William Abel of Merrick County, Nebraska

William Abel, my great-grandfather, was born on February 26, 1826. He was the son of Lyman and Sally Abel. He was married to Esther Stanley, on September 27, 1853, in Damascus, Ohio, at the Quaker Meeting Hall. A copy of their original marriage certificate has been given to the Merrick County Historical Museum. Esther was the daughter of Benjamin and Elizabeth Stanley. They spent the first year of their married life in Leeds County, Johnstown District, Canada West. Their intense desire for a better life brought them to Benton County, Iowa, in 1854. They lived in that area until 1879, when they moved to a farm southwest of Clarks, Nebraska. This farm is located 1 mile south of the old District 25 school house, and is now farmed by Clark Williams. It took them 2 weeks to travel and visit some relatives before they arrived at Council Bluffs, Iowa. From there, it took them 9 days to make it on to Clarks, Nebraska. My great-grandfather said, “I spent $150.00 just for lumber for the new house.” The land was all virgin prairie at that time, and he broke fifteen acres of sod, and planted it to wheat that first year, the fall of 1879.

Their marriage was blessed with 7 children: Mary Abel (Garrett), Sarah Abel (Shively), Martha Abel (Bethea), Hannah Abel (Myers), Esther Abel (Slone), Turner Abel, and Ben Abel.

The great courage and foresight that brought these hardy pioneer people west is best shown today in how well the country has been developed in just a little over a hundred years, and especially in the quality of people living here today. My great-grandfather passed away on December 17, 1907. My great-grandmother passed away on May 23, 1910. They are buried at the cemetery at Pierce Chapel.

Submitted by Stewart Abel.


Persinger, C. E., A History of Merrick County, Nebraska: From “the Beginning” to 1895, Dallas, Texas : Taylor Publishing Company, 1981.

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