Skip to main content

Full text of "Johnson's history of Nebraska"

See other formats


Gc • t 

J63h I 

1142532 ' 



3 1833 01065 1070 


Johnson's Late Map of Nebraska. 

Orrrriifit, Wt. trj B«i<l. yUJfalij A 

»■ — • 

._ . --._ -. . .. 

i ''♦'Oi '! 

""— n i 



■ • ', 








- If 



• ■ 

H 1 



1 . 




; i 





History of Nebraska, 




Published by Henry Gibson 


Entered according to an Act of Congress In the Year 1879. by HARRISON JOHNSON, iii 
the office of the Librarian of Congress, at Washington, D. C. 


By Henry Gibson, 



To the People of the State of Nebraska: 

Through whose large enterprise, indomitable energy and 
great liberality, in the brief space of twenty-five years, an unorgan- 
ized Territory has developed into a prosperous Commonwealth, 
that now occupies a proud and important position, politically and 
commercially, in the Union of States, this volume is respectfully 
dedicated bv the author. 


In presenting this work to the public, the author recognizes 
the widespread demand throughout this country, as also in the 
different sections of Europe, for a more reliable and comprehensive 
description of the great State of Nebraska, than has yet been issued 
from the press. This work not only embraces a full and complete 
description of every County, City and Town in the State, in which 
the advantages and disadvantages offered to immigration are 
impartially set forth, but includes a reliable history of the State 
and the territory from which it was organized, from 1803 up to the 
present time. "While much time and labor has been expended on 
the historical portions of the work, the primal object of the author 
has been to obtain by personal observation, correct information 
relative to the topography, climate, soil, productions, rainfall, 
temperature, water supply, amount of timbered and prairie lands, 
and their value per acre, educational advantages and prospects, 
religious privileges, character of the people, railway advantages 
and market facilities, and other valuable and interesting facts con- 
nected with a State that the moving millions, both of this country 
and Europe, are making the most earnest inquiry for. In a 
condensed, reliable and readable form this material and important 
information is now presented to the public. 


Our work is done. The volume is completed, and only awaita 
the Introduction. The printers are clamoring for this, and only 
a few more lines and the History of Nebraska, on which we have 
spent so many anxious hours, will be in type for the use of onr 
numerous friends and subscribers, who are found all over the 
State, and, indeed, all over the country. The work has been no 
sinecure. It covers the history of sixty-five counties, extending 
over a State of 80,000 square miles, and illustrates a period of 
time — the most eventful of the Nation's existence — of a quarter 
of a century. Stirring times have tliese been that have witnessed 
the throes of a mighty nation for existence, and have brought 
peace and qniet and life throughout oiir borders instead of anarchy 
and misrule and terror and death. The closing of the war brought 
many of the citizen soldiers to the broad fertile fields of this new 
State to claim their land privileges and make for themselves and 
their children a name and a home. And these have not come un- 
attended, but from the four quarters of the globe the swelling 
thousands have come to settle with those that have made their 
way hither from the older States; and of these there are represen- 
tatives from every State from Maine to Texas and from every 
Territory of the Rocky Mountains. More than 50,000 have come 
iu during the present year to people the vast prairies that stretch 
in such wonderful extent and beauty through the eastern and 
middle portions of Nebraska. And the immigration has just 
commenced. Only some of the salient points are yet taken, and 
there is still room for an empire to occupy the fruitful lands that 
yet lie, in their virgin soil, waiting lor the coming of the hus- 
bandman. The streams are waiting to turn the busy spindles and 
move the machinery that shall give bread to the millions and 
clothing to the masses. 

Nothing in this age of wonders is 'SO wonderful as this west- 
em civilization that is measuring a score of miles every year mto 


the unbroken wilderness, and making it literally " bud and blossom 
as the rose." Before the days of the present century are num- 
bered, and many think some years before, the center of wealth 
and power and political influence for the whole cojintry will be in 
the Mississippi Yalley, and Nebraska will do her full share to 
chauire this center of civilization to the banks of the Father of 

It seems but yesterday that the painted savage called this 
State his home. He was "monarch of all he surveyed" His 
tepees were reared on the banks of the streams and his council- 
fires blazed on the sites of our cities and towns. He followed in 
the chase with his bow and arrow, the buffalo and deer, the 
antelope and the elk; and the wolf and bear followed his steps to 
gather up the remnants of the slaughtered buffalo and those of 
tlie moving camp. The war-whoop rang out on the clear morn- 
ing air, and if time had not erased nearly all their rude records, 
there would be strange tales of many a well fought field, of lurking 
foes, of savage cruelty, and, doubtless, of manly courage and 
magnanimity creditable to these untutored sons of Nature, whose 
only light was that of heathenish darkness. 

This volume has been the outgrowth of a desire, not only of 
myself, as an individual, once an actor in all these scenes of fron- 
tier life, but as a cherished feeling of the people of the State, and 
p irticularly the old settlers, that a permanent record should be 
made of the early days. The men who left their eastern homes 
and came to build up a new State in the great sisterhood of States 
were men of no ordinary stamp. There might be, as there always 
ure in such new settlements, mere adventurers, reckless speculators, 
and selfish persons, but the rank and the file, the bone and the 
muscle, were men who came to stay. Men who counted the cost, 
who measured the sacrifices, who knew that they were coming to 
the wilderness, to the abodes of savage life, that they would leave 
for a time the comforts and luxuries of civilization, that they 
with their wives and children in founding a new basis of civilization 
would endure suffering and exposure, if not actual want; but 
these men had the vision of to-day before them ; they saw with 
prophetic eye the oncoming thousands; they saw the fields blos- 
soming for the harvest, they heard the songs of harvest Home, 


they saw the smoke of rising cities, the highways of com- 
merce, and some of them saw the highway of nations, so long a 
fable to the American people, stretching up through their valleys 
to the everlasting mountains and on to the broad Pacific. They 
saw it more clearly than Brigham Young, the Mormon prophet, 
saw the "Jordan " and the great lake, and the busy city, and the 
fruit and grain and " cattle on a thousand hills," for the people 
that he was leading. They believed fully in the future possibili- 
ties of the new commonwealth, and they determined to bear an 
active, generous and enterprising part in the mighty development 
■of the coming civilization. 

How well their dreams have been realized and their sacrifices 
been repaid ma;y be seen by looking over this immense State, It 
has laid aside its territorial dependence — become one of the States 
of the Union. Its cities and towns crown the hill-tops and nestle 
by the winding streams. The iron horse not only sweeps through 
the State from east to west, bearing the wealth of China and 
Japan and the products of the Atlantic coast and the Golden 
Gate, but the State is gridironed with railroads that bear the mil- 
lions of surplus bushels of grain and herds of cattle and flocks to 
<iistant markets in the east, west and south. 

The dug-out and log-cabin and modest frame house of one 
room have given place to the elegant mansion or the comfortable 
farm house, surrounded by the thousands of groves that have 
sprang up almost by magic all over the prairies, until Nebraska 
from an open prairie begins to look like a wooded country. The 
church spire and the school house, in true Puritan style, have be- 
come the institutions of freedom and progress, and they are found 
on every hand as the beacon lights of a free, progressive civiliza- 
tion; and all this has come from the rude beginnings of worship 
in the open air or in humble dwellings. 

These tasks of the early settlers have been well performed, 
and uuder a pressure and through obstacles and discouragements 
that those who are inexperienced in frontier life and trials can 
neither understand nor appreciate. Many of these facts and ex- 
periences that would soon have been but traditions have been res- 
cued from oblivion in these pages. Much more could have been 
told by many lips that are now sealed in death, and the story of 


their trials and successes lost forever, if from the first a faithful 
recoi-d had been kept of the early days. And the object of this- 
book has been to save from oblivion as much as possible of the 
early history of the pioneers of each county in the State. 

Of course it would not require a miracle alone but a good 
many miracles to give an entirely correct account of the work of 
a quarter of a century of busy western life. This cannot be done, 
and the author only hopes to approximate to the truth. Hi^ 
efforts have been to give a full, impartial, accurate statement of 
current events, and for years he has been taking notes, consulting 
with old settlers, gathering statistics, getting facts and incidents- 
and illustrations for his work. He has, as intimated in the com- 
mencement of the introduction, traveled thousands of miles by- 
rail and stage, and private conveyance, and frequently through the- 
entire Platte Yalley to the Mountains. He has been brought face- 
to face with many of the men of the early days and has gathered 
his information from their lips. 

For the later information with regard to the Counties he has^ 
been obliged to depend in a great measure upon the reports of 
judicious, careful men, residents of the Counties. In most of th& 
Counties some of the first pioneers are found who remember with 
more or less distinctness the occurrences of the early days, and 
who have a vivid recollection of their experiences in the wilder- 
ness. From these men the most reliable information has been 
received. And the author desires to make his acknowledgments, 
not only to these, but to numerous persons that cannot be named 
in various parts of the State, Some Counties and individuals have- 
responded promptly to requests for information, while others have 
given no attention to the subject whatever. The author also de- 
sires to say that his aim has been to be wholly impartial in his 
history and representations, and he has not received one penny 
from any corporation or individual for the insertion of any article 
or cut in this volume. 

Tiie author has prepared with great care the statistical matter 
contained in the work, so as to give the reader a correct estimate 
of the resources and the development of all the industries of 
the State. Reliable information is also given of the topography 
of the State, its rivers, timber, minerals and all its material re- 


sources. The vast fields are spread out so that those who contem- 
plate settlement here may jiid^e of the attractions, compare the 
localities and decide as to the best place for them to locate. That 
Nebraska is destined to become one of the Richest and most popu- 
lous States of the Union can no longer be doubted. 

But this subject is almost too vast for human thouglit. It 
comprises the progress of the age and the race. But few live but 
would be glad to re- visit these scenes when a century, or half that 
time, has rolled away. When Nebraska will be numbered not by 
hundreds of thousands but by millions, when her cities will vie 
with the largest of the olden States, when the sound of the loom 
and the spindle will be heard beside all her waters, when, not only 
the genius of agriculture, but that of manufactures, shall be de- 
veloped throughout the commonwealth, and when science and art 
shall be enthroned with their handmaids, education and religion, 
and with free institutions shall be the crowning glory of a great 

It is an inspiring thought that we, the first settlers in this 
then far off country, are laying the foundations of a mighty em- 
pire. They should be laid broad and deep. They should be built 
upon virtue and truth, morality and pure religion, and with such 
a foundation and with such material prospects, there can be no- 
doubt of the future of Nebraska. 

It could hardly be expected that a work of the magnitude of 
this — where the subject matter changes many times on a single 
page, and the names of cities, towns and persons occur so often, 
that some mistakes would not occur. We have discovered a few, 
which are given below: 

Page 129. In Eleventh line from top, should read 100,384.08 
acres, instead of 10,184,448. 

Page 187. In Seventh line from top, the word pensions 
should be pardons. 

Page 257. In Sixth line from bottom, the Germans should 
be two Germans. 

Page 291. In Second line from bottom it should read Daniel 
/iS., instead of 2>aw(^ /S'. 

Page 296. In Third line from bottom, Farnam and JStnth. 
should read Farnam and Tenth. :, j^ i 

Page 309. In Ninth line from bottom, it should read Kuhn» 
instead of Kountze. '• ^ r . 

Page 312. Physical culture should read physical features. 



Frontispiece — Old Trading Post, Bellevue, 1854 

Late Map of Nebraska 

Union Pacific Transfer Depot 124 

State University 140 

Catliolic Catliedral, Omaha ' 149 

High School Building, Fremont 168 

High School Building, Tekamah 211 

High School Building, Plattsmouth 241 

Old Territorial Capitol, Omaha 286 

Union Pacific Headquarters, Omaha 296 

Grand Central Hotel, Omaha 301 

High School Building, Omaha 303 

U. S. Postoffice Building, Omaha 307 

■Oage County Court House, Beatrice 357 

Hall County Court House, Grand Island 371 

Public School Building, Grand Island S74 

Hivmilton County, Court House, Aurora 380 

■Johnson County Court House, Tecumseh 406 

Public School Building, Tecumseh 409 

Public School Building, Sterling 411 

Elk Creek, in the Nemaha Valley 412 

Farm View near Shelton, Buffalo County 424 

Junction of North and South Forks of Platte Eiver, Lincoln County. 432 

View One Mile Southwest of Lincoln 450 

Normal School Building, Peru 463 

View near Central City, Merrick County 474 

View in the Beaver Valley near Albion, Boone County 480 

Public School Building, Pawnee City 510 

■Court House Building, Wahoo, Saunders County 537 

High School Building, Wahoo, Saunders County 539 

Ashland High School Building 541 

JBlair High School Building, Washington County 582 

Bell Creek School Building 584 


CHAPTER I.— Historical. 

Paok. Pact?. 

The Province of Louisiana, ;^3 Nebraska admitted as a State,. .. 47 

First settlement 39 U. S. Senators-Delesates and 

Treaties with the Indians, 40 Members of Congress. . .... . . 4^ 

N-ebraska admitted 41 Othcers— Territory and btate. . . oO 

Apportionment of House and Popular vote for Congressmen,.. .51 

Council— First general election 45 Popular vote for Governor, o2 

Judicial Districts — Territorial 

Governors, 46 

CHAPTER IL— Indians. 

The Omahas and other Tribes, ^^~^^ 

CHAPTER III. — Geography — Typogra^phy— Mineral?. 

Geographical position, <12 Timber,. J^l 

l^fivers. 63 Topography, ^^ 

Minerals, 09 

CHAPTER IV. — Natural Advantages. 

Soil ''G Fruit culture, 83 

Agriculture, "i^ Stock Kaismg, 8& 

CHAPTER Y.— Public Lands. 

Lands received from the U. S.. . ^'3 Union Pacific land grant, 99 

Stale University-College lands, 9.5 B. & M. R. R. U. lands, 01 

Common school lands, 96 g«^«"\™^VVnVt1mb;; laws' ''lUS 

Saline lands, 97 Homestead and Limber laws,. . . iu» 

Penitentiary and other lands,. . . 98 

CHAPTER YL— Railroads. 

American Railways, 107 Capital and funded debt. &c 109 

CHAPTER YIL— Railways in Nebraska. 

Miles of road in operation, 114 Details of Roads, 115-131 

CHAPTER YIIL— Climate of Nebraska. 

Altitude, 133 Rainfall 13^ 

Temperature 135 

CHAPTER IX.— Educational Advantages. 
Free Schools-School Revenues,137 Normal School-Deaf^vnd Dumb.i41 

State University, 140 Institution toi the Blind, 14. 

CHAPTER X.— The Churches. 

Church Interests, &c.,. . • 

CHAPTER XL— Military Matters. 
First Nebraska Volunteers. ... .150 Curtis' norse...... - .. •• ';;;;;;;^ 

Second Regiment Neb. Cavalry. .15.^ btate MiUtia, 

First Battalion Neb. Cavalry. . .156 

CHAPTER XII.— Immigration. 
The Character of Immigration,. 163 Destination of Immigrants. 16» 



CHAPTEK XIII. -Population. 

Population of Nebraska by Counties, 169 

CHAPTER XIY.— Assessed Valuation. 

Taxable property, 172 State Indebtedness, 174 

Parm Animals, by Counties 173 

CHAPTER XY.— The Press of Nebraska. 

Pioneer Journalists 175 List of Newspapers, 17fi 

CHAPTER XYI.— Nebraska— 1879. 

Commerce, 181 

Manufactures 182 

Grasshoppers 183 

The people of Nebraska, 184 


Organic Act of the Territory,. ..187 
Constitution adopted in 1866,. . .188 

Organic Act and Constitution. 

Constitution adopted in 1875,... 189 



Adams, 193 

Antelope, 199 

Boone, 204 

Burt, 207 

Butler, 217 

Buffalo, 226 

Cass, 230 

Cedar 246 

Colfax, 250 

Cuming, 254 

Clay, -^64 

Cheyenne, 270 

Chase, 273 

Custer, 273 

Douglas, 274 

Dodge, 311 

Dawson, ^ 320 

Dixon, 328 

Dakota 332 

D>undy, 334 

Pillmore, 335 

Franklin, 340 

Frontier, 345 

Furnas, 346 

Gage, 350 

Greeley 358 

Gosper 36i 

Hall 363 

Hamilton, .375 

Harland, 38i 

Hitchcock, 386 

Holt, 389 

Howard, 393 

JIayes, 399 

Jefferson, 399 

Johnson 404 

Keith, 413 

Kearney, 41 i 

Knox, 425 

Lincoln, 431 

Lancaster, 436 

Madison, 451 

Merrick, 466 

Nemaha, 456 

Nuckolls, 475 

Nance 473 

Otoe 4S1 

Platte, 494 

Pawnee, 502 

Pierce, 511 

Polk, 514 

Phelps, 520 

Richardson 521 

Red Willow, 529 

Saunders, 533 

Sarpy, 542 

Saline, 550 

Seward, 556 

Sherman 56O 

Stanton, 553 

Sioux 566 

Thayer 566 

Yalley, ,569 

Wayne, 571 

Washington, ...'i74 

Webster, 585 

Wheeler, 5S8 

York, 588 



Ayr 199 

Albion, C.S 207 

Arapahoe 349 

A-dams 358 

Aurora, C. S 379 

Alma City, C. S 385 

Atkinson 392 

Aspinwall 464 

Ai'aofo 52r> 

Ashland 540 

Alexandria •")68 

Arborsalle 59 1 

Bloomington, C. S 843 

Beaver City, C. S 348 

Burton's Bend 349 

Beatrice, C. S 356 

Blue Springs 357 

Bh-^'iile 430 

Bazille Mills 431 

Bennett 451 

Battle Creek 455 

Brownville, C. S 462 

Bellevue 550 

Beaver Crossing 559 

Belvidere 568 

Blair, C. S 581 

Bell Creek 583 

€uster, C. S .274 

Cozad 323 

Covington 334 

€ulbertson, C. S 388 

Cloatesfield 399 

Centoria 423 

Creighton 430 

Central City, C. S 473 

€larksville 473 

Ohapman 475 

Columbus, C. S 501 

Clear Creek 542 

Cuming City 579 

Crete 554 

Camden 559 

Carleton 56S 

Decatur 211 

David City, C. S 225 

Dixon 332 

Dakota City, C. S 333 

Daviesville, C. S 363 

Dannebrog 398 

Denton 451 

Dunbar 493 

Dawson's Mill 528 

De Witt 555 

Dorchester 5-54 

DeSoto 578 

Elm Creek 230 

Edgar 270 

Elkhorn Station 310 

Exeter 339 


Elk Creek 413 

Eaton 425 

Fairfield 270 

Florence 309 

Fremont, C. S 319 

Fairmont 339 

Fillmore 340 

Farmer's Yalley .380 

Fairbury, C. S 403 

Fredericksburg 425 

Firth 451 

Fullerton 479 

Falls City, C. S .527 

Friendviile onb 

Fort Calhoun. .576 

Fontenelle 577 

Gibbon 229 

Greenwood 245 

Geneva, C. S 338 

Grafton 3.39 

Grand Island, C S 373 

Genoa 279 

Gilmore 550 

Guide Rock 588 

Hastings, C. S 197 

Harvard 270 

Hooper 319 

Halifax 361 

Hamilton 379 

Helena 413 

Howard 465 

Hopeville 521 

Himiboldt 527 

Hebron, C.S 568 

Herman 585 

Inland 198 

Irvington 311 

Ionia 332 

Indianola, C. S 5,33 

Juniata 198 

Jackson 333 

Jackson U. P 501 

Kenesaw 1^^ 

Kearney, C. S 229 

Keene 423 

Kemma 430 

Lyons 212 

Lin wood ~5 

Louisville 244 

Logan 320 

Lamartine 380 

Lincoln Valley 3*^0 

Lowell 423 

Lincoln, C.S ^J 

Leslie ^^ 

London f?^ 

La Platte 350 

LoupCity,C.S 3«2 

La Porte, €. S 





Millard 309 

Martinsbursh 331 

Mitulcn, ('. S 423 

Miraue 425 

Millersboio ^31 

McPlierson 435 

Madison, C. S 455 

Miiford 559 

Nelitrh 204 

Newton 213 

North Bend 319 

Nickerson 320 

New Castle 331 

Naponee 344 

New Era 349 

N iobrara, C. S 430 

North Platte, C. S 434 

Newton 451 

Norfolk 455 

Newman's Grove 456 

Nemaha City 464 

Nelson, C. S 477 

Nebraska City, C. S 492 

North Loup 570 

Oakdale, C. S 203 

Oakland 213 

Omaha, C. S 299 

Overton 324 

Omadi 334 

O'Conner, C. S 361 

Orville City 379 

Orleans 386 

O'Neil City 391 

Ogalalla 416 

Osco 425 

Osceola, C. S 519 

Ord, C. S 570 

Plattsmouth, C. S 237 

Pebble 320 

Plum Creek, C. S 323 

Ponca, C. S 331 

Paddock, C. S 392 

Plum Vidley 431 

Peru 463 

Palmyra 493 

Platte Center 501 

Pawnee City, C. S 509 

Pierce, C. S 513 

Plainview 514 

Papillion, C. S 549 

Pleasant Hill 555 

Riverside 213 

Rock Bluffs 245 

Rogers 255 

Richland 255 

Riverton 344 

Richmond 350 

Rejjublican City 386 

Rose Creek City 404 


Reidsville 431 

Rulo 528 

Red Willow b-iS- 

Red Cloud, C. S 587 

St. Edwards 207 

Savannah 224 

Shelton 230 

South Bend 245 

St. Helena, C. S 249 

St. James 250 

Strahrasburg 250 

.Schuyler, C. S 253 

Sutton, C. S 269 

Sidney, C. S 272 

Scribner 320 

Summit 334 

Stockville, C. S 345 

Scotia 360 

St. Paul, C. S 39S 

Steele City 404 

Sterling 411 

Saltillo 451 

Silver Creek 473 

Sheridan 465 

St. Deroin 465 

Superior 477 

Syracuse 493 

St. Barnabas 502 

Strohmsburg 519 

Sherwood 521 

Salem 528 

Sarpy Center 550 

Seward, C. S 558 

Stanton, C. S 565 

Tekamah, C S 210 

Tecumseh, C. S 410 

Table Rock 510 

Ulysses 225 

Unadilla 493 

Utica 559 

Valley 310 

Vesta 413 

Valparaiso 541 

Weeping Water 244 

West Point, C. S 263 

Wisner 263 

Waterloo 310 

Webster 320 

Willow Island 324 

Wilsonville 349 

Warsaw 399 

Walnut Grove 431 

Waverly 451 

Williamsburg 521 

Wahoo, C. S ,. .540 

Wilber, C. S 554 

Waco 591 

York,C.S 591 


Lewis and Clarke's Expedition — Nebraska as a Territory- 
Nebraska Admitted as a State — Popular Vote for Gover- 


About tlie middle of the seventeenth century Canadian traders 
visited the Indian tribes then inhabiting the northern part of the 
country now embraced within the limits of Nebraska, and estab- 
lished a profitable trade with them for their rich robes and furs, 
which was continued for long years thereafter. In 1673, Mai'- 
quette, the famous French missionary among the Indians, visited 
this part of the country and explored and mapped out the prin- 
cipal streams. At that time all of this Northwestern country was 
claimed by Spain, and formed part of the great Province of 
Louisiana; but in 1683, La Salle took possession of the country in 
the name of the King of France, and the French held it until 
formally ceded to Spain in 1762. It was ceded back to the French 
in 1800, and was by them sold to the United States for 

The purchase was accomplished during the administration of 
President Jefferson, by treaty at Paris, April 30th, 1803, and 
ratified by the United States Senate on the 31st of October of the 
same year. An act was immediately passed by Congress by which 
the President was authorized to take possession of the Territory, 
in conformity with the treaty; on the 20th of December, 1S03, the 
formal transfer was made to William C. C. Claiborne and James 


?,4c Johnson's history of Nebraska. 

^V'ilkinson, commissioners of the United States, by M. Laussat^ 
tlie colonial prefect, at New Orleans, of the French Republic. On 
the 26tli of March, 1804, Congress passed an act dividing the 
province into two Territories, denominating the southern " The 
Territor}" of Orleans," and the northern "The District of Louis- 
iana." The latter included within its boundaries all of the Terri- 
tory now embraced by the States of Arkansas, Missouri, Iowa, 
Nebraska and Oregon, and the largest parts of Minnesota, Kansas 
and Colorado, also the Territories of Washington, Montana, Idaho, 
Dakota, and parts of Wyoming and Indian, containing altogether, 
about 1,122,975 square miles. 

The District of Louisiana, thus defined, was regularly organ- 
ized as the Territory of Louisiana, by an act of Congress passed 
on the 3rd of March, 1805, and President Jefferson immediately 
appointed General James Wilkinson, Governor, and Frederick 
Bates, Secretary. The Governor, with Judges Return J. Meigs 
and John B. C. Lucas, of the Superior Court, constituted the 
Legislature of the Territory. St. Louis was made the Capital. 

LEWIS AND Clarke's expedition. 


Shortly after the acquisition of this vast Territory, an expedi- 
tion for the exploration of the Missouri and Columbia Rivers, and 
to ascertain the most practicable route across the Continent 
to the Pacific Ocean, was organized under the auspices of Presi- 
dent Jefferson and placed in command of Captains Merri weather 
Lewis and William Clarke, both young and intelligent officers in 
the army. 

The corps consisted of forty-three men, including the officers, 
and was made up of regular soldiers, who had volunteered for the 
enterprise, several Kentuckians, two French interpreters, some 
hunters, and a colored servant belonging to Captain Clarke. 

On Monday, May 14th, 1804, the expedition left its encamp- 
ment on the Mississippi River, one mile below the mouth of the 
Missouri, and, embarking on board of three boats, proceeded up 
the latter stream on their world-famed tour of discovery. The 
largest boat was a Keel boat, fifty-five feet long, carrying a large 
square sail and twenty-two oars, and having a deck of ten feet 
each in the bow and stern, while the covering of the middle was so 

Johnson's history of Nebraska. 35 

arranged that it could be raised for breastworks in case of attack. 
The two smaller boats were open, carrying six and seven oars 
respectively. The stores consisted mainly of Indian goods, such 
as knives, tomahawks, gaily colored cloths, paint, beads, etc.; 
besides a large quantity of clothing, provisions, tools, powder, 
balls, gun-flints and other articles for use of the officers and men. 

The expedition reached the mouth of the Platte River, Satur- 
day, July 21st, where they encamped for the night, and proceeded 
on their journey early the following morning, making a distance 
of about ten miles that day, and going into camp near the present 
townsite of Bellevue, Sarpy County. Five days were spent at this 
camp in making necessary repairs to the outfit, dressing skins, and 
airing the provisions, baggage and stores; and from here two men 
were sent to the Indians then living up the Platte river to notify 
them of the recent change in the Government, and of the desire of 
the commanding officers to meet their Chiefs in council for treaty. 
July 27th the expedition proceeded up the river, and on the 30th 
it reached the point which had previously been agreed upon for 
holding a council with the Indians. This is the exact spot where, 
in 1819, the Government established Fort Atkinson — afterwards 
called Fort Calhoun — which was abandoned as a military post in 
1827. The old town of Fort Calhoun, Washington County, now 
occupies the site. It is about sixteen miles in a straight line 
above Omaha, or forty by the river. The place is described 
as follows in the Journal of Lewis and Clarke: 

"The land here consists of a plain, above the high water level, 
the soil of which is fertile and covered with a grass from five to 
eight feet high, interspersed with copses of large plums and a cur- 
rant like those of the United States. It also furjiishes two species 
of honeysuckle, one growing to a kind of a shrub common about 
Harrisburg, Kentucky, and the other not so high. The flowers 
grow in clusters, are short and of a light pink color. The leaves, 
too, are distinct, and do not surround the stem as do those of the 
United States. Back of this plain is a woody ridge about seventy 
feet above it, at the end of which we formed our camp. This 
ridge separates the lower from a higher prairie of a good quality, 
with grass of ten or twenty inches in height, and extending back 
about a mile to another elevation of eighty or ninety feet, beyond 


8^ Johnson's history of Nebraska. 

which is one continuous plain. Near our camp we enjoy from tlie 
bluflfs a most beautiful view of the river and the adjoining 
country. At a distance varying from four to ten miles, and of a 
height between seventy and three hundred feet, two parallel 
ranges of high land afford a passage to the Missouri, which 
enriches the low grounds between them. In its winding course it 
nourishes the willow islands, the scattered cottonwood, elm, syca- 
more, lynn, and ash; and the groves are interspersed with hickory, 
walnut, coffeenut, and oak. The hunters supplied us with deer, 
turkeys, geese, and beaver. Cattish are abundant in the river, and 
we have also seen a buffalo-fish. One of our men brought in yes- 
terday an animal called by the Pawnees, chocantoosh, and by the 
French, blairvau, or badger." 

Of the council with the Indians held at this camp the report 

"We waited with much anxiety the return of our messenger 
to the Ottoes. Our apprehensions were at last relieved by the ar- 
rival of a party of about fourteen Ottoe and Missouri Indians who 
came at sunset on the second of August, accompanied by a French- 
man who resided among them and interpreted for us. Captains 
Lewis and Clarke went out to meet them and told them that we 
would hold a council in the morning. In the meantime we sent 
them some roasted meats, pork, flour and meal, in the return for 
which they made us a present of watermelons. 

"The next morning, the Indians, with their six Chiefs, were 
all assembled under an awning formed with the mainsail, and in 
the presence of all of our party, paraded for the occasion. A 
speech was then made announcing to them the change in the Gov- 
ernment, our promises of protection, and advice as to their future 
conduct. All the six Chiefs replied to our speech, each in his turn, 
according to rank. They expressed their joy at the change in the 
government, their hopes that we would recommend them to their 
great father (the President) that they might obtain trade and 
necessaries. They wanted arms as well for hunting as for defence, 
and asked our mediation between them and the Mahas (Omahas)» 
with whom they are now at war. We promised to do so, and 
wished some of them to accompany us to that nation, which they 
declined, for fear of being killed by them. We then proceeded to 


distribute our presents. The Grand Chief of the nation, not being 
of the party, we sent iiim a flag-, a medal and some ornaments for 
clothing. To the six Chiefs who were present we gave a medal of 
the second grade to one Ottoe Chief and a Missouri Chief, and a 
medal of the third grade to two inferior Chiefs of each nation; the 
customary mode of recognizing a Chief being to place a medal 
around his neck, which is considered among his tribe a proof of his 
consideration abroad. Each of these medals was accompanied by a 
present of paint, garters and cloth ornaments of dress, and to this 
we added a canister of powder, a bottle of whisky, and a few presents 
to the whole, which appeared to make them perfectly satisfied. 
The air gun, too, was fired and astonished them greatly. The 
absent Grand Chief was an Ottoe, named Wahrushluih, which, in 
English, degenerates into Little Thief. The two principal Chiefs 
present were Shongolongs, or Big Horse, and Wethea, or Hospi- 
tality; also, Shosguscan, or White Horse, an Ottoe. The incidents 
just related induced us to give to this place the name of Council- 
blufiF. The situation of it is exceedingly favorable for a fort and 
trading factory, as the soil is well calculated for bricks, and there 
is an abundance of wood in the neighborhood, and the air being 
pure and healthy. It is also central to the chief resorts of the 
Indians, being one day's journey to the Ottoes; one and a half 
to the great Pawnees; two days from the Mahas; two and a 
quarter from the Pawnee Loups village; convenient to the 
hunting grounds of the Sioux, and twenty-five days' journey 
to Sante Fe. The ceremonies of the council being concluded, 
we set sail in the afternoon and encamped at the distance of five 
miles on the south side, where we found the musquitoes very 

On August 19th, at a point on the river a few miles below 
where Sioux City, Iowa, now stands, Sergeant Floyd, one of the 
party, was taken violently ill with colic, and notwithstanding every 
efifort possible was made by his comrades to save his life, he died 
on the following day. His remains were interred on the high 
bluffs overlooking tiie river, on the Iowa side, which have ever 
since been known as Floyd's Bluffs. After the burial the party 
proceeded a mile further to a small stream on the same side, and 
encamped. The commanding oflicers named this stream Floyd's 

38 Johnson's histoky of Nebraska. 

River, to perpetuate the memory of tlie first man who had fallen in 
this important expedition. 

On Tuesday, the 4th day of September, the expedition reached 
the mouth of the Rapidwater, or Niobrara River, as now called, 
which was their last camping place on Nebraska soil, on their out- 
ward course. 

Here we will leave the voyagers to pursue their long and 
hazardous journey across the continent, which was so successfully 
accomplished, notwithstanding the great difficulties, privations and 
dangers which they had to endure and overcome. The computed 
distance traveled by the expedition, from its starting point at the 
mouth of the Missouri River, to the farthest point of discovery on 
the Pacific ocean, is four thousand, one hundred and thirty-three 
miles, and the time consumed in making the journey was two 
years, four months and ten days, reaching St. Louis, on its return 
on the 23d day of September, 1806. 

Clarke and Lewis found the country inhabited by numerous 
tribes wf Indians, of whom the Pawnees, Otoes, (then called Ottoe), 
Missouris, and Omahas, (or Mahas), are spoken of as the principal 
nations living within what are now the limits of Nebraska. The 
Pawnees at that time occupied the country south of the Platte, 
with their principal villages along the Republican river, and aie 
mentioned as being a very powerful and w'arlike nation, and the 
most skillful horsemen of the plains. The Otoes and Missouris 
lived in the eastern part of the Territory, with their villages on the 
south bank of the Platte River, while the Omahas, with whom they 
were at war, were located still further north, near the mouth of the 
Niobrara River. 

At the time the territory was opened for settlement by the 
whites, all of these tribes had become greatly reduced in numbers 
by disease, privation and incessant warfare. The Sioux — of 
which tribe there were several branches — dominated the plains, 
being by far the most numerous and savage. They resided chiefly 
in the northwestern part of the Territory and were almost constantly 
at war. They frequently extended their hunting expeditions to the 
villages of the weaker tribes in the eastern part of the Territory, 
especially those of their hereditary enemy, the Pawnees, whom 
they fell upon and slaughtered without mercy. The Pawnees came 

Johnson's history of Nebraska. 39 

next, in point of numbers, to the Sioux, then the Omahas, Otoea 
and Missouris, but all were mere remnants of the o]ice powerful 
tribes they represented. 

The first to encroach upon the Indian sovereignty were the 
traders, who dealt with the Indians for their furs and skins. 

The first white settlement in the Territory was made at Belle- 
vue, Sarpy County, where, in 1810, the American Fur Company 
established a trading post. At its head, at the time of the organi- 
zation of the Territory, was Col. Peter A. Sarpy, a French gentle- 
man, well known on the frontier, and distinguished for his enter- 
prise, sagacity and courage. In 1834 a Baptist mission was estab- 
lished near the trading post, but discontinued the following year 
on account of the death of the missionary, Rev. Moses Merrill. 
In 1817 the Presbyterian Board of Foreign Missions erected build- 
ings at Bellevue for a Mission House and School, which was kept 
up until the removal of the Indians. In 1848, the Government 
established Fort Kearney, on the site now covered by Nebraska 
City, but soon afterward removed it to Fort Childs,then established 
on the Platte River, in the present Kearney County, the name of 
Fort Childs being changed to Kearney. With the exception of 
the few persons living at these posts, there were no white settle- 
ments in the Territory until the passage of the organic Act. 

General John C. Fremont's surveying expedition passed up 
the Platte Yalley in 1842, and in 1847 the Mormons made a lai-ge 
trail across the State in their march to Salt Lake, but it was not 
until about 1850, after the great tide of emigration had set in to 
California, -and people had traveled over and seen the rich and 
beautiful country lying between the Missouri River and the R(K-ky 
Mountains, which had hitherto been thought only a barren waste, 
that schemes for its organization into a Territory began to be agi- 

A bill was shortly afterwards introduced into Congress pro- 
viding for the organization of one large Territory, embracing all of 
Kansas as at present bounded, and extending as far north as the 
Platte River. This, however, did not meet the wishes of the people 
of Iowa, who were desirous of having the country lying immedi- 
ately west of them speedily opened up for white settlement, also; 
neither did it suit the thousands of emigrants who had fiocked to 

40 Johnson's history of Nebraska. 

tlie eastern "banks of the Missonri, and were anxiously waiting tlie 
permission of the General Government to cross over and settle in 
the new Territory. And to that end, in the fall of 1853, a consider- 
able number of persons crossed the Missouri from Iowa, and as- 
sembling at Bellevue and Old Fort Kearney, proceeded to hold an 
election for a delegate to represent their interests at "Washington 
in securing a territorial organization. Said election was held on 
the 11th day of October, 1853, and resulted in the unanimous 
choice of Hon. ITadley D. Johnson, a prominent lawyer and leading 
citizen of Council Bluffs, Iowa. 

When Mr. Johnson reached Washington, about the first of 
January, 1854, he found that a bill was then in the hands of the 
Committee on Territories, providing for the organization of the 
single Territory of Nebraska, embracing, as before stated, all of 
present Kansas, and that portion of Nebraska lying south of the 
Platte river; and although Mr. Johnson was not entitled to a seat 
on the floor of the House, it was chiefly through his instrumentali- 
ty and cogent arguments before the Committee on Territories, that 
a substitute for the original bill was reported, which substitute 
provided for the organization of two Territories instead of one, and 
which, with amendments, became the famous Kansas-Nebraska 

As a pi-eliminary measure to the opening uj) of the country to 
white settlement. Colonel Manypenny, Commissioner of Indian 
Affairs, and Major James M. Gatewood, Indian Agent, held a coun- 
cil at Eelleviie, in February, 1854, with the Chiefs of the Omahas, 
and the confederate tribes of Otoe and Missouri Indians, in refer 
ence to selling their lands to the United States. Logan Fontenelle, 
Chief of the Omahas — a half-breed Indian, who was educated at St. 
Louis, and understood the English language perfectly — was chosen 
by the different tribes as head Chief in the negotiation of the treaty, 
and a delegation of Chiefs, headed by Fontenelle, proceeded to 
Washington. A treaty was made with the Otoes and Missouris on 
the 15th, and with the Omahas on the 16th day of March, 1854, 
and ratified June 21, following, which extinguished the Indian 
title to a large portion of the lands bordering on the west bank of 
the Missiiuri River. A proclamation of these treaties was made by 
President Pierce on the 24th of June, 1854. 



Nebraska "was organized as a Territory on the 30tli day of May, 
185J:, at whicli time it contained 351,558 square miles, extending 
from the fortieth parallel of north latitude to the British Posses- 
sions, and from the Missouri River west to the summit of the Rocky 
Mountains. On February 28, 1861, 16,035 square miles were set 
off to the Territory of Colorado; and on March 2d, 228,907 square 
miles to Dakota. At the latter date jN'ebraska received from 
Washington and Utah Territories a triangular tract of 15,378 square 
miles, lying on the southwest slope of the Rocky Mountains, north 
of the forty-first parallel, and east of the one hundred and tenth 
meridian. This, however, was included in the 45,999 square miles 
taken from Nebraska, March 3d, 1863, to form the Territory of 
Idaho. Nebraska was thus reduced to its present limits. 

The first Territorial ofiicers appointed by President Pierce, were 
as follows: Francis Burt, of South Carolina, Governor; Thomas 
B. Cuming, of Iowa, Secretary; Fenner Furgnson, of Michigan, 
Chief Justice; James Bradley, of Indiana, and Edward R. Hardin, 
of Georgia, Associate Justices; Mark "W. Izard, of Arkansas, Mar- 
shal, and Experience Estabrook, of Wisconsin, Attorney. 

Governor Burt reached the Territory in ill-health, on the 6th 
day of October, 1854, and proceeded to Bellevue, where he was the 
guest of Rev. Wm. J. Hamilton, at the old Mission House. His 
illness proved of a fatal character, and he sank rapidly until on the 
morning of Wednesday, October 18th, 1854, he died. 

With the death of Governor Burt the duties of organizing the 
Territorial government devolved upon Secretary Cuming, who, by 
virtue of his ofiice, became the Acting Governor. 

the first official act in the territorial government — procla- 
mation of governor cuming. 

Executive Department, Nebraska Territory, 

October 18th, 1854. 

It has seemed good to an Allwise Providence to remove from 
the Territory by the hand of death, its Chief Magistrate, Governor 
Francis Burt. He departed this life this morning, at the Mission 
House, in Bellevue, after an illness protracted since his arrival. 


(luring which he received the most faithful medical aid and assidu- 
ous attention. His remains will be conveyed, on Friday next, to- 
his home in Pendleton, South Carolina, attended by a suitable es- 

In this afflictive dispensation, as a mark of respect and affec- 
tion for the lamented and distinguished Executive, and a sign of^ 
the public sorrow, the national colors within the Territory will be 
draped in mourning, and the Territorial officers will wear crape 
upon the left arm, for thirty days from date. 

Given under my hand, at Bellevue, Nebraska Territory, "this 
18th day of October, A. D., 1854. 

T. B. Cuming, 
Acting Goiiernor of Nebraska. 

The Territory was divided into eight Counties, viz: Burt,, 
Washington, Dodge, Douglas, Cass, Pierce, Forney and Eichard- 

Burt County was bounded as follows: Commencing at a point 
on the Missouri Kiver, two miles above Fort Calhoun, thence west- 
wardly, crossing the Elkhorn Kiver, 120 miles, to the west boundary 
of lands ceded to the United States, thence northerly to Mauvaise 
River, and along the east bank of the same, to the Eau Qui Court, 
or Eunning Water, thence easterly to the Aaoway Eiver, and along 
the south bank of it, to its mouth, and thence southerly along the 
Missouri River to the place of beginning. 

Precincts — There were two precincts or places of voting in 
Burt County, viz: One in Tekamah Precinct, at the house of 
General John B. Robinson; and the second, in Blackbird Precinct, 
at the Blackbird House. J. B. Robinson, W. N. Byers and B. R. 
Folsom were appointed judges of the first election precinct, and 
W. W. Maynard and H. C. Purple clerks of the same; Frederick 
Buck, Dr. Shelley and John A. Lafferty judges of election in the 
second election precinct, and Lorenzo Driggs and William Sherman 
clerks of said precinct. 

Washington County was bounded as follows: Commencing 
at a point on the Missouri River, one mile north of Omaha City, 
thence due west to the dividing ridge between the Elkhorn and 
Missouri Rivers, thence northwestwardly twenty miles to the Elk- 
horn Eivei-, thence eastwardly to a point on the Missouri Eiver, two- 

Johnson's history of Nebraska. 43 

miles above Fort Calhoun, and thence southerly along said River, 
to the place of beginning. 

Precinct — There was one precinct or place of voting in said 
County, viz: At the Postoffice at Florence. Anselam Arnold, 
Charles How and William Bryant were appointed judges of elec- 
tion, and Henry Springer and William More clerhs of same. 

Dodge County was bounded as follows: Commencing at a 
point on the Platte River, twenty miles west of Bellevue, thence 
westwardly, along the said Platte River, to the mouth of Shell 
Creek, thence north twenty-five miles, thence east to the dividing 
ridge between the Elkhorn and Missouri rivers, and thence south- 
erly, to the place of beginning. ' 

Precinct — There was one precinct or place of voting in said 
County, viz: At the house of Dr. M. H. Clark, in Fontenelle pre- 
cinct. William Kline, Christopher S. Leiber and AVm. S. Estley 
were appointed judges of election, and Wm. Taylor and E. G. Mc- 
Neely, clerks of same. 

Douglas County was bounded as follows: Commencing at the 
mouth of the Platte River, thence north along the west bank of the 
Missouri River, to a point one mile north of Omaha City, thence 
west along the south boundary of Washington County, twenty 
miles, thence south ten miles, more or less, to the Platte River, 
and thence east to the place of beginning. 

Precincts — There were two precincts or places of voting in 
said County, viz: One at the brick building at Omaha City and 
one at the Mission House at Bellevue. David Lindley, T. G. 
Goodwill and Chas. B. Smith were appointed judges of election in 
the Omaha precinct, and M. C. Gaylord and Dr. Pattee, clerks of 
same. Isaiah Bennet, D. E. Reed and Thos. Morton were appointed 
judges of the Bellevue precinct, and G. Hollister and Silas A. 
Strickland, clerks of the same. 

Cass County was bounded as follows: North by the Platte 
River, east by the Missouri, south by the Weeping Water River 
to its head waters, thence westwardly to the west boundary of lands 
ceded to the United States, and thence by said boundary, north to 
the Platte River. 

Precincts. — There were two precincts or places of voting in 
said County, viz.: one at the house of Colonel Thompson, in 

44 Johnson's history of Nebraska. 

Kanoslia precinct, and one at tlie house of Sainnel Martin, 
in Martin's ])rccinct. J. S. Griffith, Thomas B. Ashley and 
L. Youn^ were appointed judges of election in Kanosha precinct 
and Benjamin B. Thompson and Wm. H. Dav^is, clerks of the 
same. James O'l^eil, Thos. P. Palmer and Stephen Willes were 
appointed judges of election in Martin's precinct, and T. S. 
Gaskill and Levi G. Todd, clerks of the same. 

Pierce County was bounded as follows: Commencing at the 
mouth of the Weeping Water River, on the Missouri River, thence 
westwardly, along the south bank of the same, to its head waters, 
tlience due west, to the west boundary of lands ceded to the 
United States, (100 miles,) thenc6 south twenty miles, to the north 
line of Forney County, thence due east, along the north line of 
said Forney County to Camp Creek, and along the north bank 
of said Creek, to the Missouri River, and thence northwardly 
along said River to the place of beginning. 

Precinct. — There was one precinct or place of voting in said 
County, viz.: at the house of Major II. P. Downs. Wm. C. 
Fowlkes, Simpson Hargous and Henry Bradford were appointed 
judges of election, and James H. Cowles and James H. Decker, 
clerks of the same. 

Forney County was bounded as follows: Commencing at the 
mouth of Camp creek, thence to the head waters of the same, 
tlience due west to a point sixty miles from the Missouri river, 
thence due south twenty miles, thence east to the head waters of 
the Little Ktmaha River, thence along the north bank of said 
River to the ]\Iissouri River, and tlunce along the Missouri River 
north to the ])lace of beginning. 

Precinct. — There was one precinct or place of voting in said 
County, viz.: at the place known as Brownville, at the house 
of Richard Brown. Richard Brown, Allen L. ('oate and Israel 
Cuming were appointed judges of election, and A. J. Benedict and 
Stephen Sloan, clerks of same. 

Richardson County was bounded as follows: Commencing 
at the northwest corner of the half breed tract, thence westwardly 
along the south bank of the Little Nemaha River, thence west- 
wardly to a point sixt}'^ miles west of the Missouri River, thence 
Bouth to the 40th parallel, the boundary betveen Kansas and 

Johnson's history of Nebraska. 45 

Nebraska, thence east along said boundary, to the Missouri Eiver, 
thence north along the Missouri River and west ten miles to the 
southwest corner of the half breed tract, and thence northerly, 
along the boundary of said tract to the place of beginning. 

Precincts. — There were two precincts or places of voting in 
said County, -viz.: one at the house of Wm. Level, in precinct 
!No. 1; the second at the house of Christian Bobst, in precinct Xo. 
2. John Purket, Kobert, T. Archer and James M. Roberts were 
appointed judges of election of the first precinct, and Wm. W. 
Soper and John A. Singleton, Clerks of the same; and Henry 
Shellhorn, Henry Abrams and "Wm. J. Burns, judges of election 
iu precinct Ko. 2, and Christian Bobst and W. L. Soper, clerks of 
the same. 

An enumeration of the inhabitants of the Territory was made 
in accordance with a proclamation of the Acting Governor, dated 
October 21, 1854, and the following apportionment of Councilmen 
and Representatives was made in accordance with the census 
returns of l!sovember 20th: 

Burt CorNxx. — One Councilman, two Eepresentatives. 

Washington CorNTY.— One Councilman, two Representatives. 

Dodge CorNTY.— One Councilman, two Eepresentatives. 

Douglas County.— Four Councilmen, eight Eepresentatives. 

Cass County.— One Councilman, three Eepresentatives. 

Pierce County. — Three Councilmen, five Eepresentatives. 

ToRNEY County. — One Councilman, two Eepresentatives. 

EiCHARDSON County.— One Councilman, two Eepresentatives. 

The first general election for members of the Legislature and a 
delegate to Congress, was held on December 12th, 1854, in pursu- 
ance of a proclamation dated I^ovember 23d, and by proclamation 
of December 20th, the Legislative Assembly was convened at 
Omaha on the 16th day of January, 1855. 

The following gentlemen composed the first Legislature: 


EiCHARDSON County.— J. L. Sharp, President. 

Burt County.— B. E. Folsom. 

Washington County. — J. C. Mitchell. 

Dodge County. — M. H. Clark. 

Douglas County.— T. G. Goodwill, A. D. Jones, 0. D. Eichardson, 

S. E. Eogers. 
Cass County. — Luke Xuckolls. 

iQ Johnson's history of Nebraska. 

Pierce County.— A. H. Bradford, H. P. J^ennet, C. H. Cowles. 

Forney County.— Eicliard Brown. 

Officers of the Council — Dr. G. L. Miller, Omaha, Chief Clerk; 
0. F. Lake, Brownvllle, Assistant Cleik; S. A. Lewis, Omaha, 
Sergeant-At-Arms; N. E. Folsom, Tekamah, Doorkeeper. 

house of kepresentatives 

Douglas County.— A. J. Hanscom, Speaker; W. N. Byers, Wm. 
Clancy, F. Davidson, Thomas Davis, A. D. Goyer, A. J. Popple- 
ton, Eobt. Whitted. 

Burt County.— J. B. Eobertson, A. C. Purple. 

Washington County.— A. Archer, A. J. Smith. 

Dodge County.— E. E. Doyle, J. W. Eichardson. 

Cass County.— J. M. Latham, "Wm. Kempton, J. D. H. Thompson. 

Pierce County.— G. Bennet, J. II. Cowles, J. H. Decker, W. H. 
Hail, Wm. Maddox. 

Forney County.— W. A. Finney, J. M. Wood. 

Eichardson County\— D. M. Johnson, J. A. Singleton. 

Officers of the House.— J. W. Paddock, Chief Clerk; G. L. 
Eayre, Assistant Clerk; J. L. Gibbs, Sergeant-At-Arms; B. B. 
Thompson, Doorkeeper. 

Hon. Napoleon B. Giddings, vras elected as Nebraska's first 
delegate to Congress. 

The Territory was divided into three Judicial Districts, which 
was made public by proclamation on December 20th, 1854. Hon. 
Fenner Ferguson, Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, was 
assigned to the First Judicial District, embracing the Counties of 
Douglas and. Dodge; Hon. Edward E.. Hardin, Assistant Justice 
Supreme Court to the Second Judicial District, embracing all that 
portion of the Territory lying south of the Platte River; and Hon. 
James Bradley, Assistant Justice Supreme Court, to the Third 
Judicial District, embracing the Counties of Washington and 

Judges of Probate, Justice of the Peace, Sheriffs, Constables, 
and Clerks of the Court, were also designated for the several 

The erection of a Capitol building was commenced at Omaha 
in the fall of 1855, and completed by January, 1858. It was a 
commodious brick structure, and occupied a commanding posi- 
tion on Capitol Hill. 

Hon. Mark W. Izard, of Arkansas, the second Governor, 
relieved Acting Governor Cuming, in February, 1855. He was 

Johnson's history of nebbaska. 47 

succeeded in 1857, by Hon. William A. Richardson, of Illinois, 
who resigned in April, 1858. Hon. J. Sterling Morton, Secretary 
of the Territory, acted in the interim, and was relieved by Hon. 
Samuel Black, appointed by President Buchanan, in 1859, who 
served until succeeded by Hon. Alvin Saunders, of Mount Pleas- 
ant, Iowa, in 1861, appointed by President Lincoln. Governor 
Saunders continued in office until the admission of the State 
in 1867. 


In March, 1860, the question of forming a State Government 
was submitted to the people and disapproved by a vote of 1,877 to 
1,987. On April 19th, 1864, an enabling act was passed by 
<I!ongress providing for the admission of Nebraska into the Union, 
but the necessary action for admission was not taken at that time 
by the Territory. The continuance of the war and the prevalence 
•of Indian hostilities checked the growth of Nebraska; but pros- 
perity came with the return of peace. Earl} in 1866 the Terri- 
torial Legislature framed a Constitution, which was ratified by the 
people on June 21st. The first Legislature under the new 
Government assembled July 4th. On the 28th a bill for the 
admission of I^ebraska as a State was passed by Congress, but did 
not receive the signature of the President. In January, 1867 
another bill for this purpose was passed, but was vetoed by the 
President on the ground that it embraced conditions not contained 
in the enabling Act, that the proceedings attending the formation 
of the Constitution were dififerent from those prescribed, and that 
the population of the Territory did not justify its becoming 
a State. The bill, however, was passed over the executive veto by 
a vote of thirty to nine in the Senate, February 8th, and one 
hundred and twenty to forty-four in the House on the following 
day. The act was not to take efifect •' except upon the funda- 
mental condition that within the State of ISTebraska there shall be 
no denial of the elective franchise, or of any other right, to any 
person by reason of race or color, except Indians not taxed; and 
upon the further fundamental condition that the legislature of said 
State by a solemn public act shall declare the assent of said State to 
the said fundamental condition." This act was ratified by the 
Legislature which assembled at Omaha on February 20th for that 


purpose, and compliance with the Congrer^sional conditions was 
annonnced by proclamation of the President of the United States, 
March 1st, 1867. 

Immediately after the admission of the State the Legislature 
decided to move the Capitol from Omaha to some other point. 
Commissioners were appointed to determine where this should be. 
In October, 1867, Lancaster, a town of half a dozen houses, in 
Lancaster CoJint}', was selected, and this selection was approved by 
the Legislature. The new Capitol was named Linclon, in honor of 
the President. 

David Butler, the first Governor, was elected in 1866, but did 
not commence the duties of his office until the admission of the 
State into the Union, in 1867. He was re-elected October 8th, 
1868, and October 13th, 1870. He was impeached and removed 
from office June 2d, 1871, the vacancy being filled by the Secretary, 
William H. James, until the inauguration of Governor Robert W. 
Furnas, on January 13th, 1873, Hon. Silas Garber was elected 
Governor in October, 1874, and re-elected in October, 1876. 

Governor Albinus Nance, the present incumbent, was inau- 
gurated January 9, 1879. 

On May 2d, 1871, delegates were elected to a Convention to 
frame a new State Constitution. This Convention was in session 
from June 5th to August 19th, and completed a Constitution which 
was rejected by the people September 19th. However, the need for 
a new fundamental law being urgently felt, a second Constitutional 
Convention was convened at the Capitol during the summer of 1875, 
and the new instrument submitted by it was approved by the peo- 
ple at the general election held in October, 1875. The first Legis- 
lature under the new Constitution met on the first Monday in 
January, 1877. The Constitution provides that the House of Rep- 
resentatives shall consist of eighty -four members, and the Senate td" 
thirty members, until the year 1880, after which time the number 
of members of each House shall be regulated by law; but the 
number of Representatives shall never exceed one hundred, nor that 
of Senators thirty-three. 

The first United States Senators from Nebraska were John M. 
Thayer and Thomas "W. Tipton, and the first Represenfative, after 
its admission into the Union, was John Tafie. 

Johnson's history of Nebraska. 49 

The following is a list of United States Senators from !N'ebraska 
since its admission. 

John M. Thayer, 1867-73. Thomas W. Tipton, 1867-75. 

Phineas "W. Hitchcock, 1871-77. Algernon S. Paddcck, 1875-81. 
Alvin Saunders, 1877-83. 

delegates and members of congress. 

Kapoleon B. Giddings, Dec. 12, 1854. Phineas W. Hitchcock, Oct. 11, 1864. 
Bird B. Chapman, Nov. 6, 1855 John Taffe, Oct. 9, 1866. 

Fenner Ferguson, Aug. 3, 1857. Lorenzo Crounse, Oct. 8, 1872. 

Experience Estabrook, Oct. 11, 1859. Frank Welch, (a) Nov. 7, 1876. 
Samuel G. Daily, Oct. 9, 1860. Thomas J. Majors (6) Nov. 5, 1878. 

E. K. Valentine, Nov. .5, 1878. 

senators and representatives from NEBRASKA IN THE FORTY-SIXTH 


Senators. — Algernon S. Paddock, Alvin Saunders. 
Eepresentative. — E. K. Valentine. 


Fenner Ferguson, Oct. 12, 1854. Wm. A. Little, (a) 1866. 

Augustus Hall, March 25, 1858. Oliver P. Mason, (c) 1867. 

Wm. Pitt Kellogg, May 27, l?6l. George B. Lake, (d) Jan. 16, 1873. 

William Kellogg, May 8, 1865. Daniel Gantt, (e) Jan. 3, 1878. 

Samuel Maxwell, (/) May 29, 1878. 


Edward E. Hardin, Dec. 4, 1854. Joseph E. Streeter, Nov. 18, 1861. 

James Bradley, Oct. 25, 1854, Elmer S. Dundy, June 22, 1863. 

Samuel W. Black, Geo. B. Lake, Feb. 21, 1867. 

Eleazer Wakley, April 22, 1857. Lorenzo Crounse, Feb. 21, 1867. 

Joseph Miller, April 9, 1859. Daniel Gantt, Jan. 16, 1873. 

Wm. F. Lockwood, May 16, 1861. Samuel Maxwell, Jan. 16, 1873. 
Amasa Cobb, May 29, 1878 


Hon. John F. Dillon, Circuit Judge. James Neville, District Attorney. 
Hon. Elmer S. Dundy, District Judge. William Daily, U. S. Marshal. 
Watson B. Smith, Clerk. 

(a) Died in office. 

(b) Elected for unexpired term. 

(c) Appointed to fill vacancy. 

id) Re-elected, October 12, 1875, under provisions of Constitution. 

(c) Chief Justice under provisions of Constitution. Died May I9th, 1878. 

(/) Chief Justice under provisions of Constitution. 


60 Johnson's history of Nebraska. 

united states marshals. 

Mark W. Izard, Oct. 28, 1854. P. W. Hitchcock, Sept. 19, 1861. 
Eli R. Doyle, April 7, 1855. Casper E. Yost, April 1, 1865. 
Benj. P. Rankin, March 29, 1856. J. T. Hoile, July 1, 1869. 
William Daily, , 1871. 




Francis Burt, (a) Oct. 16, 1854. Alvin Saunders, May 15, 1861. 

Mark \^^ Izard, Eeb. 20, 1855. David Butler, Feb. 21, 1867. 

Wm. A. Richardson, (b) Jan. 12, 1858. Robert W. Furnas, Jan. 13, 1873. 
Samuel W. Black, May 2, 1858. Silas Garber, (c) Jan. 11, 1875. 

Albinus Nance, Jan. 9, 1879. 


Thomas B. Cuming, (d) Aug. 13, 1854. Thomas P. Kennard,'Feb. 21, 1867. 
John B. Motley, (e) Mar. 23, 1858. Wm. H. James, (Ji) Jan. 10, 1871. 

J. Sterling Morton, (/) July 12, 1858. John J. Gosper, Jan. 13, 1873. 
Algernon S. Paddock, (g) May 6, 1861. Bruno Tzschuck, (i) Jan. 11, 1875. 
S. J. Alexander, Jan. 9, 1879. 


Chas. B. Smith, Mar. 16, 1855. Wm. E. Harvey, Oct. 8, 1861. 

Samuel S. Campbell, Aug. 3, 1857. John Gillespie, Oct. 10, 1865. 

Wm. E. Moore, June 1, 1858. J. B. Weston, (i) Jan. 13, 1873. 

Robt. C. Jordan, Aug. 2, 1858. F. W. Leidtke, Jan. 9, 1879. 


B. P. Rankin, Mar. 16, 1855. Henry A. Koenig, Jan. 10, 1871. 

Wm. W. Wyman, Nov. 6, 1855. J. C. McBride, (i) Jan. ii, 1875. 

Augustus Kountze, Oct. 8, 1861. Geo. M. Bartlett, Jan. 9, 1879. 

James Sweet, Jan. 11, 1869. 

(a) Died October, 1854. the office being flllcil by T. B. Cuming, Secretary, until the 
appointment of Governor Izard. 

(6) Resigned, the office being filled by J. Sterling Morton, Secretary, until the arrival 
of Governor Black. 

(c) Re-elected November 7, 1876. 

(d) Acting Governor from Oct., 1854, to Feb. 20, 1855, and from Oct. 25, 1857, to Jan. 12, 1858. 
Died March 12, 1858. 

(e) Acting Secretary until the arrival of J. Sterling Morton. 

(/) Acting Governor from Dec. 5, 1858, to May 2, 1859, and from Feb. 24, 1860, to 1861. 
(<;) Acting Governor from May 15, 1861, and during a greater portionof the period to 1867. 
{h) Acting Governor upon impeachment and removal of Governor Butler, and until Jan. 
13, 1873. 

(i) Re-elected Nov. 7, 1876. 



James S. Izard, Mar. IG, 1855. Eobt. S. Knox, , 1861. 

II. C. Anderson, Nov. 6, 1855. Thos. P. Kennard, June 22, 1867. 

John H. Kellom, Aug. 3, 1857. Wm. H. James, Jan. 10, 1871. 

Alonzo T>. Luce, Nov. 7, 1859. Guy A. Brown, Mar. 3, 1871. 


Seth Kobinson, , 1869. Geo. H. Eoberts (a) Jan. 11, 1375, 

Geo. H. Roberts. Jan. 10, 1871. C. J. DilM'orth. Jan. 9, 1879. 

J. R. Webster, Jan. 13, 1873, 


Seth W. Beals, , 1869. S. E. Thompson, (c) , 1877. 

J. M. McKenzie, Jan. 10, 1871. S. R. Thompson, , 1878. 


r. M. Davis, (c) 1877. 



1855— Bird B. Chapman, 3S0; Hiram P. Bennett, 292; Scattering, 18. . 690 
1857— Fenner Ferguson, 1,642; Bird B. Chapman, 1,559; Benjamin P. 

Rankin, 1,241 ; John M. Thayer, 1,171 ; Scattering, 21 5,634 

1859— Experience Estabrook, 3,100 ; Samuel G. Daily, 2,800 5,900 

1860— J. Sterling Morton, 2,957; Samuel G. Daily, 2,943 5,900 

1862— Samuel G. Dally, 2,331; John F. Kinney, 2,180 4,511 

1864— Phineas AV. Hitchcock, 3,241 ; Geo. L. Miller, 2,399 ; Scattering, 2.. 5,822 
1866— John TafEe, 4,820 ; Algernon S. Paddock, 4,072 ; George Francis 

Train, 30 8,922 

1868— John Taffe, 8,724 ; Andrew J. Poppleton, 6,318 15,042 

1870— John Taffe, 12,375; George B. Lake, 7,967 20,342 

1872— Lorenzo Crounse, 17,124 ; Jesse F. Warner, 10,412 27,536 

1874— Lorenzo Crounse, 22,532 ; James W. Savage, 8,386 ; James G. 

Miller, 4,074 ; James W. Davis, 972 35,964 

1876— Frank AVelch, (Rep.) 30,900 ; Joseph Holman, (Dem.) 17,206 ; M. 

Warren, (Greenb'k), 3,579 ; Scattering, 89 51,774 

1878— E. K.Valentine, (Rep.) 28,341 ; J. W. Davis, (Dem. and Grenb'k), 

21,752 ; Scattering, 21 50,247 

(a) Re-elected Nov. 7, 1876. 

(6) Office created by act, Feb. 15, 1869. 

(c) Chosen at election, Nov. 7, 1876. 

<d) OCace created by Constitution of 1875. 

62 Johnson's history of Nebraska. 



1866— David Butler, 4,093; J. Sterling Morton, 3,948 8,041 

1868— David JJutler, 8,576 ; J. E. Porter, 6349 14,925 

1870— David Butler, 11,126; John H. Croxton, 8,648 19,774 

1872— Eobert W. Furnas, 16,543; Henry G. Lett, 11,227. 27,770 

1874— Silas Garber, 21,568; Albert Tuxbury, 8,046; J. F. Gardner, 

4,159 ; J. S. Church, 1,346 36,019 

1876— Silas Garber, 31,947; Pareii England, 17,219; J. F.Gardner, 

3,022 ; Scattering, 36 52,234 

1878— Albinus Nance, 29,469 ; W. H. Webster, 18,417 ; Levi G. Todd, 

9,475 52,417 




The Omahas — The Pawnees — The Otoes — The Santee Sioux — 
The "Winnebagos — The Poncas — The Iowas and Sacs and 

In 1854, when Nebraska was admitted into the Union, there 
were, as nearly as can be estimated, 10,000 Indians on reservations 
in the Territory, the greater portion of them living in the eastern 
part, in permanent villages, along the Missouri and Platte Rivers, 
and their tributaries, while in the northwestern part there were 
several roving bands of the great Sioux nation, of whom those in 
the eastern part stood in mortal fear. 


Numbering between 900 and 1,000 at that time, occupied the 
country lying along the Missouri, extending from the mouth of the 
Platte River, northward to the old Council Bluffs of Lewis and 
Clarke, in Washington County, and westward some forty miles. 
Their main villages were at Pellevue (Sarpy County) and Saling's 
Grove, on the Big Papillion, eight miles distant, where they had 
lived most of the time since 1830. 

The Omahas are a tribe of the Dakota family. Marquette 
represents them on his map in 1673, and about 1766 Cover found 
them on the St. Peter's, where they formed two tribes — the Hon- 
gashanos and the Ishbanondas, or Grey Eyes — divided into thir- 
teen clans, one of which preserved a sacred shell in a rude temple, 
constantly guarded. They cultivated corn, beans and melons. 

54 Johnson's history of Nebraska. 

Among their customs was one preventing a man from speaking 
with his father-in-law or mother-in-law. Just what length of time 
this tribe was known on the Missouri is difficult to ascertain, but 
somewhere about the year 1780, they crossed over the country from 
the Upper Lakes and settled on the Missouri, at or near the mouth 
of the Big Sioux River, in Iowa, at which time there was a band of 
Cheyennes with them. Shortly afterward they crossed to tlie west 
side of the Missouri and settled on the ^Niobrara, near its mouth, 
at which place Lewis and Clarke found them in June, 1804, num- 
bering about 600. Being pursued relentlessly by the Sioux, and 
greatly reduced in numbers by small-pox, they burned their village 
on the Niobrara and removed to the Blackbird hills, about 100 
miles further down the Missouri, where they have resided at times for 
more than half a century. Treaties were made with them on July 
20th, 1815, September 23d, 1825, and July 15th, 1830, ceding 
lands at Council Bluffs for an annuity, blacksmith shop and agri- 
cultural implements. After this last treaty they formed their vil- 
lages at Bellevue, near the trading post ot Colonel Peter A. Sarpy^ 
and at Saliug's Grove, where they remained until June, 1855. The 
Sioux frequently drove them to the Elkhorn River, but in 1843 they 
returned to their villages and made peace with certain bands of the 
Sioux. A mission begun in 1839 failed, and one established in 
1846, had but little success. By treaty of March 16, 1854, more of 
their lands were ceded, and in the following year they were re- 
moved to their present reservation of 345,000 a^res in the north- 
eastern part of the State, between the Missouri and Elkhorn Rivers. 
Since then they have devoted themselves to agriculture, and their 
condition has rapidly improved. In 1879 they numbered about 
1,050. Their Great Chief, Logan Fontenelle, was killed by the 
Sioux while on a hunting expedition, in July, 1855. 


In 1854, lived on the south bank of the Platte River, their main 
village being a few miles east of where Fremont now stands. They 
numbered then between 4,000 and 5,000. They had been residents 
of Nebraska for a century or more, and are spoken of by both 
Spanish and French explorers as being a M-arlike and powerful 
nation, and the most numerous of any west of the Missouri. They 

Johnson's history of Nebraska. 55 

were first heard of tliroiigh the Illinois, and the name is of that 
language. Marquette noted several bands on his map in 1673. 
They were hostile toward the Spaniards bnt have always been 
friendly toward the Americans. Their fii'st stopping place on the 
west side of the Missouri River seems to liave been at the conflu- 
ence of the Eepublican, which place they soon abandoned, however, 
moving a considerable distance up the latter stream, where they 
established a large permanent village of earth-covered lodges, and 
cultivated corn, beans and melons, frequently going off to the buffalo 
lands to hunt and meet their enemies in warfare. They claimed 
the country south to the Kansas River and north to the Platte. 
Pike, in 1806, estimated the population of three villages at 6,223, 
with two thousand warriors. They were divided into four bands — 
Tswa (Grand Pawnee), Tskithka Petower Kattahankies (Republi- 
can Pawnee), Tapage Pawnee and Sker Pawnee, Mahas or Lonps. 
They were constantly at war with the Sioux and other tribes. 
From time to time they sacrifi.ced prisoners to the sun to obtain good 
crops and success in warfare. Anyone was at liberty to ofier up a 
prisoner that they had captured in warfare. The victim was clothed 
in the gayest apparel and fed and feasted on the best that could be had, 
and when sufficiently fattened for their purpose, a suitable day was 
appointed for the sacrifice, so that the whole nation might attend. 
The unfortunate victim was then bound to a cross in the presence 
of the assembled multitude, after which a solemn dance and other 
ceremonies were performed, and at their conclusion the warrior whose 
prisoner he had been, stepped forward and cleaved his head ^-ith a 
tomahawk, the other warriors filling his body with arrows. This 
barbarous custom, however, was finally stopped in 1820, through 
the influence of the missionaries. 

The removal of the Delawares to lands between the Platte and 
Kansas Rivers led to a war with that tribe, who, in 1832, burned 
the great Pawnee village on the Republican River. They then re- 
moved to the Platte, in the present Butler County, where small-pox 
carried off large numbers of them. By treaty of October 9th, 1832, 
they sold lands south and agreed to remain north of that river and 
west of the Loup River. Provisions were then made for education 
and they were soon possessed of comfortable homes, good farms 
and schools, but all this was checked by the Sioux, who attacked 

56 Johnson's history of Nebraska. 

them iu tlieir hunts, killing many, and finally invading their vil- 
lages, burning them and killing men, women and children, and 
driving them south to the Kansas River. The Government re- 
garded this as a violation of their treaty and stopped their annui- 
ties, their missionaries and farmers left them, cholera and small- 
pox swept off hundreds, and in three or four years they had lost 
one half of their number. Returning again to the Platte, they re- 
sided fur many years at the junction of Salt Creek with that stream 
near where Ashland now stands. 

By treaty of September 4th, 1857, they sold more of their 
lands and were soon afterward removed to their reservation in the 
valley of the Loup Fork River, containing 288,000 acres. In June, 
1861, they numbered 3,414, and furnished the government a suffi- 
cient number of scouts for the Indian war of 1864, on the plains. 
This increased the hostility of the Sioux, who, after making peace 
with the government, turned again on the wretched Pawnees, 
elaughtering them without mercy, and effectually stopping their 
progress and improvements. By act of Congress June 10th, 1872, 
118,424 acres were sold for their benefit, the grasshoppers having 
destroyed their crops. On October 8th, 1874, the Pawnees in 
general council agreed to remove to a reservation in the Indian 
Territor}^, where they were taken in the following year. They 
have a perpetual annuity of $30,000, with an appropriation for 
education, farming, etc., of $22,600 more. There is no grammer 
or vocabulary of their language. 


In 1854, occupied the south eastern portion of the State, south 
of the Platte River, tlieir hunting grounds extending as far west as 
the Blue. They numbered at that time between 800 and 1,000, all 
told, and their principal village was a few miles below the present 
Nebraska City. 

The Otoes belong to the Dakota family and were originally 
a part of the Missouris, with whom they have been for years 
united, forming one village. They were known to the French in 
1GT3 under the name of Attanka, and calling themselves "Wahooh- 
tahta. Major Long, who explored this country in 1819-20, says 
the Otoes were a baud from a great nation living at the head 

JOIIWSOn's history of NEBRASKA. 57 

of tlie Mississippi River, from whom thej separated in about 1724, 
coming west to the Missouri, their first settlement in Nebraska be- 
ing near the mouth of the Great ITemaha River. Their next camp- 
ing ground was on the Platte, fifteen or twenty miles from its 
mouth, and it was from this camp that several of their Chiefs and 
warriors went to visit and hold a council with Lewis and Clarke in 
the summer of 1804, at the latter's camp on the bluffs of the Mis- 
souri sixteen miles above Omaha, from which incident the place 
derived its name of Council Bluffs. From the Platte they came 
to the Missouri and established villages on the plateau now 
occupied by the city of Omaha, where they were living in 1820, 
but removed shortly afterward again to the Platte, near their old 
homes. Abandoning this place they established permanent 
villages of earth-covered huts on the Missouri a few miles south 
of the present location of Nebraska City, where they were living 
at the time of the opening up of the Territory to settlement. 
Treaties were made with them on June 24th, 1817, and September 
26th, 1825, and by treaty on March 16th, 1854, the confederated 
tribes of Otoes and Missouris ceded their rights to the lands lying 
along the Missouri, and were removed to a reservation of 16,000 
acres on the southeastern border of the State, where they still 
remain; both tribes, together, in 1879, numbering less than five 
hundred souls. The western half of their reservation has been 
appraised for sale. 


About eight hundi-ed in number (1879), are located in Knox 
County on the Missouri River, near the mouth of the Niobrara, on 
a reservation of 115,200 acres, of which one-fourth is adapted to 
tillage, and nearly all the rest suitable for grazing. These Indians 
wear citizens' dress and are the most civilized of all the Sioux. 
They have five schools under the care of the Episcopalians. 


The Winnebagoes, a tribe of the Dakota family, live on a 
reservation of 128,000 acres at the Black Bird hills, on the Missouri 
River, in the northeastern part of the State, north of and adjoining 
the Omaha reservation, and numbered, in 1879, about 1,650. They 
lived in Wisconsin and Minnesota in 1793. After being defeated 

58 Johnson's history of Nebraska. 

by Wayne they made peace with the Government, but in the war 
of 1812 took sides with theEnglisli. After several treaties being 
made with them at different times, they were removed in April^ 
1863, to Crow Creek, in Dakota, , above Fort Randall. The place 
was entirely nnsuited to them, affording no means of livelihood or 
snp]iort, and surrounded by hostile tribes of Indians. Deaths were 
so numerous from disease, war and famine, that out of 1,985 but 
1,222 were left. They left a"nd succeeded in reaching the Omaha 
reservation, and appealed for shelter. In May, 1866, they re- 
moved to Winnebago where all had to commence anew. In June, 
1869, they were assigned to the care of Friends. They are a quiet, 
peaceable people, wearing citizens' clothing, electing Chiefs an- 
nually, and preserving order by means of an Indian Police. Lands 
were allotted to such as wanted to take up farms, and in 1874, they 
numbered 1,4:45, with farms, cottages, stock, and three day schools. 
On their removal from Minnesota, 160 half-breeds, who had taken 
land, remained, and these received as tribal share $800, but many 
have lost this and lands, and have joined the tribe in I^ebraska. 
In the winter of 1874 they numbered nearly 1,000. Most of these 
were removed to a small tract purchased for them near the Win- 
nebago reservation, but many of theni left almost as soon as they 
reached it. Attempts by the Catholics and Presbyterians to bring 
them back met with little success. 


The Poncas resided for many years on a reservation near the 
mouth of the Niobrara Hiver, in Dakota Territory. They were 
originally a branch of the Mahas or Omahas, and resided on the 
Ped River of the North. Here they were attacked by the Sioux, 
and after losing greatly, removed to the opposite side of the Missouri 
and built a fortified village on the Ponca River. They united with 
the Omahas but have generally kept apart. Their constant pursuit 
by the Sioux kept them wandering until reduced to a wretched 
condition. At the beginning of this century their number was 
very small, but after the coming of Lewis and Clarke and the 
treaty of June 28, 1817, and June 9, 1825, they improved rapidly, 
and in 1832 they numbered 750, a large majority of which were 
women. On March 12, 1858, they sold their lands to the Government 


and went on a reservation near the Yanktons, the compensation to 
be in instalhnents of $185,000, with the support of schools and 
agricultural aid. But their crops failed and they were harassed and 
killed by the Sioux. A new treaty March 10th, 1865, gave them a 
reservation of 576,000 acres of bottom land near the junction of 
the Niobrara, in Dakota, where they formed three villages. In the 
distribution of Agents the Poncas were assigned to the Protestant 
Episcopal Church, and soldiers were sent in 1874 to protect them. 
They then numbered 730, and 132 half-breeds. They are an in- 
offensive, agriculturally disposed people, speaking the same lan- 
guage as the Omahas. 

In 1877, the Poncas were removed to a reservation in the 
Indian Territory. 

In 1879, thirty of these Indians, with Standing Bear, their 
Chief, left their Peservation, and returned to the Omaha Reserva- 
tion, where they remained until a detachment of soldiers were 
ordered to take them back. On arriving at Omaha, under arrest, 
by order of the Interior Department, in charge of soldiers, a writ 
of habeas corpus was sued out, and heard before Judge Dundy, of 
the United States Court, where Hon. A. J. Poppleton and J. L. 
Webster, volunteered their services on behalf of the Indians, 
which came on in Court May 2d, and after a careful hearing, 
they were released from custody. They returned to the Omaha 
Eeservation. The question, however, is still pending in the U. S. 

On June 3d, U. S. Court, Prosecuting Attorney presented the 
case before Judge Miller, who decided he had no jurisdiction over 
the Ponca prisoners released by Judge Dundy, on a writ of haheas 
corpus, as they were not in Court, but would continue the case in 
order to give Prosecuting Attorney Lambertson time to investi- 
gate further. The Indians, however, are at liberty. 


The lowas, and Sacs and Fox Indians occupy a reservation 
of 32,000 acres in the south-eastern corner of the State, extending 
over into Kansas. 

In 1879 the lowas numbered about 250, and the Sacs and 
Fox 100. 

60 Johnson's iiistoky of Nebraska. 

The lowas are a tribe of the Dakota family, and were called 
Pahiicha — dirty nose, — and by some. Grey Eyes, or lowas. Mar- 
quette, in 1673, lays them down as the Pahoiitet, living back of the 
Des Moines River, and consisting of eight clans — the Eagle, Wolf, 
Bear and Buifalo, which are still in existence, and the Pigeon, Elk, 
Beaver and Snake, now extinct, — each clan being distinguished by 
a peculiar way of cutting the hair. The lowas, numbering 992 in 
1824, were removed by treaty of September IT, 1836, and placed 
on the Missouri, above "Wolf River, but a part broke off the next 
year and became vagrants, living by theft and hunting on grounds 
of other tribes. A Presbyterian mission and labor school earnestly 
maintained from 1835 to 1866, failed to save this people, and in 
1846 they had declined to 706. By treaty of March 6, J 861, the 
tribe, reduced to 305 souls, ceded all but a reservation of 16,000 
acres; in 1869 they agreed to sell this and remove, but retracted, 
giving part to the Sacs, who actually sold their reservation. In 
1872 they numbered 225, and were quite favorable to the school, 
which had sixty-three pupils. They dress in civilized garb, have a 
number of good frame and log houses, and cultivate several hun- 
dred acres of land, while tlie value of their stock is about $8,000. 
The United States holds $57,500 in trust for them, the interest of 
which is paid annually to heads of families. 

The Sacs and Fox have long been united, forming one band. 
In 1822 they lived on the Mississippi River, near Fort Armstrong, 
and are spoken of as being expert hunters and canoemen. They 
cultivated corn, beans and melons, and a few were employed in the 
lead mines near Galena, 111. Treaties were made on August 4, 
1824, and July 15, 1830, in which they ceded lands. They were 
to some extent involved in the Black Hawk war of 1831, at the 
close of which the two tribes made a treaty at Ft. Armstrong with 
General Scott and Governor Reynolds, ceding lands for an annuity 
of $20,000 for twenty years, and by a subsequent treaty at Rock 
Island, a part reserved in the last embracing 256,000 acres, for 
$192,000. They then settled on the Des Moines River, Iowa, on an 
irregular square tract about 140 miles each way; the Foxes at this 
time numbering 2,446. Government removed them again by treaty 
in 1842, and in 1849 they were chiefly on the Osage. Since then 
in spite of the Government's eflPorts to civilize and improve them, 

Johnson's history of Nebraska. 


they have declined in numbers very rapidly, rejecting with a steady 
persistency missionaries and schools. The united Sacs and Fox 
in 1822 numbered 8,000, but were reduced in 1874 to 1,135, of 
whom 500 were in the Indian Territory, 338 in Iowa, 200 in 
Kansas, and ninety-seven on their reservation of 16,000 acres in 
the southeastern part of Nebraska, adjoining that of the lo\vas. 
They have an annuity of $10,506. 


Nebraska, its Geography — Minerals — Topography. 

l^ebraska is included between latitude 40*^ and 43° north, and 
longitude 95° 25^ and 104° west from Greenwich. 

It is bounded on the north by Dakota, east by Iowa and Mis- 
souri, from which it is separated by the Missouri River, south by 
Kansas and Colorado, and west by Colorado and Wyoming, con- 
taining an area of 75,995 square miles, or over 48,000,000 acres of 
land. The width from north to south is two hundred and eight 
miles, and the length in the central part is about four hundred and 
twenty miles, extending from the Missouri River westward to the 
base of the Rocky Mountains. 

Geographically, Nebraska is not far from the center of that 
portion of North America which may properly be called temperate 
in climate. The most aggressive and prosperous States of the Union 
lie chiefly between the same parallels. It is in the direct line of 
the great tidal wave of emigration to the gold fields of the Terri- 
tories and the Pacific Coast. 

Nebraska is altogether a prairie State, having no mountains 
nor any hills of magnitude. Its surface consists of undulating 
prairies, rich alluvial valleys and table lands, stretching away into 
extensive level plains, with a gradual ascent from the Missouri 
River westward, reaching an altitude on its western border of about 
five thousand feet above the level of the sea, and yet the incline is 
so gradual that in the construction of the Union Pacific Railroad 
up the Platte Valley, not a tunnel, trestle or fill of any importance 
were required, nor a single difficulty encountered from the Missouri 
River to the foot of the Rocky Mountains. 



This, the only navigable river in Nebraska, forms the eastern 
line of the State, being the boundary between it and the States of 
Iowa and Missouri. It is an exceedingly crooked, treacherous 
stream, and yet it has been, and is to some extent, an important 
avenue for both travel and freight to the more distant northwest. 
Its source is in latitude 45 north, and longitude 110 :30 west, high up in 
the Rocky Mountains, and the distance it flows from the Great Falls to 
its junction with the Mississippi River is 2,575 miles. Its course 
is nearly north to the Great falls, and thence to the northeast until 
it joins the White Earth River, from whence its course to its con- 
fluence with the Mississippi is generally southeast. Below the 
mouth of the Kansas River, the Missouri runs almost a due east 
course through the State of Missouri, emptying into the Mississippi 
in latitude 38:50 and longitude 90:45 west. Its chief tributaries 
between its mouth and Fort Leavenworth are the Osage, Grand 
-and Kansas Rivers, the first two being navigable from 150 to 200 
miles. North from its confluence with the Kansas it receives the 
Nodawa, Little Tarkio, Big Nemaha, Nishnabatona, Little Nemaha, 
and Platte Rivers before the city of Omaha is reached, while 
further to the north it receives the Boyer, Little Sioux, Big Sioux, 
James, Niobrara, White Earth and Yellowstone Rivers, besides a 
large number of less important streams. From the point where 
•the Platte empties into it, to the mouth of the Yellowstone, the 
Missouri varies from 400 to 1,000 yards in width. The Missouri 
«eems to hold a mortgage on the lands that flank it on either side, 
and it often takes such lands by force, only to return them when 
some other change in its ever shifting course is developed. 

Previous to the exploration made by Lewis and Clarke, the 
impression prevailed among the Spanish and French residents in 
what was then known as the Northwestern Territory, that the 
source of the Missouri was near the point where it joins the 
Niobrara, and most of the maps in use previous to the exploration 
referred to, locate its source at or near the point mentioned. 


The Western Engineer, built at Pittsburgh in 1818, by the 

Q4: Johnson's history of Nebraska.. 

United States Government, was tlie first steamboat to navigate the 

She left her moorings at Pittsburgh on the 3d of May, 1819, 
having on board an exploring expedition, sent out by order of the 
Government to explore the Missouri river and the country west of 
it to the Eocky Mountains. The expedition was under the com- 
mand of S. H. Long, Major in the United States Engineer Corps, 
and arrived in St. Louis on the 20th of June, one month and sev- 
enteen days after starting. The mouth of the Platte was reached 
on the 17th of September following, and on the 19th of the same 
month the expedition cast anchor near the mouth of Boyer River, 
on the Iowa side, about five miles below Council Blufts, mentioned 
by Lewis and Clarke, where it went into winter quarters. The 
point of encampment was known as Fort Lisa, and was occupied by 
the Missouri Fur Company as a trading post. Here the explorers 
remained during the winter of 1819-20, Major Long in the mean- 
time returning to Philadelphia, the then seat of Government, with 
the reports of the expedition. On the 20th of June, 1820, Major 
Long returned to Fort Lisa, with orders from John C. Calhoun, 
then Secretary of War, for the expedition to proceed overland to 
the headwaters of the Arkansas and Red Rivers for the purpose of 
exploring those streams and the country contiguous to them, and 
in accordance therewith the expedition left the boat at this point 
and proceeded up the valley of the Platte, holding councils with 
the numerous Indian tribes through which they passed. 

The Western Engineer, after the departure of the expedition, 
received a new commander and was employed for many years 
thereafter in transporting Government supplies to the forts and 
trading posts along the Missouri river. 

The Platte, the principal interior river of the State, is a broad, 
shallow Btream, with low banks, about 1,200 miles in length, and i& 
formed in the western part of the State by the coniiuence of the 
Korth and South Forks which have their sources in the Rocky 
Mountains, the former in Wyoming and the latter in Colorado. 
The course of the Platte is eastwardly through the central portion 
of the State, dividing it into two nearly equal portions, and empty- 
ing into the Missouri River on the line between Sarpy and Cass 
Counties. It has many large fertile islands, valuable at present for 

Johnson's histoky of Nebraska. 65 

their timber and fine grasses for hay. The great valley of the 
Platte, famous for its beauty and productiveness, extends through 
the State from east to west, and is from tliree to fifteen miles wide. 

The Platte has a large number of important tributaries flow- 
ing into it from the north, though none of any size from the south, 
with the exception of Salt Creek, in the eastern part of the State. 
The principal streams on the north are the Elkhorn, Loup and 
Wood Rivers, Shell and Prairie Creeks. 

The Elkhorn is about 800 miles in length, ani a remarkably 
crooked stream. Its source is in the north-central part of the State 
in a number of sloughs or lakes, which cover an area of fifteen or 
twenty miles square, and its course is south-easterly, passing 
through the Counties of Holt, Antelope, Madison, Stanton, Cum- 
ing, Dodge, Washington, Douglas, and Sarpy, emptying into the 
Platte River in the last named County. The Elkhorn is a beautiful 
River, narrow, but deep and rapid, and furnishes unlimited water- 
power for manufacturing purposes, as do also some of the larger 
creeks which join it on either side. The bottoms, varying in width 
from three to six miles, are composed of a sand}' alluvium im- 
pregnated with carbonates and phosphate, and produce a large 
yield of the cereals and vegetables. 

The Loujj River, the largest of the tributaries, is formed in 
Howard County by the junction of the l»[orth. Middle and South 
Forks, which rise in unorganized territory in the northwestern 
part of the State, each being a stream of considerable size. The 
general course of the Loup is easterly, passing through the Counties 
of Nance and Platfe to the south-east corner of the last named 
where it joins the Platte. It is a swift running stream with fer- 
tile bottoms composed of a sandy loam, varying from three to five 
miles in width. 

Wood River rises in Custer County and flows easterly through 
the Counties of Dawson, Buffalo and Hall, emptying into the 
Platte in the southwestern part of Merrick County. It is a small 
stream, has a slow cui-rent, and seldom overflows its banks. The 
bottoms are comparatively narrow but rich and productive. 

Shell Creek is a sparkling stream rising in the northern part of 
Boone County, and flowing in a southeasterly course through Platte 
and Colfax Counties, joins the Platte in the southeastern part of 

06 Johnson's histoky of nebrasi^a. 

the last named County. It affords some excellent mill privileges, 
and the valley through Mdiich it passes is remarkable for its beauty 
and fertility. The bluffs which skirt it rise in places to a height ol 
from T5 to 100 feet above the Platte bottoms on the south. 

Prairie Creek rises in Buffalo County, ffows northeasterly 
through the Counties of Hall, Merrick and Kance, and empties into 
the Platte in Platte County. It is a slender stream, about 80 miles 
in length, and its course lies through an undulating, sandy prairie 
of average productiveness. 

Salt Creek, the most important tributary of the Platte from 
the south, rises in the southern part of Lancaster County, flows 
northeasterly through that County and empties into the Platte near 
the town of Ashland. It is a very fine stream, supported by 
numerous creeks and springs, and passes through a beautiful and 
fertile region of country. It also furnishes unusually good mill 

The Republican, one of the finest and most important rivers in 
the State, waters the southern tier of Counties, as far east as 
Nuckolls County. It rises in the mountains of Colorado, flows in 
an easterly course, entering Nebraska at the southwest corner, 
passes through the Counties of Dundy, Hitchcock, Red Willow, 
Purnas, Franklin, Webster and Nuckolls, and thence into Kansas. 
The water of this river is clear and has a fall of about seven feet to 
the mile. The Valley of the Republican, varying in width from 
two to six miles, is lamed for its magnificent scenery and rich 
bottoms. The Republican has a large number of very fine tribu- 
taries in this State, of which the most important are the Stinking 
Water, Blackwood, Red Willow, Medicine, Muddy, Turkey, Spring, 
Thompson, Center and Rock Creeks, on the north, and Driftwood, 
Beaver, Sappa and Prairie Dog Creeks on the south. The majority 
of these streams furnish an ample volume of water for mills, and 
with their branches, nourish and drain a large extent of country. 

The Niobrara River, the largest stream in the State north of 
the Platte, rises in Wyoming, flows eastwardly through the northern 
part of the State, forms part of the boundary line between Nebraska 
and Dakota, and empties into the Missouri on the northeastern 
boundary of the State. It has a rapid current and extensive alluvial 
bottoms similar to other large streams of Nebraska. In places 


contiguous to the stream, however, there are considerable areas 
covered with a loose, shifting sand, yet the greater part of the 
bottom land is fertile and beautiful as any one could wish. The 
Niobrara passes through a country 300 miles on the west, almost 
wholly unsettled, and there are greater bodies of timber along its 
course and on its tributaries than in any other part of the State. 
The principal tributaries of the Niobrara are Snake River, the 
Pines, Willow, Eagle, Eed Bird, and Yerdigris Creeks, on the south 
and the Keya Paha River, Antelope, Clay and Reunion Creeks on 
the north. The Keya Paha River forms a small section of the 
boundary between Nebraska and Dakota. 

White River, a direct tributary of the Missouri, rises in the 
northwestern part of this State, and flows northeasterly through 

The Big Blue River, one of the most beautiful streams in the 
State, rises in Hamilton County and flows in a general southeasterly 
course into Kansas, passing through the Counties of Polk, Butler, 
Seward, Saline and Gage. The Big Blue has a rocky bed, and is 
famous as a mill stream, also for the lovely scenery of its valley, 
and dry, rich bottoms and table lands. The principal tributaries 
are the North and West Blue Rivers and Lincoln Creek, or Middle 
Blue, each furnishing sufiicient Mater for mills. 

The Little Blue River rises in Adams County and flows south- 
easterly, nearly parallel with the Big Blue, passing through the 
Counties of Adams, Clay, Nuckolls, Thaj-er and Jefferson, and join- 
ing the Big Blue in Kansas. It is a stream scarcely inferior to the 
Big Blue in size and importance, in the grandeur and fertility of 
its valley and its splendid mill advantages. The principal tribu- 
taries are Big and Little Sandy Creeks on the north, and Morehouse, 
Elk and Muddy Creeks on the south. These also have volume 
of water suflacient for mills. 

The Great Nemaha River, in southeastern Nebraska, rises in 
Lancaster County, flows southeasterly through the counties of Gage, 
Johnson, Pawnee and Richardson, and discharges its waters into 
the Missouri in the southeast corner of the State. Its course lies 
through one of the most thickly populated and prosperous sections 
of the State, celebrated for its fine fruits and general productiveness. 
The Great Nemaha also affords fine advantages for manufacturing 

^8 Johnson's history of Nebraska. 

purposes, more than a dozen mills being already located upon it. 
It is supported by numerous creeks and rivulets on either side, of 
which Muddy and Long Branch Creeks are the principal on the 
north, and the South Fork on the south. Muddy Creek extends 
through both Nemaha and Richardson Counties, and has several 
flouring mills upon it. 

The Little Nemaha River rises in Cass County, flows south- 
easterl}' through Otoe and Nemaha Counties, running parallel with 
and from ten to fifteen miles north of the Great Nemaha, and 
empties into the Missouri. There are several first class flouring 
mills located on this stream, with plenty of room for more. The 
lands adjoining are composed of a deep, rich loam, and compare, i'or 
productiveness, with any in this part of the State. The principal 
tributaries are the North and South Fork?, which, with their 
numerous branches, extend over and drain a large scope of 

Taken as a whole, Nebraska is remarkably well supplied with 
water, having, besides the rivers, many clear running crteks and 
brooks supported by never-failing springs. There are large portions 
of the State where running water can be found on each quarter 
section of land, and where such is not the case good water can be 
had by digging or boring at a depth of from thirty to sixty feet. 
Water is usually found in the lacustrine deposits at a depth of from 
twenty to forty feet, but sometimes it is necessary to go beneath 
these deposits before a good supply can be had. At the bottom of 
the lacustrine deposits there is generally a stratum of sand and 
gravel which is a great reservoir of water, and from which it flows in 
unlimited quantities, and frequently water is not found until this 
stratum is reached. In some sections of the State, in the vicinity 
of the larger water-courses south of the Platte, on the high divides 
between the Loop and Niobrara Rivers, and in the northeastern 
portions along the Missouri, where the lacustrine deposits are very 
thick, this stratum of sand and gravel is struck at a depth varying 
from sixty to one hundred and thirty feet. In many localities this 
underlying bed of sand and gravel lies on clay or rock, and in such 
places water is unusually plentifuL On all of the flood plains, val- 
leys and undulating prairies, water is of easy access. It is found 
by chemical analysis that the water of the State is above the average 

Johnson's history of Nebraska. 69 

in purity, the most common foreign ingredient being the carbonate 
of lime. 


There has been no thorough geological survey yet made of Ne- 
braska. Prof. F. Y. Hayden, however, has made a careful examination 
of the southeastern part of the State, and Prof Samuel Aughey, of the 
Nebraska State University, of different localities further west, and 
from these investigations enough has been discovered to demonstrate 
the presence of considerable mineral wealth. Coal, salt, peat, marl, 
limestone of several varieties, sandstone, fine clays and mineral 
paint have been discovered. 

Coal exists in considerable quantities in Cass, Otoe, Nemaha, 
Richardson, Johnson and Pawnee Counties, in the southeastern 
part of the State. The coal is of good quality, and in Cass and 
Nemaha Counties the seams vary from eighteen inches to two feet 
in thickness. Several miles below Plattsmouth, in Cass County, 
a shaft has been sunk to a seam eighteen inches thick; also at 
As])inwall, Nemaha County, and at various other points. The coal 
from the mine in Pawnee County is preferred in many places to 
any other in the market. Thin seams of lignite coal exist in Dodge, 
Burt, Dixon, Dakota and other Counties in the northern part of the 
State. Near Ponca, in Dixon County, a bed eighteen inches thick 
supplies fuel to the farmers and people of the neighborhood. 

The surface indications in several of the Republican Yalley 
Counties are very favorable for coal. The veins already found are 
light, though the coal is of a fine bituminous quality, free from 

It is believed that the coal measures underlie the greater por- 
tion of the State, and that there are thick, workable beds at a greater 
depth than has yet been reached, but they remain to be developed 
by larger capital than has thus far been employed. 

Salt is found in great abundance at Lincoln, the Capital ol 
the State. The great salt basin, three miles from that city, 
covers an area of twelve by tewnty-five miles, in which 
innumerable salt springs rise to the surface, forming an extensive 
marsh, through the length of which, partially draining it, flows 
Salt Creek, a tributary ot the Platte River. The water from these 
springs contains by weight 29 per cent, of pure salt, and a very 

70 Johnson's history of Nebraska. 

considerable amount of that useful article is manufactured here by- 
solar evaportion. 

Building Stone, of several varieties and various qualities, is 
abundant. Magnesian and common blue limestone of an excellent 
quality, suitable for building, is found in large quanties in the 
southeastern Counties, and in all of the Counties bordering on the 
Missouri, south of the Platte River, good building stone is plentiful. 
In Cass and Sarpy Counties, along the Platte, large quarries have 
been opened, and the stone extensively used at Omaha for building, 
macadamizing the streets, and rip-rapping the river banks. The 
elegant U. S. postoffice building at Lincoln was constructed of 
Sarpy County limestone. On the liepublican, the Nemahas and 
Blues, and some of their tributaries, magnesian limestone of the finest 
quality is abundant. Extensive quarries are being worked in Lan- 
caster County, south of Lincoln, and in Gage County, near 
Beatrice. The major part of the stone used in the construction of 
the State buildings at Lincoln was taken from these quarries. 
Valuable quarries have also been opened in some of the northeast- 
ern Counties, extensive beds of fine magnesian limestone having 
been discovered on Logan Creek, and at other points. On the 
Elkhorn and Loup Hi vers, and in other sections north of the Platte, 
a fair quality of building stone is found, but in smaller quantities. 
An excellent brown sandstone is abundant in a number of the 
eastern Counties. It is extensively used for building and in walling 
wells and cellars. A superior coarse red sand, valuable as a build- 
ing material, is found in abundance in many of the Counties. 

Peat exists in great quantities in various parts of the State. 
On the Blue Pivers, the Elkhorn, Calamus, Logan, on Elk Creek 
in Dakota County, and on many other streams, there are extensive 
deposits of peat, which, if properly prepared, would supply the 
State with fuel for many years, Ko use has yet been made of these 
deposits, but such treasures cannot remain long undeveloped. 

Miwl Beds are abundant, especially in the western sections of 
the State, but no use of it has yet been made, the richness of the 
soil preventing any demand for fertilizers. The beds, however, 
remain in store against the future demands of agriculture. 

Clay of many varieties and degrees of fineness abound. Good 
common clay for the manufacture of brick can be found in almost 


any CoHiity. Clay for fire brick, said to equal the celebrated 
Milwaukee fire clay, is found at different points in the bluff's of the 
Missouri, and a superior quality of potters' clay is abundant in the 
southeastern and northeastern sections of the State. In Jefferson 
and Cass Counties there is a fine, valuable clay resembling Kaolin. 
Mineral Paint. Along the Missouri River, in the south- 
eastern part of the State, there are immense deposits of ochre of a 
quality equal to any in the market. It is of various colors — red, 
brown, yellow and other shades, according to the amount of iron 
that is present. A company has recently been organized for the 
purpose of working these mines. 


Timber is one of the natural deficiencies of the State. Yet 
whilst there are no dense forests nor large bodies of native timber, the 
supply is sufficient for the wants of the people for some years to 
come, and the rapid growth of the artificial groves will, in a few 
years, furnish an abundance. On the Niobrara and Keya Paha 
Hivers, and their tributaries, in the north-central and western por- 
tions of the State, there is a considerable tract of pine, cedar, ash, 
oak, walnut and other varieties of timber, which will shortly be 
opened up, and a cheap conveyance to the markets afforded by the 
Columbus, Covington & Black Hills R. R. and other lines now in 
course of construction through this sparsely settled region. All of 
the Counties bordering on the Missouri still have sufficient native 
timber to supply the present demands for fuel. The Elkhorn, 
Loup and other large streams north of the Platte, and the Nemahas, 
the Blues and Republican, and their tributaries south of it, are 
tolerably well skirted with timber. In the early settlement of the 
State there were a number of fine groves of hardwood scattered 
throughout the eastern portion, but these were the first to be 
claimed by the settlers, and many of them have long since disap- 
peared, but are fast growing up again ; yet there are many beautiful 
native groves still standing in several of the Counties. In the 
canons and along the streams in the western part of the State 
there is still a considerable quantity of good timber, and formerly 
there was a great deal of fine cedar, which was extensively used 
in building forts, and in the construction of railroads. 

72 Johnson's history of nebbaska.. 

Tliere are about fifty species of native forest trees growing 
in tlie State, embracing two varieties of cottonwood, ten of oak, 
six of hickory, four of elm, tliree of maple, four of ash, two 
of locust, three of cedar, two of pine, several of willow, and one 
each of hackherry, sycamore, mulberry, coffee-bean, iron wood, 
box elder and linn. 

The deej) interest taken by the people in tree planting has 
greatly increased the quantity, and wherever the sweeping 
prairie fires have been kept in check the native timber is extending 
its limits and growing up finely. Many of the ai'tificial groves 
already furnish sufficient fuel for the farmer. Cottonwood, soft 
maple and box elder are the most rapid growth native trees. 
Experience has shown that a farmer can raise his own fuel within 
five years, from the seed. 


The surface of Nebraska consists chiefly of valley, table 
a,nd beautifully rolling prairie land, there being no mountains, nor 
any hills, lakes, or swamps of magnitude within her borders. Fully 
one-sixth of the whole State is valley and bottom land; twenty 
per cent, is table land, and fifty per cent, gently rolling prairie, 
while the bluffs cover, perhaps, ten per cent. 

The extensive and magnificent valleys of the Platte, Repub- 
lican, Elkhorn, the Loups, Niobrara, the Blues, Nemahas, and 
other large streams, are among the most attractive on the Conti- 
nent, and have gained a national renown for the grandeur of 
their scenery, their unsurpassed fertility and general adaptability 
to agricultural purposes. The streams are most generally fringed 
with a luxuriant growth of native timber, while on one side, 
and sometimes both, a range of low, rounded hills, rising in 
places to precipitous blufi's, mark the dividing line between the 
valley and upland. 

