© MJH for Buffalo County NEGenWeb Project, 2001
buffalo
Buffalo County and Its People, Volume II
BIOGRAPHICAL

55

(Frederick H. Redington, continued)

Fraternally he belongs to Shelton Lodge, No. 99, A. F. & A. M.; Shelton Lodge, No. 92, K. P.; and Kearney Lodge, No. 984, B. P. O. E. Although he has resided in this county for a comparatively short period, his ability has already gained him recognition as one of its representative business men and citizens. His attractive personal qualities have also gained him the friendship of many.


W. M. ROSS.

    W. M. Ross, a well known sheep and cattle feeder making his home on section 13, Gibbon township, represents a business which is of the utmost value to western Nebraska, it being one of the most important sources of Buffalo county's wealth and upbuilding. In all that he undertakes Mr. Ross displays enterprise and determination and carries forward to successful completion any business in which he becomes engaged. He was born in Indianapolis, Indiana, on the 14th of November, 1873, a son of William B. and Sarah S. (McClain) Ross. The father is native of Ripley county, Indiana, and the mother of Pennsylvania, whence she removed with her parents, to Illinois in her early girlhood, her father, John McClain, being one of the pioneer settlers of Kane county, where he secured a government claim. It was in Aurora, Illinois, that Sarah S. McClain gave her hand in marriage to William B. Ross, who thereafter followed farming in Kane county until 1884, when he removed with his family to Buffalo county, Nebraska, and purchased a farm in Center township. He resided thereon until about 1900, when he removed to La Cygne, Kansas, where he is still carrying on general agricultural pursuits.
    W. M. Ross was reared under the parental roof, his boyhood days bringing to him the usual experiences that fall to the farm lad. He supplemented a district school education by study in the Gibbon Normal School and also by study at Kearney Hall. Following the completion of his course he taught school for three years, at the end of which time he resumed the occupation to which he had been reared, purchasing in 1897 a tract of land of eighty acres on section 3, Gibbon township. He located thereon and continued to engage in farming until 1912, when he removed to Ravenna, where for eight months he occupied a position in the Citizens State Bank. He then purchased the Commercial State Bank at Amherst, of which he is still the president. In company with I. A. Kirk and W. C. Ogilvie he bought the Hershey ranch of four hundred acres adjoining Gibbon. This he is now operating and is one of the heavy stock feeders of Buffalo county, feeding both cattle and sheep. His business has assumed extensive proportions and is most wisely, carefully and successfully directed.
    On the 20th of September, 1900, Mr. Ross was married to Miss Mable Reedy, a daughter of John and Charlotte Reedy, who came to Nebraska from Tama County, Iowa, in 1878. To them have been born three children: John W, Richard R. and Elton S.
    In politics Mr. Ross is a republican. He has served as a member of the school board and as a member of the board of trustees of the cemetery. He conforms his life to the teachings of the Masonic fraternity, holding membership in Granite Lodge, No. 189, F. & A. M., and he is also a member of Gibbon Lodge, No. 37,


56
HISTORY OF BUFFALO COUNTY

I. O. O. F. Both he and his wife are consistent and faithful members and generous supporters of the First Baptist church of Gibbon. Theirs is one of the finest country homes in Buffalo county, finished throughout in hardwood, heated by steam and, in fact, it is strictly modern in all its equipment. Moreover, an air of hospitality is ever supreme and its doors are quickly opened for the reception of their many friends.


MELCHOR N. TROUPE.

