Past & Present of Platte County, Nebraska - Volume II


 

484PAST AND PRESENT OF PLATTE COUNTY

for the Baptist church, which they attended and supported but to which they did not belong. Both died in this county. Mr. and Mrs. James have become the parents of four children: Gwendolyn, who taught school for three years in district No. 31 and for one year in district No. 51, and is organist in the Baptist church and Sunday school; Ruth; Edward; and Harold, who is attending school.

  Mr. James is an independent republican and for seven years has served as township clerk and for fourteen years as a member of the school board, proving efficient and conscientious in the discharge of his duties. He holds membership in the Baptist church, of which he is a trustee and of which he has been deacon for eight years. His religious faith is the guiding principle of his life, and he strives to advance the cause of right and justice in every way possible. He holds in reverence the memory of his parents, whose teachings inculcated in him a love of righteousness, and he gives much credit for what he has accomplished to his wife, who has been a true helpmate. Both are widely known, and their circle of friends is almost coextensive with the circle of their acquaintance.


JOHN PETER SOKOL.

  In a history of the business development of Duncan it is imperative that mention be made of John Peter Sokol because of his activity along those lines which contributed to the material development of the city. He is now connected with both banking and commercial interests -- with the former as a stockholder of the Duncan State Bank and with the latter as president of the Duncan Mercantile Company. He is a native son of Platte county, his birth having occurred in Butler township, September 21, 1878, his parents being Joseph and Victoria (Kudron) Sokol. The father, a farmer living four and one-half miles northeast of Duncan, owns four hundred and forty acres of land. Both parents emigrated to the United States from Poland in 1876 and came direct to Platte county, where they bought land. To them have been born eleven children, seven boys and four girls, but one of the boys died in infancy.

  John Peter Sokol attended the parochial schools of Duncan to the age of fourteen years and afterward concentrated his energies upon the work of his father's farm until he reached the age of twenty-three. He then began farming on his own account and. followed that occupation for two years, after which he opened a saloon in Duncan. Six years ago he erected his present building and in the intervening period he has built up a good business, controlling an important interest as president of the Duncan Mercantile Company. This company has one of the largest and best equipped mercantile establishments of the town, carrying an extensive and carefully selected line of goods, while the trade policy of the house commends it to the patronage of the public.

  On the 29th of October, 1901, Mr. Sokol was united in marriage to Miss Ursula Borowiak, of Duncan, by whom he had eight children, two of whom died in infancy. The surviving children are as follows: Leona, Bernard, Monicka and Dennis, all of whom are attending school; Raymond; and Irene.

  Mr. Sokol exercises his right of franchise in support of the men and measures of the democratic party and is one of its active workers in this part of the state. He

 JOHN P. SOKOL

 

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is township treasurer, is also the local counsel for the Lincoln Highway and is interested in various plans and measures which have to do with the welfare and improvement of the state as well as of the locality. He belongs to the Polish Roman Catholic Union of America and is identified with the St. Stanislaus Society, of which he was the first president and is now treasurer. He is likewise connected with the Fraternal Order of Eagles at Columbus. His entire life has been spent in this county and he enjoys the favorable regard not only of the acquaintances of later years but of those who have known him from his boyhood, many of whom are his warm friends.


HUDSON INGERSOLL MURDOCK.

  The building interests of Columbus find a well known and worthy representative in Hudson Ingersoll Murdock, whose handiwork is seen in every section of the city. He enjoys an enviable reputation as an excellent workman who lives fully up to the terms of his contracts and at all times conforms his business to high standards of honor as well as activity. A native of New York, he was born in Warren county, May 31, 1855, a son of J. S. and Charlotte (Hudson) Murdock. The father engaged in the contracting business in New York, but at the time of the Civil War put aside all personal interests and considerations, responding to the country's call for aid as a member of Company L, Fifteenth New York Cavalry, with which he served at the front for three years, participating in a number of hotly contested engagements. At the close of the war he returned to New York, but in 1877 removed to Rockford, Illinois, where he remained for a year and a half. There were two children in the family, Hudson Ingersoll and William, the latter now a resident of San Diego, California. When the family left Rockford they came to Columbus, Nebraska, where the father embarked in business as a merchant and contractor in connection with his son Hudson under the firm style of Murdock & Son, the father taking charge of the mercantile interests, while the son assumed the management of the contracting business. The death of J. S. Murdock occurred in 1900 and in his passing the community lost one of its valued and representative citizens. His widow survived him for several years, passing away in 1907.

