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


(Arthur R. Nichols, continued)
occurred June 21, 1914. His religious faith is indicated by his membership in the Christian church, while fraternally he is identified with the Masons and the Elks. His interest centers in all those things which have to do with the development and upbuilding of the county along material, intellectual and moral lines. His friends, and they are many, bear testimony to his sterling personal worth and to the excellent results which he is accomplishing in his chosen field.


    Charles C. Black, deceased, was a prominent pioneer settler of Kearney and with the development and upbuilding of the county was closely associated by reason of his activity along agricultural lines. He settled within the borders of the county when much of the land was still in possession of the government and secured a homestead claim which he converted into productive fields. Mr. Black was born near Mount Pleasant, Iowa, December 17, 1848, his parents being pioneers of that section. He was reared on a farm there and pursued his education in the schools of Mount Pleasant, taking up the profession of teaching school when a young man, for at that time the old homestead had been sold and the money divided among the heirs. Thinking perhaps to make the practice of law his life work, he began reading and devoted a year or two to the profession, but found it uncongenial. He accordingly went to Colorado, spending some time in Pueblo and in Canyon City in the mercantile business. The year 1876 witnessed his arrival in Kearney, after which he secured a homestead relinquishment to fifty-seven acres two miles southwest of the city, and also took a timber claim of eighty acres three miles northeast of Kearney, purchasing the relinquishment to both. Thinking it time to have a helpmate on life's journey, he was married on the 13th of February, 1877, to Miss Elizabeth Chesley, who was born in Fond du Lac, Wisconsin, September 4, 1854. There she was reared and educated and in 1875 went to the home of a sister in Lincoln, Nebraska. The following year she removed to Kearney, where she engaged in the millinery business, having learned the trade in Wisconsin. She followed that pursuit for only a short time and then sold her store, for early in the following year she was married.
    In May, 1877, Mr. Black took up his abode upon the old homestead and bent his energies to the development and improvement of the place, which was largely a tract of wild land when it came into his possession. To the original farm of fifty-seven acres he added from time to time until within its borders were comprised two hundred and thirty acres. He and his wife each had a little money and they began dealing in live stock, both raising and feeding stock. Success attended the efforts of Mr. Black in this connection and he always made his live stock an important feature of his business, keeping on hand high grades of cattle and hogs, for which he found a ready sale on the market. He remained a very active figure in agricultural circles up to the time of his death, which occurred June 1, 1889, when he was but forty-one years of age.
    To Mr. and Mrs. Black were born seven children. Adah and Beulah were twins, but the latter died at the age of twelve years. The former became the


wife of T. F. Hamer and died at the age of twenty-nine, leaving three sons: Francis, who died in 1913, Thomas, and Robert. Her children at the time of the mother's death went to live with their grandmother, Mrs. Black, who reared them. Dott is a public stenographer at the Midway Hotel of Kearney. Jessie, born April 23, 1883, is the wife of Charles C. Robinson, of Santa Monica, California. Ruth is the wife of Frank Todd, of Los Angeles. Susan and Donald are twins and the former is now with her mother, while the latter is a prosperous stockman and farmer living fifteen miles from Billings, Montana. The youngest children were less than two years of age when Mrs. Black was left a widow with the care of a family of seven. She managed the farm, reared and educated her children most carefully and manifested a most brave and determined spirit. She had been on the ranch for a year when the house burned in the night and all of its contents were destroyed. She then came to Kearney and rented her land for a part of the time and part of the time managed it and operated it with hired help.
    She afterward purchased another farm, which she later sold at an advance. She still owns the old home property, together with a nice residence in Kearney. She displays excellent business ability and executive force and has most capably controlled her interests, deserving much credit for what she has accomplished since the death of her husband, whose loss was an irreparable one to her, for he had been an active, enterprising and progressive business man and they were putting forth most earnest and effective effort to develop and improve their business interests and rear their family.


