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Below is a family biography included in the book,  Biographical Souvenir of the Counties of Buffalo, Kearney, Phelps, Harlan and Franklin, Nebraska published in 1890 by F. A. Battey & Company.  These biographies are valuable for genealogy research in discovering missing ancestors or filling in the details of a family tree. Family biographies often include far more information than can be found in a census record or obituary.  Details will vary with each biography but will often include the date and place of birth, parent names including mothers' maiden name, name of wife including maiden name, her parents' names, name of children (including spouses if married), former places of residence, occupation details, military service, church and social organization affiliations, and more.  There are often ancestry details included that cannot be found in any other type of genealogical record.

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THOMAS M. HOPWOOD, editor and proprietor of the Nebraska Nugget, is the oldest editor and newspaper publisher in Phelps county. The Nugget was first established under the name of Phelps County Pioneer, and published at the original Sacremento, Phelps county, and the first issue was March 22, 1879. It was a small sheet containing eight pages, two columns to the page. May 3, 1879, the paper was enlarged to a four-page journal, four columns to the page, and continued so until July, 1879, when it became a five-column four-paged paper.

In the spring of 1880, the paper was removed to Phelps Center, the new county seat, which had been removed that year from Williamsburg, on the Platte river, to Phelps Center. In June of the same year (1880), Mr. Hopwood purchased this paper and became proprietor and editor, changing the name to the Nebraska Nugget. In politics the paper continued the same, which was Republican, and in the salutatory we find the following: “Our politics first, last and all times are in perfect harmony with the principles of the republican party; we are encouraged to look forward into the years to come, believing there is a place of power in the march of Nebraska for Phelps county. The enterprise and talent of states East will find place with us; the element that conquers obstacles, that is equal to emergencies and glorious in accomplishments, will send us booming on in the path of progress. All that is broad, useful and kindly shall have our consideration.” Mr. Hopwood had continued editor and proprietor until December, 1879, and has since been its editor and owner.

When Mr. Hopwood took charge of the paper he enlarged it from a five column four-page, to a five-column eight-page, and in December, 1882, enlarged the paper to an eight-column and then, in the following year, again enlarged it to its present size. Mr. Hopwood was born in Fayette county, Pa., August 20, 1847, moved with his parents to Iowa county, Iowa, in 1861, settling on a farm, and remaining there until he reached his majority, when he entered Western College, Iowa, where he remained four years. His health having failed through too close attention to his studies, he traveled some years in the interest of several fire insurance companies, and in 1887 he was united in marriage to Miss Mina Wooldridge of Fillmore county, Minn., who had graduated at Western College, Iowa, in the class of 1887. She is a daughter of Edward and Mary (Smith) Wooldridge, both of Clearfield county, Pa. Mr. and Mrs. Hopwood have two sons, viz. — James E. and Chester L., aged eleven and nine years. Mr. Hopwood is a member of the I. O. O. F. and A. O. U. W. He first settled on a claim ten miles east of Phelps Center, where he remained nearly three years. He was nominated by acclamation four months after his arrival in the county, and two months later was elected county commissioner and was re-elected twice after, serving in all five years on the county board. In 1878 he was nominated for representative to the state legislature on the Republican ticket. In the convention which nominated him, however, Eric Johnson was the choice of the Swedish element, which, being in the ascendency in the county, bolted the convention and nominated Johnson on an independent ticket. The democratic party nominated James I. Rhea as a candidate, and in the three-cornered contest Mr. Johnson was elected on a small plurality vote, Mr. Hopwood coming out second best.

Mr. Hopwood is one of the enterprising citizens of Holdrege and is highly esteemed by all who know him. He built and owns the Arlington hotel and is one of the founders and a director in the Holdrege National Bank, a stockholder in the Holdrege Manufacturing Company and is liberal in all church and school enterprises which tend to build up a permanent moral and business community.

Mrs. Hopwood, now thirty-five years of age, is one of the most popular educators in the West and is to-day holding the office of county superintendent for the fifth consecutive term. She attends nearly all the educational conventions in the state and was a member of the National Teachers’ Association held at St. Paul, Minn., last summer.

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This family biography is one of the numerous biographies included in the book, Biographical Souvenir of the Counties of Buffalo, Kearney, Phelps, Harlan and Franklin, Nebraska published in 1890 by F. A. Battey & Company. 

View additional Phelps County, Nebraska family biographies here: Phelps County, Nebraska Biographies

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