citizens and the travelers upon the western plains by the maintenance of a number of forts, the soldiers attempting to hold in check the depredations of the red men upon life and property.
Mr. Schramm was born in Pickaway county, Ohio, January 31, 1843, his parents being John G. and Amelia E. (Lowell) Schramm, both of whom were of German nativity. The father was reared in his native country and there studied to become a chemist. He married in Germany and his children, five in number, were all born in that country save the youngest. About the year 1840 he came to the United States with his family, crossing the ocean on one of the slow-going vessels of that period. For a time he resided in Ohio and then removed to Burlington, Iowa, where he died about 1831.
William Schramm was reared to manhood in Iowa and pursued his education in the public schools of Burlington. When still quite young he became a clerk in a drug store, but being in frail health the confinement of the store proved detrimental to him and he therefore followed the advice of his physician to go west and seek a more congenial climate that would enable him to remain in the open. This was about the year 1863 and for a time he was employed as a driver in freighting government goods between the frontier posts west of the Missouri river. For two winters he traded with the old Jack Morrow outfit among the Indians and learned to talk and understand their language fairly well.
This trading could be carried on only during the winter seasons, for in the summer months when the weather was favorable the Indians followed their nomadic life, roaming around seeking game wherever it could be found and frequently going upon the warpath. While thus engaged Mr. Schramm occasionally passed through old Fort Kearney before the present city of Kearney was dreamed of. Their trading or freighting route was mostly south of the Platte river.
In 1869 he went to Omaha and in April, 1872, he removed to what is now Kearney, at that time a tiny hamlet containing but three buildings--a residence built by Captain Anderson, who was afterward sheriff of the county; Dart's grocery store and a building of four rooms so constructed that each room was in the corner of a claim, so that the owners thereof could live upon and prove up their claims and thus comply with the law which compelled residence upon the property. Two of these owners were James A. and George E. Smith. Mr. Schramm preempted a quarter section of land on Wood river and resided thereon for a year and a half. In the fall of 1873 he came to Kearney and began packing ice from Wood river. He also weighed coal and grain for the firm of More & Seaman and for a short time he also conducted a furniture store and utilized his three teams in draying. He was thus variously engaged until 1884, when he opened a drug store and since that time has carried on the business, covering a period of thirty-two years.
Mr. Schramm was called upon to mourn the loss of his first wife on the 28th of February, 1911. There were six children born of that marriage: Oscar Hugo, who died in 1891; William, who died in the early '70s, when about eighteen months old; Luella, who died at the age of ten years; Jennie, who died when three years of age; Herman H., who also died in early childhood; and Grace L., now Mrs. J. A. Brink, of Denver, Colorado. On the 28th of September, 1913, Mr. Schramm was united in marriage to Miss Essie B. Traver.
Fraternally he is connected with the Knights of Pythias, and his religious
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faith is indicated in his membership in the Presbyterian church. Politically he is affiliated with no party, voting according to the dictates of his judgment. For four years he served as city treasurer and at all times he has cooperated in plans and movements for the upbuilding and benefit of the city in which he resides. Here he has made his home for forty-two years and has witnessed every change that has occurred in the development of Kearney from its infancy to the present time. Men have come and gone until he is now the oldest living settler of the place. He has prospered to a reasonable extent and at one time was the owner of two drug stores, one of which, however, he sold to a clerk, S. A. D. Henline, who likewise is now considered one of the early merchants of the town. There is no phase of frontier life in Nebraska with which Mr. Schramm is not familiar and he relates many interesting incidents of the early days and of the events which have shaped later progress and improvement.
Dallas Henderson, actively engaged in farming in Center township and winning success through well directed energy, was born March 27, 1876, in the township which is still his home, his parents being Abram and Elenor (Rught) Henderson, who were natives of Illinois and Pennsylvania respectively. Following the Civil war, Mr. Henderson removed to Misssouri and in 1872 came to Buffalo county, which was then a frontier district, giving little indication of future growth and improvement. He homesteaded a farm in Center township and bore his part in the early development of the district, but in 1879 was called to his final rest. His widow survives and is still living on the old homestead property which has now been her home for forty-four years.
