James Hurst, who was for many years identified with agricultural interests in Cedar township, was a native of
Ireland and his birth occurred about 1858. He continued to reside in his native land until he grew to maturity
but in early manhood emigrated to the United States and made his way to the middle west. After working for some
time on a steamboat out of St. Louis he went to Omaha, Nebraska, and there entered the employ of the Union Pacific
Railroad. At length he was given charge of a section of track just west of Fremont and for about ten years held
the position of section boss. During that time he preempted land on section 32, Cedar township, Saunders county,
which he improved, erecting fine buildings and planting groves, and he always kept everything in excellent condition.
After severing his connection with the railroad he devoted his entire time to agricultural pursuits and bought
additional land, owning at the time of his death a half section. He was efficient in his work and managed his affairs
well and it was but natural that he should accumulate a competence.
In 1868 occurred the marriage of Mr. Hurst and Miss Rebecca Fulton, who was born in Philadelphia but accompanied
her parents on their removal to Illinois and later to Muscatine, Iowa. Following the demise of her father and mother
in Muscatine she came to Nebraska with a family in a covered wagon. To Mr and Mrs. Hurst were born eight children,
namely: Edward, who is homesteading in North Dakota; James, who has taken up a homestead in Montana; Maria, the
wife of Bert Sheets, who is living on a homestead in Andrews, Nebraska; Thomas, who operates part of the home place;
Ellen, the widow of Gilbert Anton, of Cedar Bluffs; Henry, at home; Rebecca, who married Phineas Shollenkirk, of
Peoria, Illinois; and William, at home.
Mr. Hurst cast his ballot in support of the candidates and measures of the democratic party but was never an office
seeker. He was a communicant of the Catholic church and in his religious faith was found the motive force of his
life. Although he passed away fifteen years ago, his demise occurring on the 19th of November, 1900, his memory
is still cherished by those who knew him well as his salient characteristics were such as won the highest regard
for him and truest friendship.
Mrs. Hurst still owns one hundred and twenty acres of the old homestead, which she rents to her son Thomas: She
was reared in the Presbyterian church and is still a member of that organization. She can be counted upon to do
all in her power to further the moral advancement of her community and is highly respected by all with whom she
has been brought in contact.
Past and Present Saunders County, Nebraska
A Record of Settlement, Organization,
Progress and Achievement
Charles Perky Supervising Editor
The S. J. Clarke Publishing Co.
Saunders County, NE
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