This is the story of the Franklin Anderson children. They came to Cherry
County in the early 1900's from Saline County, Illinois. They settled in Jensen
Precinct, in west edge of the county.
Jacob Barker was born in Fairfield County, South Caroline. His forbears had
come across the ocean, in the 1600-1800 great migration to the States in hope of bettering
Jacob served in the Revolutionary War. Home seemed a dull place after the
excitement of war. The States owed the soldiers most of their army pay and were unable to
pay. At that time the coastal states claimed the land from the coast to the
Mississippi River and beyond. It was decided to allow the soldiers land in the
western parts of their states, beyond the Allegany's, in lieu of money.
Jacob, in true pioneer fashion, loaded his family and belongings in his sturdy
wagon, hitched up his team, be it horses, mules or oxen and headed west to find his
fortune. He settled on land near McCleanboro, Ill. One of Jacob's great-grand
daughters, Mary Emmett Barker, married Franklin Anderson, from the next country to the
south. They set up housekeeping near Galatia, Ill.
They had ten children, Aldora, Iona, Emma, Dixie, Florida, Fred, Lawrence,
Anna, Isaac and Ezra. Emma, Florida and Ezra died as babies. Fred went to St. Louis
when he was sixteen to find work. He fell ill with black smallpox, a disease dreaded most
as the plague. He died in a few days. His body was sealed in the coffin and
buried within hours of his death. They're in St. Louis. Aldora, or Dora as she was
called, fell in love with a tall, skinny red headed Scotchman named Benjamin King
Holiday. Iona married William H. Naugle. Dixie married Lawrence Douglass, a
salesman from St. Louis and went to live there. Lawrence married Bessie
Potter. Isaac married Pearl Cadwaller and Anna married Arthur Glascock. All of
them, but Dixie came to Nebraska.
Dora married Ben Holliday in 1900. Right afterwards, she came down
with typhoid fever and nearly died. She was a long time getting well and suffered ill
health for some years afterwards. They had a daughter Opal in 1902. Ben worked in
the mines and latter in the family store. His parents had died while he and
his brother was small. He had a cousin Della, who married Earl Spencer. The
Spencers saw an ad in their local paper, where a Sandy Richards of Merriman, Nebraska
wanted to hire help for his ranch in Cherry County. They answered the ad, liked what Sandy
wrote back and decided to take the job.
Their few letters home contained glowing accounts of the country and their
lives there. They begged Dora and Ben to come out. Sandy would hire them. Also
one could homestead 640 acres of land just for living on it for three years. About
then Ben's only brother was shot down after a baseball game and Dora's parents were
dead. In 1908, the Holliday's headed for Cherry County.
The Spencers were on Sandy's north ranch, the Holliday's were placed on the
South ranch, south of the Snake River. When the Holidays arrived the country was
having an uneasy truce between the big ranchers and the homesteaders. Bullet holes
in the buildings showed that the war had been deadly at times. The big ranchers had
finally found that they could not scare all the homesteaders out. Get rid of one
bunch and several more was coming to take their places. There were some die-hards
who still tore out fences, destroyed buildings or snipped from ambush.
The Holliday's came from a small town. The roads in Nebraska were just trails,
which crossed homesteads. These were all fences so there was a lot of gates to
open. Ben was wearing low shoes. He always said later that he would have had more
sand in his shoes than was on the outside, had he not emptied them after every gate.
They liked the work, Dora was feeling much better and they liked the
country. Soon they were writing letters to the folks back in Illinois, advising them
to come on out.
Lawrence was the next Anderson to come west. He was a railroad man and a
telegraph operator. When he and Bessie were married, he was working in Logan,
Ill. They now had two sons, Wayne and Virgil. He got a leave of absents and a
pass and came out to visit the Holliday's and see if the country was as nice as they
seemed to think it was.
He liked things and sent back for Bessie and the children. The folks back there
got her packed up and on the train in care of the conductor. This was in 1910.
Bessie had never been far from home and as she expressed it, "was green as
grass". She was three long lonely miserable days on the road, arriving in
Merriman at 4 a.m. After an early breakfast, they started the forty some miles to
the ranch. There was nothing along the way to calm her nerves. Stories of a
shooting, and of rattlesnakes that jumped at one, and of people who got lost and sometimes
not found in time, were no help. Long before they got to the Holliday's, she was sure
Lawrence had lost his mind. To imagine they could live here was plain crazy.
