having been engaged in farm pursuits all his life. Mr. Kilgore was



born at Springfield, Kansas, November 6, 1876, and is a son of James V. and Sarah (Buskirk) Kilgore.
   James V. Kilgore was born in Illinois and like others of his name still living in that state, served with honor in the Civil war, for the Kilgores were well represented in that struggle and have always been noted for their loyalty and good American citizenship. In early manhood he learned the carpenter trade and later worked at the same in Kansas and in Nebraska. After coming to the latter state he homesteaded in Perkins county where he engaged in farming for a time. His wife is a native of Wisconsin and they both survive, living in comfortable retirement in Yarnhill, Oregon.
   After his schooldays were over, John B. Kilgore gave his father assistance, and it was not until 1911, that he homesteaded for himself, in Morrill county. Like many another investor he found little encouragement at first in his efforts to raise crops on arid land and for two years a cloud of discouragement attended him, but when irrigation became a fact and the ditches brought the water, he realized that after all his judgment had not been at fault and that he owned property worth thousands of dollars in his hundred acre farm. When government statistics announce an increase of yield in crops on irrigated land of twenty-eight per cent, the bountiful harvests of this section can be understood. Mr. Kilgore has improved his farm in every way and his attractive farm house indicates a large degree of comfort.
   Mr. Kilgore was married to Miss Ella Davison, who was born in Sweden, April 21, 1882, a daughter of Oscar and Huldah Davison, who came to the United States from Sweden in 1887, and settled in Cass county, Nebraska. The father of Mrs. Kilgore worked on the railroad until the time of his death, when he was forty-seven years old. The mother lives in Minnesota. Mr. and Mrs. Kilgore are members of the Methodist Episcopal church at Bayard, Nebraska. In politics Mr. Kilgore has always been affiliated with the Republican party.

    BENJAMIN LEVENSKY, who is a well known and highly respected resident of Omaha was for years connected with large business enterprises in Kimball, Nebraska. He was born in Russia, in 1863, and in 1882 came to the United States. The first years in America, Mr. Levensky spent in Connecticut, then made his way west to Iowa, lived there until the spring of 1885, when he came to western Nebraska and secured a homestead and tree claim in Sheridan county. He lived on this land five years and proved up on the claim, then sold, and under the firm name of Levensky & Litman, engaged in the mercantile business in Hay Springs, with branch stores at Bassett and Newport. Because of good crops at that time the farmers bought many goods and the firm prospered, but in 1892, there was a crop failure and this was immediately felt by the merchants in their business, Mr. Levensky sold his interest and moved to Newport, where he carried on his business for twelve years, then traded his store for four sections of land, two of them in Kimball and two in Banner county, and now owns about five thousand-acres in these counties. For six years he carried on a store and also engaged in farming and stock-raising. In October, 1918, he sold his store and the stock on his ranch, as his older sons entered military service and were not able to help him, and now lives retired in Omaha, at 2747 North Forty-fifth Avenue.
   At Leads, South Dakota, in 1891, Mr. Levensky was married and he and his wife have had seven children: Dora, who is married to Earl Wolff of Nashville, Arkansas; Israel, who had the distinction to be the second young man to enlist in the World War, from Kimball county, was in an infantry unit and stationed for eighteen months at Honolulu, and received his discharge at Camp Dodge; Ephraim also enlisted and saw service with the submarine division of the navy, was a member of the crew of the Oregon and crossed the ocean carrying supplies to the troops in France, and was honorably discharged at Denver, Colorado; Sol, who is completing his high school work at St. John's Military Academy, a member of the class of 1920; Mae, deceased; Jacob, who is attending the public schools; and Mier, who died in infancy.
   Mrs. Levensky died in 1912. Mr. Levensky has been a leading citizen wherever he has lived and while at Newport was a member of the school board and director of the Citizens State Bank. For years he has been prominent in Masonic circles and was past master of his lodge. He is also a member of the Odd Fellows in which he was noble grand. On November 11, 1916, Mr. Levinsky married Mrs. Jennie Levinsk of New York, who came to the United States from Russia and lived in New York until her marriage to Mr. Levensky.

