Biographies

Anderson Family
submitted by Charlie Anderson

The ANDERSON CHILDREN of CHERRY and SHERIDAN COUNTY

A Recollection Written by Mildred Glascock, daughter of Anna Anderson and Arthur Glascock

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 themselves.

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 along".

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 a fire.

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 hen house.

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:
Emery Reed              End
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
Joe Saults               End [sub]

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
Evertt Dijon              Fullback

Verlin Hutton is not in picture but was a regular player

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This page was last updated on
Tuesday, 10-Mar-2009 20:07:56 MDT