A biography of William Sprout is pasted below. Contact me if you want more information. I would appreciate getting a family group sheet for Ernest and his wife, Grace Van Dyke.
Memorial and biographical Record and Compendium of Biography. (Butler, Polk, Seward, York, and Fillmore Counties, NE), 1899, Geo. A. Ogle & Co, Chicago, pages 664-665
WILLIAM FRANKLIN SPROUT, who resides on section 4, Chelsea township, is one of the leading farmers of Fillmore county. He was born August 24, 1846, in Dupage county, Illinois, and is the son of Alexander and Anna (Fry) Sprout. His grandparents on the maternal side were Jacob and Elizabeth Fry, who were Pennsylvania Germans. They immigrated to Illinois in an early day and commenced farming. Jacob Fry was also a minister of the Gospel. Both of them died in Illinois, Elizabeth Fry living to be eighty years of age.
Alexander Sprout lived on his farm in Illinois for about forty years, when he moved to Fillmore county, Nebraska, and in the fall of 1883 bought a farm and lived there until his death, which occurred January 23, 1898, at the age of seventy-six years. The mother, who is seventy-six years of age, is still living on the old farm, which is man aged by the youngest son. Our subject received his education in the common schools of his district, and acquired such an education as the district schools of that time afforded. He lived with his parents until hewas twenty-four years of age, at which time he was united in marriage to Miss Frances E. Jayne, the daughter of Horace and Lucy Jayne, and to their marriage were born five children, Jessie M., who married George J. Babb, and is now living in Champaign county. Illinois. She is the mother of one child, Walter. The other children, Earnest W., Grace L., Lee C. and Melvin R. are at home and engaged in farming. Earnest W. attended the Lincoln Normal for two years, and Lee C. will attend the Lincoln Business college, in order that he may acquire a complete business education. After his marriage our subject purchased a small farm and commenced work for himself. His industry and perseverance were attended with success, for in three years he was able to purchase more land, his farm then consisting of ninety-five acres of good fertile land. He lived on this farm for ten years, and seeing the advantages which the west offered he gathered everything together and loaded them on the cars and started for Nebraska, reaching there in November, 1886, and immediately purchased a quarter section in Chelsea township, and where he is living at the present time.
Mr. Sprout's first wife died on April 1, 1894, and on September 14, 1898 he was married to Mrs. Ada Friend, who was a daughter of John and Charity Lott, and to whom by her previous marriage were born two children, Edna A., and John M., both of whom are living. Our subject has a well improved, nicely located farm of three hundred and twenty acres of fine farming land, all under a high state of cultivation. His buildings are modern and substantial, and all over his entire farm you can see evidences of his thrift and industry, and he is considered by all his neighbors as being a prosperous and successful farmer. In 1864 our subject, who was then but eighteen years of age, thought he was old enough to be a soldier, and on June 16 of that year, in response to the President's call for three months' volunteers, he went to Elgin, Illinois, and enlisted in company H, One Hundred and Forty-first regiment, Illinois Volunteers. After drilling a short time his regiment was sent by rail to Cairo, Illinois, and from there to Paducah, Kentucky, and at that place made their headquarters during their entire stay in the army. From Paducah they were sent by boat up the Mississippi river, and landed in Missouri, and immediately started in chase of the Confederate General Forrest. They followed him for some ten or fifteen days, but at no time did they succeed in overtaking him, as at every point they thought they had succeeded in running him down the wily General managed to elude them and was always in some other place. While his regiment did not see much active fighting service, yet in holding the camps they released thousands of trained soldiers who were allowed to do active service, and to participate in the great final battles of the war, so that they really did serve their country just as much as though they had been allowed to do fighting service. He was of an active stirring disposition, healthy and rugged, and at no time during his entire term in the service was he in the hospital, and during some of their long and most arduous forced marches, he was never left behind. He looked upon the hardships of a soldier's life as something that could not be avoided, and as he was of a bright and jolly disposition his companionship was much sought by his fellow comrades. He was mustered out of the service at Camp Fry, Chicago, October 10, 1864, and at once returned home and began work on his father's farm as before. He has always enjoyed the best of health, and at the present time, at fifty two years of age, has never been sick in his life.
Mr. Sprout is a member of the Methodist Episcopal church of Geneva, and has always taken much interest in all matters pertaining to church work. His wife is a member of the Congregational church in the same place, and is also and active church worker. He also belongs to the A. O. U. W. fraternity. Politically he is with the Independent party and is an ardent believer in bimetalism. He is also greatly interested in educational matters, and has always taken an active part in any movement that would benefit his community. He has taken great interest in township affairs, and at various times has served as assessor, school director and supervisor of roads. He is held in high regard by his neighbors and friends, and commands the respect of all who know him.
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