    Melchor N. Troupe, treasurer of Buffalo county and resident of Kearney, is of Maryland nativity, his birth having occurred in Washington county, that state, on the 21st of June, 1854. His parents, Henry and Catherine (Schnebly) Troupe, were also natives of Maryland and were of German and Swiss ancestry. Melchor N. Troupe is of the fourth generation on the paternal side and the fifth on the maternal side of his people who have lived in America and is one of a family of ten children, seven of whom are yet living. He was reared upon his father's farm and during his youthful days attended the district schools. With his parents he removed to Pennsylvania in his boyhood and there pursued his studies in a select school. He continued to assist in the work of the home farm until the spring of 1878, when he came to Nebraska and for a time was employed at Lincoln. Later, however, he went to Iowa and for about six years was engaged in farming in Pottawattamie county.     In 1884 Mr. Troupe removed to Buffalo county, Nebraska, and settled in Sartoria township, where he homesteaded one hundred and sixty acres. For about twenty years he resided thereon, devoting his attention to farming and stock raising, particularly in the breeding of shorthorn Durham cattle. His farming interests were carefully and wisely conducted, and success attended his labors, while his industry was manifest in the excellent improvements which he added to his place. In 1903 he became the nominee of his party for treasurer of Buffalo county, to which office he was duly elected. Removing to Kearney he served as treasurer for a term of two years, was reelected and thus served for four consecutive years. Upon the expiration of his second term he engaged in the monument business in Kearney, continuing in that line until 1911, when he was again elected to the office of county treasurer, and the biennial election law enacted in 1913 continued his term of office to three years. In 1914 he was once more chosen by popular suffrage to fill the office and upon the expiration of his present term he will have served Buffalo county nine years as treasurer, his incumbency covering a longer period than any one who has ever held the office.     On the 21st of March, 1882, in Iowa, Mr. Troupe was married to Miss Elizabeth Taylor, who was a native of Jennings county, Indiana, and a daughter of Allen C. and Eliza Taylor. Mrs. Troupe is a graduate of the Northern Indiana Normal School at Valparaiso, and at the time of her marriage was engaged in teaching in Iowa. Harry, the eldest son of Mr. and Mrs. Troupe, was born in Iowa, and during their residence in Buffalo county four other children have been added to the household, these being Louis, Kathrine, Marie and John. The two eldest are married. Harry wedded Pearl Miller and resides in Kear-


57
HISTORY OF BUFFALO COUNTY

ney, where he is engaged in the abstract and insurance business. Louis wedded Miss Margaret Smith, and is engaged in the telephone business. Kathrine followed teaching for four years in Buffalo county and for two years in Valley county and is now a student at the State Normal School at Kearney. Marie is now engaged in teaching for the second year at Albion, Boone county, Nebraska. John is a high school student at Kearney.
    Mr. and Mrs. Troupe are members of the Presbyterian church, and fraternally he is connected with the Independent Order of Odd Fellows, the Benevolent Protective Order of Elks and the Ancient Order of United Workmen. In politics he is a republican. There is no resident of the county who has wider personal acquaintance than Mr. Troupe, and his popularity is indicated in the fact that he has again and again been chosen for the position which he now fills and on each occasion has been accorded a very substantial and gratifying majority. His political as well as his personal integrity is above question, and his entire official career has been marked by honor.


S. N. FREEMAN.

    S. N. Freeman, living in Center township, is a man of sterling character, his personal worth gaining for him the confidence, goodwill and high regard of all with whom he comes in contact. He is the owner of an excellent farm of one hundred and sixty acres upon which is a fine home beautifully situated on an elevation overlooking the valley. Mr. Freeman was born in Sweden on the 1st of December, 1846, and is a son of Mr. and Mrs. Nels Nelson, both of whom died in Sweden. He was reared under the parental roof and the public schools of the neighborhood afforded him his educational privileges. At eighteen years of age he enlisted in the regular army and served for six years. In 1870 he completed his arrangements to come to the new world and after bidding adieu to friends and native country sailed for the United States. He spent the first winter after his arrival near Burlington in Des Moines county, Iowa, and in the following summer was employed on government work along the Mississippi river. In 1872 he settled in Moline, Illinois, where for eleven years he was in the employ of a lumber company. In 1885 he came to Nebraska and located on his present home farm, which he had purchased five years prior to his removal to that place. He has diligently and persistently directed the work of the farm since that time, has brought his fields to a high state of cultivation and has added to the value of his place by the improvements which he has put upon it.
    In Moline, Illinois, Mr. Freeman was united in marriage, to Miss Lottie Holberg, a native of Sweden, by whom he has three children, namely: Esther, at home; Bernett, who is engaged in farming in Center township, this county; and Rose, the wife of Melvin Jones, of Chicago, Illinois. The wife and mother died July 9, 1891, and was laid to rest in the Kearney cemetery.
    Politically Mr. Freeman is a republican who keeps well informed on the questions and issues of the day, although he has never been an office seeker. He and his family are members of the Lutheran church and throughout his


58
HISTORY OF BUFFALO COUNTY

entire life his course has conformed to high Christian principles. He has never sought to take advantage of the necessities of his fellowmen in any busines transaction but has put forth his effort in accordance with the rules that govern industry and strict and unswerving integrity.