Dallas Henderson is one of a family of eleven children, seven of whom are still living. His youthful experiences were those which usually fall to the farm lad, his time being divided between the duties of the schoolroom, the pleasures of the playground and the work of the fields. He continued at home until eighteen years of age and then began teaching school. He afterward attended the Lincoln Normal School for a year, but before that he spent four years as a student in the Kearney Military School. With the outbreak of the Spanish-American war in 1898 his patriotic spirit was aroused and he enlisted for service in the Philippines as a member of Company I, First Nebraska Regiment. He served for a year and was engaged in almost continuous fighting during that period. He was wounded in the right leg and for six weeks remained in the hospital. While at the front he was promoted to the rank of corporal, and at the end of the year he received an honorable discharge. Mr. Henderson then remained in the Philippines, where he engaged in teaching school for four years, conducting the first night school taught on the Islands. In 1903 he returned to his home in Nebraska and purchased a farm in Thornton township, on which he lived for two years. He then sold that property and bought the farm of one hundred and sixty acres whereon he now resides, the place being pleasantly located on section 9, Center township. He has since concentrated his energies upon the improvement of the place, has erected good buildings, has divided his
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farm into fields of convenient size by well kept fences and is today the owner of an excellent and desirable property. He makes a specialty of breeding and raising Duroc-Jersey hogs and Plymouth Rock chickens and is quite successful in that work, keeping some of the best stock to be found in the county.
In 1904 Mr. Henderson was united in marriage to Miss Mamie Williams, who was born in Buffalo county, Nebraska, a daughter of Owen and Margaret (Owens) Williams, mentioned elsewhere in this work. Mr. and Mrs. Henderson have become the parents of three children, Laura Marie, Margaret E. and Eugene C.
The parents attend the Presbyterian church and Mr. Henderson gives his political allegiance to the progressive party. He is now serving as clerk of his township and was school treasurer, and he is interested in all of the plans and projects for the improvement of the community and the advancement of its material, intellectual and moral progress. Fraternally he is connected with the Independent Order of Odd Fellows and the Modern Woodmen of America, nad he has also been initiated into the Masonic fraternity. He exemplifies in his life the beneficent spirit of these organizations and is well known as a man whose many sterling traits of character entitle him to warm regard.
RAY R. COOK
Ray R. Cook, who is operating the old home farm of five hundred and twenty acres on sections 34 and 35, Gibbon township, is recognized as a successful and progressive agriculturist and as a factor in the development of the county along material lines. He was born in Wisconsin on the 7th of April, 1868, a son of Henry and Mary W. (Warner) Cook.
The father's birth occurred on the 4th of March, 1824, in Rutland, Vermont and his parents were Samuel and Chloe (Warner) Cook, both natives of the state of New York. When their son Henry was twelve years of age they removed to Buffalo, New York, and not long after taking up their residence in that city both died of cholera. Henry Cook was then taken by his mother's people, who cared for him until he reached manhood. He was one of the California forty-niners and after his return from the coast he located in Chicago, where, in 1853, he was married to Miss Mary W. Warner, a native of Erie county, New York, and a daughter of Hyman Warner, a native of Vermont. Following their marriage Mr. and Mrs. Cook located on a farm near Marengo, Illinois, but after living there for two or three years removed to Clinton, Wisconsin, where the father was prominently identified with mercantile interests for about eighteen years. In 1875 they came to Gibbon, Buffalo county, Nebraska, and for sevetal years followed mercantile pursuits here, but later turned his attention to operating his farm in Gibbon township, where he resided for some time. Subsequently he returned to Gibbon and engaged in the grain business there until his demise, which occurred on the 20th of February, 1892. He was widely known throughout the county and his death was deeply regretted by his many friends. His widow owns three hundred and twenty acres of goodland in Gibbon township but resides in the town of Gibbon. She was reared in
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the Congregational faith and throughout her life has manifested great consideration for others. By her marriage she became the mother of nine children, of whom five are still living, namely: Hattie, at home; Frank H, who is a merchant living at Buda, Nebraska; Ray R.; Atto B, who is superintendent of schools at Hugo, Colorado; and May E., at home.