    Charles Bonsack, a successful farmer and stock raiser of Sharon township, has thoroughly identified his interests with those of his county and state and is recognized as a public-spirited citizen. He was born in Germany on the 4th of February, 1857, of the marriage of Frank and Louisa Bonsack, also natives of that country, where they passed their entire lives. Eight of their sixteen children are still living.
    Charles Bonsack was reared at home and acquired his education in the schools of his native land. In 1881 he crossed the Atlantic to the United States and the next three years were spent in the vicinity of Denver, Colorado, where he engaged in ranching. In 1884 he went to Grand Island, Nebraska, whence the year following he removed to Buffalo county and purchased his present farm, which comprises one hundred and sixty acres on section 10, Sharon township. He has erected substantial buildings upon the place and takes pride in keeping everything about the farm in good condition. Although he raises some grain he gives the greater part of his attention to feeding stock and is recognized as one of the leading stock raisers of his locality.
    In 1885 occurred the marriage of Mr. Bonsack and Miss Kate Vogel, also a native of Germany, who in 1881 came with her mother to America, the father having passed away in Germany. The mother spent her last days in Missouri.
    Mr. and Mrs. Bonsack have become the parents of eight children: Bertha, who married George Jewell, of Kansas; Frank and William, both of. whom are


at home; Rosie, the wife of Lester Quackenbush, now a resident of Minnesota; Harvey, George and Herbert, all at home; and Mary Ann, deceased.
    Mr. Bonsack supports the republican party and for ten years has been on the school board, his retention in this office proving the acceptability of his services.
    He is a member of the Grange and can be counted upon to further any movement that seeks to improve the conditions of farm life. He is determined, self-reliant and possesses sound judgment--qualities which do much toward insuring success in any line of activity.


    Milton H. Bean is now living retired, making his home in Kearney. He is, however, numbered among the pioneer stockmen and farmers of Buffalo county, having carried on general agricultural pursuits here from 1870 until 1907, when his well directed industry had brought to him a measure of success sufficient to enable him to live retired. Mr. Bean is a native of Pennsylvania. He was born in Bucks county, February 2, 1843, a son of Manasseh and Hannah (Harr) Bean, who were also natives of the same county, where they spent their entire lives, the father there following the occupation of tailoring for a number of years, while in later life he gave his attention to farming.
    Milton H. Bean spent his boyhood upon the home farm and when twenty-three years of age left the Keystone state for Illinois, making his way to Marshall county, where for four years he cultivated rented land. Thinking to have better opportunities to acquire a farm in the west, he came to Buffalo county in 1879 and purchased eighty acres at three dollars per acre. It was a wild tract on which not a furrow had been turned nor an improvement made. He at once began the task of breaking the sod and developing the fields and later he purchased an eighty-acre tract adjoining. He built thereon a little house and kept bachelor's hall and as he found opportunity he added to his land, purchasing another eighty acres soon after his arrival, while a few years later he bought one hundred and sixty acres, for which he paid twelve and a half dollars per acre. His wife also had a homestead of one hundred and sixty acres near by and he operated these various tracts of land, carefully cultivating his crops and also engaging in stock raising. His business affairs were wisely conducted and energy and determination at length brought to him the success which is now his and which enables him to rest from further labor. He lived upon his farm until 1907, after which he sold the home place of two hundred and forty acres and rented the remainder. He then came to Kearney, where he erected his present residence and has since made his home.
    On the i3th of March, 1884, Mr. Bean was united in marriage to Miss Kate Trott, who was born in Ohio, April 2, 1851, and in her girlhood days' went to Missouri and thence to Nebraska. Here she took up a homestead in Rusco township, Buffalo county, proved up the property and also engaged in teaching school. Mr. and Mrs. Bean became the parents of a daughter, Margaret Trott, who is at home with her father. The wife and mother passed away January 28, 1900, in the faith of the Methodist church, of which she was a devoted member.