JOHN N. NUTTER.

Portrait

    John N. Nutter, a well-to-do retired farmer living on section 16, Shelton township, has resided upon his present farm for thirty-two years. He was born in Gloucester, New Jersey, on the 6th of March, 1856, of the marriage of William and Dinah (Ingham) Nutter, both of whom were natives of Lancashire, England, where they grew to manhood and womanhood. They were married there and continued to live there for several years, but in the early '50s came to the United States with their two children and after remaining for a short time in Gloucester, New Jersey, located in Philadelphia. The father, who was a cotton mill operative, worked in the mills in Philadelphia for several years and made his way upward to the position of superintendent of the mills. He was a member of the Mormon church and in 1860 went to Salt Lake City with a Mormon colony, but he only remained there for a short time, as he became dissatisfied with the way in which affairs were managed and consequently severed his connection with the colony. He came eastward as far as Nebraska and located in Hall county near Shelton. During the Civil war the Indians were so hostile that he was forced to leave his farm and return to England, but after six or eight months he again came to the United States and accepted the position of superintendent of cotton mills in Gloucester, New Jersey. In 1869 he returned to Nebraska and preempted the northeast quarter of section 8, Shelton township, Buffalo county. He resided upon that place until his demise, which occurred in 1908. His wife is still living and makes her home with her son M. D., who is operating the homestead.
    John N. Nutter remained at home during the period of his minority and received his education in the public schools. When twenty-one years of age he began farming on his own account and in 1878 he leased a tract of school land, which he subsequently purchased and on which he now resides. In the same year he took up a homestead in Platte township, on which he lived for five years, but in 1883, having proved up on his claim, he removed to the first mentioned farm, on which he has now lived continuously for thirty-two years. He owns seven hundred and twenty acres of excellent land and his enterprise and efficiency have enabled him to gain financial independence. In 1915 he retired from the active work of the farm, although he is still residing in Shelton township. He is a stockholder in the Farmers Elevator at Gibbon.
    In 1881 Mr. Nutter was united in marriage to Miss Anna Carlson, who was then a resident of Kearney, but whose birth occurred in Sweden. They have become the parents of five children, namely: Olive, the wife of Charles Holmes, of South Denver, Colorado; Effie, who married John Graham, of Hall county, Nebraska; Herbert, who is traveling auditor for the Wells Fargo Express Company; Elsie, the wife of John Evans, of Salem, Oregon; and Beatrice, who mar-


61
HISTORY OF BUFFALO COUNTY

ried John Hogg, of Vancouver, Washington. For his second wife Mr. Nutter married Miss Jennie Ringholdson, a native of Sweden, who came to this country in 1893 and located in Kearney, Nebraska, where they were married while Mr. Nutter was serving as sheriff. There are six children by this Union: Ina, now Mrs. Everett Reynolds, of Red Elm, South Dakota; Hilda, who is teaching school in Lincoln county; and Marjorie, Harold, Daniel and Jean, all of whom are at home.
    Mr. Nutter is a liberal democrat and is well informed on the political issues of the day. For two terms he held the office of sheriff of Buffalo county, serving in that capacity from 1892 to 1896, and his record is highly creditable to his ability and public spirit. He is prominent in local fraternal circles, belonging to Gibbon Lodge, No. 37, I. O. O. F.; Granite Lodge, No. 189, A. F. & A. M.; Kearney Chapter, R. A. M.; Excalibur Lodge, No. 138, K. P.; and to the local organization of the Ancient Order of United Workmen and the Knights of the Maccabees. He is interested in everything that pertains to the public welfare and is recognized as one of the valued citizens of his township.


CLIFFORD CLINTON REED.

