Sunday, May 29, 2016

Sunday Stories: James Wesley and Geneva Arizona “Zonie” Humphrey

Excerpted from the Sutherland Centennial 1891 – 1991, published in 1991.

Geneva A. Knowles with her parents, twin baby brothers and other siblings came by covered wagon from their homestead in Missouri, to the promising plains near Sutherland, Nebraska.

James Wesley Humphrey was born in Shelby County, Ohio on November 28, 1852, moved to Illinois at the age of 13 and grew to manhood there. He moved to Nebraska in 1892 with his mother and brother, Joe. He and his brother bought a pre-emption on the south side.
“Zonie” and Wes were married December 19, 1894 at her parents’ home. Due to a point of legality as to whether the house stood in Lincoln County or Keith County soil, the ceremony took place in the cornfield, as they had a Keith County marriage license.

Grandmother became well known as an accomplished seamstress. She also became popular as the Midwife of the community, delivering or assisting with the arrival of countless babies. No, she was not “certified” by today’s strict laws, but she was above reproach. She was certified in competence, availability, cleanliness, generosity and love.

Though of slight build, Grandpa was stalwart – thwarting doctors’ plans to amputate his broken leg when he was 26 years old. He recovered from this without a limp. He chucked dental visits, extracting his own teeth with pliers. He triumphed over sieges of hemorrhaging carbuncles and of pleurisy. He received his only injection of medication on his last earthly day, at half-past 89.

Zonie and Wes were the parents of six children. Richard was born September 13, 1895. He married Edna Johnson from Julesburg, Colorado on June 25, 1925. They had two daughters, Ardis and Virginia. Ardis married Elmer Ward and they had four children. Ardis and Elmer are both deceased and buried in Omaha, Nebraska. Virginia is living in North Platte, Nebraska. Dick and Edna are both deceased and buried in the Sutherland Cemetery.

Berth A. was born November 2, 1897 and married Clarence Pueppka on May 20, 1914. They had four children: Edward (Bus), Lloyd, Helen and Darlene. Bertha and Clarence are both deceased and buried in the Sutherland Cemetery.

Nellie F. was born September 24, 1899 and married Orvel Sanders on February 3, 1920. They had three children: Wayne, Doris and Gordon. Alva is deceased and buried in the North Platte Cemetery. Hazel resides in North Platte.

Frank was born June 12, 1906 and married Sylvia Burnside. They had three children: Robert (Bob), Roland (Bill) and Rodger. Frank passed away on July 20, 1979 and is buried in the Sutherland Cemetery.

Floyd was born on January 9, 1908 and married Nina Willcott on December 8, 1928. They had one daughter, Arlene. Floyd was accidentally killed in a farm accident on February 24, 1931. He is buried in the Sutherland Cemetery.

The Wes Humphrey family farmed southwest of Sutherland, moving into town in 1927. Wes passed away on March 12, 1942. Geneva died September 11, 1949. Both are buried in the Sutherland Cemetery.


While living on the farm they were very active in Pleasant Hill Sunday School. They were charter members of the Sutherland Methodist Church.

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Sunday Stories: Benonia Ausbury and Elizabeth (Osenbaugh) Humphrey Family

Excerpted from the Sutherland Centennial 1891 – 1991, published in 1991.

Several weeks ago, I posted the first story of the Humphrey family transcribed from the Sutherland Centennial History Book, then didn't return to the family history. Today's post is the second installment of the Humphrey family history. 

Benonia “Ben” Ausbury Humphrey, the son of James D. and Mary E. Humphrey, was born on February 18, 1846 at Sidney, Shelby County, Ohio, one of 11 children. At the age of 21 years, he moved from Ohio to Mount Pulaski, Illinois.

Elizabeth Osenbaugh, the third child of John and Martha (Whitney) Osenbaugh, was born on a farm near Hartford City, Blackford County, Indiana, on March 7, 1855. She was five when the family made its brief move to Henry County, Missouri, to help “make it free from slavery”. Her father moved the family to Macon County, Illinois, where Elizabeth grew up.

Ben and Elizabeth were married on March 8, 1874, at Maroa, Macon County, Illinois. They farmed near Weldon in Dewitt County, Illinois, where their first son, James Fernando Humphrey was born on April 22, 1875. They returned to Maroa, Illinois, where their son, William Ransalaer (Rance) was born on January 27, 1877. The third and last child, Charles Elmer, known as Elmer, was born on February 3, 1882.