Mr. Bean was reared in the German Reformed church. In business life he has been very successful, his advancement being made through earnest effort, close application and indefatigable energy. He never neglected a duty in the care of his fields, planted his crops in timely season, cultivated them according to modern methods and in the course of years gained a substantial measure of prosperity.


    No history of Kearney would be complete without extended reference to Charles B. Finch, who for thirty-six years was engaged in mercantile pursuits in this city. Honored and respected by all, no man occupies a more enviable position in commercial circles, not alone by reason of the success which he has achieved but also owing to the straightforward policy which he has ever followed. Moreover, he has taken an active and helpful interest in public affairs and his influence in municipal matters has been far-reaching and beneficial.
    A native of Illinois, he was born on Christmas day of 1848 at Dallas City, Hancock county. His father, John M. Finch, was a native of Pennsylvania and removed to Illinois prior to the era of railroad building in that state. For a time he lived at Rock Island and about the year 1840 removed to Nauvoo, which was then owned almost wholly by the Mormons. He there engaged in mercantile pursuits and during his residence at Nauvoo often had discussions with Joseph Smith,the Mormon prophet and leader. At the time of the uprising which resulted in the lynching of Smith, he and others were compelled to seek homes elsewhere. Accordingly he located at what is now Dallas City, Illinois, on the Mississippi river, and there resumed his interrupted mercantile career. He also embarked in pork packing on a small scale, making shipments to the south. He continued his residence at Dallas City until about 1884, when he came to Kearney, Nebraska, where he died in 1888. His wife bore the maiden name of Elizabeth Bostwick and was a daughter of Dr. Bostwick, one of the old time physicians of Fort Madison, Iowa, who lost his life while attempting to cross the Mississippi river on the ice in answer to a professional call. Mrs. Finch passed away in Kearney in 1893. In the family were five children who reached adult age.
    Charles B. Finch was reared to manhood in Illinois, where he acquired such education as the common schools afforded. When but fourteen years of age he began clerking in his father's store and was thus employed for some time, after which he was admitted to a partnership in the business and still later became his father's successor, continuing active at Dallas City until 1879, when he shipped his stock to Kearney, Nebraska, and here opened a general mercantile store. In a short time he confined his attention exclusively to dry goods and developed one of the largest and best equipped establishments of that kind in the city. For thirty-six years he was actively identified with the mercantile history of the place and his business largely set the standard for similar enterprises in the town.
    In 1879 his brother, Ed B. Finch, removed to Kearney and joined him in business, becoming a partner a number of years later. Together they conducted their dry goods interests until February, 1915, when they sold out and thus passed out of


existence as the property of the firm of Finch Brothers one of the oldest and most reliable mercantile establishments of Buffalo county. Charles B. Finch is now practically living retired but is still interested in the Finch-Patterson Motor Company, in which he holds considerable stock.
    Mr. Finch had five children, as follows: Charles and Edith, both of whom are deceased; Elizabeth Blanche, the wife of H. R. Krug, of Asbury Park, New Jersey; Sadie B., a student of National Park Seminary of Washington, D. C.; and John M., now on the Pacific coast.
    Fraternally Mr. Finch is connected with Masonry. In this he has taken every degree of the Scottish Rite, including the thirty-third, and the Knights of the Red Cross of Constantine and the Royal Order of Scotland, and every degree and order of the York Rite, and in addition is a member of Tangier Temple of the Mystic Shrine, at Omaha. He has served as worshipful master of the lodge where he was raised in Illinois; commander of Mt. Hebron Commandery at Kearney and grand commander of the state of Nebraska.
    There is no phase of Kearney's development with which Mr Finch is not familiar. On his arrival here the city was but an overgrown frontier village, there being but a few brick buildings in the place at that time, while the country homes through the surrounding district were largely sod houses. At that time Kearney could boast of only wooden sidewalks and there was no street lighting, nor had water works been installed. With the work of progress and improvement he has always been actively identified and his labors have been directly beneficial along many lines. While a democrat in politics, he was elected as a candidate of the business men of Kearney for the office of mayor and served in that capacity for three years. It was during his incumbency that the first Board of Trade was organized and he was elected its first president. During his administration the streets were renamed, the houses were numbered, a sewer system was inaugurated and the electric lighting system was established. Miles of cement sidewalks were built and other substantial improvements were carried forward. Mr. Finch has never believed in hampering public progress by useless retrenchment nor was there any useless expenditure in his administration. He conducted municipal affairs upon business principles and the same qualities which won for him success as a merchant furthered the interests and welfare of his city.