   EMAL W. SWANSON, who is one of Bridgeport's best known citizens, having been agent for the Burlington railroad at this point since 1909, has been identified with this



system for sixteen years, during that time earning promotion and is held in high regard not only by the corporation by which he is employed, but by the traveling public generally in this section. Mr. Swanson was born at Aledo, Mercer county, Illinois, September 6, 1885.
   The parents of Mr. Swanson were John and Sarah (Robinson) Swanson, the former of whom was born in Minnesota and the latter in Missouri. Their marriage took place at Joy, Illinois, where the mother yet resides. The father operated a restaurant at Joy, for a number of years, and his death occurred there in 1914. He was a Republican in politics and both parents belonged to the Methodist Episcopal church. They had the following children: Lena, who is the wife of Virgil A. Love, a stockman in Mercer county, Illinois; Celesta, who is the wife of Scott Terry of Los Angeles, California, a civil engineer; Emal W., who resides at Bridgeport; and George, who is employed in the government shipyard at Moblie (sic), Alabama.
   Emal W. Swanson obtained his education at Joy, Illinois, where he completed the high school course, then learned the art of telegraphy, a natural aptness assisting him in quickly reaching facility. He was sationed (sic) first at Viola and then at Bushnell, Illinois, and in 1909, he was placed in charge of the station at Bridgeport, where he has faithfully performed his duties ever since. In 1916, he established a bottling plant at Bridgeport for the manufacture of soft drinks and has prospered in this undertaking. Mr. Swanson has been industrious and saving and recently has made investments that have resulted in the building of a comfortable and attractive residence here. Mr. Swanson is a self-made man and his financial independence is the direct result of his own efforts.
   In 1910, Mr. Swanson was united in marriage to Miss Josephine St. Clair, who was born at Monmouth, Illinois, and they have one son, Robert St. Clair, born October 14, 1915. They are members of the Presbyterian church. In politics he is a Republican, and he belongs to the Masonic fraternity.

    WILLIAM RITCHIE, JR., lawyer, with offices at Bridgport (sic) and Omaha, has been identified for seventeen years with educational, professional and military affairs in Nebraska as they came within the scope of his effort. On July 1, 1904, he came first to Bridgeport, and this city, as other sections, has been benefited by his vitalizing energy and by the example he has set of loyal and patriotic citizenship. Mr. Ritchie was born at Ravenswood, Chicago, Illinois, July 28, 1886, the son of William and Charlotte (Congdon) Ritchie, the. latter of whom was born at Amboy, Illinois, and the former at Frederick, Maryland, his home being across the street from the home of the heroine of Whittier's poem, "Barbara Fritchie," his father being Barbara Fritchie's family physician. For thirty-five years William Ritchie, Sr., has been a lawyer of prominence in the city of Chicago, one of his distinguished clients being the late Theodore Roosevelt. He has served as chancellor of the Episcopal Diocese of Chicago. Of his four sons, William Jr., and his twin brother, Prescott C., were the first born, the latter of whom is connected with the Westinghouse Company in Chicago; John, who left Princeton College to enter a military training camp during the World War; and Gorton, who is a student in the University of Wisconsin.
   William Ritchie, Jr., was graduated from the Oak Park high school in 1904 and shortly afterward went to Morrill county, Nebraska, while Morrill county was still a part of Cheyenne county, as a visitor on the Belmont ranch. Finding climate and surroundings agreeable and the people friendly and congenial, Mr. Ritchie decided to remain in the neighborhood of Bridgeport, accepting the offer to teach a country school and taught three terms. Following this entry into the pedagogic profession he became principal of the Lodgepole schools and remained two years. On the suggestion of friends he then became a candidate for county superintendent of schools of Cheyenne county, to which offce (sic) he was elected in 1907, at the first primary election, having made a campaign on horseback of over three thousand miles. He served until 1909, then resigned and entered the Nebraska State University as a student of law. During his administration of the office of superintendent, he did a stupendous amount of business, which included the organization of twenty-five new school districts, the building of forty-two new schoolhouses and passing judgment on one hundred and ninety-seven petitions for changes in school district boundaries. He continued his interest in educational development after entering the university, and under appointment of Governor Morehead, did legal work on a committee to revise the school laws. Also while in the university he organized the Teachers' Casualty Underwriters Association, which has become the largest insurance organization of its type in the United States.
   Mr. Ritchie was graduated from the de-