Ray R. Cook accompanied his parents to this county in i875 when about seven years of age and here grew to manhood. During his boyhood and youth he divided his time between attending the common and high schools and assisting his father. Since attaining his majority he has operated the home farm, which comprises five hundred and twenty acres of productive land on sections 34 and 35 Gibbon township. He specializes in breeding and feeding stock and as he fully appreciates the importance of proper housing and scientific feeding his stock are kept in fine condition and seldom fail to bring a good price on the market.
Mr. Cook supports the republican party at the polls and for years has been a member of the school board, proving very efficient in that capacity. He belongs to Excalibar Lodge, No. 138, K. P., and Gibbon Lodge, No. 37, I. O. O. F, in which he has filled all of the chairs, and the teachings of those organizations concerning human brotherhood find expression in his daily life. His energy and ability have gained him gratifying success in his chosen occupation, and his integrity has won him the sincere respect of all who have come in contact with him.
Gustave F. Prascher passed away May 31, 1904, and in his death Buffalo county lost a worthy and representative citizen. He was born in Prussia, Germany, December 16, 1846, and his father, Frederick Prascher, was also a native of that country. He pursued his education in the public schools and afterward as a sailor went to sea, spending some time on sailing vessels of the early days.
He came to America in 1867, when twenty-one years of age, landing at New York, whence he removed to Milwaukee, Wisconsin, where he worked in the lumber camps, shipping lumber and doing other such work. He at length joined the regular army, enlisting at Oshkosh, Wisconsin, in the Ninth United States Infantry, with which he served for five years, being engaged in active duty on the frontier. He participated in some of the severe Indian campaigns in the Black Hills of Dakota and was many times called upon to protect the Indian agents from attack. He was promoted to the rank of corporal and was honorably discharged in 1873 at Fort Laramie, Wyoming. He was afterward appointed government teamster at Fort Laramie, which position he held for three years.
Having become imbued with the spirit of the west and recognizing the excellent opportunities offered in the country's wide western domain, Mr. Prascher determined to remain and purchased a relinquishment to one hundred and sixty acres on section 4, Riverdale township, Buffalo county, Nebraska, which tract had originally been the Miller claim. A few improvements had been made upon it when it came into his possession and he continued the work of further
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improvement and development, fenced the fields and brought his land to a high state of cultivation. This property is still in the possession of the family and is now being farmed by his eldest son, George Arthur. It was upon this place that Mr. Prascher passed away, having given many years of his life to active agricultural pursuits.
It was on the 2?th of October, 1874, at Cheyenne, Wyoming, that Mr. Prascher wedded Miss Amanda Johanna Swenson, a daughter of Swen Guneson. She was born at Pasturp, Sweden, April 12, 1844, and came with some neighbors to America in 1867, landing at New York, whence they made their way to Swede Bend, Boonesboro, Iowa, remaining there for a year. She afterward became a residnet of Denison, Iowa, remaining with the families of Rev. Denison and Judge Bassett for about two years. She then went to Omaha and afterward to Evanston, Wyoming, but remained in the latter place for only a brief period. She then made her way to Sidney, Nebraska, where she lived with the family of an army officer and it was in this way that she formed the acquaintance of Mr. Prascher, who was at that time a soldier. Mr. and Mrs. Prascher became the parents of seven children, of whom Hilda, Harry, Emil Sanfred and Edward Frederick, all died in infancy. George Arthur, now living on the old homestead, wedded Miss Pearl Ball, and they have a son, Leonard Arthur. Lillie Alfreda is the wife of Emil J. Neilson, a merchant of Riverdale, and they have a daughter, Mildred. Ralph Leroy is connected with the grain elevator at Riverdale.