  Hudson I. Murdock spent the days of his boyhood and youth in his native state and is indebted to the public-school system for the educational privileges which he enjoyed. He then accompanied his parents on their removal to Illinois and later to Nebraska and became his father's partner in Columbus with the division of labor indicated above. In 1901, following his father's death, he disposed of the store and has since devoted his entire attention to the work of contracting and building. He has erected many of the beautiful homes of Columbus, including the residence of A. M. Yost, M. Brugger and Dr. Martyn, Sr., as well as many attractive homes in the surrounding territory. He thoroughly understands the builder's art and has the power of combining utility, convenience and beauty in a most attractive and satisfactory way.

  On the 10th of June, 1876, Mr. Murdock was married, in Warren county, New York, to Miss Sarah A. Hilkins, whose father, Samuel Hilkins, was one of the pioneers of that county. Their home is a large modern residence, built in 1909,

 

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and stands in the midst of attractive grounds, rendering it one of the most beautiful places in Columbus.

  In his political views Mr. Murdock is a republican and keeps in touch with the questions and issues of the day but has never had a desire for public office. Fraternally he is connected with Columbus Camp, No. 299, M. W. A. He makes other interests subservient to his business affairs, and yet he is too well balanced to allow even his industrial activities to monopolize his time and attention. His success is attributable to close application, for early in his career he recognized the eternal principle that industry wins and he has made industry the beacon light of his life.


PETER J. PETERSEN.

  Peter J. Petersen is one of the well known and enterprising agriculturists of Walker township, his home being on section 15. He has spent the greater part of his life in this county, whither he was brought in his early boyhood. He is a native of Denmark, born August 15, 1866. At the age of seven years he was brought by his parents, Mr. and Mrs. Christian Petersen, to the new world and during the periods in which the family lived in Vermont and New York he pursued his education in the public schools. He afterward continued his studies in Nebraska. but the necessity for assisting in the work of the home farm caused him to put aside his textbooks. He herded cattle on the river bottoms when but fourteen years of age and has always led a life of industry, his labors being attended with a gratifying measure of success. In addition to tilling the soil in the cultivation of the crops best adapted to climatic conditions here, he is engaged in raising Belgian horses, keeping a fine stallion.

  In 1888 Mr. Petersen was united in marriage to Miss Ernette Jenson, daughter of Nels and Ellna Jenson, of Boone county, by whom he has six children, namely: Clara, Edgar, George, Lloyd, Teckla and Oscar. The home of the family is an attractive residence and all of the buildings upon the farm are exceptionally good making this one of the highly improved properties of Walker township. The farm is fenced and cross-fenced, thus being divided into fields of convenient size, and everything about the place presents a neat and thrifty appearance. Progress characterizes Mr. Petersen in all that he does and his work may well be accepted as a standard for agricultural activity. Moreover, he occupies a high position in the regard of his fellowmen, many of whom count him a warm friend.


CHARLES STONE.

Charles Stone, who was one of the early settlers of Platte county and has contributed to the agricultural development of Walker township, was born in Sweden, August 12, 1848, a son of John and Christine Stone. Following the father s death, which occurred in Sweden, the mother became the wife of John Anderson and they came to the United States when the subject of this review was about twenty years of age. The family home was maintained in Wisconsin until about 1870, when they

 

PAST AND PRESENT OF PLATTE COUNTY 489

removed to this county, and Mr. Anderson homesteaded land in what is now Walker township. He and his wife both passed away here.

  Charles Stone, who in early manhood became a resident of this county, homesteaded one hundred and sixty acres of land and has now resided upon his farm for forty-two years. His first house was a dugout twelve by twelve feet, and in order to build it it was necessary to walk to Shell Creek to get poles and also to secure the grass for the roof. There was no grass growing upon his land as it had all been destroyed by prairie fires. He at once set to work to improve his farm and at length had his land all under cultivation. His industry and good management have enabled him to accumulate a competence and he is now living practically retired.

  In 1875 Mr. Stone was united in marriage to Miss Carrie Jensen, a native of Denmark and a daughter of Henry and Mattie Jensen. Her father died in that country, but her mother subsequently married Carl S. Steiner and they came to the new world, taking up their abode in Platte county, Nebraska. Mr. and Mrs. Stone have nine children: Henry, who is married and lives in Alberta, Canada; Alfred, who is married and resides on an eighty acre farm in Walker township; Edward, who is married and lives in York, Nebraska; Arthur, who is also married and is farming eighty acres in Walker township; Annie, the wife of Nels C. Nelson, of Valley, Nebraska; and Daniel, Marquis, Cora and Frederick, all at home.

  Mr. Stone supports the republican party at the polls and has always manifested a commendable interest in the general welfare. Since his arrival in the county there have been many remarkable changes as the conditions of the frontier have given place to those of a thickly settled and prosperous farming region. When he came here the nearest neighbors of the family were a number of miles distant and there were the usual hardships of pioneer life to be met. He and the other settlers, however, were not discouraged and at length their determination and industry conquered, the present high state of development of the county being due to their efforts.