The family moved to a farm south of Paxton, Nebraska, in 1893. Most homes in the early years were made of sod, however, Ben shipped the lumber and windows by rail from Illinois, for a home made of lumber.

The youngest son, Charles Elmer, passed away on November 14, 1900, at the home, and is buried in Riverview Cemetery in Sutherland.

Because of Elizabeth’s failing health, the couple moved into Sutherland and built a home that is still in existence in the north part of town. In later years they lived with their son, Rance, and his family.
Elizabeth died at home in Sutherland, on July 5, 1918, and Ben passed away in Sutherland, March 11, 1922. Both are buried in Riverview Cemetery.


They were among the earliest settlers, their “homestead” one of the first. The two surviving sons, both moved to Sutherland and raised their families. Ben’s two brothers, James Wesley and Joseph H. Humphrey, were some of the early settlers.

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Sunday Stories: John Dudley and Cora Mathers Stewart, Harry Gene Stewart

Excerpted from the Sutherland Centennial 1891 – 1991, published in 1991.

John Dudley Stewart was born on April 16, 1918 to Harry McElroy and Mary Francis (Johnson) Stewart, at their farm home west of Sutherland, Nebraska.
He attended a country school and then the Sutherland Public School, graduating with the class of 1935. He helped his father on the farm until March 1942 when he enlisted in the United States Army.
Cora Mathers was born June 25, 1918 to John and Rosa Bell Mathers at their farm home southwest of Paxton, Nebraska. She attended the Paxton Public School, and graduated with the class of 1936. Cora worked at a local café, and Hehnkes Store, and was a Postal Clerk at the Paxton Post Office.

Cora and Dudley were married in Abilene, Texas on June 6, 1942. After Dudley’s discharge from the Air Force, they returned to Sutherland, where he was engaged in farming with his brother, Harry Gene.

Dudley was Past Master of the Sutherland Lodge #299 AF and AM, Past Patron of the Platte Valley Chapter #305, EOS. He was a member of the Sutherland School Board for a number of years and was an Elder in the Presbyterian Church.

Cora was Past Matron of Platte Valley Chapter #305 EOS, Deacon in the Presbyterian Church, Member of the Genburnie Extension Club, and 4-H Club Leader.

Dudley became seriously ill in February, 1962 with the influenza, and after an extended illness, died in the Sutherland Hospital, August 13, 1962. After Dudley’s death, Cora accepted a position in the Sutherland Post Office. She also worked in the North Plate Post Office. Cora was appointed Postmaster of the Sutherland Office, August 11, 1979, and retired October 28, 1983.

Dudley and Cora had four children: Edyth Ann, born in 1947; Mary Jane born in 1951; John Dennis, born in 1953; and Carol Ina, born in 1955.

Note: Cora Stewart passed away on Saturday, October 17, 2009.

Harry Gene Stewart

Harry Gene Stewart was born April 23, 1925, at the farm home of his parents, harry M. and Mary F. Stewart, northwest of Sutherland. He attended school in Sutherland and graduated in 1943. Throughout school he excelled in sports and singing. A bout with polio limited his sporting endeavors but his singing continues to delight all that know him. After graduation, Harry Gene joined his father in farming the home place and the Tracy farm west of Sutherland. He married Ruth Hazel Coker on January 1, 1947 at the Presbyterian Church. They have three children: Peggy Jean, born in 1948, Harry Michael born in 1950, and Timothy James born in 1955. Harry Gene is Past Master of the Sutherland Lodge #299 AF and AM. He has been for many years, and is currently Worthy Patron of Platte Valley Chapter #305, EOS. Harry Gene is an elder at the First Presbyterian Church in Sutherland and continues to live on the farm where he was born.


Note: Harry Gene Stewart passed away on November 12, 1998. 

Sunday, May 8, 2016

Sunday Stories: Harry McElroy and Mary Francis (Johnson) Stewart

Excerpted from the Sutherland Centennial 1891 – 1991, published in 1991.

Harry McElroy Stewart was born July 9, 1884 in Portglenone County, Antrim, Northern Ireland. He had brothers and sisters, James, John William, Elizabeth, Jane, and Sam.

