NEGenWeb Project - Gosper County
Who's Who in Nebraska, 1940
Published by the Nebraska Press Association, Lincoln, NE
Printed by State Journal Printing Co., Lincoln, NE
Thanks to Mr. Alan Beermann, Executive Director
of the Nebraska Press Association
and American Press Advertising Service
for permission to reproduce this publication.
(Thanks to Robin for securing that permission)
AS EARLY pioneers wended their way westward from eastern states seeking new frontiers to conquer, many a prairie schooner containing these sturdy, families stopped along the creeks in a territory that was later to become Gosper County.
In the early '70's settlements began to form along the Muddy, Elk and Turkey creeks in the south part of the county, as well as along Plum creek which crosses the north part of the county.
Early facts reveal that Otto Renzie made the first permanent settlement in the county in the fall of 1871 and a few others came along in 1872. The first homesteader on the divide north of Elwood was Peter Brell, who in 1879 filed on a quarter in what is now known as Bethel precinct. Mr. Brell still lives on his original homestead. In the spring of 1873 there began a rush of new settlers and a large number of choice claims were filed on in the southern part of the county where the early homes of the county were located.
As the population began to increase and more and more land was broken on which good crops were raised, it became necessary that some move be made for the establishment of trading posts and postoffices. Daviesville, located on Muddy creek in what is now known as West Muddy precinct, had the first postoffice. Other postoffices were established later at Traceyville, Ceryl, Gosper, Vaughn's Ranch and Judson's Ranch and mail and supplies were brought by stage operating between Arapahoe and Plum Creek, now known as Lexington.
An agitation began to bring about an organization of a county. After the proper petition was filed with the governor, a proclamation was issued July 11, 1873, calling for an election on Aug. 29, 1873. In issuing the proclamation, the name chosen for the new county was Gosper in honor of the secretary of state, John J. Gosper.
An election was held on the specified date on the open prairie near the geographical center of the county and residents selected for their first officials G. H. Jones, H. A. Willard and E. G. Vaughn as county commissioners, and R. G. Gordon as clerk, but failed to select other officers. However, at the meeting of the commissioners Nov. 26, 1873, bonds were approved for John Baugh, county treasurer; S. R. Judd, justice of the peace; and B. K. Vaughn, assessor.
Daviesville was selected as the first county seat of Gosper. The commissioners on Nov. 26, 1873 authorized erection of a court house in Daviesville, but no appropriation was made. The court house was to have been 24x16 feet, with walls 9 feet high. The roof was to be of split timbers laid closely together and covered with earth and a door was to be in the south end of the building. The courthouse was never built and for a number of years officials kept their books in their homes.
It was not until March 2, 1881, eight years later, that the legislature legalized the organization of the county by the settlers. During that period the county functioned satisfactorily without any legal sanction.
A new settlement known as Homerville was formed later. Land for the townsite was donated by Homer Walt and a survey made for a railroad through the county via Homerville attracted many residents. Considerable building was done in anticipation of the railroad's coming.
A movement to relocate the county seat in Homerville also was launched and after considerable agitation an election was held in August 1882 to vote on the county seat removal. Homerville won over two other rivals. A courthouse was donated by Homerville residents and was built in 1883 whereupon officials moved there to carry on county business.
The railroad for which the survey was made was never built but in spite of the disappointment Homerville became a bustling early day village.
When the Burlington railroad was built from Holdrege to Sterling, a new townsite named Elwood was platted in May 1885. Smithfield, to the eastward, was platted by the railroad at the same time. As a result of this activity, the country became more densely populated and agitation was started for the removal of the county seat to Elwood. In 1888 Elwood won a bitterly contested election over this question but an injunction filed by Homerville delayed removal until the spring of 1889.
Various county offices were moved to Elwood previous to the moving of the court house, and officials were housed in various buildings about town. In the spring of 1889 the Homerville courthouse was wrecked and the lumber hauled to Elwood to be used in the building of a courthouse there. When Elwood became the county seat and the courthouse was moved nearly all the buildings in Homerville followed and businessmen carried on in the new county seat.