ERWIN NICHOLSON.

  Erwin Nicholson, whose agricultural interests place him among the leading farmers of Lost Creek township, where he owns and cultivates one hundred and twenty acres, was born in Stark county, Illinois, January 4, 1859, his parents being Robert and Lucy (Brown) Nicholson. The father was born in New York and the mother in Canada and the former passed away at the age of sixty-four years. He was a farmer by occupation and on removing westward became one of the pioneer settlers of Illinois, finding that all conditions of frontier life existed at the time of his arrival in that state. Later he removed to Chicago and worked on the first railroad built out of that city. In 1860 he took up his abode in Henry county, Illinois, where he purchased land, owning and cultivating his farm there until 1870, when he came to Nebraska and took a homestead on section 17, Lost Creek township. There were only a few families in Lost Creek township at that period and his nearest neighbor was three miles distant, while Columbus was his trading point. He made the journey to Platte county by driving across the country and as soon as he had chosen a tract of land he began breaking prairie, setting out

 

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trees and otherwise developing and improving his place, which comprised two hundred and forty acres. There he carried on general farming with growing success, for the labors of one year made the duties of the succeeding year easier. He continued to own and occupy the old homestead to the time of his death in 1888 and was regarded as one of the valued and representative farmers of his community. He and his wife were the parents of two children: Erwin; and Effie Ann, who became the wife of George Alexander but died in 1894.

  Erwin Nicholson, the elder of the two children and the only survivor of his father's family, was a youth of eleven years when, in October, 1870, he came with his parents to Platte county, and his youth was spent amid pioneer surroundings and he shared with the family in the usual hardships, trials and privations of frontier life. He lived three miles from the nearest school in his township and he had few of the advantages which the young people of the present day so easily secure. He remained at home until twenty-five years of age, when he started out in life on his own account, beginning farming for himself on section 17, Lost Creek township. Here he has since made his home and all of the improvements upon his farm are monuments to his enterprising and progressive spirit. He has one hundred and twenty acres of good land, which he devotes to general agricultural pursuits, raising the various cereals best adapted to soil and climate. He devotes all of his time to farm work and is meeting with creditable and well merited success in his undertakings. He is now one of the stockholders of the Monroe Bank.

  In 1887 Mr. Nicholson was united in marriage to Miss Eva Morgan, a native of Indiana and a daughter of William and Louise (Horsley) Morgan, who, removing to Illinois, became residents of Chillicothe, that state, whence they afterward went to Minnesota. Mr. and Mrs. Nicholson have three children: Erma, a sixth grade teacher in the schools of Norfolk, Nebraska; Mabel, who is employed in the drug store of Mrs. Kehoe, of Platte Center; and Harry, who is upon the home farm.

  Mr. Nicholson has never had political aspirations, nor has he sought to figure prominently in public life, but has concentrated his energies upon his farm work, and whatever success he has achieved and enjoyed is attributable entirely to his own labors. He represents one of the old families of the county, having for forty-five years made his home within its borders, during which time he has witnessed many notable and radical changes.


PETER PEARSON.

  Peter Pearson, a prosperous farmer living on section 31, Joliet township, was born in Jemtland, Sweden, January 22, 1860, a son of Andrew and Sarah (Nelson) Pearson. He came to America and to Platte county, Nebraska, with his parents in 1882, and on beginning his independent career worked as a hired hand in this county for three years. He then purchased one hundred and sixty acres of land on section 31, Joliet township, which he has since cultivated, and later bought an additional three hundred and twenty acres, one hundred and sixty acres of which, however, he has sold to his son. His present farm comprises a half section of land and to its cultivation he devotes his time and energy. He has met with gratifying

 

PAST AND PRESENT OF PLATTE COUNTY 491

success as a stock-raiser and specializes in Red Polled cattle, Duroc Jersey hogs and Belgian horses. He also raises grain and derives a good income from his land.

  On the 3d of October, 1885, occurred the marriage of Mr. Pearson and Miss Hannah Nelson, a native of Sweden, who was brought to Platte county, Nebraska, by her parents, Nels and Elsie Nelson. Mr. and Mrs. Pearson have become the parents of ten children, of whom Clarence is now engaged in farming for himself. He married Anna F. Thomazin and has one daughter. The others, Elsie, Victor, Wesley, Ferdinand, Anna, Allen, Floyd, Dwight and Donald, are all at home. Mr. Pearson believes thoroughly in the value of a liberal education and has given all of his children good advantages along that line, one having graduated from the State University at Lincoln and another being now a student there.