In May, 1906, he came to the United States of America. He spent three years in New York City, where he was a street car conductor. He then moved to Sutherland, Nebraska, where he resided for the rest of his life.

In 1917, he purchased a farm four and a half miles northwest of Sutherland, and that same year on June 3, 1917, was united in marriage to Mary Francis Johnson, daughter of John Henry and Caroline V. (Sinco) Johnson. Mary was born in Jefferson County, Iowa on May 20, 1883, one of 10 children.
When Mary was about five years old the family journeyed to Nebraska in a covered wagon and homesteaded 12 ½ miles southwest of Sutherland, Section 30-13-34, now owned by Goederts.
Mary’s father, John Henry Johnson, was a strong supporter of the Methodist Church, and his name is inscribed on the cornerstone of the Methodist Church built in Hershey, Nebraska. Her brother, Otto V. Johnson, was killed in World War I, and the Legion Post in Sutherland is named after him.

After receiving her education, she taught school for several years until her marriage to Harry M. Stewart on June 3, 1917. Harry and Mary lived on the farm until the time of Harry’s death. Harry served on the Sutherland School Board for many years; was Past Master of the Sutherland Lodge #299 AF and AM; Past Patron of Platte Valley Chapter #305EOS; an Elder in the Presbyterian Church; and an ASC Committee Member at the time of his death on October 15, 1952.
Harry M. and Mary Francis Stewart became the parents of six children: John Dudley, Genevieve Lowary, Patricia Francis, Harry Gene, and twin daughters that died at birth.


Submitted by Cora Stewart

Sunday, May 1, 2016

Sunday Stories: The John Henry and Caroline Virginia (Sinco) Johnson Family

Excerpted from the Sutherland Centennial 1891 – 1991, published in 1991.

John Henry Johnson was a widely known and highly honored early pioneer of the Sutherland Community, arriving here in the year of 1885. With an eye for what the future had in store for this area, and having faith and acting in good judgment, he reaped the benefits of his hard work.
John Henry was born in Putnam County, Indiana on May 29, 1847, the son of Abraham and Lucinda (Woods) Johnson. Abraham was a farmer in Indiana until 1885, when he moved his family to Ringgold County, Iowa. There he also farmed. John Henry was about eight years of age when the family moved to Iowa, there he received his education.

On completing his education, Mr. Johnson farmed until 1885, when he came to Lincoln County and obtained a homestead on the NW ½ of Section 30, Township 13, Range 34, 12 miles southwest of Sutherland.
He was an eye-witness and a participant to the wonderful transformation which took place here in the years to follow.

His first years here were characterized by toil of the most strenuous sort, but he persisted and by unremitting industry, and sound judgment in his operation, he finally realized the success which was bound to result from his enterprise. He conducted general farming operations and in later years retired to a home on eight acres in the town of Sutherland.

April 14, 1870, he was united in marriage to Caroline Virginia Sinco, a native of Jefferson County, Iowa. They became the parents of 10 children: Leona J., the wife of Fred Pierson of Sutherland; Ottie, the wife of C. B. McKinstry, a banker at Sedgwick, Colorado; Eunice, the wife of S. E. Anderson; Mable, the wife of J. N. Buchanan of Sedgwick, Colorado; Mary Francis, the wife of Harry McElroy Stewart, a farmer near Sutherland; Bertha who was a teacher in the Sutherland Public School System; Mortimer, who was in the hardware and implement business; Abraham, a farmer near Elsie, Nebraska. Alger, who had a furniture and hardware business in Laramie, Wyoming; 
and Otto V. who at the outbreak of the war between the United States and Germany offered his service to his country, becoming a member of Company K, 355th Regiment, 89th Division. He was sent overseas with his Regiment, and after active and faithful service was killed in battle on November 6, 1918; five days before the signing of the Armistice. Otto was a young man of excellent qualities of character, popular among his associates, and his death was greatly regretted throughout the community.
Mr. Johnson gave his political support to the Democratic Party. Was a member of the Methodist Episcopal Church. 

He passed away at his home on August 16, 1926. His wife, Caroline, died July 24, 1927. Both laid to rest at the Sutherland Cemetery.

Note: The Sutherland American Legion Post #208 was named after Otto V. Johnson. You can read more about that HERE in a previous post.

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