Name: George Lester ARCHER
RELA: 2nd Great Grand Uncle
Birth: 1 AUG 1843 in Huron, Wayne Co., NY
Death: 27 OCT 1895 in Alexandria, Thayer Co., NE
Military service BET 14 JUL 1862 AND 23 FEB 1863 Co. A, 93rd Illinois Volunteers
Census: 1850 Roll 132, Page 385, District 37, Whiteside Co., IL
Census: 1860 Page 36, Sheet 288, Village of Camden, Black Hawk Twp., Rock Island Co., IL
Census: 1870 Page 16/50, Camden Mills, Blackhawk Twp., Rock Island Co., IL
Census: 1880 Page 78B, Alexandria, Thayer Co., NE
The following article was authored by M. S. Carpenter, a native son of Thayer County, who now lives in California.
GEORGE ARCHER AND WIFE, AGUSTA WHITEHAD,
THAYER COUNTY PIONEERS
George Lester Archer, born August 1, 1844 in Huron, Wayne Co., N.Y. was the son of John Archer, a cooper by trade and an Irish immigrant and Mary (Polly) Bouton, a descendant of French Huguenots who arrived in New England in 1635.
The Archer family moved to Sterling. Illinois and later to Camden Mills, Rock Island Co., Minois.
It was here that on July 14, 1862, George Archer joined the 93rd Illinois Volunteers for the War between the States and served with this unit until discharged.
On the first of August, 1866, George married Agusta, Linnette Whitehead, daughter of Ira L. Whitehead and Mary S. Carpenter of Galena, Ohio. While living in Rock Island County, they had two children, namely: John L. Archer and Mary Louelia (Mamie) Archer.
In 1872 George applied for a patent on 160 acres of land in Township 4 N., Range I W. of what is now Thayer County, Nebraska, applying under the Homestead Acts of 1872 and 1864 and in 1874, received his "patent".
This property is located approximately 3 miles north and 3 miles west of Alexandria (SWI/4 of Section 20). George very nearly failed to prove up on his homestead, for you see, in July of 1874, southern Nebraska was stricken with a plague of grasshoppers. Nebraska history tells the grim details, but the effect on the Archer homestead was total disasterl When the hords of insects had finally departed, there was not a stalk of anything left growing. Leaves of trees were gone! Grain was all eaten! Vegetables had just simply disappeared! All of George and Agusta's work for two years was. gone!
There was nothing left to stay for and no way to sustain themselves or their animals, so they packed up their belongings and children, including the newborn, Grace Linnette, and headed for Illinois.
In the meantime, Agusta's father, Ira Whitehead, now living in Council Bluffs, lowa, heard of the disaster and anticipating the situation at Alexandria, loaded a wagon with needed supplies and headed for Thayer County. Fortunately, their paths ciossed in eastern Nebraska and after much consultation, George took the supplies and headed back to Alexandria, while Agusta and the three children went back to Council Bluffs with Ira and eventually, back to Rock Island Co., to George's parents. My mother, Mary, said she never ever forgot how hungry they all were by the time they reached Council Bluffs.
George got things going again at Alexandria while Agusta remained at Milan, Rock Island Co., 111. and gave birth to a son, Harry L. Archer, after which they were all reunited at Alexandria, where Sarali (Sadie) Boughton Archer was born in 1878, Frank Irving in 1881 and Emma Agusta in 1885.
Life on the homestead was not easy. The first months were spent living in a one-room, dirt-floored, sodbofed cabin, later a framed house, 14' x 14', with one door and one window, as stated in his "Proof of Patent", dated August 14, 1874. He, of course, went on from there to be a successful farmer and raised his family as solid citizens of Christian character.
To some, the term Sod Buster, may sound derogatory, but it must be with some degree of reverence that one Nebraska pioneer calls another "Sod Buster". I know I do!
On October 27, 1895, my grandfather, George Lester Archer, Civil War veteran, homesteader, sod buster and Nebraska pioneer, died. He was bereaved bv his family and friends and was laid to rest in Pleasant Plain Cemetery.