The table lands which occupy so large a per cent, of the area, 
are elevated considerably above the bottoms, and lie in beautful 
level plateaus, varying in width from half a mile to a mile and a 
half, rising in a succession of gi-adations, one above another, until 
the upland is reached. In the South Platte country, west of the 
Blues, there are extensive table lands, or plains, which appear 

Johnson's history of Nebraska.. 73 

to the eye almost perfectly level, yet having a gradual ascent 
to the westward; and the same may also be said of many sections 
north of the Platte, especially in the vicinity of the Loup 

The rolling lands, of which the surface of the State so largely 
consists, particularly the east half, are everywhere visible, from the 
bhifls of the Missouri to the western border. In nearly all of the 
Missouri Eiver Counties, for several miles into the interior, the 
lands are considerably rolling, and somewhat broken in occasional 
places, yet it is very rarely so steep or broken as to prevent easy 
tillage, except in the bluffs themselves; and further westward the 
high, rolling land is gradually succeeded by low, gently undulating 
prairies which sweep in graceful outlines across the wide divides 
till lost to view in the distance. In the western part of the State, 
now used as stock ranges, there are large tracts, embracing 
millions of acres, of almost monotonously level prairie. Near the 
western border, south of the Platte, the surface is more rolling 
and rugged, and is frequently cut through by deep ravines 
and long, winding canons; and the same is also the case in 
some localities bordering on the Forks of the Platte, and in the 
vicinity of the Loups and other streams in the northern part 
of the State. 

Many glowing tributes have been paid to the charming land- 
scape of Nebraska by eminent visitors and distinguished writers, 
during the past several years. The following is from the pages 
of The North American Review, volume cix: 

"The most perfect display of the prairies is found in the east- 
ern parts of Kansas and Nebraska. It is no exaggeration to pro- 
nounce this region, as left by the hand of Nature, the most beau- 
tiful country in its landscape upon the fiice of the earth. Here the 
forest is restricted to narrow fringes along the rivers and streams, 
the courses of which are thus defined as far as the eye can reach, 
whilst all between is a broad expanse of meadow lands, carpeted 
with the richest verdure and wearing the appearance of artistically- 
graded lawns. They are familiarly called the rolling prairies, 
because the land rises atid falls in gentle swells, which attain an 
elevation of thirty feet, more or less, and descend again to the 
original level, within the distance of one or more miles. The 

74 Johnson's history of Nebraska. 

crest-lines of these motionless waves of land intersect each other 
at every conceivable angle, the effect of which is to bring into view 
the most extended landscape, and to show the dark green foliage 
of the forest trees skirting the streams in pleasing contrast, with 
the light green of the prairie grass. In their spring covering of 
vegetation these prairies wear the semblance of an old and once 
highly cultivated Country, from the soil of which every inequality 
of surface, every stone and every bush has been carefully removed^ 
and the surface rolled down into absolute uniformity. The marvel 
is suggested, how Nature could have kept these verdant fields in 
such luxuriance after man had apparently abandoned them to 

Prof Samuel Aughey thus writes of the " Bad Lands " of 

"In the extreme western part of the -State, between Spon 
Hill Creek and the Niobrara River, there is a remarkable region, 
extending down from the White Earth River in Dakota Territory. 
The surface deposits here are miocene tertiary. This region is 
known as the Bad Lands, Mauvaises Terres, or in the Dakota 
language, Ma-kao-si-tcha, which means a difficult country to travel, 
because, while the surface is broken, there is little, if any, good 
water, wood or game. Here are some of the most curious 
remains in the world, and the Geologist never tires of investigating 
them. The almost vertical sections of white rock have been 
chisseled by water agencies into unique forms. Indeed, as viewed 
from a distance, they remind the explorer of one of those old cities 
which only exhibit tlieir ruins as reminders of their ancient great- 
ness. Among these grandest desolations, the weird, wild, old 
stories of witchery appear plausible and possible. It is in the 
deepest canons, at the foot of the stair like projections, that the 
earliest of those wonderful fossil treasures are found which have 
done so much to revolutionize our notions of the life of tertiary 
times. Here are found the remains of rhinoceri, some with horns 
and some without, titanotheriums, and hj^opatami, which were 
river horses much like the hippopatami of modern times. Higher 
up in the deposits are found countless numbers of turtles mingled 
with the remains of land animals. Among these are the wonder- 
ful oreontidae, which Leidy calls ruminating hogs, because theii 


cutting teeth and canines and their feet are like those of the swine 
family, while their molars were patterned after those of the deer, 
and the upper portions of the head much like that of the camels. 

"Several species of fossil monkeys have also been found in these 
sediments. The vast numbers of these animals were kept within 
proper bounds by gigantic carnivorous animals, such as sabre- 
toothed tigers, hygenodons, wolves, etc. Though this region is 
unattractive to the utilitarian, I doubt whether any portion of 
Nebraska will be of so much benefit to mankind, simply because 
here we have outlined so marvelously the old life of miocene times 
and it must ever be a stimulus to geological studies. A State that 
contains within its borders such a wealth of fossil treasures ought 
to give in the future illustrious diciples to science." 

The sand areas, or hills, so often spoken of, are also found in 
the western portion of the State, chiefly along the Upper Loups and 
the ISTiobrara, and some of their tributaries; also on the south side 
of the Platte, where they run parallel with the stream, and are from 
one to six miles wide. In the northern part of the State, however, 
they cover much larger areas. These hills are composed of fine 
sand, pebbles and gravel, and in some places are covered with 
nutricious grasses, and are stationary, while in other places, again, 
they are entirely barren, and the sand so loosely compacted that the 
wind is ever changing their form. 

This sand region has never been thoroughly explored nor 
properly investigated. Some scientists have undertaken to account 
for these hills by the theory that the winds in the course of ages 
have blown the sand from the bars on the rivers; but there are 
many difficulties in the way of this theory, as in many places the 
hills are composed of pebbles and stones that could not well have 
been moved by the wind. 

!N^umerous important streams rise in this sand region of the 
northern part of the State, among which are the Loups, the Elk- 
horn, Cedar and Calamus flowing southwardly, and the Pines, 
Evergreen, Plum and Fairfield Creeks, fiowing northwardly to the 


Soil — Agriculture — Fruit — Stock Kaising and Sueep Hus- 


The unrivalled fertility of her soil, places Nebraska in the 
front rank among the great grain producing States of the Union. 
The soil of the table and up-land is composed of what is known as 
the Lacustrine or Loess deposit, which is the most valuable for 
agricultural purposes. This deposit prevails over more than three- 
fourths of the surface of the State, and is of uniform color, It 
ranges in thickness from 5 to 150 feet, and in some places in the 
northeastern Counties it is even 200 feet thick. 

Prof Samuel Aughey, State Geologist, recently made an analysis 
of this soil, taken from different parts of the State, for the purpose 
of showing the chemical properties and homogenous character of 
the lacustrine deposits, which is given in tlie following table, with 
accompanying remarks from the Professor's pen. No. 1 is from 
Douglas Count}''; No. 2 from the bluffs near Kearney, in Buffalo 
Cou)ity ; No. 3 is from the Loup; No. 4 from Clay County, and No. 
5 from Harlan County, in the Republican Yalley. 


Insoluble (silicious) matter 

Ferric Oxide 


Lime, Carbonate 

Lime, Pospliate 

I^Insnesia, Carbonate 


t?oda •. 

Organic Matter 


Loss in Analysis 

Totals 100.00 







No. 2. 


. .75 






No. 3. 






100.00 100.00 

No. 4. 






No. 5. 






100.00 100.00 



"From the above it is seen that over eighty per cent, of this 
formation is silicious matter, and so finely comminuted is it that 
the grains can only be seen under a good microscope. So 
abundant are the carbonates and phosphates of lime, that in 
many places they form peculiar rounded and oval concretions, 
vast numbers of these concretions, from the size ot a sliot 
to a walnut, are found almost everywhere by turning over the sod, 
and in excavations. "When first exposed they are soft enough to 
be rubbed fine between the fingers, but they gradually haiden by 
exposure to the open air. The analysis show the presence of a 
comparatively large amount of iron, besides alumina, soda, potash, 

"As would be expected from its elements, it forms one of the 
richest and most tillable soils in the world. In fact, in its chemical 
and physical properties, and the mode of its origin, it comes nearest 
to the Loess of the Rhine and the Yalley of Egypt. It can never 
be exhausted until every hill and valley which composes it is 
entirely worn away. Owing to the wonderfully finely comminuted 
silica of which the bulk of the deposit consists, it possesses natural 
drainage in the highest degree. However great the floods of water 
that fall, it soon percolates through this soil, which in its lowest 
depths, retains it like a sponge. When drougths come, by capil- 
lary attraction, the moisture comes up from below, supplying the 
needs of vegetation in the dryest seasons. This is the reason why 
all over this region, where this deposit prevails, the native vegeta- 
tion and cultivated crops are seldom either dried out or drowned 
out. This is especially the case on old breaking and where deep 
plowing is practiced. 

"This deposit is a paradise for fruits, especially the apple, 
plum, grape, and all the small fruits of the temperate zone. 
They luxuriate in a soil like this, which has perfect natural drain- 
age and is composed of such materials." 

The alluvium deposits are the next most important after the 
Loess or Lacustrine. From an analysis made of the bottom lands, 
it appears that, chemically, alluvium differs from the lacustrine 
cheifly in having more organic matter and alumina and less silica. 
The following analysis of bottom soils, by Prof. Aughey, will give 
an idea of their physical character. The first is from the 


Johnson's history of Nebraska. 

Elkhorn, the second from the Platte, the third from the Kepubli- 
can, the fourth from the Blue, and the fifth from an exceptionally 
wet and stickj^ soil near Dakota City: 


Insoluble (silicious) matter. 

Ferric Oxide 


Lime, Carbonate 

Lime, Phosphate 

Mayuesia, Carbonate 



iSulithuric Acid 

Ortianic Matter 

Los.s in Analysis 













Totals 100.00 

No. 2. 












No. H. 












No. 4. 












100.00 100.00 100.00 100.00 

No. 5. 





The depth of this soil varies greatly, it often being twenty 
feet or more in thickness, then again the sand of the sub-soil is 
reached at a depth of two or three feet. Most of the bottom lands 
are well drained and are dry and warm, while some are low and 
cold, and in wet seasons, difiicult to work. The bottom lands are 
the richest in organic matter, and are generally preferred for the 
raising of corn and vegetables, while the table and rolling lands 
are selected as the best adapted to small grain, fruits, etc. Yet 
after many years' experience in the cultivation of these lands the 
question of the superiority of the one over the other, for general 
farming purposes, remains undecided. Bottom lands are so well 
distributed throughout the State, that in the choice of a farm, 
usually a portion of both bottom and upland is selected. 

Alkali lands are to be found in different sections of the State, 
Ijut chiefly in the western portion. In the east half there are 
scarcely any such lands, the majority of the Counties having none 
iit all, while in others there may be only a small spot in a township 
80 affected. These alkali lands, however, are often renovated and 
eventually made productive for the cereals, by thorough drainage, 
deep cultivation, and seeding with wheat, especially in the wet 



The following analysis of these alkali soils, by Prof. Aughey, 
shows how variable they are. The first was taken from the Platte 
Bottom, south of North Platte; the second from near Fort 
Kearney, and the third two miles west of Lincoln : 


Insoluble (silicious) matter. . 

Ferric Oxide 


Lime, Carbonate 

Lime, Phosphate 

Magnesia, Carbonate 


Soda, Carbonate and Uicarbonate 

Sodium, Sulphate 


Organic Matter 

Loss m Aanalysis 















No. 2. 












No. 3. 

















Nebraska is essentially an agricultural State, the bountiful 
soil, mildness of the climate, and the long seasons of growth, 
are especially favorable to the cereal crops, and, in fact, to all of 
the products of the temperate zone, nearly all of which are grown 
here to perfection, and attain a size and quality seldom found 
in the older States. 

With the exception of the Kepublican River Counties, agri- 
culture is confined as yet almost wholly to the east half of the 
State, the 100th meridian being the dividing line; but there are 
many large districts west of this which will become, in the 
near future, valuable as fai-ming lands. 

Wheat is always a sure crop, with proper cultivation, the 
average yield per acre being about eighteen bushels, although 
in many of the western Counties the yield is frequently from 
twenty-five to thirty bushels per acre, and seldom less than 
twenty. The grain is of a superior quality, with a full, plump 
berry, usually weighing from sixty-two to sixty-seven pounds per 

80 Johnson's history of Nebraska. 

The following table will show the wheat crops for the past 
nine years, as reported by the Assessors: 

Year. No. Bushels. Year. No. Bushels 

ISTO 1,848,000 187.-) Not reported. 

1871 1,829,000 187(i 4,330,900 

1872 2.560,000 1877 8,759,319 

1878 3,584,000 1878 10,349,333 

1874 3,619,000 

The Assessors' returns for 18T8 are very incomplete, several 
of the leading wheat growing Counties not reporting at all, so 
that it would be safe to estimate the wheat crop for that year at 
12,000,000 bushels. 

The figures for 1879 cannot be given, as no returns have yet 
been received from the Counties for that year; but the acreage in 
wheat was much larger than in preceding years, and the yield 
unifoi'mly large. 

The following are a few of the leading wheat growing 
Counties for 1878, according to reports made to the State 
Board of Agriculture: 

County. Acres. Bushels. 

Saunders 65,095 728,265 

Lancaster 58,120 535,428 

York 60,177 711,927 

Dodge 39,279 471,623 

Fillmore 49,882 620,253 

Hamilton 42..)88 470,931 

Cass 47,8:;2 593,783 

Boone .S7,291 453,406 

Saline 48,001 585,102 

Adams 36,252 421,873 

The climate of Nebraska is better adapted to spring wheat,. 
and very little winter wheat is grown on account of the open 
character of the winters. 

Corn grows to perfection on the bottoms, tables, or uplands,. 
and is one of the most profitable crops to the farmer. The 
yield for 1879 will average at least forty bushels to the acre through- 
out the State, and the quality is of the very highest grade. 
No State in the Union excels Nebraska in the production of corn* 
the soil and climate alike being well adapted to its growth. 

Johnson's histoet of Nebraska. SI 

In some localities, or where the cultivation has been more than 
common, the yield often runs from fifty to one hundred busheb 
per acre. 

The following statement will show the acreage in corn and 
the number of bushels raised during the past three years: 

Year. Acres. Bushels. 

1876 850,000 25,500,000 

1877 1,132,595 38,817,000 

1878 780,721 26,687,860 

More than a dozen of the older Counties have failed to report 
to the Board of Agriculture for 1878, hence the small returns 
for that year. 

The following Counties show the largest corn crop for 1878: 

Cozmties. ' Acres. Bushels. 

Cedar 72,133.... 2,826,259 

Eichardson 61,182.... 2,215,810 

Lancaster 54,659. . . . 1,997,993 

Saunders 59,794.... 1,578,366 

Johnson 38,742 1,549,697 

Saline 35,101.... 1,491,850 

Washington 34,084.... 1,308,486 

Dodge 39,726.... 1,415,538 

Sarpy 27,786.... 1,016,210- 

Gage 29,789.... 938,956 

It is estimated that the corn crop for 1878 will reach 45,000,000 
bushels, and for the present year, 1879, in the neighborhood of 
50,000,000 bushels. 

Oats are a successful and profitable crop. The yield usually 
ranges from thirty to seventy bushels per acre, according to culture 
and location, the average being about forty bushels. 

The following Counties return the largest oat crop for 1878: 

Counties. Bushels. 

Lancaster 294,935 

Seward 275,845 

Dodge 271,351 

Sarpy 266,633 

Wayne 225,264 

York 176,482 

Saline 138,403 

Eed Willow 151,118 

Platte 150,639 


5,2 Johnson's history of Nebraska. 

Counties. Bushels. 

Gage 154,297 

Cedar 163,582 

Boone 175,048 

Barley is largely cultivated and is a paying crop. The grain 
is of fine quality, and the average yield about thirty bushels per 

The barley crop from 1871 to 1877, inclusive, is reported as 

follows : 

Year. Acres. Bushels. 

1S71 8,673 252,000 

1872 12,117.... 809,000 

1873 11,837.... 355,000 

1874 14,549.... 355,000 

1876 21,363.... 470,000 

1877 153,704.... 2,401,420 

The Counties showing the largest crops of barley for 1878 are: 

Counties. Acres. Bushels. 

Saline 7,648.... 189,573 

Cedar 6,384. . 

Cass 5,438. . 

York 5,153. . 

Fillmore 6,602. , 

Hamilton 6,016. 


Rye is grown in almost every County in the State and is an 
important and valuable crop, the yield ranging from eighteen to 
thirty-five bushels per acre. It makes an excellent winter pastur- 
age, and farmers with a large lot of stock frequently sow it as 
much on that account as for the grain. 

The following eight Counties show the largest yield of rye for 

Counties. Acres. Bushels. 

Dodge 4,825 66,324 

York 2,995.... 46,970 

Johnson 2,957 44,485 

Colfax 2,853. . . . 44,536 

Furnas 2,080.... 42,004 

Saunders 3,790 39,598 

Polk 2,817.... 37,692 

Merrick 2,503.... 36,485 

Flax is rapidly becoming an important product in Nebraska. 
The soil is admirably adapted to its culture, and the yield averages 

Johnson's history of Nebraska. 83 

about twelve bushels per acre. Extensive establishments for the 
manufacture of oil and oil cake from flax seed have long been in 
existence at Omaha and other points in the State. 

Buckwheat, sorghum, broom corn, tobacco, beans, etc., are cul- 
tivated to a more or less extent, and all do finely. 

Potatoes, onions, beets, cabbage, melons, and in fact, all of the 
root crops and garden vegetables produce abundantly and attain a 
great size and excellence. The yield of potatoes generally ranges 
from one to three hundred bushels per acre. 

Hojps grow luxuriantly and are a sure and remunerative crop. 
They are also found in the wild state growing in profusion on 
many of the streams, and are said to equal the best cultivated ones. 


Much attention has been given in the past several years to 
fruit culture, and the question as to the adaptability of Nebraska 
soil to fruit growing is no longer a matter of doubt. 

The hundreds of thrifty young orchards throughout the 
eastern portion fully attest this fact. The apple, pear, plum, 
grape, cherry, and the berries are now successfully and profitably 
produced. The cultivation of the apple has met with marked 
success. Fine, heavy-bearing orchards of this excellent fruit, em- 
bracing all the choice and delicate varieties, are numerous in 
almost all of the older settled Counties, and some of them already 
afford a handsome return. 

Pears grow to great perfection. The trees are very produc- 
tive, and the fruit highly flavored. 

The cultivation of the peach has not met with the same suc- 
cess which has attended the cultivation of the apple and pear, 
although there are quite a number of fine peach orchards growing 
in the State, especially in the southeastern portion, which bear 
more or less fruit every year, and at least one year in thi-ee the 
yield is very large. The peaches thus far grown are usually of 
extra size, finely flavored, and rich in all the valuable properties 
of this delicious fruit. No doubt in process of time, as timber 
becomes more plentiful in the State — as it soon will be, in the 
■eastern portions especially, thus affording better protection to 
the orchards — the peach will also be profitably raised. 

84 Johnson's history of nebkasica. 

The cultivation of the grape has been attended with remark- 
able success. The soil is naturally adapted, to its growth, and it 
flourishes and does well almost anywhere. Many farmers have 
made a specialty of grape culture, and have fine, prolific vineyards. 
Tlie grapes are very rich and finely flavored, and are equal, if not 
superior to those of California. 

At the annual meeting of the American Pomological Society, 
convened at Kichmond, Virginia, in September, 1871, Nebraska 
exhibited 146 varieties of apples, fifteen of peaches, thirteen of 
pears, one of plums, and one of grapes, and was awarded the first 
premium of $100 for the best collection of different species of 
fruit. A similar success has since been achieved for Nebraska 
fruit at each annual meeting of this Society. 

There are a number of flourishing nurseries in the State, some 
of which are exceptionably large and fine, and the business is rap- 
idly growing in proportions by the constantly increasing demand 
for fruit and shade trees, shrubbery and evergreens. 


Probably no State in the Northwest is better supplied with 
wild fruits than Nebraska: 

The plum grows in great profusion, along almost all the water- 
courses, and on the outskirts of the timber belts. The bushes are 
from six to twelve feet high, and when in bloom the thickets pre- 
sent a vast sea of white flowers, whose fragrance is wafted on the 
breezes a long distance. 

There is an endless variety of plums, ranging in size from 
half an inch to an inch in diameter, and of various colors, from 
almost white to many shades of yellow, and red tinged with blue. 
They are finely flavored, and make most excellent preserves and 
table-sauce. Delicious as some of these wild plums are, their size 
and flavor are much improved by cultivation and pruning. It is 
easy to produce an early and fruitful growth from the seed. 

The sand-hill cherry, so famous on our western plains, i& 
really, botanically, a dwarf plum. It grows in thick clusters on a 
shrub from one to two feet in height, and is found over the greater 
part of the western half of the State, on the sand-hills and very 
sandy land. It is a prolific fruit, about the size of the domestic 
cherry, and is very finely flavored. 

Johnson's history of nebr'aska. 85 

Choke cherries are also abundant. They grow on a small 
shrub or bnsh from four to eight feet high, and are much used for 
making jelly and in pastries. 

The Buffalo berry is iound along the banks of the Missouri, 
Platte, Elkhorn and Loup Rivers, and their tributaries, in the 
northern part of the State, and on the Republican, Nemahas and 
Blues, and some of their tributaries in the southern part. The 
Buffalo tree is usually from eight to twelve feet in height, and 
rather scrubby, the branches rusty white and quite thorny, with 
numerous small, thorn-like limbs. The leaves are oblong and 
silvery white in color. The berry grows in bunches in the forks 
of the branches, close to the main stem, and is about the size of 
a currant, round, red-colored, and slightly tartish. It ripens in 
early autumn, and if not disturbed hangs until winter. Wherever 
this berry becomes known it is at once a favorite, and is highly 
prized for the manufacture of jellies and canning. 

Gooseberries of the largest and finest qualities grow in great 
abundance all over the State. There is scarceh^ a brook but what 
has a plentiful growth of this delicious fruit along its banks, and 
in the timber adjacent. There are four varieties of this berry 
growing wild. They are easily domesticated, and grow wherever 
set out without any difficulty, their qualities being much improved 
by cultivation. 

Currants, of two species, abound mostly in the western por- 
tion of the State, but are not plentiful. The fruit is much like the 
black currant of the garden. 

Strawberries are abundant in the eastern portion of the State, 
but scarce in the western portion. They grow in the valleys, on 
the sides of the hills, and near the timber belts, and are almost 
equal to the tame strawberry in size and flavor. 

Black raspberries are plentiful, in the eastern Counties 
especially. These berries are very large and fine, and are among 
the choicest of the wild fruits. Large quantities are gathered 
annually and marketed, and put up in cans for winter use They 
bear profusely, and are found on the wood and brush land, and 
on the banks of streams. 

Blackberries are plentiful in the southeastern portion of the 
State, and rather scarce in other sections. 

86 Johnson's history of nebrasica. 

The Grape is the most abundant of all the wild fruit. It 
is liardj and very prolific, and a failure of the crop is an unheard 
of thing. It is found in great profusion along the Missouri and 
almost all the other M-ater-courses. Some of the timber belts 
are almost impassable from the number and length of the 
vines, which form a complete net work from tree to tree, in many 
instances climbing to the very tops, and when the fruit is ripe the 
tree will be black from the ground to the top. In other places the 
vines run over the tops of the brush for many rods, and frequently 
straggling vines are found far out on the prairies. Where deprived 
of any other supj^ort they creep along the ground over the weeds 
and grass. There are several varieties of these grapes; some 
ripen in the summer, others in the fall, frequently not until 
after frost. There are large quantities of this fruit gathered,, 
canned and dried for winter use. In many places along the 
Missouri and other large streams, they are gathered by the 
wagon loads and made into native wines, which is used at 
home and sold abroad. 


One of the most important industries of this country is 
that of stock raising and sheep husbandry, and the State of 
Nebraska, and more especially its northwestern and western por- 
tions, is fairly entitled to the first position among the Western 
States and Territories as a stock producing and a stock sustaining 
region. Its vast prairies; abundant, luxuriant and nutritious 
grasses; its rivers, creeks, and springs of clear and sparkling waters; 
and still more, its uniform and delightful climate, in which the 
rounding season gives not only a simple promise, but the full 
protection of a genial clime — these are a few of the more substan- 
tial reasons why I^ebraska excels all other Western States- 
in the profitable industries referred to. While it is true, that 
almost every County in the State is adapted to these industries, as 
before stated, it is in the western sections where a wider range, 
and larger opportunities are ofiered for prosecuting the business 
successfully that stock men must look as the future great grazing 
fields of the Continent. 

Less than twenty years ago, a very large per cent, of the herds 

Johnson's history of Nebraska. 87 

and flocks shipped to the seaboard markets, were the products of 
the States lying east of the Mississippi River; Illinois, Indiana, 
Kentucky, Ohio and Michigan, being the chief sources of supply. 
As those States became more densely populated, and the lands 
divided up into smaller farms, stock raising was crowded west- 
ward where wider and more profitable ranges were offered; 
hence Iowa, Eastern Nebraska, Missouri, Kansas, Texas, and 
the Territories, from 1862 until the present time, have been the 
chief source of supply. But as these sections of country, like 
those to the East of the Mississippi, became more densely 
settled, cattle raising has been forced still further west, to more 
extended fields. As in all other industries, men engaged in stock 
raising and sheep husbandry, will naturally seek such sections 
of country as offer the largest advantages in tlie way of econom- 
ical production. These advantages are in a great measure confined 
to such sections of country as require the smallest expense 
in winter feeding. There are but two species of natural grass 
upon which stock can be successfully pastured during the more 
inclement season of the year; — the Buffalo grass of western 
^Nebraska, and the Musquite, or bunch grass, as it is known 
here, of Texas and New Mexico — these retain a large portion of 
their nutritious properties during the winter months, and it is on 
these that flocks and herds can be successfully pastured the year 
round. In the way of water and marketing facilities, Nebraska 
affords advantages for stock raising not found even in Texas, a 
State that produces more meat cattle than any other five States of 
the Union. Then again, the present grazing fields of Texas are 
largely adapted to the culture of cotton and grain, and it is only a 
question of time when they will be more exclusively employed in 
the cultivation of those products. In Nebraska, however, that vast 
section of country west of tlie 100th meridian, embracing nearly one- 
half of the State, also portions of Colorado, Dakota and Wyoming, 
are non-productive grain sections; and yet, producing as they do, 
an abundance of Buffalo grass, they offer advantages not to be 
found elsewhere, for stock raising, including cattle, sheep and 
horses. It has been contended in some quarters that these grazing 
fields are too far north to be economically employed in raising cat- 
tle; that the per cent, of loss during the winter seasons would 

gg Johnson's histoky of Nebraska. 

prove 60 alarmingly large as to discourage the industry. The past 
ten years' experience, however, have proved all such predictions to 
be entirely gi-oundless, as the average loss of cattle from inclement 
weather and other causes, has been much less north of the thirty- 
eighth parallel of latitude during the past few years than it has 
south. This is especially the case in the losses suffered in Texas, 
as compared with those in Western Nebraska, Wyoming and Col- 

It is to the grazing fields of Western l^ebraska that the atten- 
tion of stock growers is especially directed at the present time. 
They have discovered the almost immeasurable advantages it offers 
over other sections of the country. 

To note the progress made in the industry of stock raising in 
this State during the past ten years is truly marvelous. On ranges 
employed for that purpose, the grasses support the stock the year 
through, hence the cost of raising a steer of 1,200 pounds, so far 
as the feed is concerned, is less than that of raising a yearling 
calf in the Eastern States. 

While Western Nebraska offers almost unlimited facilities for 
stock raisino;, the industry is by no means confined to that part of 
the State, as it is most extensively carried on in nearly all of the 
eastern and middle Counties, and large droves of the better grades 
of beef cattle, hogs and sheep are annually shipped to the East from 
the older settled portions of the State. On many of the larger 
farms one can see thoroughbred bulls, and droves of from twenty 
to one hundred head of cattle, either mixed or graded. In fact, 
many of the farmers have made fine stock breeding a specialty and 
have met with uniform success. A large number of fine blooded 
stallions and Kentucky jacks have been introduced, as also the 
Norman breed of horses, which have greatly improved the size and 
class of the draught horses. The fine appearance of the horses and 
graded stock is a subject of remark by strangers while passing 
through the State or visiting at the Agricultural Fairs. 

Sheep raising throughout the eastern Counties receives a large 
share of attention, and is attended with very favorable results. 
The winters are so short and dry, and the green feeding so plentiful 
during the greater portion of the year, that sheep raising is rapidly 
becoming a prominent industry. The sheep are remarkably free 

Johnson's history of Nebraska. 89 

from the diseases so common among them in the older States. 
The flocks now in the eastern and western portions of the State are 
numbered by the thousands. The breeds are being constantly 
improved by the introduction of the best blooded animals, and the 
result is that Nebraska wool ranks very high in the market. 


In a great corn producing State like this, where it can be profi- 
tably raised and readily bought at from fifteen to twenty-five cents 
per bushel, and where the price of pork ranges from three to four 
and one-half cents per pound, hog raising must necessarily yield 
handsome returns. This industry is increasing so rapidly that in 
a few years more TTebraska must be ranked among the greatest of 
the pork-producing States. During the years of the grasshopper 
invasion, 1874-75, a check was given to the hog crop, especially in 
the western Counties. In these years the corn was almost entirely 
destroyed, and farnicrs having none to feed their hogs they were 
obliged either to kill or sell them. However, the abundant crops 
of the succeeding years have given a new impetus to hog raising, 
and immense numbers of these animals are now shipped to the 
Eastern markets, while the extensive pork packing establishments 
at home furnish a ready market for tens of thousands more. 

But, as before stated, it is in the unorganized and unsettled 
territory in the western part of the State that the great stock region 
is to be found. Here the land costs the ranchman nothing for its 
use, and the expense required for buildings and herding is so 
trifling when compared with that attending the business further 
east, where the cost of land and winter feeding is a great item, and 
all other expenses proportionately high, that it enables the 
western stockmen to successfully compete in the markets 
with the higher grade stock of the East. The ranche 
buildings are generally rude and inexpensive, consisting of 
corrals, hay- covered sheds and a cheap house for the use 
of the herders, and men employed in marking, branding and 
shipping the stock. Hay is put up at an expense of $1.00 a ton. 
Many of the ranches are so admirably located, with a broad stream 
circling around on one side, and deep-cut canons on the other, as 
to require only a few rods of fencing to complete an enclosure of 
thousands of acres; others again, are on peninsulas at the junction 

90 Johnson's history of Nebraska. 

of two streams, the open ends only requiring a fence, thus making 
the task of herding very light. The most advantageous and 
desirable locations have been pretty generally taken, although 
thousands of choice sites yet remain where stock raising could be 
carried on with convenience and profit, especially in the ITiobrara 
country. The amount of stock on the plains is increasing very 
rapidly, and new herds are being started each year. Thousands 
U|>on thousands of Texas and Cherokee cows and heifers are 
annually driven to these ranches and bred to fine blooded bulls^ 
which are carefully selected from the best stock farms of Kentucky, 
Missouri and other Eastern States, and Canada. The stock is thus^ 
being constantly improved, and commands in the markets very 
nearly as much as the native cattle of the East. 

A number of the leading and most successful stockmen of 
to-day are old plainsmen, who have grown up to the business, and 
are conversant with its every detail; men of ability and energy who, 
from a very small beginning, have seen their herds increase to 
thousands of head. The profits attending the business, when 
judiciously and understandingly handled, are usually from forty to 
sixty per cent, above all expenses; therefore it will be seen that stock 
raising, notwithstanding the losses that occur from mismanage- 
ment and other causes, is a profitable business, although requiring 
a large capital, great care and attention. 

For the purpose of better showing the profits of stock raising 
we append the following: — 

Estimate for a herd of 6,000 Texas cattle, to be bought there, 
say in April, 1878, and driven to the western plains of Nebraska, 
with the result of the investment, under good management and 
ordinary success, at the end of three years and a half, allowing for an 
aimual loss through death or straying, of three per cent., and 
assuming that eighty per cent, of the cows will have calves that . 

1,000 Beef steers,4 years old and upwards, at 820 each. .$ 20,000 

1,000 Three-year-old steers, at 815 each 15,000 

1,000 Two-year-old steers, at $11 each 11,000 

1,000 Cows at $15 each 15,000 

1,000 Two-year-old heifers at 810.50 each 10,500 

1,000 Yearling heifers at $7 each 7,000 

$ 78,500 

Johnson's histobt of Nebraska.. 91 


Wages of drovers, provisions, etc, including all inci- 
dental expenses in bringing herd from Texas — four 
months' time — at the rate of $1.50 per head $ 9,000 

Eight months' expenses on range, herding, branding, 

etc., at the rate of $1.50 per head per year 6,000 

Thirty horses bought in Texas, at $40 each, and kept for 

herding on range 1,200 

Mower, hay-rake, wagon, plow, saddles, ranche build- 
ings, etc 1,000 

100 bulls, fair to fine grades, bought in the North, at 

an average price of $50 each 5,000 

Interest at 10 per cent, for one year 10,070 

Amount of investment at the end of one year $1 10,770 

Expenses six n)onths' herding, etc., to Oct. 1, 1879 4,500 

Interest half year, at 10 per cent 5,763 


October 1, 1879, net returns for sale of 2,465 beef 
steers, averaging 1,100 pounds each, at 3c 
per pound $81,345 

200 old cows, averaging 900 pounds each, at 3c 

per pound 5,400 86,745 

$ 34,288 

Beef steers 400 

Cows 1,710 

Heifers, two-year-olds 955 

Calves 1,528 

Bulls 100 


OCTOBER 1, 1880. 

Expenses one year $ 7,039 

One year's interest at 10 per cent 4,132 

Bought 50 bulls, at $50 each 2,500 $ 13,671 

$ 47,95& 

388 beef steers, averaging 1,100 pounds each, at 

3c per pound $12,804 

400 old cows, averaging 900 pounds each, at 3c 

per pound 10,800 23,604 

Net capital account $24,355 

93 Johnson's histokt of nebbaska. 

stock inyentoky aftee bales octobek, 1880. 

Cows (926 last year's two-year-olds) 2,185 

Yearlings 1'482 

Calves 2,068 

B""^ --^.m 

OCTOBER 1, 1881. 

Expenses one year $8,827 

One year's interest at 10 per cent 3,318 $ 12,145 



500 old COWS, averaging 900 pounds each, at 3c per fi>. . ..$13,500 
TSTet capital account $23,000 


30 horses, worth at least $30 each $ 900 

"Wagons, mower, hay rake, plows, saddles, ranche 

buildings, etc 1,000 


1,619 cows, valued at $27 each 43,713 

719 two-year-old heifers, valued at $16 each 11,504 

719 two-year-old steers, valued at $16 each 11,504 

1,003 yearling steers, valued at $10 each 10,030 

1,003 yearling heifers, valued at $10 each 10,030 - 

1,695 calves, valued at $5 each 8,475 

150 bulls, valued at $50 each 7,500 

Deduct outstanding capital account 23,000 

Balance to profit, exclusive of 10 per cent, interest $ 81,656 

This makes an admirable exliibit and will be encouraging to 
those "who think of investing their money in cattle; but to succeed 
one must have patience, shrewdness and self-reliance, with any 
amount of energy and capacity. 

The plains of Nebraska have been the natural grazing grounds 
through untold ages of millions of buffalo and other grass-feeding 
animals, and they are rapidly becoming the great meat producing 
lands of the nation. In a few years it will be a difficult matter to 
find a vacant range in the State suitable or capable of sustaining 
5,000 head of cattle. The rivers and creeks are all being rapidly 
taken tip by small herders or branches of large herds. 



Lands Received ekom the Inteeior Department — State Uni- 
versity Lands — Common School Lands — Saline Lands — 
Penitentiary Lands — Public Building Lands — State 
^Normal School Endowment Lands — Union Pacific R. 
R. Lands — Burlington & Missouri River R. R. Lands 
— Government Lands — The Homestead Law — Pre-Emp- 
TiON Law — Timber Culture Act. 

As stated in another portion of this work, the State of 
Nebraska contains an area of T5,995 square miles, or over 48,500,- 
000 acres of land, and it is the purpose of the writer to show 
in this Chapter, as nearly as possible, what portion of this 
vast domain has been disposed of, and for what purposes, as 
also what remains undisposed of, at the commencement of the 
year 1879. 

The State of Nebraska has received from the General 
Government grants of lands amtmuting in the aggregate to 
upwards of 3,370,000 acres, as follows: 

Por Internal Improvement 500,000 

« Agricultural College 90,000 

" University 46,080 

" Public Buildings 12,800 

" Penitentiary 32,000 

" Saline purposes 46,080 

For Common School purposes, sections 16 
and 36 in every township, which will 
amount in the aggregate, as estimated, 
to 2,643,080 

Making the total grant to the State 3,370,040 


^ Johnson's histoky of Nebraska. 

The 500,000 acres for internal improvement purposes, were 
granted to the State upon its admission to the Union, under 
the provisions of an Act of Congress, approved September Uh, 
1841. These lands were selected through agents appointed for 
that purpose, and disposed of in pursuance of the provisions of an 
Act of the Legislature, approved February 15th 1869. 

The following exhibit is taken from the report of the Com- 
missioner of Public Lands, as published for the year 1878. It 
shows when tliese lands were received from the General Govern- 
ment, the amount, and how they were disposed of: 


March 29tli, 1S70, received 359,708.06 acres. 

October l;Jtli 1S71 " 94,232.96 

June nth, 1872, " 18,441.22 

May 27th, 1873, " 22,213.01 

January 7th, 1874, " 880.00 

February 24th, 1874 " 8,656.61 

Making a total of 504,131.86 acres 

Deduct from the above the difference between 
short and full sections— short sections being 
chai-ged in the above list as full sections 3,319.86 acres 

Which leaves a real total of. 500,812.00 acres 


Deeded to Saline County for Bridges 1,000.00 acres 

Deeded to Gage County for Bridges 1,000.00 " 

Deeded to Elkhorn & Mo. Valley R. E 100,030.32 " 

Deeded to Midland Pacific R. R 100,384.08 «* 

Deeded to Brownville & Fort Kearney R. R 19,989.12 " 

Deeded to Burlington & Missouri River R. R. . . 50,104.77 " 

Deeded to Sioux City & Pacific R. R 47,327.10 " 

Deeded to Omaha & Southwestern R. R 100,010.00 " 

Deeded to Omaha & Northwestern R. R 80,416.24 " 

Deeded to Burlington & Southwestern R. R 20,000.00 " 

Deeded to Atchison & Nebraska R. R 12,841.54 " 

533,103,17 acres 

Disposed of in excess of grant 32,291.17 acres 

The amount deeded in excess of grant occurred in deeding 
the same parcel of lands to the Burlington & Southwestern 

Johnson's history of nebkaska. 95 

on June 20th, 1870, that were deeded to the Omaha & South- 
weBtern Road on October 10th, 1862, viz.: 20,000 acres. There are, 
however, 12,291 acres that was deeded in excess of the 500,000 
acres as granted by the Act of Congress referred to, that ar note 
accounted for in the above statement. 


By an Act of Congress, approved April 19th, 1864, seventj- 
two sections of the unappropriated lands in the State of Nebraska 
were donated to the State for the use and support of a State 
University. The selection of these lands was made by the author- 
ized agents of the State, which were confirmed by the Interior 
Department, on the 17th of February, 1874. The lands were 
located as follows: 

County. No. of Acres. County. No. of Acres. 

AVebster 17,803.48 Knox 4,800.00 

NuckoUs 4,916.68 Dakota 320.00 

Cedar 1,600.00 Dixon 640.00 

Pierce 3,197.67 Holt 8,322.10 

Madison 2,240.00 Antelope 1,280.00 

Total amount donated by Congress .46,080.00 

Amount due from the United States 960.07 


Under an Act of Congress, approved July 2d, 1862, donating 
public lands to the several States and Territories which may 
provide Colleges for the benefit of agriculture and the mechanic 
arts, military tactics, etc., a tract of land equal to thirty thousand 
acres for each Senator and Representative in Congress, to which 
Nebraska was entitled by the apportionment under the census 
of 1860, was selected by the State, and confirmed by the Interior 
Department as follows: 

September 20tli, 1871, selections made and con- 
firmed for 11,504,96 acres. 

December 8th, 1871, selections made and con- 
firmed for 77,947.82 " 

Making a total of 89,452.78 acres 

Located as follows: 


Johnson's uistoby of Nebraska. 

County. Amount of Land. County. Amount of Land. 

Knox 33,400.64 Stanton 320.00 

Cedar 27,677.96 Burt 640.00 

Wayne 15,648.98 Dixon 2240.00 

Pierce 7,835.20 Cuming 960.00 

Dakota 640.00 

Total selections 89,452.78 

Amount donated by Congress 90,000.00 

Amount due from the XT. S 547.22 


The followiDg statement shows the number of acres of Com- 
mon School lands belonging to the State on the 30th day of 
November, 1878, and the Counties in which such lands are located: 

County. Aci'es. 

Adams 20,000 

Antelope 31,400 

Boone 23,040 

Burt 16,997.88 

Buffalo 29,700,59 

Butler 21,480 

Cumins 19,740 

Colfax 14,225.28 

Clay 21,040 

Cass 16,242.18 

Cedar 27,499.14 

Dakota 5,989.14 

Dixon 15,689 

Dodge 16,408.83 

Douglas 8,444.72 

Fllmore 20,308.51 

Franklin 20,471.85 

Furnas 24,654.15 

Hamilton 20,480 

Hall 19,635.26 

Harlan 20,433.93 

Howard 23,299..30 

Gage 22,028.31 

Greeley 20,555.20 

Jefferson 14,419.53 

Johnson 12,138 

Kearney 16,830.70 

Knox 26,238.82 

Total 1,026,067.6a 

Deeded to the State by A. J. Cropsey. 
" " " Esther L. Warren. 

County. Aci-es. 

Lancaster 27,881 

Madison 24,311.88 

Merrick 15,033.53 

ISTuckolls 20,440 

Nemaha 10,801.11 

Otoe 19,986.88 

Pawnee 16,610 

Pierce 19,200 

Phelps 20,247.85 

Platte 24,029.08 

Polk 16,508.94 

Bed Willow 25,574.01 

Kichardson 8,830 

Saline 18,349 

Sarpy 7,087.65- 

Saunders 25,253.25 

Seward 19,350 

Sherman 20,752.20- 

Stanton 14,730 

Thayer 20,036.72 

Valley 20,484 

Wayne 15,360 

Washington 12,300.2& 

Webster 20,480 

York 20,480 

Pawnee * 2,240 

Lancaster * 320 



Estimated number of acres of Common School land in Counties 
established but not organized, as also in Counties organized, but 
not having a complete record of their lands, and the amount of 
indemnity school lands therein: 


Lincoln . . 
Gosper . . . 
Keitli .... 
Dawson . . 



Dundy . ., 
Custer. ... 
Wheeler . 
























Estimated number of acres of Common School lands 
in the unorganized territory of the State on 

the 30th of November, 1878 527,360 

Making a grand total of two million, four hundred and forty- 
three thousand, one hundred and forty-eight acres of Common 
School land owned by the State at the close of the year 1878. 

Number of acres of Common School lands sold prior to 

January 1st, 1877 110,362.08 

Number of acres leased prior to 1877 80,381.79 

Number of acres of indemnity land in the State 25,845.21 

Number of acres of Common School land deeded during 

1877 and 1878 6,770.83 

Number of acres of Common School land sold on time 

during 1877 and 1878 26,819.16 

Number of acres of Common School land-leased during 

the years 1877 and 1878 100,918 


By an Act of Congress, approved April 19th, 1864, seventy- 
two sections of land were granted to Nebraska for Saline purposes. 
These lands were selected by the agents of the State and con- 
firmed by the Interior Department, as follows: 

«jv; Johnson's history of Nebraska. 

Dec 2.3il 1872, selections made and confirmed for — 35,849.91 acres 
June 21st, 187:). " " " •••• '^'663.34 « 

ApviU2th, 1878 « " " ....^8013 " 

45,393.38 " 
Deduct error in selecting same land 280.00 

Total confirmed to date 45,113.38 

Amount awaiting confirmation 966.62 

Amount of grant 46,080.00 " 

Amount of Saline lands reserved for State Normal 

Scliool (confirmed) 12,722.36 " 

Amount of Saline Lands reserved for Model Farm. . 1,115.35 " 

« « «« " " Asylum 154.51 " 

« « » sold .' 17,516.16 " 

« « " unsold 13,605.00 " 

All unsold Saline lands are located in Lancaster County. 


By an Act of Congress, approved April 19th, 1864, fifty sec- 
tions of land were donated to Nebraska for a penitentiary or State 
prison. The laud was selected by the State and confirmed by the 
Interior Department, as follows: 
February 17th, 1870, selections made and confirmed for. .32,044,01 acres. 


By the act of Congress above cited, twenty sections 
of land were granted the State for the erection of 
Public Buildings. This land was selectad by the 
agents of the State, and, by Act of the Legisla- 
ture, approved February 10th, 1871, was trans- 
ferred to the Penitentiary lands, and are included 
in that account. The Interior Department has 
confirmed list of Public Building lands dated 
February 17th, 1870, for twenty sections or 12,751.05 acres 

Total public building and Penitentiary lands 44,795.06 " 

Amount sold 43,438.35 

" unsold 1,356.71—44.795.06 " 


Under an Act of the State Legislature, approved June 20th, 

Johnson's history of Nebraska. 99 

1867, twenty sections of the Saline lands were selected and set 
apart for the purpose of endowing the State IS'ormal School, at 
Peru, in Nemaha County, which are reported as follows: 
Set apart for endowment of State Normal School, 

20 sections 12,800 acres. 

Sold and deeded of the above lands. .. 3,200 
Remaining unsold at the close of the 

year 1878 9,602 36 

Excess in survey 2.36 

12,802 36 

The unsold ^Normal School lands are all located in Lancaster 


Amount received by the State for inter- 
nal improvements 500,812 

Amount deeded by the State 533,103 17 

Error in deeding same lands 32,291 17 

Agricultural College grant 90,000 acres. 

None of this land has been disposed of. 

State University grant 46,080 

Amount sold of the above 1,270 97 44,809 03 

Saline grant 46,080 

Amount sold 17,516 16 

Reserved for State purposes and unsold. 28,563 84 

Penitentiary grant (amount received). . 32,044 01 

Public buildings (amount received) 12,751 05 

44,795 06 

Amount sold 43,438 35 

Amount unsold 1,356 71 

164,729 58 
Common School lands belonging to the 

State, December 1, 1878 2,443,148 01 

Total 2,607,877 59 


The aggregate amount of lands in Nebraska, received by the 
Union Pacific Kailway from the Government, was 5,926,400 acres, 
of which about 4,000,000 acres are unsold. All are contiguous to 
their line of road, being distributed through the following Coun- 

100 Johnson's uistory of Nebraska. 

Counties. Acj'es. Counties. Acres, 

Douglas and Sarpy 5,000 Buffalo 200,000 

Washington 5,000 Hamilton 75,000 

Dodgo.. 20,000 York 20,000 

Colfax 25,000 Adams 15,000 

Saunders . 25,000 Kearney 40,000 

Butler 20,000 Phelps 100,000 

Polk 25,000 Cosper 250,000 

Platte 80,000 Sherman 9,000 

Merrick 40,000 Dawson 225,000 

Hall 120,000 Lincoln 690,000 

Howard.... 80,000 

About 2,000,000 acres of the above mentioned lands are in the 
Platte Valley, nearly 1,000,000 acres being in Eastern Nebraska, 
and hence are among the best lands of the State, for grain and 
fruits. So much has been said and written about the beautiful 
and fertile valley of the Platte, that it seems unnecessary in these 
pages to say more than that it is all the human heart could desire, 
for he that could desire more in the way of soil, climate and water, 
would exhibit a most inexcusable ingratitude to his Creator, who 
spoke into existence such a gardenlike section of country for his 
children. A few years ago this beautiful valley, extending west- 
ward from the Missouri River through the entire length of the 
State, was the home of the Indian and the trapper, while a little 
later it became the great overland trail to the Pacific. To-day it 
is the richest agricultural district to be found in the West. The 
soil has been proved, as have also the climate and water, and 
nothing has been found wanting. To such as may contemplate 
buying homes in the West, the Author — who, as stated in another 
portion of this work, has been a citizen of this State for the past 
twenty-five years — can conscientiously say, no better lands, on more 
advantageous terms, can be obtained in any other portion of the 
Union than in the great Platte Valley of ^Nebraska. 

The Union Pacific lands are all placed at prices, and on terms 
that bring tliem within the means of any man who is -possessed of 
energy and industry, and desires to secure a home. The range of 
prices for these lands are wide in the extreme,' and are fixed 
according to location, quality and soil, water and general surround- 
ings. The buyer can find lands as low as $2, $3, $4, |5, or even 
up to $10 per acre. To illustrate: in Douglas, Washington, 

Johnson's history of Nebraska. 101 

Saunders, Hamilton and Kearney Counties, at from $5 to $10 per 
acre, while in most of the other Counties it ranges from $2 to $10. 
Considering their location, relating to railway and market facilities 
and school and church privileges, these lands are certainly selling 
at a low price. 

The lands are sold on ten years' time, with one tenth down, 
and the remainder in annual payments, at six per cent, interest, 
and where parties prefer to pay cash down, a discount of ten 
per cent, is made. A large per cent, of the lands sold by the 
Company are now under a good state of cultivation, and in 
many instances the products of the soil has paid for the lands, 
leaving the purchaser a large margin for his labor. The Company 
extend the most liberal facilities to all who desire to examine 
their lands. Land exploring tickets are sold at greatly reduced 
rates, while the actual buyer is transported free of charge. 
Liberal reductions are also made in the transportation of freight 
for settlers. Immigrant houses, as they are called, are provided at 
a moderate cost, to such as are not able to immediately settle 
on their purchases. 


This Company received from the Government a land grant in 
Nebraska amounting to 2,382,208 acres; they received from 
the State of ]S[ebraska, 50,104 acres, and when they took 
possession of the Omaha & Southwestern Road they acquired 
the land grant made to that line by the State, of 100,010 acres, 
making their total land possessions in Nebraska, originally, 
2,532,322 acres. Of this amount 1,423,598 acres have been sold 
»ip to June, 1879, leaving over a million acres yet to he disposed 
of, and which are offered at such low figures and reasonable 
terms as to place them within the reach of all persons of moderate 
means desiring farms in the West. 

The B. & M. Lands are situated chiefly in the north-central 
and south-central portions of the State, and are designated as 
the "North Platte" and " South Platte " lands. They are sold for 
cash, or on the two, six or, ten years' credit plan. 

On the Ten Tears' Credit Plan, only the interest, at six 
per cent, is required at the time of purchase. At the commence- 

1()2 Johnson's history of Nebraska. ' 

ment of tlic second, third and fourth years, the same payment 
is required, and not nntil the beginning of the fifth year is any 
part of tlie i»rineipal to be paid. At tliis time one-seventh part of 
the principal is required, witli interest at six per cent, on the 
balance, and one-seventh M'ith interest on the balance each year 
thereafter, until the whole is paid. 

On the Six Years^ Credit Plan, a discount of twenty per 
cent, is allowed, and only the interest at six per cent, for the first 
three years i-equired, after which equal yearly payments of prin- 
cipal, with interest at six per cent. 

On the Two Years' Credit Plan, a discount of 32|- per cent, 
is alloM-ed, one-third of the principal being paid down and the 
balance in equal payments the second and third years, with inter- 
est at six per cent. 

On the Cash Plan, a discount of thirty-five per cent, is given. 
In the South Platte Country the B. & M. Company has 
remaining for sale about 350,000 acres of choice prairie lands, 
situated in one of the best settled portions of the State, where 
towns, churches, schools, railroads, bridges, orchards, etc., are 
already established. 

The following is a list of the Counties in which these lands 
arc located, as also the number of acres in each, and price per 

Counties. Acres. Price per Acre. 

Adams 10.000 $ 2.00 to .$ 7.00 

Clay ,5,000 4.00 to 8.00 

Cass 25,000 7.00 to 10.00 

Franklin 50,000 2.00 to 5.0() 

Fillmore 5,000 5.Q0 to 9.00 

Gage 9,000 5.00 to 8.00 

Hamilton 8,000 4.00 to 7.00 

Jefferson 5,000 5.00 to 8.00 

Kearney; 10,000 2.00 to 6.00 

Lancaster 75,000 4.00 to 10.00 

Otoe 10,000 6.00 to 10.00 

Saline 40,000 4.00 to 10.00 

Seward 40,000 5.00 to 10.00 

Saunders 10,000 3.00 to 7.00 

Webster 10,000 2.00 to 5.00 

York 30,000 4.00 to 8.00 

The North Platte lands, comprising over 650,000 acres, well 

Johnson's history of neuraska. 103 

adapted to farming and stock purposes, are located in tlie following 
Counties, with the amount in each and price: 

Counties. Acres. Price per Acre. 

Antelope 90,000 $1.50 to $6.00 

Boone 150,000 2.00 to 6.00 

Cedar 12,000 1.25 to 6.00 

Dixon 12,000 1.25 to 6.00 

Dakota 5,000 1.25 to 6.00 

Greeley 130,000 1.00 to 5.00 

Howard 40,000 2.00 to 4.00 

Madison 60,000 2.00 to 6.00 

Platte 10,000 1.25 to 6.00 

Pierce 1.3,000 1.25 to 6.00 

Sherman 80,000 1.00 to 5.00 

Valley 120,000 1.00 to 5.00 

"Wayne 20,000 1.25 to 6.00 

The B. & M. land sales during the year 1878, were 511,609 
acres, for which they realized $2,616,870; or, in otlier words, their 
land sales for 1878 averaged about 42,000 acres per month, at an 
average price of $5.11 per acre. These lands were sold to 4,000 
purchasers, who are rapidly improving them. 

The land grants to other railroads in the State are very small 
compared to the grants made to the Union Pacific and the Bur- 
lington & Missouri roads. These lands are located mostly in the 
northeastern and southeastern portions of the State, and are now 
nearly all sold, the unsold being in the market at prices corre- 
sponding with other railroad land of those sections. 

The lands of the Pawnee Peserve — now embraced by ITance 
County — which contained 288,000 acres, have been appraised for 
sale, and are now on the market at from $2.50 to $10.00 per acre. 
The terms of sale are one-third down and the balance in two 
deferred payments. 

The west half of the Otoe Reserve, in the southeastern part of 
the State, has also been appraised for sale, and is now open to 
buyers, at prices ranging from $2.50 to $10.00 per acre, the terms 
of sale being the same as in the Pawnee lands. 

The Indian reserve lands in the State amount in the aggregate 
to several hundred thousand acres, all of which is admirably 
adapted to farm and stock purposes. 

A large per cent, of the wild lands in the eastern and older 

104 , Johnson's history of kkbraska. 

eettlcd Counties of the State, is owned by speculators and non-resi- 
douts, who liold it merely for speculative purposes. Owing to the 
Btrinirencv of the times, however, much of this land has been forced 
upon the market within the past few years, and may be purchased 
at from $4.00 to $12.00 per acre, the price varying according to 
location, quality of the soil and general surroundings. 


To the immigrant and all those seeking homes in the "West, 
Nebraska undoubtedly offers the most inviting field for the location 
of homestead, pre-emption and timber culture claims, it having the 
largest acreage of desirable Government lands now untaken of any 
State or Territory in the Union, the amount being estimated in 
round numbers, at 24,000,000 acres. 

The North Platte Land Office, in Lincoln County, having 
jurisdiction over the Counties of Lincoln, Cheyenne, Keith, 
Dawson, Chase, Dundj-, Hitchcock, and portions of Buffalo, Phelps, 
Gosper and Frontier, also a large portion of unorganized territory 
of the State, has upwards of 20,000,000 acres yet unclaimed and 
subject to entry under the* homestead, pre-emption and timber 
culture laws. 

The Niobrara Land Office, at Niobrara, in Knox County, has 
about 900,000 acres within its jurisdiction subject to entry, which 
are located mainly in the northeastern portion of the State. 

The Norfolk Land Office, at Norfolk, in Madison County, 
lias some 500,000 acres within its jurisdiction yet unclaimed, 
which are located chiefly in the Counties of Madison, Stanton, 
Antelope, Pierce, Boone and Wheeler. 

The Grand Island Land Office, at Grand Island, Hall County, 
has upwards of 1,000,000 acres of Government land yet unclaimed, 
which is situated mostly in the Counties of Hall, Howard, 
Merrick, Platte, Wheeler, Greeley, Valley, Custer, Sherm^an, 
Buffalo and Dawson. 

The Bloomington Land Office, at Bloomington, Franklin 
County, having jurisdiction over Government land in the 
southwestern part of the State, has about 1,000,000 acres yet of 
unclaimed land. 

The Lincoln and Beatrice Land Offices have disposed of 
nearly all the desirable land under their jurisdiction. 

Johnson's history of Nebraska. 105 

the homestead law. 
Under the provisions of the Homestead Law every person 
who is the head of a family, or who has arrived at the age of twen- 
ty-one years, and is a citizen of the United States, or who has 
filed his declaration to become such; any soldier or sailor who 
served ninety days, or upwards in the Union army during the war 
of the Eebellion, and the widow or orphan children of any soldier 
or sailor is entitled to 160 acres of unappropriated public lands 
anywhere outside of the limits of a railroad land grant. Soldiers 
and sailors of the Union Army, or their widows and orphan child- 
ren, however, are entitled to a full quarter section within the 
limits of a railroad land grant, all other parties being entitled to 
only eighty acres therein. Six months' time is allowed from the 
date of filing a homestead claim in which to begin actual settle- 
ment; and five years' continuous occupation and improvement 
of a homestead entitles the claimant to a patent therefor. Soldiers 
and sailors of the late war may have the period of their service in 
the army or navy deducted from the five years' occupation required 
to perfect title; but no patent will be issued to any homestead 
eettler who has not resided upon, improved and cultivated his 
homestead for a period of at least one year from the date of begin- 
ning said improvements. 


Any person entitled to the benefits of the homestead law, may 
pre-empt any number of acres, not exceeding 160, except such as 
already own 320 acres, or have abandoned a residence on lands of 
their own in the same State or Territory where they seek to make 
such pre-emption. Actual settlement must be made on lands pre- 
empted within sixty days from the date of filing tlie claim, and a 
patent may be secured for the same at the expiration of thirty 
months from the time of filing, on payment of $1.25 per acre, 
where the land is located outside the limits of a railroad land 
grant, and $2.50 per acre where it is within said limits. 


Under this law, any homesteader, pre-emj^ter, or any citizen of 
the United States may file a claim upon 160 acres, or less, for the 
purpose of timber culture. The ratio area required to be broken, 

106 Johnson's history of Nebraska. 

l)lanted, etc., under the amended law of 1878, is one-sixteentli of 
the hind embraced in the entry. Tlie party making an entry of 
IGOacros is required to break or plow five acres of the same, during- 
the first year, ami five acres in addition during the second year. 
The five acres broken or plowed during the first year he is required 
to cultivate by raising a crop or otherwise, during the second year, 
and to plant in timber, seeds or cuttings, during the third year. 
The five acres broken or plowed during the second year, he is 
required to cultivate by raising a crop or otherwise, during the 
third year, and to plant in timber, seeds or cuttings, during the 
fourth year. 

Entries of less than 160 acres are required to be broken or plowed,. 
cultivated and planted, in trees, during the same periods, and to 
the same extent, in nroportion to their total areas, as for entries of 
a quarter section. At the expiration of eight years from the date 
of filing a patent may be secured for the land embraced in the 
entry. Not more than IGO acres in any one section can be entered 
as a timber claim. No residence upon the land is required. 


C H A P T E E YI. 



The American Eailway System is tlie marvel of the age, and 
the most significant expression of American enterprise. To 
epitomize the subject, it is like the arterial currents of the human 
body, and no less important for the development of commercial 
life, than the blood for the complete growth of man. From an 
abstract theorem it has become the complex machinery that weaves 
all interests and productions into a commercial and social web. It 
may be termed the revolutionary agency of the Nineteenth Century, 
and yet, the strongest conservative power in the nation. 

To trace the liistory of the railway sj^stem from the first crude 
experiment to the completed lines now in operation, extending a 
distance of eighty-two thousand, nine hundred and sixty-eight 
miles in every section of this country, would require immense 
labor and research, hence, for the purpose of this Chapter, to 
generalize the suljject will aiford greater interest, leaving the more 
specific and detailed aspect of the subject, to be referred to under 
the heads of particular railways. 

Although steam as a motive power had been discovered and 
used in propelling vessels, and although in 1784 the first locomo- 
tive engine was patented by Watts, the first railway was not 
constructed until 1825, extending from Stockton to Darlington, 
and operated with a stationary engine. Four years after the open- 
ing of the Stockton and Darlington road, George Stephenson built 
a locomotive called the "Rocket," and in 1829 it dashed along the 
track of the Liverpool and Manchester road at the rate of twelve 
miles an hour. 

The first American locomotive was built by the Kimble 
engineers in New York, in 1830, and was used upon the South 
Carolina Railway, which, in 1833, was the longest road in the 
world, extending a distance ot 13P) miles. 



Johnson's histoky of Nebraska. 

In 1830 the Mohawk and Hudson Eailway was commenced, and 
in 1831 the construction of the Harlem road and the Camden and 
Ambt)}- road began. 

The Baltimore and Ohio road was the first passenger railway 
projected in this country, and up to the fall of 1831 was operated by 
liorse-power. In that year it was completed sixty-one miles, and. 
operated with an engine of American make. At the present time 
— 1879 — it operates a line of 1,489 miles and notwithstanding it 
had to construct thirteen tunnels — one of which is one mile in 
length, in passing the Cumberland Mountains — its cost per mile 
has been less than any other road in the United States, having a 
uniform gauge. 

In 1830, a little less than fifty years ago, there was only 
twenty-three miles of railway in this country, which was increased 
to 1,273 miles in 1836, and to 4,026 miles in 1842. From 1842 to 
1849 the increase per annum was a little over three hundred miles. 
Since that date, however, the increase has been about 2,050 miles 
per annum. 

The following statement shows the total miles of i*oad operated 
with the annual increase, from 1830 to 1879, conimencing with 
twenty-three miles, and ending on the 31st of July, 1879, with 
82,968 miles: 


Miles in 

of miles. 


Miles in 

of miles. 


Miles in 

of miles. 




















































































] S55 




























































otal nun 

iber of n 

liles on 

July 30t 

li 1879... 







The following statement shows the number of miles of 
railway operated from 1871 to 1879, their capital and funded debt, 
gross earnings, and net earnings: 


















































The following table shows the marvelous development of the 
railway system in the States and Territories named, taken in 
periods of ten years, commencing in 1841, and ending July 31st, 







New England States. 




Khode Island 


New Hampshire 

Middle States. 

New York. .. 
New Jersey. . . 



West Virginia. 




Southern States. 


North Carolina. 
South Carolina. 













































6,023 J^ 







Johnson's history of Nebraska. 




<Soiii?iern States— Co7itin'cl. 

Alabama . . 
J.oui.siana. . 


Western States. 





Kelji-aska. . 
Missoiui. . . 
Colorado.. . 

Pacific States & Territories 





Wyoming. . . 






New Mexico 

Indian Territory. 





Grand total. 































That all of this stupendous work has been accomplished in less 
than fifty 3'ears at an expenditure on an average of $43,476 per 
mile, swelling the grand total outlay to something over four bill- 
ion dollars, must convince the world, that the American railway 
system is indeed the marvel of the age, and excels that of the 
remainder of the world combined, both in the number of miles of 
road in operation, as also in the general equipment. 

In the four billions mentioned above, no account is made of 
what is known as "watered stock," nor fictitious valuations, but is 
approximately as close to the actual cost of all our railway lines 
as can be obtained, after the most rigid investigation. 

Johnson's history of Nebraska. Ill 

The average dividends of roads for a series of years were nearly 
as follows: New England roads, 6 21-100 per cent.; roads in the 
Middle States, 5 71-100 per cent.; Pacific States, 3 92-100, and 
Sonthern States 60-100 per cent. Thus it will be seen, through 
the magnificent railway system of onr country, in less than fifty 
years the great problem of transportation has been solved, and the 
distance across the continent has been abridged in time from three 
mouths to six days, and a territory more extensive than all civilized 
Europe has been opened up to cultivation and to the arts and 
sciences of a vigorious life. It is the American railway system 
that has brought under successful husbandry over 4,627,860 square 
miles of fertile lands which are now exclusively devoted to the 
production of corn, and 15,9436,40 square miles of wheat fields. 
This only in part shows the magnitude of the result, and affords a 
satisfactory estimate of the value of roads, even if every dollar of 
their original cost were a total loss to the stockholders. 

From the most reliable returns, we find that the product of 
grain in the western states for 1840 was about 100,000,000 bushels. 
In 1850 this product was increased to 250,000,000 bushels, in 1875 
to 1.250,000,000, in 1877 to 1,400,000,000, and in 1879 to 1,600,- 
000,000, while the future, under the large flow of immigration to 
the fruitful fields of the west, warrants the prediction that the 
increase in productions for the next decade, will largely exceed that 
of the past ten years. 

Before the construction of railways it cost 20 cents per ton per 
mile to transport grain, wliich absorbed the full value of corn at a 
-distance of 125 miles, while wheat would bear transportation only 
250 miles. Hence the area of a corn producing circle being 49,087 
square miles, determined the limited extent of territory that could 
be profitably cultivated. What a change ! We now see over 
40,000 miles of railways traversing the Western and Middle States, 
and the rates of transportation such as to enable the producer to 
ship his cereal crop a distance of from 1,000 to 4,000 miles to the 
Atlantic seaboard, leaving him a fair compensation for the pro- 
ducts of his fields. Nor is this the only benefit derived from rail- 
ways. They bring to the very door of the western farmer, at a 
nominal cost, all the manufactured articles of the east, supplying 
his want of agricultural implements and his domestic comforts 

1 1 3 Johnson's history of Nebraska. 

with Jill he may need or require. Those who have given this sub- 
ject a careful and exhaustive study, estimate the actual benefit of 
railways to the the country at not less than $90,000 to each mile 
of road in operatiou. Yet, in the face of all these facts, notwith- 
standing the reduction in transportation, from 20 cents per ton 
per mile to one cent per ton, there is ample room for a still further 
reduction and yet leave the railways a comparatively larger margin 
for their services than is realized by the producer for his products. 
Hence, while urging the great benefits that flow directly from our 
system of railways, and which has given a new birth to the com- 
merce of this country during the past forty years, there is much 
to be written relative to their mismanagement. This opens a 
wide field for suggestion and criticism, which it would be entirely 
vain to attempt to traverse in these pages. Eminent publicists 
and statesmen have given much time and study to the general 
management of railroads, and while some are advocates of consolid- 
ating the management of long lines, others can only see monopoly 
and extortion in such a policy. 

The real remedy, however, can only be reached through a 
healthy competition. That inevitable law of supply and dtmand 
which regulates comniercial values throughout the world, will in 
time regulate railway transportation, and cure whatever extortion 
and abuses there may exist in the present system. For it must be 
conceded that when i ailways are operated wdth the same honesty, 
prudence and economy which characterize the management of 
private business afiairs, and the integrity that is demanded in mer- 
cantile circles, there will be less to complain of on the part of the 
public, and stockholders would receive larger dividends. 

The future of our railway system is what now engages public 
attention, and the revival of the work of railway building, which a 
few years ago Avas almost at a standstill, is a matter of universal 
comment throughout the nation. The country having safely 
emerged from all financial dangers, the contemplated Southern and 
Northern routes to the Pacific, a considerable portion of both of 
which lines are now in operatiou, and the full coni])letion of which 
the commercial prosperity of the country imperatively demands, 
will in all ])robability be rapidly pushed forward. 

Then the vast trade this country enjoyed with China and Japan 

JOIKVSOn's history of NEBRASKA. 113 

previous to the rebellion, through ahealthy competition in transpor- 
tation to and from the Pacific Coast, will be retrieved and advanced 
to an importance that will make the cities of the Pacific the rivals 
of the great cities upon the xVtlantic. And to our progressive 
railway system, with all its magnificent equipment, and grand 
lines of steel i-ail, the means will be secured to reconstruct and 
rebuild our commercial marine until it shall again whiten every 
sea, and trade in every port in the world. 

Having said this much upon railways in general, it seems 
eminently proper to devote a chapter to a review of some of the 
more prominent lines of the country, and to that end the Nebraska 
lines will claim our attention. 


Union Pacific- -Omaha & Republican Valley — Utah & North- 
ern—Colorado Division— St. Joe & Denver City — Bur- 
lington & Missouri River in Nebraska — The Nebraska 
Railway — Omaha & Southwestern — Omaha & Northern 
Nebraska— Sioux City & Pacific — Fremont, Elkhorn & 
I^EissouRi Valley — ArciiisoN & Nebraska — Covington, 
Columbus & Black Hills. 

On the 31st of July, 1879, there were in operation in the State 
of Nebraska one thousand, four hundred and seventy-nine miles of 
railway, all of which has been constructed since the spring of 1865. 
Although not in reality one of the railways of the State, the 
Chicago & Northwestern was the first line from the East to salute 
the people of Omaha with the screech of the engine whistle, the 
first train on that road entei-ing the city on Sunday, January ITtli, 
1867. Tlie Missouri River was crossed on a pile bridge, which, for 
several years, was used during the winter months for crossing the 
river, it being removed during the mouths of navigation, and a 
ferryboat em])loyed in its place, to transl'er passengers and freight. 

The second road to reach the State was the St. Joe & Council 
Bluffs line, now known as the Kansas City, St. Joe & Council Bluffs 
road. The Burlin<.;ton & Missouri, or the Chicago, Burlington & 
Quincy, was completed to the city of Omaha in 1868. The first 
road built on Nebraska soil was the eastern portion of the Union 
Pacific, the first fifty miles of which was completed on the first day of 
January, 1866. The Omaha & Northwestern was built to Herman, 
a distance of forty miles, in October, 1871, and duiing the same 



_yeartbe Omaha & Southwestern was completed to the Platte Ptiver. 
But as each of these lines, as also all other lines in operation in the 
State, will be reviewed at lenorth in another portion of this 
Chapter, the reader's attention is now called to the 


That popular and important transportation route which spans 
that fertile ])ortion of the great west Ijing between the Missouri 
Eiver and the Eocky Mountains, connecting with the Central 
Pacific midway between Omaha and the Pacific coast, was the first 
railway enterprise commenced in Nebraska; and while its early 
history abounds w^ith incidents of deep interest to the people of 
the State, to the general reader a careful and im]);n-tial review of 
its present and prospective advantage's to the State, as also to the 
whole country, -will prove of much greater value. 

Although the project of building a railway to the Pacific 
Coast was agitattd in railroad circles and among prominent 
men of the nation, as far back as 1846, the enterprise 
assumed nothing like a definite shape until 1853, when a commis- 
sion was appointed by the government to investigate the 
])racticability of the undertaking, and after discharging the 
<luties of the appointment, by reporting favorably, Congress, 
in 1862, passed an act authorizing the construction of a trunk 
line from the one hundredth meridian, a point some two hundred 
miles west of Omaha, to San Francisco. The act provided for 
a trunk line and two branches, the one to start from some central 
point on the westei-n boundary of Iowa, the second from Sioux 
City, in the same State, and the third from the western boundary 
of Missouri, all to connect at the point of location, on the one 
hundredth meridian. In 1863, however, the Act was modified, by 
<'hanging the Sioux City and Missouri branches, and empowering 
the President of the United States to designate the point 
where the eastern terminal should be located. On the 17th 
of November, 1863, after a careful consideration of the subject, 
President Lincoln decided the question as follows: 

"At a point on the western boundary of Iowa, opposite 
section ten, in township fifteen, north of range thirteen, east 
■of the sixth principal meridian in the Territory of Nebraska," 

IIG Johnson's iiistoky of Nebraska. 

The Act autliorizing the construction of the r(ta<1, provided 
tlmt the branch reaching the one hundredth meridian tirst, should 
build the remainder of the line west. The Act also authorized 
a land donation of 13,875,200 acres to be located on each side 
of the line. Subsequent legislation also provided a subsidy to aid 
in building the line, to the extent of $16,000 per mile between 
the Missouri Kiver and the base of the Rocky Mountains; $48,- 
000 per mile for one hundred and fifty miles across the Rocky 
Mountains; $32,000 per mile for the distance between the Rocky 
and Sierra Nevada Range, and $48,000 per mile for one hundred 
and fifty miles over the Sierra Nevadas. 

The stimulating effect of such a liberal offer on the part of the 
General Government, resulted in the organization of a company 
for carrying out the stupendous enterprise, and on the afternoon of 
December 3d, 1863, amid great enthusiasm, and in the presence of 
a large gathering of people from Omaha and Council Bluffs, the 
great undertaking was formally dedicated, as it were, by "breaking 
gound" on the west bank of the river near the old telegraph cross- 
ing, with all the pomp and ceremony that the importance of the 
event demanded. 

After invoking a divine blessing for the success of the enter- 
prise, Governor Saunders stepped forward, grasped a spade, and 
amid the thunder of artillery and the deafening cheers of the 
enthusiastic assembly, removed the first spadefull of earth. Such 
was the birth scene of the greatest and, in many respects, the most 
important railway project ever conceived by man. Ground having 
been formally broken, the interesting ceremony closed with 
addresses of a most eloquent and enthusiastic character, from 
Governor Saunders, George Francis Train, Mayor Kennedy, A. J. 
Poppleton, Dr. C. C. Monell, A. Y. Larimer and others. 

Early in the spring of 1864 the woik of grading the road bed 
commenced, on a line running due west from the City of Omaha, 
which line, alter having expended on it nearly or quite one hundred 
thousand dollars, proving too heavy to allow a completion to the 
one hundredth meridian, in time to comply with the terms of the 
charter, was al)andoned. 

One might suppose that such a disastrous beginning would 
have disheartened the projectors. Such was not the case, however. 

Johnson's history of Nebraska. 117 

as all echoed the words of "Jacob Faithful," "Better luck next 
time." Two new lines were immediately surveyed, the first 
running in a northwesterly course from Omaha, while the second 
started from a point at or near Bellevue, on the Missouri Eiver, and 
ran a northwesterly course. This last line, owing to some of its 
beautiful windings, was called the "Ox Bow," yet its apparent 
innocence of ever having been subjected to the surveyor's art, and 
the violent o])positiou it encountered from the people of Omaha, 
who had their fears aroused at the danger to Omaha of locating 
the eastern terminus of the line at Bellevue, did not prevent its 
being chosen by the company. The jDCople of Omaha, however, 
M'ere equal to the emergency, and by a donation of $250,000 
secured the coveted prize, which, in 18T6. was wrested from them, 
through a decision of the United States Supreme Co\irt, which 
awarded the eastern terminal of the line to Iowa, in accordance to 
the location made by President Lincoln. 

The "Ox Bow" route having been harmoniously adopted, 
grading was pushed forward with great vigor, while track laying 
followed as fast as the road bed was finished. Every twenty miles 
completed was inspected by commissioners appointed for that 
purpose, and on the 1st day of January, 1866, the first fifty miles 
was completed and in operation. The line was extended during 
the year 1866, two hundred and sixty miles, and in 1867 an 
additional two hundred and forty miles was built, while from 
January 1st, 1868, to May 10th, 1869, the remainder of the line — 
five hundred and fifty-five miles— was completed and in operation. 

Thus it will be seen that the great work was finished in just 
three years, six months and ten days from the time it was com- 
menced. Some of the most rapid track laying in railway history 
was done on this line, the average being often as high as five miles 
per day. The ties used on the road between Omaha and the Platte 
Yalley were chiefly from the Missouri River bottoms, and were 
mostly Cottonwood. They were, however, subjected to the "char- 
ring " process, which rendered them very durable. The ties and 
timber for the remainder of the line were of hardwood, and were 
procured chiefly from Michigan and other distant sections of 
country, and the cost was often as high as |2.50 per tie, when 
delivered at Omaha. 

118 Johnson's histoky of Nebraska. 

There being no rail communication between Omaha and 
Dcs Moines, at that time, nearly all of the material used in building^ 
the Union Pacilic road, had to be transi)oi-ted either up the 
Missouri River by steamers, or from T)es Moines by teams, a dis- 
tance of one hundred and fifty miles. Even the seventy horse- 
power engine employed in the railroad shops at Omaha, was hauled 
on wagons from Des Moines. And in this connection it may be 
stated that the Company commenced bnilding their extensive 
machine shops during the latter part of 1864, and they were fully 
completed during the fall of 1865. These shops include a dozen or 
more of large, sul)stantial brick buildings, and their importance to 
Omaha will be readily appreciated when it is stated that they 
furnish employment to some eight hundred persons. Besides 
which the Company, in its various other dejjartments at Omaha,, 
employ some five hundred men. 

The books of the Company show that there was used in the 
construction of the Union Pacific road, 300,000 tons of rail; 
1,700,000 fish plates, 6,800,000 bolts, 23,505,500 spikes, and 
6,126,375 ties. Within the past three or four years the road bed 
has been well ballasted, hence, at the present time it will compare 
favorably with the better class of roads at the East. 

As before stated, the line was completed to Ogden, on the 
10th of May, 1869, the event being observed in Omaha by a grand 
celebration. It was a general gala-day for everybody, and from 
early dawn until late at night enthusiasm ruled the hour. The 
city was dressed in an old-fashioned Fourth of July costume; flags^ 
banners, festoons, and mottos decorated the town from end to end. 
Telegra])hic communication was had with Promontory, where the 
"golden spike" which united the two great ribs of steel, was being 
driven into that highly finished tie of laurel wood, with a silver 
hammer; and when the last blow was given to that spike of precious 
metal, the instrument on Capitol Hill said, "It is finished!" and 
one hundred guns in thunder tones echoed the glad news, " It is 
finished!" Yes, the stupendous work of uniting the two great 
oceans of this Continent with bands of steel was finished, and the 
glad tidings was not confined to Omaha, but was wafted o'er hill 
and dale, to city, village and hamlet, throughout the Union. 

The afternoon of the 10th of May, after the reception of the 




news that the last spike had been driven, was devoted to pro- 
cessions, street parades, speech making and a general honr of 
rejoicing. Even the shades of evening did not check the 
enthusiasm, for as the twilight deepened into darkness, the city 
was most brilliantly ilhiminated, while the liberal display of pyro- 
technics lent the scene a beauty and grandeur never before witnessed 
in the West. 


The iron bridge spanning the Missouri River at Omaha was 
not commenced until the early part of 1869, or about the time 
the Union Pacific road was completed, although an Act had 
been passed by Congress in 1866, authorizing the work at or near 
Omaha. When the question was finally taken under consid-' 
eration, a division of opinion arose as to the most advantageous 
point of crossing the river. A majority of the Company 
favored a crossing at " Child's Mill," some four miles below 
Omaha. Here was a new danger to the interests of the city, 
to ward oif which, and secure the bridge, a second quarter of a 
million dollars was donated towards its construction by the city. 
This last donation was made in consideration that the main 
transfer de23ots, machine shops and general oflUces of the Company 
should be located at Omaha. 

In September, 1868, the Boomer Bridge Company, of Chicago, 
secured the contract of building the bridge for $1,089,500, the 
time of its completion to be November 10th 1869. They were 

120 Johnson's history of neuraska. 

greatlj delayed in tlie work, liowever, and did not get the first 
n-lindcr ready fur sinking until March, 1869; and in July of that 
year tlieir contract with the U. P. Company was annulled, the 
latter Com i)any taking hold of the work and completing the bridge 
on the 25th of March, 1873. 

The hi-idge is comj^osed entirely of iron, and is two thousand 
eevon huiidrt'd and fifty feet in length, fift}^ feet above high water 
mark, and consists of eleven spans of two hundred and fifty feet 
each. The superstructure is supported by one stone masonry 
abutment and eleven piers, each pier being formed of two iron 
pneumatic tubes, eight feet six inches in diameter, and sunk in 
sections of ten feet each to the solid rock in the bed of the river, 
then filled with stone and cement. The least time in Mhich a 
column was sunk to bed rock from the commencement of the pro- 
cess was seven days. The greatest depth below low water mark 
reached by any column at bed rock was eighty-two feet. 
About five hundred men were constantly employed in the 
construction of the bridge, and ten steam engines were used 
in hoisting material, driving piles, etc. Tiie bridge is 
ajiproached from the Iowa side by a grade about one and a half 
miles long, thirty -five feet rise to the mile, and on the Nebraska 
side there is a trestle work, now filled in with earth, about fifty 
feet in height and seven hundred feet long. The Company claims 
that the bridge cost $2,500,000. 

At an early hour on the morniiig of August 25th, 1877, two 
spans at the eastern terminus of this great bridge were carried 
away by a tornado and entirely destroyed. As the tornado struck 
the bridge it lifted the massive superstructure from the piers, 
strewing the span which had rested on the Iowa shore along the 
embankment, while the other w^as carried into the deep water of 
the river. The piers were uninjured. A temporary Howe truss 
bridge was erected immediately after the catastrophe, and before 
the close of 1877 the iron spans were replaced. 

The Union Pacific Railroad, in 1879, owned and operated the 
following lines: 

Union Pacific, main line, from Omaha to Osden.. . . 1033 miles. 
Omaha & Republican Valley road, from Valley to 

Osceola g- « 

Johnson's history of Nebraska. 121 

Utah Xoithern. from Ogrlpn to Beaver Canon 274 miles. 

Colorado Division, from Cheyenne to Denver 13S " 

Colorado Division Xarrow Guage, from Golden to 

Central City 23 " 

Colorado Division Karrow Gauge, from Forks of 

Clear Creek to Georgetown 24 " 

St. Joseph & Denver City, from St. Joseph to Grand 

Island " 202 " 


Their contemplated lines inclnde the following: 

Jackson to Xorfolk (now buiklins) 47 miles. 

Jackson to Osceola IS " 

Jackson to Albion 45 " 

Grand Island to St. Paul 22 " 

Valparaiso. Xeb., to M.irysville. Kimsas 100 " 

Total 232 

Grand Total 2101 


A branch of the Union Pacific, extendins: from Yallej Station, on 
the Union Pacific, to Osceola, the Gonnty Seat of Pollc County, 
eighty -five miles, was commenced in 1876 and completed to its 
present terminal point in 1ST!). It traverses Saunders, Butler and 
Polk Counties, Wahoo, David City and Osceola being the chief 
towns on its line. It enters Saunders County at the northeast 
•corner and leaves it at or near the extreme southwest corner, from 
whence it bends quite abruptly to the north until David City is 
reached, when it again turns t(jthe southwest to Osceola, describing 
in its course the letter S. It is a most important transportation 
route for that section of tlie State, and when completed further up 
the Republican Yalley it will assume still greater importance. 


Is another branch of the Union Pacific road. This branch has a 
three feet gauge, extends from Ogden to Beaver Cannon, Idaho, 274: 
miles, and is being pushed rapidly northward. Its objective ter- 
minal point to the north is Helena, Montana. Although travers- 
ing a thinly populated portion of the West, its net earnings dur- 
ing the past three or four years has been from $60,000 to $220,000. 


(Commonly known as the Colorado Central Rail way), another limb 

I '22 Johnson's history of nehraska. 

of tlie mammoth Union Pacific body, extends from Cheyenne,. 
Wyoming, to Denver, Colorado, a distance of 138 miles. This is- 
a most important transportation route to the mineral portions of 
tlie country to the soutli and west, and is as profitable in a finan- 
cial aspect as it is convenient to travel and commerce. 

The Narrow Gauij^e, from Golden to Central City, a distance of 
twenty three miles, also the Narrow Gaui^e from the forks of 
Clear Crock to Georgetown, twenty-four miles, are also branches of 
the Union Pacific. This is the most direct route to Leadville, and 
for the past six months its traffic in both travel and freight has- 
been very large. 


Extending from St. Joseph, Missouri, to Grand Island, Nebraska,, 
came uiider the control of the Union Pacific in the Spring of 1879, 
and is now their prominent outlet to St. Louis, and other points to- 
the southeast. 

The St. Joseph and Denver road was chartered by the legis- 
lature of Kansas, February ITth, 1857, by the title of the Marys- 
ville. Palmetto & Poseport Railroad Company, with authority to 
build a line from either of the above named places to a con- 
nection with the Haimibal & St. Joseph Railroad, at or near 
Roseport. The corporate name was changed to St. Joseph & 
Denver City Railroad, April 17th, 18G2. The authority to build 
a road from the Nebraska State line to Fort Kearney was obtained 
under the general law of Nebraska, on the lltli of August, 
1866. The Northern Kansas Raili-oad Company was consolidated 
with this Company, and the right to lands granted by Act of Coii- 
gress, July 23d, 1S66, of one million, seven hundred thousand acres^ 
was thereby obtained. The capital stock was also increased to- 
$10,000,000. Subscriptions from municipal corporations to the 
amount of $1,025,000, and from individuals to the extent of $1,400- 
were secured in aid of Ituilding the road. On these subscriptions- 
M'ork was commenced, ami eighty miles of the line was completed and 
in operation in October, 1870, at a cost of about $1,500,000. In 
1871 the line was extended forty-eight miles, and on the following 
year it was completed to Hastings, its western terminus, when ir, 
passed into the hands of the Union Pacific, who extended it to Grand 
Island on their line of road during the summer of 1879. The total 



cost of the line from St. Joseph to Hastiness, was $5,449,620.77, of 
wliicli stockliolders paid $1,400; $782,727.10 from State and muni- 
cipal aid, and the remainder $4,665,493.67 from the proceeds of 
mortgage bonds. In 1874 tlie road passed into the hands of a 
Receiver, who operated it nntil the 29th of March, 1877, when it 
was re-organized under its present title. "While in the hands of the 
Eeceiver the road was sold under foreclosure, and that portion in 
Kansas was re-organized under the name of the St. Joseph & Pacific,, 
and that part in Nebraska, as the Kansas & Nebraska Railroad. 

The gross earnings, operating expenses and net earnings of 
the U. P. road, per mile, for the years named, were: 





Proportion or 


$ 736,386 

S 451,706 

$ 284,680 

01.34 per et. 





48.87 " 





53.98 " 





48.46 " 





45.97 " 





41.54 " 





40.88 " 

Tiie net earnings more than doubled during the first six years 
that the line was opej'ated, and nearly doubled during the past- 
six years. 

Statement of operations, yearly, for seven years : 


Total Gross 


Net Earnings. 


$ 7,625,277.11 

$ 4,607,414.84 

$ 2,947,862.27 


























Johnson's history of Nebraska. 

The following is a comparative statement of passenger and 
freight earnings, including Onialia bridge: 

jc57-_ 1878. Increase. Decrease. 

rassenser earnings... $n,G72,173.47 63,100,309.72 $492,100.52 

rreiglit earnings 7,995,813.00 8,.500,9.55.76 $572,93.5.94 

The equipment of the road in 1S79 was as follows: 

Locomotives, 172; snow plows, 17; passenger coaches, first 
class, 15; second claos, 19; emigrant, 63; sleepers, 27; mail, 9; ex- 
j)ress, 9; ba-gage, 11 ; dinkj-lxiggage, 12; officers' cars, 2; pay car, 1. 

Freight— Box cars, 1,548; liat cars, 164; coal cars, permanent, 
287; coal cars, temporary, 593; coal hoppers, 394; coal, dumpers, 20; 
charcoal, 45; way cars, 11; hay cars, 96; water cars, 15; outfit cars, 
10; ferry cars, 5; derrick, 4; derrick caboose, 4; oil tank, tubular, 1. 
Total passenger and freight equipment, 3,384. 


In accordance with the decision of the Supreme Court, as 
before mc tioned, the Compan}' have located their transfer depot 
at Dillon vi lie, on the Iowa side, about midway between Council 
Bluffs and the river. 




The main line of which extends irom tlie City of Plattsmouth, 
on the Missouri Eiver, to Ktarnej Junction, wliere connections 
are made with the Union Pacific, a distance of 100 miles. This 
Company was organized under a liberal charter in 1869, with 
a capital stock of $7,500,000, which was divided into T5,000 shares, 
funded debt, first mortgage eight per cent, convertable bonds, dated 
July 1st, 1869, with semi-annual interest payable in January and 
July, and principal payable July 1st, 1894. On the 1st of May, 
1871, the capital stock of the Company was increased to $12,000,- 

The Company received a land grant from the Government 
amounting to 2,382,208 acres, also a grant from the State of 
Nebraska of 50,000 acres, and when they took possession of the 
Omaha & Southwestern road they acquired the land grant made to 
that line by the State, to the extent of 100,010 acres. It may be 
proper to state here that the Omaha & Southwestern road, 
although chartered from Omaha to Lincoln, was only built to the 
Platte River where it formed a junction with the B. & M. road, 
over which it secured track service into Lincoln until its transfer 
by lease to the latter line. 

On the 1st of August, 1879, the Company owned and operated 
in the State of Nebraska 443 miles, as follows: from Platts- 
mouth, via Lincoln, to Kearney Junction, 190 miles, where con- 
nections are made with the Union Pacific road; from Plattsmouth 
to Omaha, twenty- one miles, wdiere connections are made with the 
U. P., O. &. N. W., C. & N. W. and Chicago Eock Island & Pacific 
roads. In brief, at Omaha connections are made with lines 
radiating east, west, and north. From Lincoln to York, fifty-five 
miles; from Lincoln to Brownville, on the Missouri, sixty -five 
miles; from Crete to Beatrice, thirty miles; from Hastings to 
Bloomington, sixty-nine miles. The lines above mentioned traverse 
the following Counties, making connections with other lines at the 
points named: Douglas, Sarpy, Cass, Otoe, Nemaha, Lancaster, 
Seward, York, Saline, Fillmore, Clay, Adams, Kearney, Bufl'alo, 
"Webster, Franklin, and Gage; while their projected lines, some 
of which are under construction, traverse Hamilton, Hall, Merrick, 
Jefierson, Thayer, Nuckolls, Harlan, Furnas, Eed Willow, Hitch- 

126 Johnson's history of Nebraska. 

<;ock, Dund.v and Johnson Coniitios. The projected lines are as 
I'oUows: From Y(.rk to Aurora, in Hamilton County, twenty miles; 
troni Auroi-a to Hastings twenty-two miles; from Aurora to Grand 
Island, sixteen miles; from Aurora to Central City, sixteen miles; 
from Beatrice to Red Cloud, 100 miles; from Bloomington to 
State Line, west, 150 miles; from Beatrice to Nemaha, sixty -five 
miles. These lines completed, the B. &. M. will operate 832 miles 
of road in the State; roads that traverse and open up to vigorous 
commerce much of the i-ichest and most beautiful and inviting 
]>ortion of Kehraska. Kearly every mile of their line from 
Phittpinouth to Kearney Junction, passes through one of the ricli- 
•cst farming countries to be found in the West. 

In brief, the B. & M. lines occupy the garden, as it were, of the 
IMatte and Republican Yalleys. This corporation has adopted and 
^nirsned from the date of its organization, a most liberal and com- 
prehensive policy towards the country through which its lines of 
Toad are constructed. To a much larger extent than is usual in 
railway corporations, it lias exhibited a disposition to make its 
interests and that of the country through which it passed, identical. 
In fact, the history and development of the Burlington & Mis- 
souri River road is most intimately interwoven w^ith the develop- 
ment and prosperity of the great South Platte country; and the 
w^riter only echoes the popular voice, when he makes the statement 
that every movement of this corpoi-ation has tended directly 
towards the material advancement of that beautiful portion of 
the State occupied by its lines, which has made it one of the most 
pi'osperous as well as popular roads in the west. 

Their lines are well and safely built; their bridges and cui verts 
are constructed upon the most approved system; their rolling stock 
is ample, and their passenger equipment combines all of the more 
modern improvements for the speed, comfort and safety of pas- 

The equipment of the B. & M. road in 1879 consisted in part 
of the following rolling stock: Sixteen locomotives, twelve passen- 
ger coaches, seven baggage and express cars, one hundred and fifty 
box cars, eighty- six platform cars, and forty-three coal cars; total 
two hundred and ninety-eight. 

The Company's general office is at Omaha, where they own a 



line new brick building, and give employment to a large number 
of ])ersons. Their machine shops are at Plattsmouth, in which 
they employ some three hundred men. At Plattsmouth this line 
connects with the Chicago, Burlington & Qnincy road. 

The following is a statement of articles forwarded from, and 
received at stations on the Burlington & Missouri Eivcr Eailway, 
111 the South Platte country, for five years, ending December 31st 








S T (^ C K. 

Stone and 








422,71 <),000 









Stone and 



30,92 1 ,.541 






The construction of the above mentioned bridge, spanning the 
Missouri Kiver at Plattsmouth, was commenced in 1879, under the 
supervision of Geo. S. Morrison, Chief Engineer of that Company 

128 Johnson's history of Nebraska.. 

The cliaiiiiel of tlie river, at the point where the bridge crosses it, is 
only 344 feet, a narrowHCss that was secured by many years of rip- 
rapping, by the Eailroad Company, who have constructed formida- 
ble piers and dikes of stone, on the Iowa side, in order to turn the 
channel permanently in the direction of the rocky bluffs on the 
Nebraska shore. These improvements, although attended by an 
enormous outlay of money, has so securely hemmed in the channel 
as to make the enterprise of bridging the stream an easy and com- 
paratively cheap undertaking. 

The bridge is constructed of steel spans, of three hundred 
feet in length each. These spans are supported in the center and 
at ilie ends, by piers of great solidity, constructed of stone and 
iron. The substructure of these piers is the bed rock, which at 
that point is reached at fifty feet below low water mark. This work 
will be effected by compressed air, the machinery for which was 
procured at a large cost. The pier on the Nebraska shore, however, 
rests on the bed of the rock bluff which is at about low water mark. 
This bridge is approached from the Iowa side by a high grade of 
considerable length, while on the Nebraska side it is approached 
through a deep cut in the bluffs. The bridge is fifty feet above 
high water mark, thus doing away with the necessity of a draw. 


Now owned and operated by the Burlington & Missouri Eiver 
Eoad, which extends from Nemaha City, in Nemaha County, 
on the Missouri, to York, in York County, a distance of 136 miles, 
passing in its course through Brownville, Nebraska City, Syra- 
cuse, Palmyra, Bennett, Lincoln and Seward, was organized in 
1871, under the title of the Midland Pacific Eailroad. The line 
was built from Nebraska City, to Lincoln, a distance of fifty-eight 
miles, in 1871, and extended to Seward, eighty-three miles 
from Nebraska City, in 1874. It was the intention of 
the original Company to build the line to Fort Kearney, 
or to some point turther east on the Union Pacific road. 
A br:inch line was also projected from the main line, at some point 
in Otoe County, to Fort Riley in Kansas. The line was, however, 
Bold under foreclosure, and a company re-organized under the title of 
the Nebraska Railway, and was operated as such until it passed 

Johnson's history of Nebraska, 


into the hands of the B. & M. Company, in 18T6, who extended 
the line west from Seward to York, its present terminns, and 
from Nebraska City to Nemaha City, its present southeastern 
terminus. This line passes through the rich farming Counties 
of Nemaha, Otoe, Lancaster, Seward and York, connecting at 
Brownville, on the Missouri Eiver, with the Kansas City, St. 
Joseph and Council Blnfis road, and at Lincoln with the entire 
system of railways radiating from that center. 

The original Company were the recipients of a land grant to 
aid in the construction of their line from Nebraska City to 
Seward, of 10,184,448 acres By an Act of the State Legislature, 
approved February 22d, 1875, the Company were also granted ^ 
certain amount of Saline lands, but as it did not comply with the 
conditions of the grant, such lands reverted back to the State. 


Operated since 1872 under a perpetual lease by the Burlington and 
Missouri River Road, was built from Omaha to Lincoln, a 
distance of sixty-eight miles, by rail, in 1869, and was the second 
railway projected in the State. Among the original stock-holders 
were S. S. Caldwell, President; John Y. Clopper, Clinton Briggs, 
Henry Gray, Frank Murphy, A. S. Paddock, and Frank Smith. 

This branch of the B. &. M in connection with the Atchison 
& Nebraska, and the Missouri and Pacific, forms a through line 
from Omaha to St. Louis, on the west side of the Missouri River. 


Formerly The Omaha db Northwestern was commenced in 1869, 
and completed to Herman, a distance of forty miles, in 1871. In 
1876 it was extended to Tekamah, the County Seat of Burt County, 
a distance of fifty-two miles, from Omaha. This line traverses 
the eastern portions of Douglas, "Washington and Burt Counties, 
and is a most important outlet for the produce of the highly 
cultivated and prosperous country through which it runs. It is 
being extended during the present year to Oakland, in the famous 
Logan Valley, a fioiirishing little town, situated near the west 
line of Burt County, about sixteen miles from Tekamah. 

This line will in all probability be extended north and west 
through the rapidly develoj)ing Counties of Cuming, Black Bird, 


130 Johnson's history of Nebraska. 

Wayne, Pierce, and Knox to Niobrara, a thriving little city situ- 
ated at the junction of the Niobrara and Missouri Rivers. At Blair, 
the County Seat of Washington County, the O. & N. W. crosses 
the Sioux City and Pacific road, which connection furnishes 
an outlet both east and west for passengers and freight, wliile 
at Ojiiaha it connects with the railway system of Nebraska. The 
road is of great value to the country through wiiicli it passes, and 
when pushed forward to a river terminal point, opening up 
the fertile Logan Valley and the country further north, it must 
become both a profitable and an important line. 

Among the original stock-holders and projectors of the O. & 
N. W. road, was James. E. Boyd, its first President; William A. 
Paxton, John A. Morrow, John I. Redick, Herman Konntze, 
Edward Creighton, Jonas Gise, John A. Horbach, C. H. Downs, 
Frank Smith, G. M. Mills, and Joseph and Ezra Millard. 


In connection with the Union Pacific, and the Chicago & North- 
western roads, forms a direct and short transportation route from 
Fremont, Neb., to Chicago; also in connection with the Iowa 
Division of the Illinois Central, Sioux City & St. Paul lines, it 
afibrde a direct route to St. Paul, Dulutli and Milwaukee. The 
Sioux City & Pacific road runs from Sioux City along the east 
bank of the Missouri River to a point about two miles west of Mis- 
souri Yalley Junction, Iowa, where it connects with the Chicago & 
Northwestern, over which Council Bluffs and the entire 
system of railways radiating from that point and Omaha 
are reached. Leaving the C. & N. "W. road it bends to the 
west, crossing the Missouri River by a steam ferry, about three miles 
east of the city of Blair, where it crosses the Omaha & North- 
western road. From Blair it bends a little to the southwest until 
Fremont, a thriving little city situated on the east bank of the Platte 
River, on the Union Pacific, is reached. There, connections are 
made with the Elkhorn Valley road, which runs up the Elkhorn 
Valley to Stanton, the County Seat of Stanton County. 

From Fremont to points east and north, the Sioux City & 
Pacific has the advantage of being the quickest and most direct 
route, and to St. Paul and other northern points, it is the most 
popular route. 

Johnson's history of Nebraska. 131 

the fremont, elkhorn & missouri valley road, 
Operated by the Sioux City & Pacific, extends from Fremont on 
the Union Pacific, to Stanton, the County Seat of Stanton County, 
which latter point it reached in 1879. Tlie first ten miles of the 
road was completed by December 31st, 1869. 

This line follows the Elkhorn Yalley northward, through one 
of the loveliest, richest and fast-settling regions of the State, and 
has a profitable and rapidly increasing trafiic. 

There are sev^eral prosperous and growing towns along the 
line, the principal of which are Fremont, West Point, Scribner, 
Hooper and Stanton. The extension of this road through Madi- 
son and Antelope Counties is now progressing. 


Is a link of the important transportation route from Omaha to St. 
Louis, via Lincoln. One hundred and ten miles of its line is in 
Nebraska, passing in a southeasterly direction from Lincoln, 
through the rich grain growing Counties of Lancaster, Gage, John- 
son, Pawnee and Richardson. The extension of the Atchison & 
Nebraska road from Lincoln to Columbus, where a junction is 
formed with the Union Pacific, was commenced in 1879. As a 
transportation route for produce to St. Louis, this line has advan- 
tages that no amount of competition can wrest from it. This com- 
pany was organized in 1870, and the line completedfrom Atchison 
to Lincoln, a distance of 148 miles, in 1872. The equipment of 
the road includes ten locomotives, six passenger cars, three mail 
and express cars, ninety-five box cars, fifty-five flat, sixteen stock, 
and fifty-five combination cars. 

The Nebraska connections of the A. & N. are the Burlington 
& Missouri River, Omaha & Southwestern, and Nebraska Rail- 
ways, at Lincoln, and the Union Pacific, at Columbus. 


"Was built in 1876-7, and is twenty-six miles in length, extending 
from Covington on the Missouri River opposite from Sioux City to 
Ponca, the County Seat of Dixon County. This line traverses a 
rich and rapidly developing section of the State, and is well patron- 
ized and profitable, and when extended further west, as it event- 
ually will be, it will prove a most important avenue for commerce 

132 Johnson's fiistoky of Nebraska. 

and travel, in that portion of the State. The principal towns along 
the line of the road are Covington, Dakota City, Jackson, Summit 
and Ponca; and at Sioux City connections are made with the 
Dakota Southern, Sioux City & St. Paul, Illinois Central, and 
Sioux City & Pacific roads. 

Tiiere are a large number uf projected railway lines in differ- 
ent parts of the State, and under the present era in railway build- 
ing it is more than probable that before another five years have 
passed that Nebraska will have a net work of rail lines equal to that 
of Illinois or Indiana. 



Its Altitude — Temperatuee — Rainfall. 