  Mr. Pearson is an independent democrat in politics and refuses to follow blindly the dictates of party leaders. He is a member of the Swedish Methodist church, in the work of which he takes a very active part, and in his daily life he exemplifies the teachings of that organization. His excellent qualities have gained him not only the respect but also the warm regard of those with whom he has come in contact, and he is recognized as a valued citizen of his township.


PETER SWANSON.

  Great credit is due to the early settlers of Platte county, who came here when this district was but raw prairie and who persevered in spite of many discouragements and privations in the effort to bring the wild land under cultivation and to build up a prosperous community. Although at times the difficulties in the way seemed insurmountable their determination and energy achieved the task to which they had set themselves. Many of the pioneers have passed away but some are still living, among the number being Mr. and Mrs. Peter Swanson, who are enjoying a period of rest and leisure in St. Edward.

  Mr. Swanson was born near Mattmar, Sweden, on the 25th of March, 1844, and received his education in his native land, remaining there until he reached the age of twenty-five years. He then came to the United States and, making his way to the middle west, located in Illinois, where he remained until 1872, when he came to this county and homesteaded one hundred and sixty acres of land in Walker township. He at once began the development of his farm and as the years passed added improvements while carefully conserving the fertility of the soil. He was a practical and progressive agriculturist and received a good financial return from his land. He added to his holdings and now owns two hundred and forty acres in Walker township and one hundred and fifteen acres in Boone county, which yield him a gratifying annual income. He is now living retired in St. Edward.

  In 1874 Mr. Swanson married Miss Nellie Anderson, who was born in Sweden on the 29th of September, 1847, a daughter of Anders and Betsy Matson. When nineteen years of age she left her native land and crossed the Atlantic to America, continuing her journey westward to Henry county, Illinois, where she lived until 1871. In that year she came to Platte county with a brother. To Mr. and Mrs. Swanson have been born seven children: Albert, who is living in California; Melvin

 

492PAST AND PRESENT OF PLATTE COUNTY

a resident of Oregon City, Oregon; Harry T., a sketch of whom appears elsewhere in this work; Alma, the wife of E. P. Hedberg, of Genoa, Nebraska; Joseph and Walter, both living in St. Edward; and Mary, at home.

  Mr. Swanson casts his ballot in support of the republican party but has never been an aspirant for public office. His religious faith is that of the Swedish Methodist church, and he and his wife were among the organizers of the local congregation, the work of which they have always favored in every way possible. At the time when they came to this county there were but poor means of communication with other parts of the country, the houses were a number of miles apart and as the result of these conditions the settlers were compelled to rely upon themselves for whatever they needed. Like so many of the pioneers, Mr. and Mrs. Swanson lived for a considerable period in a sod house and there were none of the conveniences which are today taken as a matter of course.

  Not only were there the usual discouragements of frontier life to be met with but there was uncertainty as to whether a crop could be gathered even if weather conditions were favorable, for a number of times the state was devastated by grasshoppers. Mrs. Swanson tells an interesting experience at the time of a visit from these pests. One day on looking out of the window she noticed that some seed corn which she had planted looked black and on going out and hitting a stalk she found that it was covered with grasshoppers. She thought that she would save some of it for the horses and at once gather an armful as there was no time to be lost, for she could see it getting shorter, so rapidly were the grasshoppers eating it. She took that armful in to the stable and returned to get some more, but when she reached the stable with her second armful she found that the first was covered with grasshoppers and the whole stable was full of them. Seeing that there was no hope of saving any of the corn she left the remainder of it standing in the field. As they seemed so very hungry she tossed a loaf of bread into the yard and it was immediately covered by the grasshoppers, who rolled it over and over until it disappeared. The grasshoppers traveled with the wind and as soon as it ceased to blow they alighted and ate everything in sight, for a number of years completely destroying the crops. The farmers built fires around their gardens in order to save the vegetables, on which they depended for food, from the ravages of the pests, and the smoke usually proved an efficient barrier. When the wind again sprang up the grasshoppers passed on.


EDWARD CONNELLY.

Edward Connelly, who owns an excellent farm on section 8, Joliet township, has resided thereon for thirty-one years and has witnessed a great change in the county, as when he came here it still bore many of the marks of a frontier region. He was born in Canada April 29, 1854, and is a son of William and Sarah (McMaster) Connelly, natives respectively of Ireland and Scotland. They went to Canada in 1854 and resided there until 1871, when they came to Platte county, Nebraska, and settled in what is now St. Bernard township, homesteading one hundred and sixty acres. Later, when the Northwestern Railroad was built through the county, the company purchased Mr. Connelly's quarter section for a town site,

 

PAST AND PRESENT OF PLATTE COUNTY 493

and at his suggestion the new town was named Lindsay, after the town in which he had lived in Canada. Both he and his wife passed away in Lindsay, Nebraska  To them were born nine children: William, who is residing in this state; Samuel, who is living in St. Bernard township; Edward; James, a resident of this state; Frank, who is living in Lindsay; Catherine, the deceased wife of John Gogan; Sarah, the widow of Ed Rathram; Mary Ann, the widow of Martin Mogan; and John, who died when sixteen years old.