    Clifford Clinton Reed, editor and part owner of the Shelton Clipper, has, in the publication of this journal, entered upon a work with which his father was closely associated for many years, maintaining in connection therewith the highest standards of newspaper publication. Clifford C. Reed was born in Shelton July 19, 1889, his parents being Frank D. and Hattie (McKnight) Reed. The father was a native of Middleport, Ohio, born June 30, 1862, and in that state was reared and educated. In early life he learned the printer's trade, which he followed in several states, mostly in the middle west, and at one time he was a member of the State Journal force at Lincoln, Nebraska. He was also associated with his uncle, Dr. F. B. Reed, in the publication of a newspaper at Peru, Nebraska, previous to his removal to Shelton. He became a resident of this city in 1884 and in connection with his brother, William M. Reed, purchased the Shelton Clipper. The partnership continued until 1895, when the brother retired, after which the father continued the publication of the paper alone until his demise, being regarded as one of the ablest as well as one of the oldest newspaper men in the state. On the 16th of July, 1885, he wedded Miss Hattie McKnight, of Hastings, Nebraska, and to them were born five children: Mrs. E. I. Templin, Clifford C., Wauneta, Geneva and Frank. Through appointment of President McKinley Mr. Reed became postmaster at Shelton and filled the office for twelve years, when in 1910 he voluntarily resigned to devote his full time to the publication of the Clipper and the management of the newspaper office. He died November 7, 1911, and was laid to rest in the cemetery at Hastings. Newspapers throughout the state spoke of him in terms of highest regard. He was a man of fine personal appearance and the physical was but an index of the noble spirit within.
    One who was long associated with him in business and in social life and who knew him perhaps better than any one outside of his immediate family circle


62
HISTORY OF BUFFALO COUNTY

said: "There are times when words--mere words--fall far short of expressing the feelings of the heart. Today we mourn the death of a true friend. Yet our loss is small compared with that of the ones who are bereft of a husband and father. To say one word of comfort would be to say that his life work was done well. He made true friends. His good deeds were many and they will always linger in the memory of the people of Nebraska who knew him. Frank Reed will receive a reward for his many good deeds of kindness, for his charity toward his fellowmen and for the life of usefulness to all. To know him better was to respect him more. His warmest friends were those who knew him best. Eight years ago his office was destroyed by fire. In a few moments practically the work of a lifetime was gone. But Frank Reed was not dismayed. He looked on the bright side. Before the fire was out a new outfit was ordered and he commenced the work over again. A new paper rose from those ruins and was better than it had ever been. It had in it Frank Reed's determination to make his paper the best country newspaper in the state. This was his ideal. He lived up to it. His many newspaper friends point with pride to The Shelton Clipper. Not even the fire caused him to miss a single issue. The paper came out on time. No matter how busy with other affairs, his first consideration was for those who were subscribers for his newspaper. He always gave them the best that was in him. He was a loyal, self-sacrificing citizen, public-spirited and generous. Shelton sustains a deep loss. Frank Reed fought many battles for Shelton and won. In his home life he was a generous and wise provider. The care of those near and dear to him by kindred ties was uppermost in his mind. He loved his home. It was very dear to him. I never saw him happier than when the family gathered at the home. He wanted them to have the pleasures of life, no matter what sacrifices it meant to him. No husband could be more kind. No father could bestow greater love and affection on his children. Friends were always welcome at his home. A stranger in need was never turned away empty handed. His deeds of charity were many. Frank Reed stood high in the estimation of the newspaper fraternity of the state. For years he attended the meetings of the Nebraska Press Association and was one of the factors in keeping up the organization. In 1905 he was elected vice president and the year following unanimously chosen as president, an office which he filled with honor. His newspaper was looked on by members of the craft as an ideal paper for a town of this size. He took a very active part in the association meetings and during the twenty-seven years of his newspaper life seldom missed a meeting. No meeting was thought to be quite complete without Frank Reed's presence. He was prominent in lodge work. He was a member of Kearney lodge of Elks, a member of the Shelton lodge of Knights of Pythias, of Phoenix lodge in the Ancient Order of United Workmen, of the Modern Woodmen, Royal Highlanders and Modern Brotherhood of America. He enjoyed his associations in the lodge room and was regarded highly by his fraternal brethren."
    Another wrote of Mr. Reed: "It was my pleasure and profit to know Frank Reed for over eight years and during that time I came to regard him as one of the most resourceful, most talented and most successful men in the country newspaper business. In the Clipper he published a paper that would have been a creditable representative of a community many times as large as