In 1874 a schoolhouse was erected in Daviesville and by 1879 eight school districts had been established. Six of them had schoolhouses, all but two of which were sod structures. The total value of all school property in the county in 1879 was $170 and in that year there were 119 school children. Four qualified school teachers resided in the county and earned average wages for school teaching of $136.88 per year.
In 1879 the total property and its appraised value for taxation and assessment was 83,313 acres of land at $1.27 per acre of which 1,735 acres were under cultivation. The total value of all property in the county in 1879 was $126,131.95.
As times went on more settlers moved to the new county and established their homes. They broke the raw prairie and developed the lands which in later years became a good farming and livestock county. As settlement increased roads began to be developed. With the passing of the stage coach the early settlement postoffices vanished. After county roads were built rural routes developed.
In later years moisture became deficient and crops more uncertain, leading men with vision to seek some plan of supplementing rainfall with surface water. After a score or more of years of effort, there came what is now known as The Central Nebraska (Tri-County) Public Power and Irrigation District, a gigantic irrigation and hydro development aided by PWA funds. An important part of the development is in the northern part of Gosper County. Of the $36,000,000 sent on this project more than $6,000,000 was allocated to Gosper County for constructing canals, dams, reservoirs and power plants. These will provide irrigation for farms in central Nebraska and electricity to farms, villages and cities throughout the state.
Coincident with the moving of the county seat to Elwood from Homerville voters of Gosper County went to the polls in the same month a half century later and endorsed a bond issue of $42,000 to match PWA grant for the erection of a $76,000 courthouse. On Nov. 9, 1939, this new concrete and brick structure was dedicated.
We salute the pioneers of yesteryear who broke the sod and made it possible for Gosper County to become a teeming livestock and agricultural section. Praise is also due the young men and women of today who inherited the spirit and courage of their parents; commendation is forthcoming to those who have exhibited the spirit of their forefathers in attacking the recent problems of drouth and depression.
BEAN, FRANK J: Retired; b Iowa Co, Wis Nov 26, 1860; s of William S Bean-Sophronia Gear; ed Iowa Co Wis; Burt Co; m Nellie E Hull Dec 25, 1889 Orleans; s Floyd J; John M; d Elva S (Mrs Lester Withers), Marcia V (Mrs Delmar Long); 1870 came to Neb with parents In covered wagon drawn by oxen; 1883-1907 homesteaded in Gosper Co; 1907-23 org, mgr Elwood Coal & Lbr, 1923- VP; 1909-29 mgr Elwood Shipping Assn; 1933- dir Central Neb Pub Power & Irrigation Dist; past chmn village bd; Comm Club; Meth Ch, mbr bd of trustees; Indep; hobby, roque; res Elwood.
BOGLE, WILLIAM F: Pharmacist; b Bramwell, W Va June 22, 1904; s of William H Bogle-Alice S Wallace; ed Peru HS; PSTC, BA 1927; U of N, BSc 1930; m Opal Slick July 27, 1927 Denver Colo; 1924-25 tchr & coach Adams; 1925-26 tchr & coach Alma; 1927-29 supt of schs Wellfleet; 1929-33 supt schs Wallace; 1933- pharm, owner & mgr Bogle Drug Store, Elwood; mbr sch bd; mbr Neb St Pharm Assn; AF&AM, sr warden; Scot Rite, Lincoln; Dem; res Elwood.
BRAGG, ROBERT LEE: Sheriff; b Hinton, W Va Nov 16, 1867; s of Louis Bragg-Caroline Hopkins; ed W Va; Gosper Co; m Nettie Moore Oct 1894 Montrose Colo; s William Lee, Louis A, Earl E; d Beulah (Mrs William McKenzie), Helen (Mrs Ben V Horlden), Frances (Mrs Jack Clifton); Apr 16, 1882 came to Gosper Co herded cattle, drove stage coach 3 1/2 years with mail & passengers from Arapahoe to Lexington; 1889- opr barber shop, Elwood; 1917- sheriff Gosper Co; Rep; clerk, past chmn Gosper Co Com; IOOF, past noble grand; MWA; Meth Ch; res Elwood.