    John Conroy is identified with agricultural interests as the owner of land in Scotts Bluff county, Nebraska, but gives his time to his duties as postmaster of Shelton, Buffalo county, where he resides. He was born in Ireland on the 25th of September, 1851, of the marriage of Patrick and Elizabeth (Moran) Conroy, both of whom were born in that country. The father died in February, 1861, in Ireland, and in March, 1867, his wife came to America with her seven children. The family lived in Pennsylvania for some time but the death of the mother occurred in Buffalo, New York. There were seven sons in the family, of whom five are still living.
    John Conroy remained at home until he was twenty years of age and then


began learning the tanner's trade, which he followed in Pennsylvania until 1878. In that year he came to Buffalo county, Nebraska, and bought a farm six miles north of Shelton, where he lived for eight years. In 1886 he was appointed postmaster of Shelton by President Cleveland and for four years served in that capacity. During that time he conducted a general store, which was located in the same building as the postoffice, but in 1893 he disposed of that business. For four years he was deputy postmaster and then served as assessor of both this township and city of Shelton until 1914, when he was again made postmaster, receiving his appointment from President Wilson. He understands the duties of the office thoroughly, is systematic and accurate in his work, and his services as postmaster are very satisfactory to his fellow citizens. He owns three hundred and twenty acres in Scotts Bluff county and derives therefrom a gratifying financial return.
    In 1874 Mr. Conroy was united in marriage to Miss Anna Edwards, a native of Ireland and a daughter of Mr. and Mrs. George Edwards, both of whom are deceased. Mr. and Mrs. Conroy have become the parents of seven children: William G., deceased; Mary Elizabeth, the wife of H. C. Gumprecht; Ellen, at home; Kathryn J., who is deputy postmaster; Fannie, the wife of T. P. Hoye; John, deceased; and Stewart P., at home.
    Mr. Conroy has given his political allegiance to the democratic party since age conferred upon him the right of franchise, and has always been active in public affairs. He has served on the town board, was for six years a member of the school board and for ten years held the office of assessor. Both he and his wife are members of the Roman Catholic church and aid in the work of that organization. He not only has the respect of all who have been associated with him but has also gained the warm personal regard of many.



    Dr. J. W. Miller is an able physician and surgeon who is enjoying a large practice at Gibbon and from the surrounding country. His colleagues and contemporaries acknowledge his ability and attest his worth as a man and citizen as well as a physician. He was born in Koszta, Iowa, May 10, 1859, and is a son of Dr. Ephraim P. and Margaret (Dey) Miller, both of whom were natives of Pennsylvania, where they were reared and married. They subsequently removed to Koszta, Iowa, where Dr. Miller engaged in the practice of medicine up to the time of his death, which occurred about 1863. His widow afterward became the wife of Amos Pettyes and removed to Reedsburg, Wisconsin, where Dr. J. W. Miller was reared and educated, passing through consecutive grades in the public schools until graduated from the Reedsburg high school.
    In 1880 J. W. Miller took up the study of medicine, pursuing his reading under the preceptorship of Dr. Samuel Hall of Reedsburg until the fall of 1881, when he entered Rush Medical College of Chicago, there pursuing the full course, which he completed by graduation in March, 1884. He then returned to Reedsburg and entered upon active practice in connection with his former preceptor, Dr. Hall, with whom he remained from March until September. At that time