Mr. and Mrs. Prascher joined the Christian church in 1894 and the latter still has connection therewith. Mr. Prascher also held membership in the Loyal Mystic League at Kearney and for a number of years was a member of the school board of Riverdale township. He filled the office of justice of the peace of Riverdale for several terms and his record as a man and citizen is most commendable. Those who knew him esteemed him for his sterling worth, for in every relation of life he was upright and honorable. He ever led a busy and useful life. After his discharge from the army he was a teamster in the early days, driving a government mule train between Fort D. A. Russell and Camp Carling, and also from Camp Carling to Fort Laramie, Wyoming, in this way keeping soldiers at the outposts supplied with provisions, clothing and other necessities. While thus engaged he had to brave the elements of the weather, at times encountering severe storms and he also had to guard his train from the attack of hostile Indians, for bands of Sioux were roaming the plains, attacking the white settlers. Mr. and Mrs. Prascher were living at Fort Laramie when the Custer massacre occurred in 1876 and he equipped the pack train of mules which carried the supplies of General Crook's relief expedition, which went to the relief of General Custer. Colonel W. F. Cody, better known as Buffalo Bill, acted as guide for General Crook's army from Fort Laramie to the Custer battlefield.
The honeymoon of Mr. and Mrs. Prascher was spent on a government mule train. They left Camp Carling the day after their marriage, going to Fort Laramie, whence they started for the Spotted Tail Indian agency, but hostile Indians roaming the plains prevented the train from reaching its destination. They were also delayed by a terrific storm when within a mile and a half of Fort Laramie. The food supply became exhausted and all the men of the party went to For Laramie for provisions and other necessities, leaving Mrs. Prascher behind in a tent on the prairie all alone. During their absence the wind increased until it
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reached the force of a tornado, tearing the tent to ribbons. She then wrapped herself in buffalo robes, took her husband's pistol for protection against the Indians and hid in the tall sage bushes until the return of the men from the fort. They then continued their journey to the Red Cloud agency, where they arrived on the same day the Indians went on the warpath. Red Cloud was the central office of the agency where the main United States guard was located. The uprising of the Sioux lasted three weeks. The six hundred soldiers stationed at the agency could not handle the uprising and General Sherman came to their relief and restored order and again raised the United States flag on the flag pole, the Indians having torn it down as soon as the soldiers would put it up. The wedding trip of Mr. and Mrs. Prascher was thus delayed three weeks during the uprising, after which they continued to Spotted Tail agency. They were familiar with every phase of frontier life in that Indian infested country, knew the habits, customs and treachery of the red men and experienced all the hardships, trials and privations incident to pioneer existence. But they lived to witness remarkable changes and to enjoy the benefits of a later civilization. Mr. Prascher was one of those who aided in planting the seeds of improvement and progress in the west and his name deserves prominent mention among the valued citizens of Buffalo county, and no less than the men, the women of the pioneer epoch deserve the praise and gratitude of those who have come after them and have shared the benefits of their early toil.
WILLIAM O. KING.
William O. King is one of Kearney's substantial citizens, a quiet and careful man of business, who has given close attention to his commercial interests during the past seventeen years of his connection with mercantile circles. Thoroughness, diligence and enterprise have characterized his course at all times and won for him the respect, confidence and goodwill of those with whom he has been brought in contact. He was born in Morgan county, Ohio, December 22, 1863, and is a son of William and Ruth (Ball) King, who were also natives of Ohio. The father was a farmer and followed that occupation throughout his entire active life.
In 1882 he removed with his family to Washington county, Kansas, where he passed away in 1902, his widow surviving him unttil [sic] 1911. They were the parents of eleven children but only three are now living.
William O. King was reared to early manhood in his native state and assisted in the work of the home farm. He also attended the district schools and when nineteen years of age went to Kansas with his parents and there carried on general agricultural pursuits until he reached the age of twenty-eight. Putting aside the work of the fields, he turned his attention to merchandising and for six years operated a "racket" store at Harrington, Kansas. In 1898 he came to Kearney and embarked in the retail dry goods business, his stock also including men's furnishings, boots and shoes. He began here in a small way but with the passing of the years his business has gradually increased until he now has one of the leading mercantile establishments of the city, carrying a large and carefully selected line of goods. He has ever endeavored to please his customers and his
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thoroughly reliable business methods have been one of the strong elements of his growing prosperity. In other ways, too, he has been identified with the material development and progress of Kearney and now in addition to his commercial interests is vice president of the Farmers Bank.