Things were better when they reached the ranch and Dora took her under her
wings again. She never lost her fear of the wide-open spaces. To be left on
the homestead alone with her boys was pure torture, but she gritted her teeth and took
it. She like it best when fall came and Lawrence moved his family into Gordon until
spring work started. She always hoped he would stay. In order to pick up there
homestead, they had to go out to live on the place, in order to put in the necessary time
required. When the Blizzard of 1913 struck, they were living in a house on the
corner of Fifth and Elm. The Holidays were out in the South ranch. It was
weeks before they found out how each fared.
Next to come were Iona and family and Anna and Arthur. Iona had first
married William Naugle and they had a son John. She and William were divorced.
Latter she married a German, Richard Arndt. He was a widower with two
children. The son, Christopher, was the same age a John and the daughter was
Thelma. Then they had a son Donald. In 1913, after the big blizzard, Iona and
the children came out to visit the Holliday's and Anderson's.
Anna had married a black Irishman, Arthur Glascock. He worked at a store
in Muddy, Ill. Every spring he would come down with ague and sometimes had the
bloody flux along with it. They had been advised by the doctor that a drier climate
might help. All winter they had debated whether to try Nebraska. Ben got them
a job with Sandy and they packed up. As Arthur was returning home after checking on
the railroad car, he met his brother-in-law, Dick Arndt. When Dick heard they were
starting for Nebraska in a few days, he said "Durned if I don't think I'll go
Dick went home and started getting ready. When the train pulled out with
Arthur and Anna, Dick was on it. Iona was very much surprised to see Dick with Ben
returned with the travelers, but much more so when she found they too, had moved to Cherry
County. Isaac was the only Anderson child left in Illinois. Soon he came west
at the age of sixteen.
Earl Spenser and wife had quit Sandy's and picked a homestead some two miles
south and east of Sandy's north ranch buildings. Ben and Dora also quit. Their
homestead joined the Spencers on the south. Lawrence and Bessie's homestead was south and
west of the Holliday's a couple of miles. Arthur and Anna got the job the Spencers
had had with Sandy. It was work that was new to Arthur. When Sandy told him to
ride out and check the mills, Arthur wondered how he would ever find all of them and then
find home again. There were no roads, just trails. Some how he managed to find all
of them and then trusted to his horse to get him home.
Sandy had a windmill at the house that was fixed with a float device which was
supposed to shut off the mill when the tank was full. Then when the cattle had
lowered the water so far, it was supposed to turn the mill back on. Arthur had to
keep a close watch on it because it didn't always work. One day when he was checking he
found a big steer had been butted into the tank and had drowned there. He managed to
get it out and skinned it, throwing the hide on the fence to dry. He worried what
Sandy would say and if his wages would be docked till the critter was paid for. When
he finished telling Sandy about it the next time he came to the ranch, Sandy scratched his
thumb nail a while, which was a habit of his, then said "Them that has, has them to
lose" and never referred to it again.
Most of the land was now homesteaded, but someone always seemed to be pulling
out for greener pastures or because of health or other causes. Some of the neighbors
at that time were Dan Webster, Cash Meyer, Earl Spencer, Ben Holliday, Lawrence, Doc Hood,
Don Eisenrich, Spillman's, Jensen's and the Sassenberry's.
That first Forth of July, there was a celebration at the Churn Ranch. The
day was warm and sunny. Everyone was going, some on horses, some in buggies and
wagons. No one took a wrap but many a parasol was in sight. Shortly after
dinner, the sun went behind a cloud, the wind came up from the northeast and soon
snowflakes were floating around. The party broke up as everyone headed for home and
Every spring the big ranchers bought a trainload of steer from Texas. It
was customary for them to let the small guys buy a carload and hook it on their
train. The cattle would arrive around the first of May. They would be parceled
out to the ranchers and turned loose to fatten up during the summer. In the fall
they would be rounded up and shipped to market. Ben Holliday, Lawrence and Dick
Arndt were some who did this once. They hired Arthur Glascock to go to Gordon and
bring their cattle out.