63
HISTORY OF BUFFALO COUNTY

Shelton. For the quantity of news matter that it contained, for the quality of its editorials and for its typographical appearance it was a model worthy to be copied by any progressive newspaper man in the state. Mr. Reed had abilities that would have made him successful in any field, regardless of its size, but it was one of the commendable qualities of the man that he preferred to remain in Shelton, where perhaps he could be of more service than in a field of larger promise. But he was more than a talented newspaper man, he was a friend to every man and woman in the business. He may have had his faults but they were buried in a sea of unselfishness and gentle tolerance."
    Hugh McVicker, of the Nebraska State Journal .of Lincoln, wrote: "Wholesomeness and cheerfulness were dominating traits in the life of Frank D. Reed. He was a masterful, aggressive man in the sense that he met and overcame difficulties, but he was never domineering or a bully. He loved success and achieved it by hard and honest work, not by discrediting other men, for he dislikes the hypocrite, backbiter and fault-finder. He was essentially an optimist; the pessimist to him was a good deal of a mystery. Had he been less generous he probably would have been wealthy. To me his passing is a personal bereavement. We were friends for over thirty years--chums in our youth and companions in later life. To those bound to him by closer ties --his family first, to whom he was devotedly attached--and to his business associates in a less degree, his loss is a tragedy."
    Adam Breede, editor of the Hastings Tribune, said: "To be a man among men, a brother to his fellowmen, an honest, upright and courageous citizen, such was the courage, disposition and ambition of Frank Reed as I knew him. He was brave, good, generous, and kind--and he dared to do all that may become a man. His thoughts and exertions were more for the good of others than they were for himself. His virtues were many and his friends loved him for the splendid type of true manhood that he was."
    Another said: "I counted the friendship of Frank Reed as one of the very pleasant experiences of my life. I do not recall exactly when I first met him. He was one of those persons whom one feels that he had always known. My acquaintance with him covered the span of a quarter of a century. I never met him but that I was conscious of being in the presence of a large-hearted, genial man of a most wholesome nature. And as he was a good friend and true, by those same qualities he was also a kind and proud husband and father. I think there was no finer trait of his character than his consideration and affection for his family, which he always unconsciously showed. Though of a most genial personality, he was firm and courageous in defending what he believed to be right and hesitated not to condemn what he knew to be wrong. This made him a good editor and a valuable citizen. It is of such as he we may well apply the words of Shakespeare, 'The elements in him were so mixed that the whole world ought to stand up and say, "This was a man."'"
    When Frank D. Reed lay down his work never again to pen an editorial, his task was taken up by his son, Clifford C. Reed, who had been reared in Shelton and was educated in its public schools, being graduated from the high school with the class of 1907. When his text-books were put aside he had the business training and experience that came to him as assistant to his father in the printing office and the influence of the standards maintained by the


64
HISTORY OF BUFFALO COUNTY

elder Reed could not fail to have its effect upon the son. Upon the father's death he assumed charge of the Shelton Clipper, in which work he is associated with his brother-in-law, E. L. Templin. They maintain the high standard established by the father and Mr. Reed is displaying in the conduct of the paper much of the developing ability which brought his father to a foremost place among the journalists of the state.
    In his political views Mr. Reed is a stalwart republican, tenacious in his support of what he believes to be right and progressive in his opinions. His fraternal relations are with Shelton Lodge, No. 92, K. P. He has a very wide acquaintance in the city in which he has always lived and his circle of friends is almost coextensive therewith.