  Edward Connelly was reared under the parental roof and early became familiar with farm work and on starting out in life for himself decided to devote his attention to agricultural pursuits. He owns three hundred and sixty acres in Joliet township, four miles south of Lindsay, and has resided continuously upon that place for thirty-one years. He also holds title to eighty acres in St Bernard township, eighty acres in Walker township and a half section in Colorado. His enterprise and progressiveness rank him among the most efficient farmers of his locality, and he receives a good financial return from the sale of his grain and stock.

  Mr. Connelly was married October 7, 1884, to Miss Margaret Haney, a native of this county and a daughter of John and Mary (Quinn) Haney. Her parents were early settlers of the county and resided south of Columbus. To Mr. and Mrs. Connelly have been born nine children, three of whom are deceased, those living being: Mary, the wife of John Muck, of Lindsay; Sadie, who is teaching in the Lindsay schools; Edward, at home; Ethel, who is teaching in Joliet township; Florence, who is attending school in Fremont; and James, at home.

  Mr. Connelly is a communicant of the Catholic church, whose interests he favors in every way possible, and his political allegiance is given to the democratic party. During the many years of his residence in Platte county he has gained a wide acquaintance, and all who have come in contact with him esteem and respect him because of his ability and his sterling qualities of character.


HUGH HILL.

  Forty-two years have been added to the cycle of the centuries since Hugh Hill became a resident of Platte county and as one of its early settlers he has witnessed the greater part of its growth and development, his memory forming a connecting link between the primitive past and the progressive present. For many years he was actively and successfully engaged in general farming and stock-raising, but is now living retired, having made his home in Monroe since 1904. He was born in County Antrim, Ireland, June 14, 1840, and has therefore passed the seventy-fifth milestone on life's journey. His parents, Samuel and Jane Hill, were also natives of the same county, where the father was a landowner. He was an active man in his locality and both he and his wife held to the religious faith of the United Presbyterian church.

  Hugh Hill acquired a common-school education in Ireland and remained upon his father's farm until he reached the age of twenty-five years, when he crossed the Atlantic to Canada. After spending about a month there he continued his journey to Illinois and was employed on a farm in Cook county. Later he removed to Henry county, where he worked as a farm hand near Kewanee until 1875, when

 

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he came to Platte county, where he has since made his home. Land at that time was very cheap and it was this that induced him to come to Nebraska, for he was very anxious to have a farm of his own. He had carefully saved his earnings and invested in property, after which he began farming on the frontier, using ox teams to break the sod and till the fields. He found conditions indeed of a very crude character and met all of the experiences and hardships of pioneer life. He started in with an eighty acre tree claim, but kept adding to this from time to time by purchase until he is now the owner of seven hundred and sixty acres of valuable land. His home place comprises two hundred and forty acres, upon which he made substantial improvements, rendering it a most comfortable home. He carried on general farming and stock-raising, both branches of his business winning him success up to the time when he retired from active life and removed to Monroe. He is now, a stockholder in the Monroe State Bank and is also interested in the Monroe Farmers Association.

  In Henry county, Illinois, in 1870, was celebrated the marriage of Mr. Hill and Miss Addie Leggett, a native of Philadelphia, who died in 1902, her demise being deeply regretted by many friends as well as her immediate family. To Mr. and Mrs. Hill were born eight children: Sarah, the wife of Oscar Crawford, of Deseret, Utah, by whom she has one child; Edward, a farmer of Platte county, who is married and has four children; Thomas, who is married and is engaged in the grocery business at Loveland, Colorado; Harry, a farmer of Hershey, Nebraska, who is married; Fred, of this county, who is married and has one child; Louis, a farmer of this county, who is married and has three children; Maude, the wife of Ed Kelley, who is in the meat market at Monroe, and by whom she has a daughter, Gwendolyn; and Ida, the wife of Harlan Morrow, a farmer of this county, by whom she has a son, Harlan, Jr.

  Mr. and Mrs. Hill are Presbyterians in religious faith and in the work of the church have taken an active and helpful interest. He assisted in building the church edifice near his farm and has always been a. generous contributor to the support of the cause. In politics he is a democrat, but not an active worker in party ranks. His has been a well spent life, for he has ever been industrious and honest in business, reliable and progressive in citizenship and both he and his wife are held in high regard wherever they are known.