BURT, GEORGE T: Mayor; b Saline Co, Neb Sept 24, 1877; s of Gordon T Burt-Your C Lawson; ed Elwood HS; m Sadie E Hicks Oct 15, 1899 Elwood; s Klyte D, Romer T; d Lavera A; 1893-95 opr meat mkt Elwood; 1895-1907, 1912-16 mgr W M Bruce Elevator; 1907-11 treas Gosper Co; 1916-23 owner & opr George T Burt Lbr & Coal Co, 1923- secy-treas & mgr Elwood Coal & Lbr Co, Ins., consolidation of Burt Lbr & Coal with Elwood Lbr & Coal Co; VP Home Bank; Mayor; dir Gosper Co Stock Show; dir Eustis Farm Loan Assn; mbr Neb Lbr Mchts Assn; past master AF&AM; worthy patron OES; Comml Club; chmn Gosper Co Dem Central Com. 1875 parents came to Saline Co father farmer, 1882 homesteaded in Gosper Co, 1891 pastor of Chris Ch, Elwood. Res Elwood.
CLARK, CLOYD E: Attorney; b McCook, Neb Aug 7, 1901; s of Abner F Clark-Hattie B Yarger; ed McCook HS; U of N, LLB 1925; Delta Chi, Phi Alpha Delta; 1913-18 emp McCook Gazette; 1926-28 prac law, McCook; 1928- prac law, Elwood; past sec-treas & pres 14th Judicial Dist Bar Assn; Neb St Bar Assn; Amer Bar Assn; mbr village bd; Comm Club; 1935 Neb sen; chmn Gosper Co Rep Central Com; past master AF&AM; Meth Ch; Rep; hobbies, hunting & fishing; res Elwood.
CLARK, GEORGE A: Physician & Surgeon; b Central City, Neb Sept 10, 1879; s of David Y Clark- Elizabeth E Perkins; ed Central City; Fremont Normal; Creighton U, MD 1908; m Anna R Rollins Mar 27, 1911 Elwood; s Richard R; d Janet (Mrs J Laverne Seberg), Barbara (Mrs Jack Wilson); 1908-11 phys & surg Elwood; 1911-15 phys & surg Neligh; 1915-17 phys & surg Central City; 1917 phys & surg Elwood; co phys & mbr co bd of health; city phys & mbr city bd of health; Phelps Co Med Soc; Neb St & AMA; past mbr sch bd; mbr Gosper Co examining bd during World War; AF&AM; Comm Club; hobby, study of sun ray for med purposes; res Elwood.
DOW, ANDREW: Funeral Director & Merchant; b Hinesburgh, Vt Oct 5 1865; s of Isaiah Dow-Dolcinea Benedict; ed Hinesburgh Acad; Essex Vt Classical Inst; Bus Coll, Poughkeepsie N Y; m Luella Blackburn Sept 28, 1892 Hastings, Neb; s Donald B; d Dorothy; supt in father's woolen mfg co, Hinesburg Vt until 1888; Dec 1888 came to Elwood; 1889-90 worked for mcht in Elwood; 1890- opr gen merc bus in Elwood; 1903- lic embalmer & funeral dir; 1926- opr with ptr Richard R Clark; mbr Neb Funeral Dirs Assn; Comm Club; past mbr sch & village bds; past master AF&AM; Indep; hobby, fishing; res Elwood.
DOW, LUELLA BLACKBURN: Librarian; b Salem, Neb Nov 27, 1869; d of Rev W S Blackburn-Eliza I Jane Wakefield; ed York Coll; Depauw U, Greencastle, Ind; Pi Beta Phi; m Andrew Dow Sept 28, 1892 Hastings; s Donald B; d Dorothy; 1987-88 tchr, Bartley; 1890-92 tchr Genoa Indian Sch; 1892 homemaker; 1920- librarian, Elwood; org & pres of Clio
Club, div of Federated Womans Club; during World War active in ARC; Meth Ch, tchr of cradle roll SS class; hobbies, flowers, painting, travel; parents born in Penn, father homesteaded near Salem in 1867, was minister in Penn, Ohio & Neb; res, Elwood.