he removed to Mason City, Nebraska, where he was .successfully identified with the practice of his profession until 1895. In that year he removed to Gibbon, where he has since been located. He is today the oldest practicing physician of the town and is numbered among the leading physicians and surgeons of Buffalo county. He has had broad practical experience through almost a third of a century and during this period he has kept in touch with the trend of modern thought and scientific investigation by broad reading and study. He is very careful in the diagnosis of his cases and seldom at fault in determining the outcome of disease.
    On the 14th of October, 1891, Dr. Miller was united in marriage to Miss Mary L. Walker, of Mason City, Nebraska, and to them have been born four children, of whom three are living: Edith, who is a graduate of the State University of Nebraska of the class of 1915, and is now a teacher in the public schools of Howell, this state; Erwin, who is pursuing a course in mechanical engineering in the State University; and Arthur, a student of the Gibbon high school.
    The parents hold membership in the Presbyterian church and, being people of the highest respectability, occupy an enviable position in social circles. Dr. Miller is a member of Granite Lodge, No. 189, A. F. & A. M, and of the Modern Woodmen Camp. Along strictly professional lines he has connection with the Buffalo County Medical Society and with the Nebraska State Medical Society and he thus keeps abreast with the trend of modern thought and investigation along professional lines. He holds to high ideals in his chosen life work and his ability is manifest in the excellent results which attend his labors.


    C. M. Beck, of Gibbon, is successfully engaged in the real estate and insurance business; is also manager of the Farmers Home Telephone Company and is likewise an extensive landholder. His birth occurred in Ohio on the 11th of November, 1859, and he is a son of Daniel and Elizabeth (Kramer) Beck, natives of Pennsylvania who removed to Ohio at an early day in the history of that state. The father followed the occupation of carpentering and was recognized as an expert workman. Both he and his wife passed away in the Buckeye state. Seven of their ten children are still living.
    C. M. Beck was reared in Ohio and there received his education, but in 1888 he came to Buffalo county, Nebraska, and opened a real estate and insurance office in Gibbon. He has since continued active in those fields and in the years that have since intervened has handled a large amount of business. He is also a heavy stockholder in the Farmers Home Telephone Company, of which he is manager, and owns stock in the Exchange Bank. He has fully recognized the value of real estate as an investment and has acquired title to seven hundred and sixty acres of excellent land, all of which is improved. He has been quick to utilize opportunities, and his enterprise and sound judgment have enabled him to win financial independence
    In 1800 Mr. Beck was united in marriage to Miss Susie M. Henderson, a


native of Iowa and a daughter of Colonel P. P. and Catherine Henderson. Mr. and Mrs. Beck are the parents of a son, Gerald H, who was born July 5, l894, and is now taking the medical course at the State University of Nebraska at Lincoln.
    Mr. Beck is a republican and has served as clerk and town treasurer. He holds membership in Granite Lodge, No. 189, A. F. & A. M., in which he has filled all of the chairs, and he is also identified with the York Rite, having taken the commandery degrees. For twenty-five years he served as clerk of Gibbon Camp, No. 708, M. W. A., his long retention in that office indicating the high esteem in which he is held in that organization. His wife belongs to the Methodist Episcopal church. He has resided in this county for more than a quarter of a century and during that time has gained the warm friendship of many and the sincere respect of all with whom he has been associated.