Arthur was at Gordon when the train arrived. Also on hand was a spring
blizzard. The cattle were shipped off winter pasture. They were a pile of
bones held together by the hide. They had been on the road for a week crammed in the
cars so tight they were all sweaty. When unloaded into that blizzard, they were
ready to give up breathing and a lot of them did just that.
Lawrence had not yet moved his family to the Hills [Sand Hills]. Arthur
hunted him up and told him he could not move the cattle until the storm let up and they
would have to have feed before he could move them, anyway. Lawrence scrounged up some feed
but many were past eating. The Indians at their campgrounds in northeast Gordon
heard of the dying cattle and came running. The grapevine to the reservation carried
the news and more Indians arrived. As soon as a steer was definitely dead they fell
to and skinned and dressed it.
The sun came out and a thaw set in. As soon as Arthur thought the snow
had melted enough so the cattle could travel, he started them out. He could not really
drive them, just headed them in the right direction and let them graze along at their own
gait. The road home in those days went south passed the Standard Grove for about a
mile, then took off across the country, coming out at the Ryland place, southeast of
Gordon in the Pole Creed Community; then east across the Niobrara River near the Newman
ranch head quarters; south and east of the homesteads. Some of the Indians followed
him as far as the Ryland place.
The country had not been fully surveyed out when the homesteaders started
coming. Only the range and township states were put in. The homesteader
"chained" from these stakes to find where their land would be. The next
ones might chain from that man's land. In 1914, the government surveyors came in and
laid out the section lines. It was found that a good many lines were wrong and the
men were not on the proper places. If they did not beat someone to Valentine and
refile, they lost their claim. Many lost their places that way.
Four Sipp brothers had chained their places off. They all filed on a
section in a square. Where the four corners met, they sunk their well. Then each
built their section and used the one central well for all four homesteads. When it
was surveyed, Percy's section contained all four houses and the well. The other
three brothers lost their land to claim jumpers.
Arthur Glascock worked for Sandy Richards for two or three years. He
heard that a man with a homestead joining Dick Arndt's on the west was wanting to sell
out. The two went to Valentine and Arthur bought the others relinquishment.
Thus all the Anderson bunch worked for Sandy Richards and then homesteaded on what he had
considered his land. That fall he quit Sandy's. He went to Gordon and bought
$125 worth of lumber and cement on time with which to build a house on his new land.
He would pay for it the next summer from work he would get. The house on the place
was a "bank house", meaning it was dug into a hillside. The back and
sidewalls were dirt. The front was boarded up and a roof put over it. Arthur
picked out a high hill and built his house on the southeast side, suing the fill for a
win-break. He built the house that fall and winter. It was a two room house
40' x 15. The original house was moved over and sides and back put on and used for a
The next spring, Arthur and Anna went to the Felix Nern ranch to work. Anna
cooked and Arthur did whatever needed doing. In the fall they moved back to their
home for the winter. They worked for Nern several summers. They also worked for
George O'Kiefe. When Arthur had gotten together a few head of cattle and a couple
workhorses they quit working out all summer. He hired out for short jobs for now
they needed to home more.
The Holliday's proved up on their land. Most sold as soon as they got
there patent, but they stayed with their homestead. When Doc Hood got his patent,
Ben bought him out, making him two sections of land. Lawrence and Bessie sold theirs
and moved to Gordon, buy a horse on South Main. Lawrence became the station manager
for the North Western Rail Road. The Dick Arndt's sold theirs to Arthur Glascock for
$3.00 an acre which gave him two sections of land. The Arndt's moved into
Gordon. Thy bought on South Elm and Dick worked at the elevator. Isaac picked
out a section between Holiday 's and Lawrence's place. When World War I broke out,
Isaac went. By law he would not have to finish proving up on the land because he
joined the Army.
The first year that the Arndt's were on their place, all three of the older
children started to the Spillman School District 138. The teacher was Pearl
Cadwaller from the Cody area. She went home to the Spillman's that night, where she
was boarding. She told Mrs. Spillman that there were three new pupils, two boys and
a girl. One boy was a towhead and the other black haired, both nine years old and both
named Arndt but said they weren't twins.
Isaac was much interested in the school ma'am. When he came back from the war,
they got married. Her folks had moved to the Hermosa, South Dakota area. They
bought a farm up near Keystone, instead of staying in Nebraska.
