Biography of Nelson Sheffer
Saunders County, NE Biographies





Nelson Sheffer, who for a number of years was an important factor in the commercial life and expansion of Saunders county, has now retired from active connection with mercantile interests and is enjoying a period of leisure made possible by his enterprise and the wise management of his affairs in past years. He was born in Tioga county, Pennsylvania, April 17, 1816, and is a son of William and Elizabeth (Kahier) Sheffer, the former born in Pennsylvania in 1804 and the latter in that state in 1801. The father devoted his life to agricultural pursuits and in 1856 drove with a horse team to Cass county, Nebraska, and settled upon a tract of land four and a half miles southwest of Ashland in Salt creek valley. At that time this region was almost a wilderness and his was the hard task of developing a farm from the wild prairie. He devoted his time to improving and cultivating his land here during the remainder of his life, passing away on the 26th of January, 1889, at the age of eighty four years. He was a man of determination and energy and it was these qualities that enabled him to win success upon the frontier. In addition to the usual hardships of the pioneers, due to their isolation on the frontier, he had to contend with the hostility of the Indians and at one time they were so threatening that he was compelled to leave his farm. He returned, however, and lived to see this region develop into a prosperous farming district. Following his demise his widow removed to Ashland, where she lived until called by death in 1895.

Nelson Sheffer was but ten years of age when brought by his parents to this state and the greater part of his youth, therefore, was passed amid pioneer surroundings. He was reared at home and received his education in the early schools of Cass county. He continued to reside with his parents until he became of age, when he began freighting with oxen, hauling goods to the government military posts, and during the seven years that he engaged in that business he had many interesting experiences typical of western frontier life. He next turned his attention to contracting and helped to grade the Union Pacific and Burlington Railroads that were then being built westward. After a number of years he removed to Ashland and engaged in merchandising, forming a partnership with L. K. Bell. This connection was maintained with mutual pleasure and profit until 1902, when Mr. Sheffer retired from active life. They carried a large and well chosen stock of merchandise and their constant efforts to render greater service to their customers enabled them to retain trade once gained. Mr. Sheffer was recognized as one of the most able business men of Ashland and not only gained a gratifying measure of personal prosperity but also aided in promoting the business expansion of his community. He still owns good business property in Ashland, has a fine residence in the town and one hundred and sixty acres of excellent land in Saunders county. He is one of the substantial men of his community and takes justifiable pride in the fact that his success has been due solely to his own enterprise and good judgment.

In 1902 Mr. Sheffer was married to Mrs. Ella D. Beebe, a daughter of Alvin and Catherine (Bennett) Dorris, the former a native of New York and the latter of Adrian, Michigan. The father grew to manhood in New York and accompanied his parents on their removal west. On reaching mature years he determined to devote his life to farming and cultivated land in Branch county, Michigan, until his demise in 1875, when he was fifty six years old. His wife survived until January 25, 1903, having reached the advanced age of seventy three years. Their daughter, Ella D., became the wife of W. H. Beebe, now deceased. By that marriage she became the mother of three children: one who died in infancy; Myrtle, who was born September 25, 1882, and is now the wife of Winfred Cameron, of Metropolis, Illinois; and Neal, who was born July 18, 1884, and was accidentally drowned at Lake Geneva, Wisconsin, on the 7th of June, 1906.

Mr. Sheffer is a stanch adherent of the republican party but has never been an aspirant for office. He holds membership in the Christian church, to the support of which he contributes generously, and fraternally he is identified with the Masons at Ashland and with the Knights of Pythias lodge; which he aided in organizing Practically his entire life has been spent in the west and he has manifested in a large degree characteristics which we think of as as distinctively western, determination, aggressiveness, self reliance and faith in the future. He has gained financial independence and has also won that sincere respect and warm regard which are only given to genuine worth.

From:
Past and Present Saunders County, Nebraska
A Record of Settlement, Organization,
Progress and Achievement
Charles Perky Supervising Editor
Vol. II
The S. J. Clarke Publishing Co.
Chiago 1915


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