partment of law in the university in February, 1915, and in June following embarked in the practice of his profession at Brideport (sic) and his professional future seemed fully assured. On August 2, 1917, however, Mr. Ritchie loyally put his personal ambitions aside and enlisted as a private soldier for service in the World War, entering Company C, Sixth Nebraska Infantry, that afterward became Company K, One Hundred and thirty-fourth U. S. Infantry. A month later he was sent to Fort Snelling for training. He was commissioned first lieutenant November 27, 1917, and assigned to Company B, Three Hundred and Ninty (sic)-fourth Infantry, Eighty-eighth Division at Camp Dodge. Because of an injury he was operated on March 21, 1918, but infection set in while he was in the hospital where he was confined until July 22, 1918. He was promoted captain July 23, 1918, but his physical condition rendered it impossible for him to accompany his division abroad and he was transferred to the Tenth Division at Camp Funston, Kansas. He commanded Company 1, Sixty-ninth United States Infantry until October 1, 1918, when the influenza assumed an epidemic form in the ranks. At the time of the signing of the armistice with the enemy, Captain Ritchie was in command of the Second battalion, Seventh colored troops. He was then assigned to camp headquarters and put in charge of the discharging of enlisted men at Camp Funston, and received his honorable discharge February 4, 1919. His application for a commission with the Reserve Corps was not granted because of his physical condition at that time.
   On April 26, 1916, Captain Ritchie was united in marriage to Miss Eunice Arthur, daughter of Rev. L. A. Arthur, rector of the Episcopal church at Grand Island.
   Mr. Richie maintains an office at Omaha under the firm name of Ritchie, Mantz and Canaday, and is attorney for Central States Investment Company, the Skinner Packing Company, Skinner Manufacturing Company, Trans-Mississippi Life Insurance Company and other corporations. At Bridgeport, Mr. Ritchie is associated with Ralph O. Canaday. The law firm of Ritchie & Canaday handles a large proportion of the important law business at Bridgeport.
   Mr. Ritchie has been active in political circles since early manhood. He was a delegate to the National Democratic convention held in Baltimore in 1912, and voted for Woodrow Wilson; was chairman of the Democratic Congressional District in 1914, in the First District; and chairman of the Sixth Congressional Distrct (sic) in 1916. Although but a young man he has achieved honorable success along different lines, and, experienced and levelheaded with high standards that he lives up to, may go far both professionally and politically. He has the respect and confidence of his fellow citizens and the good will of hosts of friends. Outside of college life he has not been active as a fraternity man, but he retains membership in the Beta Theta Pi and the Phi Delta Phi societies of university days.

    RALPH OLIVER CANADAY, who is one of the younger members of the Bridgeport bar, came to, this city to establish himself in his profession in March, 1919, after his return from military service during the World War. Lieutenant Canaday was born at Minden, Nebraska, April 4, 1891, the elder of two sons born to Joseph S. and Mary Jane (Winters) Canaday. His brother, Walter A. Canaday is in the real estate business at Broadwater; and his sister, Golda. May, is a senior in the State University.
   Senator Canaday, father of Ralph Oliver Canaday, was born in Indiana, lived subsequently in Illinois and now lives at Minden, Nebraska. The Canadays probably settled in Kentucky contemporary with Daniel Boone and the grandfather of Senator Canaday was the only member of his family that escaped during an Indian attack on the unprotected settlement. Joseph S. Canaday was married in Illinois to Mary Jane Winters, who was born in Crawford county, that state, and in 1887 they came to Nebraska. He bought land in Kearney county and still lives at Minden. He has been very prominent in Democratic politics in that county, served in the state senate, was county superintendent of schools and also county treasurer and has frequently been suggested for other public positions of responsibility. He was the organizer of the Farmers Co-operative Elevator Association found all over the state and is president of the same. With his family he belongs to the Christian Science church.
   Ralph O. Canaday was graduated from the Minden high school in 1909, and spent six years in the State University, in 1915, being graduated with the degree of A. B. and in 1918, with his L.L. B. degree. He was admitted to the bar in 1917, and practiced at Minden until May 17, 1918, when he entered the National army, going to the officers' training school at Camp Dodge, and was commissioned second lieutenant of Company D, Eighty-eighth Infantry on August 26, 1918. The end of hostilities came before his regi-

Prior page
General index
Next page

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