Thursday, December 17, 2020

A 1909 Profile of a Dawes County Pioneer


     William Clark, one of the leading old settlers of Dawes county, Nebraska, deserves prominent mention for his aid in the success of western Nebraska as an agricultural and commercial center, and in doing so has incidentally built up a good home and farm for himself by dint of his industry and good management.

     Mr. Clark was born in Green county, Ohio, in 1846. His father was Samuel Clark, of mixed nationality, a farmer by occupation and for many years followed that work in Ohio, Illinois, Minnesota and Nebraska and has been on the frontier all his life. When our subject was but a baby the family moved to Iowa, then to Nebraska, but most of his boyhood years were spent in Minnesota, where they lived for some years in Freeborn county. He learned to do all kinds of hard farm work up to his eighteenth year, then enlisted in the Second Minnesota Cavalry, Company C, and saw service in the west mostly, fighting against the Indians.

     After the war he went back to Minnesota, locating in Martin county, and was there married to Miss Louisa Connic, daughter of Howard Connic, a harness maker, of Pennsylvania and an old settler in Minnesota.

     In the spring of 1881 he came to Cuming county, Nebraska, and was among the pioneers in that section, but only remained for three years. In 1884 he came to Dawes county, driving here with a team and covered wagon, and as soon as he located here built a shack and lived in that for some time, batching it" up to the spring of 1885, when he was joined by his family, who drove from Valentine. They were then located on section 26, township 31, range 47, and went through pioneer experiences, often meeting hardships and privations, one winter being spent in Pine Ridge, logging with ox teams to make a living for the family. During the dry years he had many losses from partial crop failures, although he was able to raise some crops during all that time. 

    For three years he was in the Sand Hills engaged in the stock business, and as he was able, bought more land, until he is proprietor of six and a half sections, in partnership with his son-in-law, Fred J. Stinchfield. Mr. Clark now lives on section 28, township 31, range 47, where he has built up a fine farm and home. The place is supplied with plenty of good living water, and he has a very fine grove of trees near his house, one of the best in the county. He has seven wells and windmills, and is largely engaged in stock raising, running from four to five hundred head all the time. His ranch is all fenced and cross fenced, having in all about fifty miles of fencing . He has a fine young orchard and garden, and everything to make a well ordered home and comfortable rural life.

     Mr. Clark's family consists of nine children, named as follows: Charlotte, Melissa and Eva, Rosella, Jennie and Belle, born in Minnesota; and Lorenzo, William and Grace, born in Nebraska. The family are highly esteemed in their community and enjoy a happy and peaceful life, surrounded by a host of warm friends and good neighbors.

     Mr. Clark is active in school affairs in his district, and takes a leading part in local political matters, voting the Republican ticket. He is a member of the school board, and has held local office, serving as road overseer.


NOTE:  From the "Compendium of History Reminiscence & Biography of Western Nebraska"