    Warren Pratt, whose residence in Kearney, dating from January 7, 1881, covers a period of more than a third of a century and compasses the period of greatest development and progress here, is now engaged in the practice of law and has long been identified with the most important litigation heard in the courts of his district. The consensus of public opinion places him in a conspicuous and enviable position among the foremost lawyers of western Nebraska and his reputation has been earned at the price of indefatigable effort, broad study and devotion to the interests of his clients.
    Mr. Pratt was born at New Boston, Illinois, on the 3d of February, 1859, and is one of a family of seven children, of whom three are now living. The parents were Lacey and Elizabeth (Baker) Pratt, natives of Ohio and England respectively. The father became a contractor and for some time operated a planing mill at New Boston, where he died in the year 1871.
    When but twelve years of age Warren Pratt started out in life on his own account, working on a farm through the summer months, while in the winter seasons he largely attended the district schools until he reached the age of twenty years, when he took up the profession of teaching, securing a position in a district school. In the fall of 1880 he came with a married sister to Nebraska, settling in Nemaha county, and in January, 1881, he arrived in Kearney, which at that time was a small town upon the western frontier. For three months he assisted a cousin who was conducting a grocery store in Kearney, but having determined to make the practice of law his life work, he put aside mercantile pursuits and became a student in the office of E. C. Calkins, who directed his reading until his admission to the bar in 1883. He at once entered upon the practice of his profession with his preceptor under the firm name of Calkins & Pratt, and for thirty-three years he has been continuously engaged in the active practice of law in Kearney. During this period he has' been identified with most of the important litigation tried in the courts of the district and is regarded as a wise counselor and strong advocate. He prepares -his cases with great thoroughness, presents them with clearness and


cogency, and as the years have passed has won for his clients many favorable verdicts which have established his reputation as a learned and able lawyer.
    On the 22d of June, 1887, Mr. Pratt was united in marriage to Miss Amelia E. Wonner, a daughter of Henry Wonner, of Osceola, Iowa. To them have been born three children, namely: Helen; and Ruth and Marjorie, who are school teachers in Nebraska. Mrs. Pratt is a member of the Presbyterian church.
    Mr. Pratt gave his political allegiance to the democratic party until it inserted in its platform the free silver plank, since which time he has affiliated with the republican party. He belongs to the Benevolent Protective Order of Elks. Outside of his profession he has business interests as one of the organizers of the Kearney Telephone Company, which was formed in 1905 and of which he has been president practically throughout the ensuing years. At this writing he is president of the Buffalo County Bar Association and he enjoys the highest reward of his contemporaries in practice. He is at all times fair and just to fellow practitioners, treats the court with the studied courtesy which is its due and is careful at all times to conform his practice to the highest standards of professional ethics.


    Edmund H. Dungan is a retired farmer and stock raiser living in Kearney. His residence in this part of the state dates from pioneer times and he is familiar with every phase of its development and progress. He was born in Mercer county, Illinois, in June, 1852, a son of Aaron and Tama (Pratt) Dungan. The father was a native of Ohio and was reared in that state and in Illinois, the family removing to Mercer county. He conducted a livery barn at New Hoston, Mercer county, for a number of years and afterward purchased and conducted a farm near Aledo, but in 1876 removed to Kearney county, Nebraska, and secured a homestead claim near Fort Kearney. He squatted upon the property first and when the reservation was opened in the same year he homesteaded and built one of the first houses on the Fort Kearney military reservation. This he improved and developed, carrying on the farm work year after year up to the time of his death, which occurred when he was sixty-three years of age.. His political allegiance was given to the republican party. The mother was a native of Indiana and was thirteen years of age when the family removed to Mercer county, Illinois, where her parents were among the early settlers. She came to Nebraska in 1876, being one of the pioneer women in this part of the state, and surviving her husband for some time, she spent her later years in the home of her son Edmund, passing away when about eighty years of age. She was a consistent and faithful member of the Methodist church and guided her life according to its teachings. In the family were four children, of whom two died in infancy, the others being: John P., who made his home in Buffalo county but is now deceased; and Edmund H.
    The latter is the only survivor of the family. His boyhood days were spent at home, and on attaining his majority he began farming. He was twenty-four years of age when he removed with the family to Nebraska, where he secured