In 1890 Mr. King was united in marriage to Miss Libbie A. Osterhout, of Morrowville, Kansas, and they have three daughters, Maud, Ruth and Margaret. Mrs. King is a member of the Congregational church and Mr. King belongs to the Kearney Commercial Club, to the Independent Order of Odd Fellows, the Benevolent Protective Order of Elks and the Ancient Order of United Workmen. He is no sense a politician and his ballot is cast with regard to the capability of the candidate or the value of a political measure rather than according to party dictation. He has never sought nor desired public office, preferring to concentrate his energies upon his business affairs, which have been carefully and wisely directed and which have brought to him substantial and well merited success. All who know him, and he has a wide acquaintance, speak of him in terms of high regard. He is entirely free from ostentation and display but is rich in those qualities which in every land and clime awaken goodwill, confidence and high esteem.
JOSEPH OWEN, SR.
Joseph Owen, Sr., has been very successful as a farmer and has also found time to take an active interest in public affairs. He lives on section 2, Shelter township, and is widely known not only in that township but throughout the county. A native of Manchester, England, he was born on the 16th of February, 1849, of the marriage of David and Elizabeth (Lloyd) Owen, both of whom were born in Wales. In 1863 they came to the United States and made their way to Buffalo county, Nebraska. The father died the following year and the mother afterward made her home with her daughter and son-in-law, Mr. and Mrs. Edward Oliver, who came to this county in 1860.
Joseph Owen, Sr., was about fourteen years of age when he accompanied his parents to this county and here he grew to manhood. He attended school in England but after his removal to Nebraska his time was taken up with agricultural pursuits. Following his father's death he made his home with his brother-in-law, Edward Oliver, and worked for neighboring farmers. About 1869 he purchased the old Stage Station farm which adjoins his present home place and there began his independent career as an agriculturist. Subsequently he purchased a relinquishment on his present farm from his brother-in-law and entered the place under the homestead law. In due time he proved up on the claim and as the years have passed he has made many improvements upon it. The land is in a high state of cultivation and as he is an excellent farmer he secures a good income from his agricultural operations. He owns two hundred and forty acres located near Shelton and is also financially interested in the Shelton State Bank and in the Farmers Elevator at Shelton.
In 1871 Mr. Owen was united in marriage to Miss Sarah Ann Oliver, who came to Nebraska in 1860 with the Mormon colony. They have become the
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parents of seven children, five of whom are living, namely: Elizabeth J, now Mrs. W. D. Kirkland, of Omaha; Alice, the wife of Thomas G. Tritt, of Shelton; Joseph, who is city marshal; Ida B., who is the widow of Will Hall and resides with her parents; and Anna, at home.
The republican party has a stalwart adherent in Mr. Owen, who has done much work in its behalf. He has been called to public office a number of times and has made an excellent record, as a public servant. For two terms he was a member of the county board of supervisors, of which he was chairman for three years; for three terms, was justice of the peace and refused to serve for the fourth term; and he has also been road supervisor and assessor and held the office of deputy sheriff under John Oliver. He fully recognizes the importance of a good school system and for forty-six years has been treasurer of school district No. 1, during which time he has done much to promote educational advancement in that district. He is one of the most prominent members of Shelton Lodge, No. 141, I. O. O. F., of which he has been permanent and recording secretary since 1886, and of which he was the first noble grand. For fifteen years he has been financier and master of the exchequer of Shelton Lodge, No. 92, K. P., and he is also connected with Anchor Lodge, No. 14, A. O. U. W, and Kearney Lodge, No. 984, B, P. O. E. The foregoing record of his life indicates that he has been active in many lines, and his sterling worth is indicated in the fact that, although his circle of acquaintanceship is very large, it is almost coextensive with the circle of his friends.
HENRY SLAUGHTER BELL, M.D.