PATRICK MURRAY.

  Patrick Murray, who resided on a farm on section 14, Columbus township, was born in Ireland in July, 1835, and had reached the age of eighty years when death called him. He was one of the pioneer settlers of Platte county, taking active part in its early agricultural development and progress and, moreover, his life record proved what can be accomplished by persistent, earnest effort in the way of attaining success. Coming to America, he arrived in this county in 1855 when a young man of about twenty years and he homesteaded one hundred and sixty acres upon which not a furrow had been turned nor an improvement made. With characteristic energy he began the development of his farm, performing the arduous task of breaking the sod and preparing the land for cultivation. In time, however, his labors were rewarded

 PATRICK MURRAY

 

PAST AND PRESENT OF PLATTE COUNTY 497

by good crops and when there was created a market for his products he found no trouble in disposing of that which he raised. He secured in that way a good income, which he wisely invested in land and to his widow and children he left about eighteen hundred acres.

  Mr. Murray was twice married, his second union being with Miss Frederica Schultz, a daughter of John and Frederica Schultz, whom he wedded on the 3d of July, 1891. His children are: Mary, the wife of John Podraza, of this county; Anna, deceased: Magdalene, the wife of Joseph Kula; John Joseph; Frederica, who is in a convent at Spalding, Nebraska: Michael; Patrick; and Anthony.

  The family are all members of the Catholic church, of which Mr. Murray was a communicant, guiding his life according to its teachings. In his political views he was a democrat, supporting the party from the time he became a naturalized American citizen. For many years he lived in Platte county, witnessed its growth and contributed to its development. He lived to see it change from a wild district upon the western frontier to a populous and prosperous region with all the evidences of an advanced civilization. His own life was one of untiring industry and thrift and perseverance and energy enabled him to overcome all difficulties and obstacles in his path and work his way steadily upward to success. His family is well known in this part of the county and Mrs. Murray, like her husband, has many warm friends.


THOMAS W. SHAFFER.

  Thomas W. Shaffer, a farmer of Lost Creek township, living on section 34, was born at Apple River, Wisconsin, March 7, 1868, a son of George W. and Helen E. (Willard) Shaffer, the former a native of Pennsylvania and the latter o£ Ohio. The father went to Wisconsin when a young man and there lived for nine years, after which he removed to Missouri. In March, 1871, he became a resident of Lost Creek township, Platte county, removing thither in order to buy land at a low price. He became the owner of eighty acres of raw prairie and began his farming with oxen. There were no improvements upon the place, not a single furrow having been turned when he took possession, but with resolute purpose he began to break the sod and till the fields and his labors were soon manifest in good crops as well as in the substantial improvements which he put upon his land. To his original holdings he added until he became the owner of one hundred and sixty acres, which he devoted to general farming purposes. He was an active man in connection with public affairs and was a recognized leader in the ranks of the republican party, which frequently elected him to office. The spirit of advancement and improvement actuated him in all that he did and his efforts were directly beneficial to the community along various lines. He died at the age of sixty years, while his widow, at the age of seventy-five years, is now living in Platte Center.

  Thomas W. Shaffer acquired his education in the district schools and in the Platte Center high school, while through experience he has also learned many valuable lessons. He taught school for three years but his early training was that of the farmer and he remained at home until he reached the age of twenty-seven years, when he married and started out in life on his own account. His first purchase made him the owner of seventy acres of land and since then the boundaries of his farm
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have been extended from time to time until he now owns three hundred acres, constituting a valuable property on section 34, Lost Creek township. His place is what is known as the old Henry Kelly homestead and the lumber for the main part of the house was hauled by wagon from Omaha. A windmill forty-five years old still pumps the well water. His land is good and he has excellent improvements upon it and he also raises a good grade of stock. He is likewise interested in the Farmers Lumber Company of Platte Center as one of the stockholders and directors, but the greater part of his attention has been concentrated upon the development and improvement of his farm, which is today a valuable property and returns to him a gratifying annual income.

  In 1895 Mr. Shaffer was married to Miss Maude Campbell, a native of New Jersey and a daughter of Alfred E. and Add (Lambert) Campbell, the former born in New Jersey and the latter in Scott county, Iowa. They became residents of Davenport, Iowa, where the father was a street car driver on one of the first cars in the old days of horse cars. He had also been a driver on one of the first horse cars in Philadelphia. They removed to Platte county and purchased a farm in Lost Creek township, where they still reside. Mr. and Mrs. Shaffer have become the parents of a son, Clifford, whose birth occurred in 1906.