C. VAN DYCK BASTEN, M.D.

    Dr. C. Van Dyck Basten, a prominent and valued representative of the medical profession in western Nebraska, who has practiced continuously in Kearney since May, 1883, was born at Kingston, Ulster county, New York, on the 25th of May, 1859, and is one of the three surviving members in a family of five children who were born of the marriage of George W. and Esther (Bevier) Basten. He was reared upon his father's farm with the usual experiences of the farm lad and acquired his early education in Ulster Academy. For two years he read medicine under the direction of Drs. Crispell & Smith, at Kingston, and later continued his studies with Dr. W. C. Goodno, of Philadelphia, as his preceptor. Still later he entered the Hahnemann Medical College in 1879, remaining a student in that institution for two years, but owing to failing health was compelled to relinquish his studies for a time. Later he went to Iowa and completed his medical education in the medical department of the State University at Iowa City, receiving his degree in 1883. Since that time he has taken numerous post-graduate courses in New York, Chicago and elsewhere, and by continued study and investigation keeps abreast with the most scientific research and progress.
    Dr. Basten began the practice of his profession at Kearney in May, 1883, and has since here remained, winning early recognition as one of the foremost physicians of this part of the state--a position which he has since retained. He is ever careful in the diagnosis of his cases and his judgment is seldom at fault in regard to the outcome of disease. His professional duties are most conscientiously performed and his sympathy and consideration are elements in his popularity as well as the skill which he displays in practice.
    On the 24th of November, 1885, Dr. Basten was married to Miss Adah Seaman, of Kearney, and they have an adopted daughter, Mary Edna. The religious faith of the family is that of the Methodist church, and Dr. Basten is connected with the Benevolent Protective Order of Elks and with the Masonic˙fraternity, in which he has attained high rank, being now a Knight Templar. His political allegiance is given to the republican party, and although he keeps well informed on the questions and issues of the day he does not seek office. His membership along professional lines is with the Buffalo County and the Nebraska


65
HISTORY OF BUFFALO COUNTY

State Medical Societies. He is an extremely busy and successful practitioner, an industrious and ambitious student and in his expressions concerning brother physicians is friendly and indulgent.


SILAS B. FUNK.

    Buffalo county has been signally favored in the class of men who have occupied her public offices, for on the whole they have been patriotic citizens, loyal to the trust reposed in them and capable in the discharge of their varied and important duties. Such a one is Silas B. Funk, now serving as sheriff. A native of Franklin county, Pennsylvania, he was born December 12, 1854, his parents being Henry and Margaret (Good) Funk, who were also natives of the Keystone state and representatives of what is known as Pennsylvania Dutch stock.
    Upon the home farm of his parents, Silas B. Funk was reared and in his boyhood days attended the common schools, but at the age of twelve years started out in life on his own responsibility. At that period he became imbued with the ambition to go west and see something of the new country. He ran away from home, proceeded as far as Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, and there joined a wagon train drawn by oxen, bound for Salt Lake City, then known as Camp Douglas. With this wagon train he passed up the Platte river and over the site where Kearney now stands, but at that period there was nothing here save prairie dogs and rattlesnakes. The entire countryside was unsettled. Over it roamed wandering tribes of Indians, and the buffaloes and coyotes were numerous. Mr. Funk was employed at driving a team of oxen, the train belonging to Caldwell & Company, of Leavenworth. After unloading at Camp Douglas, they started on the return trip and spent the winter about forty miles southwest of Cheyenne. In the spring of 1867 they proceeded to North Platte, to which town the Union Pacific Railroad had been extended and there the ox train was sold. During the summer Mr. Funk acted as assistant wagon master. From North Platte he proceeded to Fort Leavenworth, and there joined another train bound for Fort Union, New Mexico. From there he went to Texas and became a cow puncher, continuing in that business for about fifteen years.
    In the fall of 1882 Mr. Funk arrived in Buffalo county, Nebraska, and began farming in Loup township, where he carried on business for seven years. On the expiration of that period he removed to Kearney and became connected with the police force. In 1897 he was elected sheriff of the county and served for two terms of two years each. Later he spent five years in Wyoming and Utah as a detective for the Union Pacific Railroad, and later again became a member of the Kearney police force, in which connection he remained until he was once more elected sheriff of the county in 1914, and resumed the duties of the office the following January. His life has been a stirring and ofttimes exciting and dangerous one. He has had many encounters with the Indians during his freighting and cowboy days, and met all of the experiences incident to life on the frontier. He deserves much credit for work which he did in early times when a freighter, cowboy and detective he aided in planting the seeds of civilization