FITZSIMMONS, JOHN S: Real Estate Dealer; b Centralia, Ill Nov 10, 1868; s of M E Fitzsimmons-Mary Elizabeth Ingel; ed Ill & Ia; m Nellie M Chambers Apr 10, 1893 Elwood; s Harold J, Perry R; 1884 came to Neb, worked near Plum Creek; 1885 came to Elwood when first building was being built; first job hauling water for town before any wells were dug; opr engine Elwood Mill; 1895-1918 farmer-stockman Gosper Co; 1918-33, 1936- in real est bus, Elwood; 1933-36 Gosper Co judge; 1934- VP & helped org Central Neb Pub Power & Irrigation Dist; Comm Club; past chmn village bd; AF&AM; past noble grand IOOF; Chris Ch, deacon; Dem; hobbles, hunting & fishing; Mrs Fitzsimmons born in Ind, came to Gosper Co with parents 1875, one of early settlers in co; res Elwood.
FORD, ROY: Farmer & Stockman; b Sangamon Co, Ill Jan 19, 1873; s of Philo Ford-Mary C Barkley; ed Gosper Co; Sangamon Co Ill; m Virginia G Bowen Dec 31, 1894 Camden N J; s Roy B (dec), Ralph W; d Harriet Virginia (Mrs Marcus L Swengle); 1884 came to Gosper Co with parents; 1890- farmer, buys & feeds hogs, cattle & lambs, opr 640 A; 1906-28 owner & opr lbr yard Bertrand; mbr sch bd Bertrand; Indep; hobby, politics; father mbr state legislature 1893; Mrs Ford came to Neb with parents 1882, settled in Gosper Co 1884; father was Civil War ofcr; res Robb pct Gosper Co, RFD Bertrand.
FURROW, JAMES HENRY: County Judge; b Livingston Co, Ill June 5, 1868; s of John H Furrow-Elizabeth A McDowell; ed Gosper Co; m Cora M Withers Dec 27, 1891 Gosper Co (dec); s Verne G, Othello B; d Edna M; m Bertha E Hodges Sept 4, 1929 Leavenworth Kas; 1874 came to Clay Co with parents, 1879 moved to Gosper Co; 1898-1905 farmed; 1905-14 in merc bus Elwood; 1915-21 Gosper Co treas; 1922-23 custodian Elwood HS; 1925-32 Gosper Co judge; 1932-36 ins agt & hdw dlr; 1937- co judge; past mbr dist sch bd; past mbr Elwood sch bd; Chris Ch: past noble grand, past dep grand IOOF; res Elwood.
JUNKIN, MAX W: Farmer & Rancher; b Gosper Co, Neb Jan 18, 1889; s of George C Junkin-Emma M Swinburn; ed Smithfield HS; U of U Sch of agr 1907-09, m Hedwig Liebers of Agr, 1913 Lincoln (dec); s Eldred W; d Winona M; m Reba Inman Dec 30, 1919 Fort Scott Kas; 1910-14 farmed & ranched Gosper Co: 1914-17 opr dairy farm Holmesville; 1917-20 traveling salesman Perfection Mfg Co, Minneapolis Minn; 1920- opr ranch & stock farm Gosper Co; after father's death in 1935 ranch name changed from George C Junkin & Son to Junkin Hereford Ranch, 1700 A; raises registered Hereford Cattle; 1938 received certificates of achievement for outstanding accomplishment in pasture, forage & livestock management practices from Agrl Coll Extn Service, Omaha C of C, Neb Crop Growers Assn & Neb Livestock Breeders Assn, also awarded cup by United South Platte C of C; mbr Amer Hereford Breeders Assn; dir Bertrand Co-op Oil Co, past pres; dir Gosper Co Farm Bur; mbr Farmers & Manufacturers Conference Lincoln 1939; 4-H Club leader; Central Neb Wild Life Assn; Smithfield Golf Club; past secy Gosper Co Rep Central Com; Meth Ch; hobbies big game hunting, has bagged elk, deer and a bear in past 12 years; fattens show calves; parents came to Gosper Co 1896, father was farmer & stockman, & helped promote Tri-County Pub Power & Irrigation Dist; 1908-05 Neb representative; 1907-11 secy of state; mbr constitutional conv 1919; 1927-28 Neb sen; mbr Rep conv Cleveland, 1928; res Smithfield,
JUNKIN, RUSSELL J: Grain Dealer; b Gosper Co. Neb Feb 3, 1890; s of George C Junkin-Emma M Swinburn; ed Smithfield HS U of N Agrl Coll, 1909; m Bernice M Coy Dec 27, 1916 Smithfield; s Dean J, Neil E, Vaun C; 1914- farmer-stockman Junkin Hereford Ranch, ptr with brother Max; 1922- mgr Smithfield Grain Co; mbr sch bd; past chmn village bd; dir Smithfield Mutual Telephone Co; Trustee Meth Ch; Rep; hobbies. hunting and fishing; father state representative, state senator, sec of state 2 terms, mbr constitutional convention; res Smithfield.