  Mr. Shaffer holds membership with the Modern Woodmen of America at Monroe and is an elder in the Presbyterian church at Oconee. He takes an interest in education and has been school treasurer for ten years. Aside from his farm his interests center in those channels through which flows the greatest good to the greatest number. He is interested in everything pertaining to the welfare of his community and indorses all measures and movements which work for the material, intellectual and moral advancement of the district.


ADOLPH FRESE.

  Adolph Frese, living on section 11, Bismark township, was born at Westpoint, Cuming county, Nebraska, on the 12th of September, 1875, a son of Adolph William and Barbara Frese. The father was born in Bremen, Germany, January 10, 1841, and the mother's birth occurred in Bavaria, Germany, on the 30th of December, 1848. On coming to the United States they settled at Westpoint, Nebraska, in 1880 moved to Missouri and in 1894 returned to Nebraska.

  Adolph Frese pursued his education in the country schools of Missouri and in the spring of 1894 went to Lynn, Kansas, where he remained until 1896, when he came to Platte county. The following year, desirous to improve his education by a commercial course, he entered the Fremont Normal Business College. On completing his study there he removed to Columbus, where for two years he was employed in a planing mill, but resigned that position preparatory to removing to Medford, Taylor county, Wisconsin, where he entered the employ of the United States Leather Company. He was with that house until he returned to Platte county and settled upon the farm on which he now resides, comprising one hundred and forty acres of land on section 11, Bismark township. He carries on general farming and also engages in raising cattle and hogs. His business affairs are care-

 

PAST AND PRESENT OF PLATTE COUNTY 499

fully managed and his work is conducted in a systematic manner, bringing to him substantial and gratifying success.

  On the 26th of December, 1898, Mr. Frese was united in marriage to Miss E. Josephine Loseke, a daughter of Gerhard Loseke, one of the oldtime and honored residents of the county. Their children are six in number, namely: Paul Gerhard, Dora, Alice, Bernice, LeRoy Adolph and Lloyd Herbert. Politically Mr. Frese casts an independent ballot, voting as his judgment dictates and the occasion demands. His religious faith is that of the German Lutheran church and he is interested in its work and generous in its support. He has led an active life and has constantly progressed, while each forward step in his career has brought him a broader outlook and wider opportunities.


FRED SCHWANTJE.

  Fred Schwantje is a resident farmer living on section 16, Columbus township, where he owns sixty acres of land which is devoted to the cultivation of crops and the raising of stock. The family name indicates his German nativity. He was born in Oldenburg, Germany, October 17, 1858, and his parents, Johann Henry and Katrina (Seeger) Schwantje, were also natives of that place. The father owned a farm and engaged in sheep raising and became comfortably situated in life. He bought his release from service in the German army and bent his energies to the conduct of his business affairs. In religious faith he was a Baptist and was active in the work of the church. He died at the age of sixty-four years, while his wife passed away at the age of seventy-five.

  Fred Schwantje attended the common schools of Germany and after his father's death came with his stepfather and mother to the United States. They made their way to Nebraska and settled in Colfax county, where the stepfather began farming. He purchased railroad land and after his death Fred Schwantje acquired possession of this by purchase. The farm was situated in Shell Creek township, Colfax county, and thereon was laid out the village of Bissell, which Mr. Schwantje named. The stepfather began to make improvements and this work was continued by Mr. Schwantje, who erected a new residence, set out a second grove and otherwise developed the place. He has two hundred acres in that farm and thereon he engaged quite extensively in stock-raising. Into other fields he also extended his efforts, assisting in the building of the chicory factory and the creamery at Schuyler. He continued upon his Colfax county farm until March, 1910, when he removed to section 16, Columbus township, Platte county, where he owns sixty acres, thereon devoting his attention to general agricultural pursuits.

  In 1894 Mr. Schwantje was united in marriage to Miss Emma Saalfeld, a native of Oldenburg, Germany, and a daughter of Henry and Katrina (Krumland) Saalfeld, who were also born in Oldenburg. The father, a carpenter by trade, worked at that occupation throughout his active business career and still owns a small farm. He is a Lutheran in religious faith and has attained the venerable age of eighty years. His wife, born in 1834, passed away in 1907, at the age of seventy-two years. Mrs. Schwantje emigrated to the United States alone in 1893, but came to Columbus, Nebraska, with her uncle, John Saalfeld. By her marriage she has become the

 

500PAST AND PRESENT OF PLATTE COUNTY

mother of twelve children, four of whom died in infancy. The surviving children are as follows: F. Wilhelm, who was born August 27, 1895, and still remains on the home farm with his father; Rose Marie, who was born December 7, 1896, and is a student in the Columbus high school; Herbert P., whose birth occurred June 29, 1900; Albert E., born July 31 1902; Emma K., whose natal day was March 2, 1904; Alice H., born May 12, 1906; Hilda A., born July 12, 1909; and Irena Minnie, born November 10, 1911.

