Mrs. M. L. Roper of Fillmore County

Mrs. M. L. Rogers, known in the earlier days as Mrs. Roper, came with her husband to this neighborhood in 1873, locating on what is now the McGhie farm; they built a sod house with a roof through which the rain made its way; this roof fell in one night, much to the discomfort of the family. In their district the people used open wells these were from seven to ten feet deep, on one occasion a horse fell backward into a well, and as a result of the great strain necessary to pull it out, it died.

Dogtown lying to the southwest of Exeter was inhabited at that time, the Ropers had to come that way to church, and Mrs. Roper thought that often it looked as though the prairie dogs were having a service of their own; it was interesting to see them squatted around with one of their number sitting on a hillock as though having a confab with the others; no doubt the dogs were good listeners.

In March 1877 Mr. Roper had gone to the unhappy task of digging a grave for a young theological student who had died of pneumonia. Mrs. Roper heard their dog bark and on looking out of the window saw about twenty Indians coming into their yard; many were dressed in scarlet blankets and carried gleaming rifles, a sight quite startling to a lonely woman. She fastened the doors and ran into the stairway from whence she could see them, but they could not see her. They looked through the windows and tried the doors then concluding there was no one at home, they went away; their absence being the best company. It was evident that these Indians were traveling from the Turkey Creek to the river Blue.

Another interesting event of those early days was a trip taken by Mrs. Roper with Mrs. T. B. Farmer in a lumber wagon to the town of Crete to have their babies photographed; they sat on sacks of grain to Pleasant Hill where the grain was delivered, and then they passed on to Crete with the usual comforts of pioneers. The pictures of the baby boys were duly taken to the delight of the fond mothers, and are no doubt precious possessions in these days. The Roper boy is now in Lincoln and has a large undertaking business. The Farmer boy is the well known singer of Denver, Colorado; their callings in life are very dissimilar, but they have made good; each in his own way serving the general public.


Pioneer Stories of the Pioneers of Fillmore and adjoining Counties, by G. R. McKeith, Press of Fillmore County News, Exeter, Nebraska, 1915.

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