It must be borne in mind that Nebraska is comprised within 
the forty and forty- third degrees of latitude, and between the 
ninety-sixth and one hundred and fourth degrees of longitude 
west from Greenwich, or between the nineteenth and twenty- 
seventh degrees west from Washington; thus giving it a diversified 
climate throughout its extended area. 

The average elevation above the sea level being about 2,500 
feet, with a range of mountains to the west, spanning the Conti- 
nent from the Gulf of Mexico to the British Possessions, gives a 
pure, invigorating air, and hence is witnessed an almost entire 
absence of fevers and other malarial diseases so common in some 
sections of the West where low lands and marshy swamps are 
encountered. Perhaps no State in the Union, outside of New 
England, has less stagnant waters within its borders, or more pure 
springs and running streams than are to be found in Nebraska; 
and it is a matter susceptible of proof from the records, that 
no Western State can show a smaller death rate than this. 

The rare, clear atmosphere gives wonderful range of vision, 
tone and vitality to every form of animal and vegetable life, 
and the niost enjoyable climate upon the Continent. Take 
the seasons as they come and go, and average them, and no State 
can make such goodly promises as this for health, development 
and longevity. 

Mr. L. D. Burch, Western Editor of the Chicago Commercial 

134 Johnson's histoky of Nebraska. 

Advertiser^ who spent some years in traveling over Nebraska, has 
recently published a very valuable work on the State, from which 
the following in regard to climate is taken: 

"The entire State has a southwestern exposure, the downward 
elope or incline from the northwest to southeast, being about 2,600 
feet, or nearly seven feet to the mile. The influence of this 
warm exposure upon the climate and vegetable growth is of 
incalculable advantage. The l^ebraska summer is a long, and 
genial warm season, with delightful, breezy days and cool refresh- 
ing nights. The hottest days of July and August are tempered 
by the almost constant southerly and southwest w^inds. The high 
tone and stimulus of the atmosphere of this region are proverbial. 
The cool still nights are a restful and refreshing pleasure 
experienced in but few regions of the world. The ^Nebraska 
winter, as compared with the rigorous, snowy, frost-bound winter 
of New England, New York and Wisconsin, is a very mild 
and pleasant season. Nine-tenths of the cold season is made 
up of bright, dry, mild weather. February and March give an 
occasional severe storm of short duration. The best commen- 
tary upon the winter of this country is the grazing of cattle 
and sheep upon the ranges in the west half of the State, the 
year round, their only shelter from the storms being the native 
groves, gulches and ravines. 

"The soft blue haze, subdued mellow sunshine, and gorgeous 
red sunsets of autumn in Nebraska, make that season a benediction. 
The cold winds are the only unpleasant feature of the cold 
season, but the settler easily gets accustomed to these and 
they are known to be the most effective conservators of health. 
They sweep away any possible malarial influence and leave the 
climate with every needed condition to normal health. The 
rare, invigorating, life-inspiring atmosphere gives remarkable 
brilliancy to the climate and leaves its impress upon every 
form of life. Men and animals move with quick, elastic 
step, and even the vegetable kingdom expresses the presence 
of these vitalizing forces in a wonderful degree. The streams 
are rapid; the plow runs to the water's edge; there are no 
stagnant pools to give off poisonous exhalations; the south- 
west winds sweep down from the snow-clad sierras across 



an ocean of sweetest verdure, and the country is as healthful 
as any upon the green earth. There are no local conditions 
to generate or foster disease in men, animals or plants. 
Only life and health and the spirit of divine youth is evoked 
from the bright skies, clear atmosphere and pure water, of 
this superb climate. It is but simple justice to jSTebraska to 
say that it is a pooi' country for doctors and physic, and 
comes very near to being a paradise for invalids. While it may 
not have the mildness or softness of the more humid cli- 
mates of Florida, South Texas and Southern California, it has vastly 
more tone and vitalizing force. If the Gileads of the older lands 
have no value for the great army of their invalids, afflicted with 
incipient consumption, bronchial affections, asthma, dyspepsia and 
kindred ills, and will send them out to Nebraska, to camp out, ride 
in the saddle, hunt deer, antelope, prairie chickens and water- fowls, 
live upon their broiled flesh, drink sweet milk and grow sun- 
browned and happy-hearted, the writer will warrant nine-tenths 
of them salvation from their ills in a dozen moons." 

The following tables, reported by Charles Dill, Sergeant in 
the U. S. Signal Service, will sliow the mean monthly temperature, 
highest and lowest temperature in each month, and monthly range, 
and amount of rainfall, at Omaha, Nebraska, for the period of 
years stated: 






























































































Johnson's history of Nebraska, 



















































































































1— 1 
















Maicli — 


























































Fkee Schools — State University — State Korma.l School- 
Institcte roK the Deaf and Dumb — Institute for the 

It is no more patent to the human mind that the prosperity, 
stability and perpetuity of a State are matters of supreme concern, 
than that liberal and judicious provisions for fostering and build- 
ing up public instructions, for both political and economical 
reasons, are matters of supreme concern. Public education in this 
country is the most effective means yet devised to promote general 
intelligence and morality. 

It also removes much of the friction in society in the way of 
crime, and hence becomes a public and practical necessity in every 
State. The greater the degree of education in any community or 
State, the greater the security of life and property; or in other 
language, general intelligence resulting from popular education is 
effective in preserving life and property, and hence, of increasing 
wealth by productive industry. 

This is the substructure on which the free school system of 
Nebraska is based. Money expended under this system is not a gift 
in charity, but a most profitable investment to the State, simply 
because the wealth and prosperity of a self-governing State is 
entirely dependent on the intelligence of its citizens. 

Profiting by the experience of the older States, Nebraska has 
incorporated into her Common School system what has been proved 
by experiment as the most advantageous and economical methods. 

The school revenues of the State are classed under two heads, 
temporary fund, and permanent fund. 

During the two years ending December 31, 1878, there was 
placed to the credit of the temporary school fund, and distributed 
to the Counties, and by them to the school districts, the sum of 
four hundred and thirtv-eisrht thousand, three hundred and fifteen 

138 Johnson's history of Nebraska. 

dollars and twelve cents, derived from the followin^^ sources : 
Interest on land sold $129,033.50; interest on leased lands, 
$62,633,93; private loans, $2,540; State and County bonds, 
$73,572.25: school tax collected, $170,185.81; from all other 
sources, $349.63; total, $438,315.12. 

Of this sum there was disbursed in 1877, $169,281.88; and in 
1878, $205,637.88, an increase of $36,356. The rate per pupil in 
1877 was, $1.83; and in 1878, $1.99. 

There is a great difficulty in the way of arriving at a correct 
statement of the permanent fund, owing to the fact that its pro- 
ductive value is constantly changing. The whole amount of land 
leased prior to 1877, was 80,381 acres, and since that date up to 
December 31, 1878, 100,918 acres, making a total of 181,299 acres, at 
an average price of $4.45 per acre. Prior to 1877, 110 362 acres were 
sold at an average price of $9.26 per acre, and since that date, up to 
December 31, 1878, 26,819 acres, at an average price of $7.54. 

One hundred and eighty-one thousand, two hundred and 
ninety -nine acres at $4.45 gives a valuation of $806,758, which is 
at eight per cent. The income in 1878 from unnaid principal on 
school lands, was $46,635.43, which indicates a valuation on which 
such interest was paid, of $777,257.16. The total productive school ' 
fund on the 31st of December, 1878 was as follows : 

Invested in State bonds ^ 426,267.35 

Invested in County bonds 52,500.00 

Invested in School District l)onds 7.800.00 : 

Invested in private securities 49,600.00 j 

Unpaid principal of scliool lands 777,257.16 | 

Leased lauds (valuation) 806,758.00 j 

■ I 

Total $2,120,182.51 i 

By a constitutional provision this is made a trust fund, and if 
any part is lost, the State is obligated to replace it. The interest 
can be used for the payment of teachers and for no other purpose 
whatsoever. The interest on the State bonds is eight per cent., 
and six per cent, on school bonds, the interest prior to 1877 being 
ten per cent. 

The following is a summary of the school statistics of 
Nebraska, from 1870 to 1879. It will prove of more value in 
showing the progress and healthy condition of the educational sys- 
tem of the State than would be a volume of remarks by the author. 














































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































■ CO 




















































































































































t- C) »— 












05 C- 






































































'• ?5 










: S 










; c 



> c 

3 C 










i £ 

> a 






3 1 

3 -S 













1 "i 

-1 t 

H 4- 

■1 t 
J C 

J < 

> a 


> >> 

3 "^ 









1 K 

^ cS 

3 ^ 








1 " 

3 'a 


3 -^ 


\ 1 

s a 


2 ^ 

5 C 

3 E 

3 y 



' 1 

2 ^ 
i £ 

: ® 



3 3 



i ~ 

\ 'c 

i J 

' 1 

5 ^ 

a >• 


3 d 



- o 


s "c 

5 "C 

•> "c 


I i 

i i 

? -< 



^ ;^ 

; ;^ 

; ;2; 




5 H 



- b 

1 t- 

H e 


Johnson's history of Nebraska. 


Tlic followinn^ statement shows the rapid expansion of the 
educational advantafjes of Nebraska, durino^ the past nine years : 














$ 178,604 

IS- 2 














2,51: J 
















Total nuniher of School Districts in the State, 2,776 ; number 
of graded schools, 60; number of ungraded schools, 2,7 J 6; school 
age of pupils, from five to twenty-one years. 


Located at Lincoln, was established by Act of the Legislature in 
18fi9, and o])ened in 1871. Rev. E. B. Fairfield, D. D., L. L. D., 
Chancelloi-; Professors, eight; Tutors, six; legislative appropri- 
ation, $25,000 per year. 

Johnson's history of Nebraska. 141 

Bj Act of the Legislature five Colleges are authorized to be 
established as follows; 

1. A College of Literature, Science and the Arts. 

2. An Industrial College embracing Agriculture, Practical 
Science, Civil Engineering, and the Mechanic Arts. 

3. A College of Law. 

4. A College of Medicine. 

5. A College of the Fine Arts. 

As yet only the first two have been established. Fourteen 
instructors devote their time to the University; Military and 
Preparatory departments have been added; the library contains 
2,100 well selected volumes, and the cabinet consists of many 
thousand specimens of the various departments of Natural 
History; tuition is free to all, except for music, painting and draw- 
ing; both sexes are admitted. Two hundred and eighteen 
students were enrolled for 1879. The University has an endow- 
ment of 46,080 acres, and the Agricultural College an endowment 
of 90,000 acres donated to the State by the General Government for 
their permanent support. 


Located at Peru, 'N'emaha County, was opened in 1867, Kobert 
Curry, A. M., Ph. D., Principal, Assistant teachers, eight; 
students enrolled in 1879, 242; legislative appropriation $12,000 
per year; tuition free. 

This school, designed principally for the education of young 
ladies and gentlemen as teachers, has been remarkably successful, 
it being necessary during the two years just passed to employ 
assistant teachers to meet the wants of the increased attendance. 
The studies pursued are an elementary normal course of two 
years; an advanced English normal course of three years, and an 
advanced classical normal course of three years. By an Act of the 
Legislature, approved June 20th, 1867, twenty sections of the 
Saline lands of the State were set apart as an endowment for this 


Located at Omaha, was opened in 1869. J. A. Gillespie, Prin- 
cipal; assistant teachers, three; pupils, fifty-two; legislative 
appropriation, $6,000 per annum. 

142 Johnson's history of Nebraska.. 

This institution aims to give its pupils a good common 
school education, and especially to give them a command of the 
English language. The highest branches now taught are Physiol- 
ogy, Universal History, Geography and Arithmetic. 

Tlic Trincipal in a recent letter says: "We teach articula- 
tion as a branch of our work. "We do this by means of Bell's 
Visible Speech, a system founded upon the positions the vocal 
organs assume to produce sounds. As to trades we have but one, 
— printing. We have now thirteen boys learning this. They print 
the Miite Journal of Nebraska^ a monthly publication. The 
smaller boys are trained in gardening and farm work. The girls 
are taught house work and sewing." 

The Institute building is a commodious brick structure, 
located on the outskirts of the City of Omaha, and was erected in 
1.871, at the expense of the State. 


Located at Nebraska City, was opened in 18Y5. Principal, J. B. 
Parmlce; assistant teachers, three; j)upils December, 1878, twenty- 
one; legislative appropriation, $5,450.00 per annum. 

This Institution is admirably conducted, and is doing 
excellent service. The school is divided into three departments, 
viz.: The literary, musical, and industrial, separate in themselves, 
yet forming one complete course of instruction. The studies 
}>ursued are aritlimetic, algebra, grammar and analysis, physical 
and descriptive geography, rhetoric, physiology, history, reading 
spelling and penmanship. 

The musical department has made rapid advancement under 
the efficient management of Jacob Niermeyer, who is himself 
blind. The choir and band meet every afternoon on alternate 
days. Two pianos, an organ, flutes, and violins make up the 
equipment of instruments. 

In the industrial department the boys and young men are 
required to spend a certain number of hours each day at the trades 
taught, which at present are limited to broom making, cane seat- 
ing, etc. 

The girls and young ladies are instructed in all kinds of 
sewing, knitting, crocheting, bead-work, etc. 



Presbttekian — Congregational — Methodist Episcopal — Episco- 
pal — Catholic — Lutheran — Baptist — Unitarian — Chris- 

There is, perhaps, no interest in the State that has received 
such universal and hearty indorsement as have the Churches of all 
-denominations. From the first settlement of the Territory there 
lias been a constant spirit of sacrifice to lay deep the foundations 
of all the different Christian denominations. It has been less a 
spirit of strife, or rivalry, than a recognition of the great funda- 
mental law that neither new nor old communities can long exist 
and prosper, without the softening, chastening and refining influ- 
ences of Christianity; and the zealous labor of Christians in all the 
history of the State has been marked, as they have made education 
and Christianity the corner-stone of all their institutions. There 
is no State in the Union, with the same number of inhabitants, 
that has so many and so good Churches and school houses, nor one 
that gathers more to the services of the various Churches, consider- 
ing that the State is yet comparatively in its infancy. 

Many are swift to conclude that in a new frontier State but 
little will be done in this direction, and they hesitate about leaving 
their Church associations and privileges, and coming to a new 
country, but these fears are groundless. The pioneer denomina- 
tions, as usual, have occupied the frontier. They have gathered 
the people for worship in groves in the open air, in dug-outs, in 
school houses and private dwellings. All denominations have 

144 Johnson's uistory of Nebraska. 

done this, the Bishop and the Priest, and tlie Minister and 
Preaclier; and ahnost invariably as soon as a passable home has 
been provided for the family, and a room, however humble, for the 
school, the next thought has been for the Church in which to 
worship God; and this has been built, sometimes rudely and 
cheaply at tirst, but always in keeping with, and often beyond, the 
means of the inhabitants. 

And in this action there has been a singular unanimity of all 
classes in the community. Men who have belonged to no Church, 
who have expressed no particular religious convictions, who, have 
identified themselves with no creed, have been just as anxious for 
these privileges for themselves and their children as those connected 
with the Churches. They have recognized the great power and 
benefit of the Christian Church in the formation of morals and the 
dissemination, of virtuous principles in the communities where 
they have lived. 

There is another peculiarity that has been marked in the 
progress of the Christian Churches of this State, and that has been 
the conspicuous absence of denomination rivalries and disputes. 
Bigotry has seemed to have no place in the denominational work. 
There have been few or no angry discussions or denunciations of 
different religions beliefs or theories. 

Men have accorded to each other the best intentions, and while 
disseminating widely different doctrines and usages, they have done 
this in a spirit of Christian charity, manly forbearance, that 
recognizes the fact tliat there is room for all of every faith; that 
each Church or organization must stand or fall on its own merits, 
and while the most zealous work has been done, often calling for 
severe labor aiid constant sacrifice to build up these institutions in 
their own way, according to early habits and influences, and in 
accordance with their peculiar views, there has been but little 
effort to pull down others and build on their ruins. It is the 
freedom of our Churches from this sectarian strife, the willingness 
to give every man the unrestrained right of opinion, and of practice 
that has made the Churches of all denominations so great a power 
throughout the State. Men are not to be trammelled. Their 
religious convictions, and the expression of them, is free as the air 
they breathe on our vast prairies. It is the genuine freedom of 

Johnson's history of Nebraska. 145 

thought and action tliat is found in all tlie history of the world in 
the settlement of new countries, and developed peculiarlj^ here 
from the influence of our free institutions, that make every man, 
however humble, a sovereign in his own right in all matters of 

In all our prominent cities and large towns, comfortable, and 
spacious, if not elegant Churches, are found witli their heaven- 
pointing spires, showing that God is honored, and that men 
acknowledge this by building temples in which to worship accord- 
ing to the dictates of their own consciences. And in the 
more remote settlements the people are not behind the large 
towns in the erection of suitable places of worship. And these 
results of Church building, Church going and educational facil- 
ities are produced by the character of many of the settlers on the 
frontier. Said a clergyman a short time since who preached in the 
most sparsely populated and distant portion of the State, " I have 
for my hearers here three College graduates, with families of the 
best educational and Christian culture; and the leader of my choir 
is a lady who has delighted thousands of metropolitan ears in 
fashionable Churches." This is the character of many, very many 
of our settlers. They have come from the best homes and purest 
associations of the East; they are cultivated, educated and 
refined, and they demand, and will have around them that which 
will satisfy the cravings of their natures for spiritual and intellec- 
tual and moral food. High intellectual attainments and moral and 
religious culture are confined to no localities. They flourish as 
surely on the prairie, in the humble home, by the fireside of 
comparative poverty, as in the abode of wealth and metropolitan 
influence. Nebraska can point with pride to the record of the 
Churches and schools. The men who have molded and 
controlled, and fashioned them, amid their arduous labors, 
their isolation, and their long and wearisome journeys, have found 
time to become men of letters, scientific men and authors, who 
have made themselves famous, and who have ranked first in the 
work they have undertaken and in the books they have published. 

The right-arm of the Churches — the Sabbath schools of the 
State — have no superiors anywhere, whether we consider their 
management, their progress or their numbers. They have 


146 Johnson's histort of Nebraska. 

l)eon complimented by experts in Sabbath school work, from the 
o-reat educational centers of the countrj^, as fully up to the best 
standards, and equal to any in the front rank of schools in the 
world. This of course commenced in the cities. Men were found 
who had peculiar adaptation to this work, men who had the ability 
and who were not satisfied to be behind the very best of self-sac- 
rificing Sunday school workers in any land; and they have 
acconii»]ished all and much more than they promised. And this 
work has spread by individual effort and by united influence until 
tliere is no better system, and none more carefully and conscien- 
tiously ani intelligently followed than that of this new State. 

It follows then that we have all the agencies, appliances, and 
zeal in this great work that is necessary to carry it forward and 
give the Church, the universal Church, a place in the hearts and 
liomes and the institutions of our State. We are laj'ing the foun- 
dations broad and deep for an universal acknowledgement of the 
claims of the Christian Church, and for its firm establishment in 
the minds and hopes of the people, and as a bulwark against big- 
otry, fanaticism and indifference, and as a perpetual acknowledge- 
ment of the enduring truths of Christianity. 

The following statistics of our Churches show that our estimate 
is in keeping with the facts as they exist throughout our borders: 

Furnished by Rev. Win. McCandlish, Omaha. 

The State of Nebraska had, on the 1st of May, 1879, one 
Synod in connection with the General Assembly of the Presby- 
terian Church; three Presbyteries — Omaha, Nebraska City and 
Kearney; sixty ordained ministers; one licentiate and four candi- 
dates for the ministry; 101 organized Churches; 3,573 members; 
501 members added on profession last year; 446 members added on 
certificate last year; 4,250 scholars in Sunday schools; $710 con- 
tributed to Home Mission last year; $507 contributed to Foreign 
Mission last year; $33,385 contributed to congregation purposes, 
including pastors' salary, Church buildings, &c., and $1,544 con- 
tributed to miscellaneous causes. 

Furnished by Rev. A. F. Sherrill, Omaha. 

The first Society was organized at Omaha, on the 3d of May, 

Johnson's history of Nebraska. 147 

1856, by Rev. Reuben Gaylord, with six members. Their first 
Church, a brick, was commenced in 1856 and finished in 1857. A 
second house of worship, a frame, was built in 1866. 

The present number of Congregational organizations in the 
State is 112; houses of worship, thirty-six; ministers, seventy-four; 
membership, about 3,000; value of Church edifices, $80,000; college 
and school property, $55,000; parsonages, (four) $5,000; total 
value of Church property $140,000. 

Doane College, located at Crete, Saline County, founded in 
1872 by Colonel Doane, is a flourishing and rapidly growing 
institution, conducted under the auspices of the Congregational ists. 
It has an attendance of about one hundred and fifty students, of 
both sexes. It has an endowment of six hundred acres of valuable 
land adjoining Crete. 


The first class of this Society was organized at Omaha, in the 
summer of 1855, by Rev. Isaac F. Collins, and in the following 
year their first house of worship, a brick, was erected at Omaha. 

The present membership in the State is 8,039; probationers, 
1,156; local preachers, 136; Churches, fifty-seven, estimated value, 
$124,250; parsonages, forty-two, estimated value, $25,025; Sabbath 
Schools, 172; oflicers and teachers, 1,478; scholars, 8,745. 

Furnished by Et. Eev. Bishop Clarlcson, Omaha. 

Number of baptized members, 3,340; teachers and ofiicers of 
Sunday Schools, 202; Sunday School scholars, 1,830; Churches, 
thirty-two, value, $117,500; educational institutions, five, value 
of buildings, $54,500. The first Church was organized in the 
spring of 1856, by Bishops Lee and Kemper. 

Furnished by Kev. John F. Quinn. 

The first Catholic mission was organized by Rev. T. Tracy, in 
1854. There was not a dozen Catholic familes at Omaha at that 
date. Rt. Rev. James O'Gorman was the first Bishop, and made 
Omaha his See in 1859. He died July 4, 1874. When he 
arrived at Omaha there were only two Churches in the State, and 
only two priests. When he died there were fifteen Churches and 

148 Johnson's history of Nebraska. 

thirty -five missions, attended by thirteen ])riests. The Catholic 
poj)ulation was 10,500. The present Bishop, Rt. Rev. James 
O'Conncr, came to Omalia in 1876. Tliere are now in Nebraska 
sixty Churches and ninety-five missions, cared for by forty-nine 
priests. There is one free college, three female academies, three 
convents and a number of parochial schools. 

Furnished by Kev. W. A. Lipe. 

Number of members, 4,000; Sunday school children, 6,000; 
congregations, 175; ministers, eighty; Church buildings, thirty; 
value of Church property, $60,000. 

Furnished by Rev. E. H. E. Jameson. 

The first organization was eflfected in 1856, at Florence, nnder 
the direction of Rev. G. W. Barnes. During the past three years 
the Baptist Church has increased more rapidly than for any 
previous period. The last annual report shows 138 Churches, with 
a total membership of about 5,000. These Churches do not all 
sustain independent Sunday schools, but unite largely with other 
denominations. There are, however, about sixty Sunday schools, 
with an average attendance of 3,600 scliolars. The houses of 
worship are generally small, but the Church at Omaha has recently 
finislied a magnificent building, the total cost of which will not be 
far from $32,000. The Nebraska City Church is a model of 
neatness and comfort. The Lincoln Church, besides having a neat 
house of worship, has recently built an elegant parsonage, at a. 
cost of $2,500. 

Furnished by Rev. W. E. Copeland. 

The Unitarians have six Societies in Nebraska, and one 
clergyman tlie first Unitarian Church of Omaha was formed in 
1869. Its first pastor was Rev. H. F. Bond. In 1870 a house of 
worship was erected worth abont $6,000. The Society of North 
Phitte was formed in 1869, and in 1871 a wooden Church was 
erected valued at $4,000. Societies were organized in Crete and 
Beatrice in 1875; no Church buildings. The Society of Lincoln 
was formed in 1874, with Rev. W. E. Copeland as pastor. Soci- 



eties were formed at Fremont and Hastings in 1875, a wooden 
Clinrch building being erected at the latter place in 18T8, valued 
at $4,000. Eev. W. E. Copeland since moving to Nebraska in 
1874, has acted as State Missionary under the auspices of the 
American Unitarian Association of Boston. 

Furnished by Eev. R. C. Barrow, Tecumseh. 

Organized Societies, seventy-two; membership, 3,630; minis- 
ters, 40 ; Sunday school children, about 2,402 ; houses of worship, 
eighteen ; value of church property, $28,900. 

Rev. E.. C. Barrow has beeii a traveling missionary of the 
Church in ^Nebraska during the past fifteen years, and for ten 
years " State Evangelist." 

"We have not been able to gather statistics relating to the 
other denominations represented in the State, some of whom have 
a very large membership. 




The Civil "War — The Indian War — State Militia. 

THE civil war. 

At the commencement of the Civil "War in 1861, Nebraska^ 
then only a Territory, had a population numbering between 
28,000 and 29,000 souls, of whom, probably, not more than one- 
fourth were males of the age required for military service, and yet 
she furnished during the war of the Rebellion, three thousand 
three hundred and seven officers and men, or about twelve per 
cent, of her entire population. 

The following is a list of the organizations raised, and the 
number composing each: 

First Nebraska Cavalry, rank and file 1,370 

Second " " " " " 1,384 

The Curtis Horse " " " 341 

" Pawnee Scouts " " " 120 

" Omaha " " " " 92 

Total 3,307 

The First Regiment of Nebraska Volunteers was organized in 
June, 1861, as Infantry, and so served until November, 1863, when 
they were changed, by order of the Secretary of War, to the 
cavalry branch of the service. 


Johnson's history of Nebraska. 151 

Tlie Eegiment, under command of Col. John M. Thayer, 
embarked at Omaha for the field of action on the 30tli of July, 
1861, and for the remainder of that year were stationed in 
Missouri, where they participated in numerous skirmishes and 
hard marches, going into winter quarters at Georgetown. On 
February 2d, 1862, they left Georgetown for Tennessee, reaching 
Fort Henry, in that State, on the 11th of the same month, 
and immediately proceeded to Fort Donaldson, then under 
siege by Gen'l Grant, at which place they arrived on the 
night of the 13th; were ordered to the battle-field the next 
morning and sustained a creditable part in the battle until the 
surrender of the Fort two days afterward. This was the first 
regular engagement participated in by the Regiment; the next 
was the great battle of Pittsburgh Landing, in April of the same 
year, where they were thrown into the hottest of the fight, and the 
men all acted so nobly, that their Division Commander, Gen- 
eral Lew Wallace, in his report of tlic battle, spoke in the 
highest praise of their bravery and gallantry. In this battle, as 
also that of Fort Donaldson, General Thayer commanded the 
Brigade to which his Kegiment was attached. 

The Regiment next participated in the battle of Corinth, and 
during the remainder of the year, 1862, were engaged in innumer- 
able skirmishes and scouting expeditions in difterent South- 
western States. On the 26th of April, 1863, while they were 
stationed at Cape Girardeau, Missouri, the enemy, under 
command of General Marmaduke, attacked that post, and were 
repulsed after a hotly contested fight, with great loss, the First 
Nebraska taking a prominent part in the battle, and also in 
the pursuit of the enemy, whom they overtook and had another 
fight with at Chalk Blufls, on the St. Francois River. 

In the fall of 1863 the Regiment was stationed at St. Louis, 
doing guard duty and scouting in the adjoining country. By 
Special Orders No. 278, from Head Quarters Dej^artraent of the 
Missouri, dated St. Louis, October 11th, 1863, the First Nebraska 
was mounted as a cavalry Regiment, and in the following month 
were ordered to duty in Arkansas where they were engaged in 
scouting and had numerous heavy skirmishes with the enemy. 
January 18, 1864, they assisted in the capture of a squad of Rebels 

152 Johnson's iriSTORT of Nebraska. 

on "Rlack llWcr, and a few days later a detachment of the Eegi- 
rnrnt, nnder Lieut. Coh Baumer, had a three day's fight with the 
Kehels nnder Coh Freeman, at Sycamore Mountains, whom they 
completly routed. At Jaclcsonport, April 20, they were attacked 
in tlicir camp by the enemy, who were driven back with consid- 
erable loss in killed and w^ounded. At Duvall's Bluffs the Kegi- 
ment was separated, the veterans, nnder command of Col. Liv- 
ingstone, going to St. Louis, and the non-veterans, in Command 
of Lieut. Col. Baumer, remaining at the Bluffs. In St. Louis the 
veteran Regiment were furloughed until August 13, 1864, at 
whicli date they rendezvoured at Omaha, and were assigned to duty 
in i^ebraska. During the summer and fall of 1804, particularly, 
and up to the time they were mustered out of service, July 1, 
1860, the Regiment rendered most valuable and efficient service on 
the plains in quelling the Lidian disturbances of those years ; in 
protecting the lives and property of the settlers, guarding the 
overland mail routes, and performing other hazardous and arduouo 
duties. The headquarters of the Regiment during the greater por- 
tion of the time were at Fort Kearney. In July, 1865, Col. Liv- 
ingston was mustered out of service under the provisions General 
Orders No. 83, War Department, leaving Lieut. Col. Wm. Bau- 
mer in command; and in this month, also, the First Battalian, 
Nebraska Veteran Cavalry was consolidated with the First Regi- 
ment Nei)raska Yeteran Cavalry. 

It is to be regretted that the records are so incomplete that 
the number of killed, wounded and taken prisoners, in the different 
engagements in whicli the Regiment participated, cannot be 

They served faithfully for upwards of five years, took an active 
part in many of the leading battles of the South, and when their 
presence was iio longer needed to assist in crushing the Rebellion, 
they nobly came to the protection of their own frontier, then being 
invaded by the Sioux and otlier hostile Indians, and it was mainly 
through the valor displayed by them in many sharp contests with 
these savages that the Territory was saved from being over-run and 

The following is a list of the field officers of the First Regi- 
ment of Neb., Vet. Volunteer Cavalry: 

Johnson's histoky of Nebraska. 









Lieut. Col, 



R. Q. M. 

Reg. Com, 

Asst. Sur 


.John M. Thayer 
Robt. E. Livingston 
Hiram P. Downs 
Wm. D. McCord 
Eobt. K. Livingston 
Wm. Baumer 
Wm. D. McCord 
Eobt. E. Livingston 
Wm. Baumer 
Allen Blacker 
Geo. Armstrong 
Thos. J. Majors 
Silas A. Strickland 
Francis L. Cramer 
F. A. McDonald 
J. K. H. Patrick 
Jno. E. Allen 
Chas. Thompson 
John Gillespie 
Enos Lowe 
Jas. H. Seymour 
Wm. McLelland 
Wm. McLelland 
N. B. Larsh 
G.W. Wilkinson 
Thos. W. Tipton 

Nebraska City 



Nebraska City 







Nebraska City 



June 15, '61 
Oct. 4, '62 
June 15, '61 
Jan. 1, '62 
Apl. 22, '62 
Oct. 4, '62 
.June 15, '61 
Jan. 1, '62 
Apl. 22, '62 
Oct. 4, '62 
Sept. 24, '64 
July 19, '65 
July 3, '61 
Apl. 26, '62 
Jan. 1, '64 
July 13, '61 
Feb. 5, '62 
May 9, '62 
Jan. 1, '64 
June 15, '61 
Jan. 5, '62 
Sept. 7, '62 
July 25, '61 
Oct. 25, '62 
Nov. 28, '62 
July 23, '61 

Promoted to Brig. 
Gen., Oct. 4. 1862. 
Must'ed out, July 
1, 1865. 
Resigned, Dec. 31, 


Re.sicrned, April 
22, 1862. 

promoted Colonel, 
Oct. 4. 1862. 
Must'ed out, July 

, 1866. 
Promoted Lieut. 
Col., Jan. 1, 1862. 
Promoted Lieut. 
Col., Apl. 22, 1862. 
Promoted Lieut. 
Col. Oct. 4, 1862. 
Resigned, March 
13. 1865. 

Tr'f cl 1st Bat. Nb. Cv. 
Must'd out July l, '66. 

Must'ed out, July 
1, 186'i. 

Resigned, Apl. 22, 

Dis'ged for pro- 
motion, Oct. 24,6'3. 
Resigned, Apl. 22, 

Resigned, Fed. 5, 

Resigned, May 9, 

Must'ed out, July 
10, 1865. 

Must'ed out, July 
K), 1865. 

Tr'fed to Custer's 
Horse, Jan. 5, '62. 
Died at Helena, 
Ark., Sept. 6, 1862. 
Must'ed out, July 
1, 1866. 

I'romoted to Sur- 
geon, Sept. 7 1862. 
Resigned, Nov. 28, 

Must'ed out, July 
]0, 1865. 

Must'ed out, July 
10, 1865. 

154 jounson's history of Nebraska. 

line officers. 

Company A — Captains : R. R. Livingston, A. F. McKinney, 
Lee P.Gillette; First Lieutenants : A. F. McKinney, N. J. Sharp^ 
John W. Haygood, Martin B. Cutler; Second Lieutenants: N. J. 
Sharp, John W. Hay good, John G. Wliitlock. 

Company B — Cai)tains : AVilliam Burner, Chas. E. Provost ; 
First Lieutenants : Peter Walter, E. Bimmeman, Theo. Leubbeii;^ 
Second Lieutenants: Henry Keonig, E. Bimmeman, Theo. Leub- 
ben, A. Althaus. 

Company C — Captains : J. D. N". Thompson, Thomas J. Majors,. 
Thos. H. Griffin; First Lieutenants: Thomas J. Majors, Ruben J. 
Beyer, Thomas H. GritHii, David VV. Smith ; Second Lieutenants: 
Ruben J. Beyer, Thomas H. Griffin, "Wm. A. Pollock, Wilson E. 

Company D — Captains : Allen Blacker, John C. Potts, First 
Lieutenants : Lee P. Gillette, John C. Potts; Second Lieutenants: 
Chas. E, Provost, Elias M. Lowe. 

Company E — Captains: W. G. HoUins, S. M, Curran; First 
Lieutenants: S. M. Curran, W. S. Whitten, W. H. B. Stout; Second 
Lieutenants, J. N. H. Pa .rick, W. S. Whitten, Geo. W. Reeves^ 
A. S. Jackson, Lewis J. Boyer. 

Company 7^'— Captains : Thos. M. Bowen, G. W. Burnes^ 
Lyman Richardson, Henry Kuhl, E. Donovan ; First Lieutenants: 
Alex. Scott, J. P. Murphy, Wm. M. Alexander ; Second Lieuten- 
ants Alex. Scott, Jno. P. Murphy, Fred. Smith, Merril S. Tuttle, 
Wm. B. Raper. 

Company G — Captains : John McConihe, Thos. J. Weather- 
wax; First Lieutenants: J. Y. Clopper, T. J. Weatherwax, Morgan 
A. Hance; Second Lieutenants: M. A. Hance, Jno. S. Seaton. 

Compuny //—Captains : Geo. T. Kennedy, Wm. W. Ivory ; 
First Lieutenants: L. W. Sawyer, Silas A. Strickland, W. T. Clark, 
W. R. Bowen; Second Lieutenants: W. T. Clark, S, A.Strickland, 
S. W. Moore, Jas. M. Noster. 

Company I — Captains : Jacob Butler, Henry H. Ribbel, 
J. P. Murphy; First Lieutenants : H. H. Ribbel, F. D. Cramer, 
E. Peck, J. Talbott ; Second Lieutenants: F. L. Cramer, E. Peck, 
Francis A. McDonald, Geo. P. Belden. 

Company A"— Captains: Jos. W. Paddock, Ed. Lawler, H. F. 

Johnson's history of Nebraska. 155 

C. Kriimme, Lewis Lowrj ; First Lieutenants : Kobt. Howard, 
E. Lawler,E. Donovan, Jas. Steele; Second Lieutenants: E. Lawler, 
E. Donovan, Lyman Richardson, Lewis Lowry. 


Was organized in the fall of 1862, as a nine months Regiment, and 
served about one year. 

During the greater part of the time it was attached to General 
Sully's command, and participated in the campaigns of that General 
against the hostile Indians in Western Nebraska and Dakota, who, 
fresh from the great massacre of whites in Minnesota, were retir- 
ing southward, tlireatening the lives of the settlers on the frontier, 
hundreds of whom were abandoning: their homes and ileeino- for 
safety to the older settlements. 

At the battle of White Stone Hill, in Dakota, in September, 
1863, the causualities in the Second Nebraska, were seven men 
killed, fourteen wounded and ten missing ; besides the loss of five 
horses killed, nine wounded and nine missing. The enemy were com- 
posed of the Upper and Lower bands of Yanktonai Sioux, the Black 
feet Sioux, and the Brule, Sans-Arc and Cathead bands of Sioux, 
nnmbering about 2000 warriors, under the command of the cele- 
brated Yanktonai Chief, Two Bears, who, with his forces, was com- 
pletely routed. In theirflight they abandoned their tents, clothing, 
cooking utensils, and valuables of all kinds, even leaving behind 
many of their children. 

The following is a list of the commissioned ofiicers of the 
Second Nebraska Cavalry: 


Colonel, R. W. Furnas Brovvnville. 

Lieutenant Colonel, W. F. Sapp Omaha. 

Major, George Armstrong Omaha. 

Major, John Taffe Omadi. 

Major, John W. Pearman Nebraska City. 

Surgeon, Aurelius Bowen Nebraska City. 

Assistant Surgeon, W. S. Latta Plattsmouth. 

Assistant Surgeon, H. O. Hanna 

Adjutant, Henry M. Atkinson Brownville. 

Reg. Quarter Master Josiah S. McConnick Omaha. 

Reg. Commissary, John Q. Goss Bellevue. 

166 Johnson's history of Nebraska. 

officers of the line. 

Company A — Captain, Peter S. Reed; First Lieutenant, Silas 
E. Seeley, Second Lieutenant, Elias li. Clark. 

Company B — Captain, Roger T. Beall; First Lieutenant 
Charles D. Davis; Second Lieutenant, Chas. F. Porter. 

Co7npa7iy C — Captain, Theodore W. Bedford; First Lieuten- 
ant, Jas W, Coleman; Second Lieutenants, H. M. Atkinson, Jacob 
B. Bergrer. 

Company D — Captain, Henry Edwards; First Lieutenant, 
Henry Gray; Second Lieutenant, "Wilbur B. Hugus, 

Company E — Captains, Robert W. Furnas, Lewis Hill; First 
Lieutenants Lewis Hill, John H. Maun; Second Lieutenants, John 
H. Maun, Alex. S. Stewart. 

Company F — Captain, Dominick Laboo; First Lieutenants, 
Chas. W. Hall, R. Mason; Second Lieutenants, R. Mason, H. R. 

Company G — Captain, Oliver P. Bajne; First Lieutenant, 
Ohauncey H. Norris; Second Lieutenant, Joseph F. Wade. 

Company ZT^Captain, John W. Marshall; First Lieutenant, 
Isaac "Wiles; Second Lieutenant, Abraham Deyo. 

Company I — Captains, John Taffe, Silas T. Learning; First 
Lieutenant?, Silas T. Learning, Moses H. Deming; Second Lieu- 
tenants, Moses H. Deming, Jacob H. Hallock. 

CoTnpany K — Captain Edwin Patrick; First Lieutenant, 
Wm. B. James; Second Lieutenant, Philip P. Williams. 

Company L — Captain, Daniel W. Allison; First Lieutenant 
John J. Baiyne; Second Lieutenant, Daniel Reavis. 

Company M — Captain, Stearns Cooper; First Lieutenant, 
Obadiah B. Hewitt; Second Lieutenant, Francis B. Chaplin. 


When the Second Nebraska Cavalry was mustered out of 
service in September, 1863, Major George Armstrong was com- 
missioned by Governor Saunders to i*aise an independent battal- 
ion of cavalry from the veterans of the Second Regiment, 
to serve during the war. This battalion, consisting of companies 
A, B, C and D, was mustered into service as the First Battalion, 
Nebraska Yeteran Cavalry, and assigned to duty on the Plains. 

Johnson's history of Nebraska. 157 

In July, 1865 this battalion was consolidated witli the First Eeo-- 
inient Nebraska Veteran Cavalry, and one year later was mus- 
tered out of service. 

The following is a list of officers of the First Battalion 
Nebraska Yeteran Cavalry. 

Company A — Captains, Geo. Armstrong, Chas. F, Porter; 
First Lieutenants, Chas. F. Porter, John Talbot; Second Lieuten- 
ants, H. F. C. Krumme, Merril S. Tattle. 

Company B — Captain, Z. Jackson; First Lieutenants, Jos. 
N. Tuttwiler, W. H. B. Stout; Second Lieutenant Jas. M. Nosier. 

Company C — Captain, Henry Kuhle; First Lieutenant, Mar- 
tin B. Cutler; Second Lieutenant, Geo. P. Belden. 

Company D — Captain, Henry F. C. Krumme; First Lieu- 
tenant, Wm. R. Bowen; Second Lieutenant, Samuel A. Lewis. 


The four Companies, A, B, C and D, composing the first bat- 
talion of this Cavalry Regiment, which was afterwards united with 
the Fifth Iowa Cavalry, were mainly recruited in Nebraska. 

Company A, was recruited at Omaha by M. T. Patrick, and 
was composed chiefly of men from Nebraska. It was mustered 
into the IT. S. service at Omaha September 14, 1861, by Lieut. J. 
N. H. Patrick; M. T. Patrick, of Omaha, Captain. 

Company JS, was recruited at Omaha by J. T. Croft, and was 
composed of men from Nebraska and a few from Iowa. It was 
mustered into service at Omaha, September 21, 1861, by Lieut. J. 
N. H. Patrick; John T. Croft, of Omaha, Captain. 

Company C, was recruited at Nebraska City and in Page 
County, Iowa, by Captain J. M. Young and Alfred Matthias, and 
was mustered into service at Omaha, September 19, 1861, as a half 
Company, and October 3, 1861, as a full Company, by Lieut. J. N. 
H. Patrick; J. Morris Young, of Page County, Iowa, Captain. 

158 Johnson's history of Nebraska. 

Company D, commenced recruiting at Omalia, and was 
mustered into service as a half Company, with Wm, Curl as First 
Lieutenant, at St. Louis, October 30, 1861. Here it was joined 
hy a detachment of Missouri Yolunteers, and was mustered in as 
a full company at St. Louis, November 13, 1861, with Harlan 
Beard, of Nebraska, as Captain. 

The following is a list of the Field QjBficers of the Curtis 
Horse Cavalry Regiment at the completion of its organization, 
February 1, 1862: 

W. W. Lowe, Colonel; M. T. Patrick, Lieut-Colonel; W. B. 
McGeorge, Adjutant; Enos Lowe, Surgeon; B. T. Wise, Assistant 
Surgeon; Jerome Spillman, Chaplain. 


Company A. — Captains — M. T. Patrick, promoted Lieutenant 
Colonel, November 13, 1861; Wm. Kelsey, promoted Major, Feb- 
ruary 1, 1862; John J. Lower, resigned December 19, 1862; Sam- 
uel Paul, promoted from Q. M. Sergeant. 

First Lieutenants — Wm. Kelsay, promoted Captaiti, November 
13,1861; John J. Lower, promoted Captain February 1, 1862; 
Horace Wallers, resigned June 1, 1862. 

Second Lieutenants — John J Lower, promoted First Lieuten- 
ant, November 13, 1861; Horace Wallers, promoted First Lieuten- 
ant February 1, 1862; F. A. Williams, resigned June 8, 1862; 
Marion A. Hinds, promoted from First Sergeant. 

Company B. — Captain — John T. Croft. 

First Lieutenants — Milton S. Summers, wounded and died 
August 29, 1862; Erastus G. McNeely, promoted from Second 

Second Lieutenants — Jere. C. Wilcox, promoted Captain of 
Compau}^ H; Erastus G. McNeely, promoted First Lieutenant 
September, 1, 1862; Douglas H. Stephens, promoted from First 

Company C. — Captains — Morris J. Young, promoted Major, 
November 1, 1862; Alfred Matthias, promoted from First 


First Lieutenants — Alfred Matthias, promoted Captain, Decem- 
22, 1862; Chas Langdon, promoted from Second Lieutenant. 

Second Lieutenants — Charles Lanofdon, promoted First Lieu- 
tenant December 22, 1862; Wm. T. Wilhite, promoted from First 

Company D. — Captains — Harlan Beard, promoted Major, 
November 1, 1862; Wm. Curl, promoted from First Lieutenant. 

First Lieutenants — Wm. Curl promoted Captain November 1, 
1862; W. C. McBeath, 

Second Lieutenants — Wm. Aston, promoted Bat. Adjt. Janu- 
nary 9, 1862; Wm. C. McBeath, promoted First Lieutenant No- 
vember 1, 1862; Wm. Buchanan, promoted from First Sar- 

The Curtis Horse served their time in the Southwestern 
Army, where they fouglit heroically in some of the most promi- 
nent battles and saw much hard service generally. They were 
almost constantly on the go, being engaged in many of those great 
raids which so crippled the enemy and gained for the Cavalry 
Branch of the service such deserved fame, especiall}- during the 
latter part of the Eebellion. 


During the summer of 1864 Nebraska was again inraded by 
the Sioux, Cheyennes and other powerful bands of hostile Indians, 
who threatened the annihilation of the frontier settlements. 

Fears had been entertained for a long time prior to the date 
mentioned that an Indian outbreak would occur unless the Govern- 
ment did something to check it, and in response to the calls of the 
settlei-s for protection, the Seventh Iowa Yolunteer Cavalry was 
ordered out in the summer of 1863, and assigned to duty along 
the line of the overland stage route, from Fort Kearney westward 
to the frontier of the Territory. 

The officer directly in command of these troops in the locality 
named, was Major George M. O'Brien, (afterwards General 
O'Brien) who, being a skillful civil and military engineer, at once 
commenced constructing fortifications and putting the country 
occupied by his command in a thorough defencible position. He 

160 Johnson's history of Nebraska. 

selected a site for a new Post at Cottonwood Springs, and con- 
structed tlie same, namina: it Fort Cottonwood, which name was 
subsequently changed to that of Fort McPherson, and became one 
of the most important posts on the frontier. 

In the summer of 1864 the First Nebraska Yeteran Yolunteer 
Cavalry was also assigned to duty in tliis locality, which, with a 
few Companies of Regulars, constituted the force on the plains at 
the time the outbreak commenced. 

This force, however, was deemed entirely inadequate to keep 
in check or afford protection to the settlers against the immense 
numbers of savages who were swarming down the valleys and on 
the overland roads, capturing the mail stages and emigrant trains, 
murdering the emigrants and ranchmen, taking captive the women 
and children, destroying stock and crops, and threatening general 
destruction to the whole Western border. 

The settlers from the valleys of the Blues, the Platte, and at 
all the unprotected points, were abandoning their homes and fleeing 
with their stock and household goods as best they could, in one 
continuous stream toward the older Counties, or to some place of 
rendezvous, where a few of the more courageous threw up breast- 
works and made other hasty preparations to meet and give battle 
to the invaders. The excitement in the Territory was most intense, 
and not without good cause. Hundreds of the settlers and their 
families had already been butchered and their homes laid waste, 
and the Indians flushed with success were advancing rapidly 
toward the Missouri Piver, in greater numbers than had ever 
before threatened the Territory. 

In this emergency Governor Saunders promptly called out 
additional troops to aid those already in the field. 

The following militia Companies were hastily organized and 
sent to the front: 

Cotnjpany A — First Pegiment, Second Brigade, fifty-three 
men, rank and file, mustered into service August 12, 1864; served 
four months and nine days; Thos. B, Stevenson, Captain; F.J. 
Bruner, M. B. Corbin, First Lieutenants; P. Andrews, Second 

Johnson's history of Nebraska. IGl 

Company B — First Ee^iment, Second Brigade, fifty-three 
men, rank and file, mustered into service Angiist 13, 186i; served 
six months; Isaac AYiles, Captain; Henry J. Straight, First Lieu- 
tenant; Leslie C. Johnson, Second Lieutenant. 

• Company C — First Eegiment, Second Brigade, fifty-seven 
men, rank and file, mustered into service August 24, 1864; served 
five months and thirteen days; Alvin G. White Captain; Wm. B. 
Eapier, First Lieutenant; Levi Anthony, Second Lieutenant. 

Company A — First Eegiment, First Brigade, forty-seven 
men, rank and file, mustered into the service August 30, 1864; 
served two months and twelve days ; John E. Porter, Captain ; 
Allen T. Eiley, First Lieutenant ; Martin Dunham, Second 

A detachment of artillery militia under command of Captain 
Edward P. Chi Ids, numbering thirteen men, rank and file, was 
mustered into the service August 30, 1864, and served two months 
and twelve days, 

August 31, 1864, a Company of Pawnee Indians was called into 
service by authority of the Provost Marshal General, for the term 
of one year. They were organized and commanded by Captain 
Frank North. They were known as Company "A," Pawnee Scouts, 
numbering ninety men, rank and file, and were mustered into the 
United States service, January 13, 1865. 

By an order of the War Department, a Company consisting o^ 
eighty-five men, rank and file, ot Omaha Indians, was called into 
the United States service for the term of one year, with Edwin E. 
ISTash, Captain. They were mustered out of service, July 16, 

The timely and valuable services rendered by these troops con- 
not be too highly estimated. Their prompt assistance in check- 
ing the onward march of the savage foe no doubt saved the 
inhabitants of the Territory from a fate similar to that visited 
upon the settlers in north western Minnesota in 1862, when 
several hundred of them were massacred, and by these same 



Johnson's history of Nebraska. 


The following is a list of the militia Companies in Nebraska, 
organized since 1875 : 







€o. A, 1st Keg. Mil'a In'ty 





Julius Pfisterer 

€o. B. " Kearney 

Co. C, 1st Eeg. Paddock 

Co. D, 1st Eeg. Mil'a In'ty 


Nov. 5, '75 Kearney Junction 
June 9. '75 Beatrice 
Aug. 23, '76 Papillion 




E. C. Calkins 
A. W. Conlee 
E. A. Sexon 

Co. E, 


Sept. 26, '76 Newcastle 


L. H. Smith 



Sept. '76 



Thos. Kane 

Co. G, 


Sept. 1, '76 

Plum Creek 


Thos. J. Hewitt 

Co. H, 


Sept. 18, '76 



Horace Cole 

Co. I, 


Sept. 1, '76 

O'Neil City 


M. H. McGrath 

Co. J, 


Sept. 1. '76 



T. A. Taylor 

1st Neb. Light Artillery. 


June 10, '75 

Blue Springs 


0. M. Murdock 

Ceder Rangers. 


June 19, '76 



Robt. Gardiner 

Greeley Co. Home Guards 


June 15, '76 



Joseph Conway 

Garber Co. Raugers. 


June 3, '76 

Douglas Grove 


W. H. Comstock 

Howard Co. Guards. 


Nov. 28, 76 

St. Paul 


0. M. Gold berry 

Indian Home Guards. 


Nov. '76 


R'd Willow 

S. W. Stilgeboner 

Taylor Co. Mta. Rangers. 


May 29, '76 

The Forks 


R. P. Alger 

Red Willo.. Co. Guards. 


Nov. '76 

Red Willow 

R'd Willow 

W. D. Wildeman 

Sherman Co. Guards. 


Dec, 5, '76 

Loup City 


J. H. Gardner 

Valley Co. Rangers 


Dec. '76 



Frank Chubbuck 

Victoria Guards. 


May 25, '76 

New Helena 


C. R. Mathews 

Co. K., 1st Reg, State Mil. 


May 21, '78 



S. J. Shirley 

Co. A., 2d • 


June 21, '78 

Red Cloud 


Joseph Garber 

Stevenson Battery. 


May 10, '78 

Nebraska (Jity 


T. B. Stevenson 

Garber State Guards. 


May 8, '77 

Nebraska City 


Brock'y Kinney 

North Platte Guards. 


Nov. 14, '78 

North Platte 


Frank North 

Otoe Rifles. 


Nov. 7, '77 

Nebraska City 


A. S. Cole 



The character of immigration to this country, and its nsnal 
routes from East to West, is a subject deserving of more than a 
passing notice in this connection. It is a matter of surprise to 
many that there is such a pronounced diiference between the class 
of immigration to the Western States, and that to the southwestern 
sections of our country. All comprehend the fact that there is a 
wide difference in the general characteristics and habits, in enter- 
prise and industry between the two classes, even when immigration 
is from the same general source, yet, they do not understand why 
it is that settlers in Nebraska, Iowa, or any other of the more 
immediate Western States should bring with them those habits of 
industry, economy and enterprise, while those starting from the 
same point and settling in the south or southwest — south of the 
thirty-fourth degree of north latitude — should, in a brief space of 
time, lose those habits entirely, and become imbued with that same 
inertia, indolence or lassitude witnessed in those of the manor 
born. This indolence is a habit of an entirely different birth from 
slothfullness and improvidence. It is one of the legitimate results 
of climate; results that it is impossible to escape, simply because 
there is an absence of that metalic element in the air, so necessary 
in infusing vigor and animation to animal life. Under this influ- 
once the body becomes torpid and inactive, and indeed, the most 
active, enterprising and vigorous soon succumb to the influences 
of the climate in this respect. Nor is this effect confined to animal 
life. It takes within its scope vegetables, which, after their 

1G4 Johnson's uistoky of Nebraska. 

maturity, cannot be kept for any length of time — as at the Nortli — 
without their decaying. This is also the case with fruits, which, 
like potatoes, turnips, cabbage, onions, etc., cannot be carried 
through the fall and winter months. IS' either can meats be cured 
in salt or brine there as at the North. This is one of the chief 
obstacles encountered by settlers south of the thirty-fourth degree 
of north latitude, and this obstacle is too serious to be overcome 
even by the numerous other advantages the more southern section 
of this country offers to immigration. 

Then, again, the flow of immigration from East to West has, 
as a rule, been over the two great parallel lines — natural routes — 
from the Atlantic to the Pacific, the one known as the great central 
route, which traverses east and west, the States of Massachusetts, 
New York, northern Ohio and southern Michigan, Illinois, Iowa, 
Nebraska, Wyoming, Nevada, and California, to the Pacific, and 
the other known as the great valley or plateau of the Chattanooga, 
which commences at the Atlantic in North Carolina, traversing 
in its westerly course, the Statesof Tennessee, Georgia, Mississippi, 
Arkansas, Texas, New Mexico, Southern Arizona, ending at San 
Diego, on the Pacific. It was over these two great parallel lines- 
that the early pioneer, with his pack upon his shoulders, first 
wended his way, only to be followed at a later day by the pack 
horse, wagon and stage coach, and lastly by the railway engine, the 
great representative of American enterprise, the chief factor in 
developing the many resourses of this country. 

Confining its movement to these two great routes, seldom 
resorting to latteral lines, immigration to the immediate Western 
States and Territories on the central route has been chiefly from 
the Eastern and Middle States, as also from the larger portion and 
better class of Europeans landing at New York, Boston and 
Philadelphia. While on the other hand, immigration over the 
southern line has been and is still largely composed of people from 
the eastern and middle portions of what are called the Southern 
States, or to States east of the Mississippi Kiver and south of the 
thirty-seventh parallel of north latitude. 

The total immigration to the United States, from 18i^0 to 
March 31, 1879, was 9,794,201:, of which 5,848,423 were males, 
8,810,944 females and 134,897 sex not stated. 



The following statement shows the immio-ration to this 
countrv from Angust 1, 3 855, to December 31, 18T8, as also the 
States and Territories chosen bv the immigrants: 











New Jersey 

New Mexico. . . 

New York 




Pennsylvania. . 
Uliode Island.. 
Soutli Carolina. 






"Wasliingt'n Ty. 
West Virginia.. 




Aug. 1, 

1855, TO 

Dec. 31, 





















































































































































































Johnson's history of Nebraska. 
Continued from page 165, 








Connecticut. .. 



Dist. Columbia 












Massachusetts . 
Michigan — 


Aug. 1, 

1855, TO 

Dec. .31, 























































































































































Total to United 

Total to other 
Countries . 








Grand total. . . 



99,903 1 75,035 




The tide of immigration commenced its flow towards points 
west of the Missouri River as early as 1847, the Mormons being 


the avaunt courier of the moving thousands tliat were attracted 
towards the Pacific coast by the gold excitement that began in 
1849. And it was in a great measure due to that excitement that 
the vast, fertile country stretching away from the Missouri Eiver 
to the base of the Kocky Mountains, was so rapidly developed 
into productive and vigorous life. Yes, it was owing to the con- 
stant and enormous flow of travel to California, Utah and Ore- 
gon, from 1849 to 1854 that the grand enterprise of a trans- 
continental railway was conceived in 1853, and matured by 
provisions for its construction in 1862. A chain of events, begin- 
ning with the date that California was acquired by this Gov- 
ernment, were not only fruitful in their results so far as pertains 
to the development of the various latent resources of the Great 
"West, but were the chief factor in the construction of a rail- 
way from ocean to ocean, a work which stands as the marvel 
of the age. 

The towering ranges of the Rocky and Sierra Nevada Moun- 
tains, which like grim sentinels stand guard over the mines of 
wealth that lie buried in the slopes beyond, have been overcome 
and converted into a steel ribbed railway, aiid along their bleak 
and rugged sides, which before, could only be passed after weeks 
of the most arduous toil, are now avenues over which travel 
and commerce passes at the rate of twenty miles an hour. 

The change wrought in the past dozen years is truly wonder- 
ful. A country rich in agricultural productiveness, traversed 
by railways, and doted all over with thriving towns and 
cities, marks the route, along whose toilsome trails, but a few short 
years ago, moved countless thousands who turned their footsteps 
westward in search of fickle fortune or homes in the New West. 
Immigration then moved upon parallel lines, those coming from 
the East and Southeast, via St. Louis, followed the south bank 
of the Platte, while those from the East and Northeast, moving 
via Chicago, followed the north valley of the Platte, the two 
routes forming a junction at Fort Kearney, those north of the 
Platte crossing over to the south side, and the whole again cross- 
ing to the north side at a point near old Julesburgh. 

In this ever moving human caravan, one would see mjiny 
hardy gold-seekers making the journey on foot, with their outfit 


Johnson's history of Nebraska. 

strapped on thoir backs, while further on in the line of march 
would be seen hand carts and wheelbarrows vigorously ]jropelled 
by human strength; and still further on were carriages and 
vehicles of all description, from a light sulky to ponderous Ireio-ht 
wagons, many of M'hich ^vere covei-ed and well arranged for cook- 
ing and slee})ing a])artments. Some were propelled by horses or 
mules, some, by oxen some by cows, Avliile other of the lio-hter 
class, employed as motive power, goats and even dogs. Yast 
droves of cattle and sheep were also to be seen moving towards 
the west. Such were the active, ever changing scenes that met the 
eye during the palmy days of the over-land route to Califor- 
nia. But the march of civilization and steam has wrouo-bt the 
change we see to-day, and abridged the time between the two 
oceans from three months to one week, railways now being the pio- 
neers and the locomotive whistle the great tocsion of prosperity and 




The following statement shows the population of Nebraska, 
by Counties, as taken from the census returns, from 1855 — one 
year after the organization of the Territory — to 1879. 




















J5 Mine 





















Clia~;e .. 
















5 960 












































































































4 862 


























Continued from page 1Q9. 










































































































Red Willow 


































Washing Ion... 
















Unorg'd Ter'y- 












The increase in population, as will he seen by the foregoing 
statement, has been constant and remarkably Tapid. From 1855 to 
1860 the increase was 541 per cent; from 1860 to 1870, it was 326 
per cent.; from 1870 to 1875, 100 per cent, and from 1875 to 1879, 
nearly fifty-seven per cent., or an increase in the last nine years of 
214 per cent, and probably 50,000 will be added in 1879. 





















Boone . . 
Buffalo . 
Burt .... 


Cedar. . . 





















13 ,435 






Colfax — 
Cuming. . 


Dakota . . . 
Dawson. . 
Dixon.. .. 








Johnson's history of Nebraska. 
Continued from page 170. 




Douglas. . . 


Fillmore. . 
Franklin. . 






Harlan . . . 




Kearney.. . 



Lincoln. ... 
Madison.. . 
Merrick.. . . 







































Xuckolls , 








lied Willow 
















Unorg'ized ter'y 










7,412 6,451 
8,102 2,797 




























Statement showing the total valuation of taxable property in 
the State as returned by the County Clerks, for 1879. 

Land, 13,429,308.05 acres value $38,378,509.80 

Town lots, value 9,013,371.90 

Money used in merchandise , . . . . 2,483,864.47 

Money used in manufactures 525,576.00 

Sheep, number 131,787, value 123,358.20 

Swine, number 562,790, value 515,715.70 

Mules and asses, number 15,412, value. . .. 493,401.75 

Horses, number 157,619 value 4,116,069.00 

Neat cattle, number 513,668, value 4,185,533.50 

Vehicles, number 57,289, value 909,692.00 

Moneys and credits , 842,546.50 

Mortgages 679,524.00 

Stocks 600,250.05 

Furniture 902,822.35 

Libraries 54,018.00 

Property not enumerated 2,432,351.33 

Eailroads 9,154,476.87 

Telegraph 48,717.45 

Total $75,359,798.87 

Statement showing the total Assessed Valuation of all Tax- 
able Property in the State for each year since its Organization : 



















-H CO t- CO 
Ol Ci X -T 






Ol CO 


CO CO -t ^ c 
Ol O X X C: 


CO oo 


CO c 


00 00 O 



1- in -^ ^ TT t:^ -H t— 1-^ t-;_ 7j_ cc c; •M ri -m c: -m c ""J o :6 x 

^ • ~^i.O -f oo ^ 


<>? —1 --C tQ "* t-T ^ O I- o -c' --C " c: rf 

CO CO CO ^ T-. ct ^J tl fM rt 


: X co" Ol 

h^ of 

T-( CO 


tH . 

f^ 5 t 5 9 ^ Zr S " rt =■ >-" "■- t- ISO Ol Ci CO c: lO CJ C: 

' ^ 

30 • 

-f o o X X — c: c; i.O o C5 X t- ^< I- CO Ol CO t- i.o co 


CO 1 '/^ 


'^ -T cr 1— -H^ c, 1.0 — ;o_^ CO -H -.o —1 Ol co_^ ^ o "* o; 00 '-< 


^ • — CO tc c: 


A - 

LO O r^ " I.O CO CO ^ CO 01 Ol rH 


■ CO t-T -h" CO 




CO -f -M C t --D — -f O "C O O CO CC OO -C t- '-I t- O t- X) CC 


• CO C5 O lO Ol 

t- X 

cfc ~. r- CO -o >.o -p CO CO -. -s -H -H ri -N Ci — 1 CI CI t— -f -f cc 


• CO o lO r- c: 

c r' 

-t -__ c:_, co_^ CT^ — ; CO -^ O C-- -1<_^ oi_ C-. CO — O OD c: CO —1 X :0 oj 


^ ■ t-^ =s CO CO c; 

''• ? 

i~ Ct >. O O O t-^1-1 CO of X X ^ cTco of X CO t^r-H CC - 


. CO -H O tC 

..o' 1 co 


— . r^ -iH rt r-i „ _l 

1 ^ 


CO " X O C5 O CI O O -H -"Tl 01 -- 01 'X C ^ -O 01 lO Ci CO ir 


• CO X Ci o cc 

-t 1 2 

t^ t-CiOi— ICOtMCO^HOJO'— lOlODClirCCj — OClitOCC 

• C» CO CO 1-1 — 

y- D 

^ O r-lTH ?OC^t-i-(TH C^Ol -^-^rtiO-^tl 

; « ^ ^ 



lO Ol CO C '-I t- -f CO 01 01 -fl ~i --0 ^ CO CO -f ^ C |H Ci O Ol 


• CO -H -O X — 



■ — 

O C-. — c: -o o CO "O ~. --O c; X Ci oi -^ oi -f oi ci co i f X 


• t- ^/D •-; xj X 


w ^ 

Ol — ■ X CO CO t 1> — ' X 'X C: OI -t -tl CO -t lO Ol i.O t- CO t- CO 


• C: CO O Ol CO 

r- 1 CO 

i-H t- " Ol 01 -f -I liO CO CO Ol t- 1-0 Ol ■-:. "* 

.of CO Ol 





1^ — 







._> ^ _ IV 


^.H - I' S 

■' -1 "^ >^ >T 

^ X! 

5 3^ 



^i = 





• • • fciD • t. 

„• ^' J 2 aj i5 

' : -S 

• o 


12 t— O CO O -f CO Ol O) Ol CO Ol CO ^ lO -^ t— CO Ol O CD -f -:t 


-H -f C- O •* CO -t< 

t- r- 

V <5 

CO r- CO X -f O -t — 1 X I.O t- O CO ^ C: —. Ol t- -^ — . (X CO c- 


CO CO Ol lO r-i X O 

-r 1(0 

— -♦• -O CO Ol X O 'Tt* t- Ol CS T-i 1* 01 rt< ~ X — ' lO -^ 3- 


Ol rH O O t- -* 

Z > 

X-Hi-HOlt-t-i-l-H O^IQOCO Tf Ol-f — COtI* -r-lC 

lO t- 01 1- 


tH '^ I-H r- ^ ^H (OJ 



1— Ol CO C2 1.0 o r- Ol .— 1 X ^^ -ti ^ CO !X </j -t Ol lo o -H t- t- 


CO Ci o t- 

o o 

Ci -»< 

« ^ 

r- o X lio X X ^ I.O CO 1.0 >— 1 ci CO Ol co .-. oi r. co oi t- co t- 


^ O Ol o 



C5 I.O o o CO ■* CO -r CO o CO -.o -H ,-1 o 1-1 -11^ I- 1- CO -t oi^ c: 

CO -* t- o 


Tt CO Ol -rf lO -* CO co' Ol ^ r-l Ol CO 


-H — ( CO CO I.O >0 i-O 1(0 C5 ^ — ^ O Ol O C- 1(0 Ol 01 t— Ci CO Ol c: c 


Ci X X — 1 Ol c 


t- o 


t- CO Ol Ol CO Ci O 'f t— O 1(0 t- O Ol I.O X I.O -t Ol t- t- Ol ir 


^- CO lO — ^ -" 

O CO Ol lO t- t- CO Ol CO O Ol t— Cj^ itO^ -H^ 1-^ i.O^ ^ "C "^1 --^ ^1 '^ 


" ^ 

X CO Ol -t co_^ -r 

CO -I-' cf CO 



i-H lO (M "-I 1- 


(M-|<l(Ot--HX)OCOt i<.-IC00 01C0 01t— CiLOCOCOiOC 

) -v 

^ -H CO lO -t< Ol C 


05 '^ 

C J 


lO .-lOl.OlOlt- ^T}<T-H^ 07 T -t ^ rHTl 

"* CO -f -H Ol 

• CO CO 


O CI CO t- CO X -1 -1 CO CO GO X lO O CO ;i CO CO Si 3i t- ;1* c 

— 1 1- t- CO CO Ci -H c; CO -*< o c; CO -t< -J Ol i_o r- Ol o ^ 1 t- ^ 
lO o Ol 00 o CO CO Ol i-H Ol CO Ol X --I CO ^ CO o co^co lO -o__c: 

I.O CO t- O Ol 0? o 
Jt- OO CO CO — 1 X CO 

01 1-:^ lo^ -o CO cj CO 

CO -t 
. ^ Ci 

—1 •* 

->f ^rH^i-T CO CO t^i-T-H -* si of" of oi-i^-*-*.-! —ikC 


Ol CO rH —1 




6 G u 

O •.^.'- 

S !S 




\ 1 




i a 






' r- 

1 3 „ 

■r. - 

1 r-ir- 

" a 

1 r- 


1 f^ 



■I 1— 





■ 1— 1 hU 1- 
< 1— ih-i r- 

^ 1— 


. * 
. -J 

^ 1— 


Johnson's history of Nebraska. 




3 00 



CO 05 

S 00 




IN Value. 







$ 437,541.00 

Mules and 
Asses .... 







Neat Cattle. 






















The excellent condition and wise and economical manner in 
which the finances of the State are managed is a matter upon 
which the citizens maj be congratulated. The bonded indebted- 
ness of the State is very small, amounting at present to only 
$599,267.35. Of this amount $50,000 are in bonds issued for the 
relief of the grasshopper sufferers, and the balance, $549,267.35 is 
in bonds issued to fund the State debt, $426,267.35 of which is 
held by the permanent School Fund of the State, and $123,000 by 
private parties. The balance of money in the treasury, on the 30th 
of November, 1878, was 460,181.99, which, with the delinquent 
taxes, will more than balance all outstanding claims against the 
State, thus leaving it practically free of debt. 

The assessment roils of the State show a notable increase from 
year to year in taxable property, in the addition of acres of taxable 
land, miles of railroad constructed, and of various descriptions of 
personal property. The total assessed valuation of taxable property 
for 1879 — which is hardly one-half of its real value — was 
$75,359,798.87, against $20,069,222 in 1867, the year in which the 
State was organized, thus showing a constant and enormous 
ncrease in its material wealth. During the past several years liberal 
appropriations have been made for the establishment and main- 
tenance of Asylum^s for the Deaf, Dumb and Blind, a Hospital 
for the Insane, the Normal School, Penitentiary, for the support 
of the University, and for charitable purposes. 

O H A P T E E XT. 


Too much cannot be said in praise of the newspapers of 
Nebraska for the important and influential part they have taken 
in the development of the State, in promoting immigration and 
huilding up its interests from the earliest settlements. Journal- 
ists of ability were among the foremost of our pioneers, and 
lielped to lay the foundations of many of our most flourishing 
towns, and who, as soon as settlement was fairly begun, 
started lively little newspapers to herald the advantages and 
beauties of the new country to the people of the East; and as the 
settlements were developed and the towns increased to cities, 
so were the newspapers enlarged to keep pace with their general 
surroundings. To-day the Press of the State is the pride of the peo- 
ple, and will compare favorably for journalistic ability and influence 
with that of any Western State. Several of our dailies are among 
the foremost journals of the West, and are well patronized and 
influential at home and abroad; while almost every village in the 
State of a few hundred inhabitants, has a well-sustained weekly 
newspaper, many of them models of neatness and conducted with 
marked ability, which render the State and their localities 
great service. 

To residents of older States who inquire after the growth and 
prosperity of Nebraska, no fact is more surprising and none more 
gratifying, than the remarkable number of neat and able papers 
published, patronized and read in the State. We need no 
better evidence of the average intelligence of the people who 
come west of the Missouri to make permanent homes. 

We are sometimes told by cynical philosophers, that common 
papers are in no sense public teachers, and that really intelligent 

176 Johnson's history of Nebraska. 

people get their knowledge from books; that the newspaper of the 
day is little better than a bundle of trash, designed to amuse the 
people no matter how low their tastes, and to further the schemes 
of ambitious politicians. We leave the public to judge how much 
truth is contained in such a remark, enforcing the thought, how- 
ever, that if it is true, such truth reflects directly upon popular 
taste and intelligence, and should be a matter for radical reform 
on the part of both journalist and reader. 

View it as we may, the newspaper bears the same relation to 
great libraries, that the common school does to the univ^ersity. 
The masses cannot yet defray the expense of valuable books in 
hirge numbers, and have not the time to winnow wheat from chaff, 
either of current events or of standard history and philosophy. 
Newspaper subscribers may be regarded as a vast co-operative 
association, each member of which contributes to employ the editor 
to select and condense for him. This, when rightly considered, 
places the editor in the position of an important public servant, 
with grave responsibilities. He may be in position to use his 
judgment to the highest and noblest ends; the demands of his 
employers may force him to the unwilling task of furnishing light 
idle matter, when his own inclinations miglit lead him to furnish 
none but the brightest grains which the great harvests of the world 

We are glad to believe that every paper in IN^ebraska has a 
place in its history, and that no other agency — not even the great 
corporations with all their wealth and far-seeing enterprise, not 
even the governing men and statesmen who have labored to give 
Nebraska position, influence and fame, — has wielded a greater 
influence for tlie prosperity and importance of the State, than the 
cloud of news prints which every week settles down among 
its busy population. 


Arranged hy Counties. 
It will be seen that they number: Daily, eleven; Weekly, 139; 
Monthly and Semi-monthly, seven. 


Hastings Jovu-nal Hastings Gazette 

" Nebraskian Juniata Herald 

JOUKSON's history of NEBRASKA. 1T7 


N'eligh .Eepublican Oakdale Pen and Plow 


Kearney Press Kearney JSTonpareil 

" True Citizen " . . (semi-mon .) Lit. Notes 


Tekamah Burtonian Tekamah Advocate 

Decatur Vindicator 


David City Press David City Eepublican 


Albion Argus 

CASS. ' 

Plattsmouth Herald Plattsmouth Sentinel 


West Point Republican "West Point Progress 

" Staats Zeitung 


Harvard Phoenix Harvard Sentinel 

Fairfield News Sutton. . , Globe 

Sutton Mirror 


Sidney Telegraph Sidney Plaindealer 


Schuyler Sun Schuyler Democrat 


St. Helena Bulletin 


Ponca Courier Ponca Journal 


Plum Creek Pioneer Cozad. . . . .Hundredth Meridian 


Dakota City Eagle Jackson • • • -Herald 


Omaha.... (daily and weeklv) Herald Omaha (d & w) Republican 

•' (daily and weekly) Bee " (daily) News 

" AgricultLU-ist " Watchman 

« (monthly) Guardian " (tri-w'k'y)Danske Pioneer 

.(tri-weekly) Post " • • • • Pokrok Zapadu 

.(monthly) Western Magazine 

» Folkets Tiding 

.Commercial Exchange " (m) High School Journal 
. J ournal of Commerce " Rural Nebraskian 

" Mute Journal " Die Vestern 

Waterloo Sentinel " • • • -Portfolio 


1 7S Johnson's history of Nebraska. 


Fremont (d. & w.) Herald Fremont Tribune 

" (monthly) Bulletin 


Exeter Enterprise Fairmount IJulletin 

Friendville Telegraph Geneva Review 


Hi vert on Reporter Bloomington Guard 

Naponee Banner 


Beaver City Times 


'Beatrice Courier Beatrice Express 

Blue Springs Reporter 


Scotia Tribune 


Aurora Republican Aurora News 


Grand Island Independent Grand Island Times 

" Democrat 


Orleans Sentinel Republican City News 

Alma Standard 


St. Paul Advocate St. Paul Phonograph 


Tecmnseh Chieftain Tecumseh Journal 

Sterling Kews 


Fairbury Telegraph Fairbury Gazette 


Niobrara Pioneer 


Mindon Bee 


North Platte Nebraskian North Platte Republican 


Lincoln (d. & w.) Journal Lincoln (d. & w.) Globe 

" (d. & w.) World " (d. & w.) Democrat 

" Register " (monthly) Farmer 

" (monthly) Student 

JOHJM son's history OF NEBRASKA. 179 


Central City Courier Clarkesville Messenger 


Norfolk Journal Madison Chronicle 


■Sheridan Post Brownville Advertiser 

Brownville Granger Peru Herald 


IS'elson Herald Superior Guide 


Nebraska City (d. & w.) Press Nebraska City News 

:Syracuse Journal 


Pawnee City Enterprise Pawnee City Kepublican 


Columbus Era Columbus Journal 

" Independent " Democrat 


Osceola Hecord 


Pierce Call 


Tails City Press Ealls City Globe-Journal 

Humboldt Sentinel Salem Advertiser 


"Wahoo Independent Wahoo Times 

Ashland Keporter 


Crete Union Crete Democrat 

De Witt Free Press Wilber Record 

Eriendville Telegraph 


Seward lleporter Seward Advocate 


Stanton Register 


Papillion Times 


Loup City Times 


Hebron Journal Hebron Sentinel 

Alexandria News 


Johnson's history of Nebraska. 


Ord City Jonmal 


Blair Pilot Blair Times 


Bed Cloud Chief Red Cloud Argus 


La Porte Review 


York Republican Tork Tribune 


NEBRASKA— 1879. 

Commerce — Manufactures — The Grasshoppers — The People os 


The central position occupied by Nebraska, between the great 
markets of the East and the extensive mineral and stock reo^ions of 
Colorado, "Wyoming, Utah, Montana and Idaho, on the "West, give 
her rare advantages in a commercial pointof view, which are being 
rapidly developed into an immense and profitable trade. 

The railroads of the State are freighted with merchandise of 
all descriptions, implements, lumber, flour, pork, butter, cheese, 
eggs, grain and other farm products, going westward to the people 
cf this vast mining and non-agricultural region, where the demand 
is always equal to the supply, and who in return load the cars 
with precious metals and ores for our smelting and refining works, 
and with stock for the Eastern markets. 

There were 57,809,535 pounds of gold and silver-bearing ores 
received at Omaha during the year 1878, over the railways from the 
west, the greater part of which was handled by the Omaha Smelting 
and Refining "Works. The amount of gold and silver coin, gold 
dust and bullion arriving at Omaha from the "West during 1878, was 
$35,452,000. The gold and silver product of the country lying 
immediately west of Nebraska is steadily increasing, and the 
greater part of these productions pass into and through Omaha. 

The beef and pork packing ijidustry in Nebraska is increasing 
to vast proportions, these establishments employing thousands of 

182 Johnson's history of Nebraska. 

men and slaughtering hundreds of thousands of hogs and cattle 
yearly. New houses for this purpose, of double the capacity are 
being built each year, and the old ones enlarged, Nebraska beef 
is now being packed and shipped to the English markets. With 
the splendid advantages afforded by the plains of Nebraska for the 
rearing and fattening of stock cheaply, our packing establishments 
will, in a very short period of time, no doubt, assume proportions 
second to none other in the country. 

The trade and commerce of Nebraska is expanding at a mar- 
velous rate, that of Omaha alone is placed at $30,000,000 for 1878. 
The wholesale business is increasing at the rate of thirty to forty 
per cent, yearly, and within the past five years the volume of trade 
and number of merchants may be safely said to have doubled. 
Several of our other cities have an annual jobbing trade reaching- 
into the millions, and whose business relations extend beyond the 
limits of the State. Retail houses doing a yearly business of $10,000 
to $25,000 are common, while the sales of a large number range 
from $50,000 to $100,000 per annum. 


In the way of manufactures Nebraska has made commendable 
progress, considering the age and essentially agricultural character 
of the State. At Omaha there are extensive white lead works, a 
nail factory, oil works, one of the largest distilleries in the country,, 
several breweries, the largest smelting and refining works on the 
continent, several foundries, carriage, wagon, cigar, broom and file 
manufactories, soap works, safe and vault manufactory, cabinet 
ware, agricultural implements, flouring mills and many smaller 
manufacturing establishments. At West Point, in Cuming County, 
on the Elkhorn River, there is a large paper mill and furniture 
factory; at Lincoln large numbers of wagons are made, and of a 
quality and appearance equal to any imported ; at Nebraska City, 
Fremont and other large towns, plows and various other agricul- 
tural implements and minor articles are manufactured. Steam 
and water-power flouring mills, employing all modern improve- 
ments and of large capacity, are located throughout all the settled 
portions of the State. Cheese factories are springing up rapidly 
in the Western Counties, and the manufacture of cheese will, ere 
long, form an important element in our industries. 

Johnson's histoky of Nebraska. 183 

jSTo State ofiers .a more inviting field for the location of the 
manufacturer or man of capital than this, and there is none where 
lie would be received with heartier welcome, or where the invest- 
ment of his means would yield larger returns. The resources of 
the country are inexhaustible, the manufacturinor advantages 
unsurpassed, water power abundant and well distribute'!, and to 
men of capital and skill the field for manufacturing enterprises, of 
the kind to suit the wants of the country, is unlimited. A more 
advantageous location for woolen mills, paper and flouring mills, 
tanneries, and factories of various kinds, is not presented in any 
other western country. The State is settling up at an unprece- 
dented rate; hundreds of immigrants are arriving each day, and 
every season thousands of new farms are opened out. In no 
agricultural country is the demand for machinery so great as in 
this, and no establishment for the manufacture of all the diflferent 
farming implements would be better patronized and pay hand- 
somer profits on the money invested. 


During the growing seasons of 1874 and '75 the Rocky Moun- 
tain locust, or grasshopper, visited ISTebraska and did incalculable 
damage by devouring the crops in a large portion of the State. In 
many sections — more particularly in the western and middle 
Counties — the destruction of the crops by these insects was most 
complete, not a vestage of anything green being left untouched by 
them; and as many of the farmers living in the sections so afflicted 
were new settlers, the total loss of their crops, upon which they 
were dependent for the support of their families, was a great 
calamity and caused much distress and sufifering. The destitution 
was so widespread *nd so great in some localities, that public 
aid was asked, for the relief of the sufferers. The prompt 
and generous responses to the call by the people of the 
East and other localities not so afflicted, in fowarding provisions, 
clothing and money, saved many a poor family from actual want, 
if not starvation. 

"While it is true that the damage done by the grasshoppers was 
very great, and caused much genuine distress among the people in 
several of the Counties, yet the whole matter was grossly 

184 Johnson's history of Nebraska. 

exaggerated and enlarged upon by a certain busy class oi persons 
who somehow always come to the front on such occasions, actuated, 
generally, more by a desire to further their own selfish ends than 
by any kindly, true feeling for the distressed. This blatant, noisy 
class, with their loud demonstrations and universal begging, not 
only disgusted the more sensible people, but did the State an 
injury next to that of the grasshoppers themselves. 

Yet it is a stubborn fact that the timely succor sent to the 
settlers in the devastated districts saved much suffering among the 
poorer portion ; and the people of Nebraska owe a lasting debt of 
gratitude to the noble men and women of the East, who con- 
tributed so willingly and bountifully to their aid in time of need, 
and by whose generosity the miseries of want were alleviated and 
the hearts made glad in many an humble prairie home. 

By an Act of the Legislature of Nebraska, $50,000 were 
donated as a relief to the grasshopper sujfferers, which amount was 
judiciously expended and distributed for that purpose. 

But the grasshopper scares have passed away, we hope, forever; 
the seasons have come and gone, leaving us with bountiful crops 
of all kinds to enrich and supply the wants of all, and prosperity 
reigns supreme throughout the length and bi'eadth of the State. 


The population of Nebraska is made up largely of people from 
the Eastern, Middle and Northwestern States, although, ot course, 
all sections of the Union are well represented in the grand total, as 
are also all of the European countries, to a large extent, with a few 
from nearly every nationality in the civilized world. 

They come here from all points of the compass, and are usually 
men and women above the average in ambition, energy and brains 
— people who have outgrown the circumscribed life in older lands 
and have followed the tide of emigration westward to the grand 
prairies and broad rich bottoms of Nebraska, and there have laid 
the foundations for lasting and comfortable homes for themselves 
and children, transforming a wilderness, as it were, into thousands 
of waving grain fields, flourishing orchards and beautiful gardens, 
who have established schools, churches and colleges, founded a 
moral and refined society, and built railways which transport the 

Johnson's history of Nebraska. 185 

commerce of nations to their numerous, wide-awake and prosperous 
cities and villages. 

Of this spirited, enterprising and ambitious class of people 
the great bulk of ^Nebraska's population consists— where the pure, 
bracing atmosphere infuses a vigor and activity in the people never 
witnessed in the older States. People of the very highest attain- 
ments and social qualities are settled in all parts of the State. 
Many of our most cultered and refined citizens, who have done so 
much to mould and improve our society and institutions, have 
been glad to exchange the uncertainties of vocation and extrava- 
gance ot fashionable life in the more crowded States, for the 
security and comforts of a prairie home in Nebraska. 

The average intelligence of the people of Nebraska will reach 
a higher standard than is generally found in agricultural countries; 
their habits and customs are also peculiarly suited to the condition 
of things; and in business matters, religion, politics, and in social 
life there is infinitely more freedom here than in Eastern 

Yery many of the pioneers who came here almost penniless, 
have to-day comfortable homes for their families and a goodly share 
of this world's goods, while others are possessed of valuable, well- 
stocked farms, who, had they remained in the East, would probably 
never have owned an acre of ground. 

The author has traveled through nearly every County in the 
State, from the Missouri River to the western frontier; he has 
watched with zealous pride the onward march of civilization during 
the past quarter of a century, and has seen thevast rolling prairies, 
which only a few short years ago were in their virgin glory, just 
as the hand of the Great Architect of the Universe had fashioned 
them, .rapidly developed into a populous State, dotted with enter- 
prising cities and towns, and ribbed with great railways reaching 
to all points. 

It seems more like a dream as he looks back over these fleeting 
years, and recalls the scene then, as compared with the wonderful 
changes and progress civilization has made to-day. Many of the 
old acquaintances — pioneers — who bore him happy company over 
the trackless plains in the days gone by, have long since faded 
from view, some wandering to other lands in search of new adven- 

186 Johnson's histoky of Nebraska. 

ture when this grew old, while others, and by far the greater 
number, alas! have gone to that bourne whence no traveler 

There are innumerable hardships, privations and dangers- 
which the pioneers of a new country must contend with and 
surmount, that the later settlers know but little of. The pioneer 
goes before, braves the dangers, and makes settlement practically 
easy and safe for those who follow in his footsteps. Great honor 
is due to his bravery and courage, and yet everything depends- 
upon the character and intelligence of the class of settlers who follow 
in the wake of the pioneer, and who lay the foundations of a solid 
and substantial government; and in this respect Nebraska has 
every reason to be proud. 




By the provisions of the Act of Congress organizing the 
Territory of Nebraska, the execntive power in and over said Terri- 
tory was vested in a Governor, whose term of office was for four 
years, or until his successor was appointed and qualified, unless 
sooner removed by the President of the United States. The 
Governor was made Commander-in-Chief of the militia of the 
Territory; was empowered to grant pensions and respites against 
the laws of the Territory, and reprieves for oifences against the laws 
of the United States, and it was his duty to commission all officers 
appointed under the laws of the Territory, and to take care that the 
laws were faithfully executed. 

A Secretary of the Territory was appointed who was required 
to reside therein, and whose term of office extended for five years, 
unless sooner removed by the President. In case of deatli, 
removal, resignation or absence of the Governor from the Terri- 
tory, the Secretary was authorized and required to act in his stead, 
and execute and perform all the duties of the Governor during his 
absence or vacancy in the office. 

The legislative power of the Territory was vested in the 
Governor and Legislative Assembly, the latter consisting of a 
Council and House of Kepresentatives. 

The judicial power of the Territory was vested in a Supreme 
Court, District Courts, Probate Courts and Justices of the Peace. 
The Supreme Court consisted of a Chief Justice and two Associate 
Justices, any two of whom constituted a quorum, and they were 


188 Johnson's history of Nebraska. 

required to hold a term at the Capital of the Territory annually. 
The Territory was divided into three judicial districts, and a 
district court held in each, presided over by one of the justices of 
the Supreme Court. 

An Attorney and Marshal for the Territory were appointed, 
whose term extended for four years, and whose salary and fees were 
the same as that allowed the Attorney and Marshal of the Territory 
of Utah. 

The salary of the Governor was $2,500 per annum, that of the 
Secretary $2,000, and the Chief Justice and each of the Associate 
Justices $2,000. 

The pay of the members of the Assembly was $3.00 each per 
day, during their actual attendance at the sessions, and $3.00 each 
for every twenty miles traveled in going to and returning from the 
sessions; and an additional allowance of $3.00 per day was paid 
the presiding officer of each house. 

The Act also provided for the election of a delegate to the 
House of Representatives of the United States, for the term of two 
years, who was entitled to the same rights and privileges as 
exercised and enjoyed by the delegates from the several other 
Territories of the United States. 


Legislative. — It provided that the legislative authority was 
vested in a General Assembly, which shall consist of a Senate and 
House of Representatives. The Senate consisted of thirteen 
members, and the House of Representatives consisted of thirty- 
nine members, which could not be increased for the terra of ten 
years after the adoption of the Constitution. 

Executive. — The Executive Department consisted of Governor, 
Secretary and Treasurer, who held their offices for the term of two 
years, and the Auditor for four years, and in case of death, resigna- 
tion or removal from office of the Governor, the duties of that 
office was performed by the Secretary of State. 

Judiciary. — The judicial powers was vested in a Supreme 
Court, r)i strict Courts, Probate Courts and Justices of the Peace. 
The Supreme Court consisted of a Chief Justice and two Associate 

Johnson's history of Nebraska. 189 

Justices, any two of whom constituted a quorum for the transaction 
of business. Said Judges were elected by the people, and held 
their offices for six years. The State M^as divided into three 
judicial districts, and the Supreme Judges held the District Courts 
in the three judicial districts, the Legislature assigning the judges 
to their respective districts. 

Finance. — The credit of the State could not be given to any 
individual or corporation in the construction of improvements, 
neither could the State be a party to any works of internal 
improvements, or contract any debt beyond fifty thousand dollars. 

Education. — The principal of all funds arising from the sale 
of lands or other property granted to the State for educational or 
religious purposes, shall forever be preserved inviolate and undi- 
minished; and all incomes arising therefrom shall be faithfully 
applied to the specific object of the original grant or appropria- 
tions, and all school lands or University lands shall not be sold for 
a less sum than five dollars per acre. 

conde:n'sed synopsis of the constitution of the 
state of nebraska. adopted 1875, 

DiSTErBiJTiON OF PowERS. — The powers of the Government of this 
State are divided into three distinct departments: the Legislative, Execu- 
tive, and Judicial, and no person, or collection of persons, being one of 
these departments shall exercise any power properly belonging to either 
of the others, except as hereinafter expressly directed or permitted. 

Legislative. — The Legislative authority is vested in a Senate and 
House of Eepresentatives. The House of Eepresentatives shall consist of 
eighty-four members, and the Senate shall consist of thirty members, until 
the year eighteen hundred and eighty, after which time the number of 
members of each House shall be regulated by law; but the number of 
Eepresentatives shall never exceed one hundred, nor that of Senators thirty- 
three. The sessions of the Legislature shall be biennial, except as other- 
wise provided in the Constitution. The Senate and House of Represen- 
tatives in joint convention shall have the sole power of impeachment, but 
a majority of the members elected must concur therein. The Legislature 
shall not pass local or special laws granting to any corporation, asso- 
ciation, or individual, any special or exclusive privileges, immunity, or 
franchise whatever. Lands under control of the State shall never be 
donated to railroad companies, private corporations, or individuals 

Executive Department.— The Executive Department shall consist 
of a Governor, Lieutenant-Governor, Secretary of State, Auditor of Public 

190 Johnson's history of Nebraska. 

Accounts, 'J'reasurer, Superintendent of Public Instruction, Attorney 
Genera], and Commissioner of Public Lands and J5uildings, who shall each 
hold his onice for the term of two years, from the first Thursday after the 
first Tuesday in January next after his election, and until his successor is 
elected and qvuilified. The Governor, Secretary of State, Auditor of Pub- 
lic Accounts, and Treasurer, shall reside at the Seat of Government during 
their terms of office, and keep the public records, books, and papers there, 
iuul shall perform such duties as may be required by law. Ko person shall 
be eligible to the otlice of Governor or Lieutenant-governor, who shall not 
have attained the age of thirty years, and been for two years next pre- 
■ceding his election a citizen of the United States and of this State. All 
■civil officers of this State shall be liable to impeachment for any misde- 
meanor in office. The supreme executive power shall be vested in the 
•Governor, who shall take care that the laws be faithfully executed. The 
G^overnor shall be Commander-in-Chief of the military and naval forces of 
the State (except when they shall be called into the service of the United 
States), and may call out the same to execute the laws, suppress insurrec- 
tion and repel invasion. In case of death, impeachment and notice thereof 
to the accused, failure to qualify, resignation, absence from the State, or other 
disability of the Governor, the powers, duties and emoluments of the 
office, for the residue of the term, or until the disability shall be removed, 
«hall devolve upon the Lieutenant-Governor. The Lieutenant Governor 
shall be President of the Senate, and shall vote only when the Senate is 
■equally divided. The salaries of the Governor, Auditor of Public 
Accounts, and Treasurer shall be two thousand five hundred dollars 
<$2,500) each, per annum, and of the Secretary of State, Attorney General, 
Superintendent of Public Instruction, and Commissioner of Public Lands 
and Buildings, two thousand dollars ($2,000) each per annum. The Lieu- 
tenant-Governor shall receive twice the compensation of a Senator. 

The Judicial Department. — The judicial power of this State shall 
be vested in Supreme Court, District Courts, County Courts, Justices of 
the Peace, Police Magistrates, and in such other Courts inferior to the 
District Courts, as may be created by law for cities and incorporated towns. 
The Supreme Court shall consist of three Judges, a majority of whom 
shall be necessary to form a quorum or to pronounce a decision. It shall have 
original jurisdiction in cases relating to the revenue, civil cases in which 
the State shall be a party, mandamus, quo warranto, hal)eas corpus, and 
such appelate jurisdiction as may be provided by law. At least two terms 
of the Supreme Court shall be held each year at the Seat of Government. 
The Judges of the Supreme Court shall be elected by the electors of the 
State at large, and tlieir terms sliall be six years. The State shall be 
■divided into six Judicial Districts, in each of which shall be elected by the 
electors thereof, one Judge, who shall be Judge of the District Court 
therein, and whose term of office shall be four years. Until otherwise pro- 
vided by law, said Districts shall be as follows: 

First District— The Counties of Richardson, Johnson, Pawnee, Gage, 
Jefferson, Saline, Thayer, Clay, Nuckolls, and Fillmore. 

Johnson's history of nebkaska. 191 

Second District— ThQ Counties of Xemaha, Otoe, Cass, and Lancaster. 
Third District— The Counties of Douglas, Sarpy, Washington and 

Fourth District— The Counties of Saunders, Dodge, Butler, Colfax, 
Platte, Polk, Merritt, Hamilton, York, Seward, Hall, and Howard. 

Fifth District— The Counties of ]3uffalo, Adams, Webster, Franklin, 
Harlan, Kearney, Phelps, Gosper, Furnas, Hitchcock, Dundy, Chase. Chey- 
enne, Keith, Lincoln, Dawson Sherman, Red Willow, Frontier, and the 
unorganized territory west of said District. 

Sixth District— The Counties of Cuming, Dakota, Dixon, Cedar, Wayne, 
Stanton, Madison, Boone, Pierce, Knox, Antelope, Holt, Greeley, Valley, 
and the unorganized territory west of said District. 

The Judges of the Supreme and District Courts shall each receive a 
salary of 62,500 per annum, payable quarterly. ]S"o Judge of the Supreme 
-or District Courts shall receive any other compensation, perquisite, or ben- 
efit for or on account of his office in any form whatever; nor act as attor- 
ney or counsellor-at-law, in any manner whatever; nor shall any salary be 
paid to any County Judge. 

Education.— The Governor, Secretary of State, Treasurer, Attorner- 
•General, and Commissioner of Public Lands and Buildings, shall, under 
the direction of the Legislature, constitute a Board of Commissioners for 
the sale, leasing, and general management of all lands and funds set apart 
for educational purposes, and for the investment of school funds in such, 
manner as may be prescribed by law. All funds belonging to the State for 
■educational purposes, the interest and income whereof only are to be used, 
shall be deemed trust funds held by the State, and the State shall supply 
all losses thereof that may in any manner accrue, so that the same shall 
remain forever inviolate and undiminished; and shall not be invested or 
loaned except on United States or State securities, or registered County 
bonds of this State ; and such funds, with the interest and income thereof, 
are hereby solemnly pledged for the purposes for which they are granted 
and set apart, and shall not be transferred to any other fund for other 
uses. No sectarian instruction shall be allowed in any school or institu- 
tion supported in whole or in part by the public funds set apart for 
educational purposes; nor shall the State accept any grant, conveyance, 
or bequest, of money, lands, or other property, to be used for sectarian 
purposes. The Legislature may provide by law for tlie establij^hment of a 
school or schools for the safe keeping, education, employment, and refor- 
mation of all children under the age of sixteen years, who for want 
of proper parental care, or other cause, are growing up to mendicancy or 

Counties. — No new County shall be formed or established by the Leg- 
islature which will reduce the County or Counties, or either of them, to a 
less area than four hundred square miles, nor shall any County be formed 
of a less area. No County shall be divided, nor have any part stricken 
therefrom without first submitting the question to a vote of the people of 

192 Johnson's history of Nebraska. 

the County, nor unless a majority of all the legal voters of the County 
voting on tlie question shall vote for the same. 

Kailkoad Corporations. — Railways heretofore constructed, or that 
may hereafter be constructed in this State, are hereby declared public high- 
ways, K.nd shall be free to all persons for the transportation of their per- 
sons and property thereon, under such regulations as may be prescribed by 
law. And the Legislature may from time to time pass laws establishing 
reasonable maximum rates of charges for the transportation of passengers 
and freight on the different railroads in this State. The liability of rail- 
road corporations as common carriers shall never be limited. 

Municipal Corporations. — No City, County, Town, Precinct, Munic- 
ipality, or other sub-division of the State shall ever become a subscriber to 
the capital stock, or owner of such stock, or any portion or interest therein, 
of any railroad or private corporation or association. 


Alphabetically Arranged. 


Adams County was organized on the 12th day of December' 
1871. It is located in the south-central part of the State, in the 
sixth tier of Counties west of the Missouri, and second north of 
the Kansas line, and is hounded on the north by Hall, east by 
Clay, south by "Webster, and west by Kearney County, containing 
576 square miles, or 368,640 acres, at an average elevation of 1,850 
feet above the sea level. 

Population of the County in 1870, nineteen; in 1875, 3,093; 
in 1879, 8,162; increase in four years, 5,069. 

"Water Courses. — The Little Blue Kiver, with its source in 
the northeast of this County, is the principal stream. It flows 
southeasterly through the central portion, having numerous 
tributaries on either side reaching through nearly every town- 
ship, the most important being Thirty-two Mile Creek, a very fine 
stream, affording a volume of water suflScient for mill purposes. 
Pawnee Creek waters the southeastern part of the County, while the 
northern townships are watered by innumerable springs and 
rivulets, which rise in this County and flownorth-eastwardly toward 
the West Blue Kiver. The Platte River cuts across the north- 
west corner, and altogether, Adams is a well-watered County. 
Soft, sweet water can be found almost anywhere, by boring, at a 
depth of from twenty -five to seventy-five feet. 


lOtt Johnson's history of Nebraska. 

Timber. — Considerable native timber yet remains in the 
vicinity of tbe Little Blue, while nearly all of the streams have 
more or less along their banks. The principal varieties of native 
trees are the box-elder, cottonwood, soft maple, elm, ash and oak. 
Large quantities of timber have been planted throughout the 
County by the settlers, and already flourishing artificial groves may 
be seen dotting the prairie in every direction. Each year the 
amount of planting is largely increased, and as the cottonwood, 
box-elder and other varieties grow very rapidly, it will not be long 
before Adams County will haVe plenty of timber for fuel of her 
own growing. 

Fruit. — Planting of fruit trees of various kinds has received 
a large share of attention from the people, and their efforts in this 
line have fine promises of reward. In 1879 there were 17,627 
apple, 529 pear, 1,814 cherry, 9,839 plum and 18,364 peach trees 
under cultivation in the County, besides 3,514 grape vines, and 
many other vai-ieties of fruits. The plum and grape, in the wild 
state, are found in great abundance along the streams. 

Character of the Land and Soil. — The surface of the country 
in the vicinity of the Little Blue and other streams in the Western 
part of the County, is broken with occasional deep-cut ravines; 
but this forms only a very small per cent, of the whole, by far the 
greater part consisting of beautiful undulating table land, inter- 
Bected with the fine valleys of the numerous streams. On the 
Blue, Thirty-two Mile Creek and many smaller streams, there are 
long stretches of bottom land that cannot be surpassed for fertility 
and beauty. Immediately next to the Platte Piver there is a 
narrow strip of sandy land, to the south and east of which the 
surface rises in a succession of plateaus, of a mile or so in width, 
and terminating in high, undulating table land. 

The soil almost everywhere is of the best quality, consisting of 
a deep, rich mould, impregnated with lime, clay and sand, and 
resting on a gravelly bed. It will stand any amount of drougth or 
moisture, and when properly cultivated yields bountiful crops. 

The Crops. — The number of acres under cultivation in the 
County, by the Assessors' returns for March, 1879, was 62,848. 
In winter wheat, seventy-five; yield, 837 bushels. Spring wheat, 
30,177 acres; yield, 421,036 bushels. Corn, 11,403 acres; yield, 

Johnson's history of Nebraska. 195 

•284,762 bushels. Barley, 2,146 acres; yield, 40,714 bushels. Oats, 
3,193 acres; yield, 90,432 bushels. Potatoes, 301 acres; yield, 
17,195 bushels. Broom corn, 3,839 acres; yield, 574 tons. Hun- 
garian, 216 acres; yield, 5,232 bushels. 

First Settlements.— In 1870 the population was nineteen, 
■composed of a few settlers on the Little Blue. Several years pre- 
vious to this, however, a few ranches had been established, and 
other efforts made at settlement, on the old over-land road to Pike's 
• Peak, but the Indians were unusually troublesome in this part of 
the country, and destroyed many of the ranches, killing the 
•inmates and compelling others to leave, through fear. The graves 
of a number of the pioneers may yet be seen on the banks of 
Thirty-two Mile Creek and the Blue. The first actual settlement 
inorth of the Little Blue, was made by Mr. T. Babcock, April 24, 
1871, on the present town site of Juniata. John Stark, and his 
«on Isaac W., with their families, came on the 5th day of May 
•of the same year and located on the same section. Soon after 
homesteads were taken by other settlers near by and during the 
month of May, along and adjacent to the survey for the B. & M. 
Railroad, some twenty-five or thirty settlements were made. Set- 
tlements continued to increase rapidly, mainly under the patron- 
age of Messrs. Bowen & Brass, agents of the Michigan Emigra- 
tion Company, who themselves became permanent residents. 
Over one hundred families, mainly from Michigan, settled in the 
County during the year 1871 and the Spring of 1872, and the tide 
■of emigration has continued steadily up to the present time. 