a homestead and began the arduous task of developing a new farm. He converted the raw prairie into productive fields and continued to engage in farming and stock raising until 1910. He afterward rented his farm to his sons and came to Kearney, retiring from business life. He had purchased his father's homestead and is now the owner of three hundred and twenty acres of good land which affords him an excellent annual income. Diligence was the rule of his life and enterprise guided him in all of his activities, while laudable ambition proved the spur to his activity.
    On the 23d of March, 1876, Mr. Dungan was married to Miss Rhoda Reynolds, who was born near Rock Island, Illinois, a daughter of Drury and Esther (Love) Reynolds, both of whom were natives of Ohio. The father was reared in the Buckeye state and the mother in Illinois, and when a young man he removed to Illinois, spending his last days in Rock Island county, where he departed this life at the age of sixty-three years. He had been one of the pioneer settlers and valued citizens of that part of the state. His widow survied [sic] and was called to her final rest when eighty years of age, her last days being spent in Mercer county, Illinois. She was a consistent member of the Christian church. Their daughter, Mrs. Dungan, was reared and educated in Rock Island county and came to Nebraska in 1876, ten days after her marriage. Mr. and Mrs. Dungan are the parents of eight children, as follows: Myrtle, who is the wife of Gardner Sawin, of Baird, Nebraska; Schuyler, who follows farming in Kearney county, Nebraska; Howard, who is also engaged in farming in Kearney county, this state; Floyd, living on the home farm; Everett, a merchant of Kearney; Dale, a student in the State University; Stella, at home; and Glenn, who is employed in the government reclamation service. Another child, the first born, died in early life. Mrs. Dungan is a member of the Methodist Episcopal church. Mr. Dungan gives his political allegiance to the republican party but has never been ambitious to hold office, as he has preferred to concentrate his energies upon his business affairs and his diligence and determination in farm work have brought to him the substantial measure of prosperity which is now his.


    W. H. Swartsley is engaged in the real estate business at Riverdale, which town has largely been built up through his efforts. He also has important landed interests and is giving considerable attention to the breeding, raising and sale of Duroc-Jersey hogs. He has made his home in Buffalo county since1907, prior to which time he was a resident of Platte county, Nebraska: His birth occurred in Woodford county, Illinois, in 1862, his parents being John C. and Jennie L. Swartsley, who were natives of Virginia. They came to Illinois in 1853, settling in Woodford county, and in 1881 they arrived in Platte county, Nebraska, where the father secured land and concentrated his energies upon the development arid improvement of his farm, his death occurring about two years ago. He was an energetic, industrious and prosperous agriculturist and was a prominent and influential citizen. His political allegiance was given to the demo-


cratic party and he was called upon to represent Platte county in the state legislature. His wife has also passed away, her death occurring in Platte county.
    W. H. Swartsley was in his teens at the time of the removal of the family to Platte county, and after he had attained his majority he turned his attention to general farming in Bismark township, where he owned land. He carefully, consistently and successfully tilled the soil for some time and also taught school for almost sixteen years, and in 1907 he arrived in Buffalo county, where he has since made his home. Here he has operated largely in real estate and has conducted many important business interests. He organized the Riverdale State Bank, which has been a very important factor in the development of local business enterprises, and served as a member of its board of directors until he turned his interests over to his son Lee, who was the deputy county treasurer of Buffalo county for eight years. In association with his sons Mr. Swartsley owns three hundred and seventy acres of rich and productive land in Riverdale township, whereon he is engaged in general farming and stock raising. They have the finest drove of full-blooded Duroc-Jersey hogs in the county, and they make a specialty of the stock raising feature of their business. Mr. Swartsley has also done much toward the upbuilding of the attractive little town of Riverdale. He platted part of the town and then sold lots, was instrumental in inducing merchants to locate there and had a large part in securing the schoolhouse. There is no important feature of the town's upbuilding and development with which he has not been associated.
    Mr. Swartsley married Miss Alice May Burns, who was born in Oskaloosa, Iowa, and they have three children: Lee, formerly deputy county treasurer; O. E, who is conducting the ranch; and Grace, who is an accomplished musician living at home. The family residence is the finest home in the village and Mr. Swartsley is a most progressive, active, energetic man, forming his plans readily and carrying them forward to successful completion. If a pen picture could accurately delineate his business characteristics, such might be given in these words: a progressive spirit ruled by more than ordinary intelligence and good judgment; a deep earnestness impelled and fostered by indomitable perseverance; a native justice expressing itself in correct principle and practice. His intellect early grasped the eternal truth that industry wins and industry has been the beacon light of his life. He is well known in fraternal circles, belonging to the Independent Order of Odd Fellows, the Knights of Pythias and the Woodmen, and his wife and daughter are members of the Methodist Episcopal church, which he attends.