66
HISTORY OF BUFFALO COUNTY

and in bringing about normal conditions in rendering life and property safe and in promoting progress.
    Mr. Funk was married in 1879 to Miss Elizabeth Hunter, and by this marriage he has one daughter living, Mabel, now the wife of Victor Beck, of Broken Bow, Nebraska. The wife and mother passed away in 1886, and for his second wife Mr. Funk chose Mrs. Anna B. Lower, of Kearney, their marriage being celebrated November 4, 189O. Mrs. Funk is a member of the Congregational church,
    Mr. Funk has membership with the Masons, having attained the Knight Templar degree of the York Rite, while with the Nobles of the Mystic Shrine he has crossed the sands of the desert. In varied relations he has proven his manhood and his worth, and those who know him speak of him in terms of warm regard.


JOSEPH NELSON ASHBURN

Portraits of Parents, D. P. Ashburn and Mrs. D. P. Ashburn

    Joseph Nelson Ashburn, proprietor of the Gibbon Roller Mills, belongs to that class of men to whom opportunity is ever the pathway to success. He has never been afraid to venture where favoring opportunity has led the way and his diligence and determination are carrying him steadily forward. He was born in Trumbull county, Ohio, September 7, 1869, a son of Dillon P. and Emily A. (Brown) Ashburn, the former a native of Ohio and the latter of New York. The father came with the colony that settled in this section of Buffalo county and thus the family has been represented here since pioneer times.
    Joseph N. Ashburn was reared upon the old homestead place and supplemented his district school education by study in the Gibbon high school and in the United Brethren College at Gibbon, After completing his studies he served as assistant postmaster for four years, his father having been appointed to the position of postmaster at Gibbon. Later J. N. Ashburn occupied the position of collector for the implement house of David Bradley & Company for a short time, but in 1893 his father represented the dairy interests at the Columbian Exposition in Chicago and J. N. Ashburn remained at the exposition from July until November, being connected with the bureau of awards. He afterward returned to Gibbon and for three years was employed in the drug store of M. H. Noble. Subsequently he worked in the lumberyard of W. H. Buck for a short period, and when he had retired from that position he became associated with the Beatrice Creamery Company of Lincoln, which he represented upon the road and in other important capacities for nine years. He then went to Coeur d'Alene, Idaho, where he was employed by the Kidd Island Lumber Company, acting unofficially as manager, while later he became secretary of the company. He remained with that company for three years, and in 1910 returned to Nebraska, spending a short time with an Omaha lumber company which he represented upon the road. In the spring of 1911 he came to Gibbon as yard manager for W. H. Buck, in which capacity he served until 1913. In April of the latter year he purchased a half interest in the Gibbon Roller Mills and upon the death of Roy A. Davis, the senior partner, on the 31st of October, 1914,


71
HISTORY OF BUFFALO COUNTY

he purchased his interest in the business and became sole proprietor of what is now one of the leading productive industries of Buffalo county.
    On the 28th of June, 1898, Mr. Ashburn was united in marriage to Miss Hattie B. McConnaughey, her father being Orlando McConnaughey, one of the prominent men of Gibbon. To them have been born four children, namely: Bernice L., Harry Arthur, Constance D. and Edith L.
    Mr. Ashburn is a prominent Mason, belonging to Granite Lodge, No. 189, A. F, & A. M, while in Omaha Consistory he has attained the thirty-second degree of the Scottish Rite. Both he and his wife are connected with the Order of the Eastern Star. In politics he is a republican, and while he has never held public office, he has served as a member of the school board. Since starting out in business life on his own account he has gradually worked his way upward, improving his opportunities and utilizing his advantages until he has become one of the active, well known and prosperous business men of Buffalo county.