Dr. Henry Slaughter Bell, actively engaged in the practice of medicine and surgery at Kearney since the age of twenty-two years, was born near Brandenburg, Kentucky, November 19, 1848. His father, George Gray Bell, was one of a family of six, children, five sons and one daughter, born of the marriage of Henry and Polly (Slaughter) Bell, both natives of Culpeper county, Virginia, the former born in 1782 and the latter in 1787. In early life, prior to their marriage, they had crossed the Alleghany mountains and settled in Kentucky. The grandfather of our subject died in 1851 and the grandmother in 1846. The Doctor's father, who was a farmer and slaveowner, passed away in 1855, leaving a young wife and three children, of whom Henry S. was the eldest. The others were Fannie, then four years old, and Mary, only one year of age. The mother was the youngest child of Daniel M. Jones, a prominent citizen and politician of Meade county, Kentucky, who was elected to the state legislature for several terms in succession. His wife was a member of the Lewis family. Both families were from Virginia and, to use the negro expression, were regarded as "quality" in Kentucky, this meaning that they were well bred and well-to-do families. When left a widow Mrs. Bell had but little experience in affairs of the world, but through the kindness of her brothers and brothers-in-law she was relieved of much responsibility in the sale of several negroes and personal property--horses, cattle, hogs, etc. At that time a young, healthy, adult negro sold at about one thousand dollars. Mrs. Bell removed with her children to Louisville, Kentucky,
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her father having previously gone to that city in order to marry a widow who was is encumbered with several bad boys, children of her children. The Doctor's mother soon realized that the environment was not such as would improve the morals of her son and she turned him over to his uncle, John M. Bell, who had reared his own family of one son and two daughters but was anxious to try different plans with him. So Dr. Bell is the product of that rare opportunity of "I'd do differently if it were to do over again." The Doctor stood the experience for six years, but when the Civil war broke out, on the pretext of visiting his mother, who in the meantime had married again and located in Rockport, Indiana, the boy was permitted to leave his uncle's and depart for his mother's home. He made the trip on what was then known as one of the palatial Ohio river packets and it was a great event to him. This was in 1863, when fifteen years of age. Instead of stopping at Rockport, Indiana, however, he remained on the boat until it reached the end of its trip. On leaving the steamer the Doctor enlisted on the l6th of December, 1863, in Company F, First Indiana Cavalry. He was on duty at Fredericktown and at Belmont, Missouri, and then went to Rich Mountain, Arkansas. He was with General Steele at Pine Bluff and Helena and participated in the expedition up the Red river under General Banks. His active service at length brought him to the time when he received his honorable discharge at Duval's Bluff, Arkansas, on the 5th of July, 1865, after the close of the war.
Dr. Bell then returned to his home in Indiana and entered Rockport College, where he completed his more specifically literary education. Having determined upon a professional career, he next entered Bellevue Medical College of New York, from which he was graduated on the 30th of March, 1878, in which year he began practice, locating at Decker Station, Indiana, where he remained for five years. He afterward spent fifteen years in active practice at Paris, Illinois, and in 1890 came to Kearney, where he has since remained, his ability bringing him prominently to the front in the practice of medicine and surgery in this city.
Dr. Bell was married in 1873 to Miss Anna M. Barker, of Evansville, Indiana, who died on the 20th of September, 1887, leaving two sons, Samuel Barker and Robert N. The former is now engaged in farming near Evansville, Indiana, and the latter is conducting a drug store in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. On the 6th of December, 1888, Dr. Bell was again married, his second union being with Miss Anna M. Smith, of Paris, Illinois, and to them have been born three children: Henry S., who follows farming near Aurora, Illinois; Margery Shaw, now a teacher in the public schools of Montpelier, Idaho; and Martha Elizabeth, sixteen years of age, attending high school.