KELLER, GEORGE: Farmer & Stockman; b Decatur Co, Ia Aug 25, 1887; s of Gottlieb Keller-Katherina Bulling; ed Gosper Co; m Martha McDonnell Dec 26, 1910 Lincoln; s George Vernon, Mark Ambrose; d Velma Viola, Doris Eileen (Mrs Orley McGee); prior to 1908 worked on father's farm; 1910- farmer & stockman, owner & opr 680 A farm; 1928-88 pct assessor; 1928-34 mgr & shipper Elwood Shipping Assn; 1935- chmn Gosper Co Agrl Conservation Com; mbr sch bd; mbr bd of dirs Gosper Co Farm Bur; mbr Land Use Com, Gosper Co; Ak-Sar-Ben; trustee Meth Ch; Rep; hobby, livestock; parents born in Germany, farmed in Lancaster Co 3 years; came to Gosper Co, 1894; res Elwood.
MORGAN, MARION RUSSELL: Bank Cashier; b Elwood, Neb Aug 4, 1904; s of Frank A Morgan-Lucy A Harris; ed Elwood HS; m Merle Abbott June 17, 1923 Elwood; s Russell J; d Sandra G; 1923-25 bkkpr Home Bank Elwood; 1925-26 asst cash Farmers & Mchts Bank McCool Junction; 1926-28 asst Cash First State Bank, Alliance; 1928-29 cash & managing ofcr First State Bank, Guernsey Wyo; 1929-33 asst cash Scottsbluff Natl bank Scottsbluff; 1933- cash & dir First Natl Bank, Elwood; treas Gosper Co Agrl Soc; village treas Elwood: fire chief; pres Comm Club; past dist dep grand master IOOF; Dem; hobbies, hunting, fishing and golf; parents settled in Gosper Co 1874; res Elwood.
PARKYN. RALPH E: Farmer and Stockman; b Jo Daviess Co, Ill Jan 1, 1879; s of Joseph O Parkyn-Lucy Akins; ed Gosper Co; Northwestern Bus Coll, Beatrice; m Ethel Lewis Sept 29, 1904; s Harold, Vancil Wayne; 1900-04 farmed in Gosper Co: 1904-14 farmed near Elwood; 1914-15 farmed Alberta Canada; 1916- farmer, Elwood now owner & opr 1020 A; 1930-33 co commr; past chmn & mbr Co Allotment Com; past mbr sch bd: Dem; hobby, travel; parents settled in Gosper Co 1884; father was farmer and stockman, co supt of schs and org of several sch dists; published first newspaper in Gosper Co; Mrs Parkyn leader in co extn club work, was entertained 1936 by Mr and Mrs Franklin Roosevelt in Washington, D C; res Elwood.
ROEPKE, ROBERT R: County Commissioner; b Gosper Co, July 2, 1906; s of Henry L Roepke-Emma Nutzmann; ed Bertrand HS; m Nellie Jane Harlan July 3, 1926 Holyoke Colo (dec); d Elnora Beth, Darlene Esther; 1923- farmer & stockman in Gosper Co; opr 480 A, raises Hereford cattle; mbr Gosper Co Land Use Com of US Bur of Agrl Economics; Gosper Co commr; mbr Farm Bur; master AF&AM; Bapt Ch; Rep; hobbies hunting, gardening & reading; parents pioneers in Gosper Co; res Elwood.
SHALLENBERGER, GEORGE E: Bank President; b Elwood, Neb Dec 14, 1894; s of Eugene Shallenberger-Georgia Hedges; ed Elwood; Hastings HS; m Chrystal Harris Jan 24, 1919 Norton Kas; d Norma Kathleen; 1911-23 bkkpr, clk & cash First Natl Bank Elwood, 1923- pres; pres Elwood sch bd; past pres Comm Club; Dem; parents came to Elwood 1889, father estab State Bank now First Natl Bank; res Elwood.