County Organization. — The election for County officers and 
location of the County Seat was held December, 12, 1871,at the res- 
idence of T. Babcock, and resulted in the unanimous choice of 
section twelve, town seven, north, range eleven west — the present 
location of Juniata — for the County Seat, and the election of the 
following County officers, viz.: Commissioners, Samuel L. Brass, 
Edwin M. Allen, and W. W. Selleck; Probate Judge, Titus Bab- 
cock; County Clerk, Russel D. Babcock; Sheriff, Isaac "W". Stark; 
Treasurer, John S. Chandler; Assessor, W. W. Camp; Superin- 
tendent of Schools, Adna H. Bowen. 

Railroads. — Prior to 1871 the trial line for the B. & M. road 
-had been run near the line now used. The road runs nearly east 

196 Johnson's history of Nebraska. 

and west through the County, entering at a point about eight 
miles south of the northeast corner, and passing out about four 
miles south of the northwest corner. During the summer of 1871 
tlie road bed was constructed through the County and west to its 
junction with the Union Pacific. By the first of September the 
rails were laid to within three miles of the east line of the County 
when work was suspended for tlie season. In June, 1872, the 
road was completed to Juniata, and continued thence west to its 
present terminus. Length of road in County, 24.06 miles. 

The St. Joe & Denver City Railway was completed to its 
present junction with the B. & M., in 1873. It enters the County 
near the middle of the eastern line, and runs northwesterly, join- 
ing the B. & M. at Hastings. Length of road so far completed in 
County, 7.20 miles. 

The Hastings & Republican Yalley R. R., running from 
Grand Island, on the Union Pacific, through this County^ 
via Hastings, to points in the Republican Yalley, was completed 
in 1879. Length of road in County about twenty-eight miles. 

Public Schools. — The number of school districts in Adams. 
County in 1879 was sixty-two; school houses, fifty-eight; chil- 
dren of school age, 2,678; average number of days taught by 
each teacher, ninety-six; districts having six months school or 
more, twenty-five; total number of children in the County 
between the ages of five and twenty-one years, 2,678 — males, 
1,377; females, 1,301; number of qualified teachers employed— r 
males, twenty-eight, females, forty-eight; value of school houses, 
$35,866; value of school house sites, $1,751; value of books and 
apparatus, $375.85; wages paid teachers for the year, males, $3,. 
919.7; females, $6,593.29; total, $10,312.36. 

Taxable Property. — Statement of the taxable property of the 
County, as returned by the Assessors, for 1879: Acres of land, 
267,495; average value per acre, $3.11; value of town lots, 
$114,750; money used in merchandise, $90,422; money used in 
manufactures, $25,592; number of horses, 2,510; value, $86,838; 
number of mules, 572, value, $19,579; number of cattle, 4,071; 
value, $37,065; number of sheep, 977, value, $994; number of 
swine, 8,166, value, $6,732; number of vehicles, 1,296, value, 
122,973; moneys and credits, $18,821; mortgages, $24,392; stocks, 

Johnson's history of Nebraska. 197 

etc., $805; furniture, $42,351; libraries, $1,010; property not 
enumerated, $94,9M; railroads, $316,61:9.17; total, $1,734,848.17. 

Lands. — There is no desirable Government land remaining in 
this County. The Burlington & Missouri River Railroad Company 
owns 10,000, and the Union Pacific Company several thousand 
acres of well located and desirable land here which they offer for 
sale at prices ranging from $2.00 to $10.00 per acre. 

Precincts. — The County is divided into eight precincts. 
"We give the name and population of each for 1879: Denver? 
3,026; Little Blue, 548 ; Silver Lake, 518; Kenesaw, 542; Cotton- 
wood, 610; Pawnee, 1,017; Juniata, 1,125; West Blue, 776. Total 
for County, 8,162. 

Flouring Mills. — There are three flouring mills in this County 
— one located at Gilson, on the Blue, one at Millington, and one at 
Juniata. The Juniata Mills are propelled by steam; the building 
is four stories high, has three run of stone, with a capacity of one 
hundred barrels of flour every twenty-four hours. 


The County Seat, is one of the most enterprising and 
rapidly developing cities in !N"ebraska. Scarcely more than half 
a dozen years old, it already has a population of 3,500, and the 
increase has been greater in the last two years than at any other 
period. The admirable location of Hastings, at the junction of 
three leading railway lines — the Burlington & Missouri, St. Joe & 
Denver, and Hastings & Republican Yalley — gives her great 
commercial advantages and is the main cause of her remarkable 
and substantial growth. She is the center of trade for a large 
portion of the Republican Yalley and northern Kansas, and 
transacts an immense business in the handling and shipment of 
grain, in the sale of agricultural implements, lumber and merchan- 
dise of all description. The wholesale and retail houses do a 
thriving business, and generally'- have commodious, well-stocked 
stores, while all the minor branches of trade and mechanics are 
well represented. The hotel accommodations are ample; the 
schools are graded and have a large attendance; the school houses 
are models of beauty and are furnished with all the modern 
improvements in desks and apparatus; Churches of the leading 

198 Johnson's history of Nebraska. 

denominations have erected houses of worsliip, several of them: 
very neat in appearance and costly, and all the prominent secret 
societies — Masons, Odd Fellows, Good Templars and Temple of 
Honor — have flourishing lodges. There are three newspapers pub- 
lished at Hastings — the Adams County Gazette and Hastings 
Journal^ weeklies; and the Central NeirasTcian, a semi-monthly 
and weekly paper — all well patronized and able papers. 

In September, 1879, Hastings was visited by a most destruct- 
ive fire, which destroyed nearly two blocks in the business portion 
of the city, causing a loss estimated at from $75,000 to $100,000. 
This happening during the busy opening of the fall trade, was severely 
felt; but the citizens, with their characteristic energy and business 
enterprise, set to work immediately to clear away the debris, and 
larger and more substantial brick blocks will occupy the places of 
those destroyed, before the present year is out. 


The next town of size and importance in the County, 
is located on the line of the B. & M. Railway, six miles west of 
Hastings. It was laid out as a town in 1872, and at present has 
some 400 inhabitants. 

Juniata is the oldest town in the County, and was, until quite 
recently, the County Seat. It is surrounded by a magnificent and 
fertile country, dotted with large and highly cultivated farms, 
many of them supplied with groves of fruit and forest trees. A 
brisk business is transacted here in grain, implements, lumber and 
general merchandising. They have a good school house costino- 
$3,500 ; several Churches, two hotels, and one of the best flouring 
mills in the West. The Juniata Herald is published here weekly,, 
and is a journal of influence in the County. 


Is a thriving little town on the line of the B. & M. road, 
eight miles west of Juniata, and was laid out soon after that 
place. It has a very fine, large school house, a hotel and several 
business houses. 


Is a small village on the B. & M., five miles east of Hastings. It 


was laid out in 1872, and bids fair to become a prosperous town. 
It has several business establishments and is a good market for 
grain and stock, 


Is the name of a town laid out within the past year, on 
the line of the Republican Yallej branch of the B. & M. R. R. It 
is located in the midst of an excellent agricultural section, and 
business is already well represented in the town. 

FosTOFFiCES. — The postoffices in the County, outside of the 
towns named, are: Millington, Gilson, Kingston, Little Blue, 
Mayflower, Silver Lake, North Blue, Roseland and Rosedale. 


Antelope County was organized in accordance with an Act 
of the Legislature, in June, 1871. It is located in the north- 
eastern part of the State, in the fifth tier of Counties west of the 
Missouri River, and is bounded on the north by Knox, east by 
Pierce, and Madison, south by Boone, and west by Holt Countv 
and unorganized territory, and contains 864 square miles, or 
552,960 acres of laud. 

Water Courses. — The Elkhorn River is the principal stream, 
flowing diagonally through the central portion, and by its tribu- 
taries draining the entire country, except the northern townships, 
which are nourished by the numerous branches of Yerdigris 
and Bazile Creeks that flow northward to the Missouri. The 
Elkhorn at this point is about twenty-five yards wide, with an 
average depth of eighteen inches, has a rapid current, clear, pure 
water, and sandy bottom. On the south side are two tributaries, 
Clear Water and Cedar Creeks, both large enough for mill pur- 
poses. There are also seven smaller streams within the limits of 
the County tributary to the Elkhorn, and two or three that wator the 
southern townships and flow southward into the Loup. Springs 
are abundant along most of the small streams throughout the 
County, and a few are to be found along the Elkhorn. 

Timber. — There is enough native timber in this County, 
especially in the western part, to supply all fuel for many years to 

200 Johnson's history of Nebraska. 

come. "Well seasoned oak wood can be boncjlit for $3.50, and 
Cottonwood for $3.00 per cord. The timber found along the Elk- 
liorn is chiefly cottonwood, asli, white elm, willow and oak. The 
tributaries are timbered with the above named varieties, with the 
addition of red elm, hackberry, basswood, and box elder. Cotton- 
wood is more abundant along the Elkhorn than any other wood, 
and oak is more plentiful on most of the smaller streams, and in 
the tim bered gulches. 

Artificial groves have been set out by almost every farmer. 

Wild Fruits. — Many kinds of shrubs grow either among 
the timber or in thickets by themselves, the most common of which 
are the plum, and choke cherry. "Wild fruits are very abundant 
in a favorable season, the most plentiful being plums, grapes and 

Character of the Land, Soil, Etc. — The greater portion of 
this County is embraced in the beautiful valley of the Elkhorn 
River, which drains a country about thirty miles wide. The valley 
of the Elkhorn is here generally about two miles wide, but is in 
some places from three to five, and nearly always undulating, with 
small level tracts, and many smooth, long slopes from the adja- 
cent foot hills toward the river. The bottom lands have an average 
elevation of about twenty feet above the river, with sufiicient fall 
to carry off all surplus water from heavy rains. Near the river 
there are some small tracts of low land known as first bottoms, 
which produce a heavy grass, and are sul)ject to occasional 
overflow. The valley of the Elkhorn is skirted on either side by 
a range of hills varying from about twenty to one hundred and 
fifty feet above the bottom lands, and broken through every two 
or three miles by small streams tributary to the Elkhorn. These 
hills are in some places steep and broken, in others low and 
rounded, and susceptible of cultivation. The uplands are gently 
rolling, and are intersected with small valleys each from one to 
four miles wide and drained by a tributary of the Elkhorn. 
Thei-e are no large tracts of level land in the County. There are 
only a few small tracts along the Elkhorn too low, and a few on the 
divides between the streams too rough and broken, to admit of culti- 
vation. As a whole the surface of the country is rolling, with one 
large valley running diagonally through the center, and nine or 


Johnson's histoky of Nebraska. 201 

ten smaller valleys running in a direction nearly at right angles 
with the larger one. About three-fourths of the land in the 
County has a first-class clay loam soil, the remaining fourth a 
sandy soil, varying in quality from a rich sandy loam to a worth- 
less yellow sand. The usual depth of the soil on the uplands is 
about eighteen inches, and on the bottoms, two-and-a-half to three 
feet. There are exceptional places on the narrow ridges where the 
soil is but a few inches deep, M'hile at the foot of steep 
hills, where decayed vegetable matter has accumulated forages, it 
may be eight or ten feet in depth. A large portion of the sandy 
land is rolling or hilly, and is almost worthless for any purpose 
except grazing. It produces a tolerably good growth of grass, and 
will be of value in the future when stock raising becomes a lead- 
ing business. Wherever the sandy tracts are level, the soil is 
fair in quality, and in some places rich and black, producing 
equally as well as the clay loam soil. Water can be had by digging 
or -boring, on the Elkhorn bottom, at the depth of from ten to 
twenty-five feet; on the bottoms of the smaller streams at the depth 
of from twenty to forty feet, and on the uplands from sixty to 
ninety feet. 

FiEST Settlements, &c. — The first settler in the County was 
Crandall Hopkins, of Wisconsin, who located with his family on a 
claim in the Elkhorn Yalley, in JSTovember, 186S. He was followed 
by Thomas Mahan, in February, 1869, and early that spring by J. H. 
Snider and family, Mr. Timms, William Clark, A. M. Salnave and 
A. J. Leach. The settlement of the County once begun, proceeded 
rapidly. The summer of 1869 was a productive one, and the 
settlers who were there early enough to do any breaking, raised 
excellent crops; prosperity smiled upon them, new settlers came 
weekly, sometimes daily, and before fall the choicest tracts of the 
Elkhorn bottom were settled as far west as the Upper Yellow 
Banks, within two or three miles of the west limit of the County. 

In 1870 the settlers suffered from the first Indian raid. A 
party of ten Indians visited the new settlement, appearing friendly 
at first, but in two or three instances becoming extremely insolent, 
firing- a number of shots into the house of Louis Patras, and finally 
stealing nine horses and hurrying off toward the Sioux reservations 
in the northwest. 

202 Johnson's history of Nebraska. 

In November of this year, the Indians made a second raid 
upon the settlements, breaking into the house of Robert Horne^ 
listing on the head of Cedar Creek, and carrying off or destroying^ 
all his household goods. These Indians were followed by fourteen of 
the settlers, overtaken and severely punished, within sight of where 
James McFarland now lives, in Holt County, a few miles below 
O'l^eil City. Two of their number were killed, and two or three 
known to be wounded. The whites also suffered in this battle, 
two of the men receiving severe arrow wounds, and one horse was- 
killed and three wounded. Since that time the settlers have not 
been molested by Indians. 

These raids did not stop the settlement of the County. 
During the summer of 1870 the Elkhorn bottom continued to fill 
up with new settlers, and the valleys of the smaller streams, at 
least as ftir west as Cedar Creek, were tolerably well settled by fall. 
By the first of Kovember there were not less than 150 voters within 
the limits of the County. The pioneers were subject to many 
privations and inconveniences. The nearest postoffice, store or 
mill was at Norfolk, distant from thirty to fifty miles. Mr. A. J» 
Leach, before there was a postofiice in the County, frequently 
brought the mail from Norfolk for the entire community, in his 
overcoat pockets, leaving it at Judge Snider's for distribution. 

The organization of the County was effected by the election of 
a full board of County officers, at the first general election, held in 
June, 18T1, in pursuance of an Act of the Legislature. At this 
election 202 votes were polled, and Oakdale designated as the 
County Seat. 

In 1879 there were thirty school districts in Antelope County; 
school houses, twenty-seven; children of school age, 914; males, 
511; females, 403; number of qualified teachers employed, males, 
nine; females, twenty-two; value of school houses, $3,923; value of 
school house sites, $772. 

The Assessors' returns for 1879 show the following amount of 
taxable property in the County: Number of acres of land^ 
127,395; average value, $1.62 per acre; value of town lots, $22,340; 
money used in merchandise, $8,120; money used in manufactures, 
$300; horses, 1,079; value, $30,362; mules and asses, ninety-four^ 
value, $4,088; neat cattle, 2,361, value, $22,136; sheep, 502, value^ 

Johnson's history of Nebraska. 203 

$645; swme, 1,477, value, $1,179; vehicles, 364, value, $6,800; 
moneys and credits, $2,425; mortgages, $2,698; furniture, $1,353; 
libraries, $50; property not enumerated, $9,528; total, $319,119. 

The County is divided into six voting precincts. The follow- 
ing is the name and population of each, in 1879: Center, 599; 
Twin Grove, 467; Elm Grove, 341; Cedar, 372; Mills, 282; Sher- 
man, 117; total population of County, 2,178. 

There is yet some Government land in this County subject to 
homestead and pre-emption, but it is being rapidly taken up, and 
in a year or two more none will be left. The Burlington & Missouri 
Kiver Kailroad Company also owns between 80,000 and 90,000^ 
acres, for which tliey ask from $1.50 to $6.00 per acre. 

There is an unlimited supply of nutritious prairie grass in 
Antelope County, both for pasturage and hay, and the raising of 
cattle and sheep must become, and is fast becoming, one of the 
leading industries in this part of the country. At the present 
time there is not stock enough in the County and adjacent terri- 
tory to consume one hundredth part of the grass during the 
grazing season, nor one tenth of the hay that could be put up for 
winter use. 

Two railroads are projected through this County, and the sur- 
veys and preliminary work is already accomplished. The Fre- 
mont and Elkhorn Yalley R. E.., now in running order to Stanton, 
in Stanton County, will more than likely be extended to and 
through Antelope befoi-e the close of another year. 

There are two saw mills in the County, also two good flouring 
mills that are kept running to their full capacity, the settlers com- 
ing fifty to one hundred miles to mill. 


The County Seat, has a fine location on the Elkhorn River, in the 
southeastern part of the County. It is favorablely situated for 
business, and enjoys a large trade from the country adjacent. 
The town is keeping pace with the growth of the County, and to-day 
has a population of 300 ; has a number of good stores, a hotel and 
other business establishments ; a fine school house, and several 
church organizations. The Fen and Flow, a weekly newspaper, 
established here in 1876, continues to prosper, and has done, and 
is doing excellent service for the County. 

204 Johnson's history of nebkaska. 


One of the briglitest little towiis in the valley, is located 
on the Elkhorn, five miles above the County Seat. Its 
present population is about 450, and it is growing very rapidly. 
Churches, schools and business have been established on a firm 
basis, and all are prospering wonderfully. The Repuhlican, a 
weekly newspaper, is issued here and is well patronized. 

Several young towns, with a postoffice, general store, school, 
blacksmith shop, etc., have been started in. different parts of the 


The first settlements in Boone County were made early in 
the Spring of 1871 by people chiefly from Massachusetts, "Wiscon- 
sin and Minnesota, among the more prominent of whom were 
S. P. Bollman, Harvey Maricle, L. H. Baldwin, K. G. Myers, 
Albert Dresser, Eichard Evans, T. T. Wilkenson, John Hammond, 
Stephen D. Avery and Elias Atwood, senior, who settled mostly in 
the valley of the Beaver. 

The County was organized by a special Act of the Legislature? 
approved March 28, 1871. It is located in the northeastern part 
of the State, and is bounded on the north by Antelope, east by 
Madison and Platte, south by Kance, and west by Greeley and 
Wheeler Counties, and embraces about 672 square miles or 
430,080 acres. 

The surface of the country consists mainly of high rolling and 
gently undulating prairie, almost every portion of which is sus- 
ceptible of easy tillage. The valley of Beaver Creek, extending 
from northwest to southeast through the central portion of the 
) County, is exceedingly beautiful and fertile, the bottoms ranging 
from one to two miles in width. The valley of Cedar Creek on 
the west, and running parallel with the Beaver, is also very fine, 
and nearly as extensive. Plum, Timber, Shell and the smaller 

;.:, creeks, each afford considerable excellent bottom land. The soil 
throughout the County is uniformly good and well adapted to the 

i.K growth of all the cereals, vegetables and fruits. On the table land 

Johnson's histoky of Nebraska. 205 

wheat will average twenty busliels to the acre. The natural 
grasses are abundant, affording fine advantages for the rearing of 
cattle or sheep. On the uplands a constant supply of fresh water 
can always be had at the light expense of boring wells for wind- 

JBeaver Creek, a tributary of the Loup, is the principal stream of 
the County. It is a beautiful creek, affording sufficient water 
power for mills, and flows in a southeasterly course through the 
central portion of the County, supported by a number of creeks 
and brooks. 

Cedar Creek, the next stream in point of size, waters the 
southwestern townships, flowing in the same general direction of 
the Beaver, Timber Creek being its principal support. 

Plum Creek flows in a southeasterly coarse about midway 
between the Beaver and Cedar. Shell Creek and a number of 
small streams flowing into it, water the upper portions of the 
County, and flows into the Platte River. 

Native timber is scarce in the County and is confined to the 
margins of the streams and ravines. Small quantities of Cedar 
are found in occasional places along the creek bearing that name. 

Tree planting has been generally well attended to. The first 
plantings were greatly injured by the grasshoppers, but through 
the perseverence of the settlers many thrifty young groves may 
now be seen. 

The number of acres of timber reported under cultivation in 
the County in 18Y9, was 450, and the number of trees planted, 

The number of fruit trees reported under cultivation, was 
pear, thirty-three ; peach, 521 ; plum, 478 ; cherry, 185 ; and 
grape vines, 509. 

The organization of the County was effected by commissioners 
appointed for that purpose by the Probate Judge of Platte County, 
in accordance with the provisions of a special Act of the Legis- 
lature, approved March 28, 1871. The Commissioners were : S. P. 
Bollman, John Hammond, and Harvey Maricle. 

The valuation of taxable property in the County, as reported 
for 1879, is as follows : Number of acres of land, 220,110; average 
value per acre, $1.06; value of town lots, $8,583.00; money used 

206 Johnson's history of Nebraska. 

in merchandise, $3,813.00 ; number of horses, 1,276, value, 
$35,004.00 ; number of mules and asses, 105, value, $3,687.00; 
cattle, 2,223, value, $17,047.00 ; sheep, 583, value, $583.00; 
swine, 1,630, value, $764.00 ; vehicles, 529, value, $8,680.00 ; 
moneys and credits; $3,281.00 ; mort,^ages, $1,349.00; furniture 
$3,325.00; property not enumerated, $16,557 ; total, $330,054.00. 

The school interests of Boone County are in a flourishing con- 
dition. The number of school districts in 1879, was thirty-one 
school houses, seventeen; children of school age, 926; males, 504 
females, 422; number of qualified teachers employed — males, six 
females, nineteen; amount paid male teachers, $235.40; paid 
female teachers, $1,405.87; value of school houses, $3,897.50; value 
of school house sites, $140. 

The Government land in this County has all been taken up, 
with the exception of a few odd parcels or small tracts, not desirable 
for farTuing purposes. The Burlington & Missouri Eiver Eailroad 
Company, however, owns a large amount of very fine land here — 
about 150,000 acres — for which two to six dollars per acre is asked. 

At present the nearest railroad point to Boone County is on. 
the Union Pacific, about twenty-five miles distant. A railway has 
been projected through this County and the grading lias already 
been made. In a few years' time all this country will be opened 
to railway travel and traftic. Silver Creek, on the Union Pacific, 
is connected with Albion and other towns in Boone County, by a 
graded, air-line wagon road, built by Adam Smith, Esq., and other 
citizens interested in the welfare of the County. 

The County is divided into nine precincts, the following being 
the population of each : Manchester, 42 L ; Cedar, 396 ; Shell Creek, 
876; Plum Creek, 240; Boone, 307; Ashland, J 22; Oakland, 266; 
Beaver, 381 ; Dublin, 117. Total population of the County in 1879, 
2,626. Of the above 1,462 are males, and 1,164 females. 

According to the crop returns made in March, 1879, Boone 
County had 65,549 acres under cultivation. The number of acres 
planted and yield of the principal crops, is as follows: Winter 
wheat, 390 acres, 5,080 bushels; rye, 1,643 acres, 24,619 bushels; 
spring wheat, 36,901 acres, 448,326 bushels; corn, 21,371 acres, 
689,780 bushels; barley 1,943 acres, 34,408 bushels; oats, 5,324 
iacres, 175,048 bushels, and potatoes 105 acres, 10,327 bushels. 

Johnson's history of Nebraska. 207 


The Countj Seat, is a very promising town of 300 inhabi- 
tants. It was hiifl ont in 1871, and was the first town platted 
and recorded in the County. It is centrally located on the west 
bank of the Beaver, on the S. one-half, IST. "W. one-fourth, Sec. 
twenty-two, town twenty north, range six west. The business of 
the place is represented by three grocery and dry goods stores, a 
■drug store, two harness shops, an extensive wagonmaker's and 
blacksmith shop, a hotel, livery stable, grain wareliouses, lumber, 
feed, implement and other stores. It has a neat frame Court 
House 22x30 feet, a large frame school house, and a weekly news- 
paper — 2 he Argus. A substantial bridge spans the creek in front 
•of the town, and an excellent flouring mill is close at hand. 
Several of the religious societies have organizations and hold 
regular services. 


On the graded road, in the sontheastern part of the County, 
has recently been laid out and is fast assuming the importance of 
a town, having at present about 150 inhabitants, several stores 
and other places of business. 


On the Beaver, a few miles southeast of the County Seat, has a 
fine new flouring mill, good assortment stores, a hotel, blacksmith 
shops, school house, &c. 

Dayton, Dublin, Myra, Raville, Oxford, Roselma, Boone 
and Coon Prairie are names of postoffices throughout the County, 
at some of which are located a o:eneral store and school house. 


Adjoining "Washington County on the north, flanked on the 
east by the Missouri Riv^er, on the south by the Omaha Indian 
reservation, and on the west by Dodge and Cuming Counties, is 
situated Burt County, containing about 441 square miles, or 
282,240 acres. 

It was named in honor of Francis Burt, Nebraska's first 

208 Johnson's history of Nebraska. 

Governor, and was organized by an Act of i the Territorial Legisla- 
ture, approved February 18, 1855, the present boundaries of the 
County being defined by an Act of the Legislature of 1872-3. 
Outside of tlie valleys flanking the different water courses, the 
surface of the County is rolling, the soil, with a few exceptions, 
beiii"- a dark loam, easily tilled and of great productiveness for all 
descriptions of grain, vegetables and fruits. The higher hills in 
many portions of the County are most admirably adapted to the 
cultivation of grapes and other small fruits. The average yield of 
wheat in this Connty for some years past has ranged from fifteen to 
twenty-three bushels per acre, the estimated average yield for the 
present year, 1879, being fifteen bushels. Spring varieties of 
wheat are usual y cultivated, although, by deep drilling in, large 
yields of winter varieties are produced. 

The second bottom lands, as they are called, succeeding the 
narrow flood plains along the Missouri, rise in gentle undulations 
towards the high table lands, which range from three to eight miles 
distant from the river. As a rule, this beautiful stretch of prairie 
bottom is dry, extremely fertile, and especially adapted to the 
culture of corn and vegetables. In some instances quite extensive 
sloughs intervine, as is the case between Tekamah and the river; 
yet, by a proper system of ditching, these wet lands can be entirely 
redeemed and converted into the most productive corn lands. 
The blufis, as they are commonly termed, are generally low and 
sloping, and, as a rule, susceptible of tillage; those not adapted to 
grain, as before stated, being excellent for grapes, small fruits and 
sheep raising. It is estimated that about one-eighth of the land in 
Burt County is under cultivation, the larger portion of the uncul- 
tivated being held by non-residents and speculators. Unimproved 
land ranges from four to twelve dollars per acre, according to 
quality and location, while improved farms are valued all the way 
from fifteen to forty-five dollars per acre, improvements, railway 
and market facilities governing values. 

Traversing the western portion of the County, from north to 
south, is the wide, fertile and beautiful valley of Logan Creek. 
Here one sees on every hand large, well improved farms with neat 
farm houses and well-constructed barns and other outbuildings. 
The beauty and richness of the valley has earned for it the name of 

Johnson's history of Nebraska. 209 

the Gennesee Yalley of Nebraska, and certainly it is to nortliern 
Nebraska what the famed Gennesee Valley is to the State of New 
York. A few miles to the east of Logan Yalley, and running 
nearly parallel with it, is the Yalley of Bell Creek, much smaller 
than the Logan, yet equally fertile and beautiful. Yalleys varying 
iu width and importance border nearly every water course to be 
found in the County. 

Water Courses. — It may be stated in the outset that Burt 
County is abundantly watered ; the Missouri flowing along its 
eastern border, while Logan Creek, a swift running, beautiful 
stream, with bold banks, passes through the western tier of town- 
ships, from north to south. This stream is fed by brooks and 
springs on either side, thus affording a volume of water entirely 
sufficient for driving any amount of milling and other manu- 
factui'ing machinery during all seasons of the year. 

Bell Creek has its source in the northern portion of the 
County, and flowing in a southeasterly direction empties into the 
Elkhorn Eiver, in Washington Countv. The northeastern 
part of the County is watered by Blackbird, and several other 
creeks which empty into the Missouri River while the more cen- 
tral sections of the County are drained by Elm, Silver, Tekamah 
and several smaller streams which have their source within the 
borders of the County, their flow being generally in a southeasterly 
direction, to a lake or lagoon, about five miles long by half a 
mile in width, situated in the southeastern portion of the County, 
some four or five miles from the Missouri River. 

Besides these creeks, there are many fine springs in the 
County, prominent among which may be mentioned Golden 
Spring, situated about eight miles north of Tekamah. This spring 
flows from a rock, and for the purity of its waters and the beauty 
of its surroundings it is unequalled in the State. 

Timber — While the Missouri bottoms, as also the banks of 
the different streams in the County, furnish an abundance of nat- 
ural timber for fuel, there is little or none suitable for lumber, and 
yerj little that could be converted into building timber. The 
varieties found are chiefly cottonwood, ash, elm, oak, hickory, 
walnut, box elder, and coffee bean. 

Farmers have usually turned their attention to the cultivation 



of timber, and as a result, a large luunber of fine groves are to be 
seen in the settled portions of the County. Even at this time, these 
groves are suflicientlj developed to supply their owners with fuel. 

Fruit. — The soil and climate of Burt County are well adapted 
to all descriptions of fruit growing in northern latitudes, as the 
liir^e number of bearing orchards in the County attest. At the 
])resent time there is an abundance of wild fruits, along the streams 
.and especially on the Missouri bottoms, such as grapes, plums, 
gooseberries and raspberries. The number of fruit trees under 
.cultivation in the County in 1S79, is as follows: Apple, 61,617; 
•pear, 643; peach, 1,638; plum, 9,559; cherry, 2,9J9. 

Building Material. — As before stated there is an absence 
of building timber, and a large per cent, of the lumber used in the 
County is procured at other points to the East and Kortli. There is, 
liowever, an abundance of good sand-stone in the bluffs along the 
Missouri River, ana also an abundance of fine clay from which a 
good quality of brick are manufactured. 

Population. — This County is divided into eight precincts, 
the population in each in 1879 being as follows: Arizona, 618; 
Decatur, 804; Oakland, 954; Silver Creek, 409; Bell Creek, 50; 
Eeverett, 576; Riverside, 260; Tekamah, 1,033. Total population 
of the County 5,165, of which 2,865 are males, and 2,300 females. 

The County Seat, located in the southeastern part of the County, 
is a prosperous and well laid out city of 800 inhabitants. Being 
situated on the Omaha & Northern Nebraska Railway gives it fine 
commercial advantag> s, and it is the chief shipping point and 
business center of the County. Elevators, warehouses and stock 
yards have been erected to facilitate the extensive shipments of 
grain and stock. 

The town contains many fine stores and business establish- 
ments of various kinds; good hotel accommodations, a commodi- 
ous Court House, beautifiul High School building, several Church 
organizations and neat houses of worship, and two old established 
■weekly newspapers — Burtonian and Advocate. 

Tekamah is located in the midst of a prosperous, well settled 
country, and is consequently a thriving, busy town, one of the 
largest and most enterprising in Northern Nebraska. 




On the Missouri River, in the northeast corner of the County, was 
located in the Fall of 1855, by the " Decatur Town and Ferry 
Company," the principal members of which were Stephen Deca- 
tur, Peter A. Sarpy, B. E. Folsom and "W. B. Beck. During the 
Summer of 1856, Mr. Decatur, assisted by Mr. Schemousky, 
surveyed and platted the townsite. In 1857 town shares were 
valued at $1,000 each. . The first hotel erected was known as the 
Porter House. 

212 Johnson's history of Nebraska. 

The mercantile interests in 1857 were represented by Col. P. 
A. Sarpy 0. Lambert, John Chase, Dr. Horner, and Brown & 
Co., their stock consisting principally in Indian goods, whiskey 
and tobacco. Tlie Congregational. sts organized the first Chnrcli 
Society in the town. The Episcopal Church was next organized 
and soon after erected a house of worship. The first birth in the 
town was that of Margueretta Decatur, daughter of O. F. Wilson^ 
born in the Fall of 1857. The first death occured the same Fall, 
and was that of John Gardner. The first physician was Dr. 
McDongall, the next, Dr. Whittacre. Capt. S. T. Leaming was 
the first Mayor, and Hon. Frank Welch, (afterwards Member of 
Congress ironi Nebraska, and now deceased,) the first City Clerk. 
C. Lambert, of Kit Karson fame, and Eev. J. F. Mason, were 
among the first settlers. 

At the present time Decatur has about 500 inhabitants. It 
has an elegant large, new school house, and the business of the 
town is represented by half a dozen general merchandise stores, 
two drug, two hardware, several grocery, feed, and boot and shoe 
stores, lumber yards, carpenters', wagon-makers', and blacksmith 
shops, etc. A weekly newspaper — the Vindicator — is also pub-, 
lished here. 


Situated on the east bank of Logan Creek, in the nortli- 
westcrn part of the County, is a pretty little village of some 
seventy-five inhabitants, containing several stores, a church, car- 
penter shop, wagon and blacksmith shop, an excellent flouring mill, 
and a fine school building, costing about $1,900. Josiah Everett 
the pioneer of this part of the County, located herewith his family 
in 1867. Mr. Waldo Lyon built a small house and barn in the sum- 
mer of 1868, and in the following fall brought his family here, 
Warner & Freeland put up a store building, and stocked it with 
goods, in 1869. In the summer of 1870 a grist mill and the Presby- 
terian Church was completed. The Methodists and several other 
denominations have organized Societies and hold services regularly. 
Some of the best farmers in the county are in the vicinity of Lyons, 
and the extension of the Omaha and Northern Nebraska Railroad 
has given a new impetus to business, which will add largely to its 

Johnson's history of Nebraska. 213 


About fifteen miles to the west of Tekamah, on the Logan 
in the famous Logan Valley, is situated Oakland, a fine little 
country town of about 150 inhabitants. Besides the difier- 
€nt mercantile industries, an excellent flourins mill, and the differ- 
ent trades usual to a small town, religious and educational interests 
are well represented in Oakland. As in most other portions of 
Burt County, the town is flanked on every side by as rich and 
beautiful farming country, as can be found in the State. The 
Omaha & Northern Nebraska Railway, was extended from Tekamah 
to Oakland in the year 1879. 


Some four miles east of Tekamah, in Arizona precinct, 
is situated Kewton postoflice, where will be found a good 
■country store, with a church, school and other advantages. New- 
ton is the home of Senator Beck, brother of United States Senator 
Beck, from Kentucky, and is surrounded by a rich farming 


Is situated on the Missouri River, about five miles north 
of Newton, where will be found a fine steam saw mill, post- 
office, country store, etc. The logs that are converted into lumber 
at the Riverside Mill, are procured chiefly from a fine body of 
timber on the Iowa side of the river. 

Homestead postoffice is about six miles south of Newton, 
where will be found a country store, blacksmith shop, etc. This 
little centre is also in the midst of a highly productive farming 

Golden Spring postofiice is about eight miles to the north of 
Tekamah. These springs flow from a rock of peculiar formation, 
and for the purity of its waters, or the beauty of its surroundings, 
is not excelled in the State. 

There are also what is known as Clarke's postoffice, on Bell 
Creek, near the center of the County, Alder Grove postoffice, situ- 
ated about ten miles southwest of Tekamah, and Bertram, the last 
postoffice organized in the County, and situated about ten miles 
northwest from Tekamah. 

214 Johnson's iiistouy of nebkaska. 

First Sktti.emknts.— On the 2(] of October, 1854, a party of 
nine men, consisting of B. E. Folsom, W. N. Bjers, J. W. Pattisonr 
II. C. Purple, John Young, Jerry Folsom. Wm. T. Eaymond, a 
Mr. I^favnard, and a Mr. AVhite, crossed the Missouri River at 
Council Blufls, Iowa, for the purpose of exploring the interior of 
Nebraska, with a view to permanent settlement therein. The 
first night in the new Territory the party camped at the old 
Mormon town of Winter Quarters, now called Florence, a village 
six miles above Omaha, and from here they took a westerly course 
crossed the Elkhorn Eiver, and examined the country as far west 
as the present town of North Bend, on the Platte Eiver; from here 
they returned to the Elkhorn, re-crossed that stream, and followed 
it up to the mouth of Logan Creek, thence up that stream to a 
point nearly west of the present town of Decatur. Not finding the 
country and timber such as they wished, they changed their course 
to a southeasterly direction, finally arriving at a fine, large body of 
Cottonwood timber, on the Missouri, and all being favorably 
impressed with the advantages of the situation for a town site, they 
decided upon its selection. Accordingly, on the 6th day of 
October 1854, the town site of Tekamah was located, after which 
the party returned to Council Bluft's for supplies, and to make 
preparations for surveying, &c., returning to Tekamah again in a 
few days with an accession to their number of twenty-three men^ 
making in all thirty-two. 

In the meantime contracts had been made by the Town Com- 
pany and settlers for the erection of a Town House and ten other 
buildings in Tekamah, before winter set in, but owing to the difti- 
eulty of obtaining the material, and the annoyances from Indians^ 
they were not fulfilled, and no adequate shelter being provided for 
man or beast, the whole party returned to Iowa, where they 
remained during the w^inter. 

Early in the Spring of 1855 John E. Folsom, in company 
with W. N. Byers, F. W. Goodwill, Miles Hopkins, Z. B. Wilder, 
and K. R. Folsom, returned to Tekamah and commenced getting- 
out logs for two houses. The timber was divided with a whip-saw 
for the walls and floor, the roof being covered with cotton wood 
bark, and by the first of July following, the houses were finished 
and occupied. 

Johnson's history of nkuuaska. 215 

A week or two after the return of Mr. Folsom and others to 
Tekamah, they were joined bj Dedriek Face and wife, F. E. Lange 
and W. B. Beck. Mrs. Face has the honor of being the first white 
woman in the County. 

On the 28th of July of this year, a colony from La Salle 
County, Illinois, consisting of G. M. Peterson, Thomas Thompson, 
John Oak and George Erickson, with their families and household 
goods, twenty-four souls in all, arrived at Tekamah. These were 
the first families to locate upon claims in the County. They 
located north of Silver Creek, and at once began cutting and haul- 
ing logs for building permanent homes; but they had scarcely 
commenced work before a messenger was sent to them with the 
terrifying news that two white men had just been killed and 
scalped by the Santee Sioux near Fontenelle, and that a general 
Indian attack was apprehended. Their fond dreams of peace and 
prosperity were thus suddenly changed to consternation and disap- 
pointment; and gathering up their efiects, they hastily left for 
Tekamah, where preparations for a defense were being made. 

Hon. B. R. Folsom made a requisition upon the Governor for 
arms and ammunition for the settlers, which were readily supplied. 
In the meantime Major Olney Harrington and family, and a few 
others, had arrived at Tekamah, which increased the number of 
inhabitants to about fifty. A military company was organized 
with B. R. Folsom as Captain, "W. B. Beck, Lieutenant, and N. R. 
Folsom, First Sergeant. Eighteen names were enrolled, and the 
men drilled twice a day. A great number of logs were cut and 
hauled from the grove on the ]\[issouri bottom, and a fort or block 
house, partially erected as a better means of defense, (now a hotel 
and is called the Astor House, kept by C. Astor — resident fourteen 
years). But the summer wore away without any more Indian 
disturbances occurring, the scare gradually died out, and the 
settlers returned to their claims to make preparations for the 
coming winter. 

The first election for County organization was held on the 6th 
of l^ovember 1855, at which the following officers were elected, viz: 
William Bates Judge of Probate; John Newett, Sherift"; Peter Peter- 
son, Register; Lewis Peterson, Treasurer; Wm. F. Goodwill. Sur- 
veyor; Olney Harrington, and Adam dinger, Justices of the Peace. 

216 Johnson's history of Nebraska. 

Tekamah had been incorporated as a city by an Act of the 
Legislature, approved March 14, 1S55, and was made the seat oi 

During the Spring and Summer of 1856 a large number of 
claims were taken throughout the County and Tekamah improved 
raj>idly. The terrible winter following, which caused such wide- 
Bpread suflering among the young settlements of Nebraska, was 
also severely felt by the pioneers of Tekamah and vicinity. Cut off 
for a time by the deep snows from all supplies, they suffered 
greatly ibr provisions, especially flour. Most of the stock i^erished 
from exposure and starvation. However elk, deer, and all kinds 
of small game was abundant, and formed the chief article of food 
for the settlers. 

The first marriage in the County was that of Lewis P. Peter- 
Bon to a daughter of Thomas Thompson, in the Fall of 1855. 

The first death was that of Mrs. Thomas Thompson, in the 
Fall of 1855, who died in child-birth, the child dying shortly 
afcerward, also making it the first birth and death in the County. 

Eev. L. F. Stringfield, of the Methodist Episcopal Church, 
organized a Society in Tekamah in August, 1856. In the Fall 
following, Rev. J. M. Taggart, of the Baptist Church, organized 
a Society with eight members. From this time onward religious 
meetings were regularly held at Tekamah and at other points in 
the County. 

B. P. Folsom was appointed Judge of Probate for Burt 
County, by the Governor, his commission dating May 16, 1855. 

Yery little progress was made in the settlement of the County 
during the year 1857, but in the following Spring claims were 
taken in all parts of the County, farms were opened out, build- 
ings erected and other substantial improvements made, and from 
this date the real prosperity of the County commenced and con- 
tinued steadily up to the present time. 

The Omaha & Northwestern Pailroad, now the Northern 
Nebraska, was completed to Tekamah in the Fall of 1876, which 
remained its terminus until the present year, 1879, when it was 
extended to Oakland, in the western part of the County, 

Schools. — Good schools were among the first institutions 
opened at Tekamah and Decatur, and as the County developed, 

Johnson's history of Nebraska.. 217 

comfortable school houses were erected in all the most convenient 

The number of school districts in the County in 1879, was 
fiftj-two; school houses, fifty-one; children of school age, 2,010; 
— males, 1,067; females, 943; whole number of children that 
attended school during the year, 1,445; number of qualified teach- 
ers employed — males, thirty-five, fiemales, forty-nine; wages paid 
teachers — males, $3,977.39, females, $5,156.35; value of school 
houses, $30,610.00; value of school house sites, $1,073.00; value 
of books and apparatus, $1,107.00. 

Crops. — The reports for 1879 give the number of acres of 
land under cultivation in the County at 22,515. The acreage sown 
and tlie yield of the principal crops, is as follows: Winter wheat, 
eighty-three acres, 784 bushels ; rye, 1,088 acres, 16,790 bushels ; 
spring wheat, 10,175 acres, 138,293 bushels; corn, 2,494 acres, 
61,861 bushels; barley, 612 acres, 14,246 bushels; oats, 1,614 acres, 
56,318 bushels; potatoes, 238 acres, 18,303 bushels. 

Taxable Property. — The total valuation of taxable property in 
the County, as returned by the Assessor for 1879, is as follows: Acres 
of land, 278,979, average value per acre, $3.75; value of town lots, 
$53,287.00; money used in merchandise, $30,061; money used in 
manufactures, $7,885.00; number of horses, 3,033, value $65,481.00; 
mules and asses, 271, value, $5,316.00; neat cattle, 9,765; value, 
$82,544.00; sheep, 6,385, value, 6,434.00; swine, 17,246, value, 
$10,788.00 ; vehicles, 967, value, $11,788.00 ; moneys and credits ; 
$5,511.00; mortgages, $12,837.00; stocks, etc., $613.00; furni- 
ture, $17,863.00 ; libraries, $796.00 ; property not enumerated, 
$16,173.00; railroads, $24,129.00; total, $1,406,160.00. 


Butler County lies in the great Platte Yalley about fifty-one 
miles west of the Missouri River. It has an area of 694 square 
miles, or 351,360 acres of land, and is bounded on the north by the 
Platte River, which separates it from Platte and Colfax Counties 
east by Saunders, south by Seward, and west by Polk County, hav- 
ino' an averaere elevation above the sea level of 1,500 feet. It was 

218 Johnson's history of Nebraska. 

organized June 26, 1856, by a proclaniation of Governor Cuming;, 
and was named in honor of Wm. O.Butler, of Kentucky, who was- 
appointed by President Pierce to be Territorial Governor of 
Nebraska, but who, however, declined. 

Water Supply. — The Platte River washes the northern^ 
boundary of the County, Wilson, Elm, Deer, Bone and Skull creeks 
have their source in the central portions of this County, and flow 
northwardly into the Platte, the last two being very fine streams. 
The central and southwestern portions of the County are watered 
by the Blues, and the southeastern townships by Plum Creek 
and the Oaks. 

Good well-water is generally attainable at a deptli of ten to- 
sixty feet. 

Timber. — ISTative timber is scarce, although considerable is 
yet found along the Platte and Blue Rivers, on Oak Creek and 
the other streams. Small quantities of cedar and hardwood are 
found in the bluffs. Large quantities of artificial timber have 
been planted throughout the County, and thriving groves may be 
seen on many farms; and where cultivation has kept the prairie fires^ 
from the brush-land young native timber is springing up rapidly. 

In 1879 there were 2,514 acres of timber under cultivation in 
the County, and 1,400,505 trees planted. 

Fruit. — The people of Bultler County have long enjoyed 
choice fruit from their own orchards and vines, and in the past 
year or two the number of fruit trees has been nearly doubled. In 
1879 there were 6,454 apple, 322 pear, 3,634 peach, 1,411 plum and 
3,981 cherry trees, and 214 acres of grape vines under cultivation 
in the County. 

Character of the land, etc. — The surface of the country 
consists for the most part of gently rolling prairie or upland, which 
is almost everywhere susceptible of easy tillage, and possesses a 
rich dark soil Avell adapted to the growth of cereals. The valley of 
the Platte averages about five miles in width in this County, and is 
level and beautiful, with a gradual rise towards the bluffs. The 
Valley of the Big Blue, in the southwestern part of the County 
although much narrower, is generally smooth with wide fertile 
bottoms. Splended well-drained bottom lands are found on the 
North VAue, Skull, Bone and other streams. 

Johnson's history of Nebraska. 21^ 

In an irregular line from four to six miles south from the 
Platte River bank, the bluffs or breaks rise suddenly and boldly 
np from the floor-like plain, affording a landscape spectale of sur- 
passing beauty, and one peculiarly different from any view east of 
the Missouri. After pitching and tossing about promiscuously, 
these ridges which constitute natural winding turnpikes or high- 
ways, and the interjacent ravines, abruptly cease, blending all at 
once in the perfectly level and beautiful tableland. The contrast 
thus presented is most enchanting to one just arrived from th& 
timbered countries of the east. 

Away to the southward and eastward, lie the valleys of the Big 
Blue and the Oaks, marked in summer time by a thread-like con- 
tinuation of green groves and plum thickets winding through tha 
nude plain . Approaching these, after crossing the table land pro- 
per, you behold a moderately rolling surface stretching away to- 
the southward, a region most admirably adapted to pasturage and 

First Settlements. — In 1857 the Waverly Town Company, 
from Plattsmouth, arrived upon the banks of Skull Creek — so 
named from the surprising number of Pawnee skulls found strewn 
about — near the ruins of an ancient village of that tribe, which 
once flourished near the spot where Linwood now stands. Thi& 
was the fii-st hona fide attempt to settle in this region, which was 
still really in possession of the murderous Pawnee, not to speak of 
an occasional visit by marauding bands of Sioux. 

Huttsizer, Barker, Garrison and nine others were the members 
of this pioneer company, which, however, was short-lived, owing to 
the Pike's Peak excitement of the next year (1858-9). These 
erected the first house in Butler County, about a half mile above 
the Linwood mills, on the west bank of Skull Creek. At this date 
no white man had broken a permanent trail through the grass upon 
the Platte bottoms, (south side) but the Mormon trail, and old 
Government road had wound their lonely lengths in dusty majesty 
along the table lands for many years prior. 

Soon after the advent and exodus of the Waverly Company^ 
the families of solomon Garfield and James Blair followed, and 
took up their lonely abode in the house alluded to. Both families 
still reside in the County. 

220 Johnson's history of Nebraska. 

In 1859 can attempt was made to effect a County organization, 
in wliicli tlie following persons participated, viz: John Beecroft, 
Thompson Bissel, AVilliam Bissel, James Blair, Solomon Garfield, 
William Earl, J. W. Seelej, Simpson, Beardslej and McCabe; but 
this organization was never perfected. 

These, then, were the videttes, the outposts of civilization, 
who, with a few persons subsequently arriving, held lonely posses- 
sion of this County from 1858 to 18G8 — ten years. The skirmish 
line of permanent settlers i3enetrated this region about the latter 
(late. As is usual with first comers, they avoided the high, broad 
jjrairie, tables and benches, preferring to distribute themselves 
along the valleys of the various streams, settling in the little 
groves and nooks under the protection of the hills, in the vicinity 
of these prime necessities of frontier life — water and wood — each 
new arrival venturing a little further up the stream, to the next 
thicket or shelter. 

Thus such portions of the valleys and bottoms along the Platte, 
the Blues, Oaks, etc., as are within this County, were first selected 
and occupied, while the highlands were yet entirely vinsettled. 

In August, 18G8, Butler County was permanently oraganized 
and the first election held, showing a poll of seventy votes, indi- 
cating a population of about two hundred souls; for it must not be 
forgotten that at this early day a large percentage of the inhabitants 
were unmarried young men. The County Seat was located at 
Savannah, on the banks of the Platte. 

In 1869-70 the advance columns of the great army of occupa- 
tion swarmed in, entirely absorbing the valleys, and soon after the 
table and rolling lands beyond the Platte blufts and breaks. The 
immediate cause of this remarkable influx of immigrants was, of 
course, the completion of the Union Pacific Railroad, aftbrding 
both an outlet and an inlet to this heretofore isolated territory. 

During the summers of 1869-70-71-72, inclusive, rather more 
than 2,500 persons pitched their tents and settled in the County, 
transforming it, as if by magic, into a very garden, with a popula- 
tion containing all the elements and conditions found in communi- 
ties which have been generations growing up to their present 
estate. More than 40,000 acres of prairie sod were overturned by 
the plow, and hundreds of dwellings and school houses erected. 

Johnson's history of Nebraska. 221 

Twenty years ago all this country was a blank — a lonely, silent 
region of grass-covered hills, hollows and plains, whose time-old 
solitude had been forever unbroken save by the whistling of 
the winds, the tramp of the bison, or the twang of the red man's 
bow string. 

Five or six years later, a dozen or so persons had strag- 
gled hither, scattered along the old wagon trails to the mountains; 
in 1868 the number had increased to about 200; in 1870 to 1,280; 
in 1873, to 3,800; in 1874, to 4,440; in 1876, to 4,695, and in 
J 879, by the census, to 7,310. 

The Bohemians are congregated in the northeast, among the 
hills and ravines of Skull and Bone Creeks, and are industrious 
and economical. They number several hundred in the County, 
many of whom have opened up and improved fine farms. 

The first white child born in the County was Amanda Simp- 
son, November, 1860. 

There are sixteen voting precincts in the County, the follow- 
ing being the population of each in 1879: 

Lin wood, 1,008; Bone Creek, 515; Savannah, 339; Alexis? 
410; Summit, 343; Olive, 410; Franklin, 1,082; Skull Creek, 
621; Oak Creek, 397; Center, 456; Union, 386; Eeading, 622; 
Read, 305; Ulysses, 304; Spurk, thirty-six; Richardson, seventy- 
five. Total, 7,310, of whom 3,956 are males, and 3,354 females. 

The origin of the several names of the precincts are generally 
apparent. Three of them are in commemoration of old residents; 
three are named for streams passing through them; Linwood from the 
presence of linn or basswood — very rare in this vicinity; Savannah 
for an Eastern town of that name; Summit for the former 
Wisconsin residence of C. C. Cobb, Esq., who established a mer- 
cantile business here in 1872; Center from geographical position; 
Reading for a Michigan town of that name, and Ulysses for 
Gen. U. S. Grant. 

The first public house of any description was erected in the 
Summer of 1867, on section four, township, sixteen, range three. 
The materials used for its construction were small, unhewn logs; 
the roof — as w^as the custom in those days — was of poles and long 
slough or bottom grass, covered with sod; its dimensions about ten 
feet by twelve. In this unpretending edifice the first Commission- 

222 Johnson's iiiSTOKy of Nebraska. 

ers' meeting was lield and the first school taught, Miss Ada Yan- 
derkalk being the teacher, and the juvenile members of the families 
of D. 11. Gardner, James Blair, Wm. Butler, Jas. Green and Mrs. 
Solomon Garfield, pupils. This was a "subscription school," the 
wages paid were $20.00 per month. 

Ivanche life in Butler County covered a period of ten years, 
beginning with 1858 and ending about 1868, when the County was 
organized, and freighters' customs and road laws gave way to 
legislative enactments. 

Gardner's Eanche was established in 1859, by David E. 
Gardner, on the site now occupied by the town of Savannah. 
McCabe's Ranche, on Deer Creek, Thomson Bissel's, on Elm Creek, 
and Simpson's Ranche a fewuiiles further west, were all established 
in 1859. Thomson Bissel broke the first land in the County and 
raised the first crop. 

Several graves of " Forty-niners " may yet be seen on the hill 
■points near McCabe's Ranche, but of the ranche itself little is 
visible beyond a profuse growth of gigantic weeds. 

The first session of the District Court held in Butler County 
was at Savannah, on May 20, 1871. As may be supposed, the 
docket was not cumbered to any great extent with the names of 
litigants and attorneys. One case only was brought on for trial. 
This was in reference to the murder of one Edward McMurty, (a 
citizen of what is now known as Pepperville precinct) by some 
Pawnee Indians. For some fancied insult to certain members of 
their tribe, who were in the habit of begging and pilfering among 
the settlers on the south side of the Platte, a party of the red- 
skinned assassins laid in wait for their victim at a secluded spot on 
the Stage Company's Island, two miles south of Columbus, and 
upon his appearance riddled him witli bullets and arrows, dragged 
his body to an out-of-the-way place, and anchored it out of view in 
a water-hole, by means of a forked stick. 

A change of venue was had on account of some supposed 
unfriendliness of the deceased's relatives and neighbors, and the 
culprits were placed in the Omaha jail. They were finally liberated 
and sent to their reservation above Columbus. 

Much shorter and more satisfactory were the proceedings 
in the case of one Robert Wilson, who killed Ransal B. Grant, 

Johnson's history of Nebraska. 223 

proprietor of Grant's ranch, a year or so previous, "Wilson being 
liung to a neighboring tree, and his body dropped into the Platte 
by way of burial. 

April 10, 1871, and April 14, 1872, are remembered as the 
<3ays of the great snow storms, the like of which has not been 
known in this locality before or since. The former was the more 
tempestuous of the two but of only twenty-four hours duration, 
hence no considerable losses were sustained. The latter raged and 
" screamed " during three days and nights. Cattle and horses 
were led into dwelling houses, and thus saved to the owners, which 
otherwise must certainly have perished. In many cases farmers 
found it impossible to go to their stables, but ten or twelve rods 
distant, and upwards of two hundred head of stock perished from 
suffocation and exposure. 

The most notable prairie fire occured in October, 1872. It 
came intoButtler from Polk County, sweeping everything before it 
juuiping hedge-rows and fire lines a hundred feet wide, devouring 
hundreds of acres of standing corn, demolishing grain and hay 
stacks without number, and in several instances burning graineries, 
stables and houses, with their contents. Many horses cattle and 
hogs were burned to death in the fire. The loss in the County is 
variously estimated at from $15,000 to $20,000. 

Next came the grasshopper plague of 1874, which marked an 
era in the hisiory of the County, and in the lives of its inhabitants, 
long to be remembered. Ot course its sad efiects are fresh in the 
minds of all the people, how the countless millions of lean and 
hungry insects came down in great black clouds upon the growing 
crops without a moments warning, devouring every green thing 
raised by the hand of man, even stripping the leaves from the trees, 
both great and small; how the generous-hearted, noble people of 
the East responded to their wants with clothing and provisions ; 
how eagerly upon the approach of Spring the first appearance of 
the tender grass was watched afid waited for in behalf of the 
starving horses and cattle, and the first fruits of the garden and 
field, by their expectant masters. And then followed the 
abundant rains, the luxurious grass, and the marvellous prodi- 
gality of vegetable growth, insomuch that corn in six months, fell 
from two dollars to fifteen cents per bushel, etc. 

224 Johnson's history of Nebraska. 

Durinc: the jear 1878 the Onuiha & Republican Yalley Eail- 
road was extended west through Butler County, giving it direct 
railway connection with Omaha and the East, and enhancing values 

A considerable portion of the land here is owned by specu- 
lators and non-residents. The Union Pacific Eailroad Company 
owns about 20,000 acres, ranging in price from $3.00 to $7.00 per 
acre. The Government land is all occupied by settlers. 

Public Schools. — In 1869 the present school system was 
inaugurated by blocking out nine school districts. At the first 
enumeration there were found to be 153 children of school 
age. In 1879 there were sixty-eight school districts; sixty school 
houses; 2,089 children of school age, 1,458 being males, and 1,231 
females; and uinty-tliree qualified teachers employed. Amount of 
wages paid teachers, males, $6,666.42 females, $4,852.24; value of 
school houses, $27,487.00 school house sites, $693.00 ; of books and 
apparatus $2,010 25. 

Taxable Property. — The following statement will show the 
taxable property in the County in 1879: Acres of land, 3^4.657, 
average value $3.81 ; value of town lots, $50,049.00; money used in 
merchandise, $33,186.00; money used in manufactures, $3,735.00; 
horses, 3,398, value, $105,040.00 ; mules and asses, 268, value^ 
$8,900.00 neat cattle, 5,795, value, $60,667.00; sheep, 480j value, 
$202.00; swine, 7,804, value, $8,129.00; vehicles. 1,383, value, 
$23,451; moneys and credits, $5,426.00 ; mortgages, $11,671.00 ; 
stocks, etc., $5,033.00; furniture, $13,886; libraries, $580,00; pro- 
perty notenumerated, $33,389.00, railroad; $123,651.00; total valu- 
ation, $1,726,163.00. 


Located on the Platte Bottom, in the center of the County from 
east to west, was the first County Seat, and during the years from 
1869 to 1872, was a thriving village, containing twenty-five or 
thirty houses, a Court House, stores, &c. The site was owned by 
D. II. Gardner and Samuel Woodward. Among the residents were 
B. O. Perkins, II. Pepper, Captains Samuel W. and Andrew B. 
Roys, merchants; Dr. D. H. Dickson, Dr. J. F. Gilbert, E. G. 
Paige, D. Bresee, blacksmith, and M. Porter, shoemaker. Here 

Johnson's history of Nebraska. 225 

the Courts and Councils were held during the above specified 
years ere its dismantlement and removal to its successor, David 


The County Seat, located on the Omaha & Eepublican Yalley 
Eailroad, in the central part of the County, is an active and 
remarkably prosperous city. It was laid out in 1872 and two years 
later was legally incorporated. Three years ago its population was 
a little over two hundred, to-day it has seven hundred and fifty 
inhabitants, and is well built up with tasteful dwellings and sub- 
stantial business blocks; has three neat Churches, a bank, High 
School building, Court House, two weekly newspapers — the Press 
and the BepuUican — and all the stores, trades and business estab- 
lishments usual to a live, growing city like this. 

Since the advent of the railroad, which reached here Septem- 
ber, 24, 1877, David City has doubled in size, and its business has 
extended to all parts of the County. Larger hotels, business 
houses, warehouses, elevators and other conveniences have been 
erected to meet the demand of the largely increasing business of 
which this is the centre, and is in the midst of one of the prettiest 
and richest sections of country in the State. 


Was begun in 1870-71, on the old Waverly townsite, in the north- 
east part of the County. It is beautifully located on the east bank 
of Skull Creek, on a little bench or plain under the blufis whicli lie 
to the south, and is a flourishing village of about 200 inhabitants, 
containing a fine school house, grist mill, several stores, groceries, 
etc. Among the older settlers of the place are Fred Johnson, John 
L. Smith, J. P. Brown, S. O. Crawford, Jehiel Hobart, Gilbert 
Hobart, William Spring and James McBride. 


In the south central part of the County, contains about 300 inhab- 
itants and is the second place in size and importance. It was laid 
out in June, 1868, in a romantic little nook among the trees, on the 
south bank of the Big Blue River, and has steadily improved dur- 
ing each succeeding year. J. M. Palmer was the original owner of 
the town site. Ulysses is well situated for business, and almost 

2:2<» Johnson's history of nebra'ska. 

all tlic different branclies are represented. An excellent grist mill 
lias l)een in operation here for several years. J. N. Battj, H. 
>:ilsworth, F. H. Daws, Godfrey Eeyhart, Dr. S. W. Tlirapp, J. 
M. Palmer, Tom. Shields, P. G. Dobson, George and Robert Reed 
are among the earlier inhabitants in this vicinity. 


Buffalo County lies between the Yalleys of the Platte and 
South Loup Rivers, in the central part of the State from east to 
west. It was organized in 1864, and is bounded on the north by 
Custer and Sherman, east by Hall, south by the Platte River, 
which separates it from Kearney and Phelps, and west by Dawson 
County, containing about 900 square miles, or 576,000 acres 

Water Courses. — It is well watered by the Platte, Loup and 
"Wood Rivers, and their numerous branches. The Platte washes 
the entire southern border, and the South Loup flows from west to 
east, through the upper tier of townships, having several small tri- 
butaries which extend through and water the central portions of 
the County. Wood River flows from west to east through the 
southern portion of the County, running nearly parallel with, and 
from three to five miles north of the Platte — the last half of its 
course. There is an abundance of water power. Well water can 
be had at a depth varying from twenty to sixty feet. 

Character of the Land and Soil. — About forty per cent of 
the area consists of valley and bottom, the remainder of fine rolling 
prairie with a small amount of Bluff and broken land in the vicin- 
ity of some of the water courses. On the wide bottoms of the 
Platte and along the entire length of Wood River the land cannot 
be surpassed for agricultural purposes. On the Loup and many of 
the tributary streams also, there are beautiful tracts of wide, rich 

The soil is a rich, black loam varying from one to three feet 
in depth. When properly cultivated the uplands produce hand- 
some returns of small grain, while the valleys are well adapted to 
the growth of all classes of crops. Wheat will average about 
twenty bushels per acre ; corn, thirty to seventy ; barley, twenty- 
five to forty; oats, thirty -five to sixty. 

Johnson's history of Nebraska.. 227 

Timber and Fruit. — Buffalo is better supplied with native 
timber than most Nebraska Counties, the Platte, "Wood, Lonp 
and several of the streams being tolerably well timbered. Many 
of the ravines are thickly timbered also; the varieties most abund- 
ant being cotton wood, ash, elm, hackberry, box-elder and soft maple. 

J^esides the native growth there are many thrifty artifical 
groves throughout the settled portions of the County. The num- 
ber of trees reported under cultivation in 1879 was 225,000. 

Wild fruits of various kinds grow here in profusion along the 
streams and in the timber gulches. There are many fine orchards 
under cultivation. The number of fruit trees planted up to 18Y9 
was: Apple, 2,199; pear, thirty-three; plum, 506 ; peach, 470, 
and cherry, thirty-two. 

Lands. — There is a considerable amount of Government land 
in this County remaining untaken which is open to the home- 
steader or pre-empter. The Union Pacific Railway Company also 
owns in the neighborhood of 150,000 acres here for which they 
ask from $3.00 to $6.00 an acre. 

The prairies and hills produce an abundance of nutritious 
grasses affording splendid advantages, in connection with the 
plentiful supply of running water, for the raising of cattle and 

The County is traversed by two lines of railway — the Union 
Pacific and Burlington & Missouri River — which form a junction 
at Kearney City, thus offering fine facilities for the shipment of 
stock and grain to the Eastern markets. 

Taxable Property. — ^The amount and valuation of all taxa- 
ble property in the County, as reported for 1879, was as follows : 
Number of acres of land, 330,521 ; average value per acre, $1.28 ; 
value of town lots, $100,403.40 ; money used in merchandise, 
$46,523 ; money used in manufactures, $9,410.00 ; number of 
horses, 1,837 ; value, $43,322.00 ; mules and asses, 237 ; value, 
$6,943.00 ; neat cattle, 5,523 ; value, $36,506.00 ; sheep, 4,059 ; 
value, $3,060.00 ; swine, 2,383 ; value, $1,705.00 ; vehicles, 822 ; 
value, $13,009.00 ; moneys and credits, $9,379.00 ; mortgages, 
$6,597.00 ; stocks, etc., $110.00 ; furniture, $17,863 ; libraries, 
$696.00 ; property not enumerated, $44,549.00 ; railroads, $448,- 
736.32 ; telegraph, $3,264.00 ; total, $1,217,106.74. 

228 Johnson's iiistoky of Nebraska. 

Crops. — The niimber of acres under cultivation reported in 
1879 was 45,830, The acreage planted and yield of the principal 
crops was as follows: Winter wheat, 28^ acres, 337 bushels; rye 
723 acres, 7,989 bushels; Spring wheat, 14,827 acres, 170,367 bush- 
els; corn, 26,412 acres, 935,115 bushels; barley, 365 acres, 8,162 
bushels; oats, 4,505 acres, 126,667 bushels; buckwheat, 16^ acres, 
387 bushels; sorghum, thirty-four acres, 3,212 gallons; flax, fifty- 
six acres, 383 bushels. 

Educational Advantages. — The number of school districts 
in the County in 1879 was fifty-one; school houses, twenty-nine; 
children of school ago, 1,771; males, 931; females, 840; whole 
number of children that attended school during the year, 1,044; 
number of qualified teachers, fifty-five; nineteen males and thirty- 
six females; wages paid male teachers during the year, $3,343.76; 
paid female, $4,732.35; value of school houses, $22,010.74; value 
of school house sites, $772.00; value of books and apparatus, 

Population. — Bufialo County is divided into twelve precincts* 
the population of each in 1879 being as follows : 

Shelton, 930; Gibbon, 794; Center, 1,048; Kearney, 1,920; 

Odessa, 182; Western, 300; Bufi'alo, 135; Grant, 313; Divide, 386; 

Loup, 285; Cedar, 163, Schneider, 426. Total population of the 

County in 1879, 6,878. In 1860 the population was 114; in 1870, 

193; and in 1875, 2,861, showing an increase in four years of 4,017. 

The County was first settled in 1857 by a band of Mormons 
who broke up and cultivated a small tract of land in what is now 
Shelton precinct, but their stay was of short duration, the greater 
part of them moving on to Salt Lake City, after remaining here a 
year or two. Joseph E. Johnson, one of their number, who had 
formerly been connected with the newspapers called the Council 
BLiifs Bugle, at Council Blufts, Iowa, also the Omaha Arrow at 
Omaha, in 1854, and was an able writer. He started a paper here 
called The Huntsman'' s Echo, which, however, was short-lived. 

The settlement of the County progressed very slowly before 
the construction of the Union Pacific and B. & M. Eailways, since 
which time its development has been wonderfully fast, as will be 
seen by the foregoing statements of population and taxable pro- 

Johnson's history of Nebraska. 229 

kearney city. 

The County Seat was laid out in 1872, and organized as a city 
in 1873. It is located on the Platte Bottom, in the center of the 
County from east to west, at the junction of the Union Pacific and 
B. & M. Railroads, and at present has a population of 1,500. The 
<!ity is advantageously situated in a business point of view, and is 
growing rapidly, having a number of elegant brick business blocks 
and many handsome residences. A fine Union Depot has been 
erected here. The Methodists, Presbyterians, Catholics, Congre- 
gationalists. Christians and Baptists, each have neat and comfort- 
able houses of worship, and the several prominent secret societies 
have flourishing organizations. Three school buildings adorn the 
town, and there is a good system of graded schools. Five papers 
are published here, The Central Nebraska Press, Nonjpareil^ 
True Citizen, Greenback Journal, and Literary Notes, all weeklies 
except the latter, which is a monthly, devoted to literature and the 
school interests. 

A good bridge across the Platte at this point connects Kear- 
ney with the South Platte and Bepublican Yalley Counties. There 
are between fifty and sixty business establishments in the city, 
among which are real estate, lawyers' and doctors' oflices, two 
banks, three hotels, two lumber yards, and a first-class steam flour- 
ing mill, having three run of burrs and all modern improve- 


Containing 200 inhabitants, is located on the U. P. Eailway 
thirteen miles east of the County Seat. It was laid out in 1871, 
and was first settled by a colony from Ohio. For a short period it 
was the County Seat, and a splendid brick court house, costing 
about $20,000, erected during that time, is now used as an Academy. 
Wood River passes within a mile and a half of the town. The 
Presbyterians have a neat brick church ; the Methodists, Catholics, 
Baptists, and other denominations have organizations. A good 
flouring mill, with three run of burrs is in operation here. There 
is one drug, one iiardware, one harness, and several general mer- 
chandise stores, a hotel, lumber yard, and large elevators for the 
accommodation of the grain trade. 

230 Johnson's history of Nebraska. 


Is located on the Union Pacific road near the east line of the 
County, and has a population of about 200. Wood Eiver runs 
close by, on which there is located a good flouring mill. The 
town is improving rapidly. It has a good hotel, school housc^ 
elevators, and several general merchandise stores and places of 


Is a station on the U. P. near the west line of the County, contain- 
ing about 100 inhabitants, general stores, grain warehouses, school 
houses, etc. 

Stevenson, Odessa, Prairie, Center, Shelby, Stanley, Cen- 
tennial, Amada, Berg and Sweetwater are names of postofiices 
in the County, at which will be found a general assortment — store 
and school house, blacksmith shop, and other branches of industries 


Cass County was organized in 1855 by an Act of the first Ter- 
ritorial Legislature. It is located on the southeastern border of the 
State, and is bounded on the north by the Platte River and Saun- 
ders County, east by the Missouri, south by Otoe, and west by 
Lancaster County, and embraces about 550 square miles, or 352,- 
000 acres, at an average elevation of 1,000 feet above the sea level. 

Water Courses. — The Missouri Piver washes the eastera 
border of the County, and the Platte nearly the entire northern 
border. The Weeping Water is the principal interior stream. It 
heads in the northwestern part of the County, and flows south- 
easterly through the central portion, supported by numerous 
branches from ten to twelve miles in length, and empties into the 
Missouri. Salt Creek cuts across the northwest corner and receives 
two important tributaries from this County, which waters the 
northwestern townships. Several small creeks, varying from five 
to fifteen miles in length, rise in the central portions of the County 
and flow northwardly into the Platte, among which are Pawnee, 
Cedar, Turkey and Four Mile. Branches of the little Nemaha 

Johnson's history of Nebraska. 231 

Kiver water the southwestern townships, and Eock Creek, a tri- 
butary of the Missouri, flows through the middle eastern part of 
the County. 

Character of the Land. — The surface of the County consists 
of bottom, table and undulating prairie land, the latter comprising 
about three fourths of the whole. The bottoms of the Missouri 
are here quite narrow. In the western part of the County the 
bluffs of the Platte run close to the river, the bottoms gradually 
widening as they approach the Missouri. The bluffs of the Mis- 
souri are generally high and cut through with frequent draws or 
hollows, but the table lands, or level plain, is usually reached at 
from one to three miles back. The uplands stretch away in wave- 
like undulations as far as the eye can reach, and are intersected 
with rich, wide-spreading valleys traversed by clear running 
streams, flowing over hard, gravelly beds, and fringed along their 
margins with a fine growth of native timber. These valleys are 
natural meadows, yielding a luxuriant growth of fine grasses for 
hay, and when put under cultivation, produce bountiful crops of 
grain and vegetables. The soil throughout the County is of great 
durability and excellence. 

Timber. — In the early settlement of the County, timber was 
quite plentiful on the bottoms of the Missouri and adjacent bluffs, 
consisting principally of cottonwood, ash, elm and hackberry. A 
considerable quantity was also found in the bluffs and on the large 
islands of the Platte, the latter furnishing fine cedar for posts. In 
the eastern and middle portions of the County there is still a 
number of native groves, mostly of hardwood. Besides the native 
timber there is a large number of artificial groves in the County 
which furnish their owners with fuel. In 1879 Cass County had 
2,lT6i acres, or 899,730 forest trees under cultivation, and 302^ 
miles in hedging. 

Fruit. — Cass is one of the best fruit growing Counties in the 
State, and for several years past has had an abundance of the 
choicest varieties of her own raising. In 1879 there were 105,687 
apple, 1,279 pear, 49,373 peach, 3,572 plum, and 13,578 cherry trees, 
and 6,221 grape vines under cultivation, and all in a prosperous 

Building Stone. — A superior quality of magnesian limestone 

Slw2 Johnson's history of nebkaska. 

it^ abundant in several localities. Extensive quarries liave been 
opened on the line of the B. & M. Eailway in the northwestern part 
of the County, and at Eock Bluffs, a few miles below Plattsmouth. 
On the Wee]->ing Water, near the Falls, there is an abundance 
of excellent building stone, and at other points good stone for 
buildinor and raakins: lime is found. 

Coal. — Bituminous coal has been discovered at several differ- 
ent points in the County. On the banks of the Missouri, fourteen 
miles below Plattsmouth, a shaft of forty feet has been sunk to an 
eighteen inch seam. It is of good quality. This same seam crops 
out five miles further northwest. It is estimated that miners can 
bring out from one to ten tons of coal per day from these mines. 

Ochre, — Along the Missouri below Plattsmouth, there are ex- 
tensive deposits of mineral paint, or ochre. Some of the beds are 
from three to five feet thick, and of as fine quality as any in the 

First Settlements. — Mr. Samuel Martin has the honor 
of being the first settler in Cass County. He obtained a special 
]>crmit from the Secretarj^ of War to establish a trading post on the 
Missouri River, below the mouth of the Platte. Under this permit 
Mr. Martin, assisted by James CNeil and others, early in the spring 
of 1853, built a two story log house, at the foot of Main street, on 
the north side, on lots six and seven, block thirty-one ol 
the present town site of Plattsmouth. The "Old Barracks" 
as this was ^ more generally called, was subsequently used 
for different jxirposes — stores, ofiices, postoffice, etc., — till it 
was removed, in 1864, to make room for a brick build- 
ing. In the fall of 1853 James O'Neil also built for the 
same Samuel Martin, a smaller log house, a little north and west 
of the first, which, in later days was largely used for County offices. 

On the extinguishment of the Indian title to the lands border- 
ing on the west bank of the Missouri River, on June 24, 1854, a 
rush was made for the most valuable claims, and but a few days 
passed before most of the more desirable lands in Cass County, 
near the Missouri River, were staked and marked with the claim- 
ant's names. Before the legal organization of the Territory, some 
250 men liad penciled their names on claim stakes within what is 
now Cass County. 

Johnson's history of Nebraska. 233 

Before tlie organization of the Territorial Gov^ v/tment it was 
found necessary to have some tribunal for the sectlement of dis- 
putes, and each settlement, defining its own boundaries, formed it- 
self into a "Club" for this purpose. These clubs varied much in 
character, according to location. The earlier settlements near the 
river were largely composed of speculators, who often equaled, 
if they did not outnumber, the real settlers; while further back 
from the river the number of pioneers largely predominated. O^ 
course the different clubs varied in character. On the one extreme, 
self-interest ruled largely in most of the proceedings; while on the 
other, the general interest and welfare of the settlement was the 
ruling principle. 

An offender against the laws or decisions of the club was gener- 
ally summarily dealt with. There was no machinery for assessing 
fines; no jails or prisons; hence little or no attempt was made to 
grade the punishment according to the offense. In the clubs con- 
trolled by real settlers the offender had a fair trial and was in- 
formed what he must do to retain his membership, and the penalty 
of refusal to conform at once to the judgment of the club. The 
penalty of obstinate and unyielding disobedience was " Removal 
ironi the Territory," or, in the language of the day, to be " Put 
over the River." Yery few had the hardihood to resist the judg- 
ment of the club, for it was well known that persistent offenders 
would be so effectually removed that they could ^use no more 

There was probably but one case in Cass County when it be- 
came necessary to resort to this extreme penalty. The one, but 
too vividly remembered yet by many citizens of Plattsmouth, when 
four unhappy men were started on their last voyage over the river, 
but their arrival on the other side has never been reported, nor 
have they ever been seen or heard from since. 

Following are the names and time of settlement of a few of 
the pioneers. Many of the first on the ground in several of the 
precincts were merely speculators, or of a transitory character, 
selling out their claims and passing on, and their names are there- 
fore omitted: 

In Martin's Precinct, now Plattsmouth, are found in 1854, 
Samuel Martin, Jacob Adams, Wm. H. Shafer, J. W. CNeill, W. 

234 Johnson's history of Nebraska. 

Mickelwait, C. II. Wolcott, Levi Walker, Stephen Wiles, A. J, 
Todd and William Gullion. 

EocK Bi.uFFS— N. E. Hobbs, Wm. Young, F. M. Young, Sr., 
Wm. Gilmour, Sr., Abram Towner, Benj. Albin, J. McF. Hay- 
good, 1854. 

Four Mile Creek — Lorenzo .Johnson, 1855; Thomas Thomas^ 
Wm. L. Thomas, Samuel Thomas, Peter Beaver, Capt. D. L. 
Archer, 1856. 

EiGUT Mile Grove — John Scott, 1855; John Mutz, Geo. S. 
Eubj, J. P. Euby, 1856. 

Louisville — Adam Ingram, James Ingram, 1856; A. L. 
Child, 1857; Win. Snyder, Conrad Eipple, Pat. Blessington, Fred 
Stohlman, 1858. 

AvocA — John Kanoba, J. G. Hanson, 1856; Amos Teft, Sr., 
Amos Teft, Jr., Orlando Teft, 1857; Geo. W. Adams, 1859. 

LiBERTV — Joseph Yan Horn, 1854; Samuel Kirkpatrick, 1855; 
L. Sheldon, J. F. Buck, Stephen Hobson, 1856. 

On March 30, 1855, the Governor appointed Abram Towner 
Probate Judge, and Thos. J. Palmer Eegister of Deeds, as also- 
Thomas B. Ashley Justice af the Peace for Kanosha Precinct. 

On the same day Judge Towner opened his Court, and by 
order, divided Cass County into two precincts, viz: Plattsmouth 
and Eock Bluffs. He also ordered the first County election to be 
held on April 10, 1855, and appointed James O'Neill, Elias 
Gibbs and Stephen Wiles as Judges, and Charles Wolcott and P. 
Shannon as Clerks of Plattsmouth Precinct, and Thomas B. Ash- 
ley, Frank McCall and Curtis Eakes, Judges, and Wm. H. Davis 
and John Griffith Clerks of Eock Bluffs Precinct. No returns or 
poll books are to be found of this election, but it appears that L. 
G. Todd and Allen Watson were elected as Justices of the Peace 
for Plattsmouth Precinct, and Thomas B. Ashley and Thomaa 
Thompson for Eock Bluffs, and Bela White, County Treasurer. 

The first session of the District Court was held in Cass Coun- 
ty in April of 1856, Judge Edward Hardin presiding; A. C. Tow- 
ner, Sheriff. 

On March 3, 1856, Eock Bluffs Precinct was divided into 
Cassville and Kanosha; and on September 10, on petition of 
several citizens of Clay and Lancaster Counties, the Probate 

Johnson's history of Nebraska. 235 

Judge created the Precinct of Chester, and on the same day di- 
vided Cass County into three Commissioners' Districts, named 
Plattsmouth, Kanosha and Cassville, preparatory to the election of 
County Commissioners, which occurred at the general election of 
November, 4, 1856. 

The choice of lands in 1854 was confined almost entirely to 
the vicinity of the Missouri River ; few if any were taken at any 
considerable distance from it. In 1855 a few settlers reached out 
to Four Mile Creek, Eight Mile Grove and a short distance up the 
valley of the Weeping Water. But in 1856 there was a more 
general extension. The several earlier settlements were much 
enlarged, and in addition, the Weeping Water, up to and above 
the Falls, Cedar, Thompson, Fountain, and Salt Creek, had con- 
siderable settlements. 

At the general election of November 4, 1856, as before stated^ 
J. Yallery, Jr., R. Palmer and W. D, Gage were elected as the first 
Board of County Commissioners. 

The pioneers of Cass County sufiered but little from the 
Indians. In the early days they were in the habit of roaming 
through the settlements, from the single individual up to fifteen or 
twenty in number, but there is nothing on record to show that they 
ever attempted personal injury to any settler of the County. They 
were always a source of great terror to the women and children ,. 
and also to husbands and fathers lest they should attack the family 
in their absence, but beyond a few raids made for the purpose of 
stealing, and the intolerable annoyance caused by their continual 
begging for food, they committed no serious depredations. 

The first death in the County was that of Samuel Martin, on 
December 15, 1854. Mr. Martin was not only the first w^hite 
settler in the County, but the first to fill a settler's grave. 

The first marriage was that of Elza Martin to Sarah Morris, 
on November 16, 1854, by Abram Towner, Probate Judge. 

The first white child born in the County was Nebraska 
Stevens, son of Wm. Stevens, in December, 1854, or January, 1855. 

The first sermon preached in the County was in October, 
1854, at the house of Thos B. Ashley, by Abram Towner, 

During several years preceeding 1864 a number of citizens of 
this County sufi:ered much loss and hardship from horse thieves. 

236 Johnson's history of Nebraska. 

Abont the first of June of that year, 1864, (some say 1S63) two 
horses were taken from Capt. Isaac Wiles, and one from Jolm 
Snyder, of this County. Pursuit was immediately made. A 
quarrel between the thieves, about the division of the horses 
induced one of the three to betray the other two. The informer 
was secured, and on the information given the two were followed 
and found secreted in a loft at " Mullen's Ranch," on the divide 
south of South Bend. They were secured, and the party returned 
with them to Eight Mile Grove. In the trial of the men which 
followed before the self-constituted court, there was not, nor could 
there be, any denial of guilt. They were horse-thieves taken in the 
very act. ISTo possible mistake in their identity, design or act. A 
plea was offered for the one who betrayed the other two. But it 
was considered that, as no repentance or better feeling had induced 
this action, but only revenge and malice toward his fellow crimin- 
als, it gave no shadow of an excuse for sparing him, j)erhaps to 
repeat the offense before another day, and without a dissenting 
voice, sentence was passed and followed by immediate execution ; 
and death then and there closed the career of three miserable men. 

The Burlington & Missouri River R. R. runs across the 
northern portion of the County, from the city of Plattsmouth 
westward. This Company owns 25,000 acres of land in Cass 
County, the price ranging from $7.00 to $10.00 per acre. 

Population. — Cass County is divided into sixteen voting pre- 
cincts, the i^opulatiou of each, in 1879, being as follows: Platts- 
mouth, 2,692; Rock Bluffs, 1,251; Liberty, 1,215; Plattsmouth 
975; Greenwood, 729; Stove Creek, 721; Weeping Water, 687 
Eight Mile Grove, 664:', Elmwood, 629; Center, 594; Tipton, 575 
South Bend, 573; Salt Creek, 558; Avoca, 554; Louisville,, 544 
Mount Pleasant, 474. Total population of County in 1879, 13,435 
— males, 7,305; females, 6,130. 

Educational Advantages. — There are eighty-four school dis- 
tricts in the County and eighty-six school houses; seventy-two are 
frame, ten brick, and two stone. The total value of school property 
in the County is $78,120; number of teachers employed in 1879, was 
males, sixty-six, and females, sixty-eight; average wages paid 
teachers monthly, males, $35.61; females, $28.90; the number of 
children of school age in the County, in 1879, was, males, 2,724; 

Johnson's history of Nebraska. 237 

females, 2,430; total, 5,15-1:; the attendance during the year men- 
tioned was, males, 1,973; females, 1,67 J ; total, 3,644. 

Crops. — The reports for 1879 give the number of acres under 
cultivation in the County at 95,078. The yield of the principal 
crops, was as follows: Winter wheat, 392 acres, 5,968 bushels; 
rye, 1,501 acres, 20,927 bushels; spring wheat, 47,440 acres, 587,815 
bushels; corn, 17,028 acres, 552,292 bushels; barley 5,438 acres, 
133,687 bushels; oats, 4,313 acres, 127,933 bushels; sorghum, 
sixty acres, 1,982 gallons; flax, 165 acres, 1,382 bushels; millet and 
Hungarian, 329 acres, 1,825 tons; potatoes, 612|- acres, 65,519 
bushels; tobacco, two acres, 2,060 pounds; beans, 19f acres, 107 
bushels; onions, 6 8-10 acres, 1,004 bushels. 

The Assessors' returns for 1879 show the total value of land 
in the County to be $1,624,683; average value per acre, $4.90; 
total value of town lots, $207,792; money invested in manufacturing 
including buildings and material, $38,585; money invested inmer- 
candising, $55,055; number of horses, 7,311, average value, $29.00; 
total, $22,068 ; number of mules and asses, 729, average value, $31.63 ; 
total, $23,068; number of cattle, 18,305, average value, $10.14; total, 
$185,691; number of sheep, 307, average value, $1.17; total $359; 
number of swine, 41,043, average value, $1.09; total, $42,485; 
number of vehicles, 2,199, average price, $19.31; total value, 
$424,629; mortgages, stocks, bonds and other securities, $180.64; 
household furniture not exempt, including gold and silver plate, 
musical instruments, watches and jewelry, $70,557; private 
libraries, $21.41; all other property not enumerated, $171,369; 
railway property, $288,030; total value of property in the County, 


Twenty-one miles south of Omaha, on the west bank of the 
Missouri, about one and a half miles south of where the Platte 
empties into the first named river, deriving its name from its 
location near the mouth of the Platte, is situated the City of Platts- 
mouth, the County Seat of Cass County, which was platted, laid 
out and christened on the 15th day of August, 1855, which entitles 
it to a place among the oldest cities of the State. In 1879 the city 
contained a population of 3,300, about forty per cent, of which 
were foreign born. Although too near to Omaha and Lincoln, to 

238 Johnson's histokt of Nebraska. 

acquire more than a local importance as a commercial centre, its 
railway advantages and the rapid development of the rich 
agricultural country that flanks it to the west and south, has 
served to make it a solid business town, and to somewhat increase 
its patronage, both as a receiving and distributing market. 
The business portion of the city is built very compact and 
includes some really attractive structures, although as a rule, the 
business houses are of wood and rather ancient in their general 
aspect. The streets are laid out at right angles, and are 
broad and pleasant, and under a fine system of natural drainage 
towards the river; the town is kept comparatively clean with little 
labor. The city is situated on a strip of table land, about fifty feet 
above the level of the river, which slopes gently towards the stream, 
while to the south, west and northwest, rises a range of high hills, 
which are well wooded with both natural timber and artificial 
groves. The residence portion of the town is somewhat rolling 
and occupies the space between the range of hills mentioned, and 
the business center of the place. There the streets are adornrd on 
either side with luxuriant shade trees, and one sees numerous 
beautiful residences that are surrounded with fine shaded yards, 
so that whatever the town lacks in the way of attractiveness in its 
business portion, is nearly or quite compensated for in the inviting 
appearance of its resident streets. 

A view of the city from the river is indeed charming. Pass- 
ing over the portion of town devoted to trade, the eye rests on the 
stately mansion of the opulant, and the neat cottage of the less 
pretentious citizen, the one standing out in bold relief, and the 
other nestling in the cooling shade of tree and vine, all speaking in 
the most unmistakable language, " "We are the homes of wealth, 
contentment and virtue." 

The religious and educational advantages, as in most other 
cities throughout the State, are excellent and ample. There are 
eiglit ch.urch buildings in the city — some of which have attractive 
exteriors and finely finished interiors — including one Methodist, 
one Episcopal, one Lutheran, one Christian, one Baptist, one 
Catholic and one African Methodist. There are four good Common 
School buildings, 26x40 feet, constructed of brick, and one High 
School building, which stands on a commanding elevation and is a 

Johnson's history of Nebraska. 239 

very fine structure. Among the more prominent public buildings 
is the post ofiice and custom house, Court House and opera house, 
all of which, except the Court House, are of a character that would 
reflect credit on a much larger town. 

Society organizations include one Masonic Lodge, one Odd Fel- 
lows, one Knights of Honor, one Good Templars, one Temple 
of Honor, one Ked Ribbon Club and one Ladies' Christian 
Temperance Union. The various industries are represented 
as follows: B. & M. Railway Shops, employing five hun- 
dred men; three newspapers, the Sentinel (weekly), Herald 
{weekly), and Enteriyrise (daily); nine dry good stores, three hard- 
ware, three clothing, three millinery, three jewelry, four drug, 
three farming implements, four hotels, one flouring mill, one saw 
mill, one bank, one loan agency, three grocery stores, four confec- 
tionery shops, two tin shops, four blacksmith shops, six carpenter 
shops, two carriage and wagon shops, three harness shops, one shoe 
store, two shoe shops, one foundry and machine shop, two lumber 
yards, four paint shops, four meat markets, two wood yards, three 
coal dealers, two undertaker's stores, three elevators, four ware- 
houses, one pork house, eight grain merchants and numerous 
others, such as billiard halls, saloons, barber shops, laundries, etc. 
The B. &. M. R. R. bridge, now in course of construction across 
the Missouri River at this point, is to be finished early in 1880. 

Earlier History of Plattsmouth. — Samuel Martin, with his 
two log houses commenced the settlement of both city and Coun- 
ty. Club law ruled supreme from June, 1854, to September, 
1855, when it was weakened some from the presence of the two 
Justices of the Peace, Allen Watson and L. G. Todd, but still ex- 
erted a controlling power for a year or so later. 

The first movement on record looking towards the " City of 
Plattsmoutli," was the organization of the " Plattsmouth Town Com- 
pany," October 26, 1854. 

The first members of this Company were Samuel Martin, 
James O'lSTeil, J. L. Sharp, C. and L, Nuckolls and Manly Green. 
Other members subsequently joined them. In November, 1854, 
this Company proceeded to lay out and plat the City of Platts- 

O. N. Tyson was the surveyor of the Company, and surveyed 

240 Johnson's history of Nebraska. 

and platted the future city. On March 16, 1855, the Company 
obtained from the first Legislature an Act of Incorporation of 
the City of Plattsmouth. The town site was entered January 
22, 1859. 

In the order for a County election issued by Judge Towner for 
April 10, 1855, he changed the name of the Precinct from 
" Martins " to Plattsmouth, so that Martin's name now remains 
only as a name in history. Meantime he had finished his work in 
the settlement and was laid away with so few attending spectators 
that when active search and inquiries were instituted a few years 
since by his relatives for his remains, they failed to find any clue 
to them. 

Mr. Martin's two log houses, built in 1853, were followed by 
the third, a log house, built by T. G, Palmer; the fourth, also of 
logs, by W. Mickelwait, and the fifth, of logs, also, by Wm. 

The first frame building erected was on the south side of Main 
street, just above where the Platte Yalley House now stands. It 
was built for and used as the first hotel in the city. It was called 
the " Farmer's Hotel." The foregoing log houses and this hotel 
were built during the fall of 1854 and spring of 1855. 

Three good frame houses were built in 1856 by W, Mickel- 
wait, among which was the " Nebraska House," or City Hotel, built 
for the Plattsmouth Town Company. During the same summer. 
Messrs. Slaughter and Worley built the old 'New York store. The 
first brick was probably built by Judge A. L. Sprague, in 1858 or 
1859, now used as the Surveyor General's office; the second about 
the same time or a little later, by J .Krouth ; and the third, in 1859 
and 1860, by W. B. Warbritton. In 1863 and 1864 three or four 
more brick houses were erected. Tootle & Hanna's store, the Ma- 
sonic Block, in 1865, and John Fitzgerald's block on the corner 
of Main and Sixth streets, are structures of which no city need be 
ashamed. The second hotel was built in 1856 and named the 
"Farmers' Home;" the third was the "Platte Yallley," built in the 
spring and summer of 1857. 

"Wheatley Mickelwait was the first postmaster of Plattsmouth' 
He was appointed in the fall of 1855. 

A saw mill was erected by C. Heisel early in 1856; an attach- 

Johnson's history of Nebraska. 


ment was added by which some fioiir was made in the fall of the 
same year. It was subsequently moved, rebuilt, and by August, 
1S57, was doing a good business as a saw and flouring mill. Sar- 
py's flouring mill was built in the summer of 1862. 


" A ferry across the river at Plattsmouth," was one of the Acts 
of incorporation of the first legislature. The parties included in 
this Act were W. Mickelwait, J. O'Neil, J. L. Sharp, J. G. Palmer 
and L. Nuckolls and their associates. The charter was dated March 
1, 1855. A flat-boat was run up to August, 1857, when the 

2-i3 Johnson's history of nebeaska. 

"Emma" was put on; followed by tlie " Survivor," in 1858, the 
*' Paul Wilcox," in the fall of 1859, and later by the present " Mary 

Under the charter of March 16, 1855, a city government was 
organized by an election, on December 29, 1S56, at which Wheat- 
ley Mickelwait was elected Mayor, and Enos Williams, W. M. 
Slaughter and Jacob Yallery, Aldermen. This City Council met 
and proceeded to business January 29, 1857. 

At a special election held in Plattsmouth on April 24, 1869, 
$50,000 in bonds were voted by the city, and donations made by 
individual citizens of a large number of city lots to the B. & M. 
Railway Company, on condition that the Company should erect 
there, and maintain depot, shops, and general fixtures, making and 
continuing Plattsmouth the headquarters of the Company in !Ne- 
braska; putting the road through to the west end of the County, 
all in good running order and actual operation, within sixteen 
months after June 3, 1869. These conditions were accepted by 
the company, and the contract closed by W. Thielson, the author- 
ized agent of the Company, and the City Council, June 15, 1869. 
Early in July, in the presence of a large crowd of spectators, John 
Fitzgerald, at the foot of Main street, in Plattsmouth, displayed 
his strength and skill in "breaking ground" for the railroad track. 
In September, 1869, in a still larger and more excited crowd, the 
first locomotive, the "American Eagle," was landed and gave her 
first scream on l^ebraska soil. The long wished, and long listened 
for whistle was now a matter of unquestionable fact upon the 
streets of Plattsmouth. 

The first newspaper published in the city was the Plattsmouth 
Jeffersonian, by L. D. Jefiries, assisted by J. D. Ingalls, who final- 
ly succeeded Jeffries as publisher. The Jefersonian was first 
issued early in 1857. 

Late in 1858, or early in 1859, the Platte Yalley Herald was 
started by Alfred Thompson. 

A few months after the establishment of the Herald^ E. Giles 
moved the Cass County Sentinel from Rock Bluffs to Plattsmouth. 
The Sentinel died out or was sold out to Joseph I. Early, who for 
a short time issued the Democratic Times. 

In February, 1865, H. D. Hathaway started the Nebraska 

Johnson's history of Nebraska. 243 

Herald, and continued it till it passed into the hands of the pres- 
ent publisher, John A. MacMurphy. 

In ITovember, 1870, Fox & Fullilove issued the Cass County 
Democrat, which was succeeded bv the E'ebraska Watchman, F. 
M. MacDonough, editor. 

The Deutsche Wacht was started in the fall of 1875, but after a 
few months was sold out to John A. MacMurphy. 

For short periods some of these papers have appeared as dai- 
lies, but the support has not justified a long continuance. 

The Methodist Episcopal Church organized June 29, 1857, 
with twenty members, and the Eev. Hiram Birch, as first pastor. 

The Congregational Church was organized in 1870, with five 
members and Eev. Frederick Alley, pastor. A Church was erected 
and finished clear of debt. 

The Protestant Episcopal Church erected a Eectory in 1865, 
and a church in 1866 and 1867. The first Church services held in 
the building were on May 12, 1867. 

The Presbyterian Church, Rev. Mr. King, in the summer 
of 1857, preached the first sermon. Eev. Mr. Hughes succeeded in 
an organization of the Society in May, 1858. with sixteen mem- 

The Catholic Church. The first Church building was erected in 
1861, but there was no regular Priest or services until 1862, when 
Father Teckachet came and remained until 1864. In the fall and 
winter of 1875-6, the new church building was erected. 

The Baptist Church was constituted October 17th, 1856, with 
ten members. The Society owns a Church building, erected in 1872, 
at a cost of $1,800. 

The Christian Church was organized in May, 1859, by Elder 
T. J. Todd, with fourteen members. 

The first session of District Court held in the city was in 
April, 1856, by Judge Edward Harden; A. C. Towner, Sherifi", and 
M. W. Kidder, Clerk. 

The first birth in the city was Fred Mickelwait, on March 9, 

Company "A" of the Fipst Nebraska Yolunteers was raised 
in Plattsmouth. 

The Company was mustered into the United States service. 

244 Johnson's history of Nebraska. 

June 11, 1861, Robt. R. Livingston, Captain; A. F. McKinney, 
First Lieutenant ; InT. J. Sharp, Second Lieutenant ; and J. G. 
Whitelock, First Sergeant. 


Is located on a stream of that name twenty miles west from 
Plattsmouth. It was laid out in December, 1870, and in 1879 ita 
population was 350, mostly Americans of high culture and refine- 
ment. With the exception of a tract from five to eight miles wide,, 
south of the town, that is held by speculators, the country sur- 
rounding "Weeping Water is well settled and very productive. 
Along the river west of the town at a distance of ten or twelve 
miles, are some of the finest limestone quarries to be found in the 
West. The following includes some of the business industries of 
the place : Two general merchandise stores, two hardware stores,, 
one millinery store, two drug stores, three flouring mills, one in 
the town, and one above, and the other below the town, one mile 
distant; one hotel, one livery stable, one harness shop, two black- 
smith shops, two shoe shops, one wagon shop, one fine school 
house, one Methodist and one Congregational organization, each 
occupying a good stone Church. In brief, it is a pleasant, thriving: 
little town. 


Eighteen miles northwest from Plattsmouth, on the B. & M 
road, is located the thrifty little town of Louisville. Organized 
and settled on March 1, 1872, its population in 1879 being about 
300. The difierent industries are represented as follows : Four 
general merchandise stores, one grocery, two drug, one furniture, 
one agricultural implement depot, three hotels, two wagon and 
blacksmith shops, two harness shops, two livery and feed stables, 
one millinery store, one steam flouring mill, one extensive pottery 
works, one fire-brick factory, one brick yard, shipping stock yards,, 
two grain warehouses, one elevator, one lumber yard, one butcher 
shop, two doctors, and two lawyers, three religious organizations, 
viz., one Methodist, one Baptist, one Congregational, all of which 
hold there meetings in the school house. To the south of Louis- 
ville, the farmers are chiefly intelligent, thrifty and well to do 

Johnson's history of Nebraska. 245 

Kear the town there is a large deposit of kaolin, which 
■will some day afford the material for a large manufacture of 
pottery. The depot and a large freight train was totally desti eyed 
by fire on the night of August 20, 1879. The depot has been 


Twenty-three miles west of Plattsraouth on the B. &. M, 
Road, in the heart of a well-cultivated, rich farming country, is 
South Bend, which was laid out in 1870 by a company consisting 
of B. M. Smith, Thomas Doane and others. But little improve- 
ment was made, however, until 1876, when it became quite a little 
business centre. The Platte River at this point has been spanned 
by a good pile wagon bridge, built by a stock company. The 
country to the South is well settled by enterprising and thrifty 
farmers, chiefly Americans and Germans. Two miles to the South 
of the town is James Romne's Fishery, one of the largest and 
most complete enterprises of the kind in the State. Fine salmon, 
trout, pickeril and many other choice varieties of the finny family 
are raised there in abundance. The town has one good school, one 
Methodist and one Baptist Church, two grain elevators, one ware- 
house, three hotels, two general merchandise stores, two drug 
fitores, two blacksmith shops, one wagon shop, one lumber yard, 
one livery and feed stable and four boarding houses. 

In the Southeastern portion of the County is Rock Bluff and 
Liberty Precincts, in which there is a large belt of fine 
timber, and also an abundance of fine lime stone. A very 
^ood quality of bituminous coal has been discovered at seven dif- 
ferent points in that part of the country, and it is more than 
probable that extensive coal beds will be developed in that section 
in the immediate future. 

The following is a statement of the cities and towns in Cass 
■County, the date of their organization and their population in 

Plattsmouth, August 15, 1855, 3,300; Rock Bluffs, June 10, 
1856, 150; Weeping Water, December 19, 1870, 350; Louisville, 
March 1, 1872, 250; South Bend, August 17, 1870, 200; Green- 
wood, October 7, 1870, 300. 

Besides the above there were nearly or quite a dozen towns 

246 Johnson's history of nebkaska. 

laid out and platted and afterwards abandoned. We note the- 
following : 

Cedar Creek City, date of filing, July 20; platted, 1871 j 
Elgin, October 27, 1857; Clay City, November 18, 1856; Avoca, 
November 10, 1857; Troy, January 1, 1857; Saline, March 10, 
1857; Cladonia, June 22, 1857; Capital City, August 3, 1857; 
Carlisle, October 21, 1856; BlufFdale, March 9, 1857; Centerville, 
February 27, 1857; Kanosha, August 11, 1858; Eldorado, January 
8, 1857. 


Cedar County was organized by an Act of the Territorial Legis- 
lature, approved February 12, 1857, It lies on the Northern 
border of the State, and is bounded on the North by the Missouri 
Kiver, East by Dixon, South by Wayne and Pierce, and West by 
Pierce and Knox Counties, embracing an area of about 792 square 

Water. — The Missouri River washes the entire Northern 
boundary, flowing in a general Southeasterly direction. Its prin- 
cipal tributaries in this county are East, Middle and West Bow, and 
Beaver Creeks. The water runs over gravel and is very pure. 
The main Bow is an excellent mill stream, and has three first-class^ 
flouring mills on its banks, aggregating ten run of burrs. 

Logan and Middle Creeks and several branches of the north 
fork of the Elkhorn River water the Southern portion of the 
County. There are numerous springs. Well water is obtained at 
a depth of from twelve to seventy feet. 

Timber and Fruit. — In the Missouri Bottoms elm, bass, hack- 
berry, box elder, soft maple, ash, hickory, black walnut, coffee tree, 
red cedar and red and white willow are to be found. All the- 
creeks are tolerably well skirted with timber, and occasionally fine 
groves are to be met with. Wild grapes and plums grow luxuri- 
antly on the banks of all the streams. Of late years much at- 
tention has been given to forest tree planting, especially on the 
upland, and all the choice varieties of fruit trees have been tried 
and found to thrive well. In 1879 851,437 forest trees, 1,310 


apple, twenty-six pear, 159 peach, 130 plum, sixty-one cherry, 
three acres of grape vines and five and three eighth miles of hedging 
were reported under cultivation in the County. 

Stone.^-A soft chalk rock is abundant in the bluifs of the 
Missouri. It hardens some by exposure, and is used to a consid- 
erable extent for building purposes and making lime. 