Mary Louella Archer, mother of the writer, recalled some of the more exciting events that occurred while she was growing up on Archer Homestead:
"The Pork Barrel Incident"
Supplies were running low and George (Mary's father) had gone to Beatrice for supplies, expecting to be gone overnight. He took John, the oldest child, with him, leaving Mary and Grace with their mother. -
Late in the afternoon of his departure, an Indian Chief, riding a horse with travois and followed by his two wives and children, stopped in front of the cabin. The chief dismounted and came towards the house. Grandmother Agusta was, of course, paralyzed with fear and was most anxious to hide the girls. She spied the pork barrel in the corner and knowing it was empty, "chucked" the girls, Mary, 6, and Grace, 4, into the barrel, and closed the cover.
The Chief came into the house, uninvited, and marched wordlessly to the kitchen, opened every drawer and cupboard, selected a ham butt and two loaves of bread and started to leave. Then he spied the pork barrel, went over, lifted the lid, and when he saw the two scared, round-eyed little girls looking up at him he broke out laughing. He laughed so hard he dropped the bread. After his spasm of laughter, he picked up the bread and returned to his travels, chuckling all the way. I doubt if grandmother felt like laughing, at least not that day!
"The Pipe Cleaner Incident"
On another occasion, Grandfather George went to town for supplies, expecting to return before nightfall. Now this was still Indian Country and womenfolk weren't too comfortable at being left alone at night. But Grandfather did not come home that night! Grandmother A-as rightfully distraught. Consequently, next mornine', she took the children - John, on one side; Grace and Mary on the other and Hlrrv in her arms and started up a trail through the cornfield on her way to a neighbor' s home about a mile away. There it happened! A bend in the trail and suddenly. they were face to face with two Indian braves., Grandmother couldn't run with the children and just had to brazen it out with them. The Indians came up close and then one slipped forward and said, "Me needum pin to pick pipe!" Well, I'm sure Grandmother was only too happy to lend him a pin and all went their separate ways.
Meanwhile, Grandfather, in town, had been advised that a peace treaty had been signed with the Indians, and knowing that the family would be safe, had stayed in town to join in the celebration.
My mother, Mary Louella, related that she was teaching school at age 13. She was born in 1869, so she would be 13 in the year, 1882, and no doubt, taught in or near Alexandria.
She taught school until she married in 1884 and was thus teaching school at tile time of the 1883 Easter Sunday Blizzard.
My mother, Marv Louelia, married 29 March 1887, to Frederick Dwight Chapin and bv him she had four children - George, born 1888; William Calvin, born 1890: Grace Louelia, born 1892 and Martina, born 1894. This made up a warm and happy family until 1897, when the diphtheria epidemic struck and Mary lost her husband, Frederick, and two children, namely George and Martha, to the dreaded disease.
In June of 1900, Mary met and married Charles Augustus Carpenter, who fathered the four Carpenter kids, namely: Archer Bernard, born in Bruning, 1901; Ruth Sarah, born in Minneapolis, 1903; Carl Augustus, born in Minneapolis, 1905 and Marion Sargent (Jack), born at Hebron, Nebraska on 23 November, 1907. (He is the native son who authored this article.)
Father: John ARCHER b: 11 SEP 1811 in Belfast, County Antrim, Ireland
Mother: Mary BOUTON b: 1 MAR 1819 in Redding, Fairfield Co., CT
Augusta Linnette WHITEHEAD b: 15 JUN 1843 in Moline, Rock Island Co., IL
1 AUG 1866 1
in Moline, Rock Island Co., IL
- John L. ARCHER b: 4 OCT 1867 in Milan, Rock Island Co., IL
- Mary Luella ARCHER b: 9 SEP 1869 in Springfield, Sangamon Co., IL
- Grace Lanette ARCHER b: 13 AUG 1872 in Alexandria, Thayer Co., NE
- Harry Lester ARCHER b: 18 AUG 1875 in Milan, Rock Island Co., IL
- Sarah Boughton ARCHER b: 7 OCT 1878 in Alexandria, Thayer Co., NE
- Frank Irving ARCHER b: 5 AUG 1881 in Alexandria, Thayer Co., NE
- Emma Augusta ARCHER b: 11 FEB 1885 in Alexandria, Thayer Co., NE
- Title: Illinois Statewide Marriage Index 1763-1900
Text: Volume 00C