NIMROD and JOHN E. KEISER. The father and son herewith written of are gentlemen about equally well known throughout Table Rock Precinct.
The elder being a man of much influence and force of character, and the younger, of fine natural abilities, which are being developed through his sensible process of noting what is going on around him in the world, and making the most of his opportunities for acquiring useful information. They live together at a snug homestead on section 13, in Table Rock Precinct, the estate comprising 240 acres of finely cultivated land with modern improvements.
Nimrod Keiser was one of the earliest settlers of this county, coming to this region during the fall of 1865. He located on the Little Muddy, but the summer following removed to the land which he now owns and occupies, and which, it is hardly necessary to say bore a wide contrast to its present condition. The land was the entirely new and uncultivated. Mr. K., in the spring of 1866, purchased 160 acres, including thirty-five acres of timber, paying therefor $700. He himself turned the first furrow, taking possession of the place in the spring of 1866. He rented a cabin for two winters, and during that time put up a dwelling on his own land, drawing his lumber laboriously from Hillsdale, on the Missouri River, and making the trip in two days. Pine lumber was worth $40 per 1,000. The nearest market was Brownville, and to the point Mr. Keiser hauled his grain and other produce. Later he visited Aspinwall and Peru on the same errand.
The new farm of Mr. Keiser was for the first few years devoted to grain, but later he commenced stock-raising. It was by no means all smooth sailing, as the grasshoppers destroyed the crops of two seasons, and he then had to haul provender from Brownville for his stock. He has found live stock to be about the most profitable of industries, and still follows it, feeding the most of his corn to his cattle and swine. The farm neatly enclosed with hedge fencing, well trimmed, presents a beautiful appearance. Our subject has availed himself of improved machinery, including a fine windmill, by which means water is conveyed to any part desired. Each year adds something to the beauty and value of the property.
Mr. Keiser arrived in Table Rock Precinct in time to assist in the organization of the first school district, in 1879, and he was the first Treasurer. He was one of the movers in this scheme, it being first agitated during a neighborly visit by himself and a neighbor, Mr. HAYS, who is written of elsewhere in this work. The first school was conducted in an old cottonwood shanty, the teacher being a Miss Julia Ferguson. Prior to this however, the children of our subject were sent to the Cooper School, over in Richardson County, for which privilege payment had to be made.
Mr. Keiser has been a member of the School Board in his precinct since that time, and has filled other positions of trust and responsibility among his neighbors, although he is no office-seeker, and aside from serving his own immediate community has carefully avoided the responsibilities of public life. He was not quite old enough to vote for William H. HARRISON, but sixteen years later identified himself with the Republican party, of which he has since been a member. He has also been Identified with the Grange movement. He and his estimable wife are both members in good standing of the Christian Church. No man has taken a warmer interest in the growth and development of Pawnee County, and Nebraska generally. He was one of the prime movers in forming the petition to open four miles of the road now passing by his farm to the Nemaha, and which is one of the most popular highways of the county.
Nimrod KEISER was born in Greene County, Pa., March 24, 1824, and lived there until a young man twenty-three years old. He then started out on his first expedition of importance, accompanying the LONG Brothers from Ohio to Philadelphia and New York City, assisting them in driving cattle. He remained with these gentlemen seven years, then visited Illinois as a cattle dealer, and was so well pleased with the outlook in the Prairie State that he finally settled down in Morgan County, and following the trade of carpenter, which he had learned in his native State. Later, however, he returned to the cattle business as the employee of Jacob Strawn, having the charge of a very large herd for a period of three years. At the expiration of this time he was married, and followed his trade until coming to Nebraska.
The marriage of Nimrod Keiser and Miss Mary E. MARTIN was celebrated at the bride's home in Morgan County, Ill., April 14, 1857. This union resulted in the birth of ten children, five of whom are living, namely: Preston, Isabelle, Melinda J., John E. and Olive Ann. Two only are at home with their parents----John E. and Olive A. They were all given a good practical education, and reflect honor upon their parental training. Preston married Miss Alice DAVIS, is a resident of Richardson County, and the father of one child, Ernest E. Isabelle is the wife of Theo. Hall, of Table Rock Precinct, and the mother of one child, a son, Roy. Melinda J. married Hardin W. HAYS who is farming on land south of the Keiser homestead.
The Keiser family is highly spoken of by the residents of Table Rock Precinct, and this is sufficient indication of their standing. The son, John E., has been Road Supervisor of his precinct for the last year, and has given good satisfaction. He is liberal and public-spirited, and is bound to make his mark in the world. He was born in Pawnee County, Table Rock Precinct, April 1, 1866, and took kindly to his books at school, acquiring a practical education, while his habit of reading and thought will suffice to make him generally well informed upon passing events of interest to every intelligent citizen. The family live in excellent style, being provided with all the comforts and may of the luxuries of life.
Mrs. Mary E. (Martin) KEISER was born in Jessamine County, KY., Jan 22, 1833, and removed with her parents when a small child to Morgan County, Ill. Her father, Preston Martin, was a native of Virginia, born about 1808. He left the Old Dominion when a young man, taking up his abode in the Blue Grass regions, and was married to Miss Elizabeth Burks. They became the parents of nine children, three of whom died when young. Six are still living. The family removed to Morgan County, Ill., about 1840 and were residents of Illinois a period of twenty-four years, coming thence to Nebraska. The father took up a tract of land, in 1864, on the Little Muddy, in Richardson County, and lived there until the death of his wife, in April, 1879. Two years later he sold out, and thereafter made his home with his children until his death, Dec., 9, 1887. He was a good man in the broadest sense of the term, conscientious in the performance of every duty, and respected by his neighbors.
The father of Nimrod Keiser was John KEISER, a native of Pennsylvania, and born in 1798. He was a millwright by trade, and spent his entire life in his native State, traveling nearly all over it in the pursuance of his trade. He married Miss Hannah BROWN, and they became the parents of two children, Nimrod and John, Jr., His first wife died, and he was then married to a Miss DILLENER. He finally removed to Fayette County, Pa., where he spent his last days, his death occurring about 1865.
When Mr. Keiser came to this section none of the uplands were improved, only a small spot here and there along the streams. Deer, wild game of all kinds, and wolves were plentiful. In assisting to subdue a portion of the primitive soil, and in the construction of one of the best homesteads in this county, Mr. Keiser has contributed his full quota to its development and prosperity. In politics he is a stanch Republican.