Character of the Land, Etc. — In the Southern part of the 
County the land is exceedingly fine, being nearly as level as a house 
floor, and yet well drained, in consequence of the peculiar nature 
of the soil. In the Northern part the surface of the upland is 
more rolling and somewhat hilly, yet very little of it too much so 
for cultivation. 

The soil is rich and highly productive almost everywhere. 
About forty per cent, is valley and bottom land. The valleys of 
the Bows and Beaver Creeks are exceedingly rich and beautiful, 
and splendid crops are always gathered. 

First Settlements. — During the year 1857 the first settlers 
arrived in the County and located in the neighborhood of the present 
town of St. James, among whom were C. C. Yan, James Hay, O. 
D. Smith, Saby Strahm, Hanson Wiseman, John Andres and Henry, 
Ernest, Gustavusand Herman Ferber, with their venerable father, 
Paul Ferber, who still reside in the County. This colony emigra- 
ted from Harrison County, Iowa. 

In the Spring of 1858 the settlements of "Waucapona and St. 
Helena were commenced. Among the first settlers of Waucapona, 
who are still residents of the County, are Warren Saunders, George 
A. Hall and Amos S. Parker. L. E. Jones Surveyed and platted 
the town site of St. Helena, in July. C. B. Evens and sons, of 
Council Blufis, Iowa, located there that Summer, and in the Spring 
of 1859, Henry Felber and sons, Henry, Jacob and William, Peter 
Jenal, Sr., Peter Jenal, Jr., and Mr. Jones and family arrived by 
boat from St. Louis. 

Immediately after the settlement of St. Helena, Saby Strahm 
and a few others began the present prosperous settlement of 
Strahmburg, in the northwest corner of the County, nearly opposite 
the now flourisliing town of Yankton, the Capital of Dakota. 

The first meeting of the County Commissioners took place at 
St. James, October 4, 1858. 

248 Johnson's history of Nebraska. 

The first County Clerk was George L. Roberts; the first 
Treasurer, George A. Hall. 

In the Spring of 1858, L. E. Jones commenced publishing a 
weekly newspaper called the St. Helena Gazette., the first nine 
numbers of which were printed at St. ijouis, and dated ten days 
later than the day of publication, as it usually took that length of 
time for the mail to reach St. Helena. After the removal of the 
publishing oflfice from St. Louis to St. Helena, in July, it was con- 
ducted for a few months by A. Nette, when it died a natural death 
for want of support. 

The first saw mill in the County was a steam mill brought by 
the colonists who located at St. James in 1857. By the same 
power they also run a small corn grinder, which was highly appre- 
ciated by the settlers, as corn bread was their main sustenance in 
those days. Wheat flour could not be got nearer than Sioux City. 

In the Summer of 1858 L. E. Jones located another steam saw 
mill at St. Helena. In the Spring of 1860 this mill was nearly 
destroyed by fire, but it was rebuilt at once, and has been running 
ever since. 

There are at present one water and four steam saw mills, and 
three flouring mills in the County. 

Three chartered ferries are in operation between this County 
and Dakota Territory. The steam ferry between Strahmburg and 
Yankton does a large and lucrative business. 

In 1872 the County authorities purchased a pile driver and up 
to the present time about two hundred pile bridges have been con- 
structed over the numerous streams at all the principal crossings, 

At a general election held on the 8th of April, 1876, the 
citizens of the County voted bonds to the amount of $150,000 to aid 
in the construction of the Covington, Columbus & Black Hills 
Kailroad through the County. Work on the road is being pushed 
with vigor, and it is now completed to within a few miles of the 
east line of this County. 

Educational matters were almost entirely neglected by the early 
settlers, and it was not until 1867 that the first public schools were 
opened — one at St. Helena, and one at St. James. Private schools, 
however, had been taught at both of these places in 1860-61, by 
George L. Eoberts, T. C. Bunting and P. Clark. In 1879 the num- 

Johnson's history of Nebraska. 249 

ber of school districts in the County was twenty-nine; number of 
school houses, twenty-eight; children of school age, 1,096— males, 
569; females, 627; whole number of children that attended school 
during the year, 727; number of qualified teachers employed, forty- 
three — males, twenty- seven ; females, sixteen; amount of wages 
paid male teachers, $4,763.24; paid female, $1,480; value of school 
houses and sites, $15,824.75; of books and apparatus, $779. 

The number of acres of land under cultivation in the County, 
reported in 1879, was 13,568. The acreage in cultivation and yield 
of the leading crops was as follows: Winter wheat, 283| acres, 
6,432 bushels; rye, 2,677 acres, 85,453 bushels; spring wheat, 
36,235 acres, 375,943 bushels; corn, 72,133 acres, 2,826,259 bushels; 
barley, 6,384 acres, 181,260 bushels; oats, 19,028 acres, 163,582 
bushels; buckwheat, forty-five and three-fourths acres, 339 bushels; 
flax, sixty-one acres, 400 bushels; broom corn, fifty acres, eighteen 
and one-half tons; potatoes, 148 J acres, 19,163 bushels; onions, 
eight and seven-eights acres, 2,636 bushels. 

The taxable property of the County as reported by the Assess- 
ors for 1879, is as follows : Number of acres of land, 329,946; aver- 
age value per acre, $2.26; value of town lots, $17,547.00 ; money 
used in merchandise, $11,530.00 ; money used in manufacture, 
11,500.00; number of horses, 1,201, value, $38,992; mules and 
asses, 63, value, $1,935.00; neat cattle, 6,245, value, $48,301.00; 
sheep, 2452, value, $1,937.00; swine, 1,412, value, $1016.00; ve- 
hicles, 544, value, $7,948.00 ; moneys and credits ; $14,265.00 ; 
mortgages, $2,000.00; furniture, $2,654.00; libraries, $45; prop- 
erty not enumerated, $8,791 ; total valuation, $912,469.00. 

The voting precincts is numbered from one to eleven, inclus- 
ive, the population of each in 1879 being as follows: 'No. 1, 335; 
No. 2, 611; No. 3, 478; No. 4, 194; No. 5, 348; No. 6, 101; No. 
7, 143; No. 8, 117; No. 9, 67; No. 10, 131; No. 11, 260. 

Total population of County, 2,775, 1517 being males, and 
1,258 females. 


the County Seat, is situated on the banks of the Missouri in the 
center of the County from east to west. The County Seat was re- 
moved to this place from St. James, by vote of the citizens, in the 
fall of 1869. It has a population of 300, and is gradually improving 

250 Johnson's histoky of nebkaska. 

in size and importance as a business point, being now the center 
of trade for the County. Business is represented by a weekly 
newspaper — the Bulletin^ a bank, dry goods, clothing, grocery, 
boot and shoe, drug, implement, and se\'^eral general stores, a lum- 
ber yard, carpenter and blacksmith shops, lawyer and doctors' 
offices, etc. It has a convenient Court House and good school and 
church advantages. 


Located on the Missouri, six miles east of St. Helena, was the first 
County Seat and while it remained such was a very promising 
town. Latterly its progress has been slow. It contains about two 
hundred inhabitants, a Methodist Church, school house, hotel, sev- 
eral stores, etc. 


Is situated about eight miles west of the County Seat, on the banks 
of the Missouri, opposite the city of Yankton. An excellent steam 
ferry connects it with the latter place and attracts to it a large 
trade. It is a prosperous village and now numbers 200 inhabi- 

Smithland, Logan Yajxey, St. Peters, Center Bow, Bow 
Yalley and Menominee are Postoffices in the County having a 
store, school, etc. 


Colfax County was organized by Act of the Legislature, in 
February, 1869, and was named in honor of Schuyler Colfax, at 
that time Yice President of the United States. It ia located in:the 
middle-eastern part of the State, in the third tier of Counties west 
of the Missouri River, and is bounded on the north by Stanton and 
Cuming Counties, east by Dodge County, south by the Platte River 
which separates it from Butler County, and west by Platte County, 
and contains about 414 square miles, or 264,960 acres, at an aver- 
age elevation of 1,335 feet above the sea level. 

Water Courses. — The Platte River washes the entire southern 
border of the County, flowing in a general northeasterly direction. 

Johnson's history of Nebraska. 251 

Shell Creek, a large beautifal tributary of the Platte, and a splen- 
did mill stream, flows from west to east across the southern portion 
of the County, It already furnishes power for three very large first- 
class flouring mills, and has available sites for dozens more. North 
and South Maple Creeks are tine, clear streams, having numerous 
branches, which meander through and drain the central and north- 
ern townships. There is not a township in the County without 
running water, and springs are abundant. 

Timber and Fruit. — At the time of the first settlement of the 
County the streams were all tolerably well wooded, and there is yet 
considerable cottonwood, box elder, ash, elm, etc., along the Platte 
Bottom, and on Shell and Maple Creeks. The artificial timber is 
far advanced, and as every farmer planted more or less at an early 
day, beautiful groves now dot the country in every direction. Fuel 
is no longer a scarcity. Of late years many orchards of choice 
fruit trees have been planted also, and are promising finely. In 
1879 there were 961 acres of forest trees under cultivation in the 
County; also 4,683 apple, ninety-five pear, 788 peach, 444 plum, 
and 868 cherry trees, besides 1,053 grape vines and eight miles of 

Physical Features. — The uplands are gently rolling, with but 
few breaks or untillable places. The southern portion of the Coun- 
ty is embraced within the famous Platte Bottom, which reaches to 
the northward in fine undulations for a width of several miles; 
then comes the beautiful Yalley of Shell Creek, and to the north 
and east a few miles further, the smaller valleys of the Maples. 
The bottoms of Shell Creek have an average width of two miles, 
with a gentle slope toward the stream ; and those of the Maples, 
though narrower, are very fine. 

Soil. — The soil of the upland is a deep, black, rich loam, and 
of the bottoms a deep alluvial. All crops common to the latitude 
are grown to perfection. Large quantities of hay are annually put 
up on the meadows and prairies, and finds a ready market at the 
railroad towns. 

History. — Isaac Albertson has the honor of being the first 
settler within the present limits of the County, locating, where he 
still resides, near the mouth of Shell Creek, on the 26th of April, 
1856. Daniel Hashburger was the next permanent settler. For 

202 Johnson's histoky of nebkaska. 

the next year or two very few settlements were made, but in 1859 
and 1860, when the Pike's Peak excitement was at its height, the 
travel through the County was very great; ranches were established 
along the Platte Bottom, and many claims were taken in the north- 
eastern part of the County, especially along and near the mouth of 
Shell Creek. It was in these palmy days that Col, Loren Miller, 
(reneral Estabrook, a Mr. McField and several other gentlemen 
from Omaha, established a town near the mouth of Shell Creek, 
which the) named Buchanan, in honor of the then Chief Magistrate 
of the nation, but its existence was brief, and soon no trace of it 

For many years Omaha, over seventy-five miles away, was the 
nearest point for obtaining supplies, and Fort Calhoun, on the 
Missouri, the nearest mill. The settlers who passed the memora- 
ble winter of 1856-7 on their claims were reduced to the severest 
trials, the whole country being covered with snow to the depth of 
three feet on the level for over two months and the weather keep- 
ing intensely cold. Their flour, and in fact, provisions of all kinds, 
were exhausted long before the snow melted; but fortunately game 
was abundant, and by that means they were saved from starving. 

Daniel Harshburger was the first Postmaster in the County. 

The first general election was held on the 12th of October, 
1859, at which time a full board of County officers were elected, 
and the County Scat permanently located. 

In 1871 a substantial bridge was built over the Platte, at 
Schuyler, costing $65,000. At present good bridges span all the 
streams at the principal crossings. 

The ScJniyler Register, the first newspaper in the County, was 
established on the 30th of September, 1871. The name has since 
been changed to the Schuyler Sun. 

The Western Union Telegraph was built through the County 
in 1860, and the Union Pacific Kailroad in 1868. — Length of road 
in the County, eighteen miles. 

There are three flouring mills in the County, located on Shell 
Creek, which do a large amount of business. 

La.nd. — The government land is all taken, but the Union Pa- 
cific Railroad Company owns 20,000 acres in this County, for 
which trom $3,00 to $10.00 an acre is asked. 

Johnson's history of Nebraska. 253 

Schools. — The number of school districts in the County in 1879 
was fifty-one; school houses, forty-eight; children of school age, 
2,169 — males, 1,017, females, 1,152; whole number of children 
that attended school during the year, 1,302; wages paid teachers 
during the year, $9,797.74; value of school houses, |22,913.88; 
value of school house sites, $604,00; value of books and appara- 
tus, $1,484.85, 

Crops. — The crop returns for 1879 show the number of acres 
under cultivation in the County to be 54,595. The acreage sown 
and the yield of the principal crops was as follows: Spring wheat, 
25,297 acres, 307,847 bushels; rye, 2,853 acres, 44,556 bushels; 
corn, 13,484 acres, 414,392 bushels; barley, 913 acres, 22,192 bush- 
els; oats, 4,987 acres, 160,085 bushels; sorghum, twenty-six acres 
1,763 gallons; flax, 1,787 acres, 13,328 bushels; potatoes, 323 
acres, 23,345 bushels. 

Taxable Property. — The taxable property of the County, 
reported for 1879, was as follows : Number of acres of land, 
gl9,378; average value per acre, $3.84; value of town lots, $98,- 
895.00; money used in merchandise, $41,214; money used in manu- 
facture, $2,050.00; number of horses, 2,308, value, $69,479.00; 
mules and asses, 171, value, $5,215.00; neat cattle, 6,255 ; value> 
$56,600.00; sheep, 4,611, value, $5,335.00; swine, 8,273, value, 
$6,177.00; number of vehicles, 843, value, $13,566.00; mortgages, 
$17,599.00; furniture, $3,997.00; libraries, $800.00; property not 
enumerated, $25,375.00; railroads, $186,588.00; telegraph, $1,530,- 
00 ; total, $1,376,724.00. 

Population. — There are eleven Precincts in Colfax County, 
the population of each in 1879 being as follows: Richland, 362; 
Shell Creek, 455; Wilson, 340; Stanton, 213; Schuyler, 1,160; 
Grant, 539; Midland, 603; Adams, 383; Colfax, 523; Maple Creek, 
500; Lincoln, 512. Total population of the County in 1879, 5,960. 
In 1875 the population was 3,651, showing an increase in four 
years of 2,309. 


The County Seat, is the chief town in the County. It was laid out 
in April, 1869, and is located in the south-central part of the 
County, on the line of the Union Pacific Railroad, and has 900 
inhabitants. It is a prosperous town and does an immense ship- 

254 Johnson's history of Nebraska. 

pin^ business, having large elevators, warehouses, stock yards and 
all the conveniences for the handling of grain and stock. Since 
the completion of the splendid wagon bridge over the Platte River 
at this place, it has also been the shipping point for the grain and 
farm products of the northern part of Butler County. Business is 
generally well represented. It has some very fine stores, good 
hotels, real estate ofiices, lumber yards, agricultural implement 
warehouses, various mechanics' shops, etc. Two weekly news- 
papers are published here, the Sun and the Democrat, and both 
are well supported, the Sun being the first paper published in the 
County. A brick Court House, costing $20,000, was erected in 
1871. The High School building is an elegant and commodious 
structure. The Methodists, Congregationalists, Presbyterians and 
Episcopalians each have a house of worship. 

Rogers and Richland are shipping stations on the Union 
Pacific Road, the former east and the latter west of the County 

Several small villages, with a postoffice as a nucleus, have 
sprung up in different parts of the County. 

oumi:ng oou:n'tt. 

Cuming County was established and the boundaries defined 
by an Act of the first Territorial Legislature, approved March 16, 
1855. The same Act also located the County Seat at Catharine. 
By an Act approved February 12th, 1857, the boundaries were 
re-defined and the name of the County Seat changed to Manhattan. 
By a special Act approved February 12, 1866, the boundaries were 
fixed as they exist at present. 

The County was named in honor of Thomas B. Cuming, the 
first Secretary and Acting Governor of Nebraska. It is located in 
the northeastern part of the State, and is bounded on the north by 
Wayne County and Omaha Indian Reserve, east by Omaha Indian 
Reserve and Burt County, south by Dodge and Colfax, and west 
by Stanton County, embracing 676 square miles, or 368,640 acres 
of land. 

Johnson's history of Nebraska. 255 

Water Courses. — The principal stream in the Coantj is the 
Elkhorn Eiver, which flows southeasterly through the central 
portion, furnishing an abundance of water power and many superior 
sites for the location of flouring mills and other manufacturing 
enterprises. Logan Creek, with its branches, waters the eastern 
portion of the County. It is next in size, and is also an excellent 
mill stream. Plum Creek enters the County from the northwest 
and joins the Elkhorn in the central portion. Eock, Cuming, 
Fisher and Pebble Creeks, tributaries of the Elkhorn, meander 
through different portions of the County, and are all clear, beautiful 
streams. Springs are abundant. "Well water can be had any where 
at a, depth of from ten to fifty feet. 

Timber and Fruit. — There is a moderate supply of natural 
timber on the Elkhorn Eiver, Logan and Plum Creeks, and an 
occasional small grove is met with. An immense amount of 
artificial timber was set out at an early day, and thrifty groves, 
now sufficiently grown to supply all the fuel needed, adorn a great 
many farms. Grapes, plums and other wild fruit grow in profusion 
along the streams. There are a number of orchards of choice fruit 
trees under cultivation in the County, but no report has been made 
of the kind or quantity of trees planted. 

Character of the Land. — At least thirty per cent, of the land 
in this County consists of valley, and the balance of rolling prairie, 
with very little bluff" or waste. The Valley of the Elkhorn is from 
three to seven miles wide, rich and beautiful. Logan Yalley, at 
this point, is scarcely inferior to the Elkhorn. Plum and the larger 
creeks all have fine wide bottoms, on which from one to three tons 
of hay are put up to the acre. Timothy and blue-joint grass grow 
luxuriantly. The soil on the uplands is a black loam, from one to 
four feet in depth. There is an abundance of the finest grasses for 
pasturage. Sheep raising is carried on to a considerable extent. 
In 1878, 34,561 acres were cultivated in the County; 52,855 bushels 
of wheat and 69,920 bushels of corn were raised. No crop reports 
for 1879. 

historical. — In the summer of 1856, Benjamin B. Moore left 
Hillsdale, Michigan, with his wife, daughter Kate, and three 
sons, Abram, George and Oscar, and coming to Nebraska, 
located a claim, and made the first settlement in Cuming County 

256 Johnson's history of Nebraska. 

at Catharine, or Dead Timber, where they immediately erected 
a cabin. 

The winter following was an unusually severe one, the snow 
falling to such a depth that it was impossible to drive a team, and 
Mr. Moore and his sons were compelled to haul their provisions 
from Fontenelle, a distance of twenty-five miles, on a hand sled. But 
fortunately wild game was abundant that winter, the Elkhorn 
Valley being literally alive with deer, antelope and elk. These 
animals flocked to the friendly shelter of the timber on the bot- 
toms, and during that winter Mr. Moore and his sons killed not 
less than seventy-five of them close to their home. 

In March, 1857, Uriah Bruner, John J. Bruner, Henry 
A. Kosters, William Sexaner, Andrew J. Bruner, Peter Weind- 
heim, Henry Eike, Charles Beindorf and others of Omaha, associ- 
ated themselves together under the name and style of "The 
Nebraska Settlement Association," and appointed a committee to 
go up the Elkhorn Valley and select a town site. Uriah and Jolm 
J. Bruner, with several others of the company, immediately started 
up the valley on a prospecting tour, and arriving at the present 
site of the town of West Point, they were so favorably impressed 
with the general appearance of the country, the apparent richness 
of the soil, with the beautiful stream that so gracefully wound its 
way down the broad undulating valley, and the excellent facilities 
it afibrded for manufacturing purposes, that they determined to 
locate their town there. Eeturning at once to Omaha they reported 
to the Association, who approved of the selection they had made, 
and measures were immediatc^ly taken to establish and lay out a 
town thereon. A steam saw mill was purchased by the Company 
which arrived at the town site in June of that year. Log houses 
were erected, and during the summer the town site was surveyed 
by Andrew J. Bruner. The town was christened Philadelphia, 
but the name was soon changed to West Point. 

In March, 1858, John D. Neligh and James C. Crawford, of 
Pennsylvania, and Josiah and John McKirahan, of Ohio, took 
claims near West Point, built houses and commenced breaking 
prairie as soon as the season opened. Messrs. JSTeligh and Craw- 
ford that summer bought and put in running order the saw mill of 
the " Nebraska Settlement Association," and also its claim to the 

Johnson's history of Nebraska. 257 

town site. A postoffice was established at "West Point, with J. C. 
Crawford as postmaster. 

Mrs. John Gaul died early in 1858, being the first death in 
in the County. 

The first election for County officers occured at "West Point on 
the J 2th of October, 1858, and resulted as follows: "W. E. Artman, 
Probate Judge ; James C. Crawford, Treasurer ; G. W. Houser, 
Clerk; John D. Neligh, Register ; Henry Cline, Sherifi", A. A. 
Arlington, John Bromer and J. McKirahan, Commissioners. 

At this election "West Point was chosen as the County Seat, 
and an old log house became the official headquarters. 

The following persons voted at the first election : Aron 
Arlington, Henry Cline, J. D. JS'eligh, J. C. Crawford, George W. 
Houser, John McKirahan, Josiah McKirahan, "W. R. Artman, 
John Koggansock, Jergen Roggensock, George "Weikel, B. B. 
Moore, A. L. "Ward, Amasa Babbit, John Bromer, E. C. Dallon, J- 
S. "Walters, John Freeburg and Mr. McCrea. Nineteen votes were 

In the latter part of June, 1859, about three thousand Pawnee 
Indians came up the Elkhorn "Valley, ostensibly on their way 
North on a hunting expedition, but, as the sequel proved, their 
main errand was to plunder the whites. They seemed to be in a 
half starved condition, and, in order to satiate their hunger, com- 
menced a systematic warfare upon the settlers' pigs, poultry, and 
stock, whenever a favorable opportunity ofiered. They made their 
appearance in the vicinity of "West Point on the 29th of June, and 
butchered a heifer belonging to Mr. Clemens. The Indians having 
committeed numerous depredations further down the valley, the 
citizens organized and started in pursuit. About sundown on the 
29th, a Company of volunteers from Fontenelle and vicinity, com- 
manded by Captain Kline, arrived at "West Point. The next day 
a number of Indians made their appearance across the river, 
opposite the saw mill, and the Germans, seeing their approach, 
concealed themselves between the saw mill and river, with a view 
of sending some of them to their " happy hunting grounds." Their 
guns, however, missed fire, and the Indians, discovering that danger 
was brewing, retreated. Upon discovering that a strong force was 
rendezvoused at "West Point, the Indians moved up the river, and 


258 Johnson's histoky of Nebraska. 

a jiartj of thirty men, coininanded by Captain Patterson, a young 
lawyer of Fontenelle, started up the river on the east side in order 
to protect the few settlers in the vicinity of De Witt, where B. B. 
Moore resided. The wliites saw eleven Indians approaching, and 
conceived the idea of taking them prisoners. Accordingly the 
party moved into the kitchen, where Mrs. Moore and daughter 
were preparing dinner, with a view of decoying the Indians into 
the sitting room, which was divided from the kitchen by a light 
board partition. The Indians came to the house and entered the 
sitting room, whereupon a part of the whites passed out of the 
kitchen and took a position near the south door to prevent their 
escape. Soon after, firing commenced, by which party is unknown, 
and then followed a scene which beggers description. With a wild 
war whoop the Indians rushed out of the house, dashed through 
the lines of the whites, and ran towards tlieir camp on the opposite 
side of the river, followed by a deadly shower of leaden hail. The 
1 tattle cry sounded by the retreating Indians was answered by their 
corarads across the Elkhorn (a distance of two miles or more), and 
as the echo and re-echo of the terrible war whoop found its way 
along the river and over the prairie, consternation filled the breasts 
of all who heard it, and many of the settlers were panic-stricken. 
Just how many Indians were killed is not known, but members of 
the tribe afterwards admitted that only three reached their camp, 
and that one of them was mortally wounded. One Indian was left 
dead at Moore's house, and two others were left badly wounded. 
They were put in a wagon when the party started for West Point; 
one died on the way, and the other was supposed to be dead and 
thrown into the river at the Dupray place. lie proved, however, 
to have been playing " possum," and struck out for the shore, but 
never reached it. An ounce or two of lead caused him to sink to 
rise no more. The only white man wounded was a Mr, Peterson, 
of Fontenelle. 

Immediately after the fight everybody left for West Point. A 
rumor being started that several hundred Indians were preparing 
to swarm down upon the little band of settlers to avenge the death 
of their fallen braves, caused a panic such as the citizens of West 
Point have never witnessed since. During the excitement a con- 
sultation was held, and the majority determined to abandon West 

Johnson's history of nkbkaska. 259 

Point and go to Fontenelle. Messrs. l^eligli, CraAvford, McClellan, 
Babbitt, Scliadaraan and Thomas, wlio were opposed to the move, 
remained behind to secret what goods the}- could. There were only 
two persons left in the County, A. L. Ward and Casper Eberline, 
both of whom were several miles above DeWitt at the time of the 
£ght, in blissful ignorance of the stirring scenes being enacted. 

On the 4th of July a party was oi'ganized at Fontenelle to go 
to DeWitt, consisting of J. D. Neligh, J. M. McKirahan, J. C. 
•Crawford, Jno. McClellan, A. Clemens, J. B. Robinson, Thos. Parks, 
■Jno. Shoer, Wm. Keys and others for the purpose of seeing what 
the Indians had been doing. Arriving at Moore's house they found 
a dead Indian lying on the kitchen floor with a bucket of water 
beside him, a pan of unbaked biscuit on the stone hearth, dishes 
broken, feathers strewn on the floor, and bureau drawers broken 
and contents strewn about. While the party was viewing this 
picture of disolation and death, from without came the startling 
■cry of, "Indians! Indians! Indians!" and in an instant all was in 
commotion. A general rush was made for the wagons in which 
their arms were lying, and in the excitement which followed, a gun 
was accidently discharged, its contents lodging in Mr. Shoer, kill- 
ing him instantly. The alarm was discovered to have been a false 
one, and soon after the sad accident the party started for I'onten- 
elle, where they arrived the same evening, bearing with them the 
lifeless body of their unfortunate comrade. 

A month or so later peace was made with the Indians, and a 
majority of the settlers returned to their claims. Late in the Fall 
^1859) J. D. Neligh and J. C. Crawford erected a frame building, 
^'hicli has since been remodeled into a hotel, known as the West 
Point House. 

Early in the Summer of 1860, seven families, with nine teams^ 
under the escort of J. D. ISTeligh, arrived at West Point. 

The first patent issued upon land in Cuming County, was to 
Patrick Murry, on the 3d day of July, 1860, giving a title to the 
northeast quarter of section twenty-one, township twenty-two, 
range six, east. 

The first marriage license was issued by the Probate Judge 
in the Summer of 1861, the parties being John Pilger and Miss 
Harriet Arlington. 

260 Johnson's histokt of Nebraska. 

Tlie valuation of all taxable property in the County in the 
Spring of 1863, was — personal, $4,654; real estate, $2,635; total, 

The first homestead entry was made by Benjamin B, Moore,. 
February 16, 1863. 

A. E. Fenske opened a small store at West Point in the Sum- 
mer of 1865. This was the first mercantile establishment in the 

Father Erlad, a Catholic missionary, organized the St. An- 
tonius Church at St. Charles, in 1866. In April, of this year, 
Rev. Louis Janney, of the M. E. Church, was sent to the DeWitt 
Mission. The first Quarterly Meeting was held on June 29 and 
30, at Mr. Moore's residence, at which time the first Methodist 
Society in the County was formed. 

The first warranty deed recorded in the Clerk's Office was 
given December 17, 1867, to Catharine B. Neligh by Mattias 
Schm acker. 

On the 24th of July, 1870, Rev. Sheldon Jackson perfected 
the organization of the Presbyterian Church at "West Point. Rev. 
Mr. Peebles, of the Presbyterian Church of Decatur, had preached 
here in the Spring of 1867. 

The Catholic Church at St. Charles, erected in the Spring of 
1867, was the first Church building in the County. 

In 1868 Bruner & Neligh completed a grist mill at "West 
Point, and people came here to mill from fifty miles around. In 
the Summer of this year the organization of the German Evangeli- 
cal Church was eflfected. 

West Point was incorporated on the 17th of May, 1869. In 
June, of this year, the U. S. Land Office was located here, and in 
the fall a splendid bridge was completed over the Elkhorn. In 
the spring of 1870 the town site of West Point was re-surveyed- 
In June a Masonic Lodge was organized. The Fremont, Elkhorn 
and Missouri Yalley Railroad was completed to West Point on th& 
25th of November, of this year, and on the 28th trains commenced 
running regularly. The value of improvements at West Point 
from December, 1869 to December, 1870, was estimated at $129,- 
000, exchisive of the depot and other improvements made by the 
Railroad Company. The first number of the West Point Be^pub- 


Johnson's history of Nebraska. 261 

lican was issued Kovember 18, 1870 ; E, JST. Sweet, editor, M. S. 
Bartlett, publisher. 

Early in the Spring of 1871 a Company was organized by the 
stockholders of the Fremont, Elkhorn and Missouri Yalley Rail- 
road, known as the Elkhorn Land and Town Lot Company. A 
tract of land was purchased in Elmont Precinct, on the line of this 
road, upon which a town site was surveyed, platted and named 
"Wisner — in honor of S. P. Wisner, at that time Yice President of 
the F., E. & M. V. R. E. Company. On or about the 20th of July, 
the railroad was completed to this point, and on the 26th following, 
town lots were sold at auction, the proceeds netting $8,130. Im- 
mediately after the sale of lots the erection of business houses and 
dwellings was begun. The first work commenced was by George 
Canfield, upon the Wisner House, and the first building completed 
in the town was a warehouse and oflice, by John W. Pollock. A 
depot was built by the Railroad Company, and during the sum- 
mer and fall, several business houses were opened. 

In the meantime improvements were being rapidly made in 
and around West Point. In 1871 a brick Evangelical Church was 
erected; Bruner, Neligh and Kipp built a brick bank building; a 
Teachers' Institute was organized; a Lutheran Church was erected 
in Bismarck precinct; a hook and ladder company was organized, 
and also a County Medical Association, of which Dr. Alex. Bear 
was chosen President, and R. J. Mulhern, Secretary. In 1872 the 
contract for the building of a brick Court House was let, and in 
1874 the building was finished at a cost of about $40,000. January 
9, 1873, the brick hotel, known as the Keligh House, at West 
Point, was completed. In March, of this year, the West Point 
Land Office was removed to Norfolk. September J 1, the Second 
Annual Fair of the Cuming County Joint Stock Agricultural 
Society was held at the Fair Grounds at West Point. 

In the spring of 1874 an iron bridge was constructed over the 
Elkhorn, at West Point, at a cost of $7,000; an Odd Fellows Lodge 
and a Fire Company was organized. On November 4 of this year, 
the West Point Manufacturing Company was organized. The 
business to be transacted by this Company was the manufac- 
ture of flour, paper, woolen goods, agricultural implements, etc 
In 1875 machinery for a furniture factory arrived and a two story 

262 Johnson's history of Nebraska. 

building was erected in which to put up and operate the same. In 
May, 1S76, machinery for a paper mill and a foundry arrived from 
the East, and work was commenced on a race at West Point, 
capable of operating immense manufacturing establishments, 
Daring the Summer of 1876 the structure for the paper mill. 
60x120 feet, two stories high, of brick, was completed, and th& 
machinery set up in the furniture factory. These enterprises are 
now in successful operation. In 1876 a lodge of the Knights of 
Pythias, and a Literary Club were organized at West Point, and a 
very fine Catholic Church erected. 

ScnooLS. — The first school district was organized on the 11th 
day of April, 1864, and embraced all the territory in the County on 
the east side of the Elkhorn liiver. Sixty dollars was voted at the 
same time toward building a school house. Mrs. J. C. Crawford 
taught a private school at her residence in Bismarck precinct, in 
the Winter of 1865, and had fourteen scholars. This is said to- 
have been the first school opened in the County. 

The number of school districts in the County, in 1879, was- 
forty-five; number of school houses, forty-two; children of school 
age, 1,836 — males, 983; females, 853; total number of children 
attending school during the year, 1,137; number of qualified 
teachers, fifty-seven — males, thirty; females, twenty-seven; wages- 
paid male teachers, $6,174.55; paid female, $3,633.62; value of 
school houses, $24,308; value of school house sites, $2,259; valu& 
of books and apparatus, $1,225.50. 

Taxable Pkoperty. — The taxable property, as returned for 
1879, was as follows: Number of acres of land, 300,053; average 
value per acre, $2.12; value of town lots, $120,942; money used in 
manufactures, $2,854; money invested in merchandise, $120,942; 
number of horses, 2,298, value, $43,524; mules and asses, 173,. 
value, $3,969; neat cattle, 5,772, value, $33,559; sheep, 5,694, 
value, $4,032; swine, 8,902, value, $4,739; number of vehicles, 714,. 
value, $6,461; moneys and credits, $12,345; mortgages, $3,225; 
furniture, $1,467; libraHes, $205; property not enumerated, $9,188;. 
railroads, $76,048; telegraph, $855; total valuation, $987,286.50. 

Population. — In 1856 the County had a population of eight; in 
1860 it had increased to sixty-seven; in 1875 it was 6,152; in 1878> 
7,744, and in 1879 it was 9,095. 

Johnson's history of Nebraska. 263 

west point, 
The County Seat, is beautifully located on the Elkhorn River, and 
is a fast growing, brisk business place of 1,000 inhabitants. The 
Elkhorn affords it unusually fine manufacturing advantages, and 
various enterprises, such as flouring mills, paper mills, furniture 
factory, etc., as before stated, are now in successful operation here, 
and others will soon follow. Being situated on the Fremont & 
Elkhorn Yalley Railroad gives it direct communication with. 
Omaha, and makes it a shipping point of a large grain and stock 
region. It has neat Churches and splendid school houses, good 
hotels, large lumber yard, brewery, carriage and wagon manufac- 
tory, several grocery and dry goods stores, and all the business 
places and trades usual to a place of its size. Three weekly news- 
papers are published here — the Bejpuhlican, Progress and Staats 
Zeitimg, all well sustained, prosperous sheets. A fine iron bridge 
spanning the Elkhorn at this point, attracts the trade from the 
western part of the County. 


Containing about 850 inhabitants, is located on the Elkhorn in the 
northwestern part of the County, and was for several years the 
terminus of the Fremont & Elkhorn Yalley Railroad, which gave 
it a substantial growth and large trade. It was incorporated on 
the 14tli of May, 1873. Among the first to locate in the town were 
John W. Pollock, E. M. Clark, (deceased) and George W. Canfield, 
In June, 1873, an excellent iron bridge was completed across the 
Elkhorn at this place, which added greatly to its business. The 
Elkhorn River is here capable of propelling mammoth manufac- 
tories and is susceptible of easy control. During the present season 
the railroad was extended from Wisner westward to the County 
Seat of Stanton Countj-. Wisner is certainly one of the best busi- 
ness points in this part of the State, and has enjoyed for several 
years past the almost exclusive shipping trade of the adjoining 
Counties to the north and west. Business in every line is well es- 
tablished and the school and Church advantages are all that could 
be desired. 

2G4 Johnson's history of Nebraska. 


Clay County was established in 1867 and organized in Octo- 
ber, 1871, by proclamation of Acting Governor "William H. James. 
It is located in the southeastern part of the State, in the fifth tier 
of Counties west of the Missouri River, and is bounded on the 
north by Hamilton, east by Fillmore, south by ]^uckolls, and west 
by Adams County, and embraces 576 square miles, or 368,640 
acres, at an average elevation of 1,775 feet above the sea level. 

Water Courses. — The Little Blue River is the most important 
stream in the County. It waters the southwestei*n townships and 
furnishes ample water-power for flouring mills and other manu- 
facturing enterprises. School Creek, a fine large tributary of the 
"West Blue River, flowing from west to east, waters, with its nu- 
merous branches, the central and northern portions of the County, 
and also furnishes a sufficient volume of water for mills. Big 
Sandy Creek, a fine tributary of the Little Blue, waters the south- 
eastern townships. Spi'ings are abundant along the Little Blue 
and School Creek. 

Timber, — There is very little native timber in the County. 
The Little Blue River and School Creek are tolerably well timbered 
In places. Few Counties in the State, if any, excel Clay in the 
matter of tree planting. In 1879 she had 2,160 acres or 3,114,828 
forest trees under cultivation, many of the groves being from three 
to twenty acres in extent, and well developed. There are forty-six 
miles of hedge fence in the County. 

Fruit.— In 1879 there were 14,249 apple, 652 pear, 36,416 
peach, 10,640 plum, and 3,074 cherry trees, and 2,643 grape vines 
under cultivation in the County, promising in the near future an 
abundance of the choicest fruits. 

Stone. — A good stone for building and lime abounds on the 
Little Blue. 

PuYsiOAL Features. — The surface of the country consists al- 
most entirely of nearly level prairie, a small portion being rolling, 
but none is too rough to prevent tillage, except, probably, in occa- 
sional places bordering the Little Bhie and at the sources of the 
creeks. There is a gradual slope all through the County, west by 

Johnson's histokt of Nebraska.. 265 

nortli; thus while the eastern border is a little over 1,670 feet 
above the sea level, the western border is 1,835 feet, the rise being 
gradual all the way. The Little Blue has a very fine, wide valley, 
as have also School and Sandy Creeks, although smaller. 

Soil. — The surface soil of the uplands is a rich, black vegeta- 
ble mould, generally ranging from eighteen inches to two feet in 
depth; on the bottoms the soil is often several feet in depth. Com, 
wheat, rye, oats, barley, flax, broom-corn and vegetables of all 
kinds do well. Corn yields from thirty-five to seventy and wheat 
from fifteen to twenty bushels per acre. The area in cultivation in 
1878, was 73,776 acres; in 1879, 95,078 acres; increase, 21,302 
acres. Spring wheat raised in 1877, 472,528 bushels; in 1878, 
600,000 bushels. Yield of corn in 1877, 645,239 bushels; in 1878, 
725,000 bushels. 

Historical. — The first settlement within the present limits of 
the County was made in 1857, by J". B. "Weston, who built a house 
at Pawnee Eanclie, on section sixteen, township five, range eight, 
In Spring Eanche Precinct. He was succeeded at the ranch by 
Fred and George Roper, who held it until 1864, at which time they 
were driven ofiT by the Indians, and two of George Roper's daugh- 
ters captured, they being restored to their friends again in 1872 or 

The general uprising of the Indians in 1864 greatly retarded 
the settlement of this County, and it was not until about 1870 that 
emigration was renewed to any extent. The settlements are here 
given by precincts: 

School Creek Precinct. — Peter O. Norman, and brother, 
natives of Sweden, settled in this precinct in 1870, and built them- 
selves a " dug-out " on the banks of the creek. 

Lincoln Precinct. — F. M. Davis, Ezra Brown, and Samuel 
Slote were the first to settle in this precinct about the year 1870. 
Mrs. Add Horsington taught the first school in the spring of 

Harvard Precinct was first settled in the fall of 1871, by 
Isaac Dawson and John Hackenthaler. 

Lynn Precinct was first settled in May, 1871, by W. H. Chad- 
wick, J. D. Moore, L. J. Starbuck and B. F. Hocket. 

Lewis Precinct was first settled in the Spring of 1870, by A. 

266 Johnson's history of Nebraska. 

D. Petereon, Lewis Peterson and Jonas Johnson, natives of Swe- 
den. John S. Lewis, ai'ter whom the precinct was named, settled 
in April, 1ST2. 

Sutton Precinct was first settled in 1870, by Luther French, 
of Ohio. The first neighborly call after the completion of his house, 
was by Captain Charley White, of Indian fame, and Miss Nellie 
Henderson, who came on horseback from the West Blue, eight 
miles off, and had chased down and caught an antelope on the 

Sheridan Precinct was settled in February, 1872, by John 
Yates. He was followed closely by others. A school house was 
erected in tiiis precinct in December 1872, the first school being- 
taught by Joseph Trout, with sixteen scholars. In February, 
1873, a Methodist Episcopal Society was organized, and in June a 
Union Sunday School was started. 

Logan Precinct was first settled by Albert Curtis, on the 7th 
of March, 1871. In August following, a school was organized, with 
Josephine Eeed, as teacher — salary, twenty-five dollars per months 

Marshall Precinct was first settled in July, 1872, by Flavius 
Northrnp, from Buffalo County, Wisconsin. Mr. Northrup 
brought with him a flock of about seventy-five sheep, which were 
the first sheep brought into the County for permanent rearage. 

Leiscester Precinct was first settled in the Winter of 1871, by 
William Woolman, A. Woolman, Joseph Eowe and Stephen 
Brown. Miss Truelove Tibbies, an adopted daughter of Rev. Wm. 
Woolman, was drowned in April, 1876, while attempting to cross 
one of the Creeks in this precinct. 

Scott Precinct was first settled by G. W. Briggs and George 
Mclntyre. The B. & M. R. B. passes through the northern part, 
and the St. Joe & Denver City B. B. across the northwest corner 
of this precinct. 

Lone Tree Precinct was first settled in 1871 by John P. 
Scott, who located near the " Lone Tree," from which the precinct 
derives its name. The St. Joe & Denver B. B. crosses the south- 
west corner of this precinct. 

Fairfield Precinct. — The settlement of this precinct com- 
menced at Liberty Farm Banclie, at the mouth of Liberty Creek, 
on the Little Blue. This ranche was for a long time an important 

Johnson's history of Nebraska. 26T 

Btation for the overland mail and "Wells, Fargo & Co.'s Pony 
Express. It was kept in 1858 by James H. Lemon, who was suc- 
ceeded, in 1867, by Benjamin and John Eoyce, from Illinois. 

Edgar Precinct was first settled in November, 1871, by J. K. 
Sanborn, who bnilt himself a good log house. The fl.ourishing 
town of Edgar is in this precinct. 

The pioneers of the County were more or less harassed by 
Indians up to as late as 1868, especially in the valley of the Little 
Blue, on the overland stage road, where the ranches were repeat- 
edly destroyed, and the inhabitants driven from the country or 

James Bainter, who succeeded a Mr. Metcalf at Spring 
Ranche, in J 862, had a store stocked with about $5,000 worth of 
provisions and merchandise. A friendly Pawnee brought him the 
news one day that the Sioux were coming in force, and had attacked 
the ranches above him. Bainter immediately sent his family to 
Pawnee Eanche, about a mile to the east of his, then kept by the 
Popers, and mounting a fast horse rode up the river to reconnoiter. 
He met the Indians about nine miles oif, coming rapidly toward 
his place, so hurrying back he loosed his stock, and hastened to his 
family at Pawnee Panche. In a short time he saw the smoke 
ascending from his store and dwelling, and very soon thereafter 
Pawnee Panche was attacked by abont 200 Sioux. Pawnee 
Panche was a strong sod building, wath pallisade around it, and 
contained at the time of the attack, four men and several women 
and children. This courageous party, small as it was, managed to 
keep the enemy at bay, the women assisting the men in watching 
and loading their guns ; and for three days the attack was con- 
tinued till finally Bainter succeeded in killing the Sioux Chief, 
when the Indians withdrew from their immediate vicinity. A large 
party of friendly Pawnees came up at this juncture, and with their 
assistance the Sioux were driven off for the time. Not long after 
this however, the Sioux again attacked the ranches all along the 
Little Blue, and Bainter and all the settlers were compelled to 
leave the country, the stage line was broken up, and many of the 
drivers and passengers killed. A large wagon train was captured 
at the crossing of the overland road on Big Sandy Creek, and about 
sixty persons slaughtered. 

2G8 Johnson's history of Nebraska. 

The orf^anic election was held on the 14th of October, 1871, at 
the liouse of Alexander Campbell, on section six, town seven, range 
six. Eighty-nine votes were polled, fifty-six of which were cast for 
Sutton, making it the County Seat. The following County officers 
were elected : Commissioners, A. K, Marsh, P. O. Norman, and 
A. A. Cory ; Probate Judge, John K. Maltby ; Clerk, F. M. 
Brown; Treasurer, J. Hollinsworth ; Sheriff, P. T. Kearney ; Sur- 
veyor, R. S. Fitzgerald; Superintendent of Public Instruction, J. 
S. Schermerhoru; Coroner, J. Steinmetz. 

The first session of the Board of Commissioners was held on 
the 4th of November, 1871, at which time the County was divided 
into three equal districts, designated as Commissioner and voting 
precincts, and named respectively. Harvard, Little Blue and 
School Creek, The Commissioners' precincts remain, but the vot- 
ing precincts were increased to sixteen, in 1875. 

The Burlington and Missouri River R. R. was built through 
the northern portion of the County in 1871. Length of the road in 
the County, twenty-four and eighty-seven one-hundredths miles. 

The St. Joe and Denver City R. R. was built through the 
southwestern portion of the County in the spring of 1872. Length, 
of road in the County, twenty-two and fifty one-hundredths miles. 

The Clay County Agricultural Society was organized on the 
15tli of April, 1872. A fair is held regularly every year at 

The people of Clay County were great sufferers by the grass- 
hopper invasion of 1874. In July, of that year, tbese insects 
came from the northwest in such countless numbers as to make 
the sunlight dim; and so swiftly did they destroy the crops that a 
forty or an eighty acre corn field would not last more than two 
hours. The rank, growing corn would literally bend to the ground 
with the weight of the insects. Potatoes, vegetables and crops of 
all kinds, except wheat and barley, which had already been har- 
vested, were swept out of existence all over the County in the 
short space of two days. Not a bushel of corn was gathered in 
the County, whereas the year before settlers burned corn, it being 
worth only fifteen cents a bushel. 

Public Schools. — In 1870 there were sixty-nine School Dis- 
tricts in the County, sixty-seven school houses and 3,041 children 

Johnson's history of Nebraska. 269 

of school age, 1,553 being males, and 1,488 females; total number 
of children that attended school during the year, 2,089; number 
of qualified teachers employed, 117 — males, forty-two; females, 
seventy -five; wages paid teachers for the year — males, $4,486.35, 
females, $7,289.95; total, $12,776.30; value of school houses, 
$36,347.89 ; value of school house sites, $2,684.00 ; value of books 
and apparatus, $1,712.35. 

Taxable Proi'erty. — The following statement will show the 
amount and valuation of the taxable property in the County for 
1879: Number of acres of land, 284,143; average value per acre, 
$3.10; value of town lots, $82,198.00; money invested in mer- 
chandise, $67,260; money used in manufactures, $6,948; number 
of horses, 4,248, value, $120,005; mules and asses, 494, value, $15, 
628; neat cattle, 5,006, value, $41,880; sheep, 558, value, $624.00 
swine, 12,752, value, $12,432; vehicles, 1,765, value, $27,550 
money and credits, $15,182; mortgages, $17,272; stocks, $330.00 
furniture, $18,788; libraries, $1,276; property not enumerated, 
$94,111; railroads, $297,188; total, $1,700,704.10. 

Land. — The Burlington & Missouri River R. R. Company 
owns 5,000 acres of land in this County, for which they ask from 
$4.00 to $8.00 an acre. The Government land is all taken. 

Population. — The following is the population of the County, 
in 1879, by precincts: Logan, ^339; Edgar, 830; Fairfield, 722 
Spring Ranche,419; Glen ville, 428; Lone^Tree, 348 ; Marshall, 379 
Sheridan, 330; Sutton, 1,391 ; Lewis, 411; Lynn, 474; Scott, 447 
Leiscester, 440 ; Harvard, 1,176; Lincoln, 516; School Creek, 723 
total population of the County, 9,373 — males, 5,112; females, 4,261. 
Li 1875 the population of the County was 4,183, and in 1878 it was 
7,012, showing an increase in the last year of 2,361. 


The County Seat, is situated in the Yalley of School Creek, on the 
B. & M. Railroad, in the northeastern part of the County. Its 
present population is 800, having doubled in size in the last three 
years. It has a bank and two weekly newspapers — the Globe, an 
old established paper, and the Mirror. The Court House is a 
commodious two-story building, and the school house is an elegant 
and convenient structure, costing $4,000. The Congregationalists 

270 Johnson's history of Nebraska. 

built the first Cluircli in the County liere, in 1875, at a cost of 
$1,500; the Methodists followed next with a brick house of worship, 
costing $3,000. Several denominations are now represented. 

Sutton is a beautiful town. A tract of twelve acres has been 
laid off as a public park, through which School Creek makes a 
liorse-shoe bend, its banks being heavily timbered with rock 


Located on the line of the B. & M. R. R., thirteen miles west of Sutton, 
was incorporated in 1873, and at present has 650 inhabitants. Two 
weekl}' newspapers are published here, the /Sentinel and Phmnix. 
In 1873, a $4,000 school house was erected. It has several hotels, 
Churches, elevators, brick and lumber yards, and business houses 
representing almost every line of trade. The surrounding country 
is well settled up by thrifty, prosperous farmers, the German 
element predominating. 


Is a very promising town of 550 inhabitants, located on the St. Joe 
•& Denver City Railroad, in the southeastern part of the County. 
It was incorporated on the 15th of March, 1875, and is improving 
very rapidly. It is well situated for business, being the shipping 
point for a large, well-settled agricultural country. 


On the St. Joe & Denver Railroad, several miles west of Edgar, is 
an enterprising town of about 350 inhabitants. It has excellent 
school and Church advantages, and a weekly newspaper — the News 
— to advance its interests. It commands the shipping trade of the 
southwestern portion of the County. 

Cheyenne County is located on the extreme western border 
of the State, bounded on the north by Sioux County, east by un- 
organized territory and Keith County, south by Colorado and west 
by Wyoming. It was organized in 1867, and contains about 
7,224 square miles, or 4,623,360 acres. 

Johnson's iiistorv of np:brasica. 271 

Water power is unlimited. The principal stream is the North 
Fork of the Platte Eiver, which enters at the northwest corner and 
flows sontlieasterlj through the County, leaving it in the south- 
eastern portion. Its main tributaries are Blue Eiver and Rush, 
€old Water, Pumpkinseed, Red Willow, Wild and Kiowa Creeks. 
Lodge Pole Creek, a tributary of the South Platte, which flows 
from west to east almost entirely across the southern portion of 
the County, and through whose valley the Union Pacific Railroad 
extends, is the most important stream. It has a large number of 
tributaries, the largest being Dry Creek, which waters the south- 
western portion of the County. 

The majority of the streams and. many of the canyons are 
well timbered. 

Cheyenne County lies in the great grazing belt of Nebraska, 
and its territory is almost exclusively devoted to the rearing and 
fattening of stock, agriculture receiving only a very limited share 
of attention, being confined to the valley of Lodge Pole Creek, 
along the line of the railroad, and small patches about the 

Outside of Sidney the inhabita.nts of the County number less 
than 300, and these are all engaged in the cattle business, with the 
exception of the few permanently located at the shipping stations 
on the raih-oad. 

The surface of the country consists of vast rolling prairies, 
gulches and canyons, which furnish an abundance of the richest 
grasses in the world for pasturage. The bufialo grass, the most 
common variety here, cures on the ground, retaining all its wonder- 
fully nutritious elements, and upon which cattle live and thrive 
the year 'round. The timbered canyons afford excellent shelter 
for the stock during the winter months, and in most cases none 
other is provided. 

Tliere is a large amount of government land in this County. 
Crood crops can be raised in the valleys. 

The crop reports for 1879 show the number of acres under 
cultivation in the County to be 17,326^: Rye, forty acres, 753 
bushels; spring wheat, 7,740^- acres, 116,480 bushels; corn, 3,784 
acres, 145,820 bushels; barley, 778 acres, 23,161 bushels ; oats, 2,513 
acres, 100,982 bushels; sorghum, eleven acres, 1,491 gallons. 

272 Johnson's history of Nebraska. 

There is but one school district in the Coiintj and one school 
house; children of school age, 219 — males, 117, females, 102. 

The amount and valuation of taxable property in the County 
returned for 1879, was as follows; I^umber of acres of land, 3,539, 
average value per acre, $1.00 ; value of town lots, $58,275 ; money 
invested in merchandise, $31,300; number of horses, 1,166, value, 
$23,320; mules, 147, value, $5,880; neat cattle, 57,679, value, $461,- 
432; sheep, 331, value, $331; swine, eighty-eight, value, $176; 
vehicles, 193, value, $3,860; moneys and credits, $19,510; mort- 
gages, $12,572; furniture, $4,717; libraries, $375; property not 
enumerated, $20,753; railroad, $1,015,868; telegraph, $8,840; 
total, $1,670,748. 

The County is divided into six voting precincts, the popula- 
tion of each in 1879 being as follows: Sidney, 935; Big Spring, 
twenty-two; Lodge Pole, seventy; Court House, eighty-seven; 
Potter, fifty-two; Antelope, fifty- two. 

Total population of the County, 1,218 — males, 788, females, 
430. In 1875 the County had a population of only 457; increase 
in four years, 761. 


The County Seat, is located on the north bank of Lodge Pole 
Creek, and on the Union Pacific Kailroad, 414 miles west of Omaha. 
It is a lively, business place of 950 inhabitants, and has attained 
considerable importance as a point of outfitting and departure for 
the Black Hills' gold fields. Fine Concord coaches, carrying mails 
and express leave daily, and land passengers at Deadwood, 267 
miles distant, in about fifty hours. It has two newspapers — the 
riaindealer and Telegra/ph^ an $1,800 school house, two excellent 
hotels, large outfitting and forwarding houses and other necessary 
auxilaries to the Black Hills trade. One firm of freighters shipped 
two and a half million pounds of goods to the Hills in one year. 
The roads from Sidney to the Hills are first-class, and lined with 
ranches and stopping places. Fort Robinson being on the route. 

The stations on the U. P., in this County, are Big Springs, 
Barton, Chappel, Lodge Pole, Colton, Brownson, Potter, Bennett, 
Antelopeville, Adams, Bushnell and Pine Blufi"3. 

Johnson's histoky of Nebraska, 273 


Chase County, located on tlie southwestern border of the 
State, was established in 1873. It is bounded on the north by Keith, 
east by Hayes, south by Dundy, and west by the State of Colorado, 
and contains 936 square miles, or 599,040 acres. 

It is watered by "Whiteraan's Fork, Stinking Water and other 
tributary streams of the Republican River. 

The County is yet unorganized and very sparsely settled, cattle 
raising being the chief pursuit of the inhabitants. There are no 
towns in the County, and no reports have been made of population 
or taxable property. 


Custer County was established by an Act of the Legislature, 
approved February 17, 1877. It is located in the central part of 
the State, bounded on the north by unorganized territory, east by 
Yalley and Sherman, south by Buffalo and Dawson, and west by 
Lincoln County and unorganized territory, containing 2,592 square 
miles, or 1,658,880 acres. 

The Middle Loup River and its branches, water the northeast- 
ern portion of the County. Clear and Mud Creeks water the cen- 
tral, and the South Loup and branches, the southeastern portion 
of the County. The Loups are good mill streams, and furnish a 
moderate supply of timber. 

The surface of the country consists largely of high, rolling 
prairie, about ten per cent, being bluff and five per cent, valley. 
Yery little is done in the way of agriculture as yet, although the 
soil is generally well adapted to the growth of small grain. Stock 
raising — for which the country affords every advantage — is the 
leading industry. 

The County was organized in the spring of 1877, by Commis- 
sioners appointed by the Governor for that purpose. 

The taxable property in the County reported for 1879, was as 
follows: iN'umber of acres of land, 1,308, average value per acre, 


27i Johnson's history of Nebraska. 

$1.50; money used in manufactures, $250; number of horses, 835, 
value $14,395; number of mules twenty, value, $536; number of 
neat cattle, 23,900, value $150,231; number of sheep, 4,161, value 
$4,101; number of swine, 183, value $218.25; number of vehicles, 
171, value, $3,401; moneys and credits $425; mortgages $685; 
furniture $1,958; property not enumerated, $2,723.50; total, $180,- 

In 1879 there were two school districts, two school houses, and 
sixty-one children of school age in the County. 

The population of the County in 1879, was 696, of whom 415 
were males, and 281 females. 

There is plenty of Government land in this County, suitable 
either for stock raising or farming. 


The County Seat, is located on the South Loup Kiver, about twen- 
ty-eight miles north of the town of Plum Creek, on the Union Pa- 
cific Railroad. It is the supply depot for the numerous cattle 
ranches in the vicinity, and at certain seasons of the year is a very 
busy place. 


and Lena are Postoffices in the County. 


Douglas County was created in the fall of 1854, by proclama- 
tion of Acting Governor Cuming, and the boundaries were re- de- 
fined by an Act of the first Territorial Legislature, approved March 
2, 1855. By an Act approved February 7, 1867, Sarpy County was 
formed out of the southern part of Douglas County, and the 
boundaries of the latter fixed as they exist at present. It is located 
on the middle-eastern border of the State, and is bounded on the 
north by Washington and Dodge Counties, east by the Missouri 
River, south by Sarpy County, and west by the Platte River, 
which separates it from Saunders County, and contains about 321 
square miles, or 195,440 acres, at an average elevation of 1,000 feet 
above the sea level. 

Johnson's histoky of Nebraska. 2lf5 

Water Courses. — The Missouri Eiver washes the eastern and 
the Platte Eiver the western border of the County. The Elkhorn 
Kiver, the principal interior stream, flows from north to south 
through the western portion of the County, affording some excel- 
lent mill privileges. A cut-oft' from the Platte, some five or six 
miles long, unites with the Elkhorn in the southwestern part of 
the County. Eawhide Creek is a beautiful stream emptying into 
the Elkhorn in the northwestern part of this County. Big Papil- 
lion Creek, a fine stream with numerous branches, furnishing 
sutiScient water power for light manufacturing purposes, rises in 
Washington County, and flows in a general southeasterly direction 
through the eastern portion of this County. Little, or West Pa- 
pillion Creek, draining the central portion of the County, and East 
Papillion Creek, draining the eastern tier of townships, are tribu- 
taries of the Big Papillion, and flow in the same general direction. 
Mill Creek is a small stream in the northeastern part of the Coun- 
ty, emptying into the Missouri, at Elorence. 

Character of the Land. — The second bottoms or table lands 
of the Missouri are generally from one to two miles wide, and rise 
in gentle undulations from the low flood plains toward the blufis, 
which are usually low and rounded from the northeast corner of 
the County down to Omaha, below which they are quite steep and 
broken, and the bottoms narrower. From the blufis of the Mis- 
:80uri westward to the Papillions, the uplands are considerably 
rolling, with long sloping knolls, but nowhere, scarcely, is the sur- 
face so broken as to prevent plowing. The three Papillion Creeks, 
running from north to south, and from two to four miles apart, the 
first one about five miles west of the Missouri, have beautiful val- 
leys, with a great deal of rich, level bottom land. The central portion 
of the County consists principally of gently undulating prairie, 
while the western portion is taken up with the wide, levelbottoms of 
the Elkhorn and Platte Elvers, a tract of country reaching from the 
northern to the southern boundary, and from six to twelve miles 
wide, comprising some of the finest and most desirable agricultural 
lands in the State. A coast-like range of bluffs, rising from seventy- 
five to one hundred feet above the bottoms, extend along the east 
bank of the Elldiorn, from the heights of which a magnificent view of 
the beautiful level valley country can be had as far as eye can reach. 

276 Johnson's history of Nebraska. 

The soil is a very deep, rich alluvial in the valleys, and on the 
uplands it is a rich, black vegetable mould, ranging from eighteen 
inclies to two feet in depth. Wheat, rye, barley, oats, flax, corn, 
etc., are profitably grown, and Irish and sweet potatoes, melons and 
garden vegetables of all kinds are raised to perfection, both as re- 
gards to quality and quantity. 

The number of acres under cultivation in the County in 1878 
was 44,150. Of the principal crops planted 7,425 acres were in 
wheat, the average yield being fourteen bushels per acre; rye, 745 
acres, average seventeen bushels; oats 6,596 acres, average thirty- 
three bushels; barley 1,445 acres, average twenty-one bushels; corn 
25,709 acres, average forty bushels; and potatoes 560 acres, yield- 
ing from 100 to 250 bushels per acre. Grasses are abundant and 
nutritious. Immense quantities of hay are annually put up on the 
meadows of the Papillions and their tributaries, and on the prairie, 
which always finds a ready market at Omaha. 

Forest and Fruit Trees. — Formerly there were a number of 
fine groves of hardwood in the eastern portion of the County and 
along the bottoms of the Missouri, not much of which, however, 
is now left standing; but there is considerable natural timber yet 
along the Platte, Elkhorn and the Papillion, and where the original 
groves were cut ofi" fine young timber is springing up. The arti- 
ficial timber is well grown, and in proportion to the number of 
farms opened out, it will compare favorably as to quantity with 
any County in the State. 

There are thrifty orchards in the County that have been in 
bearing for some years past, and each year an increased quantity of 
fruit trees are planted, promising at an early day an abundance of 
the choicest fruits. Wild plums, grapes, gooseberries, and rasp- 
berries are plentiful along the streams. 

History. — Lewis and Clarke's famous expedition up the 
Missouri camped on the Omaha Plateau, as appears from their 
Journal, on the 27th of July, 1804. At that time the ever-shifting 
channel of the Missouri ran close up to the high bank at the foot of 
Farnam street, covering the level bottoms which, until within a 
year or two, reach out a half mile or more from the bank, and 
upon which have been erected the Union Pacific Company's 
machine shops, the smelting works, railroad tracks, warehouses* 

Johnson's history of Nebraska. 277 

a large distillery, extensive lumber and coal yards, and various 
other business establisbmeiits. 

The next white person to visit this locality appears to have 
been a man named T. B. Roye, who established an Indian trading 
post with the Otoes, on the plateau where Omaha now stands, in 

The first attempt at permanent settlement by the whites, 
within the present boundaries of the County, was made by the 
Mormons, in 1845. Several thousand of these people, driven from 
Nauvoo, Illinois, crossed the Missouri from Iowa, during the 
years 1845 and 1846, and made a settlement on the banks of the 
river six miles north of Omaha, which was called "Winter Quar- 
ters," the name of the place being afterwards changed to Florence, 
Here they broke up and cultivated a large tract of land, long 
afterwards known as " the old Mormon field," which yielded them 
a bountiful crop of sod corn, potatoes and vegetables, and timber 
being plentiful, substantial log houses were built, and their pros- 
pects for the future looked encouraging. Their numbers were con- 
stantly increased by new arrivals, and before many months had 
elapsed, "Winter Quarters" was considerable of a town. 

The Indians, however, objecting to the Mormons cutting their 
timber, the Indian Agent ordered them to quit the reservation, 
which they did, in 1847, by recrossing the Missouri and settling in 
the bluff's on the Iowa side, where they established the town of 
Kanesville, named in honor of a Mormon Elder named Kane, the 
name of the town being; changed, in 1853, to Council Bluffs. 

Early in the Spring of 1847, before abandoning Winter Quarters, 
the Mormons fitted out an expedition, consisting of one hundred 
and eight wagons, with from four to six men to each wagon, which 
was sent West under the leadership of Brigham Young, to look up 
a favorable location for the permanent settlement of the main party. 
This expedition arrived at the top of the hill overlooking the now 
famous Salt Lake City, on the 24th day of July of the same year, 
and on the 28th the ground for the Temple was selected and a city 
two miles square laid off*. A number of this pioneer party, after 
planting crops, returned and took back their families the same 

The larp-est emigration of Mormons that left Kanesville was 

278 Johnson's history of Nebraska. 

in tlie year 1853, but they continued to emigrate in large bodies 
for several years later, some with cattle trains, others with hand 
carts. The cattle trains were made up principally of cows, which 
were worked as oxen, thus doing the double service of pulling the 
loads and supplying the emigrants with milk on the way. The 
hand-cart trains consisted of small carts loaded with provisions, 
clothing, bedding, &c., which were pushed or pulled along by the 
men and women, none but the smaller children, or sick, riding. 

To William D. Brown, of Mt. Pleasant, Iowa, it is generally 
conceded, belongs the honor of being the first white settler to stake 
a claim on the plateau now occupied by the City of Omaha. Mr. 
Brown was one of the many who started for the gold fields of Cali- 
fornia in 1849 and 1850, and stopping on his way at Council Bluffs, 
then called Kanesville, he established a ferry across the Missouri 
for the accommodation of the large California and Oregon emigra- 
tion of that day. In 1852 he equipped a flat boat for this purpose, 
which received the name of the "Lone Tree Ferry," from a solitary 
tree that stood at the landing of the boat on the west bank of the 
river, just east of where the Union Pacific machine shops now 

In the Spring of 1853, Mr. Brown staked off a claim which 
embraced most of the original town site of Omaha, and on the 23d 
day of July of the same year, a new ferry company was organized, 
taking in Mr. Brown as a member, under the title of "The Council 
Blufls and Nebraska Ferry Company," whose object was to increase 
the ferrying facilities and to establish a town on the west side of 
the river. 

The new Company consisted of Dr. Enos Lowe, President; 
"William D. Brown, Tootle & Jackson, S. S. Bayliss, Joseph 11. D. 
Street, Henn & Williams, Samuel K. Curtis, Tanner & Downs, and 

A substantial steam ferry boat, named the " General Marion," 
was purchased by Dr. Lowe in Cincinnati, Ohio, which arrived at 
Council Bluffs in September, and commenced running regularly 
as a ferry boat across the river from that point, in May, 1854. 

Months before this, however, and before the passage of the 
organic act opening up Nebraska for settlement, crowds of hungry 
land speculators and sharpers had congregated in and around 

Johnson's history of Nebraska. 279 

Council Bluffs anxiouslj waiting when tliey could pounce upon the 
choice sites bordering on the river, especially in the vicinity of the 
contemplated town, and notwithstandingthe Indians had forbidden 
the whites from settling on their lands, a number of men crossed 
the river on the ice in January and February, 1854, and staked off 
claims along the river within the present limits of the County. 
But as soon as the ferry boat commenced running, an immense rush 
was made for the west side of the river, and in a month or two a 
large portion of the County was staked out in claims, but not one 
in ten of these claims was ever settled upon or improved by the 
claimant, who held the lands merely for speculative purposes. 

Immediately after the passage of the bill admitting ]^ebraska 
as a Territory, May 23, 1854, the Ferry Company proceeded to lay 
out their contemplated town. The beautiful plateau upon which 
Omaha now stands was selected for the town site, and Mr. A. D. 
Jones, assisted by C. H. Downes, surveyed the same, which 
occupied the greater part of June and July. Omaha was the name 
given to the new town by the Company, at the suggestion, it is 
said, of Jesse Lowe, now dead. 

The city was laid out in 320 blocks, each being 264 feet square; 
the streets 100 feet wide, except Capitol avenue, which was made 120 
feet wide, but which was given no alley in the blocks on each side 
of it. The lots were staked out sixty-six by 132 feet, with the 
exception of business lots which were made only twenty-two feet 
wide. Three squares were reserved — Capitol Square, 600 feet; 
Jefferson Square, 264 by 280 feet, and Washington Square 264 feet 
square. A park of seven blocks, bounded by Eighth and Ninth, 
and Jackson and Davenport streets, was laid out, but was after- 
wards given up to business purposes. 

In 1856 another town company was organized under the title 
of " The Omaha Town Company," which included in its members 
most of the members of the "Ferry Company." This Company 
secured lands lying contiguous to Omaha, which they laid out. ns 
additions to the city, the survey being known as " Scriptown." 

The first house in Omaha was commenced sometime in Jan- 
uary or February, 1854, by Mr. Tom Allen for the Ferry Com- 
pany. It was a large log house, and was used when finished, as a 
hotel, store, and for the accommodation of the public in general. 

280 Johnson's history of Nebraska. 

It stood in Jackson street, opposite Twelfth, and was known by 
the hiffh-sonndino: name of St. Nicholas, Mr. and Mrs. Wm. P. 
Snowden were its first tenants. 

The second house in the city was built by M. 0. Gaylord, a 
carpenter, about the first of July, 1854. It was made of pine floor- 
ing, and stood on the hill near the present site of Creighton Col- 
lege. In this house Mrs. Gaylord gave birth to a son in Novem- 
ber following, which was the first child born in the city. Mr. 
Gaylord who was sick at the time, died shortly after the birth of 
his son, and his was the first death among the settlers. He was 
buried on the ridge a short distance from the house, and in June, 
1877, while excavating for the Creighton College, his remains 
were taken up and re-buried. 

The " Big 6," was the name given to the third house on the 
town site, which was built by William Clancy, in the forepart of 
July. It was a large shanty, built of Cottonwood boards, banked 
on the outside with sod, and stood on the north side of Chicago 
street, between thirteenth and fourteenth. Mr. Clancy opened 
here a general assortment of merchandise suitable to the times 
and place, and the " Big 6 " soon became a very popular re- 

William P, Snowden, in the fall, built a log house on the 
west side of Tenth street, between Howard and Jackson. This 
was the fourth house erected on the town site, and upon its com- 
pletion, a grand "house-warming" sociable was given by Mr. and 
Mrs. Snowden, which was attended by all the settlers, and many 
from Council Blufis. 

P. G. Peterson, the first Sheriff of the County, built the fifth 
house, a small, one-story frame structure, which then stood at the 
southwest corner of Farnam and Tenth streets. 

S. E. and Wm. Kogers built the next house, on the south side 
of Douglas street, between Tenth and Eleventh. 

^ In the latter part of 1854, Mr. A. D. Jones built himself a 
residence in the south part of town, in a lovely wove, known as 
"Park Wilde." -^ & , 

About the same time Cam Reeves built a residence near the 
large spring south of town, near where now stands the Cold Spriug 
Brewery. Mr. Peeves opened the first stone quarry in the County, 

Johnson's history of Nebraska. 281 

near Lis claim, and supplied the stone for the foundation of the 
old State House, Capitol and other prominent buildings. 

The frame residence, still standing on the south side of St. 
Mary's avenue, between Twenty-first and Twenty-second streets, 
was built in the fall of 1854, by the author, and was occupied by 
him for fifteen years. 

The old State House, built by the Ferry Company for the 
meeting of the first Territorial Legislature, was the first brick 
building erected in the city. It stood on Ninth street, between 
Farnam and Douglas, and was used as a State House until the 
completion of the Capitol building, in the Winter of 1857-8. 
The brick for this building was hauled from Council Bluffs. 

The Douglas House, a large frame building, which stood on 
the southwest corner of Thirteenth and Harney streets, was the 
first regular liotel opened in the city. It was commenced in the 
fall of 1854 and opened to the public on the evening of January 
14, 1855, with a grand ball. This house was headquarters for 
the politicians and speculators for a long time, and for several 
years did an immense business. In 1879 the old building was 
removed to make room for a fine brick, containing five large store 

The City Hotel, a frame building, still standing on the south- 
west corner of Eleventh and Harney streets, built by Ed. Burdelb 
was opened as a hotel next after the Douglas House. In this house 
a ball, or reception was given, in January, 1855, in honor of Mark 
^Y. Izard, the second Governor of the Territory, on his arrival in 
the city. 

The "Western Exchange Bank building, a fine brick, on the 
corner of Twelfth and Farnam streets, was built in 1855, by Jesse 
Lowe. The Western Exchange Bank, the first banking house in 
the city, opened in this building early in 1856, and was a flourish- 
ing institution until the fall of 1857, when it went under in the 
great money crisis, with the rest of the wild-cat banks of the day. 
The building is now occupied by the banking house of Caldwell, 
Hamilton & Company. 

The Pioneer Block, on Farnam, between Eleventh and Twelfth 
streets, built in 1856, by Dr. Henry, H. H. Yisscher and A. Boot, 
was the first brick block in the city. This block was destroyed by 

282 Johnson's history of nkijraska. 

fire in tlie spring of 1S77, and replaced the same year by much 
finer buildings. 

The frame residence at the southwest corner of Dodge and 
Eighteenth streets, was built by Secretary Cuming, in 1855-56, and 
his widow, a most respected lady, still resides there. 

The first lumber yard was opened by the Hon. William A, 
Gwyer, his lumber arriving by steamboat, July 10th, 1856. Mr. 
Gywer, this year, built the Farnam House, now called the Donovan, 
on Harney street, between Thirteenth and Fourteenth. 

The second lumber yard was opened in the spring of 1857,. 
by J. N. PI. and N. T. Patrick. 

Dr. Lowe's brick residence, at the southwest corner of Harney 
and Sixteenth streets, was built in 1857. 

The Herndon House — built by Dr. G. L. Miller, Lyman 
Richardson and others — at the corner of Farnam and Ninth streets, 
the largest brick hotel in the city, until the Grand Central was 
built, was commenced early in the spring of 1857 and finished in 
1859, as a company enterprise. It was a commodious house, 
elegantly furnished and fitted up with all the conveniences of a 
first class hotel, and when opened to the public it at once became 
the fashionable resort of the city. In 1870 the building was rented 
to the Union Pacific Paih'oad Company for ofiices, and in 1875, the 
Company purchased it for $12,000. 

Several other brick houses had been erected in the city by tlii& 
time, also a large number of frame dwellings, hotels and business 

Among the places of note in the early days of the city was the 
"Apex" saloon, on Harney street, been Twelfth and Thirteenth. 
In the summer of 1856, two horse thieves were tied to a li])erty pole 
in front of this saloon and soundly whippei, previously having had 
their heads shaved, after which they were kindly permitted to leave 
for parts unknown. 

The first general merchandise store in the city and County 
was opened by Tootle & Jackson, on Farnam street, early in the 
spring of 1855. 

Shields & Carr opened another general store the same 
spring, as did also Megeath, Richards & Co., John R. & H. B. 
Porter and others. The Messrs. Porters' store was destroyed 


by fire in the Winter of 1S56, being the first building burned in 
the city. 

Dr. C. A. Henry opened a small drug store in 1855, Dr. 
James K. Ish, the same year, opened the first drug store, keeping 
a full assortment of drugs and fancy articles. 

O. I). Kichardson, and A. J. Poppleton, both from Michigan, 
were the first practicing lawyers, both arriving at Omaha early in 
the fall of 1854. Mr. Kichardson is now dead, and Mr. Poppleton 
is the attorney for the Union Pacific Eailroad Company. 

Dr. George L. Miller was the first physician in Omaha, he 
arriving in the fall of 1854. Dr. B. Y. Shelly also arrived at an 
early date. 

Rev. Peter Cooper, of the Methodist Church, delivered the 
first sermon in the city, at the St. Nicholas Hotel — Mr. Snowden'& 
residence — on the ]3th of August, 1S54. 

Rev. Mr. Koulmer, of the United Brethren Church, was the 
next minister to arrive. He preached a while at Omaha, Fonte- 
nelle and Bellevue, in 1855. 

Rtv. Isaac F. Collins, of the Methodist, Rev. Reuben Gaylord,. 
of the Congregational, and Rev. Wm. Leach, of the Baptist 
Church, each held services in Omaha during 1855. 

Rev. Moses F. Shinn was the first Presiding Elder in Nebraska. 
He was appointed by the Iowa Conference, in 1855. His district 
was known as the Nebraska and Kansas district, with stations at 
Omaha, Old Fort Kearney, Wankaressa and Fort Leavenworth. 

The first marriage in the County was that of John Logan to 
Miss Caroline Mosier, at Omaha, November 11, 1855, by Rev. Isaac 
F. Collins. Mr. Logan was one of the first grocerymen of the city ; 
both he and wife still reside at Omaha. 

The first grave dug upon the town site was by Wm. P. Snow- 
den, in the summer of 1854, where Turner Hall now stands, to 
bury an old Omaha squaw, who had been abandoned by her 

The second death among the settlers — Mr. M. C. Gaylord's 
being the first — was that of a Mr. Todd, who died in the fall of 
1854, and was buried on the south side of the creek, between 
Thirteenth and Fourteenth streets, the Union Pacific Railroad now 
passing over his grave. Mr. Todd came to Omaha in August, 

284 Johnson's history of Nebraska. 

1854, and erected a cottonwood shanty on Jackson street, near tlie 
St. Nicholas, wlicre he kept a small store. 

Tlie first white woman to die in the city was Kev. Isaac F. 
Collins' wife, in the summer of 1855, in child-birth; the next was a 
Mrs. Driscoll, who died in February, 1856. She was the first 
person buried in the old burying ground, southwest of the city, now 
Shull's Addition. 

The second birth in the city was that of Margaret, daughter 
of James Ferry, in November, 1854. 

Mr. A. D. Jones, who surveyed the town site in June and 
July, 1854, was the first practical surveyor to locate in the city, 
being one of its very first settlers. 

W. N. Byers and Col. Loren Miller, both practical surveyors, 
came in the fall of 1854. Mr. Byers sectionized a large portion of 
the County, and was one of Omaha's most active business men. 
He and Thos. Gibson, of Fontenelle, left in 1859 for Pike's Peak, 
with a printing press, type and material for a newspaper, with 
which they established the Rochy Mountain News, in Denver City, 
Colorado, in the spring of 1859 — the first newspaper of that Terri- 
tory. Col. Miller surveyed Scriptown during the spring and 
summer of 1855, also several other towns in the eastern part of 
the Territory. He is still a resident of Omaha, and has held the 
oflice of Mayor and several other prominent positions within the 
gift of the people. 

The Om-^\\2i Arrow was the first newspaper of the city. It was 
a four-page, six-column paper, printed in the Bugle ofiice, at 
Council Bluff's, and was ably edited by J. W. Pattison and Joe. E. 
Johnson. It had a brilliant but brief career, the first number 
appearing July 28, 1854, and the last— the twelfth— on the 10th of 
November following. 

The NebrasMan, established in the fall of 1854, was the first 
paper printed at Omaha. Its first editor was John Sherman. The 
press and material for the paper were brought from Ohio, by Hon. 
Bird B. Chapman. The NebrasMan ceased as a paper in 1864. 

The Times, established in 1857, by W. W. Wyman, and the 
Democrat, established in 1858, by Hon. Hadley D. Johnson, were 
both short-lived. 

The first saw mill in the County was a steam mill built at 


Omaha in the fall of 1854, by Samuel Bayliss and Alexander Davis, 
On the 25th of November, 1860, the boiler of this mill exploded, 
instantly killing Mr. Sperry, the engineer, and injuring several 

Saulsbury & Smith built the second steam saw mill at Omaha 
in 1856. It was located on the bottom, above where the Union 
Pacific Railroad machine shops now are. 

The first grist mill in the County was a steam mill, located on 
the Missouri, ftmr miles below Omaha, built in 1855, by E. L. 
Childs. The mill was destroyed by fire in the fall of 1859. Mr. 
Ohilds has the credit of manufacturing the first fiour in the County. 

There are at present in the County six water and two steam 
flouring mills, and several steam and water power saw mills. 

Omaha made the Capital or the Territoky. — Acting Gov- 
ernor Cuming having designated- Omaha as the place for 
holding the first Territorial Legislature, that body met in 
the old State House, on Ninth street, on the 16th day of Janu- 
ary, 1855. The session lasted till the 17th day of March following. 
It being the duty of the first Leglstature to locate the Capitol, the 
greater part of the session was taken up with this important ques- 
tion; and excitement ran at fever heat all the time the Capitol con- 
test was being fought. The contestants for the prize were Omaha, 
Fontenelle, Florence, Bellevue, Plattsmouth, Nebraska City, 
Brown ville, and several other towns south of the Platte; but 
Omaha finally came out victorious. The joint resolution locating 
the Capitol at Omaha was passed February 22, 1855. 

The first County officers were appointed by Governor Cuming, 
and were as follows: Probate Judge, William Scott; Register of 
Deeds, Lyman Richardson; Treasurer, T. G. Goodwill; Sherifi", P. 
G. Peterson, 

The first regular election w^as held on the 8th of October, 1855, 
and resulted in the election of the following County officers, viz: 
Commissioners, Jesse Lowe, Thomas Davis, and James H. Mc- 
Ardle; Treasurer, George Forbes; Eegister of Deeds, Thomas 
O'Connor; Sheriff", Cam Reeves. 

Omaha was chartered as a city by the Legislature in Febru- 
ary, 1857, the first city election occurring on the first Monday of 
March following, with the following result: Jesse Lowe, Mayor; 



L. R. Tuttle, Recorder; J. A. Miller, City Marshal; Charles Graut, 
Solicitor; Lyman liichardson, Assessor; A. S. Morgan, Engineer; 
A. Chappel, Health Officer; A. D. Jones, T. G. Goodwill, G. C. 
IBovey, H. H. Yisscher, Thomas Davis, W. 'N. Byers, W. W. Wy- 
man, Thomas O'Connor, C. H. Downs, J. H. Kellom, and James 
Crei^hton Councilmen. On the 5th of March the Council was 



The old Territorial Capitol, which stood on Capitol Hill, on 
the spot now covered by the High School building, was a large, 
handsome brick building and from its commanding position could 
be seen for many miles from the city. The contract for its erec- 
tion was awarded to Messrs. Bovey & Armstrong, of Omaha, who 
■commenced work on the building in November, 1855, and the 
structure was completed by January, 1858, sufficiently for the 
meeting of the Legislature. The cost of the building was $150,000. 

Upon the admission of Nebraska as a State, March 1, 1867, 
and the removal shortly afterwards of the Capitol to Lincoln, the 
old Capitol building was donated by an Act of the Legislature to 
the City of Omaha for educational purposes, and in 1870 it was 
torn down to make room for the present High School building. 

On the 9th of February, 1869, by Legislative enactment, 
Omaha became a city of the first class; and on May 15th follow- 
ing, the Council, by an ordinance, divided the city into six wards. 

Claim Club. — The Omaha Claim Club was an institution 


established with the first settlement of the County, and for three 
or four years, or till the opening of the United States Land Office, 
it held absolute sway over all matters pertaining to claims. 

Before the public lands in the Territory had been surveyed, 
the laws afforded the settlers no protection against land sharpers 
and jumpers, and the only title they could get to the land upon 
which they were located was what was called the "claim," or 
"squatters'" title; therefore, for their mutual benefit and pro- 
tection, and for the adjustment of all disputes arising in regard to 
claims, the settlers of the County formed themselves into a Club, 
electing a Judge, Clerk, Recorder, and SherifiF, and enacting a code 
of laws for the government of all claim matters. 

The first meeting of the Omaha Club, for the purpose of or- 
ganizing, was held on the afternoon of July 22, 1854, under a large 
elm, known as the " lone tree," which stood on the bank of the 
river at the landing of the ferry boat. Samuel Lewis was chosen 
Chairman, and M. C. Gaylord, Secretary. A constitution and by- 
laws were prepared and adopted, after which a full sett of officers 
were elected, as follows: A. D. Jones, Judge; S. Lewis, Clerk; 
M. C. Gaylord, Recorder, and R. B. Whitted, Sheriff". 

The Club was the recognized high tribunal of the land. There 
was no stay of execution or appeal from its decrees. Although 
some injustice was undoubtedly done under its workings, the com- 
munity was in the main benefited by it, as claim-jumping and 
elaim quarrels were of daily occurrence, and it was only through 
the arbitrary power wielded by the Club that much bloodshed was 

Claim clubs were a necessity as long as squatter titles existed, 
but as soon as government title to land could be obtained, there 
were no further use for such organizations, and accordingly the 
Omaha Claim Club, as well as all other similar associations in Ne- 
braska, disbanded in 1857-8. 

The land in Douglas County was surveyed by the Govern- 
ment during the year 1856. 

The United States Land Office was opened at Omaha for the 
entry of land on the 17th day of March, 1857. Col. A. R. Gilmore 
was the first Receiver, and Col. J. A. Parker the first Register of 
the Land Office. 


The first entry of land made in Nebraska was on the day of 
the opening of the Land Office, March 17, by Jesse Lowe, Mayor, 
who entered 320 acres as t)ie town site of Omaha. 

The land covered by the site of Omaha was granted in two 
patents — one to John McCormick, dated May 1, 1860, the land 
havino-been bid ofl' by him at the public sale of July 5, 1859, act- 
ing as trustee, and deeded by him to David D. Belden, Mayor of 
the City, in trust for the owners, and the other to Jesse Lowe» 
Mayor, dated October 1, 1860, on the entry made March 17, 1857. 

SxEAMBOATiNa Days. — Before the advent of the railroad con- 
necting Omaha with the eastern markets, the steamboat played the 
most prominent part in the matter of transportation. Stage 
coaches were also run across the State of Iowa, but the steamboat 
brought the great bulk of the emigrants, provisions, lumber, and 
in fact everything needed in the way of building up a new 

The first steamboat of the season was hailed with the greatest 
joy by the settlers, who looked upon its arrival as the opening 
again of another busy season after a dreary, tedious winter. Men, 
women and children, merchant, mechanic and Indian, all flocked 
to the levee at the first sound of the whistle to greet its arrival 
and welcome the emigrants. Frequently gay cotillion parties were 
held on board while the cargo was being discharged. 

During the busy season often seven and eight boats a week 
would arrive, filling the levees from end to end with all manner of 
merchandise, and presenting a scene of bustle and business not 
witnessed since then. 

The levee where the greater part of the business was done has 
since been nearly all washed away by the river. Steamboating 
died out gradually as the railroads advanced, and it is now con- 
fined principally to the Upper Missouri. 

First Murders, Executions, Etc. — One of the first homicides 
that occurred in the County was the killing of Jesse Wynn, a 
brick mason, who was shot near the old California crossing on the 
Elkhorn River, in the winter of 1855, by a man from Council 
Blufts. The shooting was the result of a quarrel over a 
claim. The man was arrested in Council Bluffs, tried and dis- 

Johnson's history of Nebraska. 280 

On the 4th of July, 1857, a Mr. Kingsley was stabbed and 
killed at Florence, by a blacksmith named Biggs, who accused 
Xingsley of being too intimate with his wife. Biggs was confined 
in jail at Omaha, and being allowed considerable liberty while 
awaiting trial, he took advantage of it and made his escape. 

In the latter part of March, 1858, two men named Braden 
and Dailey were captured with some horses that had been stolen 
near Rockport, a village several miles above Omaha. The men 
were confined in the Omaha jail, and a couple of evenings after- 
wards a party of disguised men took them from the jail by force 
and placing them in an open wagon drove rapidly to a point about 
two miles north of Florence and there huno- them to a large tree. 
Public sentiment, however, was so strongly against this proceed- 
ing that four men, suspected of being implicated in it, were sub- 
sequently arrested and tried on the charge, but were acquitted. 

One night in April, 1861, two men named Bouve and Ber 
went to a stable near the military bridge in Omaha, and taking a 
horse apiece, rode twelve miles into the country to a Mr. Geo. C. 
Taylor's place, on Big Papillion Creek, at the crossing of the old 
California road. Tying their horses, they entered the house, the 
lower part of which was used as a bar-room, in which they found 
the hired man, sleeping. This man they bound securely with a 
lariat, and then helping themselves to what liquor they wanted, 
they proceeded up stairs, cocked revolvers in hand, to Mrs. Taylor's 
room (Mr. Taylor being absent) of whom they demanded the 
money and valuables of the house. 

Bouve was very abusive and ugly, threatening several times to 
take Mrs. Taylor's life, and was only prevented from doing so by 
his comrade. Her. After securing all the booty they could find — 
some ten or twelve hundred dollars in gold, a watch, revolver and 
some silverware — the robbers jumped on their horses and were 
back again to Omaha before daylight, returning the horses to the 
stable from which they had taken them. 

The authorities at Omaha being notified of the robbery the 
next day, Bouve and Her, who were strangers in the city, and 
spending money very lavishly, were arrested on suspicion of be- 
ing the perpetrators, and placed iii jail to await the arrival of Mrs. 
Taylor, who was immediately sent for to identify them. When 


290 Johnson's history of Nebraska. 

she came she readily picked out Boiive and Her from amongst a 
room full of men in Avliicli tliey had been placed, although they 
had in the meantime been shaved and otherwise altered in appear- 
ance. The identification of the thieves being complete, they were 
returned to the jail to await trail. A meeting of the citizens was 
held that night in front of the Pioneer Block, in regard to the 
matter, and on the following night about twelve o'clock, a vigilance 
committee took the prisoners from their cells and hung Bouve to 
the bridging of the upper floor of the building, and liberated Her 
on account of his intercessions for the life of Mrs, Taylor. Her, 
it is said, afterwards enlisted in a Nebraska regiment and made a 
ffood soldier for the Union, 

The first legal execution in Nebraska was that of Cyrus H. 
Tator's, who was hung at Omaha, in August, 1863, for the murder 
of Isaac Neff, Neff was engaged in the freighting business, and 
had returned from Denver, Colorado, a short time before the 
murder, accompanied by Tator, In June, 1863, ]S'efi[''8 body, with 
two log chains wrapped around it, was found by some boys, lying 
in the shallow water of the river, near the sulphur springs, at 
Omaha, It was evident that he had been murdered. It was also 
discovered that Tator had sold some of NeiF's cattle and effects, 
and that he had gone West with a wagon load of goods and team 
of horses formerly owned by Neff. He was pursued and arrested 
at Shinn's Ferry, in Colfax County, by Thomas L. Sutton, Sheriff 
of Douglas County, who brought him back and lodged him in the 
Omaha jail. The Court being then in session a special Grand 
Jury was impanneled, which found a bill of indictment against 
Tator, and he was tried and convicted of the murder, and was 
Bentenced to be hanged on the 28th of August, on which day he 
was executed, at precisely one o'clock, the scaffold being erected on 
the high ground near the sulphur springs. Tator was a native of 
New York, thirty years of age, was a lawyer by profession, and had 
lived in Kansas for several years, where he had been a Judge of 
Probate and a member of the Legislature. The evidence in his 
case was purely circumstantial, but so clear and positive that it left 
no doubt in the minds of the public as to his guilt. 

The second legal execution in the County was that of Ottway 
G. Baker, for the murder of Woolsey D. Higgins, on the night of 

Johnson's history of Nebraska. 291 

November 21, 1S66. Mr, HiggiDS was the bookkeeper and Baker 
the porter of the wholesale grocery store of Will R. King & Co., of 
Omaha, then kept in the brick building which stands on the south- 
east corner of Twelfth and J'arnam streets. On the evening of the 
murder, Mr. Higgins received fourteen or fifteen hundred dollars, 
after banking hours, which he placed in the safe of the store. Baker 
being aware of the fact. Higgins and Baker slept together in the 
store, and that night, while Higgins was asleep. Baker got 
up stealthily and struck him two fearful blows on the head with 
an axe, killing him instantly, after which he unlocked the safe, 
took out the money, then dressed himself, went out the back door, 
and walked to the west side of- Eleventh street, between Harney 
and Howard, where he hid the money under the board sidewalk. 
Returning again to the store, he undressed himself, then collecting 
a lot of combustible material together in the cellar, he set fire to 
it, hoping thus to destroy the building and all traces of his crime. 
Before the fire had made much headway, however, it was discov- 
ered by the night watchman of the block, who gave the alarm, 
which soon brought the fire department and a large number of 
citizens to the scene. Baker, at the proper time, rushed out of the 
building in his night clothes, yelling fire, murder and thieves, 
having previously shot himself in the arm with his revolver, 
making a slight flesh wound. The fire was extinguished before any 
considerable damage was done. Baker protested that the store had 
been entered by burglars who had set fire to the building, and that 
after a desperate fight with them, Mr. Higgins had been killed and 
himself wounded in the arm. His story received little credence, 
and at the inquest over Higgins' body, he was held for the murder. 
After a long and tedious trial, he was convicted and sentenced to 
be hanged on the 14th of February, 1868, the execution taking 
place on the day appointed, at a spot about a half mile west of the 
High School building. Sometime before his execution. Baker con, 
fessed his guilt, and also to the firing of Hellman's warehouse 
previously, by which half a block of buildings were destroyed. 

On Saturday, December 10, 1874, Thomas Keeler, a farmer 
living a few miles north of Elkhorn Station, in the western part of 
the County, was killed by David S. Parmelee, a grain merchant at 
the Station, who also owned a farm in the neighborhood of Keeler's. 

292 Johnson's history of Nebraska. 

An ill-feeling had arisen between the two men in regard to the 
trespassing of Keeler's cattle on Parraelee's land, and it appears 
that Keeler had threatened to sboot Parmelee on sight, and on ac- 
count of his threats against him, Parmelee was in the habit of 
going armed. On the afternoon of the shooting, they met with 
their teams on the outskirts of the town, and when they came 
within sliooting range, both men jumped from their wagons and 
fired at each other — Parmelee with a Winchester rifle and Keeler 
with a double-barreled shot-gun — so nearly together that the re- 
ports of their guns were barely distinguishable. Keeler was killed 
outright, but Parmelee escaped unhurt. Immediately after the 
sliooting, Parmelee surrendered himself to a deputy sheriif and was 
taken to Omaha, where he gave bail for his appearance at court;, 
but he was never indicted by the Grand Jury, Mr. Parmelee still 
resides at Elkhorn, and has been three times elected to the Legis- 

Indian Troubles. — The Pioneers of this County were exceed- 
ingly fortunate in their dealings with the Indians, and never ex- 
perienced any real trouble from them, although they had "scares'^ 
innumerable, and suifered their full share of annoyance. When 
danger threatened the outer settlements, the citizens of the County 
always promptly rallied a strong force for their protection ; and in 
every Indian campaign of those early days the Douglas County 
troops were conspicuous alike for their valor and their numbers. 

One of the most horrible occurrences in the annals of Indian, 
barbarism happened within the limits of this County, being no less- 
an event than the skinning alive of a white man by the Pawnees. 

In 1849, a party of gold-seekers left Wisconsin for California^ 
by the overland route. Among their number was a young man 
named Khines, who, it appears, had made a foolish boast that he 
would shoot the first Indian he saw. One morning, shortly after 
their arrival in Nebraska, when the party were about breaking 
camp on the banks of the Elkhorn, near the old California cross- 
ing, some Indians came strolling along the banks of the river, and 
one of Rhines' comrades jocularly reminding him of his boast, he 
raised his rifle and shot one of the Indians dead — a young squaw. 
The train then moved hastily on, but just as they had reached a 
small stream about five miles distant, they were met by a large 

Johnson's history of Nebraska. 293 

"band of Pawnee warriors on horseback, wlio demanded the surren- 
der of the murderer, which had to be done, or the whole party 
would have been massacred. Rhines was taken by the Indians, 
stripped of his clothing, and fastened to the ground with a lariat, 
after which they deliberately commenced skinning him alive, his 
companions being formed in a circle around him while the opera- 
tion was being performed. The skinning process being completed) 
the Indians appeared perfectly satisfied, and left for their village 
on the Platte, without harming any of the other emigrants. Rhines 
survived the operation but a few minutes. His body was interred 
on the bank of the stream, which has ever since been known as the 

The first Indian scare participated in by the citizens of this 
County, occurred in the month of July, 1855, when two white men 
were killed at Fontenelle at one shot by a Santee Sioux Indian. 
The news of this tragedy created the wildest excitement through- 
out the settlements, and forces were immediately raised in all of 
them to send against the Indians, as a general attack was appre- 

Omaha raised a company for this purpose, which was com- 
manded by Captain Wm. E. Moore; and the troops from the sev- 
eral towns were formed into a battalion under the command of 
Colonel John M. Thayer, which proceeded to Fontenelle and made 
that place its headquarters. The campaign was a short one, no 
hostile Indians being found; and after spending several weeks in 
scouting along the Elkhorn and reconnoitering the country in the 
vicinity of Fontenelle, the expedition was disbanded. 

In what was known as the "Pawnee War "of 1S59, Douglas 
County was represented by a mounted company under command 
of Capt. "Wm. E. Moore, and a gun squad, commanded by Capt 
James Ford, making together about 100 men. 

In the summer of 1864, a large band of Indians appeared on 
the Elkhorn, in the western part of this County, which so fright- 
ened the settlers of that neigliborhood that they left everything 
and fled precipitately to Omaha. 

A few days before this, several suspicious looking strangers 
had arrived in the city, and a rumor was started that they were a 
part of Quantrell's band that had just previously destroyed Law- 

291 Johnson's histouy of Nebraska. 

rence, Kansas, and who were here looking over the grounds pre- 
paratory to raiding Omaha; so when the settlers of the Elkhorn 
came flocking into the city before daylight, it caused the most 
intenfee excitement. Business was entirely suspended that day, 
A meetin<r was called at the Court House at two o'clock in the 
afternoon, and before sunset every able-bodied man in the city was 
fully armed, equipped, and prepared for anything that might occur. 
A strong guard was organized and stationed that night at all the 
approaches to the city, and this vigilance was continued for about 
two M-eeks. These precautions, no doubt, prevented an attack on 
the city from either bushwhackers or Indians. The settlers of the 
Elkhorn lost some of their cattle and valuables, which were appro- 
priated by the Indians as soon as they had gone. 

At the breaking out of the Indian disturbances in Nebraska 
in 1864, Governor Alvin Saunders made a call for the militia for 
self-protection, and under this call companies of mounted infantry 
were organized for four months' service, among them being the 
following from Omaha: 

Company A. — R. T. Beall, Captain; George 0. Yates, First 
Lieutenant; J. H. Barlow, Second Lieutenant. 

Company B. — John Tatfe, Captain; Edwin Patrick, First 
Lieutenant; Abraham Deyo, Second Lieutenant. 

ComjMny C. — Charles S. Goodrich, Captain; Martin Dun- 
ham, First Lieutenant; David T. Mount, Second Lieutenant. 

Company D. — Jesse Lowe, Captain; E. Estabrook, First Lieu- 
tenant; O. B. Selden, Second Lieutenant. 

These companies were organized during the latter part of Au- 
gust, and were intended more as a home guard than anything else,, 
being composed principally of the business men of the city. Cap- 
tain Beall was placed in command of all the militia forces at 
Omaha, and kept the city under guard at night. 

TiiK Civil War. — At the commencement of the great rebel- 
lion, Douglas County promptly responded to the call of the general 
Government with troops for the preservation of the Union. 

Eecruiting depots were immediately opened at Omaha and 
other points in the County, and volunteers by the hundreds has- 
tened to place their names on the roll of honor. 

The First Eegiment Nebraska Yolunteei-s, the First Battalion, 

Johnson's history of nkbkaska. 295 

Second Keginient Nebraska Yolunteers, the First Nebraska Vet- 
eran Cavalry and four companies of Curtis' Horse, were mainly 
recruited at Omaha, and did noble service in the southwestern 
army during the rebellion, and on the western plains fightino- hos- 
tile Indians. 

Besides the above mentioned troops. Captain John E. Porter, 
organized at Omaha, Company A, First Nebraska Militia Cavalry 
Eegiment for home service against "confederate tribes of Indians," 
and Captain E. P. Cliilds, of Omaha, raised an artillery attach- 

The Telegraph. — The iirst telegraph line to reach Omaha, 
was the Missouri & Western, in 1860, built from St. Louis, by the 
late Edward Creighton, of Omaha. 

Mr. Creighton shortly afterwards built the Pacific line across 
the plains which triumph gained for him a national fame and 
princely fortune. Pefore the close of the year 1860, he had ex- 
tended the Missouri & Western from Omaha to Julesburg, Colo- 
rado, and early in the following spring he renewed the work with a 
large force of men and teams, and reached Salt Lake City with his 
line on the 17th da}^ of October, 1861, where he was joined one 
week later by a line from California, where the lines were connected 
and the Atlantic and Pacific oceans were united h^ the electric 

The second telegraph line to reach Omaha was the Illinois & 
Mississippi Yalley, from Chicago, in 1861. 

In 1863, Omaha had three wires — one from St. Louis, one 
from Chicago, and one to San Francisco. 

In 1870, the Great Western Telegraph was built from Chicago 
to Omaha, connecting with the Pacific coast over the Union Pacific 
and Central Pacific Railroad wires. 

The Atlantic & Pacific Telegraph Company established their 
lines west from Omaha to San Francisco, in 1869, and in 1873, 
constrncted a line between Omaha and Chicago, to connect their 
Western and Eastern systems. 

Twenty-three wires now enter Omaha, each one terminating 
here. There are now in Omaha fifteen telegraph ofiices, of which 
the Union Pacific has nine, located at their headquarters, train 
dispatcher's' offices, depots, shops, bridge ofiices, etc. The others 



are those of the Western Union and Atlantic & Pacific Telegraph 
Companies, the Chicago, Burlington & Qrancy, the Chicago & 
Eock Island, Chicago & Northwestern, B. & M. in Nebraska, and 
the Kansas City, St. Joe & Council Blufls Railroad Companies. 

The American Union Telegraph Company reached Omaha 
with tlieir line, and opened an office in Union Block, on November 
15, 187 9. 


Railroads. — The ceremony of "breaking ground" for the 
Union Pacific Railroad, took place at Omaha, December 3, 1863. 

The Headquarters of the Union Pacific Railroad Company 
have been maintained at Omaha ever since the road was projected., 
In 1876, the Company purchased the property known as the 
Herndon House, which was reconstructed at an expense of 
$58,000, and is now one of the handsomest and most substantial 
buildings of the kind to be found west of Chicago. 

The B. & M. Headquarters, located on Farnam and Ninth 
Streets, is also a very fine brick building, erected 1878, and is a 
magnificent building for which it is used. 

Johnson's history of Nebraska. 297 

The Chicago & T^ortliwestern was the first railroad to reach 
Omalia from tlie East, the first train arriving on Sunday, January 
17, 1867. Next came the St. Joe & Council Bluffs road— now- 
called the Kansas City, St. Joe & Council Bluffs. 

The Chicago &llock Island road reached Omaha in the spring 
of 1868, and was followed, the same year, by the Burlington & 
Missouri, now called the Chicago, Burlington & Quincy. 

The Omaha & Southwestern, and the Omaha & Northwestern 
— now called the Omaha & Northern Nebraska — were both com- 
menced in 1869. 

The Omaha & Eepublican Yalley road, a branch of the Union 
Pacific, was completed to Wahoo, Saunders County, in 1876. 

The Omaha & St. Louis Railroad was completed in the fall of 

Omaha has now six passenger trains to and from Chicago, five 
to and from St. Louis, besides the Union Pacific trains, and those 
of the Burlington & Missouri Piver, and Omaha & Northern 
Nebraska roads. The Sioux City & Pacific road also gives Omaha 
direct communication with St. Paul, and cities in northwestern 
Iowa and Dakota. 