In politics Dr. Bell is a republican and was appointed physician to the State Industrial School at Kearney by Governor Dietrich in 1898 and afterward by Governor Mickey, serving for six years. He is a Knight Templar Mason and a member of the Royal Highlanders as well as of Sedgewick Post, No. 1, G. A. R., of Nebraska. He belongs to the American Medical Association, the Nebraska State Medical Society and the Buffalo County Medical Society and of the last named has been the president. He is much interested in all that pertains to progress in his profession and also in everything that tends to promote the public welfare, for he manifests the same spirit of loyalty in citizenship that he displayed when as a youth he represented himself to be eighteen years of age in order that
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he might serve his country upon the battlefields of the south. With him it has always been "America first," and his example of loyalty as well as of professional activity and honor might well be followed.
CAPTAIN JOSEPHUS C. HEFFNER.
Captain Josephus C.Heffner, who is living retired in Kearney, is one of the honored veterans of the Civil war. The same spirit of loyalty which prompted his enlistment when the stability of the Union was threatened has ever been manifest in his career, making him a most public-spirited citizen. He was born in Huntingdon, Pennsylvania, on the 2d of March, 1847, a son of Benjamin and Elizabeth (Leightenteler) Heffner, who were also natives of the Keystone state, where they spent their entire lives, the father there following the occupation of farming.
Captain Heffner's boyhood was spent on the old homestead and his education was acquired in the public schools, which he attended until the 1st of April, 1865. He then enlisted for service in the Civil war, joining the army when a youth of but eighteen as a member of Company K, Seventy-eighth Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry. He had enlisted in 1863, when but sixteen years of age, joining Company C of the Forty-ninth Pennsylvania Infantry Regiment, but his father, feeling that he was too young for active military duty, went to Washington and through a personal talk with Abraham Lincoln secured his release. Two years passed and he then again joined the army and while at the front he participated in the battle of Chattanooga, receiving an honorable discharge at Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, December 16, 1865. In the war record his name was misspelled Heiffner.
After receiving his discharge he returned home and two years later went to Oil City, Pennsylvania, working in the oil fields. He had learned the blacksmith's trade and he engaged in dressing tools in the oil fields, where he was also employed as an engineer, remaining there until 1883, when he removed to Shelton, Nebraska, where he operated a blacksmith shop for seven years. In 1880 he came to Kearney, where he was appointed chief engineer of the State Reform School, which position he held for twenty years. He was also chief engineer at the Soldiers' Home at Grand Island, Nebraska, for a time but later retired and is now enjoying a well earned rest. He is the owner of one hundred and sixty acres of land seven miles north of Gibbon, which he rents and which brings in him a good income.
On the 15th of June, 1876, Mr. Heffner was united in marriage to Miss Ida Clara Maxwell, who was born in Clarion, Pennsylvania, November 25, 1835, a daughter of Robert T. and Cynthiana (Pierce) Maxwell, who spent their entire lives in the Keystone state. There Mrs. Heffner was reared and educated, pursuing a course of study in the State Normal School at Edinboro, Pennsylvania. By her marriage she has become the mother of three sons, as follows: Ernest M., who is a dental practitioner of Omaha; Clarence E., who practices dentistry in Falls City, Nebraska, and who participated in the Spanish-American war as a member of Troop E of Colonel Torey's Rough Riders; and Guy L, who is
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general auditor in the Chicago office of the Cudahy Packing Company. Realizing the value of education, Captain Heffner has sent two of his sons to the State University. His wife is a member of the Presbyterian church and they are both held in high regard throughout the community. Fraternally he is connected with the Ancient Order of United Workmen and the Degree of Honor. He also belonged to the Grand Army posts at Shelton and at Bradford but at present is not associated with any post. His wife, however, is a member of Sedgwick Corps, No. 1, W. R. C. He won his title in connection with the state military service, having been first lieutenant and later captain in the State National Guard. He has done splendid work in public service, has been equally efficient and loyal in support of his country's best interests and as the years have gone on the sterling worth of his character has endeared him to all with whom he has been brought in contact.
JOHN A. WILT.
A farm of one hundred and sixty acres situated on section 10, Center township pays tribute to the care and labor bestowed upon it by its owner, John A. Wilt, who is numbered among the pioneer settlers of Buffalo county, having made his home within its borders since 1871, or for a period of more than forty-five years. He has reached the eightieth milestone on life's journey, his birth having occurred in Maryland, February 18, 1836, his parents being George and Margaret (Hackensmith) Wilt, the former a native of Adams county, Pennsylvania, and the latter of Maryland. They were married in Maryland and there spent their remaining days, rearing their family of six children in that state.
