HISTORY NEBRASKA MANUSCRIPT FINDING AID
RG1398.AM: Benjamin Ryder Stouffer, 1844-1923
Papers: 1856; 1862, 1923, and undated
Chambersburg, Pennsylvania; Richardson County, and Bellevue, Sarpy County, Nebraska: Farmer, legislator, businessman
Size: 0.10 cu.ft. (fraction)
Benjamin Ryder Stouffer was born in Chambersburg, Pennsylvania in 1844. He received a public school education and was an 1865 graduate of the Eastman National Business College of Poughkeepsie, New York. During the Civil War, Stouffer served with a local home guard unit. Stouffer engaged in the milling business until the financial panic of 1873 caused economic reverses. In 1876 he moved with his wife and two sons to Richardson County, Nebraska, where he settled on a farm near Humboldt and supplemented his income by teaching at a country school.
In 1879, Stouffer, an Independent, was elected to the Nebraska House of Representatives. Grasshoppers and fire devastated his farm, and he relocated to a farm at Bellevue. He became known as a successful dairyman and farmer, being the first to raise alfalfa in eastern Nebraska and serving as president of the Dairyman’s Association in 1894. From 1896 to around 1910, Stouffer served as secretary of the State Farmers Mutual Insurance Company of South Omaha. After two years as business manager of Bellevue College, Stouffer retired in 1912. He spent his retirement years pursuing horticultural interests. Benjamin R. Stouffer died in Bellevue, Nebraska on October 20, 1923.
SCOPE AND CONTENT NOTE
This collection is arranged in three Series: 1) Biographical Materials, 1923; 2) Reminiscence, undated; and 3) Miscellaneous. The material relates to the life of Benjamin R. Stouffer, pioneer farmer, legislator, and businessman of Richardson County and Bellevue, Nebraska.
The Biographical Sketch of Series 1 was probably produced as an obituary shortly after Stouffer’s death on October 20, 1923. This two-page sketch traces Stouffer’s life from Pennsylvania boyhood through his varied career in Nebraska. Also included in this series is a manuscript, “Remembrances,” by Dr. David F. Stouffer.
The Reminiscence of Series 2 is entitled “Lincoln at Gettysburg.” In this undated manuscript, Stouffer recalls attending the dedication of the military cemetery at Gettysburg while a member of the cadet company of Chambersburg, Pennsylvania. Stouffer describes local preparations for the event and President Abraham Lincoln’s appearance at the dedication.
Series 3, Miscellaneous, contains two letters on one sheet of paper. The first letter was written by Benjamin Stouffer, and the second letter, on the back of the first, was written by J. Stouffer, Benjamin’s father. The letters were written to family from Chambersburg, Pennsylvania; topics such as fishing, farming, and daily activities are discussed. An essay on the “Civil War” is also present, probably written by Benjamin Stouffer as a school exercise and dated January 1862. The series also includes a photocopy of the 1901 University of Nebraska School of Agriculture Bulletin and Benjamin R. Stouffer’s 1865 diploma from Eastman Business College.
Series 1 – Biographical Sketch, 1923
- Biographical sketch of Benjamin R. Stouffer, 1923 (two copies)
- “Remembrances,” by David F. Stouffer
Series 2 – Reminiscence, undated
- “Lincoln at Gettysburg” by Benjamin R. Stouffer, undated
Series 3 – Miscellaneous
- Letters, June 1856. Two letters on one leaf; recto by Benjamin Stouffer, verso by I. Stouffer.
- Essay, “Civil War” by B. R. Stouffer, January 1862
- Photocopy of the Bulletin of the University of Nebraska School of Agriculture, 1901
- Diploma, Eastman Business College to Benjamin R. Stouffer, 1865 (see oversize)
Lincoln, Abraham, 1809-1865
National cemeteries — Pennsylvania
Stouffer, Benjamin Ryder, 1844-1923
Stouffer, David F.
U.S. History — Civil War, 1861-1865 — Personal narratives
Revised KFK 01-08-2001; 05-26-2004
Revised TMM 05-07-2007