Ben F. Stockwell
From: Compendium of History, Reminiscence and Biography of Nebraska, p. 1004
Few men living today in the state of Nebraska have memories of its prairies fifty years ago, but one of these few is Ben F. Stockwell, now retired, living in Boyd county, in the county seat. Mr. Stockwell first set foot on Nebraska soil in 1861, when he traversed the state on his way to Nevada, where for eighteen months he was employed in the silver mines of Virginia City. He had spent it short time in Utah, Idaho, and Montana, but made his longest sojourn in the state of Nevada before returning to his former home at La Grange, Indiana.
Mr. Stockwell was born in the village of Alexander, Licking County, Ohio, September 7, 1838, and when four years old his parents moved to La Grange county, Indiana. He is a son of Ephriam and Margaret (Streeter) Stockwell, the former working as a millwright practically all his life. Ben Stockwell has been self-supporting since he was but nine years of age, working for his board and clothes, neither of which was over-abundant. At the age or twenty. He became one of a threshing crew, and for thirty years followed that employment [sic]. After his return from the mountains in the year 1862, Mr. Stockwell lived in Indiana until coming to the west. He lived during the winters of 1870-1871 in Jasper county. Iowa, before making residence in Nebraska in June, 1871, when he settled in Cass county, on a farm three miles west of Weeping Water, where he bought railroad land. Here he lived nine years, suffering total losses two Years. owing to the grasshopper pest. In 1880 he sold in Cass county, and moving to Lincoln county, Kansas, bought two hundred and forty acres six miles east of the city of Lincoln. Here he plied the science and art of farming and stock-raising seven years. Coming to Holt county in the. fall of 1877, he bought a relinquishment and filed on a homestead of one hundred and sixty acres seven miles cast of Eagle Mills where he resided until 1903.
In 1900 Mr. Stockwell retired from active farming and became a resident of Butte, where his, brother, Dr. Stockwell, had been the leading phyiscian [sic] since the founding of the town. He bought two lots, built a residence, and at once planted trees which are today as large and thrifty as any in town. His place he sold to advantage in 1903, and built his present home, which faces the school square on the north.
Mr. Stockwell was married September 5, 1860, to Miss Jane Rowland, a native of Huron county, Ohio. Her father, William Rowland, was a native of New York, who died at the age of eighty-seven; the mother, Mary Holcomb, lived until attaining her seventy-fifth year. Four children have been horn to Mr. and Mrs. Stockwell, named am follows: Lydia, wife of S. Anderson, of Henley, South Dakota; Kate, who is married to George Kirkland, of Atkinson, Holt county; Emma and her husband, Wilford Standeford, have a claim near Gregory, South Dakota; and Charlotte, is married to Ray Coleman, who is employed at Phoenix, Holt county, Nebraska.
Mr. Stockwell was living in Holt County at the time of the great blizzard of January 12, 1888, and going from the house to the barn to feed his stock, he lost his way and with difficulty returned to his door. The weather looked suspicious to the mother that day, and the children were kept home from school, saving them suffering and distress. Mr. and Mrs. Stockwell never lived in the primitive sod house, as many settlers were compelled to do, but always lived near enough a town to buy lumber for a frame dwelling. Part of the time while living in Cass County corn was a drug on the market and furnished a cheaper fuel than coal.
With a recollection of Nebraska extending over a period of more than fifty years Mr. Stockwell has no cause to regret the impulse that brough him to the state as a settler; and the state has cause to congratulate itself on acquiring so thrifty and substantial citizens as he.
* Wilford Standiford went from KY to IL to Gregory, SD before migrating to NE. The had at least one son: C. Vere Standiford.
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