A more complete history of the railroads of Nebraska will be 
found in another Chapter. 

Public Schools. — The first school taught in the County was 
opened in the basement of the Congregational Church, at Omaha, 
in the fall of 1856. It was a private school. 

In 1879 the number of school districts in the County was 
forty-nine; number of school houses, fifty-seven; number of chil- 
dren of school age, 8,490 — males, 4,141; females, 4,349; whole 
number of children that attended school during the year, 4,280; 
number of qualified teachers employed, 140 — males, forty; females, 
100; wages paid teachers for the year — males, $6,780.80; females, 
$39,721.25; total, $45,502.08; value of school houses, $332,938; 
value of school house sites, $98,711; value of books and apparatus, 

Taxable Property. — The following is a statement of the 
taxable property of the County, as returned for 1879: Acres of 
land, 199,963; value, $1,501,879; average value per acre, $7,59; 
value of town lots, $3,682,785; money invested in merchandise, 

298 Johnson's history of Nebraska. 

$536,111 ; money used in manufactures, $121,150 ; number of horses, 
4,078, value, $127,249; mules and asses, 409, value, $15,260; neat 
cattle, 8,847, value, $99,983; sheep, 792, value, $1,386; swine, 
11,873, value, $18,755; vehicles, 2,220, value, $70,142; moneys and 
credits, $105,157; mortgages, $81,047; stocks, etc., $230,760; 
furniture, $109,791; libraries, $8,284; other personalty, $414,288; 
railroad and telegraph property, $425,325,14; total valuation, 

Land. — A large portion of the land in this County is held for 
speculative purposes, and is unimproved. The Union Pacific 
Kailroad Company owns several thousand acres in the western part 
of tiie County, for which they ask from $5.00 to $10.00 per acre. 
Good unimproved upland can be bought at an average price of ten 
dollars an acre. 

Population. — No census returns have been made. The 
estimated population of the County, January 1, 1879, was 36,557. 

Old Settlers of the County. — The following is a partial list 
of the old settlers of the County, many of whom located at Omaha^ 
in 1854: William D. Brown, Dr. Enos Lowe, Jesse Lowe, A. D. 
Jones, M. C. Caylord, William P. Snowden, Lorin Miller, Dr. 
George L. Miller, A. J. Poppleton, Hadley D. Johnson, Harrison 
Johnson, E. Estabrook, James G. Megeath, C. H. Downs, J. W. 
Paddock, S. E. Eogers, H. H. Yisscher, Allen Eoot, John Davis, 
John Logan, Edwin Patrick, John Withnell, Eev. Eeuben Gay- 
lord, W. W. Wyman, J. W. Pickard, A. J. Hanscom, Herman 
Kountze, S. A. Orchard, D. C. Sutphen, the Creightons, J. G. 
Chapman, Ezra Millard, Dr. J. K. Isli, John Green, Cam Peeves, 
J. H. Millard, Dr. Plummer, the Durnalls, Tom Murray, O. F. 
Davis, M. Hell man, A. Cahn, John E. Horbach, G. M. Mills, 
Wm. Sexauer, Judge George B. Lake, H. E. A. Pundt, the Pat- 
ricks, Gen. John M. Thayer, F. A. Schneider, Hon. James M. 
Woolworth, John E. Porter, Dr. Peck, John McCormick, Harry 
Deuel, Edwin Loveland, Josiah S. McCormick, John M. Sheely, J. 
E. Merideth, Fred. Davis, J. I. Brown, A. J. Simpson, P. W. 
Hitchcock, A. S. Paddock, Byron Eeed, J. W. Tousley, Joel T. 
Griffin, Major George Armstrong, Eev. W. A. McCandlish, Judge 
Briggs, Levi Kennard, Ignace Scherb, Tom Eiley, Hon. John L 
Eedick, John Eiley, W. A. Gwyer, James E. Boyd, James M. 


"Winship, William A. Paxton, Frank Dellone, Fred. Dellone, G. 
W. Doane, S. A. Strickland, Father Curtis, Thomas O'Connor, A. 
J. Harmon, Milton Eogers, Dr. William McClelland, J. W. Yan- 
I^ostrand, W. J. Kennedy, James McArdle, John Kennedy, E. F. 
Cook, S. E. Brown, Eandall Brown, Fred. King, A. N^. Ferguson, 
George I. Gilbert, John Kennedy, Thomas Swift, E. Y. Smith, C. 
W. Koenig, C. W. Hamilton, D. Whitney, A. K. Gilmore, J. S. 
Gibson, Fred Krug, Frank Kleffner, D. S. Parmelee, Michael Con- 
nolly, Luke McDermot, Patrick Dinan. 


The County Seat, had at the beginning of the year 1879, a popula- 
tion of 26.500. Laid out in the summer of 1854, its growth ha& 
been constant and of the most substantial character, so that to-day 
it is not only the leading city of Nebraska, but is one of the most 
prosperous and beautiful cities in the West. 

The fine plateau — nearly a mile broad, and elevated some fifty 
or sixty feet above the Missouri — embraced by the original town 
site, is now occupied by the chief business portions of the city 
while the low-rounded, tree-covered hills, forming a semi-circle on 
the west and south, are thickly dotted with tasteful and elegant 
residences and buildings of note. 

On the elevated ground at the southwestern boundary of the 
city limits, is Hanscom Park, containing sixty acres, covered with 
a fine natural grove, which has been laid out and beautified by the 
city for the benefit of the public. Immediately west of the city is 
the Poor Farm on which has been erected a commodious brick 
Almshouse. Northwest of the city, about two miles distant, is 
situated the State Deaf and Dumb Institute; and further to the 
north, on a high hill, adorned with shade trees and evergreens, in 
plain view of the city, is Prospect Cemetery. Tlie Douglas Coun- 
ty Fair Grounds, the Omaha Driving Park, and the Omaha Bar- 
racks, lie just beyond the northern limits of the city, 

Omaha, owing to her splendid geographical position — being^ 
the half-way station across the continent, and the gateway leading- 
to the rich mining districts of the Eocky Mountains and Pacific 
coast — has become an important railroad and commercial center. 
Her railroads reach out in every direction, and her wholesale trade. 

300 Johnson's history of Nebraska. 

now amounting to twelve or fifteen million dollars annually, is 
constantly on the increase, while her manufactures are rapidly de- 
veloping into an important interest. 

Being at the head of the Union Pacific Eailroad, the principal 
machine shops and general oflBces of that great company are located 
here. The machine shops were completed in 1865. They are 
located on the Missouri bottoms, in front of the city, and consist 
of a dozen or more large and substantial brick structures, covering 
an extensive area of ground. They give employment to between 
six and seven hundred men, among whom over half a million dol- 
lars is paid out annually. A large amount of money has been ex- 
pended in the past year by the Government and Union Pacific 
Railroad Company in rip-rapping the banks of the river above the 
machine shops. 

Omaha has one linseed oil mill, manufacturing annually mil- 
lions of pounds of oil cake and thousands of gallons of oil; one 
distillery, which pays a government tax of more than $300,000 per 
year; six large breweries, a white lead works, nail works, extensive 
stock yards, several large pork-packing establishments, two steam 
flouring mills, two steam saw mills, two planing mills, two im- 
mense grain elevators, two machine shops and foundries, a safe 
factory, one large carriage factory and several smaller ones, a 
cracker factory, soap, brush and broom factories, ten brick yards, 
agricultural implement and numerous smaller manufacturing and 
industrial establishments. 

There are four sound banking houses in the city — the First 
National, the Omaha National, Caldwell, Hamilton & Co., and the 
State Bank of Nebraska. 

The hotel accommodations of Omaha, since the destruction of 
the Grand Central by fire, in 1878, are entirely inadequate. 

The Grand Central was a magnificent brick structure, with 
stone facings, one hundred and thirty-two feet square, five stories 
and basement. It was finished in 1873, at a cost of $300,000, and 
was considered the finest hotel between Chicago and San Francisco. 
The fire originated through the carelessness of a workman, who, on 
the evening of September 4, 1878, while the hotel was undergoing 
repairs, and unoccupied, left a candle burning on a piece of board, 
in the elevator-way, near the roof, when he quit work in the even- 

Johnson's history of Nebraska. 


ing. The hotel was totally destroyed, and live of the Omaha fire- 
men, John Lee, Asst. Chief, Wm. McNamara, Henry Lockfeld, 
Fred. Wilson and A. D. Eandall perished in the ruins. 


The "Withnell House, corner of Harney and Fifteenth streets, 
is a new and first-class house, opened in the fall of 1878, by the 
Kitchen Brothers, who were the lessees of the Grand Central, and 
heavy losers by the fire. 

The Metropolitan Hotel, corner of Twelfth and Douglas 
Btreets, is a first class house. 

The Canfield House, corner of Ninth and Farnam streets, is a 
new and very fine hotel. 

The Atlantic, Donovan, St. Charles, Planters' and Omaha 
House are among the flourishing hotels of the city. 

The Nebraskian was the first newspaper printed at Omaha. 
It was established in the fall of 1854 and lived until 1864. The 
WeeMy Times, established in 1857, by W. W. Wyman, was the 
second paper printed in the city. It was short-lived, as was also 
the Democrat, established the following year by H. D. Johnson. 

The Republican was started as a weekly paper on the 5th of 
May, 1858, by Ed. F. Schneider and Harrison J. Brown. In 1863 
it was changed to a daily, and in 1871 it was consolidated with the 
Omaha Tribune^ an opposition paper which had been started in 

302 Johnson's history of Nebraska. 

January, 1S70, by J. B. Hall and others. It then became a joint 
stock company, and was issned under the name of Tribune and 
Hepuhlican nntil 1873, when it resumed its old name of Rejpubli- 
oan. It has lon^ been the leading Republican organ of the State. 

The Telegraph was the first daily paper published in Omaha, 
the first number appearing in December, 1860. It did not last 
more than a year. 

The Omaha Daily Herald was established in 1865 by Dr. 
George L. Miller and D. W. Carpenter, the former being the 
editor. Lyman Richardson and John S. Briggs published the 
Herald for a short time in 1868, and upon Mr. Briggs retiring, 
the firm became Miller & Richardson, Dr. Miller retaining the 
editorial pen. In 1874 Miller & Richardson built and moved the 
Herald into the fine brick structure now occupied by it, on 
Farnam, near Fifteenth street. The Herald is today the leading 
Democratic paper of the Northwest. 

The Daily Evening Times, independent, was started in 1868, 
^nd shortly afterwards removed to Sioux City, Iowa. 

The Daily Bee was established in June, 1871, by Edward Rose- 
water. It is Republican in politics, and lias groMm step by step 
from a small sheet to a large and influential paper, publishing two 
editions daily — morning and evening. 

The Daily Dispatch, established in 1873, by J. C. Wilcox, 
died out in two or three months. 

The Daily Union, established in January, 1874, ceased to 
exist in the following Fall. 

The Center- Union Agriculturist, Geo. W. Brewster, editor 
and proprietor, was established several years ago, and is at present 
a very prosperous and neat weekly. 

The Daily Evening JVews, Fred Nye, editor, was established 
in 1878, and has met with splendid success, being now one of the 
leading papers of the city. 

The Nebraska Watchman — " Little Mac's " paper — F. M. 
MacDonagh, editor, was removed from Council Bluflfs to Omaha 
in the spring of 1879. It is a weekly, devoted to " colonization, 
immigration and the interests of the working man," and is a most 
excellent and successful family newspaper. 

The Portfolio, issued weekly by the Portfolio Printing Com- 



pany, was established in 1879, and is a very able and successful 
journal, advocating the National Greenback doctrine. 

Besides the foregoing there are several other papers and peri- 
odicals published at Omaha, as follows: High School Journal, 
Guardian^ Danske Pioneer, Pokroh Zapadu, Falkets Tidning, 
Post (tri-weekly). Western Magazine, Commercial Exchange, 
Rural Nehrashian, Journal of Commerce, Die Vestern and Mute 

Public Schools. — The educational advantages of Omaha are 
unsurpassed by any city in the West. There is one high and 
eleven fine ward school buildings. The value of school property 
is as follows: Sites, $101,000; buildings, $321:,000; furniture, 
$9,150; apparatus, $950; total, $485,100. 


The High School building, occupying the site of the old Ter- 
ritorial Capitol, is, in point of architectual beauty, convenience of 
construction and commanding location, without a rival among 
public school buildings on the continent. It was completed in 

304 Johnson's history of Nebraska. 

1872, at a cost of $250,000. Its spire is 390 I'eet above the 
Missouri river, and from its cupola it commands a view of the 
whole city, and other points in the Missouri Yalley, for fifteen 

The North Omaha, Third Ward, South Omaha, Hartman's 
Addition and Hascall's Addition school houses are of brick, the 
balance beino; handsome frame structures. 

The Board of Education, in whom is vested the governn!,ent 
of public schools, is composed of twelve men, two fron? each 

Creighton College, a handsome brick building with stone 
facings, erected on an elevated site in the northwestern portion of 
the city, is one of the institutions of Omaha. It was completed 
in 1878, at a cost of $55,000, which sum, with a further amount 
of $100,000 as a permanent endowment, was bequeathed for that 
purpose by the late Mrs. Edward Creighton. The school is under 
the supervision of the Jesuits, and will accommodate 480 pupils. 
It is free to all. The building is 54x126 feet, three stories and a 

St. Catharine's Academy, at the corner of Cass and Eigh- 
teenth streets, is a substantial brick structure, erected in 1877, at a 
cost of $17,000. It was built and is managed by the Sisters of 
Mercy, and is exclusively a girls' school. 

Brownell Hall, a young ladies' Seminary and school for boys, 
is a flourishing private institution, under the auspices of the 
Episcopal Church. 

Mt. St. Mary's Academy is a well-sustained Catholic school. 

The Great Western Business College, established in 1873, by 
Prof. G. R. Eathbun, has become a popular institution with those 
seeking a thorough business training. 

Omaha, in 1879, had twenty-eight churches, representing all 
the different denominations. 

Rev. Peter Cooper, of the Methodist Church, preached the 
first sermon in the city in the Summer of 1854, at the old Ferry 
Company's house — the St. Nicholas. 

The Roman Catholics built the first church edifice in the city 
— a brick structure still standing on Ninth street, between Harney 
and Howard. 


The Catholic Cathedral, on Ninth street, was commenced in 
ISGtt and finished in 1866. It possesses the largest and finest 
organ in the city — a gift by the late Mrs. Edward Creighton, who 
also furnished the means for building its snperb altar. 

The First Methodist Episcopals built the second church in 
the city in 1856, on Thirteenth street, between Farnam and Dong- 
las, which was converted into a business block, the Society build- 
ing a brick Church on Seventeenth street, between Dodge and 
Capitol Avenue. This building was turned over to the bond- 
holders in June, 1877, the Society, in the Fall following, erecting 
a commodious frame structure on Davenport street, which was 
dedicated on the 9th of June, 1878, by Mrs. Yan Cott, the 

The Congregationalists commenced the erection of a brick 
Church on Sixteenth street early in 1856, and finished it in 1857, 
chiefly through the indefatigable exertions of Rev. Reuben Gay- 
lord, its first pastor. This Society at present has a neat frame 
house of worship, corner of Nineteenth and Chicago streets. 

The Episcopal congregation was organized in 1856, by Rev. 
G. W. Watson, and in 1859 Trinity Church, a small brick edifice 
at the corner of Ninth and Farnam, was built on leased ground. 
In 1867 Trinity Society erected a frame church at the corner ot 
Capitol Avenue and Eighteenth streets, which was destroyed by 
fire in 1872, and their present house of worship was immediately 
erected on the site of the old one. It is now contemplated to erect 
a new edifice at a cost of $25,000. 

The Lutheran Church, on Douglas street, between Twelfth 
and Thirteenth, was built in 1861, and dedicated February 16, 1862. 
It is a large brick edifice, and its erection is mainly due to the 
persistent efibrts of Rev. A. Kountze, who organized the first Lu- 
theran Society in the city. 

The German Catholic Church, a frame structure on Douglas 
street, between Sixteenth and Seveuteeth, was erected in 1869. 

The Presbyterian Church, at the corner of Seventeenth and 
Dodge streets, built in 1869, is a handsome and spacious. brick 

St. Mark's Church (Episcopal), in South Omaha, is a frame 
building and was erected in 1869. 


306 Johnson's histoky of nebkaska. 

The United Presbyterian Cliiirch, a frame, at the corner of 
Eighteenth and Webster streets, was erected iu 1869. 

The Unitarian Church, a brick, on Seventeenth street, between 
Cass and Davenport, was built in 1869. 

St. Barnabas Episcopal Church, a frame, on Nineteenth street, 
between Cass and California, was erected in 1870. 

The Baptist Church, a brick, on the corner of Davenport and 
Fifteenth streets, was built in 1870. 

The M. E. Church, on Eighteenth street, a frame, was moved 
to its present location from North Omaha and re-constructed in 

The Lutheran Church (Swedish) a frame, on Cass street, be- 
tween Eighteenth and Nineteenth, was moved to its present loca- 
tion iu 1875. 

The M. E. Church (African), a small frame, at the corner of 
Eighteenth and Webster streets, was erected several years ago. 

The Baptist Church (African), a frame, at the corner of 
Eleventh and Harny streets, was moved to its present location in 

The Lutheran Church (Scandinavian), a frame, on Jackson 
street, between Twelfth and Thirteenth, was iinished in 1875. 

The Lutheran Church (German), on St. Mary's Avenue, is a 
brick, and was finished in 1876. 

The Catholic Church, a frame, at the corner of Cuming and 
Eighteenth streets, was erected in 1876. 

The North Mission Church (Episcopal), a frame, in Shiun's 
Addition, was erected in 1876. 

The Union Mission Church, a small frame on Twenty-third 
street, between Saunders and Cuming, was built in 1877. 

The Latter Day Saints, or Mormon Church, a small frame 
near the corner of Cass and Sixteenth streets, was built several 
years ago. 

The Odd Fellows are the oldest of the Secret Societies in 
Omaha, the first Lodge having been organized in January, 1856. 
There are now several Lodges of this Order in the city. Odd 
Fellows' Ilall, a splendid three-story brick building at the corner 
of Dodge and Fourteenth streets, was completed in 1874, at a cost 
of $18,000. 



Capital Lodge, A. F. and A. M., was established in 1857. The 
Ma sonic fraternity is very strong in the city, numbering several 
Lodges, including the higher orders of Eoyal Arch and Knights 
Templar. Masonic Hall, a handsome three-story brick structure 
at the corner of Sixteenth street and Capitol Avenue, was com- 
menced in 1876 and finished in the Spring of 1877, at a cost of 

The Knights of Pythias is also a strong Order; and there are 
besides numerous German and Irish Orders, Temperance and 
Benevolent Societies. 


The Postoffice, fronting on Fifteenth and Dodge streets, com- 
pleted in 1873, is one of the handsomest Government buildings in 
the country. It is built of a fine free stone from Ohio, is four 
stories high, occupying two lots, and cost, with the furniture, 
$450,000. The first floor is occupied exclusively by the postofiice, 
and the upper floors by the United States Courts and Government 
officers, while the basement is fitted up as a prison, with quarters 
for janitor and attendants. 

308 Johnson's history of Nebraska. 

The Court House, on Farnam street, is a two-story brick 
buildinir, which was commenced in 1857 and finished in 1859. Its 
dimensions were then considered ample, but are now entirely 
inadequate and inconvenient. A plot of ground has been selected 
and a Court House more in accord with the needs of the city, will, 
no boubt, be erected during the coming year. 

The Omaha jail is one of the handsomest buildings and most 
secure institutions of the kind in the West. It was erected in 
1879. The walls are of brick and the cells of hardened steel. 

Department of the Platte. — Since 1865 Omaha has been 
the headquarters of a military division, known as the Department 
of the Platte, which includes Nebraska, Wyoming, Utah and a 
portion of Dakota, A large share of the commercial and financial 
supremacy of Omaha in the Missouri Yalley, is due to the heavy 
purchases and distribution of military supplies at this point, and 
the handling of the Quartermaster, Commissary and Paymaster 
funds of the department by the city banhs. In 1872 the National 
Government acquired eighty-two and a half acres of land on the 
plateau two miles north of this city. Upon this tract was estab- 
lished what M'as known as Omaha Barracks, which has recently 
been re-christened as Ft. Omaha. Over $100,000 has been 
expended in buildings and upon improvements of these grounds. 
The quarters for soldiers have accommodated from two to fourteen 
companies of troops each winter. During the past year about 
$60,000 has been expended at Ft. Omaha, for an elegant brick resi- 
dence for the Department Commander, brick storehouses and the 
re-construction of ofiicers' residences. The grounds are tastefully 
laid out. The present Commander of the Department of the Platte 
is Brigadier General Crook. 

During the present year, 1879, the telephonic system of 
communication has been introduced in the city. The Telephone 
Company, with general offices in Union Block, corner of Fifteenth 
and Farnam streets, has erected lines through the principal streets 
of the city, and almost every prominent business house, and many 
private dwellings, have connecting wires. 

Water works — of which the city stands badly in need — have 
engrossed the attention of the City Fathers during the past several 
months. Kival companies have made propositions to the city for 

Johnson's iiistoky of nebkaska. 309 

•the construction of works, and much discussion has followed over 
.the merits and demerits of the different systems. The matter is 
^not yet fully settled, but that Omaha will have water-works before 
another year is assured. 

Omaha has a most exellent steam fire department, which is, at 
present, under the efficient management of Chief John Galligan. 

Horse railways traverse the principal streets, leading from the 
Union Depot, in the southeastern portion of the city, to the north- 
western boundary line. During the past three years the growth 
of the city has been greater, and more permanent and substantial 
'improvements have been made than at any period heretofore in its 
history. The improvements reported in 1877 footed up $800,000; 
for 1878 they amounted to $1,000,000, and for the present year the 
•increase has been at least twenty-five per cent, greater. Omaha is 
also a port of entry, and has the privilege of importing goods in 
bond, by rail or river. 


Located on the Missouri, six miles north of Omaha, is now a small_ 
village of less than one hundred inhabitants. The place was first 
settled by the Mormons, in 1845, and was called by them Winter 
Quarters. They, however, made Florence the chief outfitting 
point for their emigrant trains to Salt Lake, and for several years 
it was a lively business place. 

The Florence Town Company was organized in 1856, and the 
same year the town was chartered as a city. Up to 1858 it grew 
very rapidly and was a good business point, several of the Omaha 
merchants opening branch stores there. 

At an election in August, 1857, for delegate to Congress, Flor- 
ence gave 700 votes for Feimer Ferguson. During the same year 
a newspaper called The Courier, was published there, and a theater 
was in operation; but the great financial crisis of that year crippled 
those mostly interested in the city's growth, and it began to 
recede. At present Florence has a couple of general merchandise 
stores, a hotel, blacksmith shop, school house, and a water-power 
^rist mill. 


A station on the Union Pacific Kailroad in the south-central part 
.ofthe Count}', was laid out in the sj^rimg of 1870, by Ezra Mil- 

310 Johnson's history of Nebraska.. 

lard, of Omaha, after whom it is called. It contains several neat 
dwellings, an excellent school honse, a blacksmith shop, two gen- 
eral stores, two hotels, a grain warehouse, large corn cribs, and a 
large water-power grist mill, on Little Papillion Creek, which runs 
past the town. Millard is twelve miles southwest of Omaha, by 
wagon road. 


On the Union Pacific Railroad in the western part of the County, 
is a flourishing village, pleasantly located on the high ground 
about two miles east of the Elkhorn River. It contains a Catholic 
Church, school house, two general stores, a hotel, blacksmith shop, 
and large grain warehouses. The surrounding country is a well- 
settled excellent farming section, making this an extensive ship- 
ping point for grain and stock. 


Is a small town in the western part of the County, situated on the 
west bank of the Elkhorn River, and on the line of the Union Pa- 
cific Railroad. It contains a hotel, two stores, a school house, 
blacksmith shop, and one of the best water-power flouring mills in 
the County. An excellent wagon bridge spans the Elkhorn here, 


At the junction of the Omaha & Republican Yalley with the 
Union Pacific Railroad, in the northwestern part of the County, is 
situated on the fertile bottoms, midway between the Platte and 
Elkhorn Rivers, about three miles from each. Since the Omaha 
& Republican Yalley road commenced operation in 1876, Yalley 
Station has improved very rapidly, and it now bids fair to become 
an important business center. It has a school house, hotel, good 
general store, grain warehouses, etc., and the surrounding country 
is admirably adapted to farming and stock raising. 


On the old Military Road, twenty-five miles northwest of Omaha, 
was a flourishing village in the early days of the County, but is 
almost entirely deserted. It was surveyed and platted in the 

Johnson's history of Nebraska. 31 1 

spring of 1856, and while staging and freighting across the plains 
lasted, it was a lively business point. The largest cheese factory 
in the County is located here. 


Is a small village on the Military Koad, eight miles west of Omaha. 
It has a general store and school house. The Congregationalists 
have erected a neat Church here, and hold regular services. 


Dodge County, named in honor of Augustus Caesar Dodge, a 
United States Senator from Iowa, was organized by an Act of the 
first Territorial Legislature, approved March 6, 1855, which also 
fixed the County Seat at Fontenelle. 

The Legislature, March 2, 1858, re-defined the eastern boundary 
of the County, and December 22, 1859, the southern boundary was 
changed to where it still remains, on the south bank of the Platte 
River. In January, 1860, the eastern boundary was again changed 
and placed upon the Elkhorn River, which cut off Fontenelle, the 
County Seat, and left Dodge County without a Capital. In Feb- 
ruary, 1867, a portion of the territory lost by the Act of 1860, 
known as Logan Creek, was re-annexed to Dodge. In March, 
1873, some slight changes were made in the boundaries, and in 
February, 1875, the Legislature described the limits of the County 
as they exist at present. 

Dodge County is located in the middle-eastern part of the State, 
in the second tier of Counties west of the Missouri River, and is 
bounded on the north by Cuming and Burt Counties, east by Burt 
and Washington Counties, and the Elkhorn River, which is the 
dividing line about one-half the distance; south by Douglas County 
and the Platte River, which separates it from Saunders County, 
and west by Colfax County, containing 540 square miles, or 315,600 
acres, at an average elevation of 1,176 feet above the sea level. 

"Water Courses. — The Platte River washes neffrly the entire 
southern border of the County. The Elkhorn River, affording 
magnificent manufacturing advantages, flows in a southeasterly 

312 Johnson's history of Nebraska. 

direction througli the eastern portion of the County, being joined 
in the northeastern part bj Logan Creek, also a fine mill stream. 
Majjle Creek, a clear, beautiful stream, and tributary of the Elk- 
liorn, flows from west to east through the central portion of 
the County. Pebble and Cuming Creeks water the northern 
toM^nships, and Kawhide Creek, a sluggish stream, with low banks, 
flows from west to east througli the southern portion of the County, 
all being tributaries of the Elkhorn. There is not a township 
without running water. 

Timber. — There is considerable native timber in the valleys 
and skirting all the streams. Well developed artificial groves now 
adorn almost every farm, and furnish plenty of fuel. In 1879 there 
were 2,152 acres, or 59,457 forest trees, and 124 miles of hedging 
under cultivation in the County. 

Fruit. — The number of fruit trees under cultivation in 1879, 
was reported as follows: Apple, 20,082; pear, 544; peach, 10,359; 
plum, 11,271; cherry, 2,696, and grape vines, 1,310. 

Physical Culture. — At least one- third of the area is valley, 
and the balance gently rolling upland. Extending across the 
southern portion of the County are the wide bottoms of the Platte; 
in the eastern portion are the fertile valleys of the Elkhorn and 
Logan, here from four to seven miles in width; and through the 
central portion extends the beautiful Yalley of the Maple. The 
Hawhide, Pebble and Cuming Creeks, each have fine reaches 
of dry bottom. The surface is almost everywhere tillable, the only 
exception being in occasional places on the ridge dividing the 
valley and upland. 

Crops. — The following is a statement of the crops reported in 
1879: Acres under cultivation, 102,195; winter wheat, 209 acres, 
3,701 bushels; rye, 4,825 acres, 66,324 bushels; spring wheat, 
39,070 acres, 467,923 bushels; corn, 39,726 acres, 1,415,538 bushels; 
barley, 2,094 acres, 46,989 bushels; oats, 8,962 acres, 271,351 
bushels; buckwheat, thirty-one acres, 529 bushels; sorghum, thir- 
teen acres, 621 gallons; flax, seventy acres, 406 bushels; broom 
corn, six acres, one ton; millet and Hungarian, fourteen acres, 
twenty-five t6ns; potatoes, 393 acres, 37,206 bushels. 

Historical.-— The first election in the County was held on the 
12th day of December, 1854, at Fontenelle, at which Dr. M. H. 

Johnson's history of Nebraska. 813 

Clark was elected to the Territorial Council, and J. "W". Eichardson 
and Col. E. E. Dojle to the Honseof Representatives. Only eight 
votes were polled at this election. 

Dr. Clark, on the I6tli of February, 1855, made a most 
exhaustive report to the Legislature upon the subject of a Pacific 
Railroad, advocating the Platte Yalley route as the one most 
practicable, and predicting " that before fifteen years have transpired, 
the route to India will be opened, and the way across this conti- 
nent will be the common way of the world." Viewed in the light 
of to-day, it seems almost prophetic, and indicates largely what 
must have been the character of the man. 

Arthur Bloomer, of Platte precinct, is the oldest settler of 
continuous residence, in the present County of Dodge. There are 
others, such as J. H. Peters, John Batie, and John Cramer, of 
Maple, and Samuel Whittier, of Fremont, who came to Fontenelle 
previous to Mr. Bloomer coming into Dodge, but none who have 
liv^ed so many years continuously, in this County, as he. J. H. 
Peters, Samuel Francis, John Evans, Thos. Gibson and several 
others made claims in 1855, near Fontenelle, and did some plowing 
during that year. John and Arthur Bloomer made their claims, 
near the mouth of Maple Creek, early in April, 1856, and broke 
on the first of May following, twenty-five acres of prairie. 

Mrs. Wealthy Beebe, with her minor children, and her son- 
in-law, Abrara MclSTeal, and family, located in the Platte Yalley, 
two miles west of where Feemont now stands, on the 25th of 
May, 1856. Twin daughters born to Mr. and Mrs. McNeal on 
August 8, 1856, were the first children born in the County. 

George Emerson made the first settlement west of the Beebe's, 
in the following month. 

On the 4tli of July, 1856, the settlement at North Bend was 
begun by a colony of ten adults and ten children, viz; Geo. 
Young and wife, Robert Miller and wife,. John Miller and wife. 
Miss Ezra Miller (now Mrs. W. H. Ely), William and Alexander 
Miller and George McJSTaughton. Their numbers increased very 
rapidly, and soon JSTorth Bend was a flourishing town. A steam 
saw mill was brought here from Cleveland, Ohio, in July, 1857, by 
M. S. Coterell, J. M. Smith, Jas. Humphries and Alex. Morrison. 
Seth Young, son of Geo. Young, born November 30, 1856, was 

314 Johnson's history of nebkaska. 

the first birth at the Bend, and his mother dying a few days after^ 
was the first death. Rev. J. Adriance, of the Methodist Cliurch^ 
organized a class here in September, 1858. 

On tlie 23d of August, 1856, E. H. Barnard and John A. 
Kountz located claims on the site of the present city of Fremont, 
setting their claim stakes on the swell ground near what is now 
" D " and First streets, after which they proceeded to the cabin of 
Setli P. Marvin, about two miles off, on the California road, where 
they were hospitably entertained. Three days later — the 26th — 
a Town Company was organized under the name of Pinney, Ber- 
nard & Co., which consisted of E. H. Bernard, John A. Kountz, 
Seth P. Marvin, George M. Pinney, James G. Smith, Robert Kit- 
tle and Robert Moreland, the last named four having arrived im- 
mediately after Messrs. Bernard and Kountz. 

James G. Smith was elected President of the Company, Rob- 
ert Kittle, Yice President, John A. Kountz, Secretary, Geo. M.. 
Pinney, Treasurer and E. H. Bernard, Surveyor. A plot of ground 
one mile square was immediately laid off for a town site, and on 
the 3d of September the company adopted the name of Fremont- 
for their new town, in honor of Gen. John C. Fremont, who was 
at that time the candidate of the Republican party for the Presi- 
dency of the United States. 

On the evening of the organization of the Town Company the- 
Platte Claim Club was organized, with Seth P. Marvin as Presi- 
dent, J. W, Peck, Yice President, E. H. Barnard, Secretary and 
George M. Pinney, Recorder. 

All the members of the Town Company, except Mr. Pinney,. 
either remained or soon returned, and by their united efforts con- 
tributed to form the nucleus of the future city. 

The first shanty erected was upon the lot now owned and oc- 
cupied by the Congregational Church, which was completed and 
used for the first time by its owners, Messrs. Bernard & Kountz,. 
on the 10th day of September, 1856; Robert Kittle, James G. 
Smith and "Wm. E. Lee were the boarders, and Leander Gerard, 
now banker at Columbus, cook of the establishment. 

That cabin, insignificant as it was, broke the solitude of the- 
wilderness; it was a station upon the Great American Desert, a 
hotel, boarding house, and a wonder to the Pawnees, whose village^ 

Johnson's history of Nebraska. 31 5. 

1,500 strong, was upon the high bank of the Platte, three miles- 

In October, 1856, the Pawnees notified the settlers that thej 
mnst leave within three days or they would kill them and destroy 
their property. A council of the settlers was called, and James 
G. Smith dispatched to Governor Izard for assistance. The Gov- 
ernor gave him a box of muskets and some ammunition, and re- 
enforced the settlers with eight men, which, added to the inhabi- 
tants of Fremont and surrounding country, made a total grand 
army of twenty -five, who, by marching and counter-marching, by 
bon-fires and torch-light processions and the burning of hay stacks, 
produced the im.pression upon the Pawnees that it was a vast array, 
and had the efiect of over-awing them, and at the end of three 
days they sent a flag of truce, saying that the chiefs had re-con- 
sidered the matter and concluded to let them go unmolested for 
the present. 

The Pawnees, however, continued to be a great annoyance to 
the settlers during the succeeding winter, demanding pay for the- 
timber that had been cut upon their lands, and making all sorts of 
threats to compel payment; but the settlers pursued a pacific 
policy toward them, which resulted, finally, in a lasting peace. In 
the Summer of 1859, when the Pawnees started on the war-path 
against the whites of the Elkhorn Yalley, they made no hostile 
demonstrations until several miles beyond Fremont, although the 
war party passed through the town on their way out. 

It is a mooted question as to who built the first permanent 
house in Fremont, that honor lying between Robert Kittle and 
"W"m. G. Bowman; but there were but a few days' interval between 
the completion of each. Rev. Isaac E. Heaton's was the first fam- 
ily in the place, and he was the first clergyman. The first black- 
smith was John Home!, who was induced to remain by the ofler 
of a town share (nine lots) and material for a shop. James G. 
Smith was the first merchant, John C. Flor the first hotel keeper, 
and S. B. Colson the first shoemaker. E. H. Rogers and William 
Cartney made the first brick. The first male child born in the town 
was Fred Kittle, and the first female child, Alice Flor. The first 
post oflice in the County was established here in the Summer of 
1867, with James G. Smith, P. M. The first marriage in the town 

316 Johnson's history of Nebraska. 

and County was that of Lutlier Wilson to Eliza Turner, August 
25, 1858. 

A re-organization of tlie County took place in accordance with 
an Act of the Legislature, approved January 13, 1860, which pro- 
vided for an election to be held on the first Monday in February, 
following. At this election Fremont was made the County Seat, 
and the following County officers elected, viz: E. H. Barnard, 
Probate Judge; Wm. S. Wilson, Sherifi"; H. C. Cambell, Treasurer; 
J. Eeynolds, Clerk, and George Twiner, George Tutton, and 
Thomas Fitzsimmons, Commissioners. 

The County, at this time, was divided into the three precincts 
of Fremont, North Bend and Maple Creek. 

The Western Union Telegraph was built through the County 
in 1860. 

The Union Pacific Pailroad was built through the County in 
1866. Length of road in the County, twenty -five miles. 

The Sioux City & Pacific Railroad made a junction with the 
Union Pacific, at Fremont, on the 12th of February, 1869. Length 
of road in the County, seven and three-sixths miles. 

The Fremont, Elkhorn & Missouri Yalley Railroad had the 
first ten miles of their road completed by December 31, 1869. 
Length of road in the County, twenty-nine miles. 

Henry J. Robinson is the proprietor and builder of the three 
water-power flouring mills in the County, viz: one on Maple Creek, 
erected in the summer of 1859; one on Logan Creek, built in 1863, 
and one on Pebble Creek, built in 1867-68. There are now several 
mills running in the County. 

Dodge County, out of a total population of less than four hun- 
dred, furnished twenty-five volunteers, during the rebellion, for 
frontier protection. 

Religious Matters. — The first sermon preached in the County 
•was by Rev. I. E. Heaton, November 2, 1856, at Fremont; text, 
Psalms, 111, 10 — "The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wis- 
dom." On the following Sabbath, services were held at the house 
of Robert Kittle, and from that time onward public worship was 
continued regularly at Fremont. A Congregational Society was 
organized at Fremont on the 2d of August, 1857, with Rev. F. E. 
Heaton as pastor. 

Johnson's history of nebkaska.. 31T 

The second minister in the County was Eev. Mr. Cooley, a 
Baptist, who located near Timberville, in February, IS 57. 

In September, 185S, Jlev. J. Adriance, of the Methodist 
Episcopal Church, ort^-anized Societies in Fremont and North 

The first Church building was fitted up by the Congregation- 
alists, in Fremont, in 1861. They dedicated a second and larger 
one on the 2d of August, 1868, and enlarged it in the spring of 
1874. Until 1875, this Church* contained the only bell in Fremont, 
1,118 pounds, which was used for Church, school, public meetings^ 
fire alarms, and for all purposes of a general public nature. 

The St. James P. E. Church, of Fremont, was erected during 
the summer of 1867, and consecrated on the 15th of September, of 
same year, by Bishop Clarkson. 

The Methodist Episcopal Church, of Fremont, was erected in 
the summer of 1866, and dedicated in December following. 

Eev. Father Ryan, of the Roman Catholic Church, held 
services in Fremont in 1868. Their Church building was erected 
and dedicated in 1869. 

The Baptist Church, of Fremont, was dedicated in December,. 

The Evangelical German Church, of Fremont, was erected and 
dedicated in 1872. 

The Presbyterian Church, of Fremont, was organized in 1873^ 
and their Church building dedicated January 3, 1875. 

The United Presbyterians organized two Societies in the 
County early in its history — one at Fremont and the other at North 
Bend, and erected a Church at the latter place. 

The Universalists have had occasional services at Fremont, by 
difterent ministers, for years past. 

Schools. — Miss Charity Colson taught a private school at 
Fremont in the summer of 1858, which was the first school opened 
in the County. In the summer of 1859 a public school was opened 
at Fremont, Miss McKeal, teacher, and at North Bend, Miss Mary 
E. Heaton, teacher. 

The number of school districts in the County in 1879, was 
sixty-seven; school houses, sixty -five; number of children of school 
age, 3,278— males, 1,548; females, 1,730; whole number of children 

318 Johnson's history of Nebraska. 

that attended school during the year, 2,383; number of qualified 
teachers employed, 123 — males, forty-three; females, eighty; wages 
paid male teachers for the year, $6,770.75; female, $12,676.87; 
total, $19,447.62; value of school houses, $42,615; value of sites, 
$3,138; value of books and apparatus $2,827.97. 

Taxable Pkoperty. — Tlie following statement will show the 
taxable property of the County, as returned for 1879: Acres of 
land, 315,299; average value per acre, $3.30; value of town lots, 
$298,249; money invested in merchandise, $95,527; money used 
in manufacture, $14,761; number of horses, 4,350, value, $125,784; 
mules, 377, value, $12,399; cattle, 11,552, value, $104,000; sheep, 
3,424, value, $3,424; swine, 14,927, value, $13,025; vehicles, 1,426, 
value, $21,330; moneys and credits, $11,402; mortgages, $25,246; 
stocks, etc., $25,000; furniture, $30,051; libraries, $2,602; other 
personalty, $42,248; railroads, $390,262.06; telegraph, $3,925; 
total, $2,261,010.06. 

Lands. — There are no vacant Government lands in the Coun- 
ty. Those of the Union Pacific Railroad Company amount to 15,- 
000 acres, and are ofiered at prices ranging from $5 to $10 per acre. 

In the summer of 1877 the wife of Dr. St. Louis, a physician 
of Fremont, died after a brief illness and was buried. Friends of 
the deceased suspicioned foul play and had the remains disinterred 
ioY post mortem examination. Portions of the stomach and bowels 
were submitted to chemical tests in Chicago, and were found to 
contain arsenic in large quantities. Dr. St. Louis was thereupon 
arrested upon the charge of poisoning his wife, and lodged in the 
Fremont jail. At his trial in the District Court in Fremont, he 
was found guilty and sentenced to be hanged. A new trial, how- 
ever, was granted and a change of venue taken to Saunders County, 
where he was again convicted and sentenced to death. The case 
was then taken to the Supreme Court of the State, which sustained 
the decisions of the lower courts. Dr. St. Louis was to have been 
executed at "Wahoo in April, 1879, but on the morning of the day 
set for his execution, he committed suicide in the jail at Fremont, 
where he had beed incarcerated, by shooting himself through the 
head with a small pocket pistol. 

Population. — In 1879 the population of the County was 11,- 
679; iu 1875 it was 7,534; increase in four years, 4,045. 

Johnson's history of Nebraska.. 319 


The County Seat, is on the Union Pacific Raih-oad, forty-six miles 
west of Omaha, at the junction of the Sioux City & Pacific and 
Fremont, Elkhorn & Missouri Yalley Railroads. It is located on 
a beautiful site at the junction of the Platte and Elkhorn Yalleys, 
which are here nearly ten miles wide. The population of the city 
in 1879 was 3,000. A fine wagon bridge across the Platte River 
connects Fremont with Saunders County, from which a large trade 
is drawn. 

It has two banks, agricultural implement, furniture and wagon 
manufactories, large elevators for the large shipping trade, brick 
yards, lumber and coal yards, and a good assortment of stores, 
some of the houses doing a wholesale business amounting to over 
a million dollars a year. It has three newspapers, the Tribune^ 
weekly, established July 24, 1868, the Herald^ daily and weekly, 
established August 2, 1871, and the Bulletin^ a monthly; a $12,- 
000 brick Court House, a $15,000 jail, an $18,000 school house, 
and several handsome Church buildings. Three well organized fire 
companies furnish protection against the devouring element. 
Elegant private residences grace the suburbs, and a large park set 
in blue grass and adorned with shade trees, is the fashionable re- 
sort in pleasant weather. Close to the city are the Fair Grounds, 
with a splendid mile track. 


On the Union Pacific Railroad, sixteen miles west of Fremont, is 
situated on a bend in the Platte River, from which it takes its 
name. "Within the past two years the town has greatly improved, 
and several new stores and other business houses have been opened. 
It contains 300 inhabitants, an excellent weekly newspaper, the 
North Bend Independent^ two Churches, a good school, two 
hotels, lumber yard, large grain elevator, and immense corn cribs, 
just erected this season. A wagon bridge over the Platte makes 
it a convenient shipping point for the farmers of Saunders County. 


On the Fremont, Elkhorn & Missouri Yalley Railroads, in the 
middle-eastern part of the County, is the second town of size, 

320 Johnson's histoky of Nebraska. 

having a population of 500. It is a brisk business point and is 
growing rapidly. 


Situated on tlie line of the Fremont, Elkhorn & Missouri Yalley 
Eailroad, several miles northwest of Hooper, has 360 inhabitants, 
and is a very flourishing place, having a large shipping and gen- 
eral merchandising trade. 


Is a small village situated on the east bank of the Elkhorn, near 
the mouth of Logan Creek, and has a good flouring mill, store, 
and an excellent school house. 


Is a thriving village located in the middle- western part of the 
County, and has two Churches, good general stores and a fine 

school building. 


Is the first important station on the line of the Fremont, Elk- 
horn & Missouri Yalley Eailroad, north of Fremont. It does an 
excellent grain business and is rapidly developing. 


Is a growing village, situated near the mouth of Pebble Creek, ia 
the north-central part of the County. 

There are twenty odd Postofiices in the County. 

dawso:n" oouisrTT. 

Dawson County was organized July 11, 18Y1, by proclamation 
of Acting Governor Wm. H. James. It is situated in the south- 
western portion of the State, 231 miles west of the Missouri 
River, and is bounded on the north by Custer, east by Bufialo, 
south by the Platte Piver, Gosper and Frontier Counties, and west 
by Lincoln County, containing 1,008 square miles, at an average 
elevation above the sea level of 2,370 feet. 

Water Courses. — The Platte liiver flows in a southeasterly 

Johnson's history of Nebraska. 321 

direction through the southwestern portion of the County. "Wood 
River and its numerous branches water the northeastern town- 
ships; Elm, Buffalo, Phim and several smaller streams water dif- 
ferent portions of the County. 

Timber. — This County has about 950 acres of forest trees 
under cultivation. The streams are all tolerably well timbered, 
as are also many of the gulches and canyons. 

Physical Features. — Nearly one-half of the County lies in 
the fertile valley of the Platte. The uplands consist mostly of 
smooth, beautiful prairies, probably five per cent, being broken, 
untillable land. The prairies yield an abundance of the richest 
grasses for hay and pasturage, making this an admirable region 
for the stock-grower. The grass cures on the ground, furnishing 
rich food for cattle the winter through. 

First Settlements. — The first permanent settlements in the 
County were made in what is now Plum Creek Precinct, by Daniel 
Freeman, J. W. Delahunty and a few others, in 1867-68, or about 
the time of the completion of the Union Pacific Railroad. On 
April 9th, 1872, a colony from Philadelphia, Penn., consisting of 
sixty-five men, women and children, arrived. This colony took up 
their quarters in four empty box-cars, which the Railroad Com- 
pany placed on the side-track for their use until they could build 
themselves permanent houses. The first post ofiice in the County 
was established at Plum Creek, in this Precinct, in 1872, and was 
kept in the U. P. depot, by J. A. ]\[cDonald, deceased. 

Mellott Precinct was settled in April, 1872, by H. Clay 
Stuckey, Jeremiah Smith, Simon Fetters, and others. 

Willow Island Precinct was settled in March, 1873, by Josiah 

Wood River Precinct was settled in April, 1873, by James 
B. Mellott. 

Cayote Precinct was settled in April, 1873, by S. S. Baldwin. 

Overton Precinct was settled in 1873, by James N. Patton 
and Prof. D. B. Worley. Mr. Patton built the first house and 
Geo. Slocum the second. 

Platte Precinct was settled early in the spring of 1873. 

CozAD Precinct was settled in December, 1873, by Samuel 
Atkinson, who was soon followed by a small colony. In February, 


322 Johnson's iiistoky op Nebraska. 

1874, a much larger colony arrived, and the population of the Pre- 
cinct was 333. 

County Okganization. — The first general election was held 
on the 11th day of July, 1871, at the store of Daniel Freeman, at 
Plum Creek, in accordance with Acting Governor Wm. H. James' 
proclamation of June 26, 1871, which also named J. W. Dela- 
hunty, R. O'lveefe and Otto Hansen as Judges, and John Kehoe 
and E. Delahunty, Clerks of said election. 

A full hoard of County officers was chosen at this election, as 
follows: J. W. Delahunty, Joseph Smith and Otto Hansen, Com- 
missioners; Daniel Freeman, Clerk, and Superintendent of Public 
Schools; Richard O'Keefe, Probate Judge; Patrick Delahunty, 
Treasurer; John Kehoe, Sherifi^; David Meek, Surveyor, and Pat- 
rick GafiPuey, Coroner. 

Chukch Matters. — As early as 1867, Father Ryan, of the 
Catholic Church, held services at the old Plum Creek station- 
house, which have been regularly continued. 

In the fall of 1872, Rev. William Wilson organized the first 
Methodist Society in the County. It has largely increased and 
now has regular appointments at Plum Creek and other towns. 

In April, 1864, Rt. Rev. Bishop Clarkson organized Plum 
Creek Parish, and through the untiring perseverance of W. Tudor 
Tucker and family, a neat brick house of worship was erected at 
Plum Creek, in April, 1875, being the first Church building in 
the County. 

In 1874, the Missionary Baptist Society was organized, and 
now holds stated services in the several towns. 

The Presbyterian congregation of Plum Creek was organized 
in 1873, and during the same year a Society organized at Over- 

Flourishing Sunday Schools are now in operation at Plum 
Creek, Overton, Cayote, Cozad, Willow Island, and Smith's school 

Public Schools. — The first school district was formed in 1872, 
and embraced the entire County. In 1879 there were twenty-four 
districts, fourteen school houses, 291 male, and 259 female children 
of school age in the County. Number of qualified teachers em- 
ployed, nineteen — males, eleven, females, eight; total wages paid 

Johnson's history of Nebraska. 323 

teachers for the year, $1,282.50; value of school houses, $19,400; 
value of sites, $1,085; value of books and apparatus, $327.50. 

Taxable Property. — The amount and valuation of the taxa- 
ble property of the County returned in 1879, was as follows: 
Acres of laud, 145,180.10, average value per acre, $1; value of 
town lots, $15,876, money used in merchandise, $6,335; number 
of horses, 643, value, $8,414.50; mules, forty-eight, value, $907.75; 
neat cattle, 5,155, value, $23,971; sheep, 3,068, value, $2,035; 
swine, 295, value, $277.50; vehicles, 240, value, $2,089.50; moneys 
and credits, $6,163, furniture, $3,128; libraries $50; other person- 
alty, $2,544; railroad, $456,104; telegraph, $3,740; total, $676,- 

Land. — There is a large amount of both Government and rail- 
road land in this County which is admirably adapted to stock 
raising and agriculture. The price of the Union Pacific lands is 
from $2 to $6 per acre. 

Population. — In 1879 the County had a population of 3,871. 

Railroad.— The Union Pacific traverses the County from east 
to west, a distance of forty-four miles. 


The County Seat, is a flourishing town of 750 inhabitants. It is 
located on the Union Pacific Railroad, 231 miles west of Omaha, 
and was incorporated March 7, 1874. J. W. Ayers erected the 
first building in the town, and T. Martin, the first hotel — called 
the " Alhainbra," now the Union Pacific. A very fine stone and 
brick Court House, and an imposing school house adorn the town. 
A substantial wagon bridge crosses the Platte at this point, and 
draws a large trade from the Republican Yalley towns. 

Plum Creek is the headquarters of a large district, and is a 
]ively business center. It has a number of well-stocked general 
merchandise stores, good hotels, a hardware, two drug, jewelry, and 
furniture stores, lumber yards, grain warehouses, etc., and an ex- 
cellent weekly newspaper — the Pioneer. 


Is a village on the Union Pacific Railroad, about twelve miles west 
of Plum Creek. It was founded by J. J. Cozad, of Ohio, in De- 
cember, 1873, a number of very fine brick houses were erected. 

824 Johnson's histoky of Nebraska. 

On the night of April 29, 18T6, the town was nearly destroyed by 
fire. At present it has seventy-five inhabitants, and is gradually 
improving. A weekly newspaper is published here, called the 
One Hundredth Meridian. 


On the Union Pacific Eailroad, twenty miles west of Plum Creek, 
was laid out in March, 1873, by Josiah Hufi'man. It has two 
stores, a blacksmith shop, telegraph ofiice, etc. 


On the Union Pacific railroad, in the southeastern portion of the 
County, was laid out in June, 1873. It has an elegant school 
house, costing $2,100, and a number of stores and business places. 
A splendid iron bridge has been erected over Buflialo Creek at this 
point, adding greatly to the business of the town. 

Jewell and Trapper's Grove, are Postofiices in the northern 
part of the County. 

Incidents of the Early Settlement. — While the railroad 
was being built through Dawson Count}', the engineers, graders 
and track-layers were frequently driven from their work by the 
Indians. Not only then, but after the track was laid and trains 
running, it was sometimes torn up and trains ditched, causing the 
loss of lives and the destruction of property. One of these attacks 
took place near Plum Creek. In July, 1867, a train was ditched 
about four miles west of the above named station. It was by a 
band of Southern Cheyennes, under a Chief called Turkey Leg. 
He was a vicious-looking fellow, his appearance naturally suggest- 
ing him as a fit subject for a hanging bee. At a small bridge or 
culvert, over a dry ravine, they had lifted the iron rails from the 
ties — raising only one end of each rail — about three feet, piling 
up ties under them for sujiport, and firmly lashing the rails and 
ties together by wire cut from the adjoining telegraph line. They 
were pretty cunning in this arrangement of the rails, and evidently 
placed them where they thought they would penetrate the cylinder 
on each side of the engine. But not having a mechanical turn of 
mind exactly, and disregarding the slight curve in the road at this 
point, they missed their calculations, as the sequel shows, as one 
of the rails did no execution whatever, and the other went straight 

Johnson's histoky of Nebraska. 325 

into and through the boiler. After tl:ey had fixed the rails in the 
manner described, they retired to where the bench or second bot- 
tom slopes down to the first, and there concealed themselves in the 
tall grass, waiting for the train. Before it left Plum Creek, a 
hand-car with three section men was sent ahead as a pilot, Tliis 
ear encountered the obstacle, and ran into the ravine, bruising and 
stunning the men and frightening them so that thej were nnable 
to signal to the approaching train. As soon as the car landed at 
the bottom of the ravine, the Indians rushed up, when two of the 
men, least hurt, ran away in the darkness of the night — it was 
little past midnight — and hid in the tall grass near by. The other, 
more stunned by the fall of the car, was scalped by the savages, 
and as the knife of the savage passed under his scalp, he seemed 
to realize his condition partly, and in his delerium wildly threw 
his arms out and snatched the scalp from the Indian, who had just 
lifted it from his skull. With this he, too, got away in the dark- 
ness, and was afterward in the employ of the Company at Omaha. 
But the fated train came on without any knowledge of what 
had transpired in front. As the engine approached the ravine, the 
head -light gleaming out in the darkness in the dim distance, fast 
growing less and less, the engineer. Brooks Bowers by name, but 
familiarly called "Billy Brooks," by the railroad men, saw that the 
rails were displaced, whistled "down brakes," and reversed the 
engine, but all too late to stop the train. The door of the fire-box 
was open, and the fireman was in the act of adding fuel to the 
flames within, when the crash came. That fireman was named 
Hendershot, and the boys used to speak of him as "the drummer 
boy of the Rappahannock," as he bore the same name, and might 
have been the same person whose heroic deeds, in connection with 
Burnside's attack on Fredericksburg, are now matters of history. 
He was thrown ajrainst the fire-box when the ravine was reached, 
and literally roasted alive, nothing but a few of his bones being 
afterwards found,. The engineer was thrown over the lever he 
was holding in his hands, through the window of the cab, some 
twenty i'eet or more. In his flight the lever caught and ripped 
open his abdomen, and when found he was sitting on the ground 
holding his protruding bowels in his hands. Next to the engine 
were two flat-cars loaded with brick. These were landed, brick 

326 Johnson's history of Nebraska. 

and all, some thirty or forty feet in front of the engine, while the 
box cars, loaded with freight, were thrown upon the engine and 
around the wreck in great disorder. After a time these took fire, 
and added horror to the scene. The savages now swarmed about 
the train and whooped and jelled in great glee. "When the shock 
first came, however, the conductor ran ahead on the north side of 
the track to the engine, and there saw Bowers and Hendershot in 
the position we have described them. He told them that he must 
leave them and flag the second section of the train following after, 
or it, too, would be wrecked. He then ran back, signaled this 
train, and with it returned to Plum Creek. Arriving there about 
2 o'clock in the morning, in vain did he try to get a force of men to 
proceed at once to the scene of the disaster. ]!^o one would go. 
In the morning, however, they rallied, armed themselves and went 
out to the wreck. By this time it was near ten o'clock. The 
burning box cars had fallen around the brave engineer, and while 
the fiery brands had undoubtedly added to his agony, they had 
also ended his earthly existence. His blackened and charred re- 
mains only told of his suffering. The rescuing party still found 
the train burning — the Indians had obtained all the plunder they 
could carry, and left in the early morning. In the first gray dawii 
of the morning they manifested their delight over the burning 
train in every possible way, and their savage glee knew no bounds. 
From the cars not then burned they rolled out boxes and bales of 
merchandise, from which they took bright-colored flannels, calicos 
and other fancy goods. Bolts of these goods they would loosen, 
and with one end tied to their ponies' tails or the horn of their 
saddles, they would mount and start at full gallop up and down 
the prairie just to see the bright colors streaming in the wind 
behind them. But the end of this affair was not yet. 

Major North, in command of a company of Pawnee scouts, 
assisted by a few white soldiers stationed in the neighborhood, 
hastened to the scene of the late disaster. He followed the trail 
of the Indians far enough to ascertain that they were southern 
Cheyennes, and then returned and went into camp at Plum Creek, 
believing if not pursued, the Indians would soon return on another 
raid. Subsequent events proved this belief to be true, and they 
had not long to wait. In about ten days one of the scouts came 

Johnson's history of Nebraska. 327 

running into camp from the bluffs south of Plum Creek, and re- 
ported that the Indians were coming. He had discovered, them 
in the distance, making their way in the direction of the overland 
stage station, which they soon after reached. Arriving here, they 
unsaddled their horses and turned them loose in an old corral to 
feed and rest. They then began preparations to remain all night. 
The scouts, however, proposed to find out who and what they were 
before the evening approached. There were in the command two 
white commissioned officers — Captain James Murie, and Lieuten- 
ant Isaac Davis — two white sergeants and forty-eight Pawnees. 
The company marched from their camp striaght south to the Platte 
River, which they crossed; then turning to the left, followed down 
its banks under the bushes to within about a mile-and-a-half of the 
creek. Here they were discovered by the Cheyennes. Then there 
was mounting in hot haste — the Cheyennes at once preparing for 
the fray. There were one hundred and fifty warriors to be pitted 
against this small band of filty-two, all told. As the order to 
charge was given, the Pawnees set up their war-whoop, slapped 
their breasts with their hands and shouted "Pawnee!" The op- 
posing lines met on the banks of the creek, through which the 
scouts chiarged with all their speed. The Cheyennes immediately 
broke and fled in great confusion, every man for himself. Then 
followed the chase, the killing and the scalping. The Indians took 
their old trail for the Republican Yalley, and put their horses to 
utmost speed to escape the deadly fire of the Pawnees. Night 
finally ended the chase, and when the spoils were gathered, it was 
found that fifteen Cheyenne warriors had been made to bite the 
dust, and their scalps had been taken as trophies of victory. Two 
prisoners were also taken, one a boy of sixteen, the other a squaw. 
The boy was a nephew of Turkey Leg, the Chief. Thirty-five 
horses and mules were also taken while not a man of the scouts 
was hurt. A company of infantry, under command of Captain 
John A. Miller, had remained in camp guarding Government and 
company property, and knowing that a battle had been fought, 
were intensely anxious to learn the result. When the Pawnees 
came near, it was with shouts and whoops, and songs of victory. 
They exhibited their scalps and paraded their prisoners with great 
joy, and spent the whole night in scalp-dances and wild revelry. 

328 Johnson's history of Nebraska. 

This victory put an end to attacks on railroad trains by the Chey- 
ennes. The boy and the squaw were kept in the camp of the 
Pawnees until late in the season, when a bi^ council was held by 
the Brule Sioux, Spotted Tail's band, at North Platte, to make a 
new treaty. Hearing of this council, Turkey Leg, Chief of the 
Cheyennes, sent in a runner and offered to deliver up six white cap- 
tives held in his band for the return of the boy and the squaw. 
After the necessary preliminaries had been effected, the runner 
was told to bring the white captives, that the change might be 

The captives were two sisters by the name of Thompson, who 
lived south of the Platte River, nearly opposite Grand Island, and 
their twin brothers; a Norwegian girl, taken on the Little Blue 
River, and a white child, born to one of these women while in cap- 
tivity. They were restored to their friends as soon as possible. 


Dixon County was organized by Act of the Territorial Legis- 
lature, in December, 1S58. It lies on the northeastern border of 
the State, and is bounded on the north by the Missouri River, east 
by the Missouri River and Dakota County, south by Omaha In- 
dian Reservation and Wayne Count}^, and west by Wayne and 
Cedar Counties, containing about 450 square miles, or 288,000 

Water Courses. — The Missouri River washes the northeast- 
ern border of the County. The principal streams of the interior 
are the Powder, Turkey and Lime Creeks, in the northern part^ 
and Silver, West Branch, Daily, South, and Ayoway Creeks, in 
the central and southern part of the County. These are all beauti- 
ful, clear streams. Ayoway Creek, especially, being a large and 
superior mill stream, already furnishing power for three flouring 
mills, with excellent sites for twenty more. Altogether, the Coun- 
ty is well M^atered, every township having one or more living 
streams passing through it. Springs are abundant. 

Timber. — On the Missouri bottoms and skirting all the creeks, 

Johnson's history of Nebraska. 329 

there is a fine natural growth of timber, the varieties consisting 
principally of Cottonwood, willow, ash, elm, maple, basswood, iron- 
wood, walnnt and oak. Dry cotton wood can be bought in the 
markets at $2.50 per cord. The number of forest trees under cul- 
tivation in the County in 1S79 was 285,155; hedge fencing seven 

Fruit. — Grapes, plums and several other varieties of wild 
fruit grow in profusion along the streams. There are at present 
8,663 apple, twenty-four pear, twenty-seven peach, 743 plum, and 
544 cherry trees, and 267 grape vines under cultivation, and in a 
thrifty condition. 

Physical Features. — Twenty-five per cent, of the area is fer- 
tile bottom land. Ayoway and several of the creeks have very fine 
valleys. The blufi^s of the Missouri are frequently very high and 
precipitous, but the greater part of the upland is gently rolling 
prairie, with a good soil, well adapted to agriculture or stock rais- 

Crops. — Number of acres under cultivation in the County, 
30,146. The yield of the principal crops was as follows: Winter 
wheat, three and one-half acres, seventy-five bushels; rye, 189^ 
acres, 2,514 bushels; spring wheat, 9,480 acres, 404,883 bushels; 
corn, 6,053 acres, 197,200 bushels; barley, 588 acres, 13,180 bush- 
els; oats, 2,250 acres, 76,719 bushels; sorghum, eighty-one acres, 
6,362 gallons; flax, forty-seven acres, 542 bushels; hungarian, eight 
acres, sixty-five tons; potatoes, 155 acres, 17,945 bushels. 

Minerals. — A fair quality of coal has been taken from the 
bluff's of the Missouri, in small quantities, for several years past, 
and recently more extensive beds have been discovered and prepa- 
rations made for their immediate development. 

Lime and building stone, marl, kaolin, and fire-clay, are found 
in the County. 

First Settlement. — The County was first settled in the spring 
of 1856, by a small Irish colony who took claims in the valley of 
South Creek. The steady tide of emigration that at once set in 
received an unexpected check' toward the close of 1857 by the great 
financial panic of that year and the consequent prostration of all 
branches of industry. Many of the settlers of this County re- 
turned to the East, or removed to localities where the prospect of 

330 Johnson's histoky of Nebraska. 

obtaining immediate employment was better, and but few of them 
ever returned to their claims. The few who returned and suc- 
ceeded in tiding over the difficulties of their situation, are to-day 
the possessors of fine, well-stocked farms. 

The first election for County officers took place on the second 
Monday in December, 1868. The following officers were elected: 
Commissioners, H. A. Fuller, John Cavanaugh, and John Mes- 
singer; Probate Judge, J. B. Denton; Clerk, Edward Arnold; 
Sherift; C. F. Putnam. 

The first flouring mill in the County was erected on Ayoway 
Creek, in 1859, by Stough Brothers; but owing to the non-arrival 
of the machinery, it did not begin operations until 1860. 

The first death in the County was that of Mrs. Robert Mc- 
Kenna, in January, 1857. 

The first marriage was celebrated in the winter of 1856-7, and 
was that of Charles Buckman. 

The first birth took place in June, 1857 — a son to Mrs. 
Burcham Buson. 

The first term of the District Court was held at the County 
Seat on the 16th day of May, 1859; Hon, Eleazer Wakeley, presid- 
ing Judge. 

There are five Churches in the County, viz: one Presbyterian ^ 
two Roman Catholic, one Lutheran and one Methodist. 

Three gristmills and five saw mills are now in operation in 
the County. 

The Covington, Columbus and Black Hills Railroad is now in 
running order to the County Seat, and soon will be extended west- 

It is estimated that at least 25,000 acres in this County are 
enclosed by substantial post and rail fences. 

Land. — The Burline^ton and Missouri River Railroad Com- 
pany owns 12,000 acres of land in this County, the price ranging 
from $1.25 to $6.00 per acre; and there are, besides, several thous- 
and acres of desirable Government land yet untaken. 

Taxable Property. — The amount and valuation of all taxa- 
ble property of the County, returned for 1879, was as follows: Acres 
of land, 235,538; average value per acre, $2.41 ; value of town lots^ 
$51,677; money invested in merchandise, $15,341; money used in 

Johnson's history of Nebraska. 331 

manufactures, $9,621 ; number of horses 2,122, value, $44,974; mules 
72, value, $1,587; neat cattle, 6,782, value, $43,323; sheep, 158, 
value, $153; swine, 2,496, value, $2,372.75; vehicles, 646, value, 
$7,102; moneys and credits, $8,755; stocks, etc., $3,000; furniture, 
$3,019; property not enumerated, $11,722; railroads, $11,107; total^ 

Population. — The following is the population of the County 
in 1879, by Precincts: Logan, ninety-nine; North Bend, 118; 
Hookers, 320; Spring Bank, 389; Kew Castle, 441; Otter Creek, 
177; Summer Hill, 201; Galena, 177; Ponca, 1,170; Daily, 299;. 
Ionia, 241; Silver Creek, 414; Clark, eighty-five; South Creek, 
130. Total, 4,061.— males, 2,129; females, 1,832. 

Public Schools. — In 1879, the County had fifty-four school 
districts, forty-nine school houses and 1,643 children of school age r 
832 being males, and 811 females; number of qualified teachers 
employed, eighty- two — males, thirty-two, females, fifty; total wages 
paid teachers for the year, $7,127.30; value of school houses, $16,- 
030; value of sites, $525; value of books and apparatus, $471. 


The County Seat, is situated at the confluence of the west and 
south branches of Ayoway Creek, in the northeastern part of the 
County, and is at present the terminus of the Covington, Columbus 
and Black Hills Railroad. It derives its name from the Ponca 
Indians, who, in recent years, roamed over the hills and plains in 
this vicinity. Since the advent of the railroad, in 1877, the town 
has made wonderful improvement, and its business has more than 
doubled. Three years ago it was a village of three or four hun- 
dred inhabitants; to-day it has eight hundred, and is the largest 
and most flourishing town in tliis part of the State. It has two 
good weekly newspapers, the Courier and Journal^ a commodious 
Court House, excellent school and Church advantages, and business 
houses representing the various lines of trade. 


On the west branch, and 


On the south branch of Ayoway Creek, are flourishing villages, 
with stores, postofiice, schools, etc. 

8S2 Johnson's history of Nebraska. 


Are bright villages, on the Missouri, besides which there are a 
number of other close settlements in the County, having a general 
assortment store, j)ostoffice, etc. 


Dakota County was created by the first Territorial Legisla- 
ture, in 1855. It is located on the northeastern border of the State, 
and is bounded on the north by Dixon County and the Missouri 
River, east by the Missouri Tliver, south by the Omaha Indian 
Reserve, and west by Dixon County, containing about 250 square 
miles, or 160,000 acres. 

It is well watered by the Missouri River, Omaha, Elk, and 
Pigeon Creeks. Omaha Creek is a fine mill stream, with numer- 
ous branches, and waters the southeastern portion of the County. 
Elk Creek, a tributary of the Missouri, waters the western town- 
ships and furnishes suflicient power for mills. Pigeon Creek 
waters the central portion of the County. Every township has 
running water, and the majority of the streams are well timbered. 
No returns have been made of the number of forest and fruit trees 
under cultivation, or of crops. 

The bluffs of the Missouri are here very bold. About ten per 
cent, of the area is bluff", twenty per cent, bottoms, and seventy 
per cent, rolling prairie. The soil is deep and rich almost every- 
where, and is well adapted to the growth of cereals. 

Building stone is abundant in this County, and on Elk Creek 
there are extensive peat beds. 

Public Schools. — The present number of school districts in 
the County is thirty-three, school houses, thirty, and children of 
€chool age 1,304, of whom 637 are males, and 667 females; quali- 
fied teachers employed, fifty-one, — males, twenty-six, females, 
twenty -five; total wages paid teachers for the year, $2,378.60; 
-value of school houses, $19,375.00; value of sites, $1,655.00; value 
of books and apparatus, $540. 

Taxablk Pkopekty. — The amount and valuation of the tax- 

Johnson's history of Nebraska. 333 

able property of the County is as follows: Acres of land, 140,010, 
av^erage value per acre, $3.33; value of town lots, $47,000; money 
invested in merchandise, $8,066; money used in manufactures, 
$3,501; number of horses, 2,140, value $34,095; mules, ninety- 
two, value, $2,061; neat cattle, 8,520, value, $59,686; sheep, 123, 
value, $123; swine, 4.411, value, $2,581; vehicle?, 522, value, $4,- 
926; moneys and credits, $2,734; mortgao;es, $13,879; stocks, 
$204; furniture, $1,753; libraries, $50; property not enumerate), 
$7,954; railroads, $65,904.50; total, $720,780.50. 

Land. — There is a small amount of Government land remain- 
ing untaken, and the Burlington & Missouri River Railroad Com- 
pany owns 5,000 acres here, the price ranging from $1.25 to $6.00 
per acre. 

Railroads. — The Covington, Columbus & Black Hills Rail- 
road traverses the northern portion of this County from east to 
west, a distance of twenty miles. 

Population. — The County is at present divided into six Pre- 
cincts, the population of each in 1879, heing as follows: Omadi, 
873; St. Johns, 696; Covington, 805; Summit, 297; Dakota, 262; 
Pigeon Creek, 295; total population of County, 3,208, of whom 
1,717 are males, and 1,491 females. 


The County Seat, is situated on a fine plateau overlooking the 
Missouri, and is also on the line of the Covington, Columbus & 
Black Hills Railroad. It is a prosperous town of several hundred 
inhabitants, and commands the shipping trade of an extensive, 
well-settled agricultural country to the south and west. The 
Eagle, a weekly newspaper, is published here. The Court House 
is a commodious building, the schools excellent, Church facilities 
good, and stores and other business places are increasing rapidly. 


On the Covington, Columbus & Black Hills Railroad, situated sev- 
eral miles west of the County Seat, is the second town of size and 
importance in the County. It supports a weekly newspaper, the 
Herald, has good schools, neat Churches, a number of fine stores, 
grain warehouses, etc. The town has grown very rapidly since the 

S34 Johnson's history of Nebraska. 

railroad reached it three years ago, and the improvements are sub- 
stantial and permanent. 


Situated on the banks of the Missouri, opposite Sioux City, Iowa, 
is at the head of the Covinojton, Columbus & Black Hills Railroad, 
and is improving very rapidly under the patronage of that corpor- 
ation. It already enjoys a large trade from the surrounding coun- 
try, and through its advantageous location, promises to become the 
leading city and business center of the County. 


Is a small village and shipping station on the railroad in the 
northeastern part of the Count}^ 


Is an old settled and flourishing town, situated on Omaha Creek, 
in the southeastern part of the County. It is a prosperous, grow- 
ing town, located in the midst of an excellent farming section, the 
Precinct having a population of 873. 

Homer, Randolph, Lodi, and Elk Yallet are Postoffices in 
the County. 


Dundy County was created by an Act of the Legislature, in 
1873. It is located on the southwestern border of the State, 
bounded on tlie north by Chase, and east by Hitchcock County, 
south by Kansas and west by Colorado, containing: 936 square 
miles, or 599,040 acres. 

It is watered by the Republican River and several large trib- 

County unorganized and sparsely settled. It lies in the great 
grazing range of the State, and is admirably adapted to stock-rais- 
ing. It is nearly all Government land. 

No report of property, crops, schools, or population. 




Fillmore Comity was created in 1855 and organized in the 
spring of 1871. It is located in the southeastern part of the 
State, in the fifth tier of Counties west of the Missouri River, and 
is bounded on the north by York, east by Saline, south by Thayer, 
and west by Clay County, containing 576 square miles, or 368,640 
acres, at an average elevation of 1,600 feet above the sea level. 

Water Courses. — The West Blue River and its fine tributary. 
School Creek, water the northwestern townships of the County, 
the Blue being an excellent mill stream. The north fork of Tur- 
key Creek flows from west to east through the central portion of 
the County, being supported on either side by numerous rivulets 
and never-failing springs. Indian Creek waters the northeastern 
townships, and Little Sandy, South Turkey and Walnut Creeks 
flow through the southern portion of the County. 

Timber. — There is a moderate amount of native timber along 
the streams, the varieties consisting of Cottonwood, maple, elm, 
willow, ash, walnut and oak. Though the early settlers cut down 
much wood, there are now more timber in the County than on the 
<iay when the first white man set foot within its borders. There 
are now 2,822 acres, or 1,181,134 forest trees under cultivation, 
besides 108 miles of hedging. 

Fruit. — Small fruits are being successfully grown here, an- 
swering the largest anticipations. In 1879, there were 14,037 
apple, 509 pear, 24,954 peach, 11,727 plum, and 5,372 cherry trees, 
and 2,932 grape vines reported under cultivation. 

Physical Features. — The surface of the country consists 
mostly of gently rolling table lands, having a gradual rise to the 
westward, the elevation above sea level on the eastern border being 
1,550, and on the western border 1,570 feet. There are no sloughs 
and scarcely any waste land. Along the West Blue River and 
Turkey Creek there is fine valley lands. 

Soil and Crops. — The soil produces all the grains which grow 
anywhere in the same latitude, and produces them in great abund- 
ance. In 1879 there were 98,372 acres reported under cultivation 
in the County, the yield of the principal crops being as follows; 

336 Johnson's history of Nebraska. 

Winter wheat, 205 acres, 3,205 bushels; rye, 2,144 acres, 31,363 
bushels; spring wheat, 49.677 acres, 617,048 bushels; corn, 25,865 
acres, 870,244 bushels; barley, 6,062 acres, 160,881 bushels; oats, 
4,980 acres, 168,973 bushels; sorghum, thirty-one acres, 410 gal- 
lons; flax, 326 acres, 3,301 bushels; hungarian, 470 acres, ninety- 
four tons, and potatoes 470 acres, 53,391 bushels. 

Historical. — William Bussard and William Whitaker located 
homesteads in this County as early as June, 1866, several months 
in advance of any other settlers. In the autumn of this year Nim- 
rod Dixon, J. A. Werts, James Whitaker, and J. H. Malick ar- 
rived and secured claims, but Werts and Malick were the only ones 
who stuck to their claims during the succeeding winter, the others 
returning to the older settlements in hopes of finding employment 
while waiting for spring to permit them to commence work upon 
their claims. They all returned early in the spring, bringing with 
them the pioneer lady settler of the County, Mrs. E. A. Wliitaker, 
a lady over seventy years of age, who also took a homestead. The 
first land was broken in May, 1867, by N. G. Dixon. In the 
spring of 1868 this settlement was strengthened by the arrival of 
several others, among whom was H. L. Badger, the pioneer sur- 
veyor; and during the summer and fall, D. H. Dillon, and a num- 
ber of others settled on Turkey Creek, in the eastern part of the 
County. In the spring and summer of 1869, Charles Eberstine, 
J. F. Snow and others, located in the southeastern part of the 
County, and in 1870, E. L. Martin settled on the West Blue, in 
the northwestern part, where he laid off the town of Fillmore, the 
first town started. Here the first stock of dry goods and groceries 
were opened by J. E. Porter, and the first Postoflice in the County 
was established here in March, 1871, with E. L. Martin as post- 
master. In April, 1871, Elder E. E. Spear, of the Methodist 
Church, settled on Turkey Creek, and he was for a long time the 
only regular minister in the County. His first sermon was 
preached at the residence of Colonel McCalla, on the second Sab- 
bath in May, 1871. During the year 1871, C. H. Bane and J. W. 
Eller, the first attorneys, and Dr. II. F. King, the first physician, 
settled in the County, and before the close of that year settlements 
had been made so rapidly that all the valuable claims were taken, 
and much of the Burlington & Missouri Railroad land sold. 

, Johnson's history of Nebraska.. 337 

Franklin Precinct, in the southeastern part of the County, not 
being covered by a railroad land grant, settled up more rapidly 
than any other precinct, and at the organic election it was found 
to contain more voters than all the remainder of the County; yet, 
strange as it may appear, the citizens of that precinct voted tho 
seat of justice at the center of the County. 

The organic election was held at the residence of N. McCalla, 
on the 21st day of April, 1871, at which time the seat of justice 
was established at the geographical center of the County, and the 
following County officers were elected, viz: Commissioners, E. L. 
Martin, C. H. Bassett, and Jesse Lee; Clerk, II. L. Badger; Treas- 
urer, Wilber Duel; Sheriff, J. F. Snow; Judge, William H, Blain; 
Superintendent Public Instruction, G. R. Wolfe; Surveyor, H. L. 
Badger; Coroner, T. E. Burnett. 

Public Schools. — Number of school districts in the County 
in 1879, seventy-seven; number of school houses, seventy-four; 
number of male children of school age, 1,649; female 1,440; total 
3,089; total number that attended school during the year, 2,138; 
number of qualified teachers employed, 115 — males, forty, females 
seventy-five; wages of male teachers for the year, $5,021.66; wages 
of female teachers, $7,376.30; total, $12,397.96; value of school 
houses, $36,733.00; value of sites, $1,311.25; value of books, etc., 

Taxable Property. — The following is a statement of the tax- 
able property of the County as returned for 1879: Acres of land, 
314,285, average value per acre, $3.02; value of town lots, $77,- 
750; money invested in merchandise, $67,885; money used in 
manufactures, $2,185; number of horses, 4,329, value, $113,895; 
mules, 465, value, $14,373; neat cattle, 5,429, value, $49,489; 
sheep, 2,765, value, $2,064; swine, 18,162, value, $7,213; vehicles, 
1,615, value, $23,629; moneys and credits, $15,121; mortgages, 
$23,634; stock, $300; furniture, $14;356; libraries, $1,894; prop- 
erty not enumerated, $47,528; railroad property, $193,169.60; 
total, $1,603,470.60. 

Railroads and Lands.— The only railroad at present travers- 
ing this County is the Burlington & Missouri Pviver, which passes 
from east to west through the upper tier of townships, and was 
constructed in 1871. The Burlington & Missouri Company owns 


G38 Johnson's history of Nebraska. ^ 

5,000 acres of land here, its price ranging from $5 to $9 per acre. 
Government land all occupied. 

Population. — The County is divided into sixteen voting Pre- 
cincts, the population of each in 1879 being as follows: Exeter, 
728; Glengary, 474; Fairmount, 1,126; Chelsea, 427; West Blue, 
575; Stanton, 367; Grafton, 612; Momence, 396; Bennett, 443; 
Bryant, 369; Geneva, 855; Hamilton, 399; Madison, 497; Belle 
Prairie, 355; Liberty, 622; Franklin, 515; total, 8,760— males, 
4,766, females, 3,094. The population of the County in 1870, was 
238; in 1875, 4,731; increase in last four years, 4,029. 

Improvements. — The following is a statement of the value of 
buildings erected and other improvements made in each Precinct 
during the year 1878: Exeter, $42,986; Glengary, $10,057; Fair- 
mount, $43,838; Chelsea, $10,880; West Blue, $10,275; Stanton, 
$11,970; Grafton, 23,050; Momence, $10,675; Bennett, $16,775; 
Bryant, $8,975; Geneva, $24,285; Hamilton, $8,270; Madison, 
$10,950; Belle Prairie, $6,170; Liberty, $17,030; Franklin, $5,- 
630; grand total for the County, $261,816; total number of build- 
ings reported for 1878, 682. 

It will be seen from the above that building has been general 
all over the County. Four and five hundred dollar houses com- 
prise the bulk of the buildings, and very comfortable dwellings 
can be erected, at the present low price of building material, for 
either of these given amounts. 


The County Seat, within a mile of Turkey Creek, occupies one of 
the prettiest sites for a town in this part of the State. It now 
has 700 inhabitants. In 1873 a neat frame Court House and jail, 
combined, was erected at a cost of $4,000. During the past year 
the town has grown amazingl}^, and now has some of the largest 
and most costly buildings in the County, over $7,000 having been 
expended here in improvements in 1878, and for the present year 
the increase will be much greater. A railroad to run through this 
town is now in prospect, and as soon as the same assumes a more 
definite shape, building will be more rapid and brisk than 
ever. The Review, published here by M. M. Neeves, has been 
the principal factor in the development of the town, always 

Johnson's history of Nebraska. 339 

tlie leader in every enterprise, always public-spirited, and 
always the last to desert any scheme calculated to be of importance 
to Geneva. 


Situated on the line of the Burlington & Missouri K. K., about the 
center of the County, from east to west, is the largest town in the 
County, having at present 1,000 inhabitants. It is surrounded by 
a fine country, and all branches of industry are represented. There 
are large grain houses, a steam elevator, flouring mills, machine 
shops, lumber yards, good hotels, merchandise stores, a bank, etc., 
and an excellent paper, the Fairmont Bulletin^ published by Mr. 
L, D. Calkins, It has a graded school, well patronized by town 
and country, and there are several Church organizations and com- 
fortable houses of worship. Fairmont is one of the most promising 
towns in south-central Nebraska, and is growing rapidly, the build- 
ings and other improvements made in 18T8 amounting to nearly 


On the line of the Burlington & Missouri, seven miles east of Fair- 
mont, was laid out in November, 1871, and has 500 inhabitants. 
Dr. H. G. Smith brought the first stock of goods to Exeter in De- 
cember, 1871. There are now a number of general merchandise 
stores, lumber yards, grain warehouses, a fine school house, and 
.several Church organizations. The town has prospered during the 
year beyond measure. The Enterprise, a weekly paper, is pub- 
lished here, by Mr. W. J. Waite. 


On the Burlington & Missouri, eight miles west of Fairmont, was 
laid out in 1875, and now has 400 inhabitants. The first building 
erected, in the town was a large warehouse, by C. M. Northrop. 
During the past year new business houses, new residences and new 
public buildings have been erected, giving the town a busy air, 
and making it one of the best trading and shipping points, for its 
size, on the road. It has excellent Church and school privileges, 
several flourishing Societies, and all its town appointments are first 
■^ class. 

340 Johnson's history of Nebraska. 

Located on the "West Blue River, was laid out in 1870, by Mr. J. 
L. Martin. It has an excellent water-power flouring mill, but 
has not made much progress as a town. 


Franklin County was created by the Legislature in 1867, and 
organized in 1871. It is located on the middle-southern border 
of the State, and is bounded on the north by Kearney, and east by 
Webster County, south by Kansas, and west by Harlan County, 
containing 576 square miles, or 368,640 acres. 

"Water Courses. — The Kepublican River flows from west to 
east through the southern portion of the County, having a large 
number of tributaries on either side, the most prominent being 
Thompson, Cottonwood, Center, Turkey and Lovely Creeks, which 
have their rise a dozen miles or so back in the prairie, and are fed 
by innumerable springs and small branches. Water-power is 

Timber. — The Republican River and tributaries are all skirted 
with a fine growth of native timber, a large portion of it being 
hardwood, especially that along the streams on the south side. 
The uplands are now dotted with large, thrifty artificial groves, 
sufliciently grown to supply all the fuel needed. In 1879 there 
were 719,703 forest trees, and sixteen and one-half miles of hedg- 
ing reported under cultivation. 

Fruit. — This County has made great advancement in fruit- 
culture and now has many fine orchards in bearing. In 1879 
there were 2,130 apple; eighty-nine pear, 5,079 peach, 8,549 plum, 
312 cherry trees, and 252J acres of grape vines in the County. 

Building Stone. — A good quality of limestone is found in 
dififerent parts of the County, and is abundant on the south side 
of the Republican. 

Physical Features. — About fifteen per cent, of the area is 
valley, the remainder rolling prairie and occasional blufi". South 
of the Republican the surface is considerably broken, in the vicin- 

Johnson's history of Nebraska. 341 

itj of the streams. The north half of the County consists of 
broad tables and gently undulating prairie. The valley of the Re- 
publican varies in width from four to eight miles. 

Soil and Crops. — The soil is a rich, black vegetable mould, 
varying from eighteen inches to three feet thick, on the uplands. 
Franklin County was awarded the champion prize medal at the 
Nebraska State Fair, in 1876, 1877, and 1878, for the best display 
agricultural and garden products of all kinds. The acreage under 
cultivation reported for 1879 was 32,136, the yield of the principal 
crops being as follows: Winter wheat, 424|- acres, 4,701|- bush- 
els; rye, 1,J30 acres, 14,868 bushels; spring wheat, 8,647 acres, 
85,545 bushels; corn, 7,557 acres, 199,067 bushels; barley, 423 
acres, 7,276 bushel; oats, 1,105 acres, 24,254 bushels; sorghum, 
thirty-nine and one-fourth acres, 3,140 gallons; broom corn, 356 
acres, forty-six and one-half tons; millet and hungarian, 577 
acres, 3,124 tons; potatoes, 470 acres, 53,391 bushels. 

First Settlement. — On the 14th of September, 1870, James 
"W, Thompson, W. C. Thompson, Richard Beckwith, John Corbin, 
Isaac Chapel, and Barnett Ashburn started from Omaha to explore 
the Republican Yalley country with a view to settlement. They 
crossed the Platte River on the 15th, and passed through Beatrice 
on the fourth day out, where they crossed the Big Blue. Entering 
the Republican Valley at Elm Creek, Webster County, they pro- 
ceeded to a creek within two miles of the east line of Franklin 
County (now known as Thompson Creek) where they encamped. 
J. W. Thompson explored this creek to its forks, found it to be a 
good mill stream and well timbered, with fine bottoms on either 
side. After inspecting the country as far west as Turkey Creek, 
they returned and selected claims near the mouth of Thompson 
Creek, where the town of Riverton now stands, and then started 
on their return to Omaha, arriving there the latter part of October, 
of the same year. 

About the time the foregoing party were making their ex- 
plorations, another party, known as the "Knight Colony," were 
sent out from Omaha by the Republican Land Claim Association to 
look up a favorable location for settlement. This company se- 
lected a site aiaout a mile northwest of the mouth of Center Creek, 
where they laid out and surveyed Franklin City. 


On the first of November, 1870, several families were sent out 
to the new city by the Association, under the charge of its Vice 
President, C. J. Yan Laningham. 

Another company, organized in Plattsmouth, selected a loca- 
tion one mile east of Franklin City, where they laid out the town 
of "Waterloo — the name afterwards being changed to Franklin. 

The first claim on Thompson Creek was entered at the Land 
Office, at Beatrice, in September, 1870, by Burnett Ashburn, on 
his return to Omaha from his first exploration of the country. 
"William C. Thompson entered the adjoining claim. In March, 
1871, the first log house was finished, and in April, the breaking- 
plow was started. 

On Lovely Creek, Thomas Shoemaker, John Hanna. and a 
Mr. Roberts were among the first settlers. Center Creek was. 
first settled by Messrs. Yan Laningham, Yan Etten, Thompson, 
Hagar, Haines, Buster, Asliby, Hunt, Harman, Chapman, Hutch- 
ison and Pury. On Yining Creek, Messrs. Yining, Bass, Durante 
Blackledge, Hammond, Betts, and Kave were among the first. Oa 
Tui-key Creek, among the • first were Messrs. Sprague, Healy, 
Marston, Young, "Walter Brown, J. M. Brown, Burley, Lloyd, 
Streets, Ray, Mrs. "Wadkins, Bush, Edgerton, "Walter Brothers, 
and Phillips. On Crow Creek, Mr. Stanlow settled in 1871, and 
Messrs. Gage, Brown, ISTovinger, Stover, Hawks, Kent and Chal- 
fance, in 1872. Rebecca Creek was first settled by G. L. Thomp- 
son, L. M. Moulton, J. F. Zediker, Mrs. Douglas, Albert Dowd, 
James Douglas, Elam Douglas, Dr. I^. L. Whitney, and the John- 
son brothers. On Cottonwood Creek the first were the Pugsley 
family, Messrs. Nixon, Enos J. Haynes, E. Haynes, Pilgers, Bass, 
Shaffer, J. "W. and Jacob Dearey, O. and "W. Davis, Harold, and J. 
Kezer, and brother. J. F. Pugsley, Sr., came out from Omalia in 
the fall of 1870, and selected claims for himself and sons near the 
mouth of Cottonwood and Pugsley Creeks, and in May, 1871, he 
brought out his wife, two sons and two daughters. He lias now 
one of the best improved, well-stocked farms in the County. The 
first settlers on Pugsley Creek were Gideon Pugsley, Pogle, Mor- 
ton, Steward, Rev. C. R. Townsend, and Charles H. Townsend. 
The first County Fair was held in 1873, with great success. 
Railroads. — Early in the present year the Republican Yalley 

Johnson's history of Nebraska. 343 

branch of the Burlinorton & Missouri Railroad, was completed 
through the County from Hastings, and is now in runnino- order. 

Lands. — All the desirable Government land is taken. The 
Burlington & Missouri River Railroad Company owns 50,000 acres 
of land in this County, for which they ask from $2 to $5 per acre. 

The tide of emigration is now very strong, and the broad 
acres of the County are fast being taken up by sturdy settlers from 
the eastern States. 

This is an excellent country for the stock business. Several 
stock farms are located on the south side of the Republican, and 
many on the north side, having from 100 to 300 head of cattle. 

Public Schools. — The present number of school districts in 
the County is lorty-three; number of school houses, thirty; child- 
ren of school age — males, 755, females, 697, total, 1,452; qualified 
teachers employed, forty-four — males, nineteen, females, twenty- 
five; total wages paid teachers for the year, $3,353.50; value of 
school buildings, $4,535.00; value of sites, $313.00; value of books, 
etc., $153.50. 

Taxable Property. — The amount and valuation of all taxable 
property in the County, is as follows: Acres of land, 181,354; 
average value per acre, $1.04: value of town lots, $18,447; money 
invested in merchandise, $ll,'^39; money used in manufactures, 
$5,490; number of horses, 1,659, value, $57,364; mules, 176, value, 
$7,505; neat cattle, 3,276, value, $32,188; sheep, 1,325, value, $1,- 
088; swine, 4,516, value, $3,700.65; vehicles, 743, value, $13,046; 
moneys and credits, $6,469; mortgages, $8,209; stocks, etc., $ 788; 
furniture, $9,495; libraries, $184; property not enumerated, $17,- 
889; total, $392,013.89. 

Population. — The population of each Precinct in 1879, was 
as follows: Grant, 911; Salem, 194; Buffalo, 204; Oak Grove, 
247; :N"orth Franklin, 387; Turkey Creek, 279; Franklin, 621; 
Bloomington 523; Macon, 369; Ash Grove, 407; total population 
of County, 4,137 — males, 2,245, females, 1892. Population in 
1875, 1,807; increase in four years, 2,330. 

The County Seat, is the principal town in the County. It is 
pleasantly located on a southern slope facing the Republican, and 
has a fine view of the valley for miles in either direction. 

yj-4 Johnson's histort of Nebraska. 

The United States Land Office for the Kepublican Yalley is 
located here. An iron bridge spans the river at this point and 
brings in a large Kansas trade. Among the different branches of 
business represented are a bank, nine attorneys, three real estate 
offices, three hotels, three restaurants, three bakeries, two drug 
stores, three dr^^ goods, grocery and general merchandise stores, 
two tin shops, two millinery shops, five lumber yards, two agri- 
cultural implement and two furniture stores, three blacksmith, 
one wagon and two paint shops, five contractors and builders, etc. 
The religious element is well represented, there being three con- 
gregations — Methodist, Presbyterian and Baptist. The Methodists 
will have a Church building completed this fall. The Guards is a 
well-sustained weekly paper published here. The town is in a 
healthy, growing condition, it having about doubled its population 
and number of buildings since the railroad reached it several 
months ago. 


On the line of the Republican Yalley Railroad, near the east line 
of the County, is a flourishing town of about 500 inhabitants. It 
is beautifully situated on the Republican, at the mouth of Thomp- 
son Creek, and has the best water-power of any town in the valley. 
The business of the place is represented by one newspaper, the Re- 
porter, six general merchandise stores, two hardware, and two drug 
stores, two millinery and two farm machinery establishments, four 
restaurants, four meat markets, three blacksmith and wagon shops, 
one harness shop, one furniture store, three large liverj'^ and feed 
stables, four attorneys, one grain elevator, and two first-class flour- 
ing mills. There is a good school house, and the citizens are 
about to erect a Church. 


Is situated two miles from the western line of the County, on 
the eastern side of Turkey Creek, near its confluence with the Re- 
publican. The town was laid out in February, 1879, since which 
time one hotel, one livery stable, several business houses, and a 
large number of dwellings have been erected. At present it is a 
flourishing town and already has a good weekly newspaper, the 
Naponee Banner. The track of the Republican Valley Railroad 
is completed to this place and trains are now running. 

Johnson's history of nebkaska. 345 

Naponee Mills, containing three run of burrs, are situated 
here. A wagon bridge across the Republican at this point is now 
in course of construction. 

Macon, Moline, Ash Grove, West Salem, Stockton, Amazon 
and Langdon are villages in diflerent parts of the County, with 
school house, general store, FostofRce, etc. 

Franklin and Marion are stations on the railroad, and have 
promising futures. 


Frontier County was organized in 1872. It lies in the south- 
western part of the State, bounded on the north by Lincoln and 
Dawson, east by Gosper, south by Gosper, Furnas and Hitchcock, 
and west by Hayes County, containing 972 square miles, or 622,- 
080 acres. 

It is watered by Medicine and Eed "Willow Creeks, two very 
prominent tributaries of the Republican, and numerous smaller 
streams, all flowing in a southeasterly direction. There are some 
good mill privileges. 

This County is chiefly devoted to the stock business and is 
sparsely settled, the number of its inhabitants being estimated at 
626. No report of crops or improvements for this year. 

Taxable property reported for 1879 was as follows: Acres of 
land, 5,722, average value per acre, $1.25; money used in manufac- 
ture, $300.00; number of horses, 529, value, $12,541.00; number of 
mules, eighteen, value, $480.00; number of cattle, 8,672, value 
$60,704.00; number of sheep, 1,471, value, $1,102.25; number of 
swine, eighty-six, value, $107.00; vehicles ninety-seven, value, $1,- 
576.00 ;moneys and credits, $1,810.00; mortgages, $350; property 
not enumerated, $653.00; total, $86,472,75. 

There are two school districts in the County, and one hundred 
and thirty children of school age. 

County nearly all Government land. As a stock region it 
cannot be excelled, and much of it is fine agricultural land. 


Situated on Medicine Creek, near the geographical center of the 
County, is the County Seat. 

846 Johnson's history of Nebraska. 


Furnas County was organized in April, 1873, by proclamation' 
of Governor E. W. Furnas, in honor of whom it was named. It 
is located on the southern border of the State, bounded on the 
north by Frontier and Gosper, east by Harlan County, south by 
Kansas, and west by Red "Willow County, containing 720 square 
miles, or 460,800 acres. 

Water Courses. — The County is well watered by the Repub- 
lican River and its several large tributaries. The Republican 
flows from west to east through the upper portion of the County, 
being supported on the north by Medicine, Deer, Elk, Muddy and 
Turkey Creeks, all fine large streams. Through the central and 
southern portion of the County flow Beaver and Sappa Creeks, 
magnificent streams, tributaries of the Republican, which are sup- 
ported by innumerable small creeks and springs. Water-power in 
great abundance. 

Timber. — The Republican, Beaver, Sappa and several of the 
smaller streams are well timbered. In 1879 there were 102,093 
forest trees under cultivation. 

Fruit. — The number of fruit trees under cultivation at pres- 
ent is as follows: Apple, 573; pear, seventy-six; peach, 1,212; 
plum 289; cherry forty-nine. Grapes and plums grow in pro- 
fusion on all the streams. 

Building Stone is abundant. 

Physical Features. — About thirty per cent, of the area is 
valley, five per cent, bluft', and the balance rolling prairie. The 
Yalley of the Republican varies in width from two to five miles, 
and the valleys of the Beaver and Sappa are here also very wide, 
fertile and beautiful. 

Soil and Crops. — The soil is everywhere mellow and rich, the 
uplands yielding splendid crops of small grain. The ai^ea under 
cultivation reported for 1879 was 12,630 acres. The yield of the 
principal crops was as follows: Winter wheat, 581 acres, 10,181 
bushels; rye, 2,080 acres, 42,004 bushels; spring wheat, 3,472 acres^ 
49,429 bushels; corn, 3,662 acres, 80,687 bushels; barley, 554 

Johnson's history of Nebraska. 347 

acres, 16,380 bushels; oats, 394 acres, 13,953 bushels; sorghum, 
fifty-three and five-eighths acres, 4,138 gallons; broom corn, twen- 
ty and one-fourth acres, twelve tons; hungarian, 381^ acres, 108 
tons; potatoes, ninetj-two acres, 10,844 bushels. 

First Settlements.— In September, 1870, Galen James, alone, 
made his way up the valley of Beaver Creek from the stockade on 
the Kepublican Kiver, where the town of Melrose is now situated, 
to the junction of Sappa Creek with the Beaver, in what was then 
called James County, and there built himself a "dug-out." Here 
he lived alone for a year and a half, seeing no white persons, except 
when in rare instances he visited the stockade, or some of the 
early settlers on the Kepublican. 

In the spring of 1871, Theodore Phillips, with his family, 
settled on the Eepublican, at the mouth of Turkey Creek, beino- 
the first of a large settlement now known as New Era. 

Shortly after this, John and Ben Arnold located near the 
mouth of Dry Creek, and were the first settlers upon that stream. 
About this time J. B. Burton pitched his tent at Burton's Bend,^ 
in the western part of the County, where he soon gathered around 
him a number of families, and in the fall of 1872 obtained the 
establishment of a Postofiice. In July, 1871, G. W. Love and 
family settled near where the town of Arapahoe is situated. Early 
in the spring of 1872, a company consisting of Captain E. W- 
Murphy, Charles Brown, and G. W. Calvin, arrived and surveyed 
the town site of Arapahoe. 

In April, 1872, Eugene Dolph and John Mitchell settled upon 
Beaver and Sappa creeks respectively, and were the first settlers in 
the County south of the Republican, after Galen James. In May 
and June of the same year, the greater part of the most valuable 
land in the Beaver valley as far west as Beaver City, and in the 
Sappa valley as far west as Richmond, was taken up as homesteads 
by a good class of settlers, mainly from the North-Western States. 
H. W. Brown located a claim upon the present town site of Rich- 
mond, on the 15th of June, 1872, and in November following had 
a Postoffice established therefor the acconjmodation of the settlers 
— this being the first Postofiice in the County south of the Repub- 

In May, 1872, C. A. "Wilson, James A. Gibson, J. R. Johnson, 

S4S Johnson's history of Nebraska.. 

and George Soi^er passed up the Beaver, and began a settlement in 
the western part of the County, which was at first known as Wild 
Turkey, but is now called Wilsonville. This settlement increased 
rapidly, and in the spring of 1873 a Postoffice was establishedj 
with Miss Jennie Plumb as postmistress. 

During the year 1872, settlers arrived in rapid succession, sev- 
eral towns were laid out, and Postoffices established in various 
parts of the County. 

The first general election for County officers was held on April 
8, 1873, at which a full board of County oflicers were elected, and 
the County Seat located at Beaver City. 

Public Schools. — The number of school districts in 1879 was 
35; school houses, 19; children of school age — males, 538; females, 
431, total 969; number of qualified teachers employed — males 18, 
females 15; amount of wages paid teachers for the year, $1,262; 
value of school houses, $2,619; value of sites, $254.54. 

Taxable Property. — The following is a statement of the tax- 
able property of the County for 1879: Acres of land, 78,067, 
average value per acre, $2.15; value of town lots, $14,799; money 
invested in merchandise, $19,435; money used in manufactures, 
$5,928; number of horses 1674, value $46,342; number of mules 
135, value $5,393; neat cattle 4,229, value $38,265; sheep 2,267, 
value $2,267; swine 1434, value $1,397; vehicles 555, value $9,031; 
moneys and credits, $11,392; mortgages, $11,873; furniture, $4,- 
948; libraries, $226; property not enumerated, $17,701; totab 

Lands. — There is a small amount of good government land 
left. The price of wild lands ranges from $1.25 to $5.00 per acre. 
The Pepublican Valley Railroad is now in running order to the 
west line of Franklin County, twenty-four miles distant, and is 
being rapidly pushed toward Furnas. 

Population. — The following are the names of the Precincts 
and the population of each in 1879: Burton's Bend, 288; Arapa- 
hoe, 449; New Era, 426; Beaver City, 998; Wilsonville, 230; 
Spring Green, 203; Richmond, 288. Total population of County, 
2,982— males 1,711; females 1,271. 


The County Seat, is the largest town in the County, about 500 pop- 

Johnson's history of Nebraska. 349 

Illation, and is an excellent business center. It is beautifully situ- 
ated on the north bank of Beaver Creek, which is here spanned by 
a good wagon bridge, facilitating trade with the southern portion 
of the County and Northern Kansas. The lirst store was opened 
in October, 1873, by McKee & Denham. In June, 1873, the town 
site was surveyed, and in the fall of the following year Monell & 
Lashley's grist and saw mills were completed. Since, the town has 
been constantly improving, and now has several well-stocked 
stores, lumber yards, grain warehouses, hotels, good school and 
court-house, and a weekly newspaoer, the Times, 


Situated on the Republican, near the mouth of Muddy Creek, in 
the north-central part of the County, is an excellent business 
point. The town site was surveyed in the spring of 1872, and the 
first house completed on the 9th of August of that summer, by G. 
W. Calvin. It now has several stores and other business establish- 
ments, a good grist-mill, and a newspaper. It is the nearest point 
in the County to the Union Pacific Railroad, about thirty miles 
distant, and the greater part of the freighting passes through it. 


