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Mini Biographies of Scots and Scots Descendants (G)
Francis Grable


FRANCES C. GRABLE, was born September 22d, 1854 of Scotch-German parentage; Scotch on his mother’s side, German on his father’s; the latter coming from the valley of the Shenandoah in Virginia, the valley made immortal by the great ride of Sheridan--the footsteps of whose horse beat faster and faster as he bore his master to the scene of the battle from Winchester Town, twenty miles away. Because of delicate health as a boy, the subject of this sketch was compelled to close his school days at the age of sixteen and it seemed as if the light of his life went out when, with his books under his arm, he went for the last time from the old school house near his father’s country home of the Ohio farm. Seeking health he came to Nebraska in 1872, where at Falls City he entered his brother’s bank, remaining there four years. In 1876 he became cashier of the State Bank at Kearney, Nebraska, from which position he resigned in 1880 to form a law partnership with Mr. H. C. Andres, of Kearney, a gentleman well known to many of the citizens of Northern Colorado because of his connection with the North Poudre Irrigation company at its organization. In 1881 Mr. Grable was married to Katharine McAllister. Their only child is Katharine Lee, a daughter, who is devoted to books and art. In 1887 Mr. Grable moved to Omaha, where he has had an office ever since and where his family reside. For years thereafter, Mr. Grable’s work was in connection with the Lincoln Land company, a corporation owned by the officers and friends of the Burlington railroad--the business of which was the location, ownership and development of the townsites along the great railroad. Over six hundred miles of that work went into Mr. Grable’s charge, comprising the line of road from Alliance in Nebraska, to Deadwood, South Dakota, and from Edgemont to Billings, Montana. He located the townsites and then started out to make them grow by developing the country tributary to them. He built an irrigating canal and two storage reservoirs at Crawford, Nebraska; constructed a ditch and reservoir system at Edgemont, South Dakota; developed mines at Union Hill, where he started a stamp mill and smelter. A panic swept him off his feet financially before his work was finished, leaving him with an indebtness that would have appalled a less courageous man, but he went at those debts as he has everything else, with an energy that would admit of no defeat, and says he hopes to live long enough to get them all paid. In 1901 he came to Fort Collins (Larimer CO, Colorado) and turned the ditches, reservoirs and land of which he was sole owner, into a corporation known as The North Poudre Irrigation company. The ten years he has given to this great undertaking has made him a factor in the development of irrigation in Northern Colorado. Thirty-nine active business years are to Mr. Grable’s credit at this time, so active that he hardly know what a holiday occasion is like. He has never had time to travel abroad or at home, and has the pleasure yet in store of seeing the Pacific ocean and the sunny western slope. He likes work. He worked at first from boundless energy and to see things done; later, from force of habit--then to get the debts lifted over to the right of the ledger. He has never worked for the sake of accumulating, for he values neither money nor property. Had Mr. Gable have had time, he would have been an artist or poet; for he loves passionately everything beautiful and artistic. He is a word painter, and we doubt that the "History of Colorado" that he is now writing will be a valuable acquisition to Western literature; for he posses the happy faculty of blending facts with fancy, prose with poetry and clothes statistics with the artistic touches that brightens and embellished and entertains. In Valley View he had selected a spot for a home that was ideal. In full view were the mountains, the valleys and the lakes; no sightier place was to be found in all the beautiful state of Colorado. That night in 1909 that saw its entire destruction by fire was a night that will live in the memory of the builder while memory lasts, and that a great sanitarium may be erected on that sightly and health restoring spot, is a wish that all hope to see fulfilled.


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