    J. O. Griffin owns and operates three hundred and twenty acres of productive land on section 16, Gibbon township, and has gained financial independence through his agricultural activities. His birth occurred in Stark county, Illinois, on the 27th of June, 1867, and he is one of six living children in a family of eight born to E. J. and Rebecca (Nicholas) Griffin. The father was a native of


Pennsylvania and the mother's birth occurred in Ohio, but they were married in Illinois, where the mother passed away and where the father still resides.
    J. O. Griffin grew to manhood and received his education in Illinois, but in 1894, when about twenty-seven years of age, he came to Buffalo county Nebraska, and took up his residence on a farm which he operated for some time. Later he purchased his present place, which comprises three hundred and twenty acres on section 16, Gibbon township, and is now well improved. He keeps everything in excellent repair and uses the latest machinery in his work, thus increasing his efficiency. He receives a good income from the sale of his grain and stock and ranks among the progressive and successful farmers of the county.
    Mr. Griffin was married in 1896 to Miss Clara Philipar, who was born in Pennsylvania but was brought to this state when but a year old by her parents Peter and Anna Philipar. The father is dead but the mother is still living. Mr. and Mrs. Griffin have six children: Ruth and Bruce, both high school students; Leslie; Earl; Ezra; and Carl.
    Mr. Griffin gives his political support to the republican party at national elections, but where only local issues are at stake supports the best man irrespective of party lines. His fraternal affiliation is with the Modern Woodmen of America, and he and his family attend the Methodist Episcopal church. His circle of friends is almost coextensive with the circle of his acquaintance, and his salient characteristics are those which invariably command respect and warm regard.



    Oscar G. Knox, manager and one of the stockholders of the Farmers Elevator at Riverdale, is a wide-awake and progressive business man, alert to his opportunities and energetic in all that he undertakes. He was born in Indiana on the 20th of May, 1870, and is a son of William E. and Emma J. (Trimble) Knox, both of whom were natives of Kentucky, whence they removed to Indiana in 1868, there residing for eleven years. In 1879 they became residents of Buffalo county. Nebraska, casting in their lot with its pioneer settlers, at which time the father secured a homestead claim which he converted from a tract of wild prairie into rich and productive fields. He died in the year 1899 and is survived by his widow, who is now a resident of Riverdale. However, she still owns the old homestead in this county on which she reared her family of five children. There were four sons and a daughter, but the latter has passed away.
    Oscar G. Knox was largely reared and educated in Buffalo county, where he came with his parents when a little lad of nine summers. He attended the common schools and was reared to the occupation of farming, early becoming familiar with the best methods of tilling the soil and caring for the crops. After attaining his majority he began farming on his own account, purchasing a tract of land on section 4, Riverdale township, where he continued to live for sixteen years, during which period he brought his fields to a high state of cultivation and also improved his farm with good buildings, making it one of the model properties of the community. He is now the owner of three hundred and twenty acres of land which constitutes one of the attractive features of the district because of

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