Is a thriving village, situated on the Republican, about ten miles 
northeast of the County Seat. Mr. Theodore Philips and family 
came here in the spring of 1871, and were the first settlers. It has 
an excellent school house, and several lines of business are repre- 

burton's bend 

Is a village on the Republican, five miles west of Arapahoe. It 
was started by J. B. Burton in 1871, and in the following year a 
Postoffice and store was established. The town is gradually im- 


Is a rapidly growing town, located on the north side of Beaver 
Creek, in the western part of the County. The first settlements 
were made here in 1872; a Postofiice was established in the spring 
of 1873, and in August of the same year Mr. L. M. Wilson, after 
whom the town is named, opened a general merchandise store. 


S50 Johnson's history of Nebraska. 


Is located on the Sappa, directly south of the County Seat. Mr. 
H. W. Brown was the first settler, he locating here on the IStli of 
June, 1872. A Postoffice was established here in November, 

Lynden, Spring Green, Kockton, Precept, Midway, "Wilmotj 
Carrisbrooke, "Whitney and Buffalo, are Postoffices in the 


Gage County was created by the Legislature, in 1855, and 
organized in July, 1857. It lies in the southeastern part of the 
State, in the third tier of Counties west of the Missouri, and is 
bounded on the north by Lancaster, and east by Johnson and Paw- 
nee Counties, south by Kansas and Otoe Indian Reserve, and west 
by JeiFerson and Saline Counties, containing 680 square miles, or 
435,200 acres. 

Water Courses. — The Big Blue River is the principal stream 
of the County. It flows diagonally through the central portion, 
from the northwest to the southeast corner, and has a large num- 
ber of tributaries on either side, which, with their branches, 
extend through and drain nearly every township in the County. 
Its principal tributaries are Bear, Indian, Mud, and Cub Creeks, 
The Blue furnishes unlimited water-power, and is not excelled in 
the State as a mill-stream. 

The Great Nemaha River and branches water the northeastern 

Timber. — Native timber is more than ordinarily plentiful in 
this County, the Blue and many of its tributaries being well 
skirted with forest trees and an occasional beautiful grove. In 
1879 the County had 603,682 forest trees and 115 miles of hedging 
under cultivation. 

Fruit. — Like in all the southeastern Counties of Nebraska, 
the settlers of Gage gave early attention to fruit culture, and now 


possess many fine orchards bearing the choicest varieties. The 
kinds and quantity nnder cultivation in 1879 were: Apple trees 
27,641; pear, 647; peach, 42,865; plum, 2,496; cherry, 7,360; 
-grape vines, 2,572. 

Building Material. — Magnesian limestone of the finest qual- 
ity is found in abundance on the Blue. Extensive quarries have 
long been in operation at Beatrice, and large quantities of the 
stone taken therefrom were used in the construction of the public 
buildings at Lincoln. Good brick clay is plentiful, and potter's 
clay of a superior quality is also found here. 

Character of the Land. — The wide and magnificent valley 
of the Big Blue, with the smaller valleys of its tributaries, com- 
prise about twenty-five per cent, of the area, the balance consistino- 
of rolling prairie table and a very small per cent, blufi". The hills 
skirting the larger streams are generally low and rounded and 
easily tilled. The soil is described as a rich, dark vegetable mould 
intermixed with sand and lime, and ranging in depth from one and 
a half to three feet. 

Crops. — Area under cultivation, 75,496 acres. Winter wheat, 
1,356 acres, 26,812 bushels; spring wheat, 24,118 acres, 208,412 
bushels; rye, 1,649 acres, 22,824 bushels; Corn, 29,789 acres, 
938,956 bushels; barley, 2,495 acres, 52,271 bushels; oats, 4,636 
acres, 154,297 bushels; buckwheat, sixteen acres, 742 bushels; 
sorghum, seventy-six acres, 10,168 gallons; fiax, ninety-three acres, 
446 bushels; hungarian, 136 acres, 287 tons; potatoes, 234 acres, 
28,984 bushels; onions, 952 bushels. 

Historical. — On the morning of the 3d of April, 1857, the 
steamer Hannibal, then plying up and down the Missouri, left the 
levee at St. Louis, bearing on board a numerous collection of west- 
ern-bound immigrants, representing almost every State ' in the 
Union. Old men and women, the middle-aged and young, the 
rich and the poor, the learned and unlearned, mechanics, artisans, 
farmers, laborers, and professional men, some seeking homes in the 
then Territories of Kansas and Nebraska, others looking still far- 
ther on toward the shores of the Pacific coast. 

Among this promiscuous gathering were the first settlers of 
the now beautiful and flourishing town of Beatrice, some of whom 
have held honorable positions in the State, some have wandered 

352 Johnson's history of Nebraska. 

beyond their comrades' visions, and others sleep in honored 

Thirty-five persons on board the steamer organized themselves 
into a company or colony, bound together by a written constitu- 
tion and by-laws. Among the signers were J. B. Weston, who haa 
filled the office of State Auditor for three successive terms; Judge 
John F. Kinney, of Nebraska City; G. T. Loomis, J. R. JSTelson, 
and Albert Towle, prominent citizens of Beatrice; the lamented 
Dr. H. M. Reynolds, Bennett Pike, and the late John McConihe. 

An exploring committee, consisting of J. B. Weston, Bennett 
Pike, H. F. Cook, Dr. Wise, and Judge Kinney, was sent out to 
select a favorable location for the colony. They chose the present 
town site of Beatrice (so named in honor of Judge Kinney's 
daughter), as the most desirable; and at a meeting of the company 
at Omaha, on the 22d of May, it was adopted as the future home 
of the colony. 

After the spot was decided upon, a portion of the company 
started at once to commence operations on the town site, which 
was then four days' journey from Nebraska City, with only a few 
scattered settlements intervening over what is now a thickly-set- 
tled and wealthy country. 

David Palmer, who lost his life in the latter part of June, 
1876, by drowning, while swimming in the Big Blue, settled in the 
County some time before the arrival of the thirty-five constituting 
the Beatrice Town Company, and is generally supposed to have been 
the first settler. 

There is no uncertainty, however, as to who was the first 
woman that came into the County, for all agree that it was Mrs. J. 
P. Mumford. 

Mr. Mumford, with his wife and two men, had crossed the 
Missouri in search of a suitable location for settlement, and enter- 
ing Gage County, were seen by one of the Beatrice people, who 
carried the news to camp. The presence of a woman so near the 
camp caused great excitement; and eager to gain so valuable an 
acquisition to the little colony, all hands turned out to welcome the 
party and induce them to stop at Beatrice, which was readily 

Mrs. Mumford shortly afterward opened a boarding-house for 

Johnson's history of Nebraska. 353 

the accommodation of the memhers of the Town Company, who 
made it a paying business during the summer of 1857. 

The Fourth of July was celebrated in grand style. A number 
of persons came out from Nebraska City, among whom were 
Judge Eanney and his daughter, Beatrice. The national colors 
were presented to the Town Company, by Miss Beatrice, in a neat 
and appropriate speech, which was responded to by Bennett Pike, 
on behalf of the conipany, in a very felicitous manner. 

The first election was held on July 16, 1857, and resulted as 
follows: Albert Towle and Dr. H. M. Reynolds, Commissioners; 
O. B. Hewett, Probate Judge; and P. M. Favor, Sheriff. 

At the time of holding the first election, the total population 
of the County was thirty-three men and one woman, and each can- 
didate received just thirty-three votes. 

The Sheriff never made an arrest during his two-years' term; 
neither did " His Honor " have a case in that time. J. P. Mum- 
ford, the first Treasurer, served two years without collecting a cent 
or paying a warrant. Lawrence Johnson served one year as 
County Clerk for fifty cents. 

The town of Beatrice was pretty well deserted by its inhab- 
itants during the winter of 1857-8. The few who remained and 
braved the hardshii3S of that first winter experienced much suffer- 
ing for food before the dawning of spring. 

Settlements were made on Bear, Indian and Cub Creeks, and 
at Blue Springs, in the latter part of 1857 and spring of 1858. 
The names of a few of those who located on Bear and Indian 
Creeks, near Beatrice, are Joseph Proud, Ira Dixon, Samuel Jones, 
John Pethoud, John Wilson, George Mumford, a family by the 
name of Austin, M. C. Kelley, J. H. Butler, and Orr Stevens, 
whose names appear upon the records of the County, in connection 
with the organization of Beatrice. Samuel Kilpatrick, familiarly 
known as " Uncle Sammy," whose death occurred in 1875, together 
with L. Y. Coffin, Thomas and Joseph Clyne, William Webb, 
Charles Buss, F. R. Roper, J. B. Roper, and others, settted on 
Cub Creek. James H. Johnson, Jacob Poff, R. A. Wilson, Ruel 
Noyes, Jacob Chambers, and a family named Elliott, settle i at 
Blue Springs. William Tyler and C. C. Coffinberry settled in the 
vicinity. S. M. Hazen and F. H. Dobbs settled on Mud Creek. 


S54 Johnson's niSTOEY of Nebraska. 

Tlie extreme northern part of the County was not settled 
until about 1862, with the exception of a few who had located on 
the Great N^eniaha, in Adams Precinct. John Adams, John Hill- 
man, John Shaw, George Gale, John Lyon, Joseph Stafford, Frank 
Proudfit, S. P. Shaw, William Silveriiail, William Shaw, L. Silver- 
nail, John Stafford, Lewis Hildebrand, Yal. Kebler, J. Fisk, and 
Frank Pillmore, are a few of the first settlers in this locality. 

David Palmer, Mr. Dewey, Jonathan Sharp, N. D. Cain, and 
others, settled on Plum Creek, in the southeastern part of the 
County, at a very early date. 

The first death in the County was that of M. W. Poss, one of 
the original Town Company, which occurred at Beatrice in the 
winter of 1857. 

The first birth occurred early in 1858, was a son to a Mr. 
Cross, who lived in a " dug-out " on Indian Creek. 

Miss' Katie Towle was the first female child born in the 

The first school house was built at Beatrice, on the property 
known as the " School Block;" and the first teacher was a Mrs. 
Francis Butler. 

The first mail route through the County was established in 
1860, from Nebraska City via Beatrice, to Marysville, Kansas. 
Joseph Sanders was the first mail carrier. He brought the first 
mail into Beatrice on the 3d day of October. 

The Blue Valley Record^ established at Beatrice in 1867, was 
the first newspaper published. 

On the 5th of July, 1857, after the inhabitants had exhibited 
their patriotism by celebrating the national anniversary, they 
assembled together for religious devotion, the Rev. D. H. May, 
Pastor of the M. E. Church at Nebraska City, ofl&ciating, who 
then delivered the first sermon preached in the County. 

The Presbyterian Church of Beatrice was organized in 1869, 
by the Presbytery of Nebraska City. The building is a commo- 
dious and elegant edifice. 

In April, 1871, the Episcopal Church of Beatrice was organized 
as a Mission Station, and two years thereafter it was organized as 
a Parish, under the name of Christ Church. In the summer of 
1874 a neat edifice was erected, at a cost of $3,000. 

Johnson's history of nebsaska. 355 

The Christian Church of Beatrice was organized in October, 
1872. In the summer of 1874, an edifice was erected at a cost of 

The First Baptist Church of Beatrice was organized in the 
fall of 1873, and in the following year a neat edifice was erected, 
at a cost of $1,400. 

The United Brethren Church of Beatrice was organized on the 
14th of December, 1874, and have since erected a commodious 
iiouse of worship. 

The German Baptists, or " Dunkards," organized a Church in 
the County on the 9th of June, 1875, which is in a flourishing 

The German Methodist Church, in Clatonia Precinct, was 
organized in 1870, and an edifice erected in the following year, at 
a cost of about $1,000. In 1875, the Lutherans organized a Soci- 
'Cty here, and have secured land for an edifice, cemetery, school 
ihouse, and parsonage. Religious services are also held by the 
'Congregational ists, Methodists, and the Church of God, in the sev- 
•eral school houses in the Precinct. 

The M. E. Church of Blue Springs was organized in 1859, 
and an edifice of stone erected in 1869. The Evangelical Associa- 
tion and Adventists also hold regular services at this place. 

The M. E. Church in Adams Precinct was organized in 1867, 
and in 1874 built a parsonage at a cost of $500. A Baptist Soci- 
ety was organized in the same Precinct in 1870. 

A Society of the Church of God was organized in the north- 
western part of the County in 1874. Services are held every 

The Baptists have a Church on Plum Creek, in Liberty Pre- 

Railroads. — There are at present 22.16 miles of railroad in the 
County; the Burlington & Missouri River having thirteen, and the 
Atchison & Nebraska 9.16 miles. The B. & M. reached Beatrice 
through the valley of the Big Blue, in November, 1871. The 
Atchison & Nebraska road passes up the valley of the Great Ne- 
maha, across the northeast corner of the County, and was built in 

Public Schools. — Districts in the County, eighty-seven; 

356 joiixNson's history of Nebraska. 

school houses, seventy-five; children of school age — males 1,854, 
females 1,614, total 3,468; qualified teachers employed — males, 
seventy-one, iemales, sixty-seven, total, 138; wages paid teachers 
for the year— males, $10,082.33, female, $7,777, total, $17,859.33; 
value of school houses, $36,858; value of sites, $3,277; value of 
books and apparatus, $1,787.26. 

Taxable Property. — Acres of land, 414,196; average value 
per acre, $2.13. Yalue of town lots, $216,489. Money invested 
in merchandise, $63,141; money used in manufactures, $3,430 
horses 5,070, value $110,504; mules and asses 490, value $12,820 
neat cattle 10,359, value $74,244; sheep 13,377, value $12,528 
swine 20,994, value $22,286; vehicles 1,616, value $20,051; moneys 
and credits, $20,461; mortgages, $14,576; stocks, etc., $500; fur- 
niture, $3,950; other personalty, $30,000; libraries, $1,745; rail- 
road, $149,879.05; total valuation, $2,054,574.05. 

Lands. — The price of wild lands ranges from $4 to $12, and 
improved $7 to $25 per acre, The B. & M. Company owns 9,000 
acres in this County, for which they ask from $5 to $8 per acre. 

Mills. — There are four flouring and several saw-mills in the 
County, with excellent sites for many more. 

Population. — The County is divided into sixteen Precincts, 
the population of each in 1879 being as follows: Beatrice, 2,606 
Blue Springs, 896; Clatonia, 645; Paddock, 598; Blakeley, 540 
Cicily Creek, 541; Liberty, 526; Eockford, 507; Grant, 463 
Highland, 460; Mud Creek, 437; Adams, 385; Nemaha, 339 
Holt, 327; Bear Creek, 191; Hooker, 171. Total 9,629, of whom 
5,196 are males, and 4,433 females. Population of County in 
1875, 5,714; increase in last four years, 3,915. 


The County Seat, is beautifully located in the valley of the Big 
Blue, near the geographical center of the County, and is at present 
the terminus of a southeastern branch of the B. & M. Railroad. 
It is handsomely built np, and is one of the largest and most 
attractive towns in Southeastern Nebraska. Its present population 
is 1.700. Among the buildings of note are a neat $16,000 court- 
house, an $18,000 school house, a $15,000 flouring mill, and sev- 
eral Churches, ranging in cost from $2,000 to $8,000 each. There 

Johnson's history of Nebraska. 


are many elegant brick business blocks and beautiful private resi- 
dences surrounded with shade trees and shrubbery. Beatrice, be- 
ing the terminus of a railroad, is the shipping point for the stock 
and grain of a large scope of country on the south. It also has 
three excellent newspapers, the Courier, Express, and Leader. 
Good bridges span all the streams iu the vicinity. The U. S. Land 
Office is located here. 



Is a thriving village of several hundred inhabitants, located on the 
Blue, about eight miles southeast of Beatrice. It was first settled 
in J 857. The surrounding country is a fertile agricultural region, 
and well settled. The town commands a large trade, and is im- 
proving rapidly. It has excellent school and Church privileges, 
and a weekly newspaper, the Rejjorter. 



On the Atchison & Nebraska Railway, is the shipping point for 
the northern portion of this and the adjoining Counties of John- 
son and Otoe. It has a splendid location, and is a good business 

Besides the above, there are eighteen other villages in the 
County, each having a Postoffice, stores, good school and Church 


Greeley County, named in honor of Hon. Horace Greeley, 
was organized in 1872. It is located in the sixth tier of Counties 
west of the Missouri River, in the central part of the State from 
north to south, and is bounded on the north by Wheeler, east by 
Boone, south by Howard, and west by Yalley County, containing 
676 square miles, or 368,640 acres, at an average elevation of 2,000 
feet above the sea level. 

Water Courses. — The County is watered b;y the !North Fork 
of the Loup River and several large tributaries. The !North Fork 
flows through the southwestern portion, aud is a good mill stream. 
Its principal branches in this County are Fish, Wallace, Babcock^ 
Shepard, Stewart, Willow and Davis Creeks, the latter stream hav- 
ing a flouring mill upon it. Spring Creek waters the central 
portion, and Cedar Creek the northeastern portion of the County. 

Timber. — The natural timber is confined to the small quanti- 
ties along tlie streams, cottonwood and elm being the most 
abundant. Some very fine cedar timber is found along the stream 
bearing that name, and in the bluflTs. Thrifty artificial groves sur- 
round almost every farm house. 

Stone. — A good building stone is found in the bluffs of the 
North Fork. 

Topography. — About one-fourth of the County is valley — the 
balance rolling prairie and bluff'. The valley of the North Fork is 
here from two to four miles wide, and is usually skirted on both 
sides with a high range of bluffs. Cedar Yalley varies in width 

Johnson's history of Nebraska. 359 

from one and a half to three miles. The uplands possess a dark, 
rich soil, and produce excellent crops of small grain. Nutritious 
ajrasses and running water are abundant, affording fine advantages 
for sheep and cattle raising. 

Crops.— Acres under cultivation, 4,685J. Eye 177 acres, 
2,323 bushels; spring wheat 1,992J acres, 24,302 bushels; corn 
1,005|- acres, 19,670 bushels; barley 143 acres, 3,402 bushels; oats 
418| acres, 13,673 bushels; sorghum 6| acres, 851 gallons; pota- 
toes 52J- acres, 6,737 bushels. 

Historical. — The first permanent settlements in the County 
were made in August, 1871, by S. C. Scott, A. Shepard and J. G. 
Kellog, who came from Illinois and located on Shepard Creek, on 
the north side of the Loup. 

E"ovember 1, 1871, Messrs. A. P. Fish, L. E. Gaffy and J. M. 
Talmadge located claims on Fish Creek. Mr. Gaffy built the first 
house in the County, into which he and Mr. Fish moved in Febru- 
ary, 1872, Mr. Fish's family arriving in May following. 

Claims were taken on Cedar Creek in 1872, Mr. William 
Shaw being one of the first to locate here. 

In 1874, O. M. Harris, T. McKernan, and others, located on 
Spring Creek, and soon afterwards the town of Eldorado was laid 
out and a Postofiice established. 

The first woman in the County was Mrs. James Wallace, of 
Yirginia, who came in 1872. She shortly afterwards, however, re- 
turned to her home in the East. Mrs. Gray, who still resides in 
the County, was the first permanent lady settler. 

The first sod was turned in May, 1872. The first Postofiice 
was established at Lamartine, on the Loup, in 1873, with Mr. A. 
P. Fish postmaster. The first marriage occurred in April, 1874, 
and was that of Mr. A. "N. Bradt to Miss Clara Harlow. The first 
birth was a son to Mr. and Mrs. John Sheldon, in July, 1873. 
The first death in the County occurred in September, 1875, and 
was that of Job Skay, an old gentleman over seventy years of age, 
who was thrown from a load of hay and instantly killed. 

The first general election for County officers was held at the 
house of Mr. A. P. Fish, on the 13th of October, 1872, and resulted 
as follows: A. P. Fish, A. Shepard, and T. C. Davis, Commission- 
ers; E. B. Fish, Clerk; S. ('. Scott, Treasurer; M. Davis, Survey- 

360 Johnson's history of Nebraska. 

or; J. G. Kellog, Superintendent Public Instruction; George 
Hillman, Probate Judge; G. W. Babcock, Sheriff; C. Wellraan, 

Public Schools. — Number of school districts, thirteen; school 
houses, four; children of school age — males 129, females 141 ; total, 
270; whole number of children that attended school during the 
year, 139; number of qualified teachers employed — males fourj 
females ten ; total, fourteen ; wages paid teachers for the year — 
males $176.75, females $796; total, $972.75; total value of school 
property, $1,865. 

Taxable Property. — Acres of land, 184,673; average value 
per acre, $0.83. Value of town lots, $910. Money invested in 
merchandise, $605; money used in manufactures, $720; number 
of horses 307, value $11,821; number of mules 33, value $1,461; 
neat cattle 1272, value $11,237; sheep 78, value $98; swine 395, 
value $617; vehicles 160, value $3,641; moneys and credits, $745; 
mortgages, $406; furniture, $1,763; libraries, $140; property not 
enumerated, $6,028. Total valuation, $194,866. 

Lands. — There is considerable fine government land in this 
County subject to entry under the homestead and pre-emption laws. 
The value of improved lands ranges from $4 to $12 per acre. The 
Burlington & Missouri River Railroad Company owns 135,000 
acres here, for which they ask from $1 to $5 per acre. 

Population.^ — The following is the population of the County 
by Precincts: Scotia, 282; Adell, 79; Cedar Valley, 146; Spring 
Creek, 146; O'Connor, 140. Total 753, of whom 436 were males 
and 317 females. The population of the County in 1878 was 473; 
increase in last year, 280. 


On the Loup, in the southwestern part of the County, was one of 
the first points settled. It contains a couple of dozen dwellings, a 
hotel, two general merchandise stores, a blacksmith shop, school 
house, etc., and is surrounded by a fertile farming country. The 
streams in the vicinity are spanned by substantial bridges. On 
Davis Creek, close at hand, there is a good flouring mill. 


On the Loup, four miles north of Lamartine, is the largest town in 


the County, having about 250 inhabitants. It contains a hotel, 
blacksmith shop, several stores and other business houses, and a 
weekly newspaper, the Tribune. 


Is a thriving young village on the Cedar, in the northeastern part 
of the County. It has a good general merchandise store, hotel, 
school house, etc. 


Is a flourishing young town recently laid out near the geographi- 
cal center of the County. It was made the County Seat at the 
general election held in the spring of 1879. The town was settled 
by an Irish colony, and is improving very rapidly, having at pre- 
sent over 100 inhabitants. A large amount of land has been pur- 
chased from the B. & M. R. R. this year, for another Irish colony, 
who are expected in the early spring of next year. 


Gosper County was organized in 1873. It is located in the 
southwestern part of the State, on the divide between the Platte 
and Republican Rivers, and is bounded on the north by Frontier 
and Dawson, east by Phelps, south by Furnas, and west by Fron- 
tier County, containing 468 square miles, or 299,520 acres. 

Water Courses. — The Platte River touches the northeast 
corner of the County. Plum Creek, a tributary of the Platte, and 
the most important stream in the County, being large enough for 
mill purposes, flows from west to east entirely across the northern 
tier of townships. Stinking Water, Muddy, Elk, Wild Turkey and 
a number of smaller Creeks, have their rise in the central part of 
this County, and flow in a southerly course into the Republican. 

Timber. — There is very little native timber in the County. 
Plum Creek and a few of the other streams have a light sprinkling 
of Cottonwood, box elder, ash, elm, etc., along their banks, but no 
large groves. Touug and thrifty artificial groves adorn many farms. 
No report of the number of forest trees under cultivation. 


862 Johnson's history of Nebraska. 

Physical Features. — The surface of the country consists 
mainly of undulating upland, with about ten per cent, bottom and 
five per cent, bluff. Phnn Creek has a very fine valley, and there 
are vs^ide reaches of beautiful bottom land along the streams in th& 
southern part of the County. 

Soil and Crops. — With the exception of a narrow sandy strip 
along the Platte bottom, the soil throughout the County is gen- 
erally rich and productive, especially for small grain. The area 
reported under cultivation for 1879 was 1,735 acres. The yield of 
the principal crops was as follows: Winter wheat, forty-six acres^, 
726 bushels; rye, 341 acres, 4,861 bushels; spring wheat, 586 acres,^ 
7,768 bushels; corn, 488 acres, 8,186 bushels; barley, 194 acres, 
3,713 bushels; oats, seventy-four acres, 2,642 bushels; potatoes, six 
acres, 900 bushels. 

Historical. — Otto Renze made the first permanent settlement 
in the County, in the fall of 1871. He was followed slowly by 
others, who, leaving the great thoroughfares along the Platte and 
Pepublican Yalleys, selected choice claims along Plum Creek, in 
northern part of the County, and on Muddy, Elk, and Turkey 
Creeks, in the southern part. 

The first religious meetings were held at the residence of Rev^ 
T. G. Davis, a Baptist Minister, on Elk Creek. 

The organic election was held on the open prairie, near the 
geographical center of the County, in Maj'-, 1873, and resulted in 
the election of the following officers: Commissioners — G. H. Jones?- 
H. A. Millard, E. G. Yaughan; Clerk, R. G. Gordon; Daviesville, 
in the southwestern part of the County, was selected as the County- 

The first Postoffice was established at Daviesville, in 1874, and 
a comfortable school house was also erected there the same year. 

Public Schools. — There are at present eight school districts- 
in the County, six school houses, and 119 children of school age,, 
of whom sixty-six are males and fifty-three females; number of 
qualified teachers employed, four; wages paid teachers for the year^ 
$138.88; value of school property, $170. 

Taxable Property. — Acres of land, 83,318; average value 
per acre, $1.27. Number of horses, 275, value, $5,616; number 
of mules, thirty-one, value $879; number of neat cattle, 819, value. 

Johnson's history of Nebraska. S6S. 

$6,685; number of sheep, 2,313, value, $1,388: number of swine, 
234,^ value, $183; vehicles, 182, value, $1,599; moneys and credits, 
$225; furniture, $515; property not enumerated, $552.30. Total 
valuation, $126,131.95. 

Land.— There is a large amount of both railroad and govern- 
ment land in this County. The price of wild lands here ranges 
from $1 to $5 per acre. The prairies and meadows produce an 
abundance of the finest grasses, and cattle and sheep thrive well 
here with but little attention. The Platte Kiver is spanned by sub- 
stantial bridges, giving the settlers of the County easy access ta 
the shipping stations on the Union Pacific Eailroad. 

Population. — The County is divided into five voting Precincts, 
the population of each, in 1879, being as follows: Turkey Creek, 
165; Elk Creek, 164: East Muddy, 118; West Muddy, 155; Eobb, 

Total population 622, of whom 354 were males and 268 fe- 


The County Seat, is the only town in the County. It is situated 
on Muddy Creek, in the southwestern part of the County, and has- 
a couple of good general merchandise stores, a hotel, school house, 
blacksmith shop, etc. 

Plum Creek, Yaughan's and Judson's Eanches have each a 
Postoffice, general store, school house, blacksmith shop, and good 
accommodations for travelers. 


Hall County was established by an Act of the Legislature, in 
1855, and organized in 1859. It is located in the south-central 
part of the State, and is bounded on the north by Howard, east by 
Merrick and Hamilton, south by Adams, and "West by Buffalo 
Counties, containing 576 square miles, or 368,640 acres, at an aver- 
age elevation of 1,850 feet above the sea level. 

Water Courses. — The County is finely watered by the Platte 
and Wood Rivers, Prairie Creek, and numerous smaller streams. 

364 Johnson's history of Nebraska. 

The Platte enters tlie County at the soutliwest corner, and flows in 
a northeasterly course, passing out at the middle of the eastern 
boundary line. "Wood River waters the central portion of the 
County, and joins the Platte near the eastern line. Prairie Creek, 
with its numerous branches, waters the northern portion of the 
County. Mill privileges are abundant, and could be utilized at 
light expense. 

Timber. — The islaiids of the Platte are covered with a thick 
growth of natural timber, and the banks of the stream are also 
well skirted. Wood Piver and some of the smaller streams are 
well wooded. The amount of timber under cultivation in the 
County is 1,557 acres, or 1,262,294 trees, besides twelve miles of 

The first fruit trees were planted in the spring of 1863. The 
first cherries were produced in 1867, the first peaches in 1871, and 
the first apples and pears in 1872. 

Fruit. — The amount of fruit trees reported under cultivation 
in 1879 was as follows: Apple, 6,266; pear, 169; peach, 4,559; 
plum, 10,165; cherry, 1,427; and grape vines, ten acre. 

Character of the Land. — Fully forty per cent of the area is 
valley, and the balance undulating prairie. South of the Platte, 
there are no bluifs dividing the bottom and upland, but instead, a 
succession of plateaus or gentle undulations, terminating in broad 
tables one hundred feet above the level of the river. The valley on 
the north side of the Platte is very wide, the first three miles being 
fine, rich bottom. "Wood Piver has wide bottoms and rich undu- 
lating prairie on either side. ]^orthward from this, a fertile, low 
upland prevails for ten or fifteen miles, in the middle of which is 
the beautiful little valley of Prairie Creek. 

Crops. — The soil is a deep, black sandy loam, and very pro- 
ductive for all kinds of crops. The area reported under cultivation 
in the County for 1879, was 49,648 acres. The yield of the prin- 
cipal crops was as follows: Winter wheat, thirty-six acres, 329 
bushels; spring wheat, 28,390 acres, 278,202 bushels; rye, 1,994 
acres, 27,288 bushels; corn, 10,672 acres, 261,179 bushels; barley, 
1,247 acres, 24,872 bushels; oats, 4,879 acres, 122,802 bushels; po- 
tatoes, 575 acres, 42,584 bushels; onions, IJ acres, 200 bushels. 

Historical. — The first permanent settlements were made in 

Johnson's history of Nebraska. 365 

the summer of 1857, bj a colony from Davenport, Iowa, sent out 
under the auspices of a Town Company consisting of A. H. Bar- 
rows, W. H. F. Gurley and B. B. Woodward. The object of this 
Company was to locate a town site somewhere in Central Nebraska, 
in the great Platte Yalley, with the expectation that sooner or 
later a railroad would be built across the Continent, running 
through the Platte Valley, and that eventually the National Capi- 
tal would have to be removed from "Washington City to a centrally 
located point somewhere in the Northwest. 

This colony consisted of five Americans, twenty -five Germans, 
six married women, one single woman, and one child four years 
old, as follows, viz.: R. C. Barnard, Surveyor; Joshua Smith, 
David P. Morgan, William Seymour, L. Barnard, Henry Shaaf, 
Matthias Gries, Fred. Landmann, Theodore Nagel, Hermann Ya- 
sold. Christian Anderson and wife, Henry Johnk and wife, Mary 
Stelk, Henry Schoel and wife, Fred. Doll and wife, W. A. Hagge, 
William Stoliey, George Shuls, Fred. Yarge, Johan Hamann, Fred. 
Heddle, Ditlef Saas, William Steir and wife, Peter Stuhr, Hans 
Wrage, Nicholas Thede and wife, Cornelius Axelson, Anna Stier, 
Henry Egge, Christ. Menck, and Cay Ewoldt. The Surveyor's 
party, consisting of R. C. Barnard, all the Americans, Fred. Hed- 
dle, and Chr. Menck, left Davenport a few days ahead of the main 
party, with one mule team. William Hagge and Theodore Nagel 
were detailed to proceed by river to St. Louis and purchase a sup- 
ply of provisions, fire-arms, ammunition, blacksmith's tools, etc., 
and have them shipped up the river to Omaha, in time for the ar- 
rival of the main party there. 

On the 2Sth of May, 1857, five heavy-loaded teams, drawn by 
sixteen yoke of work oxen, and with the remainder of the parties 
named, left Davenport in charge of William Stoliey. This train 
arrived at Omaha on the 18th of June following; passed through 
Fremont on the 23d, which town had then only ten log houses; 
arrived at Columbus, which had then only eighteen log houses, on 
the 26th; crossed the Loup River, at Genoa, on the 27th of June; 
and on July 2d Wood River was reached. After reconnoiteriug 
the County in the vicinity for one day, the Surveyor selected a 
place on the 4th day of July, and on the 5th stakes were driven 
for a town site and adjoining claims. 

^QQ Johnson's history of Nebraska. 

The location selected covered only partly the present town site 
of Grand Island, the greater part lying south and southwest from 
the present town. At a meeting of the settlers it was resolved that 
four lo2r houses should be first built, each 14x33 feet. At the same 
time the breaking of prairie had to be attended to, as the season 
was already far advanced. Only about fifty acres were broken, all 
told, the first season. On July 12, the work began in earnest. 
Some chopped logs, others hauled them out, and a few prepared 
wood for the burning of charcoal to start the blacksmith shop. 

Saturday, August 15, some of the settlers could already move 
into their new houses, and on the 27tli of the same month all the 
houses were occupied. These houses were built on the south half 
of the northwest quarter of section fourteen, town eleven, range 

During the winter months of 1857-58, the settlers underwent 
many privations and hardships. There were neither candles nor 
soap in the settlement for a long time, and the washing of clothes 
was done with home-made lye. "Want of food compelled them to 
kill several work oxen. There was plenty of flour, but everything 
else was wanting; and so passed the first winter in the first settle- 
ment of Hall County. 

In June, 1858, the supply of provisions again failing, the set- 
tlers had to live for some time on half rations, besides beinsf 
compelled to work very hard, as the spring season demanded. 
However, on Thursday, June 24, fresh and ample supplies arrived 
from Omaha, wliicli ended the trouble. 

July 2, 1858, more settlers arrived from Davenport, Iowa, with 
a train of ten teams, bringing in addition about twenty persons and 
twenty yoke of work oxen, besides a number of milch cows and 
young stock, and matters began to look brighter. 

On the 27th of August, about 1,500 Pawnee Indians passed 
through the settlement, and committed trifiing depredations by 
stealing green corn and potatoes, but were otherwise friendly. 

Tuesday, January 19, 1859, was a terrible day for the young 
settlement. Three men, on their return from the gold fields of 
Colorado, recklessly set fire to the tall, dry prairie grass in the 
vicinity; and the wind at the time blowing a perfect gale, the fire 
soon attacked the settlement, destroying, in an hour's time, eight 

Johnson's history of Nebraska. 367 

houses and a number ot haj and grain stacks. This happening in 
the midst of a severe winter, was a terrible blow. The citizens of 
Omaha made up a purse for the sufferers, but the party to whom 
the money was intrusted for delivery ran away with it. 

Colonel May, then in command of Fort Kearney, was a true 
friend to the settler, and gave many of them remunerative employ- 
ment at the Fort when their presence on the farm was not needed. 

During the year 1859, difficulties arose between the Town 
Company and settlers, and the result was that the Company soon 
gave up the idea of carrying the speculation any further. R. C. 
Barnard, L. Barnard, Joshua Smith, David P. Morgan and "William 
Seymour left the settlement soon after this. Of the first settlers, 
<T. Schulz died a natural death, Fred. Yatge committed suicide, and 
J, Hamann was killed on the railroad. Twelve of the pioneer set- 
tlers remain in the County, and are owners of fine farms. 

Of the pioneer women, Mrs. Henry Schoel died many years 
ago; Mrs. Fred. Doll removed with her liusband to Howard 
County; Mrs. Joehnk and Mrs. Andresen are yet living in this 
County, with their families ; Mrs. Stier returned with her husband 
years ago, to Davenport, Iowa. Anna Stier, the only unmarried 
lady who participated in the first settlement of the County, is mar- 
ried to John Tliompson, a well-to-do farmer in this County. The 
first child born in the County was Nellie Stier, daughter of Wm. 
Stier, on March 3d, 1858. 

In the spring of 1858, a lot of Mormons settled on "Wood 
Hiver, and opened up quite a number of farms. 

The first newspaper in the County was published by them, and 
was called the Banner. In the spring of 1863, this Mormon col- 
ony removed to Salt Lake City, Utah, taking with them the 

The-first Postofiice was established in the spring of 1859, with 
R. C. Barnard as postmaster. 

The first weekly stage was put on the road from Omaha to Ft. 
Kearney, October 1, 1858, It was changed to tri-weekly in 1860, 
and became a daily mail in 1864. 

The County was organized in the year 1859, and the first offi- 
cers elected were as follows: Probate Judge, Fred. Hedde; County 
Clerk, Theodore Nagel; County Commissioners, Hans "Wrage, Jas. 

368 Johnson's history of Nebraska. 

Yiere^g, Henry Egge; Justices of the Peace, R. C. Barnard, "Wil- 
liam Stolley; Sheriff, H. Yasold; Treasurer, Christian Andreson; 
Assessor, Frederick Doll; Constables, Christian Menck and Math- 
ias Gries. 

During the first years of the existence of the settlement, there 
was no trouble with the Indians. 

This friendly state of affairs did not last long, however, and on 
February 5, 1862, occurred the first massacre of whites by the In- 
dians in this County, Joseph P. Smith and Anderson, his son-in- 
law, farmers on "Wood River, living about twelve miles west of 
Grand Island, went after some building logs to the north channel 
of the Platte River, about two and a half miles south of their 
claims, accompanied by two of Mr. Smith's sons — "William, eleven 
years of age, and Charles, aged nine, and his grandchild, Alexander 
Anderson, about fourteen years of age. Anderson, who took a load 
of logs home in the morning, returned to the woods where he had 
left his father-in-law. Smith, with the above named boys, and two 
teams (the property of Smith), about 9 a. m., and found them all 
brutally massacred by a band of Sioux Indians. Mr. Smith had 
seven arrows in his body, and was lying on the ice with his face 
down, holding each of his boys by the hand. His son "William was 
still alive when found ; he was shot with an. arrow, and one of his 
cheeks was cut open from the mouth to the ear. He soon bled to 
death after he had been carried home. The other son, Charles, had 
his skull smashed in and his neck broken, probably with a war 
club. Young Anderson was found some distance off in the woods 
with his skull broken. The four horses were taken away by the 
Indians, A number of the settlers followed in pursuit of the In- 
dians, and captured some, but these proved not to have been impli- 
cated in the massacre. 

During the summer of 1864, the Sioux were noticed on the 
bluffs not far from George Martin's ranche, about eighteen miles 
southwest of Grand Island City, on the south side of the Platte 
River. Two sons of Mr. Martin, ISTat and Robert, at once hurried 
with a pony to drive the cattle home. While thus engaged, the 
Indians — about one hundred in number — approached so rapidly 
that the boys saw they would be unable to secure the cattle, so 
jumping on the pony, they made for the ranche as fast as possible. 


The Indians were soon witliin shooting distance of them, however, 
and showered balls and arrows after them, till finally an arrow 
struck the hindmost boy, and passed through the bodies of both, 
pinning them together. Notwithstanding being thus badly 
wounded, the boys stuck to their pony and succeeded in reachino" 
the ranche, when they fell to the ground exhausted, just outside of 
the inclosure. An Indian approached, knife in hand, to take their 
scalps, when another of the party remarked, in plain English, " Let 
those boys alone," which order was heeded. The boys were carried 
into the ranche, the arrow drawn out; and, after careful nursing, 
both fully recovered, and are still residents of the County. 

On July 24, 1867, the Sioux attacked the ranche owned by 
Peter Campbell, a Scotchman, on the south side of the Platte, 
about ten miles from Grand Island. No men being at home to 
protect the family, the ranche was easily taken. A lady by the 
name of Mrs. Thurston Warren was killed by a rifle shot, and her 
little son with an arrow. Two girls, nieces of Mr. Campbell, aged 
respectively seventeen and nineteen years, and also two little twin 
boys four years old, were carried away captives. At the same time 
a German by the name of Henry Dose was killed near the same 
place. Months afterwards, the government bought the two girls 
and the two little boys from the Indians, paying for them $4,000. 

In August and September, 1864, all sorts of rumors about the 
hostile Indians were afloat. It was reported that they were coming in 
great force to take Fort Kearney, and devastate the settlements be- 
low; and for a time the wildest panic prevailed. Prom far up the 
Platte Yalley down to Columbus, the settlers, with very few excep- 
tions, left their homes, and even east of Columbus many aban- 
doned their claims and fled. For a distance of twenty miles, the 
main traveled road along the Platte River was covered with fugi- 
tives on the 13th and 14th days of August, 1864. Heavy-loaded 
wagons, with household goods and provisions, bedding, droves of 
cattle and horses, people on foot and on horseback, hurried along 
in the greatest confusion. 

But the settlement at Grand Island was not deserted; here the 
people made a stand, and resolved to give the Indians a warm re- 
ception should they venture to attack them. A fortified log house 
twenty-four feet square, provided with port-holes, had been built 


370 Johnson's history of Nebraska. 

previously by "William. Stolley, for the protection of his family, in 
case of an Indian attack. The first star-spangled banner that ever 
floated in the air in this County was raised over this fortification, 
which the inmates chose to call thereafter " Fort Independence." 
I'riends gathered in, and soon thirty-five persons had found a place 
where the scalping-knife of the savage was not very likely to reach 
them. Sufficient fire-arms (seventy-two shots without re-loading), 
about fifty pounds of powder, and other ammunition, besides an 
ample supply of provisions, were stored within the Fort, and a well 
was dug in one corner. Other precautionary measures were taken, 
Buch as the building of a stable eighty-eight feet long, under 
ground, for horses and a cattle-yard within range of the Fort. 

But the fortification afforded protection to only a small portion 
of the then already numerous settlers; therefore it was resolved to 
fortify the " O. K." store, established in August, 1862, wliich was 
about one and a half miles due south of the Court-house in 
Grand Island. Mr. Thavenet engineered the work, and Dr. A. 
Thorspecken was chosen captain. The combined force at tliis place 
soon erected a formidable breastwork of sod, which surrounded all 
the buildings. This breastwork was provided on each corner with 
a tower, built of green cottonwood logs, projecting out far enough 
to permit the shooting of any person who should venture to crawl 
under cover of the breastwork from outside. Sixty-eight men and 
about one hundred women and children gathered into this fortifi- 
cation, and found there a safe place of refuge. 

August 22, 1864, Gen. Curtis arrived here with the First Reg. 
ular Cavalry, bringing with him one cannon — a six-pounder. The 
General inspected both fortifications, and praised the settlers for 
the efficient measures adopted by them for their self-protection. 
He left the cannon with them, and continued his march the same 
day to reinforce the garrison at Fort Kearney. 

Soon afterwards, Capt. J. B. David, and twenty men of Com- 
pany E, Seventh Iowa Cavalry, were stationed at the ''O. K." store 
fortification. The Indians, however, never ventured an attack. 

In 1863, the second saw-mill was built on Wood River, and 
the first windmill erected at the Grand Island settlement. A large 
number of windmills have since been erected in the County, also 
several steam and water-power grist and saw mills. 



The Government Survey of the public lands in this Countj 
took place in July and August, 18G6. 


The first artificial grove— 6,000 trees— was set out in the 
spring of 1860, on the west half of the northwest quarter of sec- 
tion twenty-eight, and on the east half of the northeast quarter of 
section twenty-nine, town eleven north of range nine west, and 
consisted of cottonwood, black locust, ash and black walnut. Some 
of these trees are now from sixty to one hundred feet high. 

The first settlers on Prairie Creek opened up farms in March, 


On tlie 21st of May, 1870, bonds were voted by the County to 
the amount of $15,000 for the purpose of bridging the Platte River. 
The bridge was completed early in March, 1871, in section twenty- 
nine, town ten, range nine west. 

An election for Court-house bonds was held February 15, 
1872. The Court House was completed as it now is, June 28, 

Public Schools. — Tlie first school taught in the County was in 
1862. It was located one mile south of the Court House, Grand 
Island — Mr. Theodore Nagel, teacher; pupils, six. The present 
number of school districts in the County is sixty-one; school 
houses, fifty-one; children of school age — males 1,150, females 1,139; 
total, 2,289; number of qualified teachers employed — males, forty- 
one, females, forty-eight; total, eighty-nine; amount of salary paid 
teachers fur the year— males, $6,143.72, females, $4,717.57; total, 
$10,861.29; value of school houses, $41,825; value of sites, $3,523; 
value of books and apparatus, $2,057.81. 

TAXLA.BLE Property. — Acres of land, 257,959; average value 
per acre, $3.51. Value of town lots, $178,225. Money invested 
in merchandise, $58,812; money used in manufactures, $9,172; 
number of horses 2,736, value $97,939; number of mules 360> 
value $14,850; number of neat cattle 8,668, value $82,546; number 
of sheep 1,409, value $1,411; number of swine 5,134, value $4,401; 
number of vehicles 1,156, value $28,349; moneys and credits, $50,- 
028; mortgages, $10,323; furniture, $27,852; libraries, $1,623; 
property not enumerated, $66,388; railroad, $265,369.60; tele- 
graph, $2,176. Total valuation, $1,815,280.60. 

Railroads. — The County is traversed from east to west, 
through tlie central portion, by the Union Pacific Railroad. The 
Grand Island and Hastings Road, opening up communication with 
the Republican Yalley Counties, was completed in 1879, and is 
now in running order from Grand Island southward. Bonds have 
been voted to the Union Pacific Company, to aid in the construc- 
tion of a branch running from Grand Island up the Yalley of the 
Loup; and the road bed is now being graded between Grand Island 
and St. Paul, Howard County. The road is to be in running order 
between these points by June, 1880. Other lines are also contem- 
plated through this County, and the surveys have been made. 

Johnson's history of Nebraska. 373 

Lands. — There are no desirable government lands left in the 
County. The Union Pacific Railroad owns a large amount here, 
for which they ask from $3 to $6 per acre. 

Population. — The following are the names of the Precinctfe of 
the County, and the population of each in 1879: Grand Island, 
2,200; Prairie Creek, 506; Alda, 913; South Loup, 832; Wood 
Eiver, 949; South Platte, 704; Mariansville, 271. 

Total population of County, 6,375, of whom 3,465 were males 
and 2,910 females. Li 1878, the population was 5,119; increase in 
last year, 1,256. 

GRAND island, 

The County Seat, is a beautiful town of 2,200 inhabitants, located 
on a high plateau overlooking the Platte River and surrounding 
country, in the eastern part of the County. It derives its name 
from a fertile island in the Platte, about two miles distant, which 
is sixty miles long and averages three miles wide. The town occu- 
pies one of the most desirable locations on the line of the Union 
Pacific Railway, and here are found the first round-houses and re- 
pair-shops of that Company west of Omaha. During the present 
year, the St. Joe & Denver Railroad was extended to this point, 
from Hastings, opening up communication with the Republican 
Valley Counties; and a branch from the U. P. is now being rapidly 
constructed from here to the Loup Valley Counties. During the 
past few months, new freight depots, a rolling-mill, an engine-house, 
large elevator and other improvements have been made, to the esti- 
mated value of 1300,000. 

The first train of cars on the Union Pacific track passed 
through Grand Island, July 8, 1866, and was drawn by engine 
^' Osceola." A Postofiice was established in November, 1866, with 
George Schuller, postmaster; and about the same time several 
stores were opened. The old "O. K." store was removed to the 
town proper, in 1867. Dec. 6, 1869, the U. S. Land Office for this 
District was opened here. January 1, 1870, the Platte Valley 
Independent^ the first weekly newspaper, was established by Mrs- 
M. T. G. Eberhart and Seth P. Mobley, and is still conducted by 
the same parties, under the firm name of Mr. & Mrs, S. P. Mob- 
ley. The Times was established July 16, 1873. The Democrat 
was started the present year, and both are large, excellent papers. 



The city was incorporated in the spring of 1873; E. C. Jordon, first 
Mayor. The State Central Bank was established in 1871, with a 
capital of $45,000. The Catholics erected the first Church in the 
city. It was blown down by a hurricane in 1870. The city now 
has several handsome Church edifices. Masonic and Odd-Fellows' 
Lodges were established in 1871, and since then, the Knights of 
Pythias, Sons of Temperance, Leiderkranz, and numerous other 
secret and benevolent Societies have been organized. In 1874, a 
fire company and hook and ladder company were organized. 


Grand Island to-day is an excellent business point, and ofi'ers 
great inducements to capital and enterprise. It has several fine 
hotels, an excellent graded school, stores of various kinds, exten- 

Johnson's history of Nebraska. 375 

sive lumber-yards, and one of the largest steam flouring mills in 
the State. The Platte is crossed here by a series of bridges from 
island to island, and a good bridge across the Loup gives easy ac- 
cess to the farmers of Howard County and the country on the 

Ada, Wood River and Doniphan are shipping stations on the 
railroad, and rapidly growing towns. 

Martinsville, Orchard, Junctionville, Zurich, Cameron, and 
Eunelsburgh are villages of recent birth located in different parts 
of the County, 


Hamilton County was organized in May, 1870, by proclama- 
tion of Governor Butler. It is located in the southeastern part of 
the State, and is bounded on the north by the Platte River, which 
separates it from Merrick County, east by Polk and York, south by 
Clay, and west by Hall County, containing 560 square miles, or 
358,400 acres, at an average elevation of 1,800 feet above the sea 

Water Courses. — The County is watered by the Platte and 
Blue Rivers and their tributaries. The Platte, flowing in a north- 
easterly course, forms the northwestern boundary of the County, a 
distance of about thirty-five miles. The West Blue flows from 
west to east through the lower tier of townships, and furnishes 
good mill privileges. Lincoln Creek, the North Fork of the Blue, 
Beaver, and several smaller streams, water the central and northern 
portions of the County. 

Timber. — The number of forest trees planted up to date, is 
2,157,259. Large, thrifty domestic groves may now be seen on 
many sections of land, and fuel is abundant. The streams furnish 
a small amount of natural timber. Forty-three miles of hedw 
fencing have been planted in the County. 

Fruit. — The number of fruit trees reported under cultivation, 
in 1879, was as follows: Apple, 9,778; pear, 2-13; peach, 4,684; 
plum, 8,246; cherry, 1,792; besides 395 grape vines. There are 
several very large orchards, and many of them are in bearing. 

376 Johnson's history of Nebraska. 

Limestone abounds in the vicinity of the Bines. 

Physical Features. — The surface consists principally of roll- 
ing prairie and nearly level plains, vrliich have a gradual rise to the 
westward. In the western part of the County, where the Blues 
and several of their tributaries have their sources, the land is con- 
siderably broken, but afibrding the finest advantages for stock. The 
Blues and School Creek have fine valleys and wide, rich bottoms. 

Crops. — Acres under cultivation, 83,230. The yield of the 
principal crops, reported for 1879, was as follows: Winter wheat? 
sixty acres, 681 bushels; spring wheat, 42,278 acres, 470,250 bush- 
els; rye, 1,938 acres, 21,765 bushels; corn 11,106 acres, 291,644 
bushels; barley 6,016 acres, 99,496 bushels; oats 5,095 acres, 117,- 
076 bushels; buckwheat, sixty -five acres, 102 bushels; sorghum, one 
acre, 106 gallons; flax, forty -five acres, 399 bushels; broom corn, 
seventy-three acres, 443 tons; potatoes 392 acres, 33,528 bushels; 
onions, three acres, 502 bushels. 

The soil is very productive, and ranges from eighteen inches 
to two feet deep on the uplands. 

Historical. — The first permanent settlements of which there 
are any records, were made in 1867 and 1868, by J. D. Wescott, 
Jarvis Chaffee, John Brown, James Rollo, John Harris, N". M. 
Bray, John Laurie and Robert Lemont, on the West Blue River. 

John Harris, J. T. Biggs, and a Mr. Millspaugh kept ranches 
on the Overland Freight Road, long before Hamilton County was 
organized, when the buflfalo, elk, deer and antelope roamed the 
prairies undisturbed. 

Lincoln Creek was first settled in October, 1869, by Martin 
Werth and family, and William and August Werth. In the spring 
of 1871, a Postoffice was established at SpaflPord's Grove, on this 
Creek, with S. W. Spafibrd as Postmaster. 

Beaver Creek was settled, in 1870, by R. M. Hunt, Samuel 
Yost and S. B. Chapman; and shortly afterward J, W. Jones, H. 
M. Graham, Henry Newman and Franklin Jacobs arrived. 

The Big Blue, in the northern part of the County, was settled 
in 1871 by B. F. Webb, of Missouri, who located on section twelve? 
town twelve, range five. W. L. Whittemore settled on section two, 
town twelve, range five. T. W. Manchester, M. Yanduzen, and 
others, settled in 1872. 

Johnson's history of Nebraska. 877 

John Danliauer settled in the South Platte Precinct in 1871, 
and Stephen Platz and James Odell in 1872. About the same 
time, Mr. Hewitt settled in the extreme northeast corner of the 
County, and soon afterward J. W. Ward, C. Thurman, James Fos- 
ter and C. Foster settled in the Bluff Precinct. 

Among the older settlers on the extreme western side are 
Charles Tompkins and family and Mrs. Charlotte Ward, who ar- 
rived on the 22d of July, 1872, and located claims on section four, 
town ten, range eight, and at once began tlie erection of sod houses. 

Hamilton Precinct, which was formerly a part of Deepwell 
was settled in the spring of 1872, by G. K. Eaton. 

Settlements were made in the central portion of the County, 
in 1871-72, by James Faris, W. S. Strain, and the Libott family. 
The Southwest part, including Scovill and Union Precincts, was 
settled about the same time. 

The first Church Society was organized at Father Hunt's 
house, in Beaver Creek Precinct, on the 12th of August, 1871, and 
was known as the Aurora Baptist Church. Since then, the Far- 
mer's Yalley Baptist Church has been organized, also one in the 
southwest corner, and another in the northeast corner of the 
County, making four Baptist Churches in all. The Methodists, 
Presbyterians, Congregationalists, United Brethren, Catholics and 
other denominations have organized Societies, and hold stated ser- 

The first sermon preached in the County was by Kev. S. W. 
Spafford, in the summer of 1871, in the sod house of J. P. Elliott, 
which stood on the present site of the town of Hamilton. The 
first Sunday School was organized in this house at the same time. 
There are at present six Churches in the County. 

The first frame house in the County was built in 1870, by T. 
H. Clark, on the Blue, the lumber being hauled from Grand 

The first birth was Orville Westcott, son of C. O. Westcott, 
after whom Orville City was named. The first death was that of 
the wife of J. D. Westcott. The first marriage was that of Philip 
Hart to Elizabeth Ellen Yerley, on the 21st of August, 1870, by 
Robert Lemon t. Probate Judge. The first Fourth of July celebra- 
tion was held in 1870, in a beautiful grove on the west side of the 

878 Johnson's history of Nebraska. 

"West Blue, belonging to J. D. Westcott. The oration was deliv- 
ered by B. D. Brown. The first case tried in the District Court, 
held at Orville City, in May, 1870, with Hon. Geo. B. Lake as pre- 
siding Judge, was a suit for divorce, Mr. E. W. Denio for plaintiff. 
Mr. Denio, Mr. Daruall and A. Boston were the first practicing- 

The first election was held on the 3d of May, 1870, at the 
house of John Harris, on the "West Blue, eighteen voters being 
present. The following County Officers were elected: Commis- 
sioners, Wm. D. Young, JN'orris M. Bray, Alex. Laurie; Clerk, 
Josias D. "Westcott; Treasurer, Clarence O. Westcott; Sheriff, Geo. 
F. Dickson; Probate Judge, Robert Lemont; Surveyor, John E. 
Harris; Superintendent Publiclnstruction, John Laurie; Coroner^ 
James BoUo. 

Public Schools. — Kumber of districts, eighty-two; school 
houses, seventy-one; children of school age — males 1,224, females 
1,040, total 2,264; number of qualified teachers employed — males, 
forty-eight, iemales, sixty-two, total, 110; wages paid teachers 
for the year, $11,704.95; value of school houses, $21,203.62; value- 
of sites, $722; value of books and apparatus, $1,316.61. 

Taxable Peoperty. — Acres of land, 256,954; average value 
per acre, $3.22. Yalue of town lots, $32,381. Money invested 
in merchandise, $14,955; money used in manufactures, $1,872; 
number of horses 3,567, value $132,786; mules 405, value $20,526; 
neat cattle 4,258, value $47,799.00; sheep 720, value $967.00; 
swine 7,027, value $6,670; vehicles 1,346, value $31,935; moneys 
and credits, $11,157; mortgages, $9,934; stocks, etc., $50; fur- 
niture, $26,169; property not enumerated, $62,841. Total valua- 
tion for 1879, $1,228,792. 

Railroads. — During the present year, 1879, the Nebraska 
Railway, under the control of the B. & M., has been extended 
westward from York County to Aurora, the County Seat of this 
County. The Omaha & Republican Yalley Railway is also head- 
ing this way, and is now in running order to the County Seat of 
the adjoining County on the east. 

Lands. — Improved lands are worth from $6 to $18 per acre. 
The U. P. and B. & M. Railroad Companies each own a large 
amount here, for which they ask from $4 to $7 per acre. 


Population. — The County is divided into fifteen precincts, the 
population of each in 1879 being as follows; Bluff, 342; Monroe. 
474; Scovill, 404; Farmer's Yalley, 498; Beaver, 628; Hamilton^ 
372; Union, 455; Yallej, 514; Orville, 450; Platte, 304; Otis, 
405; Deepwell, 347; Aurora, 796; Cedar Yalley, 76; Grant, 418. 

Total population of County, 6,478; of whom 3,527 were males 
and 2,951 females. 


The County Seat, is pleasantly located near the center of the 
County, in the midst of a fertile farming section. It was recorded 
as a town on the 21st of December, 1872, and became the County 
Seat, January 1, 1876. The first house on the town site was a dug- 
out, erected in August, 1871; the next was a frame building, built 
by David Stone. The first child born in the town was Abbie Au- 
rora Goodman, on December 24, 1871. The first death was a 
daughter of David and Mary E. Stone, February 14, 1872. Auro- 
ra at present contains 800 inhabitants, a $5,000 Court House, an 
excellent School House and neat Churches, two newspapers, He- 
puhlican and N'ews, and business establishments representing all 
lines of trade. Within the past year, its population and business 
have about doubled; and now that it has raib-oad connection, it 
must become the shipping point and chief business center of the 


Located on the West Blue, was surveyed and recorded in 1870, and 
was selected as the County Seat, at the general election held the 3d 
of May, 1870, which honor it retained until January 1, 1876. It 
is surrounded by a thrifty farming community, and has several 
stores, mechanics' shops, etc. A first-class flouring mill is located 
in the vicinity, and all the streams are well bridged. 


Located on the prairie, seven miles southwest of the County Seat, 
was surveyed in 1874, and the plat filed for record on the 19th of 
April, 1875. It has about 200 inhabitants, and was a lively con- 
testant with Aurora, in 1875, for the honors of the County Seat. 





Is a village located in the Platte Yalley, in the western part of the 
County, It has a daily mail, good school house, blacksmith shop, 
general store, etc. 

Johnson's history of Nebraska. 381 

farmer's valley 
Is located on the West Blue, in the southeastern part of the 
County. It is one of the oldest settlements in the County, and is 
where the records were kept before the Court House was erected 
at Orville City in 1872. It has a good general store, Postoffice, 
Church and school house. 


EYE, Cedak Yalley, Otis and Avon are all flourishing young vil- 


Harlan County was organized in June, 1871, in accordance 
with a special Act of the Legislature. It is located on the middle- 
southern border of the State, and is bounded on the north by 
Phelps, and east by Franklin County, south by Kansas, and west 
by Furnas County, and contains 576 square miles, or 368,640 

Water Courses. — The Republican River flows from west to 
east through the soutli half of the County. It has a large number 
of tributaries in this County, some of which are of considerable 
size and excellent mill streams. The principal feeders on the north 
side are Turkey, Mill, Tipover, Methodist, Foster, Murrin, Rope, 
Flag and Spring Creeks; on the south, Prairie Dog, Sappa and 
Beaver Creeks. Small rivulets flowing from never-failing springs, 
are numerous in the south half of the County. 

Timber. — There is considerable native timber in this County» 
the Republican and its numerous branches being generally well 
fringed along their banks, and the gulleys and hollows through 
the bluffs are frequently covered with a thick growth. The varie- 
ties most common are cottonwood, ash, elm, box elder, hackberry, 
walnut and oak. On the uplands, the farmers have been active in 
tree planting, and the artificial groves now afford both shelter and 
fuel. The quantity reported under cultivation in 1879 was 686 
acres, or 260,321 trees. There are also nineteen miles of hedge 

382 Johnson's history of Nebraska. 

Fkuit, — The amount reported in 1879, was: Apple trees, 780; 
pear, tvventj'^-nine; peach, 1,618; plum, 142; cherry, 963. Wild 
iruits are abum ant. 

Building Stone. — A good quality of limestone is found in 
different parts of the County. Quarries have been opened on the 
south side of the Republican. 

Character of the Land. — One-fourth of the County is val- 
ley — the remainder rolling prairie and a email per cent, bluff. 
North of the Republican, the uplands consist mostly of gently- 
rolling prairie and table; on the south side it is more broken, 
although almost everywhere tillable. The soil is well adapted to 
tlie growth of all the cereals, and produces largely, as will be seen 
from the following statement: 

Crops. — Acres under cultivation, 303,393; winter wheat 996 
acres, 14,231 bushels; spring wheat 14,961 acres, 233,642 bushels; 
rye 960 acres, 16,212 bushels; corn 9,863 acres, 132,668 bushels; 
barley 1,160 acres, 26,320 bushels; oats 1,420 acres, 33,000 bushels; 
buckwheat, seventeen acres, 280 bushels; sorghum, thirty-six acres? 
'9,630 gallons; hungarian, 597 acres; potatoes 320 acres, 2,240 

First Settlement. — During the summer of 1870, Yictor Yif- 
quain, J. W. Foster, H. Y. Toephfar, and several others, explored 
the Republican Yalley as far west as the present town of Melrose, 
where they built a stockade for protection against the Indians. 
They also laid out a town, which they called Napoleon, but soon 
after abandoned the enterprise and went away. 

Mr. J. W. Foster, however, immediately selected a claim on a 
beautiful creek which afterwards took his name, near the present 
County Seat, where he built himself a house, and thus became the 
first permanent settler of the County. H. Y. Toephfar, another 
of the party who helped to build the stockade at Melrose, crossed 
the Republican and took a claim on Sappa Creek, but soon aban- 
doned it. Several other settlers located claims during the summer 
of 1870, among whom were John Talbott and a Mr. Donaldson. 
In March, 1871, a Company which had been formed at Cheyenne, 
Wyoming, sent a number of settlers to the Yalley of the Reoubli- 
can. In June of this year, A. C. Robbins and son, and John 
Skinner located on the Sappa, and were the first permanent settlers 

Johnson's histoky of Nebraska. 383 

in that section. Their families were brought out the following 
month. Mrs. Kate Reynolds and Mrs. Joseph Gould have the 
honor of being the first women in the County. In the fall, Judge 
Thompson and son, J. J. Jones, Gordon Kellogg and L. T. Newell, 
with their families, located in the vicinity of the Sappa. Although 
these settlements were on the extreme frontier, they never sufiered 
any serious harm from the Indians, who frequently visited this 
vicinity to hunt, beg food, and steal what they could, but they 
never committed any murders. 

Amono' the first to locate on Prairie Dosr Creek were James 
E. Ryder, Gilbert R. Parish, the "Woodwards, Drews, and Cabel- 
dieks, the most of whom made permanent settlements. 

John Brady and the Whitings were the first to settle on Meth- 
odist Creek. The first sermon preached in the County was deliv- 
ered by John E. Whiting, in June, 1871, in a beautiful grove on 
the banks of this stream, from which it took the name of " Meth- 

In accordance with the provisions of the special Act of the 
Legislature organizing the County, James O. Phillips, T. D. Mur- 
rin and Marcus Coad were appointed a Board of Commissioners to 
locate a temporary County Seat and organize the local government. 

The first election was held July 3, 1871, at which the follow- 
ing County Oflficers were chosen, viz: T. Shefi'rey, H. Trimble and 
J. W. Foster, Commissioners; Joseph Gould, Probate Judge; A. 
J. Burke, Clerk; H. M. Luce, Superintendent Public Instruction; 
G. R. Parish, Treasurer; James E. Ryder, Sherifi"; and W. P. 
Carr, Coroner. Alma City was selected as the permanent County 

During the summer, claims were taken very rapidly, and sev- 
eral towns were laid out. Companies of U. S. Cavalry from Fort 
Hays, Kansas, patrolled the Yalley to protect the settlements. 

In July, L. G. Coon, W. H. Coon, S. D. Main, Elisha Main, 
and others, settled on the bottom lands below the present Republi- 
can City. Later in the same month, Dr. John McPlierson and A. 
Starry, with a party from Brownville, Nebraska, laid out Republi- 
can City. The lumber was hauled from Brownville, a distance of 
140 miles, and within ten days after its arrival, the first frame 
house in Harlan County graced the town site of Republican City. 

384 Johnson's history of Nebraska.. 

Early in the spring of 1872, Dr. McPherson erected a steam saw- 
mill, which was kept busily at work to supply the great demand 
for lumber, 

Melrose was laid out about the same time as Republican City, 
and was a Company enterprise. A number of commodious build- 
ings were erected, large stocks of goods brought on, and a newspa- 
per started, called the Sentinel. 

These two cities at once became rivals of Alma City for the 
honors of the County Seat. Elections were held, and claimed by 
one and contested by the other, and thus the controversy was kept 
up for two years, engendering a bitter feeling, which entered into 
all business of a public character, till finally the question was de- 
cided by the Courts in favor of Alma City. 

The Fourth of July, 1871, was celebrated in a beautiful grove 
on Foster Creek. Fifty-six persons were present — men, women 
and children — and a sumptuous dinner was served. On the eve- 
ning of this day, the first death in the County, of which there is 
any record, occurred. It was that of "William McBride, who was 
shot dead in an altercation with a soldier named Costello, of Capt. 
Spaulding's Company, Second U. S. Cavalry. Costello was tried 
for the murder, and acquitted. 

The winter of 1871-72 was a terribly severe one to the settlers 
of this County. Storm followed storm in quick succession; and 
none but those who have had a like experience can realize the suf- 
ferings and privations endured during those long, dreary winter 
months. Many subsisted on bufialo meat alone during most of the 
winter. The nearest depot for supplies was at Grand Island, on the 
Union Pacific Railroad, one hundred and fifty miles distant; but the 
deep snows made the journey dangerous and almost impracticable. 

The first child born in the County was Harlan Parish, on 
Prairie Dog Creek, November 2, 1871. 

In December, 1872, a Church and Sabbath Schoql were organ- 
ized, with J. M. Grundy, Pastor, and Jabez Cobeldick, Sr., Super- 
intendent of Sabbath School. This Society, in 1874, erected a 
Church edifice near Mr, Cobeldick's place, which is known as Mor- 
ristown Chapel. The building is made of sod and such other 
material as could be found at hand, and was built by the gratui- 
tous labor of the residents of the neighborhood. 

Johnson's history of Nebraska. 385 

Public Schools. — The number of school districts in the 
Connty, in 1879, was forty-eight; school houses, thirty; children 
of school ao;e — males 753, females 643; total, 1,396; whole num- 
ber of children that attended school during the year, 569; number 
of qualified teachers employed — males, nineteen, females, twenty- 
seven; total, forty-six; wages paid teachers for the year — males, 
$1,519, females, $1,930.72; total, $3,149.72; value of school 
houses, $2,750; value of sites, $178; value of books, $147.66. 

Taxable Property. — Acres of land, 55,696; average value 
per acre, $2.23. Yalue of town lots, $9,585. Money invested in 
merchandise, $13,276.47; money used in manufactures, $6,094; 
horses 1,630, value, $34,757; mules 184, value $6,055; neat cattle, 
3,401, value $23,654; sheep 1,007, value $565; swine 2,050, value 
$1,654; vehicles 711, value $10,077; moneys and credits, $4,674; 
mortgages, $3,700; stocks, etc., $484; furniture, $4,583; libraries, 
$221; property not enumerated, $14,096, Total valuation for 
1879, $257,897.47. 

Lands. — Wild lands are selling at $1.25 to $5 per acre, and 
improved from $4 to $12. There is a small amount of govern- 
ment land in this County, which is admirably adapted to stock- 
raising or farming. Stock-raising is engaging the attention of the 
farmers generally, and there are now a number of small herds 
here, ranging from 100 to 300 head. 

The Republican Valley branch of the B. & M. Railroad is 
now in running order to the eastern line of this County, and the 
grading for its extension westward is now in progress. 

There are three flouring mills, two saw mills, and five Churches 
in the County, and substantial bridges span all the streams at the 
principal crossings. 

Population.— In 1879 the County had a population of four 
thousand one hundred and ninety-three. 


Situated on Foster Creek, near its junction with the Republican, 
is the County Seat, and has about 250 inhabitants. It contains a 
neat Court House, an excellent school house, a weekly newspaper, 
the Standard, general merchandise, grocery, dry goods, hardware, 
drug and implement stores, lumber yards, grain warehouses, etc. 

3S6 Johnson's histoky of nebbaska. 

It is favorably situated for business, and latterly has improved 
very rapidly, a Church and many new business houses having been 
established and dwellings erected during the past year. 


Is the largest town in the County, having at present about three 
hundred inhabitants. It was laid out in the summer of 1871, and 
is situated on the north bank of the Kepublican River, on a fine 
plateau opposite the mouth of Prairie Dog Creek. Mill Creek, a 
pretty stream, passes through the center of the town. Avery fine 
bridge, two hundred and twenty-six feet long, spans the river at 
this point and has added greatly to the prosperity of the place, 
attracting the trade and travel from the southern portion of the 
County and Northern Kansas. The Methodists erected the first 
Church here in 1874. A flouring and saw mill are in operation 
here, and all classes of business are well represented, there being 
several general merchandise stores, drug, hardware, implement 
grocery and feed stores, etc., large lumber yards, grain warehouses, 
good hotels, livery stable, several attorneys' and doctors' oflSces, 
and an able weekly newspaper, the News. 


Is situated on the Republican, near the mouth of Flag Creek, five 
miles west of the County Seat. It was surveyed in October, 1872, 
by Mr. A. B. Smith, and in January, 1873. the first house was 
erected on the townsite. It contains at present two hundred and 
fifty inhabitants, and has a weekly newspaper, the Sentinel^ three 
hotels, good school and Church privileges, and all the stores and 
business establishments usual to a growing town of its size. 

Melrose, Graft, Watson, Bainbridge, and Scandinavia are 
close settlements, each having a Postoflace, general store, etc. 


Hitchcock County, named in honor of Ex-U. S. Senator Hitcli- 
cock, of Nebraska, was organized in the summer of 1873, by 
proclamation of Governor Furnas. It lies on the southwestern 
border of the State, bounded on the north by Hays and by Red 


Willow County, south by Kansas, and west by Dundy County, 
containing 720 square miles, or 460,800 acres. 

The County is watered by the Eepublican Eiver and tribu- 
taries. The Republican flows from west to east through the 
central portion of the County. Frenchman's Fork and Blackwood 
Creeks, both large streams, water the northern portion of the 
County, and Driftwood Creek and branches water the southern 
portion. Excellent water-power. 

Timber is abundant along the streams. Building stone is 
found on the south side of the Rejjublican. 

Fifteen per cent of the area is fertile valley land, adapted to 
the growth of all classes of crops; ten per cent, is bluflP, and the 
balance gently rolling prairie, which possesses a rich soil and 
with deep plowing will produce excellent returns of small grain- 
The prairies are covered with the celebrated buffalo, grama 
and other nutritious grasses affording the finest grazing the 
year round. Stock raising at present is the leading industry 
engaged in by the settlers. There is plenty of good Government 
land here. 

Historical. — G. C. Gessleman, located near the mouth of 
Blackwood Creek, on section 15, town 3, range 31, in the latter 
part of Fabruary, 1873, and has the honor of being the pioneer 
settler of the County. In the latter part of Ma}', following Mr. 
Gessleman's settlement, his solitude was broken by the arrival of 
about a dozen other settlers, among whom were W. "W. Kelleyj 
and G. E. Baldwin ; and a few days later Daniel Murphy arrived, 
closely followed by J. E. Kleven, E. J. Bakken, and H. H. Hongan, 
all of whom settled on Blackwood Creek. In June and July the 
Blackwood settlement was increased by the arrival of W. Z. Taylor, 
Dr. Reaves, F. Martin, C. A. Gessleman, Dr. A. J. Yanderslice and 
J. H. Conklin. About the same time a number of families settled 
on Driftwood Creek. 

On the night of the 31st of May, (1873) a great flood came 
down the Blackwood, sweeping everything before it, and covering 
the whole bottom to the depth of several feet. The settlers had a 
narrow escape from drowning, and barely saved themselves by 
climbing into trees, where they were obliged to remain for twelve 
hours, till the water subsided. A company of soldiers, encamped 

388 Johnson's history of Nebraska. 

about six miles from the moiitli of the creek, lost six men and 
thirty head of horses by drowning. 

At the lirst election for County Officers, held on the 30th day 
of August, 1873, nineteen votes were polled, and the following 
officers elected: Commissioners W. "VY. Kelley, T. G. Le Grande, 
and F. U. Martin; Clerk, W. Z. Taylor; Probate Judge, A. J. 
Vanderslice; Treasurer, J. E. Kleven; Sheriff, G. E. Baldwin; 
Superintendent Public Instruction, W. W. Kelley. 

At this election Culbertson was selected as the County Seat. 

On the 4th day of August, of this year, a big battle was fought 
between the Sioux and Pawnee Indians twelve miles west of Cul- 
bertson, in which the Pawnees were badly beaten, losing sixty in 

The first stock of merchandise in the County was opened at 
Culbertson in 1873, by W. Z. Taylor. 

During the year 1874 several families located on Driftwood 
Creek, among whom were J. H. Sackett, the Burd brothers, and 
the Beasely family. Good crops w^ere raised in 1875, but the pop- 
ulation did not materially increase. Several large herds of cattle 
were brought into the County this year, and distributed along the 
river and creeks; and a number of cattle men built houses in Cul- 
bertson for their families. 

Public Schools. — The first school building was erecting at 
Culbertson, in 1876. Major R. S. Criswell taught the first school. 
There are at present one hundred and seven school children in the 
County, and two teachers employed. 

Taxable Property. — Acres of land, 1,154, average value per 
acre, $2.77; value of town lots, $3,584; money invested in mer- 
chandise, $2,100; number of horses, 312, value, $6,960; mules, 
twelve, value, $367.00; neat cattle, 13,312, value $141,762.00; swine, 
14, value $28.00; vehicles, 35, value $562.00; moneys and credits, 
$5,000.00; mortgages, 905.00; other personalty, $631.00; total val- 
uation fur 1879, $165,101.00. 

Tiie estimated population of the County at the commencement 
of 1879, 264. 


The CJounty Seat, is located on the Republican, in the northeast 
part of the County. The townsite was selected in 1873 and sur- 

Johnson's history of Nebraska. 389 

veyed in August, 1875, by D. ]^. Smith. A large number of cat- 
tie men have made this place their headquarters and erected neat 
dwellings. It is a good business point and has three large general 
merchandise stores. 


Holt County was organized in August, 1876. It is located on 
the northeastern border of the State, bounded on the north by the 
Niobrara River, east by Knox County, and south and west by un- 
organized territory, containing an area of about 1,080 square miles, 
or about 691,200 acres. 

It is watered by the I^iobrara and Elkhorn Rivers and their 
tributaries. The Niobrara flows in a general southeasterly direc- 
tion on the northern border, a distance of about lifty miles, and 
receives numerous branches which have their sources in the south- 
ern and central portion of the County, the most prominent of which 
are Red Bird, Turkey, Eagle, Brush, Beaver and Willow Creeks. 
These streams all furnish sufficient water-power for mills. The 
southern portion of the County is finely watered by the Elkhorn 
and tributaries, which are also good mill streams. 

Natural timber is plentiful along the Niobrara and man}'^ of 
its tributaries. The Elkhorn also furnishes a considerable quantity. 
Through the blufls and canons, elm, oak and other hard woods 
are found. Several hundred acres of forest timber have been planted 
in the County; also ten miles of hedge fence. 

Twenty-six thousand six hundred and eighty apple trees are 
reported under cultivation, besides a large nuujber of peach, pear, 
plum and cherry trees. Wild fruits are abundant. 

Twenty per cent, of the area is valley and bottom land, the 
remainder rolling prairie with bhifl's along the streams. The bot- 
toms of the Niobrara are from three to six miles wide, and very 
productive. The beautiful little valley of the Elkhorn averages 
about two miles in width, and several of the larger creeks have val- 
leys from one to three miles wide. 

The uplands are especially adapted to the growth of small 
grain, and yield excellent crops. The last report shows the num- 

390 Johnson's history of Nebraska. 

ber of acres under cultivation to be 5,300. Rye, 293 acres, 3,891 
bushels; springwheat, 1,322 acres, 17,643 bushels; corn, 2,610 
acres, 55,878 bushels; barley, 105 acres, 2,940 bushels; oats, 292 
acres, 7,491 bushels; potatoes, 140 acres, 12,492 bushels. 

For stock raising, dairy farming, or agriculture this County 
affords every advantage. Stock can subsist the year round on the 
nutritious grasses which grow here in abundance, and the wooded 
canons furnish all the shelter necessary for large herds. 

The Elkhorn Yalley Railroad is now being graded through 
the adjoining County on the southeast, and no doubt before an- 
other year, the citizens of this Count}- will also enjoy all the bene- 
fits and advantages of railroad communication with the eastern 

There is considerable fine government land in this County, 
which is being fast taken up by colonies from the Eastern States. 
Improved lands are worth from $4 to $12 per acre; wild lands, 
from $1.25 to $6. 

Historical. — The first settler in the County, of whom there is 
any record, was "Wm. H. Inman, who erected a house on the banks 
of the Elkhorn, in 1872. During the following year, Dr. "Went- 
worth, James Ewing, Tom Kelly and William Dougald located 
claims in the County. On the 13th of June, 1873, Henry H. Mc- 
Evony, Eli H. Thompson, Frank Bitney, John T. Prouty, Eli 
Sanford and John Sanford, from Sauk County, Wisconsin, located 
claims in range eleven west, near the Elkhorn. 

James McFarling, Conrad Mitchell, David Weisgarber, Samuel 
Wolf, John Develin, Mr. Hoxie and sons, Joe Kreiser, Mr. 
Gunther, and the Palmer brothers, located here during the summer 
and fall of 1873. 

The above named parties, together with their families, includ- 
ed about the entire population of the County until the spring of 
1874, at which time General John O'Neil arrived from the East 
with an Irish colony, and established the now flourishing town of 
O'Neil. The members composing this colony were: Patrick S. 
Hughes, Michael H. McGrath, Neil S. Brennan, Thomas N. J. 
Hynes, Thomas Connolly, Timothy O'Connor, Patrick Murry, 
Thomas Cain, Pat. Brannon and Thomas Kelly. 

Johnson's history of Nebraska. 391 

General O'^tsTeil lias since brought out many additional Irish 
families from the Eastern cities, all of whom are much pleased 
with the country. 

The organization of the County was effected on the 26th day 
of August, 1876, by Messrs. Ewing, Thompson and Berry, special 
Commissioners appointed by the Governor for that purpose. The 
first County Officers elected were as follows: Eyland Parker, Pro- 
bate Judge; Wilson Hoxie, Treasurer; Michael McGrath, Clerk; 
H. H. McEvony, Sheriff; Herman Strasburg Coroner; T. N. J. 
Hynes, Surveyor; Patrick Haggerty, Austin Hynes, and Jacob 
Shrob, Commissioners. 

The first Church in the County was erected by the Catholics, 
at 0']!Tei], in 1876. Several other denominations now have flour- 
ishing organizations. The first clergyman to visit the County was 
Father J. P. Bedard, from Antelope County. Eev. J. E. Wolfe 
held a protracted meeting at O'lSTeil in the fall of 1876. 

Public Schools. — Number of districts in the County, twenty- 
one; school houses, three; children of school age — males 190, 
females, 163; total, 353; number of qualified teachers employed, 
ten; wages paid teachers for the year, $60; value of school pro- 
perty, $160. 

Taxable Property. — Acres of land, 4,568; average value per 
acre, $2.00. Yalue of town lots, $7,199. Money used in merchan- 
dise, $3,431; money used in manufactures, $2,950; horses 630, 
value $19,507; mules, fifty-six, value, $2,165; neat cattle 3,344, 
value $25,190; sheep 215, value $245.75; swine 494, value $1,- 
086.75; vehicles 321, value $6,018; moneys and credits, $1,522; 
mortgages, $1,870; furniture, $304; libraries, $56; property not 
enumerated, $3,762. Total valuation for 1879, $84,444.44. 

Population. — The following is the population of the County, 
by Precincts, in 1879: Paddock, 537; Steel Creek, 171; Keya 
Paha, 241; Inman's Grove, seventy-nine; Atkinson, 176; Center, 
660; Ford, ninety-five. 

Total, 1,839, of whom 1,063 were males and 776 females. In- 
crease in population since 1878, 539. 

o'neil city 
Is located in the Yalley of the Elkhorn, which is here finely tim- 
bered. It was surveyed and recorded in the spring of 1874, and 

392 Johnson's histokt of nebbaska.. 

the first store in the County was opened here the same year, by 
"Wilson Hoxie. The city at present contains 150 inhabitants, a 
hotel, school house, three large general merchandise stores, a har- 
ness shop, drug store, two blacksmith and wagon-makers' shops, 
etc. It is favorably situated on the line of travel ^nd immigration 
to the government lands of the Niobrara region, and commands 
the trade of an immense stock-grazing country. It was the County 
Seat until 1878. 


The County Seat, is situated on the Niobrara liiver, at the mouth 
of Eagle Creek. It was first called Troy; bnt, in 1875, the name 
was changed to Paddock, in honor of U. S. Senator A. S. Paddock, 
of Nebraska. The fonnder of the settlement was Mr. William T. 
Berry, who located here in June, 1874. Thomas Berry, J. B. 
Berry, T. H. Berry, J. W. Ross and C. G. Benner came shortly 
afterwards. The first marriage in the Connty was that of Thomas 
Berry to Sarah Smith; the first death was that of William T. 
Berry, the founder of the colony, on the 24tli of November, 1874; 
the first birth was that of Cora A. Berry, March 28, 1875. 

During the last year. Paddock was made the County Seat, 
and as a consequence is improving very rapidly. It is the largest 
town in the County, having 450 inhabitants and a good assort- 
ment of stores and mechanics' shops. The surrounding country is 
closely settled and very fertile. 


Is a young village on the Elkhorn, twenty miles from O'Neil City. 
It has a Postofiice, school house, general merchandise store, etc, 
John O'Connell located here in the spring of 1875, and was the 
first settler. The first birth in the settlement was that of Sarah 

Bed Bird, Lavinia, and Keya Paha, are close town settle- 
ments along the Niobrara, each having a Postofiice and store. 

Johnson's histoky of Nebraska. 393 


Howard County was organized bj a special Act of the Legisla- 
ture, approved March 28, 1871. It is located in the central part of 
the State, and is bounded on the north b}' Greeley, east by Nance 
and Merrick, south by Hall and west by Sherman County, contain- 
ing 576 square miles, or 368,640 acres. 

Water Courses. — The County is finely watered by the Loup 
Rivers and tributaries. The main Loup is formed in the north 
eastern part of the County by the junction of the North Fork, 
which enters the County at the northwest corner, and the South 
Fork, wdiicli enters at the southwest corner. The Middle Loup 
joins the South Fork in the southwestern part of the County. The 
Loups have numerous tributaries in this County, of which the 
most important are Oak, Turkey, Spring, Munson and Davis 
Creeks. Water-power unlimited, and springs of pure water are 
numerous in the vicinity of the larger streams. 

Timber and Fruit. — Cottonwood, ash, elm, box elder, walnut, 
hackberry and willow, skirt the streams, and the canyons are fre- 
quently well timbered with oak. The farmers give more or less 
attention to forest tree planting, many of the domestic groves being 
old enough to furnish fuel. Wood can be bought at $2.00 to $3.00 per 
cord. Many of the farmers have surrounded their places with osage- 
orange and honey locust hedges, and have also planted orchards 
of choice fruit trees, which are now in a promising condition. 

Stone. — A good quality of limestone crops out along the North 
Loup Eiver, and is extensively used for building purposes. 

Physical Features. — About forty per cent, of the County is 
valley and bottom land, and the balance rolling prairie, tables and 
bluffs. The Loup valleys are from three to seven miles wide, and 
fautless in face and outline. The smaller streams have valleys 
from one to three miles wide. The bluffy districts abound in 
canyons and ravines, and present the finest openings for cattle and 
eheep ranches. Leaving out twenty per cent, of hilly and sandy 
lands, the balance, or eighty per cent, of the entire County might 
be turned into a vast j^rain field. 

3 9 J: Johnson's history of Nebraska. 

Soil. — Eighty per cent, of the County has a deep and mello'w 
soil, and is especially adapted to the growth of small grains. Spring 
wheat yields from sixteen to thirty -Hve bushels per acre; barley and 
oats from thirty to seventy bushels^ and rye from twenty to thirty 
bushels per acre. Corn has proven a good crop, the yield being 
from thirty to fifty bushels per acre, but steadily increasing in 
average as the lands become better subdued and cultivated. 

The buifalo, mesquite, and gama grasses, are still abundant in 
this region, and make excellent winter grazing. The coarser varie- 
ties, which are very numerous, are fine for summer pasturage or hay. 

Historical. — On the 9th day of January, 1871, J. N. Paul^ 
accompanied by Major Frank North, Ira Mullen, A. J. Hoge, 
Joseph Tiffany, Enos Johnson, J. E. North, Luther North, Charles 
Morse, Gus. Cox, and S. M. Smith, (all of whom afterward settled 
on Spring Creek, except J. E. and Frank North) entered the present 
limits of Howard County for the purpose of making an exploration 
of the North and South Forks of the Loup, and their tributaries^ 
with a view to selecting the most desirable locality for settlement. 
So well pleased were they with the country, its numerous well- 
wooded streams, and fine soil, that favorable sites were soon 
selected and located upon. 

On the 31st of March following, thirty-one additional colonists 
arrived under the escort of Mr. J. N. Paul, and made a temporary 
camp in acottonwood grove in section 28, town 14, north, of range 
10 west. The next day, April 1, the party crossed the river and 
located claims in the vicinity of the present County Seat. Among 
those who settled at this time were T. McNabb, D. Aleshire, A. G. 
Metcalf, J. Peters, J. C. Lewis, N. Z. Woodruff, H. M. Copeland, 
F. M. Crowell, R. E. Cockerel, F. Godfrey, N. Baxter and A. 

Lawrence Fleming brought the first load of pine lumber into 
the County on the 4th of April, 1871. 

Under the provisions of the special Act of the Legislature, 
approved March 28, 1871, L N. Taylor, Probate Judge of Platte 
County, on the 17th day of April following, nppointed N. J. Paul^ 
J. C. Lewis, and L. H. North, Commissioners for Howard Count3^ 
This Board, on the 9th of May, located the temporary Seat of Justice 
at St. Paul. 

Johnson's history of Nebraska. 395 

The first election was held at St. Paul on the 10th day of Oc- 
tober, 1871; fiftj-foHr votes were polled. At the general election 
in 1874, the permanent Connty Seat was located at St. Paul by 
vote of the people. 

In May, 1871, a Danish colony from Milwaukee, Wisconsin> 
made up of Lars Hannibal, John Scehusen, ISTiel Nelson, Jeus "Wil- 
kenson, Fred. Ohlson, Paul Anderson, and Loren Erichson, made 
a settlement on the South Loup, near the mouth of Oak Creek; 
and in the following year a large colony of Canadians located on 
the table land between Turkey Creek and the North Loup. 

At an early date, steps were taken for the erection of a sub- 
stantial bridge across the South Loup, to facilitate the settlement 
of the country, on the west side of that stream, where lay much of 
the iinest land of the County. Subscriptions were solicited at 
Grand Island and other places, by J. N. Paul, who succeeded in 
raising $650, of which $392 were paid; and on the 27th of April^ 
1871, a site for the proposed bridge was selected on sections twenty- 
one and twenty-eight, town fourteen north, range ten west. On 
the 4th of May following, Dr. Beebe arrived to superintend its 
construction ; a camp was established at the bridge site, for the ac- 
commodation of the workmen; and on the afternoon of the same 
day, work was formally begun. A week later. Captain Munson 
arrived at the bridge site with a company of soldiers, who ren- 
dered valuable assistance in its construction, and remained until 
its completion, June 10, of the same year. 

On the 2d day of March, 1872, the people voted bonds to the 
amount of $15,000 for the purpose of bridging the Loups, and on 
the 10th of May following, additional bonds to the amount of 
$4,000 were voted for the same purpose. Shortly afterwards, H. 
P. Handy entered into a contract with the County for the con- 
struction of two bridges — one over the South Loup, near Danne- 
brog, and one over the North Loup, north of St. Paul — both of 
which were completed according to contract, and accepted by the 

The great storm which occurred in April, 1873, will long be 
remembered by the people of Central Nebraska, and Howard 
County especially, for its terrible severity and the suffering it en- 
tailed. On the afternoon of Sunday, the 13th, a steady rain set in, 

396 Johnson's history of Nebraska. 

whicli continued till late at night; on the morning of the 14th, the 
people awoke from their slumbers and found that a terrific gale 
was in progress, from a little west of north. The air was so tilled 
with drifting snow that it was impossible to discern an object be- 
yond a few yards. On Monday night, the gale increased to an 
alarming heiglit, and the strongest buildings creaked and shook to 
their very foundations. It continued with unabated fury all the 
next day, and until the afternoon of Wednesday, the ICth, when it 
lulled somewhat, and people dared to venture from their houses to 
look after their stock and ascertain the extent of the damages. Al- 
though great loss of property, and perhaps life, was anticipated, 
yet the people were unprepared for the startling news that the 
families of Cooper and Haworth had perished in the storm. 

On Sunday, before the storm began, James Cooper, of Coates- 
field, was unexpectedly called to Grand Island on important business. 
His only son had in the morning crossed the river to visit some 
friends for a few hours, and being unaware of his father's absence, 
■did not return on account of the rain, thus leaving the mother and 
two daughters un])rotected. On Tuesday morning, when the storm 
wa-^ at its height, the roof of the unfinished dwelling was blown 
off. The two daughters volunteered to go for help. Carefully 
covering their mother with blankets, carpets, etc., and feeding, wa- 
tering and sheltering the horses, they went out into the storm, not 
to be seen again till the afternoon of Wednesday, when, as the gale 
was subsiding, Emma, the younger sister, was seen to fall on the 
prairie while approaching the house of Capt. Mnnson, then occu- 
pied by W. T. Wyman. On being carried into the house, she in- 
formed them of the helpless condition of her mother, and that her 
sister Lizzie lay dead in a canyon. Search was made, and the body 
■of the sister was found, as described, at the head of a canyon, near 
the Dannebrog and Cotesfield road. The mother was found the 
next day, lying dead on the prairie, about a hundred yards from a 
neighbor's house. Among the sad incidents in the meanderings 
of the girls, is the fact that on Tuesday night they found a dug-out 
or cave about a hundred yards from Capt. Munson's house, and 
tried to force an entrance; but failing in this, they left it, suppos- 
ing they could safely reach the house. There was exhibited all 
through the long hours of their mental and physical sufferings, 

Johnson's history of Nebraska. 397 

that inflexible and resolute spirit by which the body clung to life 
with the greatest tenacity. It was actuated by such a spirit that 
led Emma, in the darkness of the night, while lying in the snow 
by the side of her dead sister, to exclaim, " I will live! I will live 
to tell the story!" and then begin anew, bareheaded, barefooted, 
and almost destitute of clothing, the battle for life with the storm- 
king, that for suffering and endurance for the next twelve hours — 
for indomitable determination to conquer, " to tell the story," if 
then but to die — has few parallels in history. 

Meanwhile, diligent search was being made on Spring Creek 
for the family of Dillon Haworth, son-in-law of M. Crow. On 
Friday, the 18th, the mother and two children were found lying in 
a snow-di ift. The mother and eldest child were dead ; the younger 
daughter, two years old, was still alive, and after tender care was 
restored. On Saturday afternoon, the husband was found dead in 
the hills, about four miles east of the creek. 

Allen Cozens, a resident of the North Loup, was also found 
dead after this storm, making a loss altogether of six lives in the 
County, besides a large amount of stock and other property. 

The iirst child born in the County was a daughter to Mr. and 
Mrs. John Ellis, in the summer of 1871. The child died a few 
weeks after it was born, which was the first death in the County. 

The first marriage in the County was that of Mr. Benjamin F. 
Johnson to Miss Mary T. Thomas, on the 30th of May, 1ST2. 

Schools. — The first school district was organized at St. Paul 
on the 29th of April, 1872. Miss Lizzie Cooper— who perished in 
the storm of April, 1873 — taught the first term. 

Present number of school districts, thirty-six; school houses, 
twenty-nine; children of school age — males 620, females 494; 
total, 1,114; total number of children that attended school during 
the year, 655; number of qualified teachers employed — males, ten, 
females, ten; amount of wages paid teachers for the year — males, 
$1,770.50, females, $1,104; total, $2,874.50; value of school houses, 
$9,890.75; value of sites, $249; books, etc., $149.50. 

Taxable Property.— Acres of land, 155,705, average value 
per acre, $1.42; value of town lots, $19,603; money invested in mer- 
chandise, $11,880; money used in manufactures, $3,105; horses, 
1,083, value $33,567; mules, 220, value $8,690; neat cattle, 2,420, 

398 Johnson's histokt of Nebraska.. 

value $31,873; sheep, 1,250, value $1,058; swine, 1,786, value 
$11,415; vehicles, 548, value $1,157; moneys and credits, $9,832; 
mortgages, $300; furniture, $8,714; libraries, $140; property not 
enumerated, $28,994; total valuation for 1879, $392,256.00. 

Lands. — There is no desirable Government land left in the 
County. Improved lands are worth from $3.00 to $15.00 per acre. 
The Union Pacific and B. & M. Railroad Companies own a large 
amount of land here, for which from $2.00 to $5.00 per acre is 

Railroads. — The nearest railroad point at present is at Grand 
Island, on the U. P., twenty-two miles from St. Paul. Bonds have 
been voted by the County for the construction of a branch of the 
U. P., extending from Grand Island up one of the Loup Yalleys, 
via St. Paul, and the grading between these points is now being 
pushed vigorously. The road is to be in running order to St. Paul, 
by June, 1880. 

Population. — There are six voting precincts in the County, 
the population of each in 1879 being as follows: First, 974; second, 
519; Third, 970; Fourth, 185; Fifth, 170; Sixth, 423. Total pop- 
ulation of the County, 3,246, of whom 1,712 are males, and 1,624 


The County Seat, was laid out in 1871, and has at present 400 inhab- 
itants. It is beautifully located on the high bottom of the South 
Loup, four miles above the junction of the North and South 
Branches, and by virtue of its commanding position at the gateway 
to the two valleys, must become a prominent commercial city at an 
early day. It contains a handsome court house, fine school house, 
two hotels, a livery stable, lumber yard, a dozen stores and shops, 
and two weekly newspapers, the Advocate, established by J. N. 
Paul, shortly after the organization of the County, and the Phono- 
grajoh, established within the past year. % 


Is a flourishing town located on the South Loup at the mouth of 
Oak Creek. It was laid out in 1871, and is situated in the midst 
of a large Danish settlement. It contains several general stores and 
shops, a substantial brick school house, hotel, apd the best grist mill 
in the County. An excellent bridge spans the Loup at this point. 


Johnson's history of nebkaska. 399 


Is a Canadian settlement established in 1872, on the table land 
near the center of the County. A Postoffice was established here 
in 1873, and during the same year a school house and Methodist 
Church was erected — this being the first Church in the County. 


On Munson Creek, in the northwestern part of the County, was 
located in 1871. A Postoffice, general store and school were estab- 
lished in 1873. 

Kelso, Gage, Valley, Loup Fork and Faiedalb, are small 
Tillages with Postoffice, general store, etc. 


Hayes County was created by an Act of the Legislature, 
approved February 19th, 1877. It is located in the southwestern 
part of the State, bounded on the north by Lincoln and Keith, east 
by Frontier, south by Hitchcock, and west by Chase County, con- 
taining 720 square miles, or 460,800 acres. 

The principal water courses are Ped "Willow, Whiteman's Fork 
and Stinking water Creeks, tributaries of the Pepublican. These 
are all large streams and are fed by numerous small branches. 

Hayes County as is yet unorganized. Estimated population, 
600. No reports of schools, crops, property or iniprovements. 
County nearly all Government lands. 


Jefferson County was mapped out by the Territorial Legis- 
lature, January 26, 1856, under the name of Jones County. At 
the same time the adjoining County on the west, now Thayer 
County, received the name of Jefferson. Eight years after, 1864, 
Jefferson County organized by holding its first election at Big 
Sandy. An " Act to Enlarge Jefferson County " passed the Legis- 

400 Johnson's history of Nebraska. 

lature on the IStli of February, 1867, uniting Jones to Jefferson 
County. This union continued until the Legislature of 1870-71 
provided by enactment for the division of Jefferson County, which 
event was consummated in the fall of 1871 by the election of two 
sets of County Officers, the Sixth Principal Meridian being the 
dividing line. The former Jones, in the divorcement, retaining 
the name of Jefferson, and the former Jefferson assuming the name 
of Thayer. 

Jefferson is located in the southeastern part of the State, in the 
fourth tier of Counties west of the Missouri Kiver, and is bounded 
on the north by Saline and east by Gage County, south by the 
State of Kansas, and west by Thayer County, containing about 552 
square miles, or 353,280 acres of land, at an average elevation of 
1,200 feet above the sea level. 

The Otoe Indian Reservation cuts off about twenty-four square 
miles from the soutlieast corner of the County. 

The principal water courses are the Little Blue Elver, Big and 
Little Sandy, Eose, Cub and Rock Creeks. 

The Little Blue River runs diagonally through the County 
from northwest to southeast, and furnishes splendid water power. 
It has an average depth of two feet, with a rapid current, flowing 
over a hard, gravelly bottom. 

Big and Little Sandy Creeks water the northwestern portion, 
and are tributaries of the liittle Blue. They afford some good mill 

Rose Creek is a beautiful stream with numerous branches, flow- 
ing in an easterly course tlirough the southwestern portion of the 
County, and emptying into the Little Blue. Cub Creek waters the 
northeastern portion, and Rock Creek the southeastern portion of 
the County. Springs are numerous. 

Timber. — There is considerable native timber in the County, 
the streams all furnishing a fair supply. Tlie Little Blue is bor- 
dered with a fine growth of oak, elm, cottonwood, walnut, ash, 
maple, etc. Jefferson reports more timber under cultivation than 
any otlier County in the State, the number of trees being 3,612,220. 
Nearly every farm has a large grove, and many of them are enclosed 
by honey-locust or osage orange hedging. 

Johnson's history of Nebraska. 401 

Fruit. — The number of trees reported under cultivation was 
as follows: Apple, 10,601; pear, 216; peach, 13,516; plum, 1,906; 
cherry, 2,751, and grape vines, fifty-two acres. 

Stone and Clay. — Limestone of an excellent quality is abun- 
dant. It burns readily and makes a fine white lime. Eed sand- 
stone is found in certain localities. There are extensive deposits of 
potters' clay, and brick clay of the very finest quality abounds in 
large quantities. 

Character of the Land. — The surface of the country is made 
up largely of undulating prairie, much of it nearly level, but suffi- 
ciently porous to effectually absorb the rainfall in a reasonably short 
time. The soil is fertile and well adapted for wheat, and all kinds 
of small grain. On the Little Blue there are rich, wide bottom 
lands, the valley rising in beautiful slopes and undulations toward 
the low rounded hills which encircle it on either side. In some 
places there are precipitous ravines through the dark-colored sand- 
stone which crop out on these hills. 

Eose Creek flows throuo-h a fine rich vallev, the surface on the 
south side being somewhat hilly, but affording an excellent grazing 
range for stock and sheep. Big and Little Sandy, Cub and Kose 
Creeks have fine bottoms, and beautiful lands adjacent. The soil 
is everywhere fertile, the natural grasses rich and abundant, and 
good water plentiful, except on the uplands, where, for stock pur- 
poses, the lack of living water may be compensated by windmills. 

Historical. — The pioneers of Jefferson County arrived within 
its present limits as early as in 1854— Jack Nye having the honor 
of being the first — and established themselves along the east bank 
of the Little Blue on the old overland route to California and Pike's 
Peak, where they erected rude cabins and made some efforts at 
tilling the soil ; but they were continually harassed by Indians, 
from whose savage onslaughts they were often obliged to flee to the 
older settlements for safety, leaving behind and losing all they 
possessed, and it was not until several years had elapsed that a per- 
manent foot-hold was maintained, and thrifty farms began to make 
their appearance. 

After the departure of the Indians, and when the country had 
become more tranquil, emigration poured in very rapidly and 
soon all the best Government land was taken; the Little Blue was 


-i02 Johnson's history of Nebraska. 

well settled, and claims were taken on all tlie streams; towns were 
laid out, and in 1871 the organization of the County was effected. 

In 1874 a colony of Eusso-Germans, numbering 350 persons, 
located on 27,000 acres of land in town 3, range 3, east, consisting 
of high rolling prairie, destitute alike of water or timber. Undis- 
mayed by these disadvantages, the colonists at once began the im- 
provement of their farms by boring wells for wind mills, and the 
•planting of large quantities of forest and fruit trees, and now their 
eettlement will compare favorably with any in the County. Con- 
spicuous for its size and substantial improvements, is the stock 
farm of Cornelius Jansen & Sons, which embraces about two 
sections of land. Under the energetic management of Mr. P. 
Jansen, good buildings, stables and corrals have been erected, and 
wells bored and supplied with pumps and wind mills by which a 
constant supply of good water is obtained. Mr. Jansen has large 
herds of merino sheep and fine blooded stock, the breeding of which 
is made a specialty. 

