William R. Sutton resides on section 82, Center precinct, where he has one of the best farms of Saunders county,
thoroughly modern in every respect and improved with all the accessories and conveniences of the model farm of
the twentieth century. Barns, outbuildings, fences and machinery all bear evidence of his careful supervision and
the well developed fields are an indication of his industry and thrift. His position among the leading agriculturists
of the county is one of prominence and his record constitutes an example that others might well follow.
Mr. Sutton is a native of Haverstraw, New York, born November 1, 1860, his parents being James and Ellen (Ely)
Sutton, who were natives of Ireland, in which country they were reared. On coming to the United States the father
settled at Haverstraw, New York, where he resided for several years, and in 1865 he established his home near Moline,
Illinois, there continuing until the fall of 1870, when he came to Nebraska and homesteaded a part of the farm
that is now the property of his son William. There he carefully and ably carried on general agricultural pursuits
for several years. He also bought four hundred acres in another farm in the same township and upon that property
continued to reside until called to his final rest. Success in considerable measure attended his efforts. He worked
diligently and persistently and based his advancement upon earnest labor. As his financial resources increased
he added to his holdings until he became the owner of about six hundred acres. He also raised cattle and hogs in
addition to general farming and both branches of his business proved sources of substantial profit. His life was
an honorable and upright one, guided by his faith as a member of the Episcopal church. His wife had come to the
United States in her girlhood days and they were married in New York. She survived her husband for about twelve
years and passed away in the faith of the Episcopal church, of which she had long been a devoted communicant. In
their family were seven children: Alexander, who is owner of a ranch at Atkinson, Nebraska; George, a farmer living
at Locker, Texas; Mary Ann, who became the wife of Thomas Lee but is now deceased; Susan, the wife of William Henderson,
residing at Glendale, California; William R.; James, residing upon a farm at Fremont, Nebraska; and Austin, a farmer
of this county.
William R Sutton was about ten years of age when the family removed to Saunders county, during which period he
remained at home upon the farm, herding cattle and performing all such tasks as are necessary in the development,
cultivation and improvement of a frontier farm. When quite young he began operating a threshing machine and at
the age of twenty two years he rented a part of his father's land, while some time later he purchased and also
inherited a part of the old homestead, for which he helped. to pay. He has added to his original holdings until
he now has two hundred and seventy acres, constituting one of the best improved farms of the county. He has one
hundred and twenty acres planted to alfalfa and he also raises other excellent crops. To some extent he engages
in raising Holstein cattle but makes a specialty of feeding sheep in the winter months. No farm in the county is
better improved or represents modern methods of scientific fanning to a higher degree. He has a commodious, attractive
and convenient residence, while a large cistern furnishes water for the home. His barns have cement floors, there
are cement walks upon the place and acetylene light is supplied in both the house and barns. He has made all of
the improvements upon his property, which is a visible indication of his progressive spirit and the readiness with
which he adapts modern ideas to his own needs.
On the 9th of January, 1890, Mr. Sutton was united in marriage to Miss Hannah Ellison, a daughter of William Ellison,
a pioneer of Saunders county, of whom mention is made elsewhere in this work. Mrs. Sutton was born in this county
and has here spent her entire life. By her marriage she has become the mother of seven children: Roland, Austin,
Ellen and Anna, twins, Merle, Francis and Ruby.
Mr. Sutton has served as school director but has never sought political office and in politics is independent.
He believes that the best man should be selected for office regardless of party affiliation. That he possesses
a progressive spirit is at once manifest in the appearance of his place, and his cooperation has furthered various
public improvements. As a farmer, however, he stands among the foremost in the county, at once recognizing the
value of the progressive methods and scientific ideas that have been advanced with the passing years. He stands
as a leader in his line of labor in the community and when one sees his farm he is reminded of the words of Washington,
that "Agriculture is the most useful as well as the most honorable occupation of man."
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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