Before the College Farm
S.W. "Dad" Perin got his start on the rugged plains. He was born in 1859 in Council Bluffs, Iowa, with the given name of Senator Willis Perin. Within the first year of his life, Perin was headed west in a 125 long wagon train with his mother, four older brothers, and hired man to meet up with his father in Colorado. Perin's father was mining for gold at Pikes Peak, but it was not to be. Perin's father had been unsuccessful in his venture, and they headed back east to Davenport, Iowa ("The Grand Old..." 1926).
In the spring of 1880, Perin and two of his brothers decided to homestead in Custer County, Nebraska ("The Grand Old..." 1926). The brothers survived their first horrible winter in a sod house. in 1882, Perin married the neighbor girl, Laura Courtney. While living on the homestead, the Perin family grew as Charlie, Dale, Edna, and Hazel were born.
In 1889, when J.D. Courtney, superintendent of the Industrial College Farm and brother-in-law, left the position, and S. "Will" Perin became the new superintendent ("The Grand Old..." 1926). Will Perin, Laura, and family moved to the college farm in Lincoln.