John A. Wilt is now the only survivor of the family. He was reared and educated in Maryland and remained at home until he reached the age of nineteen years, when he learned the carpenter's trade, which he followed until after the outbreak of the Civil war. His patriotic spirit was aroused by the continued attempt of the south to overthrow the Union and he enlisted as a private for three years' service with Company G, Eighty-seventh Pennsylvania Infantry. He participated in several hard fought battles and, though often in the thickest of the fight, was never wounded nor injured. He was mustered out at York, Pennsylvania, and returned home with a most creditable military record. While he was never wounded, he was on one occasion captured and for three months was incarcerated in Libby prison, so that he went through all the experiences and hardships of southern army prison life.
When the war was over Mr. Wilt resumed work at his trade. He had been married in Pennsylvania in 1859 to Miss Carrie H. Doll, a native of the Keystone state and a daughter of Jacob Doll. They continued to reside in the east until 1866, when they removed to Dayton, Ohio, where they remained for five years. In 1871 they arrived in Buffalo county, Nebraska and took up their abode upon a farm near Kearney, Mr. Wilt securing a soldier's claim, on which he remained until 1889. He then disposed of that property and purchased the farm upon which he now resides, comprising one hundred and sixty acres of land on section 10, Center township. This property he has since improved with fine
HISTORY OF BUFFALO COUNTY
buildings and he has also been identified with building operations in Kearney, doing much to promote the welfare of the city along that line. His has been an active, busy and useful life fraught with good results, and his prosperity is well deserved.
To Mr. and Mrs. Wilt have been born two children: Maggie, now the wife of A. A. Nash; and Cora, the wife of W. C. Nash, now of Portland, Oregon. In his political views Mr. Wilt is a republican but has never been an office seeker. He maintains pleasant relations with his old military comrades through his membership in the Grand Army of the Republic. He and his wife deserve great credit for what they have accomplished, for their success is attributable entirely to their own labor. Every phase of Buffalo county's development is familiar to them, for they arrived here in pioneer times and have witnessed the changes which have occurred, bringing the county to its present improved condition.
Henry Herbst is a retired farmer living in Amherst but for a long period was actively and prominently identified with general agricultural pursuits, whereby he won the competence that now supplies him with all of the comforts and some of the luxuries of life. He has a wide acquaintance in Amherst and is acknowledged among its most venerable citizens, for he has passed the eighty-fifth milestone on life's journey, his birth having occurred in Mecklenburg, Germany, on the 3d of November, 1830. There he spent the period of his minority and in 1857 bade adieu to friends and native land and sailed for the new world, spending seven weeks upon the ocean ere the voyage was completed. He landed in New York city but soon afterward made his way to Buffalo, New York, and in that locality worked as a farm hand for a month in order to get money with which to come to the west. He then made his way to Chicago and in that locality was employed at farm labor at a wage of ten dollars per month.
In 1861 Mr. Herbst enlisted for service in the Civil war, putting aside all business, and personal considerations in order to aid his adopted country during the darkest hour in her history. He joined Company C, Twenty-fourth Illinois Volunteer Infantry, and served for four years and eight months. In the battle of Chickamauga he was struck by a cannon ball in the shoulder and was left on the field by his regiment, after which he was captured by the Confederate forces and spent eighteen months in the prisons at Andersonville, Charleston and Florence, Alabama, having a most horrible experience from lack of food and all those comforts and sanitary conditions which are so necessary to health. There were forty thousand prisoners and the death rate amounted to between four and five hundred each day. When he was searched by the Confederates before being thrown into prison he had a ten dollar bill, which was concealed between the layers of the sole of his shoe, and this proved quite a help to him in getting him things that he needed. When the war was over he received an honorable discharge at Springfield, Illinois, and returned to his home with a most creditable military record.
Mr. Herbst then took up his abode in Will county, Illinois, and was there