MJH, Buffalo County NEGenWeb Project © 2000

Freeman Merryman

The farming interests of the county find a worthy representative in Freeman Merryman, who resides on section 9, Center township. Moreover, he is a veteran of the Civil war and has ever been a loyal citizen, as true to his country in days of peace as when he followed the stars and stripes on southern battlefields. Illinois claims him as a native son.

He was born in Richland Grove township, Mercer county, June 15, 1845, his father being David D. Merryman, while his grandfather was Timothy D. Merryman, who was in possession of the coat of arms of the family. The first entry of lands by any of the family in Maine was made in the year 1641. The grandfather removed from Maine to Illinois in 1834 and subsequently settled in Mercer county, casting in his lot with the pioneer residents of that part of the state. He had previously served his country as a soldier in the War of 1812. His son, David D. Merryman, wedded Miss Phoebe Hibbard, who was also descended from Revolutionary ancestry, the family having been represented in the war for independence by John Hibbard and a Captain Rowe. David D. Merryman was a farmer by occupation and followed that pursuit in Illinois until 1882, when he removed to Buffalo county, Nebraska, and established his home in Kearney, where he lived retired until his death in 1891.

Freeman Merryman, spending his youthful days under the parental roof, attended the public schools of Mercer county to the age of seventeen years, when his patriotic spirit was aroused and he enlisted for service in the Civil war, being enrolled with the boys in blue on the 6th of August, 1862. He was assigned to duty with Company C, One Hundred and Second Illinois Volunteer Infantry, and was honorably discharged on the 14th of June, 1865. He had been wounded at the battle of Resaca, Georgia, on the 15th of May, 1864. He participated in the engagements at Resaca, Cassville, Dallas, New Hope Church, Lost Mountain, Keesaw Mounting, crossing the Chattahooche, Peach Tree Creek and the siege of Atlanta. In 1864 he had served under Fighting Joe Hooker, and as he and his comrades were armed with the Spencer seven-shot repeating rifles, they were kept in the thick of the fray. Following the Atlanta campaign Mr. Merryman took part in the engagements at Averysboro and at Bentonville, North Carolina, and thence went to Raleigh, where his regiment was stationed at the close of the war. he marched with Sherman's army in the Grand Review in the capital city, where the victorious Union troops marched through the streets of Washington, cheered by the thousands who watched the parade and welcomed the return of the veterans.

After receiving his discharge Mr. Merryman returned to Mercer county, Illinois, and worked upon his father's farm for a year. he then married and located in Moline, Illinois, and for seventeen years was in the employ of the John Deere Plow Company, spending five years of that time as foreman of the wood department and three years as a contractor. When he left the company he was receiving a salary of four thousand dollars annually but was obliged to resign his position on account of his health. He then came to Nebraska in June 1883. He had visited the state in 1879 and had bought out holdings. On his removal to the state four years later he took up his abode in Kearney, for his property interests were in Buffalo county. He now owns one thousand and fifty acres of land, none of which is upon the market. For the past twelve years he has resided in his country home one mile south and three miles east of the business center of Kearney and from this point he superintends his invested interests, which are extensive and important and which return to him a most gratifying annual income. In 1866 Mr. Merryman was united in marriage to Miss Alcinda B. Van Meter, of Richland Grove, Mercer county, Illinois. To them were born four children, three of whom survive as follows: Minnie E., the wife of Walter R. Gamble, of Kearney, Nebraska; Arthur F., who follows farming in Center township; and Nellie E., at home. The wife and mother passed away on the 16th of May, 1892.

For the past twenty years or more Mr. Merryman has done nothing save look after his property holdings and other interests. He has also spent considerable time in travel and on his trips has become acquainted with many of the notable public men of the day. In politics he is a republican, while fraternally he is connected with the Masons and with Sedgwick Post, No. I, G.A.R., of which he served for one year as commander. he has also been junior vice department commander of Nebraska and he served as chief of staff of the department of Nebraska and as aid-de-camp on the staff of General D. J. Palmer and others. He is one of the well known residents of Buffalo county and is a representative of our best type of American manhood and chivalry. By perseverance, determination and honorable effort he has overthrown the obstacles which barred his path to success and has reached the goal of prosperity, while his genuine worth, broad mind and public spirit have made him a director of public thought and action. At all times he is ready to lend his aid and cooperation to any movement calculated to benefit this section of the country or advance its wonderful development.

From HISTORY OF BUFFALO COUNTY and ITS PEOPLE by Samuel C. Bassett, published 1916 by The S. J. Clarke Publishing Co., Chicago.
Submitted by Phyllis Cloyd

Buffalo County NEGenWeb Project