Arthur and Anna proved up on their claim in 1919. Many were the tales
they could tell of homesteading days. Most of the homesteaders looked back on these
days as "THE BEST". They often talked about it at family get-togethers and
debated why those days were so much better than their later lives. Many were the
suggestions. There was no rich and poor for one thing. Everyone was in the
same boat. Some were a bit better off, some a bit poorer but not enough to make much
difference. All were comparably young. It was a young folk time. The danger added
spice. They had to live by their wits and as the saying goes, buy main strength and
awkwardness. It molded them into a community of folks who lived by the law
"I'll help you and you help me", --- a sort of a Golden Rule area.
Not that all kept coming up roses. Most things had to be nailed down or
they walked off. If some one got disgusted and just pulled out and left the county,
the buildings left seemed to be considered the property of the first comer, unless it was
known that a certain party had bought it.
One time when Arthur's sisters were visiting from Illinois, he told them of
buying the buildings on the Pyle place when they sold out. They had lived at the
Pyle crossing on the Snake [River], and had to leave because of ill health. He said
he got help and moved the house up to his place where he used it as a shop and
storehouse. He tore the barn down and built a windbreak for the cattle. "I
pulled up the posts and hauled them home, and then I dug up the cellar, cut it up and used
it for fence posts the next spring."
One thing that was a worry was the mail. The first route went through
north of Sandy's north ranch. Whoever came by the boxes collected mail of all the
neighbors and brought it to them. Later the route was changed making it around 95
milers long. The carrier went by horse and buggy on Monday, Wednesday and
Friday. A post office was opened in the house where Earl Spencer had
homesteaded. It was named Melpha for someone's mother's maiden name. It was
discontinued in the 1960s. At the time the sisters were visiting and one asked whey
they never wrote home but once a year at Christmas. "Didn't have the price of a stamp
to put on it."
Everyone had to know the basic facts of doctoring and nursing. Anna
earned some money with her nursing skills. One day Arthur rode out to check his
mills. Then rode on to the mailbox for the mail. On the spur of the moment, he rode
on a block or so to a neighbor's house. When he knocked on the door, the lady called
"O come quick". He went in and found her on the kitchen floor. She
was having a miscarriage and was badly in need of help. He did what was necessary and then
put her to bed. He then rode home and sent Anna over to stay with her till her
husband returned from Lakeside, several days later.
Some of the folks who lived in the community in the 1920's were the Ben
Holliday, Arthur Glascock, Alfred Fitch, George Johnson, Perry Art, Cash Meyer, Will
McBeth, Jim Finnerty, Luebuke's, Lugenbill's and Bill Louks.
Lawrence was the first of the Anderson's to die. He died in the Flu epidemic in
1918. He and Bessie had four boys. All precede Bessie in death. George died in 1918,
a month or so before his father. He had tried to get on a moving train, fell and had
his legs mangled so that he died in Bessie's arms on the way to Hot Springs
hospital. Emmett died in 1942 in the battle of Midway. He was a Marine
aviator. Wayne in Enumclaw, WA. Virgil died in 1976.
The Anderson children lived their lives to the best of their abilities, taking
sorrow and happiness as it was dished out to them by God. Their communities were
better for them having lived there. They were honest, hard working and wonderful
neighbors. May their descendants do as well.
Photographs Submitted with Biography
Lawrence, Bessie and Wayne
B.K. and Dora Holiday
B.K., Dora and Opal Holiday
Gordon Football Team
The football team photo was from the mid-20s. I'm sure someone can find their
grandfather in it. Don't think the positions are important but they were on the back of
the picture so I included them. Virgil was my father.
Top Row Left to Right:
Orville Conner End
Woodrow Metzgar Guard
George Shadbolt End
Royal Mcgaughey End
Coach Paul Carroll
Middle Row left to Right
James Thomas Quarterback [sub]
Vincent Skinner Halfback
Floyd Hatch Tackle
Alfred Caparoon Center
Sidney Fry Guard
Front Row Left to Right
Frank Ragsdale Sub
Mack Boyle Quarterback [sub]
Donald Mansfield Quarterback
Virgil Anderson Halfback [Captain]
Ralph Hutch Guard and Tackle
Harry Pruden Sub
Wayne Lauks Sub
Victor Steinhaus Halfback
Verlin Hutton is not in picture but was a regular player