SHEPHERD, ROY: County Clerk; b Endicott, Neb July 5, 1889; s of Alexander Shepherd-Annle Campbell; ed Endicott HS; Boyles Bus Coll, Omaha; m Cuba M Hudson May 1, 1918 Beatrice; s Merlin Dean, Dwayne Alexander; d Delores Jean; 1910-20 farmed in Jefferson Co, 1920-28 owner & opr Fairbury Ice & Cold Storage Co, Fairbury; 1928-32 Ford dlr Elwood; 1932-36 farmer in Gosper Co; 1936-38 opr service station Elwood; Jan 1939- Gosper Co clk; past mbr city coun; Junior warden AF&AM; past dir Comm Club; Dem; Chris Ch; hobbies, fishing, hunting & golf; parents pioneers, father was Jefferson Co commr; res Elwood.
SMITH, CLAUDE: Publisher; b Grant, Neb Dec 1, 1889; s of Charles F Smith-Jennie Devinny; ed Elwood HS; m Ellen Umberger Sept 8, 1921 Elwood; 1909-15 emp on various newspapers in Ia, Neb & Colo; 1912-15 co-owner & co-publisher Holdrege Progress; 1915- publisher & editor of Elwood Bulletin; 1926- awarded prize for best newspaper in Neb for towns 1000 or less, NPA; dir Central Neb Pub Power & Irrigation Dist; past mbr of city coun; treas AF&AM, past master; Hastings Scot Rite & Tehama Shrine; Elwood Comm Club; Dem: 1886 father started first newspaper in Grant; 1901 bought and consolidated two papers, continued publication under name Elwood Bulletin; res Elwood.
STOLL, EDWARD H: Farmer and Stockman; b Woodson Co. Kas Sept 25, 1886; s of Frederick P Stoll-Jennie F Launders; ed Gosper Co; m Theodora M Pfeiffer Aug 31, 1921 Gosper Co; s Oscar E; d Esther M; 1888
came to Neb with parents; 1907- opr 320 A farm, raising & feeding Hereford cattle, 1914- fire & life ins agt; 1905- US weather observer; 1900- US crop reporter; served in World War; Amer Leg post & county comm; Gosper Co Agrl Assn; J P East Muddy pct; dir Gosper Co Fair Assn; Luth Ch; Dem; father farmer near Elwood & J P East Muddy Twp; res RFD Arapahoe.
SUTLIEF, JOHN H: Mail Carrier; b Northville, Mich Apr 5, 1877; s of Charles Sutlief-Sarah Mathew; ed Dodge & Phelps Cos; m Susan A Floyd Oct 27, 1907 Elwood; d Pauline W (Mrs Glen Gulden); 1883 came to Dodge Co; 1886 came to Phelps Co; 1885 came to Gosper Co; 1898-1904 farmed in Gosper Co; 1905-06 oprd livery stable Smithfield; 1906- rural mail carrier, Smithfield: during World War pres coun of defense, Smithfield; highest rural mail carrier in Neb and second highest in US in sale of Liberty Bonds; has farm in Gosper Co; IOOF; past master AF&AM Bertrand; hobby, travel; res Smithfield.
WITHERS, JOHN LESTER: Postmaster; b Gosper Co, Neb July 21, 1888; s of John Albert Withers- Mary V Bourquin; ed Elwood HS; McPherson Kas Coll; m Elva S Bean Oct 6, 1909 Elwood; s Blaine B; d Laree, Pauline; 1909-17 with Dow & Weller gen store Elwood; 1917-20 farmer & stockman, Gosper Co; 1920-24 with Dow Furn, Hdw & Undertaking Elwood; 1924-27 Gen Mgr Farmers Elevator; 1927- 34 opr oil bus & Chevrolet agcy; 1934- P M; past mbr town & sch bds; past noble grand IOOF; past master AF&AM; past secy Comm Club; past treas Meth Ch; Dem; hobbies, fishing & hunting; parents came from Ill 1886 & settled on tree claim; res Elwood.