EARL E. HILL

    Earl E. Hill is a member of the firm of Hill Brothers, general merchants of Riverdale, and is numbered among the most enterprising and progressive business men of his part of the county. He is now acting as postmaster and at all times he is interested in the progress and development of the district in which he lives in the extent of giving active cooperation to various movements, for the general good. He was born October 28, 1881, in the town where he still resides, and is son of Cosmo S. and Mary (Delano) Hill. The father's birth occurred in Bethel, Vermont, in 1848 and, emigrating westward in 1873, he settled at Riverdale, Nebraska, purchasing a relinquishment to an eighty-acre tract of land which he at once began to develop and improve. He was a son of Steven Hill, who was also a native of Vermont.
    The birth of Earl E. Hill occurred on the old homestead farm in Riverdale township and his education was acquired in the district schools. When not occupied with his lessons he aided in the work of the fields and afterward took up the active task of further developing and improving his father's farm on section 4, Riverdale township, there giving his attention to general agricultural pursuits until 1904, when he engaged in the grain business at Riverdale, establishing an elevator. In 1906 he formed a partnership with J. E. Nelson and embarked in general mechandising [sic] under the firm style of Hill & Nelson. That relationship was maintained until 1910, when Mr. Nelson disposed of his interest to E. S. Hill, a brother of E. E. Hill, and the firm name was changed to Hill Brothers, under which style the business has since been conducted. They have a well appointed store, carrying a large and carefully selected line of goods and drawing a gratifying trade not only from the village but from the surrounding country as well. Earl E. Hill is also postmaster of Riverdale, having been appointed April 2g, 1910, the postoffice being located in the general store of Hill Brothers.
    On the 1st of August, 1906, at Riverdale, Mr. Hill was joined in wedlock to Miss Mary A. Ball, a native of Wisconsin and a daughter of Gilbert and


72
HISTORY OF BUFFALO COUNTY

Mary Ball. They have two children, Iona and Irene, who are eight and six years of age respectively. Mr. Hill belongs to Riverdale Camp, No. 1072, M. W. A., and to Riverdale Lodge, No. 352, I. O. O. F., and in the former he served as venerable consul for four terms. In politics he is a democrat where national issues are involved but at local elections casts an independent ballot. He concentrates his efforts upon his business affairs and success in large measure is attending him, for the methods which he pursues are in accordance with modern business principles.


A. F. BILLS

    A. F. Bills, manager of the Farmers Elevator Company at Shelton, is thoroughly acquainted with every phase of the grain trade and is thus well qualified to carry on the work which now engages his attention. His birth occurred in Pike county, Illinois, on the 1st of March, 1858, his parents being Arthur F. and Elizabeth (Wilkes) Bills, the former born in New York of English parentage, while the latter was a native of Louisville, Kentucky. They were married in Louisville, Kentucky, and soon afterward or in the year 1851 removed to Pike county, Illinois, where the father engaged in farming and stock raising. He purchased three hundred and twenty acres of land and was quite a heavy stock buyer. During the Civil war he had government contracts to furnish meat to the troops and for a long period he carried on an extensive business. In 1862, he returned to Kentucky and at Bowling Green borrowed five thousand dollars to use in his live-stock transactions. This he brought back with him in gold and silver and hid it in a buckwheat bin in an old unused log cabin. A few days later a little daughter discovered the hiding place of the money and he therefore hid it in another place. The Missouri bushwhackers were troublesome and raids were frequent. A few nights later a number of watchdogs which he kept made a great fuss and the next morning he was found dead outside his door. He had evidently gone out to find what ' was causing the -disturbance. The hiding place of the money was never found, nor was it ever known whether or not the bushwhackers had succeeded in making their escape with it. Through the death of the father and the loss of this money the family were obliged to lose their farm. Subsequently the mother became the wife of Isaiah Lewton and they removed to Minnesota, where they resided for a year. The following year they became residents of Augusta, Hancock county, Illinois, and in 1872 the family went to Nebraska, settling in Hall county, where Mr. Lewton homesteaded one hundred and sixty acres of land. In 1874 they removed to Wood River, where the death of Mr. Lewton occurred about 1883. The mother afterward came to Shelton and made her home with her son, A. F. Bills, until her death in 1885. It was Mr. Lewton who shot the last buffalo ever killed in this section of the state. Five buffaloes crossed the Platte river on June 23, 1875, and he succeeded in bringing down one of the number.
    A. F. Bills was educated in the common schools and started out as a farmer when but seventeen years of age by purchasing eighty acres of land in Jackson township, Hall county. There he began farming on his own account and in 1878 he traded this land for a grocery store in Shelton. A year later, however,


bar
Back Next

Bio Index NamesHome

bar