  The family residence is not far from Columbus, so that Mr. Schwantje is able to send his children to the city schools. His political allegiance has always been given the republican party since age conferred upon him the right of franchise and while living in Colfax county he served for nine years as school director in Shell Creek township. His religious faith is that of the Lutheran church and his Christian belief guides him in all of his relations with his fellowmen. He has led a busy life in which industry and determination have been his chief characteristics. Gradually he has worked his way upward and the worth of his business methods is indicated in his growing success, for he is now one of the substantial farmers of Platte county.


EDWARD E. AND ROBERT A. NEWMAN.

  Edward E. and Robert A. Newman, twin brothers and enterprising farmers of Columbus township, living on section 26, are representatives of one of the old pioneer families of Platte county. They were born January 12, 1896, on the farm where they still reside, being sons of William J. and Clara (Merritt) Newman, natives of Pennsylvania and Iowa respectively. In early life William J. Newman began earning his living as a farm hand. His father was killed in the Civil war and this naturally threw him upon his own resources. After his marriage he removed westward to Nebraska in the year 1868. He purchased land and began farming amid the conditions which always exist upon the frontier. There were many hardships and privations to be met and it was a difficult task to convert the wild prairie land into productive fields, but as the years passed on the results of his labor were seen in fine crops and in splendid improvements which he placed upon his land. In 1890 he removed to section 26, Columbus township, and thereon planted shade trees and orchards. He added other accessories of the model farm and lived the life of an active, progressive, enterprising farmer. As his financial resources increased he extended the boundaries of his farm until it comprised three hundred and twenty acres, and in addition to cultivating the cereals best adapted to soil and climate engaged extensively in raising stock. His business affairs were carefully systematically and energetically conducted and he therefore won a substantial measure of prosperity. He was a republican in his political views and served for many years as supervisor, making a most creditable record in office. He never failed to cooperate in any measure for the public good and the cause of education found in him a stalwart champion, his work as a member of the school board being most effective. He died in the year 1911, at the age of sixty-one years, and is still survived by his wife.

  Their sons, Edward E. and Robert A. Newman, were reared on the old home farm and attended school in the neighborhood, dividing their time between the

 

PAST AND PRESENT OF PLATTE COUNTY 501

acquirement of their education and work in the fields. Following their father's death they began cultivating the home farm of one hundred and sixty acres. Their place is known as the Maple Grove Stock Farm, for thereon they raise considerable stock. Their business training under their father well qualified them to take up the work which he laid down. They are yet young men of but nineteen years but they have made a creditable record, displaying excellent business ability and unfaltering enterprise.


AUGUST G. RUNGE.

  August G. Runge, one of the prosperous farmers of Platte county, owning three hundred and eighty-five acres of land, was born in Posen, Germany, February 24, 1866, a son of August Runge, who is now living retired in Columbus and an account of whose life appears elsewhere in this work. Our subject was reared upon the homestead in Bismark township and early became familiar with all phases of farm work. He purchased his father's farm two years ago and as the result of his well directed labor he has gained financial independence. He owns three hundred and sixty acres of good land on section 27, Bismark township, and twenty-five acres in Colfax county, and received a good income from the sale of his grain and stock.

  In 1900 occurred the marriage of Mr. Runge and Miss Katie Hafner, a native of this county and a daughter of Nicholas Hafner, who is living retired in Columbus. To this union have been born four children, Arthur, Sophie, August and Catherine.

  Although he has never been an office seeker, Mr. Runge takes much interest in public affairs and is a stalwart adherent of the democratic party. He is a communicant of the Lutheran church, in whose teachings are found the guiding principles of his life, and his influence is always on the side of right and justice.


WILLIAM H. HOEFELMANN.

  William H. Hoefelmann is a resident farmer of Grand Prairie township, living on section 14. He is leading a life of well directed industry and his success is manifest in the fine appearance of his farm and its many excellent improvements. He was born in Oldenburg, Germany, March 29, 1845, and is a son of Henry and Katrina Hoefelmann. His father was a blacksmith in Germany, following his trade there until 1867, when he came to the new world, settling at Mayville, Wisconsin. He afterward removed to Minnesota and lived retired in that state, making his home with a daughter. He was a member of the Lutheran church.

  William H. Hoefelmann acquired his education in the schools of Germany and in his youthful days learned the blacksmith's trade, at which he worked for some time. He was also employed at farm labor and his time was thus passed in the service of others until he began farming on his own account. Thinking to find better opportunities in the new world, he crossed the Atlantic in 1866, when twenty-one years of age and established his home at Mayville, Dodge county, Wisconsin, there

 

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