A County Agricultural Society was organized in 1874, the first 
fair being held in October, 1876. The Society has about fifty acres 
enclosed near Fairbury, which embraces an excellent half mile 

The St. Joe and Denver City Railroad was built through the 
County in 1872. It follows the valley of the Little Blue, the 
length of the road in the County being 27.46 miles. 

Public Schools. — Number of districts, 64; school houses, 56 
children of school age, males, 1,256, females, 1,115, total, 2,371 
number of children that attended school during the year, 1,509 
number of qualified teachers employed, males, 46, females, 52 
wages paid teachers for the year, males, $5,143.08, females, 
$4,838.32, total, $9,981.40; value of school houses, $27,120; value 
of sites, $1,948.50; value of books and apparatus, $921.50. 

Taxable Property. — Acres of land, 318,063, average value 
per acre, $2.22; value of town lots, $87,090; money invested in 
merchandise, $47,415; money used in merchandise, $3,891; num- 
ber of horses, 3,116, value, $84,265; mules and asses, 309, value, 
$9,717; neat cattle, 6,197, value, $50,360; sheep, 5,029, value, 
$4,852; swine, 11,247, value, $13,035; vehicles, 1,068, value 
$15,264; moneys and credits, $26,218; mortgages, $5,763; stocks, 

Johnson's history of Nebraska. 403 

$68; furniture, $13,492; libraries, $725; property not enumerated, 
$32,202; railroads, $118,984.18; total valuation for 1879, $1,221,- 

Crops. — Acres under cultivation, 35,864; winter wlieat, 237 
acres, 4,493 bushels; spring wheat, 12,771 acres, 126,285 bushels; 
rje, 1224 acres, 31,363 bushels; corn, 10,650 acres, 376,315 bushels; 
barley, 2,100 acres, 50,899 bushels; oats, 1,649 acres, 58,693 bushels; 
buckwheat, 10 acres, 146 bushels; sorghum, 17 acres, 3,845 gal- 
lons; flax, 271 acres, 2,510 bushels; potatoes, 170 acres, 18,195 
bushels; onions, 2|- acres, 200 bushels. 

Lands — Improved lands are worth from $6 to $20 per acre- 
The B. & M. and other railroad companies own several thousand 
■acres here, tlie price of which ranges from $5 to $8 per acre. 

Population. — The following are the names of the precincts 
a,nd population of each in 1879: Buckley, 494; Meridian, 448; 
Lincoln, 117; Eureka, 262; Antelope, 446; Fairbury, 1,095; Eich- 
land, 488; Washinguon, 334; Newton, 1,108; Rock Creek, 290; 
€ub Creek, 518; Gibson, 249; Jefferson, 176; Plymouth, 255. 

Total,— 6,280,— males, 3,377, females, 2,903. 


The County Seat, has 1,000 inhabitants, and is a beautiful city. It 
occupies a fine plateau on the east side of the Little Blue, near the 
center of the County, and was laid out in 1870, by Messrs. Mc- 
Dowell and Mattingly. The St. Joe and Penver Railway was com- 
pleted to this point in 1872, since which time the growth of the 
city has been steady and uniform. Elevators and other conven- 
iences have been erected to facilitate the large shipments of grain 
and Stock. All classes of business are well represented here. It 
has a commodious Court House, a fine school building, accommo- 
dating a graded school, and several handsome CJiurches, represent- 
ing the Baptist, Methodist, Christian and Presbyterian Congrega- 
tions. The Gazette and Telegraph, two well-managed weekly 
papers, are published here. The Fairbury Flouring Mills, owned 
by Messrs. Champlin & McDowell, will rank with the best in the 
State. They occupy a large three-story building with stone base- 
ment, situated on a side track of the railroad, and the power is 
transmitted from the river by a wire cable, a distance of 730 feet. 

40-i Johnson's history of Nebraska. 

The dam built across the river by the mill company affords over 
200 horse power, of which only about one-fourth is usei at present 
bj the mill. 


Situated in the valley of the Blue, and on the line of the St. Joe 
and Denver Railway, thirteen miles southwest of the County Seat, 
is a prosperous town of 400 inhabitants. It was laid out in 1872 
by Mr. Abner Baker, and has gradually grown into one of the best 
business centers and largest shipping stations on the line of the 
above mentioned railroad. It contains several stores, a flouring 
mill and other business establishments, a graded school, excellent 
Church advantages, grain warehouses, etc. The New West IndeXy 
a first-rate weekly paper, is published here. 


Is a flourishing business town situated on Hose Creek in the south- 
western part of the County. A pottery establishment has been in 
operation here for some years past and turns out large quantities 
of earthenware. There are also good stores, a Church, large school 
house and a number of neat dwellings. Mark's Mills, by which 
name the town was formerly known, are located here. The sur- 
rounding country is well settled and fertile, and good building 
stone is abundant in the vicinity. 

Rock Creek, Georgetown, Bower, Plymouth, Jefferson, 
Meridian, and Little Sandy are the centers of close farming com- 


Johnson County, named in honor of General R. M. Johnson, 
U. S. Army, was created by an Act of the first Territorial Legisla- 
ture, March 2, 1855, and organized in the fall of 1856. It is 
located in the southeastern part of the State, bounded on the north 
by Otoe, east by Nemaha, south by Pawnee, and west by Gage 
Counties, containing 378 square miles, or 231,920 acres. 

Water Courses. — The Great Nemaha River, the principal 
Stream of the County, flows diagonally through the central por- 


tions, fi-om the northwest to the southeast corner, affording supe- 
rior mill privileges, and having several fine tributaries on either 
side. The principal creeks are Spring, Deer, Turkey, Yankee and 
Silver. Branches of the Little Nemaha Eiver water the northeast- 
ern portion of the County. Every township has a stream passing 
through it, fed by never-failing springs. Well water is reached at 
a depth varying from twenty -five to sixty feet. 

Timber. — There is plenty of timber in the County for fuel. 
The larger streams have a fine natural growth on their margins, 
and domestic groves are everywhere to be seen. 1,400 acres of 
forest trees are reported under cultivation, besides 647 miles of 
hedfje fencino-. 

Fruit. — Apple trees, 46,821; pear, 974; peach, 82,262; plum, 
1,957; cherry, 8,024; grape vines, 6 acres. 

Coal is found in thin seams at a depth varying from twenty 
to one hundred feet. Beds have been opened and worked for sev- 
eral years past. 

Limestone crops out along the hill sides, and is easily quarried 
and worked. The Court House and several of the school houses 
of the County are constructed of this material. 

Character of the Land. — The surface of the country consists 
principally of gently rolling prairie, about fifteen per cent, being 
valley, bordered with occasional steep blufls. The Great Nemaha 
Yalley, wdiich divides the County into two nearly equal parts, aver- 
ages about two miles in width. Fine bottoms are also found along 
the smaller streams. There is scarcely any waste land, and the soil 
is very productive. 

Crops. — Area in cultivation, 70,789 acres. Winter wheat 819 
acres, 13,107 bushels; spring wheat 9,219 acres, 165,852 bushels; 
rye 2,957 acres, 44,485 bushels; corn 38,742 acres, 1,549,697 bush- 
els; barley 3,307 acres. 49,615 bushels; oats 3,933 acres, 117,979 
bushels; buckwheat, forty-seven acres, 705 bushels; sorghum, fifty- 
one acres, 4,500 gallons; flax 107 acres, 748 bushels; potatoes, 158 
acres, 11,943 bushels; tobacco, 2,000 pounds; onions, 586 bushels. 

Historical. — The two first permanent settlers in the County 
were James Higgles and Isaac Irwin, both natives of Indiana. 
They settled three miles southeast of Tecumseh, early in the spring 
of 1856; the first house being built on the northeast quarter of 


Johnson's history of Nebraska. 

section ten, town four, range eleven. These were followed sooi> 
after by John Maulding, Price, Corson, Walker, Loomis, Baker,. 
Lawrence, W. H. Strong, IT. B. Stiong, Sharrett, Swallow, Hol- 
brook, Goshen, Darbj, Little, Drake, Bentz and Cochran. 

The winter of 1856-57 was a terribly severe one on the settlers, 
and in many cases the suffering was extrenje. They had to haul 
their provisions from the Eiver towns, across the trackless snow, 
on hand-sleds, a distance of from twenty-five to thirty-five miles. 

Mr. J. C. Lawrence represented the County in the Legislature 
of 1856-5T. 


At the first election for County Ofiicers, held in the fall of 
1856, the following were chosen: W. P. Walker, J. D. Mntchmore, 
J. B. Sharrett, County Commissioners; James Bishop, Probate 
Judge; Charles A. Goshen, Register; Cyrus Wright, Sherifi"; James 

Johnson's history of Nebraska. 407 

A. Little, Treasurer; Amos A. Brewer, Surveyor; J. B. Ilaynes, 
Superintendent of Public Schools; Eobert Wright and N. B. 
Strong, Constables; Israel Looniis, Justice of the Peace. 

The County Seat was located at Tecumseh, February J.?. LSoT. 

The first saw-mill in the County was built by Mnnlclir.g & 
Moore, at Tecumseh, in 1856-57. It was replaced in IS^il by a 
flouring mill by Alexander and S. W. Bivens, who still own and 
run the property. This was the first flouring mill in ll.c County. 
"Wood & Co., erected a saw-mill at Butler, in ISi'u. :iim1 in 1^(.)5 it 
was turned into a grist mill by H. B. Strong. A now llo'ijin >• 
mill was built upon the site of the old mill, by Albi-:glit iSr Codv, 
in 1872. Solomon Gould erected a saw-mill on section ten, town 
six, Helena Precinct, in 1864. Fanning & Ilall built a steam saw- 
mill at Yesta, in 1866. William Mann erected a first-class flouring 
mill at Sterling, on the Great J^emaha Eiver, in 1869-70. Mc- 
Clure & Root built a saw-mill on the Nemaha, above Sterling, in 

The highways of the County are kept in good condition — all 
the principal streams being spanned with substantial bridges, sev- 
eral of which are of iron. A bridge was erected at Bivens' Mill, 
in 1856, which was replaced by a more substantial structure in 
1866, the City of Brownville donating $800 towards its erection. 
Nebraska City donated money to build a bridge at Helena, in 1860, 
across the Little Nemaha Piver. The first iron bridge in the State 
of Nebraska was built across the Nemaha Piver, at Tecumseh, in 

The Southwest Pailroad, from Nebraska City to Tecnmseh, 
was surveyed in 1869. The Atchison & Nebraska P. P. was sur- 
veyed and located in 1871. The Brownville & Fort Kearney P. 
P. was surveyed and located in 1872. 

The Atchison & Nebraska — the only good road yet constructed 
through the County — ran the first cars to Tecumseh in April, 1872, 
and gave an excursion to the people of the County to Atchison 
and return — five hundred people availing themselves of the oppor- 

The Catholics erected the first Church building in the County, 
at Tecumseh, in 1868. It was dedicated by Father Emmanuel; 
cost of building, $700. 

408 Johnson's uistory of Nebraska. 

A Presbjtei-ian Cliurcli v/as erected at Helena, in the year 
1S70. This was the first Protestant Church in the County; cost, 

The Christian Church at Tecnmseh was erected by voluntary 
subscription, in 1S71; cost, $1,800. 

The first Methodist Church in the County was erected at Te- 
cumseh, in 18T0, and was dedicated by Kev. T. B. Lemon. 

The Lutheran Church, at Helena, was built in 1870. 

The First Presbyterian Church, at Tecuniseh, and the seconu 
in the County, was erected in 1873, and dedicated in February, of 
that year, by Rev. Cleeland, of Iowa; cost of building, $2,600. 

The First Methodist Episcopal Church, at Sterling, was built 
in 1875, and dedicated by Eev. J. H. Pearson; cost of building, 

The Baptist Church of Sterling, was built in 1876, being the 
first of this Denomination in the County; cost, $1,500. 

Church services and Sabbath Schools are now held in every 
Precinct in the County. 

James Price, son of Ansford Price, was the first child born in 
the County. 

Mrs. Radley was the first person interred in the Tecumseb 

The first newspaper published in the County was the Tecum- 
Beh Gazette, in 1868, by Presson & Andrews. It was burnt out in 
1869. The Tecumseh Chieftain succeeded the Gazette in 1869. 
The Tecumseh Herald was established in 1872, and afterwards con- 
Bolidated with the Chieftain. 

The first banking house in the County was established at 
Tecumseh, August 1st, 1871, by James D. Pussell and Chas A. 
Holmes. The first brick building in the County was erected by the 
Bame parties, at Tecumseh, in 1873, at a cost of $7,000. The lower 
part of the building is used by the banking house and stores, the 
upper portion by the Masonic, Odd Fellows, and other Lodge rooms. 

The first threshing machine was brought into the County in 
1872; the first harvesting machine in 1864; both were owned by 
Mr. Andrew Cook. 

Public Schools. — The first frame school house in the County 
was erected at Tecumseh, in 1856, by J. C. Lawrence. In 1879 



there were, school districts, sixty-five; school houses, sixty-two; 
children of school age — males 1,340, females 1,230, total 2,570; 
total number of children that attended school during the year, 1,766; 
number of qualified teachers employed — males, thirty-six, females, 
fifty-seven, total, ninety-three; wages paid teachers for the year, 
males, $4,984.66, females, $6,093.10, total, $11,077.76; value ol 
school houses, $28,396; value of sites, $1,325; value of books etc., 


Taxable PROPERTY.-Acres of land, 229,130; average value 
per acre $3 22. Yalue of town lots, $67,550. Money invested 
in merchandise, $34,550; money used in manufactures, $15,3b5; 
number of horses 3,494, value $68,695; mules 344, value $8,442; 

4J0 Johnson's history of Nebraska. 

neat cattle 7,280, value $52,181.; sheep J, 334, value $670.00; 
swine 14,257, value $14,058; vehicles 932, value $11,611; moneys 
and credits, $10,472; mortgages, $6,830; stocks, $12.00; furniture, 
$8,909; libraries, $255; property not enumerated, $15,207. Eail- 
roads, $128,243.92. Total valuation for 1879, $1,201,164.92. 

Miscellaneous. — The price of land ranges from $4.00 to $10.00 
per acre, wild, and $5.00 to $25.00, improved. There are twenty- 
six miles of railway, thirteen Cliurches, three newspapers, one 
bank and four flouring mills in the County. 

Population. — The following are the Precincts and population 
of each in 1879: Yesta, 853; Helena, 607; Todd Creek, 929; 
Lincoln, 529; Spring Creek, 535; Nemaha, 1,695; Sterling, 
1,160. Total population of County, 6,302 — males, 3,391, females,. 


The County Seat, has 1,400 inhabitants. It is situated in the val- 
ley of the Great Nemaha, near the geographical center of the 
County, and was located and surveyed in 1856. The town was first 
christened " Frances," after -the wife of General R. M.Johnson, 
but the name was shortly afterwards changed to Tecumseh, the 
name of the famous Indian warrior, who is supposed to have been 
killed in battle by General Johnson. 

Tecumseh is the largest city on the line of the Atchison & 
Nebraska Eailroad in Nebraska, south of Lincoln and west of Falls 
City. Her shipping and general merchandise trade is very large. 
The general business of the place is represented by an array of as 
finely fitted up stores and oflfices as can be found anywhere in a. 
town of its size in the west. It contains one steam and one water 
power flouring mill, two stock yards, large elevators and grain ware- 
houses, two weekly newspapers, the Chieftain and the dournal, sev- 
eral Churches, etc. The court house was erected in 1868 at a cost of 
$2,800. It is built of stone and stands in the center of the city, 
the grounds fenced in and ornamented with shade trees. In 1873^ 
a magnificent stone school building was erected at a cost of $10,000 ; 
arcliitect and builder, Mr. W. L. Dunlap. The County jail was 
erected in 1873. It is a solid stone structure, and is a terror to- 
evil-doers. A splendid iron bridge — said to have been the first 

JOHJSISOn's history of NEBRASKA. 


erected in the State — spans the river at this point, which, besidea 
the great convenience it affords the general public, is the means of 
drawing an immense trade from the country lying to the south- 



On the line of tlfe A. & N. Raih-oad, twelve miles northwest of Te* 
cumseh, was surveyed in 1870, and at present contains seven hun- 
dred and fifty inhabitants. It is nicely located in the valley of the 
Nemaha and has excellent mill privileges close at hand. A first- 
class fiouring mill was erected here in 1870 by Wm. Mann, and 
is kept running to its full capacity. A substantial bridge spans the 
river, adding greatly to the business of the place. The Methodist 
Church was°erected in 1875, at a cost of $800. The Baptist Church 



was built in 187G and cost $1,500. The town is building up very 
rapidly and is now the next best business point on the line of the 
A. & N. Eoad after Tecumseh. It contains a couple dozen stores 
and other business houses, eood hotels, fine shi])])ing facilities, 
large lumber yards, elegant school house and a flourishing weekly 
newspa^^er, the News. 

Johnson's history of Nebraska. 413 

elk: creek 

Is a prosperous town of 300 inhabitants located on the A. & ]S[. 
Raih'oad seven miles southeast of the County Seat. It was survey- 
ed in 1873. An excellent water-power flouring mill is in operation 
here. The town is well provided with stores, has good Church and 
school privileges, a lumber yard, elevator, stock yards, etc. 


Is located on the south branch of the Little Kemaha Hiver in the 
north eastern part of the County. It was surveyed in 1867 and 
for awhile improved very rapidly. In 1870 the Presbyterians and 
Lutherans each erected neat houses of worship here. Good 
bridges span the streams in the vicinity, and make this a center for 


Is situated nine miles west of the County Seat, in the midst of a 
well-settled farming region. It was laid out as a town several 
years ago and has improved steadily as a business point. Fanning 
& Hall erected a steam saw mill here in 1866. There are now good 
stores, several mechanics' shops, fine school house, and other evi- 
dences of prosperity. 

Spring Ceeek, Crab Orchard, and Latrobe are Postoffices in 
the County. 


Keith County was organized in July, 1873. It is located in 
the western part of the State, bounded on the north by unorganized 
territory, east by Lincoln County, south by Hayes and Chase 
Counties, and west by State of Colorado and Cheyenne County, 
containing 2,016 square miles, or 1,290,240 acres, at an average 
elevation of 3,190 feet above the sea level. 

The County is watered by the North and South Forks of the 
Platte River and their tributaries. The :N'orth Fork flows in a 
southeasterly direction, and the South Fork in a northeasterly 

414: Johnson's uistory of Nebraska. 

direction tliroiigli tlie County, running nearly parallel and 
from three to six miles apart for the latter half of the distance. 

Timber is scarce in the County. Scattered quantities are 
found along the Plattes and in the canyons. 

With the exception of the valleys of the Plattes, which are 
here from two to five miles wide, the surface of the country con- 
sists of rolling prairie and tables, with high bluff and deep canyons 
along the streams. The prairies, with the aid of irrigation, may be 
made to yield excellent crops of small grain and vegetables. Very 
little attention is given to agriculture, however, stock-raising 
being the almost exclusive industry engaged in. 

Keith is one of the greatest stock Counties in the State, and 
annually ships thousands of fat cattle to the Eastern markets. 
There are several ranches established in favorable localities whose 
herds are numbered by the thousands of head, and no country 
possesses finer advantages for the business. Tiie high plains and 
slopes produce nutritious grasses, which, when ripe, dry upon the 
etock, forming uncut hay superior to that prepared by the most 
■careful curing in the agricultural States, and upon which stock 
subsist, in excellent condition, the year through. The canyons or 
liollows among the bluffs skirting the streams furnish protection 
and shelter to the stock during storms. 

The first permanent settlements in the County were made in 
1867, at the time of the building of the Union Pacific Paih-oad, 
which traverses tlie County from east to west, following the Yalley 
of the South Platte. 

During the building of the railroad through the County, con- 
siderable trouble was had with the Indians, evei'y now and then; 
and even after the road was completed, attempts to wreck the trains 
were frequent. In September, 186S, a band of Sioux attempted to 
destroy a train between Alkali and Ogalalla. They fixed the rails 
the same as at Plum Creek, raising one end of each rail about 
three feet high, and piling ties under them fur support. As the 
train came up, the rails peneti'ated the cylinders on each side of 
the engine, as it was a straight track there; the engine going over 
into the ditch, with the cars piling up on top of it. The engineer 
and one of the brakemen who was on the engine at the time, wer^ 
thrown through the window of the cab, and were but little hurt. 


The fireman was fastened by the tender against the end of the 
boiler, and after the train had stopped, there being no draft, the 
flames of the fire came out of the door to the fire-box upon him, 
and the poor fellow was literally roasted alive. He was released 
after six hours in this terrible position, during which he be^-ged 
the attendants to kill him, but lived only a few moments after his 
release. All the trains at this time carried arms; and the conduc- 
tor, with two or three passengers, among whom was Father Eyan, 
a Catholic Priest of Columbus, Nebraska, seized the arms and de- 
fended the train — the Indians meanwhile skulking amono- the 
blufl's near the track, and occasionally firing a shot. Word was 
eent to North Platte, and an engine and men came up, who cleared 
the wreck. Meanwhile word was sent to Major North, then at 
Willow Island, to take one company of his scoiits and follow the 
Indians. He came to Alkali and reported to Colonel Mizner, who 
was marching for North Platte with two companies of cavalry, all 
■of whom started in pursuit. They went over to the North Platte 
Kiver, crossed that stream, and entered the sand-hills, where the 
€Couts overtook and killed two of the Indians, the whole party go- 
ing about thirty-five miles, to a little lake, where the main body 
of the Indians had just left, and camped, finding the smouldering 
•embers of the Indian fires still alive. That night, some of the 
■white soldiers let their camp fires get away into the prairie, and an 
immense prairie fire was the result. This, of course, alarmed the 
Indians, and further pursuit was abandoned, much to to the disgust 
of the scouts. 

Taxable Pkoperty. — Acres of land, 240; average value })er 
acre, $1.00. Yalue of town lots, $2,485. Money invested in mer- 
chandise, $1,800; money used in manufactures, $11,780; horses 
192, value $3,080; mules, six, value $200; neat cattle 19,094, value 
$115,032; swine, twenty-four, value $46; vehicles, fifteen, value 
$450; moneys and credits, $450; mortgages, $250; furniture, $590; 
railroad, $425,006; telegraph, $3,485. Total valuation for 1879, 

The Union Pacific Kailroad Company owns many thousands 
of acres of land in' this County, and the balance is nearly all gov- 
ernment land. 

The estimated population of the County, in 1879, was 274. 

416 Johnson's history of Nebraska.., 
The Coiintj Seat, is situated on the Union Pacific Railroad, 351 
miles west of Omaha, and near the geographical center of the 
County. It is the headquarters of an immense cattle trade, Texas 
and other cattle beino; driven here for distribution to the various 
ranches. It is also a great shipping point for stock. It contains 
two large general merchandise stores, two hotels, a school house? 
blacksmith shops, etc., and about one hundred and twenty-five 
permanent inhabitants, althougli during the shipping season it 
has a large floating population and business is very brisk. 

Alkaxi, Eoscoe and Brule, are small stations on the railroad. 


Kearney County was created by an Act of the Territorial Leg- 
islature in 1859, and named in honor of General Phil. Kearney? 
IT. S. A., who established the military post of Fort Ilearney, in 
1848. In 1873 the Legislature redefined the boundaries of the 
County as they exist at present. It lies in the south-central part 
of the State, bounded on the north by the Platte River, which 
separates it from Bufialo County, east by Adams, south by Frank- 
lin, and West by Phelps County, containing 505 square miles, or 
323,200 acres, at an average elevation of 2,100 feet above the sea 

"Water Courses. — The Platte River washes the northern 
border of the County, while the southern and eastern portions 
are drained by numerous feeders of the Republican and Little 
Blue Rivers. 

Character of the Land. — The northern portion of the County 
is included in the wide fertile bottoms of the Platte, which, with 
the valleys of the smaller streams, comprise about twenty per cent, 
of the area; the remainder consisting of broad tables, rolling prairie 
and a small per cent, blufi: A large proportion is very nearly level 
prairie which drains by percolation to the strata below, while in 
the southwestern portion of the County there are numerous hollows 

Johnson's history of Nebraska. 417 

in wliicli lakelets are formed. Well water can be had almost any- 
where on the uplands at a depth of forty to 100 feet. The soil ia 
well adapted to the growth of cereal crops and yields bonntifully 
wherever tested. 

Timber. — With the exception of the small quantities found 
along the Platte and on the islands of that stream, there is scarcely 
any timber of natural growth in the County. The artificial groves 
are now well grown and present a fine appearance on the broad 
prairies. 668,944. forest trees are reported under cultivation, besides 
four miles of hedge fencing. 

Fruit. — The number of fruit trees planted up to 1879, was as 
follows: Apple, 1,185; pear, 13, peach, 1,696, plum; 255, cherry, 

Historical. — The Fort Kearney Reservation, which occupied 
a tract of land ten miles square, lying on either side of the Phitte 
River, mostly in Kearney County, was set apart by the general 
Government for the establishment of a fort thereon for the protec- 
tion of emigrants traveling across the Continent to California and 
the Territories. A detachment of Missouri volunteers first erected 
and occupied a small fort here, which they named Fort Childs, after 
their commanding officer, and which was also made a depot by the 
Mormons while crossing the plains to Salt Lake. In 1848, Col. 
Phil. Kearney arrived here with the Second United States Dragoons, 
rebuilt the fort, planted shade trees, and made other substantial 
improvements, and the name of Fort Kearney w^as given to the 
Post, after its distinguished commander. 

The Fort being located on the main overland road across the 
plains, in the midst of powerful and hostile tribes of Indians, at 
once became the central point ot rendezvous between the settle- 
ments in the eastern part of the State and the Rocky Mountains, 
and extended its sheltering arms to many a weary pilgrim band to 
the Far West. 

The following troops have guarded at the Fort in the order 
named, viz.: The Missouri Volunteers, Second United States Dra- 
goons, Sixth United States Infantry, Fourth United States Artil- 
lery, Second United States Infantry, Third United States Artillery, 
Th'irteenth United States Infantry, Ninth United States Infantry, 
Second United States Cavalry, Tenth United States Infantry, 


418 Johnson's iiistoky of Nebraska. 

Seventh Iowa Cavalry, First Nebraska Cavalry, Second Nebraska 
Cavalry, Nebraska Militia, Ninth Ohio Cavalry, Twelfth Missouri 
Infantry, and Fourteenth Kansas Infantry, besides New York, 
Michigan, Massachusetts and Tennessee Regiments for short 
periods each. 

The commanding officers have been as follows: Capt. Childs, 
Col. Phil. Kearney, Capt. E. B. Wharton, Maj. R. E. Morris, Col. 
C. A. May, Capt. E. McCown, Col. E. B. Alexander, Col. Miles, 
•Gen. Carrington, Gen. Gibbon, Col. Foulke, Major Dallas, Capt. 
Pollock, Capt. Teuton, Col. E.. Livingstone, Col. Baumer, Capt. 
Gillette, Major Wood, Gen. H. H. Heath, Col. Sumner, Capt. C. 
L. Tyler, etc. 

At first the buildings of the Fort were made of sod and sun- 
dried brick, or adobe, but when Col. C. A. May took command, in 
1858, he had two saw mills erected, and they were rebuilt with 
Cottonwood lumber sawed from the timber on the islands of the 
Platte. The trees which tower up so magnificently and shade the 
grounds around, were planted in 1848. 

The winter of 1856-57 was a remarkably severe one at the 
Fort. About the 9th of February, a, terrific snow storm came up 
which buried all the one story houses under. A young man 
employed in the sutler's store, having to go from his boarding house 
in one part of the Fort to his lodging place in another, missed his 
■way in the blinding storm and perished, his remains being found 
in April following, by some Pawnees, several miles distant. 

While Major Morris was in command of the Fort, serious 
trouble was apprehended with the Pawnees. A Pawnee boy had 
been killed by a soldier — whether accidentally or in a quarrel it is 
not known — which greatly excited them, and they came to the Fort 
in full force, in war-paint and feathers, and fully armed, to demand 
satisfaction of the Commanding Officer. Every avenue to the Post 
was lined with Pawnees. The Major, liowever, in his bold, blunt 
way, soon disposed of them, and they retired, but night after nigh^ 
the islands of the Platte resounded with their war songs and yells. 

At the breaking out of the Rebellion in 1861, Capt. C. L. Tyler, 
Second U. S. Dragoons, was in command of the Fort. His sym- 
pathies were altogether with the South; and under the pretext that 
a large body of Rebels were coming to take the Fort, he ordered the 

Johnson's history of Nebraska. 419 

sixteen brass field pieces on the parade ground to be spiked, so that 
they might be rendered useless to the enemy. This order caused 
the greatest excitement among the troops, who, suspecting treach- 
ery, threatened to take the life of the Commander, but that ofiicer 
was soon on his way to the Confederate lines. He afterwards 
became a General in the Kebel Army, and was captured and con- 
fined at Fort LaFayette. 

The first settlement near the Fort was made in 1859, by Col. 
Scott, C. A. Pliant, Alex. Constant and others, who put up a house 
and named the place Central City. John A. Morrow and John 
Holland soon afterwards bought the house and settled there. 

About the same time Dr. Ransom, Dr. C. A. Henry, John 
Young, J. E. Boyd, L. Miller and others, from Omaha, laid out 
Kearney City. Several houses were immediately erected, a large 
hotel built, stores opened, town lots sold, a city government organ- 
ized, and for a few years it was a very flourishing place, and being 
situated on the ovei'land road, did an immense trade with the emi- 
grants and soldiers. At one election over 300 votes were polled in 
the city. 

In 1860 Kearney City was made the County Seat, and the 
County government organized by the appointment of full Board 
of County Ofiicers by the Governor as follows: Commissioners, J. 
Tracy, Amos O. Hook and Moses Sydenham; Clerk, C. A. Henry; 
Probate Judge, J. Talbut; Treasurer, John Holland; Sherifi", Tom 


Is another of the early towns of the County, long since abandoned. 
It was laid out by John Lott and Amos Hook, and was a station 
-on the overland road, situated a mile or two northwest of where 
Lowell now stands. At one time it was a very promising place, 
and contained several merchandise stores and hotels, and received 
a daily mail. 

The hostility of the Cheyennes and Sioux during the winter 
of 1863-4, which culminated in a general Indian war the following 
summer, put a complete check to the further settlement of the 
County, in fact most of the settlers abandoned their homes and 
took their families to places of security in the older settlements 
further east; the flourishing young towns were mostly destroyed 

420 Johnson's history of Nebraska. 

and the County very nearly depopnlated — officials and all leaving. 
All the settlements and ranches in the Platte Valley, west of Fort 
Kearney, and on the Little Blue and Republican Rivers, were anni- 
hilated that summer by the Indians; the overland stage ceased run- 
ning, and emigrant trains were not allowed to cross the plains by 
the military, unless there were fifty or more wagons together. 
Occasionally, however, small trains of a dozen wagons or so would 
manage to elude the Military by taking a wide circuit around the 
Fort, and proceed on their journey; but they frequently paid dearly 
for their temerity. 

On the 13th of August, 1864, a mule train of twelve wagons, 
from Council Bluffs, Iowa, was attacked by the Cheyennes at Plum 
Creek, about thirty-five miles west of Fort Kearney, and every man 
belonging to it — thirteen in number — was killed, and two women 
and one child taken prisoners. The Indians came up to the train 
in an apparently friendly manner, just as it was about starting, and 
while the drivers were sitting on their wagons, the signal was given, 
and in a minute's time every man of the train lay a corpse. After 
helping themselves to what plunder they w^anted, and setting fire 
to the wagons, the Indians placed the two women captives upon 
ponies, tying their ankles together underneath, and then hurriedly 
lett the scene of the massacre, going in a southwesterly direction 
toward the Republican River. A company of soldiers followed 
their trail, but did not succeed in overtaking them. The mother 
of the child, during the flight dropped handkerchiefs and articles. 
of the child's clothing, so that their trail might be followed, but to 
no purpose. The first night of their flight, an Indian took the 
child from its mother, and that was the last she ever saw of it. 
She was told that it had been killed. The captives were taken to 
ISTew Mexico, and a year or two afterwards, through the influence 
of an Indian trader, at Santa Fe, were bought back from the Indians 
and restored to their friends. 

The ran che next above Hopeville, several miles west of Fort 
Kearney, was also destroyed that summer, and the man left in 
charge of it killed by the Indians. 

During the construction of the Union Pacific Railroad, the 
second and permanent settlement of the County was begun, and 
continued steadily. 

JOUJSSON's history of NEBRASKA. 421 

In 1872, a re-organization of the County took place and a full 
Board of County Officers were elected, as follows, viz.: Commis- 
sioners, Moses H. Sydenham, N. B. Harap, and J. Brown ; Probate 
Judge, H. T. Cooper; Clerk, W. S. Morlan; Sheriff, F. Roberts; 
Treasurer, A. A. Andrews; Surveyor, Chas. Colt. At this election, 
tlie County Seat was established at Lowell, a town in the north- 
eastern part of the County, which had just been laid out and sur- 

Shortly after this, the Burlington and Missouri River Railroad 
was built in the ('Ouuty, and for a while had its terminus at 
Lowell, which added greatly to the settlement of this vicinity. A 
bridge was also built across the Platte, connecting Lowell with 
Gibbon, a station on the Union Pacific Railroad, and Lowell soon 
rose to prominence as an outfitting point for the large number of 
emigrants that came by these roads and crossed the "divide" at 
Fort Kearney to the Republican valley country. 

In 1873, the grading for the St. Joe and Denver City Railroad 
was completed through the County, to a junction with the Union 
Pacific at Kearney. 

The first newspapers published in the County were the 
Kearney Herald, the Central Star, and the Star of Eminre, all of 
which suspended after a brief existence. 

April 26, 1879, Samuel D. Richards was executed at Minden, 
the County Seat, for the murder, in December, 1878, of Peter 
Anderson, a Swede, of this County, with whom he had been living 
as a hired hand. He killed Anderson with a hammer and buried 
his body in the cellar under a pile of coal. Richards, although but 
twentj-three years of age at the time of his execution, was one of 
the most hardened criminals and fiendish humans of the age. 
Previous to his execution he confessed to this and several other 
murders, the most notable being that of the Harolson family, living 
near Anderson's, and consisting of a mother and her three small 
■children, whom he butchered in the most brutal manner, on the 
night of K'ovember 2, a little over a month previous to the murder 
of Anderson. At the time this occurred Richards was living with 
Mrs. Harolson, her husband having fled the country to escape the 
<jharge of horse stealing. On the night of the murder, Mrs. Harol- 
son sat up very late fixing her children's clothing, intending to 

422 Johnson's history of Nebraska. 

start with them the next day to visit friends in tlie East. About 2 
o'clock, while the tired mother was drowsing on the outside of the 
bed, undressed, Richards smashed in her skull with a heavy flat 
iron. He next served the oldest and next oldest child in the same 
way. The noise awoke the baby which he seized by the ankle and 
dashed its brains out against the floor. He then wrapped the 
bodies in bed sheets and buried them in a trench near a hay stack^ 
where they were afterwards found. Eichards was six feet two 
inches in his stockings. He first came to Nebraska in the early 
part of 1877. 

Schools. — The first schools in the County were conducted at 
Fort Kearney, the Chaplains of the Post usually acting as teachers. 
A school house was erected at old Kearney City, in 1865, Mr. R. 
K. Freeman being the first teacher. The present number of school 
districts is twenty-eight; school houses, thirteen; children of school 
age, males, 441, females, 325, total, 766; whole number of children 
that attended school during the year, 381; number of qualified 
teachers employed, twenty- two; total wages paid teachers for the 
year, $1,982; total value of school property, $4,892.35. 

Taxable Property. — Acres of land, 159,636; average value 
per acre, $1.31 ; value of town lots, $2,975.50; money invested in 
merchandise, $2,885; money used in manufactures, $50; horses, 
1,205, value, $33,406; mules and asses, 173, value, $5,583; neat 
cattle, 1,483, value, $15,844; sheep, 581, value, $581; swine, 2,723, 
value, $1,620; vehicles, 591, value, $6,930; moneys and credits, 
$5,426; mortgages, $2,818; stocks, $30; furniture, $4,403; libraries, 
$89; property not enumerated, $18,037.30; railroads, $117,909.76. 
Total valuation for 1879, $428,814.25. 

Crops. — Acres under cultivation reported for 1879, 21,698. 
"Winter wheat, eleven acres, 180 bushels; spring wheat, 834 acres, 
95,700 bushels; rye, 350 acres, 4,721 bushels; corn, 2,693 acres, 
60,697 bushels; barley, 201 acres, 9,791 bushels; oats, 1,950 acres, 
23,181 bushels; sorghum, six acres, 931 gallons; flax, thirteen acre?, 
109 bushels; broom corn, 1,835 acres, 226 tons; millet, eighty 
eight acres, 250 tons; potatoes, ninety-one acres, 10,664 bushels. 

Railroads and Lands. — The Burlington and Missouri River 
Railroad runs from east to west through the northern portion of 
the County, a distance of 14.68 miles. 

Johnson's history of Nebraska. 423 

The B. & M. and Union Pacific Railroad Companies each own 
a large amount of land in this County, the price of which ranges 
from $2 to $6 per acre. There is also some good Government 
land here. Improved lands are worth from $4 to $18 per acre. 

Population. — The population of the County in 1879 was 2,840, 
being an increase over 1878 of 1,516. 


Situated on the table land near the geographical center of the 
County, was made the County Seat in 1877. It is a very promis- 
ing new town and is growing rapidly. It contains a weekly news- 
paper, the Bee, several good stores, mechanics' shops, Church and 
school advantages, etc. A $5,000 court house is being erected. 


Situated on the B. & M. Pailroad, in the northeastern part of the 
County, contains about 350 inhabitants, a weekly newspaper, the 
Register, a $3,000 school house, several stores, grain ware houses, 
etc. It was surveyed in 1872 by A. B. Smith, and until 1877 was 
the County Seat. A fine brick court house was erected at a cost of 
$15,000. The first building erected on the townsite was the Con- 
tinental Hotel; the first residents were W. "W. Patterson, and ]\Ir. 
"White, Mr. Barney, Mr. Kent and Dr. Cooper settled here at an 
early day; the first family to locate was Mr. T. Munhal's. Lowell 
is an enterprising town and at present the chief shipping point and 
business center of the County. 


In the northwestern part of the County, was laid out on the pro- 
posed line of the St. Joe & Denver Eailroad, but the non-comple- 
tion of that road through the County gave a check to the growth 
of the town. It has a good school house, store, blacksmith shop, 


Is a close farming settlement in the southwestern part of the 
County. The first improvements were made by Wm. C. Walker, 
who established a ranch. It has a Postoffice, store, school house 
and blacksmith shop. 


Johnson's history of Nebraska. 



Located in the middle-western part of the County, was first settled 
by J. Zimmerman, who put up a sod house and stable, dug a well, 
and did a general ranching business. It is now supplied with a 
daily mail and has a good store and school house.. 


Is a small village in the northeastern part of the County. Messrs. 
Huffman, Mather, and Conyer were among the first settlers here. 

Is a Postoffice in the southeastern part of the County. Messrs, 
Mills, "Wells, Fountain, Hill, Pressley and Kelley, who now have 
fine farms in the neighborhood, were among the first settlers of the 


Is a thriving Danish settlement in the central part of the County. 
A well stocked general merchandise store is kept here by J. J. Jen- 
sen & Brother. 


Knox County was organized under the name of L'eau qui 
Court by the Territorial Legislature of 1856-7. In February, 1873, 
the Legialature changed its name to Knox. It is located on the 
northern border of the State, bounded on the north by the Niobrara 
and Missouri Kivers, east by Cedar, south by Pierce and Antelope 
and west by Holt County, containing 1,075 square miles, or 688,- 

000 acres. 

Water Courses.— The County is watered by the Missouri and 
Niobrara Kivers and their tributaries. The Missouri forms about 
two-thirds of the northern boundary line and receives several fine 
tributaries, the largest and most important being Bazile Creek, an 
excellent mill stream, which, with its branches, waters the central 
portions of the County. The Niobrara joins the Missouri after 
forming about one-third of the northern boundary. Verdigris 
Creek, its most important tributary, flows from south to north 

426 Johnson's history of Nebraska. 

throni^h the western portion of the County, and furnishes some 
excellent mill privileges. The North Fork of the Elkhorn River 
waters the southeastern townsiiips of the County, besides which 
there are innumerable smaller streams and springs. 

Timber. — The Missouri and Niobrara are well timbered, as are- 
also the smaller streams, the varieties consisting chiefly of elm, 
hackberry, boxelder, maple, ash, walnut, coffee-bean, red cedar and 
willow. Three hundred and seven acres of forest trees are reported 
under cultivation. 

Fruit. — It is only of late years that fruit culture has received 
any attention. Eight hundred and thirty apple, and a number of 
peach, pear, plum and cherry trees are reported. 

Character of the Land. — Ten per cent, of the area is valley 
and bottom land, the balance consisting of rolling prairie with fre- 
quent high bluffs along the streams, Bazile and Yerdigris Creeks 
have very fine valleys, and considerable rich bottom and bench land 
is found along the smaller streams. The bottoms of the Niobrara 
and Missouri are very wide and fertile. The soil throughout the: 
County is generally of the best character. 

Crops. — The number of acres reported under cultivation for 
1879 was 9,350. Rye, 116 acres, 2,156 bushels; spring wheat, 3,965 
acres, 61,871 bushels; corn, 2,367 acres, 72,170 bushels; barley, 
378 acres, 9,822 bushels; oats, 1,088 acres, 42,445 bushels; buck- 
wheat, nine acres, sixty-five bushels; sorghum, sixteen acres, 1,064 
gallons; potatoes, 153 acres, 19,926 bushels. 

Historical. — June 7th, 1856, Dr. B. Y. Shelley and R. R. 
Cowan, came to the present site of Niobrara, the County Seat, for 
the purpose of locating a town. Being well pleased with the loca- 
tion, they marked out claims and then returned by river to Sioux 
City, Iowa. A town company was formed, called L'eau qui Court 
Company, which shortly afterwards erected some houses upon the 
townsite, and built a fort for the protection of the settlers. The 
Indians soon began to be very troublesome, and during the winter 
of 1856-7 all the houses and improvements, except the "old fort," 
in which the settlers had at that time gone for safety, were burned 
by them. The Indian annoyances continued during the spring of 
1857, numerous acts of hostility were committed and nearly all the 
live stock and other property were destroyed. 

Johnson's history of Nebraska. 427 

During the session of the Territorial Legislature of 1856-7, 
the L'eau qui Court Company was properly and duly incorporated. 
In the Act of Incorporation, the town of Niobrara was located, the 
Company's claim defined, and liberal ferry and bridge privileges 
granted. The claim of the Company embraced almost the entire 
Niobrara bottom for a town site. 

The permanent improvements date from about the first of July,. 
1857, although a small store had been opened a month or two earlier. 
The steamer "Omaha," from St. Louis, laden chiefly for Niobrara, 
landed there June 29, greatly to the bewilderment of the six 
hundred Ponca Indians who swarmed upon the levee. Three days 
later the first frame building was completed in Niobrara. A steam 
saw mill was immediately put in operation, and in little more than- 
three months thereafter, a hotel had been built and opened, at that 
time the largest in Nebraska, being three stories high and costing 
about $10,000. In August of this year, there were over sixty men 
living in Niobrara. At the Territorial election held this month — 
the first election held in the County — there were forty-two votes 
cast. The first United States mail arrived the same month. 

The monetary crisis of 1857 stripped the whole frontier of all 
available funds, destroyed confidence, and stagnated business gen- 
erally, and for the next few years but little was done. The L'eau 
qui Court Company finally failed, and in 1860, " The Niobrara 
Town Company" was organized. The failure of the old Company 
took place before they had secured title to the townsite, and the 
patents were finally issued to the Niobrara Town Company. 
Among the leading men of the old Company were Dr. B. Y. Shel- 
ley, James Tufts, H. W. Harges, J. Austin Lewis, W. H. Benner, 
Geo. W. Gregg and Henry Thompson. The new Company was 
composed of a part of the members of the old Company, and some 
new men, among whom were Dr. Joel A. Potter, J. Shaw Gregory, 
Eobt. M. Hagaman, Walter M. Barnum, F. Weis, and others. The 
patents to the land were issued to the new Company in 1861. 

Of all the old settlers who are now in Niobrara, "Wm. Lamont, 
C. G. Benner and T. N. Paxton, and their families, came in 1858; 
T. G. Hutchinson and H. Westerman, in 1859; Otto E. C. Knud- 
son, in 1860, and Fritz Bruns, in 1862. In 1859 about seventy- 
five men left Niobrara for Pike's Peak. 

428 Johnson's history of Nebraska. 

There were three other settlements of some note in the early 
history of the County, viz: Frankfort, Breckenridge, and Eunning 

Frankfort was first settled in 1856, by S. Loeber, now deceased, 
who opened an Indian trading post liere. Sniuttj'^ Bear had the 
camp of his tribe on tlie other side of the Missouri, malcing this a 
good trading point. In the following year Mr. Loeber was joined 
by his brotlier Justus. The Town was laid out in 1857, and the 
])lat filed in St. James, then the Seat of Justice of Cedar County, 
and was afterwards burned with other records of that County. 
Fifteen or twenty men located here and a number of houses were 
built during this year, and at one time it was thought that Frank- 
fort would be the town on the Upper Missouri. Of the old settlers 
now living about the place, Louis Stettner came to this County in 
1856, Justus Loeber and Chas. Mischke, in 1857, Leonard. Wei gand, 
John Buhrow, John Leder, and Mr. Mettsler, in 1862. 

Breckenridge, now Santee Agency, was located in 1857, b}"- 
Major J. S. Gregory, Dr. Joel A. Potter, the Steinberg Bros., and 
others. This place has the honor of having the first mill in the 

The Running Water settlement, now Pischelville, on the Nio- 
brara, was commenced in 1858, by Judge T. N. Paxtou; He lived 
here five years, and was compelled to leave by the Santee Sioux 

Immigration did not come to the County, after the war, in 
sufficient number to deserve mention, until about 1869 or 1870 
when settlements were started in the valleys of the difterent 
streams. In 1870-71, Indian depredations became so aggravating 
that in January, 1871, a detachment of soldiers was sent from Ft. 
Randall, on the Missouri, under the charge of Sergeant Herko 
Xoster, for the protection of the settlers on the Running Water 
and at other points. 

The first school in the County was taught at Frankfort, in 
1871, by Mrs. Clark. 

The first natural death among the whites in the County was 
that of a Mrs. Smith, in 1859. Tiie next was a Mrs. Young, in 
1861. In the winter of 1857, Charles Rohe was shot through the 
heart, at Frankfort, by Rudolph Grasso. The shooting was the 

Johnson's history of Nebraska. 429 

result of a quarrel. Ko arrest was ever made. In 1859, one 
Frank "West, while drunk in Niobrara, deliberately shot and killed 
a Ponca Indian. No arrest. In 1869, James T. Small was shot 
and killed at his own door, while alone on his claim, nine miles 
above Niobrara. The perpetrators of this murder were never dis- 
covered. In 1870, Alexander Cook was killed, it is supposed by 
Indians, while building the Bazil Mill. The same year, two chil- 
dren of Thomas Brobbanec — one a girl of thirteen, and the other 
a boy about eight years of age — were killed by Indians, supposed 
to be either Pawnees or Sioux. His wife was shot at at the same 
time, but feigned death, and thus escaped with her life. 

The Santee Sioux Indians, numbering about 800, have a reser- 
vation of 115,200 acres in this County, bordering on the Missouri 
River. They are the most peaceable of all the Sioux, wear citizens 
dress, have day schools, farm some, and raise considerable stock. 

Public Schools. — Number of districts, twenty-one; school 
houses, eighteen; children of school age — males 349, females, 319; 
total, 668; number of qualified teachers employed — males, eleven^ 
females, fourteen; total wages paid teachers for the year, $3,024.19; 
value of school houses, $4,774; value of sites, $388; value of 
books and apparatus, $606.62, 

Taxable Property.— Acres of land, 149,913; average value 
per acre, $2.09; value of town lots, $34,661; money invested in mer- 
chandise, $16,595; money used in manufactures, $9,840; horses, 
813, value $22,167; mules, seventy-eight, value $2,820; neat cattle, 
2,972, value $33,873; sheep, 447, value $896; swine, 596, value 
$782; vehicles, 416, value $9,387; moneys and credits, $1,256; 
mortgages, $2,340 ; stocks, etc., $150; furniture, $3,625; libraries, 
$68; "property not enumerated, $6,683; total valuation for 1879, 

Lands.— There is quite a considerable amount of good govern- 
ment land in this County, which can be secured under the home- 
stead, pre-emption, and timber-culture laws. Wild lands can be 
bought at $2 to $5, and improved from $7 to $15 per acre. 

Population.— The following are names of the Precincts and 
the population of each in 1879: Niobrara, 642; Creigliton, 450; 
Eastern, 307; Western, 287; Central, 179; Yerdigris, 233. 

Total population of County, 2,088— males, 1,157; females, 93k 

430 Johnson's history of Nebraska. 


The County Seat, is an enterprisino^ town of 550 inhabitants, situ- 
ated on the Missouri Kiv^er, near the mouth of the Niobrara. It 
is the seat of the U. S. Land Office for Northern Nebraska, has a 
printing-office and an old-established weekly newspaper, the 
Pioneer^ a number of good stores, three hotels, a large lumber 
yard, and a number of mechanics and professional men. It is the 
last settled point on the Missouri River below Bismarck, a distance 
of 700 miles, the country between these two places being taken up 
with United States' Forts and Indian Reservations. It is forty 
miles above Yankton, Dakota, the present terminus of the Dakota 
Southern Railroad. A daily stage leaves for Yankton, and four 
routes go to other points. During the season of navigation, pass- 
enger steamers make regular trips between Niobrara, Yankton and 
>Sioux City. This town is rapidly coming into public notice as the 
starting point, after crossing the Missouri River, on the Niobrara 
Route to the Black Hills, and as the river terminus of the Coving- 
ton, Columbus & Black Hills Railroad. The Omaha & North- 
western, the Elkhorn Yalley, the Chicago, Milwaukee & St. Paul, 
:and the O. C. & B, H. Railroads are now being rapidly constructed 
.to this point. 


On Bazile Creek, in the south-central part of the County, was set- 
tled in the spring of 1871, by the Bruce colony, from Omaha, con- 
sisting of Mr. J. A. Bruce, who matured the enterprise. Miner "W. 
Rruce, C. Lightner, Charles Osborn, Isadore Hammerly, B. 
Behrens, J. Steele, A, L. Towle, Mr. Hubbard, Ike Hammond, C. 
Cheatam, W. Cross and J. Lovell. A good merchandise store, 
hotel, and large school house, are located here. Church services 
are held every Sabbath. 


In the northeastern part of the County, is composed principally of 
Americans and Swedes. George W. Bly is one of the first settlers, 
and has one of the finest dwelling-houses in the County. 


On a branch of Bazile Creek, was first settled in 1870, by Charles 
Wittenaben. Good school facilities are at hand. 

Johnson's history of nebkaska. 431 

plum valley, 
On Bazile Creek, was settled in 1872. It is one of the best stock- 
raising settlements in the County. Mr. James Steele has here 
eonie of the finest blooded stock in the "West. 


Situated on a branch of Yerdigris Creek, was settled in the spring 
of 1S73, by Capt. J. M. Miller and family, John A. Davis, James 
Hindman, "Wm. Crura, and Geo. Edgerton, who were joined in the 
fall following by Archibald McGill and others. It is a good farm- 
ing section. 


on a branch of the Yerdigris, was settled in 1873 by the Chicken 
brothers, Henry Grira and sons, Groling, Clyde, Bonnet and others. 
Timber and building stone are abundant in the vicinity. 


Located in Creighton Precinct, has one of the best grist mills in 
the County. The mill has four run of burrs. A large general mer- 
chandise store and two agricultural implement stores are located 
here. There is a good school house and Church services are held 
every Sabbath. 


On Bazille Creek, was settled in 1871, by Chas. J. Reid and others. 

Some of the best tilled and largest farms are found in this settlement. 

PiSHELviLLE, DuKEviLLE, Yerdigeis Yalley, Welch, and 

Heeeick are Postofiices in the midst of close farming settlements. 


Lincoln Count} , formerly called Shorter, was created by the 
Legislature in 1859, and an attempt at organization was made in 
1860, but not perfected. In 1866 the County was permanently 
organized under its present name. It is located in the western part 
of the State, bounded on the north by unorganized territory, east 
by Custer and Dawson Counties, south by Frontier and Hayes and 
west by Keith County, containing 2,592 square miles, or 1,658,880 
^cres, at an average elevation of 2,789 feet above the sea level. 


Johnson's history of Nebraska. 


"Watek Courses. — The central and northern portions of the 
County are watered bj the Platte Kiver and tributaries, and tho 
southern portion by tributaries of the Kepubliean Eiver. The 
North and South Forks of the Platte, flowing nearly parallel with 
each other and from one to four miles apart, unite and form tlie 
main stream near the center of the County. 

Timber. — Small quantities of natural timber are found along 
the Plattes and in the canyons adjacent. No report of timber 

Character of the Land. — About eighty per cent, of the area 
consists of rolling prairie and table land, and the balance of valley 
and bluff. The valleys of the Plattes are noted for the excellent 
quality of hay they produce, and for years past thousands of tons 
are annually put up on these rich meadows to supply the military 
Posts and country east of the mountains. The yield is from one 
to three tons per acre. The bluffs, canyons and prairies are covered 
during the entire year witli the famous buffalo grass, affording the 
finest pasturage summer and winter. Large herds of cattle are 
wintered here without hay, grain or shelter. The County is ad- 
mirably adapted to stock-raising and dairy farming. Agriculture 
is as yet carried on to a very limited extent. No report of crops. 

Historical. — The first permanent settlements were made in 
1859, by Messrs. D. L.^ Smith, W. S. Penniston, Thomas French, 
Patrick Mullaly, J. P. Boyer, A. J. Miller and others, who located 
along the Platte, on the overland road. 

To accommodate the immense travel to California and the 
gold fields of the Territories of those days, numerous ranches were 
established along the main thoroughfare in this County, on the 
south side of the Platte, and until the completion of the Union 
Pacific Eailroad, they did a very profitable business. Every 
settler turned his house into a hotel for the accommodation 
of travelers, and no attention whatever was paid to farming, 
beyond the cultivation of an acre or two of corn, and perhaps 
a small garden of vegetables. The majority of the ranches had 
large stores stocked with groceries, provisions, and wearing 
apparel. The Indians were troublesome, continually annoying 
the ranchmen by stealing stock and committing all sorts of 
depredations, and in 1864 the settlers were all driven from their 


434: Johnson's history of Nebraska. 

Lomes, tlieir ranches burned, stock captured, and in many instances 
entire families were wiped out of existence by these savages. 

The general election for the organization of the County was 
held in September, 1866, and resulted in the election of the follow- 
ing officers, viz.: Commissioners, W. M. Ilinman, J. C. Oilman, 
J. A. Morrow; Probate Judge, Chas. McDonald; Clerk, Chas, Mc- 
Donald; Treasurer, Hugh Morgan; Sheriff, S. Baker. 

Public Schools. — Number of districts, seven; school houses, 
ten; children of school age, males, 361, females, 302, total, 753; 
whole number of children that attended school during the year, 
397; number of quali tied teachers employed, thirteen; value of school 
houses, $12,400; value of sites, $2,172; value of books, etc., $250. 

Taxable Ppopeety. — Acres of land, 73,136, average value per 
acre, $1.18; value of town lots, $143,151; money invested in mer- 
chandise, $34,195; money used in manufactures, $7,757; horses, 
1,351, value, $32,621; mules, sixty-nine, value, $1,825; neat cattle, 
40,364, value, $241,727; sheep, 5,307, value, $6,295; swine, 146, 
value, $350; vehicles, 238, value, $4,827; moneys and credits, 
$10,034; mortgages, $19,560; furniture, $18,727; libraries, $1,063; 
property not enumerated, $112,560; railroads, $601,228; telegraph, 
$4,930; total valuation for 1879, $1,327,036. 

Lands. — The Union Pacific Railroad Company owns thousands 
of acres of land here, for which $2 to $6 per acre is asked ; the bal- 
ance is nearly all Government land. 

Population. — There are six Precincts in the County, the pop- 
ulation of each in 1879 being as follows: iNorth Platte, 1,593; 
Brady Island, 72; Gannett, 23; Cottonwood Springs, 178; O'Fal- 
lon's, 65; McPherson, 86. 

Total population of County, 2,017 — males, 1,130; females, 887. 


The County Seat, was laid out in the fall of 1866, by the Union 
Pacific Pailroad Company. It is 290 miles west of Omaha, and is 
located near the center of the County, on a peninsula about three 
miles from the forks of the Platte. It is the terminus of the first 
division of the U. P. P. P., and here the Company have erected 
extensive, well-built brick shops, a round-house with twenty stalls, 
blacksmith, machine and repair shops, and a fine hotel. 

Johnson's history of Nebraska. 435 

The first building on the town site was put up in 1866, by 
Messrs. Penniston & Miller, who stocked it with goods to sell to 
the crowds who were flocking to the then terminus of the railroad. 
With the adveut of the railroad came a motley crowd of laborers, 
business men, gamblers and roughs. All law, for the time being* 
was disregarded, and gambling and rowdyism ruled the day. This 
state of affairs lasted till June, 1867, when the terminus of the 
road was changed to Julesburg; and with this move, North Platte, 
which had at the time about 2,000 inhabitants, was nearly depopu- 
lated — only some twenty remaining. Early in the fall of 1867, the 
Pailroad Company erected their round-house and numerous other 
buildings here, since which time the growth of the town has been 
steady and uniform, and in 1879, the population was about 1,600. 
The first newspaper, '•'■The Pioneer on TFAet?Z5," was started in 1866. 
At present there are two flourishing weekly newspapers published 
here — the Rejjublican and the Nehraskian. The Court House cost 
$22,500, and an elegant school building, which is supplied with all 
the modern conveniences and apparatus, cost $17,000. The 
Knights of Pythias have a fine building, worth about $8,000, 
Avhich is used for Lodge rooms and general business purposes. The 
Masons, Odd-Fellows and Good Templars have well fitted up Lodge 
rooms, and hold regular meetings. The Episcopalians, Unitarians, 
Baptists and Catholics have Church buildings of their own; and 
the Methodists and Presbyterians each have organized Societies 
and resident ministers, and recently erected Churches. There are 
several general stores, two grocery, two drug, and two jewelry 
stores, a confectionery, liquor, flour and feed, hardware, furniture, 
and millinery stores, two blacksmiths' and two wagon-njakers' 
shops, three meat markets, two lumber and coal yards, and a host 
•of smaller establishments. The U. S. Land Ofiice for this District 
is located here. 

This city is the central point of the great cattle business of 
the Western Plains, and several of the most extensive dealers 
reside here with their families. 


Is a Station on the railroad, about twelve miles east of the County 
Seat. It is an extensive shipping point for stock, and transacts a 

436 Johnson's history of Nebraska. 

large business. A good wagon bridge across the Platte connects 
it with the settlements on the south side. 

Warren, Brady Island and Gannett, in the eastern, and 
Nichols and O'Fallon's, in the western part of the County, are 
Stations on the Union Pacific. 


Is a village on the south side of the Phitte, in the eastern part of 
the County. It has a good general store and school house. 


Lancaster County was organized in the tall of 1859, previous 
to which it was attached to Cass County, for revenue, judicial and 
election purposes. It is located in the southeastern part of the 
State, in the second tier of Counties west of the Missouri River, 
and is bounded on the north by Saunders, east by Saunders, Cass 
and Otoe, south by Gage and west by Saline and Seward Counties, 
and contains 864 square miles, or 552,960 acres, at an averge eleva- 
tion of 1,114 feet above the sea level. 

Water Courses. — Salt Creek, the principal stream, rising in 
the southern part of the County, flows southeasterly through the 
central portions, and furnishes an ample water supply for manu- 
facturing purposes. It has numerous tributaries on either side, 
the most important of which are Haine's Branch, from the south- 
west. Middle Creek, from the west, and Oak, Little Salt, Gar, and 
Kock Creeks, from the northwest, and from the southeast, Stevens 
and Camp Creeks. Most of these streams are large enough for 
mill purposes, a good flouring mill with three run of stone being 
already erected on Oak Cieek. The middle, eastern and southern 
portions of the County are drained by the headwaters of the 
Nemahas. Altogether the County is well watered, living streams, 
passing through every township. 

Character of the Land. — The surface of the country consists 
chiefly of gently rolling yjrairie, about twelve per cent, being valley. 
Salt Creek valley, extending through the central portion of the 

Johnson's history of Nebraska. 437 

County, varies in width, from two to five miles, and is exceedingly 
fertile and beautiful. Adjoining the smaller streams there are fine, 
level bottoms, and back from them the country is rolling, yet rarely 
too broken for tillage. In the southern portion of the County the 
surface consists largely of fine table land. 

Soil and Crops. — The surface soil is a black loam from one- 
and-a-half to three feet in depth. The area in cultivation in 1878 
was 106,206 acres; in 1879, 125,800; increase, 19,594 acres. Bush- 
els of winter wheat reported, 7,000; spring wheat, 700,000; corn, 

Timber and Fruit. — The streams are generally fringed with a 
fine growth of natural timber. There are, on an estimate, 4,000 
acres of timber planted, 40,000 apple trees, 4,000 pear, 30,000 peach, 
7,000 plum, and 10,000 cherry trees, a large number of grape vines, 
and 300 miles of live hedge. Wild fruit, such as the plum, grape, 
gooseberry, etc., grow in profusion along the streams. Many of 
the domestic orchards are in bearing. 

Stone. — Magnesian limestone and sandstone are abundant in 
the County. They are easily worked and make an excellent build- 
ing material, both having been largely used in the construction of 
buildings in Lincoln. 

Salt. — The saline deposits of this County will one day afibrd 
the material for an important manufacturing interest. The great 
salt basin near Lincoln covers an area of twelve by twenty-five 
miles, the brine of which contains by weight twenty-nine per cent 
•of pure salt. 

Historical.— In the year 1856, several pioneers penetrated 
within the present limits of the County as far as the banks of Salt 
Creek, in search of future homes, though no permanent settlements 
were made until the following year. 

The first permanent settlers, it is generally admitted, were 
John D. Prey and his sons, John W., David, and William, with his 
wife and daughter, who early in 1857, located at Olathe, on Salt 
Creek, about fifteen miles south of Lincoln. 

Yery soon after the settlement of the Prey's, Capt. Wm. T. 
Donavan located with his family and built a cabin, on the west 
bank of Salt Creek, near and west of the mouth of Oak branch, not 

438 Johnson's history of Nebraska. 

far from the Cahn artesian well. This was the first settlement in 
Lancaster County, as at that time bounded. 

J. L. Davidson, W. W. Dunham, James Eatherton, Jeremiah 
B. Garret, J. C. Bristol, Solomon Kirk, William Arnold, Ogdeu 
Clegg, the Bogus Brothers, and "Weeks, Haskins, and Palmer, join- 
ed the Preys at Olathe during the summer of 1857, and others took 
claims along the Upper Salt Creek, extending the settlement from 
where Hickman station now stands, on the A. & K. Railroad down 
to Saltillo. At this date, however, and down to 1864, this settle- 
ment was in old Clay County. 

Shortly after Capt. Donavan's settlement near Lincoln, "Wm. 
Norman and Alexander Pobinson built a cabin near the present 
works on the Salt Basin, but left in the following spring. In 1857^ 
also, John Dee settled on Camp Creek, near Waverly; A. J. Wal- 
lingford and his brother, Richard, pitched their cabins on Salt 
Creek, between Lincoln and Saltillo, and later the same year, 
Daniel Harrington, James Cardwell, and Abraham Beals, joined 
Dee at Waverly. 

In the spring and summer of 1858, James Moran, John P. and 
L. J. Loder, and Michael Shea, settled at Waverly; William' 
Shirley, Joseph Brown, Mr. Bottsford, J. D. Main, C. F. Retztoif, 
John Lemp, Aaron Wood and others^ settled on Stevens Creek;. 
Festus Reed, Jeremiah Showalter, and Joel Mason, settled south 
of the Wallingfords, and John Cadman, John Hilton and others,, 
located near Siiltillo. 

The gospel was first preached in the County by Rev. Turman,. 
of the Methodist Episcopal Church, at the house of Capt. Donavan^ 
in the summer of 1858. 

In 1859, Robert Farmer, J. J. Forest, and Joseph Gilmore set- 
tled at Waverly. 

The first child born in the County was Morton Donavan, son 
of Capt. W. T. Donavan, on March 12, 1859. The boy still lives, 
and in 1867 had the honor of breaking the first ground for the 
Capitol building at Lincoln. Six days after the birth of Master 
Donavan, the wife of Michael Shea, on Camp Creek, gave birth 
to a son, and immediately afterwards a child was born to Wm. 


In the fall of 1859, the first movement toward County oroaiii- 
zation was made. A public meeting was held under the "great elm'' 
that stood on the east bank of Salt Creek, near the northwest cor- 
ner of the present B. & M. E. R. depot grounds in Lincoln. A. ,T. 
Wallingford, Joseph J. Forest, and Capt. W. T. Donavan were ap- 
pointed a committee to select a location for the County Seat, and 
they chose the present site of Lincoln, which was laid ofi" and 
named Lancaster. 

According to law, the Commissioners of Cass County ordered 
an election to be held in Lancaster County, on the 10th day of Oc- 
tober, 1859, for the purpose of County organization. Said election 
was held at the house of Wm. Shirley, on Stevens Creek, and re- 
sulted in the election of the following officers, viz.: Commission- 
ers, A. J. Wallingford, J. J. Forest, and W. T. Donavan; Clerk. 
L. J. Loder; Recoi-der, John P. Loder; Treasurer, Richard Wal- 
lingford. Ko record of this election or of the official proceedings 
of the officers are on file in the archives of the County, except 
the certificates of election and qualification of L. J. and J. P, 

At the general election held on the 9th of October, 1S60, at 
the house of W. T. Donavan, twenty-three votes were polled, and 
the following County officers elected, without opposition : Com- 
missioners, J.J. Forest, A. J. Wallingford, W. T. Donavan; Cleik, 
J. P. Loder; Treasurer, R. Wallingford; Justices of the Peace, 
Festus Reed, and R. Wallingford; Constables, C F. Retztofl^ and 
James Coultard. 

The settlement of the County from 1859 to 1863 was very 
slow. The records of the elections of 1860-1-2 show no apparent 
increase in numbers. But the passage of the homestead law in 
1862, gave a great impetus to emigration. The first homestead 
entry in Lancaster County under this law, was made by Capt. 
Donavan, just east of the site of the Insane Hospital, at Lincoln, 
on January 2, 1863. 

In the summer of 1863, Elder J. M. Young and others, rep- 
resenting a colony, selected a site for a town which embraced the 
old town of Lancaster, then destitute of inhabitants, and which 
still belonged to the Government. Jacob Dawson and John Giles 
took homesteads adjoining the site. In 1864 Elder Young and 

440 Johnson's history of Nebraska. ^ 

Bens, Dr. J, McKesson, Luke Lavender, E, W. Warnes, and J. M. 
Kiddle, located here permanently, and J. and D. Beniiet entered 
claims in the vicinity. The next arrivals to this settlement were 
Phillip Humerick, E. T. llndsou, C. Aiken, Kobert Monteith, and 
eons, John and "William ; "William and John Guy, O. F. Bridges, 
Cyrus Carter, P. Billows, "W. Porter, Milton Langdon and others. 
Luke Lavender built the first residence on the new town site, — a 
log house. Elder Young located his dwelling near his present 
stone house in the eastern part of Lincoln. 

In 1864, Silas Pratt, the Crawfords, Mrs. "White and daugh- 
ters, C. C. White and John Moore, settled on Oak Creek, about 
twelve miles northwest of the Lancaster settlement. 

In September, 1864, during the great Indian insurrection, the 
majority of the settlers abandoned their claims, and sought refuge 
nearer the Missouri. However, a few stuck to their chances and 
remained, among whom were Capt. Donavan, J. S. Gregory and E. 
"W. "Warnes, in the neighborhood of Lincoln, Pichard "Wallingford 
at Saltillo, James Moran and John P. Loder on " Lower Salt," and 
Aaron Wood on Stevens Creek, Many of the settlers from the 
Big Blue Piver, under the leadership of J. J. Davidson, of Seward 
County, made a stand at the house of Capt. Donavan ; but the In- 
dians did not come further east than the Big Blue. 

In 1865, Ezra Tuttle, lawyer, located on Oak Creek, and in 
1866, S. B. Galey and S. B. Pound settled at Lancaster. In the 
latter year, the Hardenburghs and Lindermans took possession of 
the Salt Works in the Big Basin, and erected a portable saw-mill, 
which was of great use to the settlement. They also erected, this 
year, in Lancaster, a large stone house, which was used for a hotel, 
and a frame bi|llding, in which they opened a general merchandise 
store. In 1867, John Monteith and sons erected a building in 
Lancaster, in which they engaged in the boot and shoe business. 
Dr. McKesson built a residence in the north part of town, and 
Jacob Dawson commenced the erection of an elejrant stone man- 
sion, in which he afterwards resided and kept the Postofiice. 

Ever since the discovery of the Salt Basins near Lincoln, by 
the government surveyors in 1856, they have attracted much atten- 
tion as the probable source of great wealth. Capt. W. T. Donavan, 
when he pitched his cabin near the basin, in 1857, represented the 


*' Crescent Company," which had been organized previously at 
Plattsmouth, Nebraska. "William Norman and Alexander Eobin- 
Bon, who next arrived and located near the Big Basin, represented 
another Company; but tliey soon left the County, and a year later, 
Donavan abandoned the enterprise also. In 1862, J. S. Gregory, 
Jr., laid siege to the Basin. Two years later, he had some boilers 
and solar vats erected, and made salt enough to supply the settlers 
and overland travel. The place was called " Gregory's Basin," and 
in 1863, a Postoffice was established there by that name, with J. S. 
Gregory as postmaster, which was the pioneer letter delivery of the 

In 1866, E. H. and T. F. George, Jacob Hardenberg, and S. 
B. and W. Linderman, representing a New Jersey Company, 
bought out Gregory's claim, and established the " Nebraska Salt 
Company." They expended several thousand dollars on the enter- 

All this time there had been entries made on the most valu- 
able of the Basins, and these claims had passed into the hands of 
J. Sterling Morton and Col. Manners, one of the government sur- 
veyors who had made the discovery of the basins. Soon after 
Nebraska became a State, the Governor leased the Big Basin for 
twenty years to A. C. Tichenor and J. T. Green, and they expended 
about $12,000. About this time, however, Messrs. Morton and 
Manners got their claim into the courts by writ of ejectment, and 
the work of building ceased. After years of litigation, the State 
made good its claim to the land, and her title was made perfect by 
& decision of the U. S. Supreme Court, in 1875. 

In 1870, Isaac Calm obtained a lease of land adjacent to the 
Big Basin, and sank an artesian well to the depth of 600 feet, 
striking a vein of saline; but the Legislature refusing to grant the 
franchises he asked for, he abandoned the enterprise. The artesian 
well sunk by the City of Lincoln, on the block occupied by the U. 
S. Government building, pours out a steady stream of salt water, 
highly impregnated with other minerals, and powerfully magnetic. 
But at the Big Basin, the supply of water flowing up from the 
numerous springs is inexhaustible, and it is not difficult to utilize 
it without sinking wells. Considerable salt of an excellent quality is 
at present made at the Basin, with the appliances already provided. 

442 Johnson's history of nkbraska. 

Upon the admission of the State into the Union, in March^ 
1867, the Legislature appointed a commission to select a site for 
the new Capitol. The commission, consisting of the Governor, 
David Butler, Secretary of State, T. P. Kennard, and the Auditor, 
John Gillespie, were directed and empowered by law to select a 
site from lands belonging to the State within certain boundaries 
prescribed, which embraced the Counties of Lancaster and Seward, 
and a part of Butler, Saunders and Saline. The general govern- 
ment had set apart twelve salt springs, and with each six sections 
of land, for the use and benefit of the new State, and these springs 
were immediately selected by the Governor, and the lands located. 
Most of this land was located within a radius of twenty miles of 
the Great Salt Basin, principally in the County of Lancaster. In 
July, the Commission selected about a section and a half of land, 
which embraced within its limits the old town of Lancaster, as a 
site for the Capitol. Prior to the formal location, the proprietors 
of the land and lots embraced in the site made deeds of the same 
to the State, either by way of a gift or in exchange for State lands 
in the vicinity. 

According to the provisions of the Act, the Commission was 
directed to lay out the new site into lots and blocks, and to sell the 
alternate blocks at public sale to the highest bidder, and to use the 
proceeds for the erection of a State House. A. B. Smith, of Platts- 
mouth, and Hon. Aug. F. Harvey, of Nebraska City, were 
employed by the Commission to survey and lay out the new city. 
The streets running north and south, commencing on the west side, 
were numbered, and the streets running east and west, commencing 
at the south boundary, were named from the alphabet. "A" and 
"U " were the boundary streets on the south and north, the First 
and Seventeenth on the west and east; making thirty-seven streets, 
with an average length of over one and a quarter miles. The site 
was, however, cut into by a reservation on the northwest corner of 
about twenty acres for the Burlington & Missouri Piver Railroad, 
and another on the northeast corner, penetrating as far as O street 
to the south, and Fourteenth to the west. The blocks were 300 
feet square, and laid out in twenty-four business, or twelve resi- 
dent lots each, with a frontage of twenty-live and fifty feet. Th& 
streets were 100 feet wide, with the exception of D, J, O, S^ 


Seventh, Eleventh and Fifteenth, which were called avenues and 
were laid out with a width of 120 feet. A reservation of four 
blocks, bounded by H and K and Fifteenth and Sixteenth streets, 
was made for the Capitol, another of the same size, bounded by R 
and T and Tenth and Twelfth, for the State University, and another 
of the same size, bounded by D and F and Sixth and Eiij^hth 
streets, for a park. Reservations of one block each were made for 
a Court House, a State Tlorticultnral Society, a market square, and 
for ward and High Schools. All Churches applying had reserva- 
tions set out to them of three lots each. Forty acres, three mile* 
south of Lincoln, were given to the State by Messrs. Donovan and 
Hilton for the site of a Penitentiary, and afterwards eighty acre& 
were received on Yankee Hill, a mile and a half south of the city, 
for an Insane Asylum. 

In October, 1867, the survey was completed, and the even 
numbered blocks offered for sale to the highest bidder, a minimum 
price having been first set upon each lot. At the close of the sale 
on the site, at which $34,000 was realized, two other sales were held 
one at Nebraska City, and the other at Omaha, and as $53,000 had 
been realized and only a comparatively small portion of the alter- 
nate blocks disposed of, the State still owns a large number of these 
lots, the -Commissioners proceeded to advertise for plans and speci- 
fication for a Capitol building. 

The Capitol. — The plans and specifications for the Capitol 
were opened at Omaha on the 10th of October, 1867, and those of 
Mr. John Morris, of Chicago, were selected. Mr. Morris was also 
appointed superintendent, and at once proceeded to procure mate- 
rial for the foundation of the building, the first ground for same 
being broken November tenth. 

January 11, 1868, the contract for erecting the building was 
awarded to Joseph Wood, of Chicago, for $49,000. The walls of 
the building were constructed of magnesian limestone, from the 
Beatrice quarries in Gage County. The building, as it now stands, 
except the cupalo, was completed sufiiciently for occupation before 
the close of the year, and on December 3d, the Governor issued a 
proclamation announcing the removal of the Seat of Government 
to Lincoln, and ordered the transfer of the archives of the State to 
the new Capitol. 

444 Johnson's histoky of Nebraska. 

Other State Buildings. — By the Act of June 14, 1867, for 
locating the Seat of Government, the State University and Agri- 
cultural College were consolidated, and a reservation for a site for 
the buildings for the same, also the seventy-two sections of land for 
the University, and the 90,000 acres for the Agricultural College, were 
located by the Commissioners, under the direction of the Governor. 

The Legislature of 1869, that met in January in the new State 
House, passed an Act organizing the " University of Nebraska," 
vesting its government in a Board of Begents, to be appointed in 
the first instance by the Governor, who was eaj-<?^(?'ic» chairman; the 
Superintendent of Public Instruction and the Chancellor of the 
University being also ex-oficio members of the Board. Under the 
new Constitution there are only six Regents, who are elected by 
the people. 

By an Act, approved, February 15, 1869, the Governor, Secre- 
tary of State, and Auditor, were appointed Commissioners to sell 
the unsold lots and blocks in Lincoln, and to locate and erect a 
" State University and Agricultural College, and a State Lunatic 
Asylum." From the proceeds of the sales, $16,000 were appropri- 
ated for the completion of the dome of the Capitol, $50,000 for the 
erection of the Insane Asylum, and $100,000 for the erection of 
the State University and Agricultural College building. Fearing 
that the proceeds of the sales of lots would not amount to the 
aggregate of these appropriations, the Commissioners were author- 
ized to sell not to exceed forty sections of the Saline land grant to 
meet any deficiency that might arise. 

In pursuance of this Act, the Commissioners advertised on 
February 24, for plans and specifications for these two buildings. 
On June 1st following, the plans and specifications received were 
examined, and the designs submitted by M. J. McBird, of Logans- 
port, Indiana, were accepted for the University and Agricultural 
College building, and those of Prof. John K. Winchell, of Chicago, 
for the Lunatic Asylum. 

The Commissioners let the contract for the excavation of the 
basement of the University on the third of June, 1869, to Messrs. 
D. J. Silver & Son, of Logansport, Indiana, for the sum of $23,520, 
and for the same work on the Lunatic Asylum to Joseph Ward, of 
Lincoln, for $18,055. 

Johnson's history of Nebraska. 445 

The work on the Lunatic Asyhim was shortly afterwards com- 
menced, and on the University, about the 15th of July; but the 
walls of the latter were ready for the laying of the corner stone on 
the 23d of September, and it was put in place on that day with 
Masonic ceremonies. During the first week of September, the 
basement was completed. In the meantime the architect had made 
alterations in the plans for the super-structure, suggested by the 
Regents, which necessarily increased the expense of the building. 
The Commissioners, feeling that considerations of public policy 
demanded that the building should be such as the present and pros- 
pective needs of the State indicated, decided to take the responsi- 
bility of exceeding the appropriation. 

In pursuance of advertisements published July 15th, the con- 
tract for completing the University was awarded on the ISth of 
August, to D. J. Silver & Sou, for $128,480, making the total cost 
of the building $152,000. The contract for the completion of the 
Lunatic Asylum, was let September 18, to Joseph Ward, for $119,- 
300, making it cost $137,550. 

Prior to the commencement of the work on the superstructures, 
the Legislature, at a call session, passed a joint resolution, March 
4, 1870, approving the action of the Commissioners in exceeding 
the appropriation and letting the contracts, and also passed an Act, 
approved March 4, providing for the care and custody of State 
prisoners, and for the erection of a Penitentiary on the site selected 
by the Commissioners, in 1867. Three Prison Inspectors were 
elected, who were to act as a Commission in the erection of the 
Penitentiary, and to sell the 34,000 acres of Penitentiary land 
granted by the general government for that purpose. 

The Inspectors, Messrs. W. W. Abbey, W. W. Wilson, and F. 
Templin, proceeded to advertise for plans and specifications for a 
State Penitentiary, to be opened on the sixth of June following; 
also proposals for the erection of a temporary prison, for which the 
Legislature had appropriated $5,000, to be opened April 2Sth. 
Perkins & Hallowell were awarded the contract for the temporary 
prison, and the designs of Wm. H. Foster, of Des Moines, Iowa, 
for the Penitentiary, were adopted, and the proposal of W. II. B, 
Stout, of Washington County, Nebraska, and J. M. Jamison, of 

44G Johnson's histoky of Nebraska. 

Des Moines, Iowa, for building the same, was accepted, and the 
contract awarded to them for $312,000. 

The brick work on the University was commenced April 7th, 
1870, and the walls were up and the roof nearly completed by the 
9th of August following. The Asylum was pushed forward at the 
fiame rapid pace, and the buildings were completed and accepted 
by the Commissioners on the 29th of November, of the same 

The University was formally opened and dedicated on Wednes- 
day, September 6, 1871, and Chancellor Benton inducted into 
office by Acting Governor James. 

Shortly before the Asylum was completed, it was set on fire in 
the wood work of the roof, by some unknown person, but the flames 
were extinguished before any serious damage was done. Dr. Larsh, 
of Nebraska City, was appointed Superintendent, and the insane 
of the State were placed there in his charge. On the night of 
April 18, 1871, it was set on fire again in the roof, and this time it 
was totally consumed, Jind two of the patients perished in the 

The building had been insured in various Companies for 
$96,000, but the State received only $72,000. After the usual pre- 
liminaries, the diagrams of Wm. H. Foster, of Des Moines, Iowa, 
for a new building, were accepted, and the contract awarded to 
Robert D. Silver, for the construction of the main building and 
one wing. According to the design, the exterior walls were to be 
faced with limestone ashlar, rough finish, but this was afterwards 
changed, and Carrol County, Missouri, sandstone, with ruble work 
finish, with rustic joints, substituted. The building was completed 
by October 1, 1872, and is a credit to the State. 

The Asylum was filled with inmates almost as soon as finished, 
and the Legislature of 1875, appropriated $25,000 for the building 
of the second wing, which was completed under the supervision of 
the trustees. 

The Penitentiary was completed in the fall of 1876, under the 
contract made by the State, and is a substantial structure, well 
ventilated and heated, and is regarded as perfectly secure. Its 
walls are built of a hard magnesian limestone taken from the quar- 
ries near Saltello, about twelve miles south of Lincoln. AVith the 


addition of cells it is large enough to bold all the criminals likely 
to be sent there for years to come. 

Eailroax»s. — There are five railroads in the County, as follows: 

The Burlington & Missouri Elver, running from Omaha and 
Plattsmouth, via Lincoln, to a connection with the U. P., at 
Kearney, Buffalo County. 

The iN'ebraska Railway, running from ]S"emaha City, on the 
Missouri River, via Lincoln, to a connection with the U. P., at 
•Central City, in Merrick County. 

The Atchison & Nebraska, from Atchison, Kansas, to Lincoln. 

The Lincoln & Northwestern, now being rapidly constructed 
to a connection with the U. P., at Columbus, Platte County. 

The Omaha & Republican Yalley, which has now about com- 
pleted a branch line from Valparaiso, Saunders County, to Lincoln, 
a distance of twenty miles. 

Lands. — Improved lands sell from $8 to $30 per acre. The B. 
& M. Railroad lands, of which there are about 75,000 acres here, 
eell from $4 to §10 per acre. 

Taxable Property. — Acres of land, 475,449, average value 
per acre, $3.55; value of town lots, $771,919; money invested in 
merchandise, $110,303; money used in manufactures, $30,752; num- 
ber of horses, 7,390, value, $181,339; mules and asses, 695, value, 
$21,311; neat cattle, 15,330, value, $127,698; sheep, 5,406, value, 
$5,880; swine, 31,487, value, $24,984; vehicles, 2,633, value 
$41,392; moneys and credits, $24,771; mortgages, $19,477; stocks, 
etc., $77,745; libraries, $251; property not enumerated, $85,283; 
railroads, $508,192.45; telegraph, $1,467.45; total valuation for 
1879, $3,762,039.90. 

Public Schools. — Number of districts, 104; school houses, 97; 
children of school age, males, 3,187, females, 3,090, total, 6,277; 
whole number of children that attended school during the year, 4,372; 
number of qualified teachers employed, males, sixty-eight, females, 
113; wages paid teachers for the year, males, $8,858.26, females, 
$15,764.15, total, $24,622.41; value of school houses, $69,720; value 
of sites, $6,286.50; value of books and apparatus, $1,309.92. 

Population. — The following are the names of the Precincts, 
and population of each in 1879: Olive Branch, 726; Highland, 
472; Denton, 219; Middle Creek, 353; Elk, 387; West Oak, 240; 

14:8 Johnson's history of Nebraska. 

Biida, 427; Centerville, 535; Yankee Hill, 734; Lincoln, 2,285; 
Midland, 2,221; Capital, 2,813; Oak, 482; Little Salt, 436; South 
Pass, 819; Saltillo, 648; Grant, 473; Lancaster, 519; North Bluff, 
307; Rock Creek, 552; Panama, 442; Nemaha, 832; Stockton^ 
450; Stevens Creek, 266; Waverly, 520; Mill, 509. 

Total population of County, 18,675 — males, 10,092; females, 
8,583. Population of County in 1878, 15,658; increase in past 
year, 3,017. 


The Capital of Nebraska, and the County Seat of Lancaster 
County, is a very remarkable and progressive city of some 10,000 
inhabitants, and is situated about three miles from the geographi- 
cal center of the County. It is emphatically " beautiful for situa- 
tion." The view from the heights of tiie exquisitely rounded 
bluffs can scarcely be surpassed. The Capitol Building, which is 
undergoing extensive repairs and additions, occupies the highest 
point, and from this the prairie shapes off on all sides, for miles, 
in gentle waves and undulations, encircled by low, rounded hills, 
which plainly mark the shore line of an ancient lake, in the basin 
of which, upon this beautiful elevation, stands the city. 

No place can afford a scene of quiet beauty that surpasses this 
view, when all the hills are covered with the emerald green of the 
summer months. The slope is dotted all over in every direction 
with groves and farm-houses that lie nestled in the valleys or crown 
the gently swelling bluffs that rise on every side and form a land- 
scape of which the eye never tires. To the northwest, a mile or 
two distant, the Salt Springs come boiling up from the depths be- 
low, and yield an inexhaustible supply of pure salt; to the south- 
west are seen the commodious buildings of the Insane Asylum, 
with the extensive and attractive grounds surrounding them — an 
institution fully ranking with the v^ery best in the country; on 
Yankee Hill, and further to the south, is the State Penitentiary, a 
model institution. In the northern part of the city, in a large 
square adorned with shade trees and evergreens, stands the State 
University and Agricultural College — a fine building of the Ital- 
ian style. The college grounds are surrounded with elegant 
residences, handsome Churches, and fine public buildings, among 

Johnson's history of Nebraska. 44D 

which are the new United States Postoffice and Court House and 
the City High School building. The latter cost over $40,000, and 
the former fully $150,000. 

There are other buildings of note in the city, including fine 
business blocks noticeable for solidity and capacity, and showino* 
the confidence of business men and capitalists in the future of the 
city, and the enterprise and ability to erect structures that are not 
only ornamental to the city, but profitable to those who seek 
investment. The Opera House is the finest structure of the kind 
in the State. 

Among the places of business represented in the city are the 
U. S. land office, the First National, State National and the Lan- 
caster County Banks; the Lincoln Foundry and machine shops; 
the State Journal Company, printers, lithographers and blank book 
manufacturers, employing fifty hands; two steam flouring mills, 
two breweries, two marble cutting establishments, a carriage manu- 
factory, etc. The newspapers are the State Journal, the Globe and 
the Democrat, published daily and weekly, besides three or four 
monthly publications. 

The first Church erected in the city was by the Methodist 
Episcopal denomination; there are now twelve Churches, some of 
them very fine structures. 

From small beginnings Lincoln has grown rapidly, in ten 
years, to its present large proportions. This has been due to sev- 
eral combined agencies, among which are the location there of the 
Capitol and the public institutions of the State, and the ])ush, 
energy and enterprise of its citizens. Its excellent social and edu- 
cational surroundings, its pleasant and central location, its broad 
agricultural country stretching without limit from its center, with 
the most fertile soil and delightful climate; and above all, its mark- 
ed railroad facilities, making it with its present and proposed rail- 
road connections, that will be completed in the near future, the 
Indianapolis of Nebraska. 

It is now the second city of importance in the State, and with 
the Burlington and Missouri Kiver Kailroad crossing its bridge 
over the Missouri at Plattsmoutli, and stretching through the State 
to the Union Pacific at Kearney, the Atchison and Nebraska run- 
ning south to Kansas and St. Louis, the Nebraska Railroad 



Johnson's history of Nebraska. 451 

-connecting it with Kebraska City, and other projected railroads to 
span and gridiron the State and join important connections East to 
the Atlantic, and West to the Pacific, South to the Gulf and North 
to the British Possessions, it cannot fail to have a magnificent 
future. It must he our inland central city of wealth, immense 
agricultural and other resources, and as the Capital, will be as it 
now is, the pride of the State. 

Lincoln illustrates the boundless capacity of the Great West. 
Little more than a decade since the antelope and deer and wolf, and 
the retiring red man held full sway over the open prairie where 
are now all the appliances of comfort, civilization, education and 
commercial enterprises of a great city. It has no water-courses, 
no outside influences nor resources, except the railroads and the 
broad fertile prairies stretching from the Missouri to the Moun- 
tains, and yet it is destined to number its tens of thousands in 
the near future, and become a central power in a great State. 

Waverlt and Newton, promising towns on the B. & M. Rail- 
road, east of Lincoln, each have about 200 inhabitants, good school 
and Church advantages, several stores and mechanics' shops, ship- 
ping facilities, etc. 

Berkshike, Denton and Highland, are fine young towns on 
the B. &M. Bailroad, west of Lincoln. 

Firth, Hickman and Saltillo, located on the A. & N. Rail- 
road, are rapidly growing into prominence as business centers. 


On the Nebraska Railway, sixteen miles southeast of Lincoln, has 
about 300 inhabitants. It contains two Churches, an elegant 
school house, several stores, elevator, mechanics' shops, etc., 
and is surrounded by an excellent grain and stock producing 


Madison County was created in 1856, and organized in Janu- 
ary, 1868, by proclamation of Governor Butler. It is located in 
the northeastern part of the State, bounded on the north by Pierce, 
cast by Stanton, south by Platte, and west by Boone and Antelope 
Oounties, containing 5Y6 square miles, or 368,640 acres. 

452 Johnson's history of Nebraska. 

"Water Courses. — The Elkhorn River flows from west to east 
through the northern portion of the County, a distance of over 
twenty-five miles. The North Fork enters the Elkhorn in the 
northeast corner of the County. Dry, Buffalo, Deer, Battle, Tay- 
lor, and Bi^* and Little Union Creeks, tributaries of the Elkhorn,, 
water the central and southeastern portions of the County. Shell 
Creek, a tributary of the Platte River, waters the southwestera 
townships. The Elkhorn, Shell, Union and Taylor Creeks afford 
excellent mill privileges. Well water can be obtained on the up- 
lands at a depth of from thirty to sixty-five feet, and in the valleys,, 
from ten to twenty-five feet. 

Timber. — There is considerable timber along the banks of the 
Elkhorn, and on several of its tributaries. On Shell Creek, there- 
is a beautiful natural grove. 1,658 acres, or 1,547,551 forest trees,, 
and twenty-two miles of hedging, are under cultivation. Many 
of the artificial groves are sufficiently grown to furnish the farmer 
with all the fuel needed. 

Fruit. — 2,718 apple, thirty-three pear, 267 peach, and 75S 
cherry trees, and thirty-eight acres of grape vines, are reported un- 
der cultivation and in promising condition. 

The Surface of the Country. — The north half of the County 
lies in the fertile Yalley of the Elkhorn, which here varies in widtb 
from three to six miles. Union and Battle Creek Yalleys are from 
one to two miles wide. The uplands are gently undulating prai- 
ries, and comprise about forty-five per cent, of the area. There are 
few steep bluffs, and the surface is rarely too broken for tillage. 

Soil and Crops. — The soil is a black vegetable mould, from^ 
two to three feet deep on the uplands, and three to six feet deep in 
the valleys. 

The number of acres under cultivation was 39,356. The yield 
of the principal crops was as follows: Winter wheat, sixty-five 
acres, 869 bushels; spring wheat, 17,869 acres, 185,045 bushels*,, 
rye, 1,871 acres, 30,229 bushels; corn, 12,301 acres, 309,877 bushels; 
barley, 601 acres, 12,161 bushels; sorghum, fourteen acres, 85T 
gallons; potatoes, 266 acres, 26,944 bushels. 

Historical. — The first settlements were made in June, 1866,. 
by a small party from Illinois, consisting of L. D. Barnes, Wra. H. 
Bradshaw, D. L. Allen, Mathias Carr and Win. A. Barnes, who 

Johnson's history of Nebraska. 458 

located near the moutli of tlie North Fork of the Elkhorn, on the 
ground now occupied bj the town of Norfolk. In tlie following 
month, a large German colony from Wisconsin settled in the vicin- 
ity of Norfolk. In October of this year, Nicholas Paul surveyed 
the County. Erastus Jones, of Norfolk, was the pioneer merchant 
of the County. He was followed by Barney Barnes and a Dane 
by the name of Nelson, who kept an Indian trading post in the 
fall of 1866. 

May 3, 1867, a settlement was established on Union Creek, 
near the present town of Madison, by H. M. Barnes, P. J. Barnes, 
W. J. Barnes and F. W. Barnes. Shortly afterward, Henry Platts 
and Charles Huylar and family located on this stream; and before 
the close of the year, Henry J. Severance and a number of others, 
settled in the vicinity. A substantial bridge was erected over 
Union Creek in 1867. 

S. H. Thatch, A. J. Thatch and many others, settled on the 
Elkhorn, near Norfolk, during the summer of 1867. 

Captain O. O. Austin built a house on Shell Creek, in June, 
1866, but did not occupy it. John Bloomfield arrived in 1868, and 
was the first bona fide settler on this stream. He was soon fol- 
lowed by Lewis "Warren, George Whitcher and "William Meniece. 

In 1869, the Sioux Indians made a raid on the Shell Creek 
settlements, killed some stock belonging to Lewis "Warren and oth- 
ers, and shot a Mrs. Nelson, who afterwards recovered. 

January 21, 1868, the first election for County Officers was 
held, which resulted as follows: Henry M. Barnes, August Raasch, 
Herman Braasch, Commissioners; Samuel H. Thatch, Clerk; Fred- 
erick "Wegner, Probate Judge; Fred. Heckendorf, Treasurer; 
Fielding Bradshaw, Sherifl*; August Lentz, Surveyor; Fred. Boche, 
Assessor; John Allison and William Bickley, Justices of the 
Peace; Thomas Bickley and Fred. Haase, Constables. 

Said election was held at a small frame house located on Tay- 
lor Creek. The County was named Madison at the suggestion of 
the Germans of the Norfolk settlement, who came from Madison 
County, Wisconsin. 

In the summer of 1869, the Commissioners divided the County 
into two Precincts, designating the north half Norfolk and the 
fiouth half Union Creek Precinct. 

454 Johnson's histoky of Nebraska. 

In 1869, L. D. Barnes, John Teigden, John Leiicte, A. EyI 
and J. W. Kisk, settled on Battle Creek. The Hales came in 1870 
and settled on Upper Battle Creek. Battle Creek derived its name 
from the bloodless battle which occurred on its banks between 
the Territorial militia and Pawnee Indians during the first Pawnee 

During the summer of 1871, a settler named Fuller was mur- 
dered in a field, near Shell Creek. Two cattle dealers, strangers in 
the County, were arrested on suspicion of being the murderers, 
but after an examination were released. The mystery of the mur- 
der has never been solved. 

The first marriage in the County was that of Mr. Frederick 
Spawn to Miss Frederica Waggener, May 3, 1868. The first 
natural death was that of Mrs. Carr, in March, 1867. 

The first term of the District Court was held in August, 1871; 
Hon. Lorenzo Crounse, Presiding Judge. 

Public Schools. — Number of districts, forty-eight; school 
houses, forty; children of school age, males, 863, females, 761, total, 
1,624; total number of children that attended school during the 
year, 940; qualified teachers employed, males, twenty-four, females, 
thirty-three; total wages paid teachers for the year, $5,298. .56; 
value of school houses, $11,533; value of sites, $231; value of 
books, etc., $223.50. 

Taxable Pkoperty. — Acres of land, 222,967; average value 
per acre, $1.24. Value of town lots, $26,257. Money used in 
merchandise, $24,925; money invested in manufactures, $12,132; 
horses, 2,707, value $59,782; mules, 116, value, $4,193; neat cattle, 
5,156, value $41,820; sheep, 789, value, $910; swine, 6,316, value, 
$5,331; vehicles, 695, value, $9,704; moneys and credits, $8,525; 
mortgages, $13,325; stocks, etc., $2,000; furniture, $3,109; libra- 
ries, $750; property not enumerated, $24,431; total valuation for 
1879, $524,710. 

Railroads and Lands. — The Fremont, Elkhorn and Missouri 
Yalley Railroad has been constructed through the County the pre- 
sent year, and is now in running order to Norfolk. The Omaha, 
Niobrara and Black Hills Railroad, is now in running order froia 
Jackson, on the U. P., to Norfolk. 

Johnson's history of Nebraska. 455 

The Burlington and Missouri Eiver Eailroad Company owns 
60,000 acres of land here, the price ranging from $2 to $G per acre. 
All the desirable Government land is taken. Improved farms are 
worth from $5 to $20 per acre. 

Population. — The County is divided into nine. Precincts, the 
population of each in 1879, being as follows: Center, 414, Fair- 
man, 272; Emerick, 143; Deer Creek, 478; Shell Creek, 254; 
Schoalcraft, 432; Norfolk, 957; Union Creek, 874; Jefferson, 456. 

Total population of County, 4,280, — males, 2,288, females, 


The County Seat, is a beautiful village of 400 inhabitants. It is 
located on Union Creek, in the southeastern part of the County; 
was laid out as a town in January, 1870, and made the County 
Seat at the general election in 1875. It has just been reached by the 
O. N. & B. H. R. P., and new buildings are being erected very fast. 
The Chronicle, a weekly newspaper, is published here, and it con- 
tains, besides the County offices, two Churches, two hotels, a fine 
school house, a large flouring mill with three run of burrs, a bank? 
four dry goods and grocery stores, one drug store, one harness 
shop, one jewelry store, a lumber yard, broom factory, etc. 


Located on the ISTorth Fork of the Elkhorn Eiver, in the northeast- 
ern part of the County, contains 500 inhabitants. It was laid out 
in December, 1869, and is the oldest and largest town in the 
County. The United States Land Office for this district, is located 
here. It has a good weekly paper, the Journal, three Churches, 
the Methodist, Congregational, and German Lutheran, five general 
stores, two hotels, a bank, two drug and one hardware store, two 
furniture and one shoe store, blacksmith and wagon shops, lumber 
yard, livery stables, a fine flouring mill, large school house, real 
estate offices, etc. It is also the present terminus of two railroads, 
the O. :N'. & B. H. and the F. E. & M. Y., and is rapidly becom- 
ing a prominent business center. 


Located on a creek of the same name, in the central part of the 
County, contains about 150 inhabitants. The townsite was survey- 

456 Johnson's history of Nebraska. 

ed in 1873, by J. D. Hoover, who erected houses and opened a 
store liere the following year. At present it has two general 
stores, one drug store, two blacksmith, wagon and carriage shops, 
one hotel, harness and shoe shops, and a grist mill with two run 
of bui-rs. 


Situated on Sbell Creek, in the southwestern part of the County, 
contains two stores, a fine school house, two blacksmith and one 
wagon shop, drug store, etc. Excellent water-power for a flouring 
mill, is close at hand. There is also a fine natural grove of timber 
on the creek, near the town. 


Nemaha, in the first, organization of the Territory, was called 
Forney County. It was re-organized by the First Territorial Leg- 
islature, under its present name. It lies in the southeastern part 
of the State, bounded on the north by Otoe County, east by the 
Missouri Kiver, south by Richardson and Pawnee, and west by 
Johnson County, containing about 400 square miles, or 25G,000 

Water Courses. — The County is watered by the Missouri 
Kiver — which washes the entire eastern boundary — the Little 
Kemaha River and numerous smaller streams. The Little Nemaha 
flows diagonally through the central portion of the County from 
northwest to southeast, and empties into the Missouri near Nema- 
ha City. Muddy Creek, a large tributary of the Great Nemaha 
River, waters the southwestern portion of the County. Long 
Branch, Plum and many smaller creeks meander through the 
County, leaving not a single township without running water. 
Water-power abundant. 

Character of the Land. — Fifteen per cent, of the area is 
valley, about five per cent, blufi; and the remainder gently rolling 
prairie. The valley of the Little Nemaha varies from two to five 
miles in width. AVide sloping bottoms are also found on Muddy 

Johnson's history of Nebraska. 457 

and other streams. The bluffs of the Missouri are here quite promi- 
nent, and frequently cut through with deep ravines. The soil every- 
where is of an excellent quality and magnificent crops are raised. 
Ko returns for 1879. 

Timber. — There is plenty of timber in the County. Numer- 
ous large artificial groves dot the hillside and plain, and there are, 
besides, many fine natural gn^ves in the valleys and along the bot- 
toms of the Missouri. 

Fruit. — No returns have been made of fruit trees under culti- 
vation, yet this is one of the very best fruit growing Counties in 
the State, many of the apple orchards returning their owners a 
yearly revenue of $500 to $2,500. In 1878 the orchard of Ex- 
Governor Furnas, near Brown ville, yielded several thousand bushels 
of peaches. 

Coal. — An excellent quality of coal is mined at Aspinwall, in 
this County. The seams vary from eighteen inches to two feet in 

Building Stone. — Along the blufi's of the Missouri, limestone 
of a superior quality for building is abundant. 

Historical. — Richard Brown has the honor of being the first 
settler in the County. He crossed the Missouri in a canoe August 
29, 1854, and laid the foundation of a claim cabin on the land 
now occupied by the town of Brownville. A number of pioneers 
quickly followed Mr. Brown, among whom were Rev. Joel M. 
Wood, Jesse Cole, Newton Kelley, Henry Emerson, Elder Thomas 
B. Edwards, Talbot Edwards, Josiah Edwards, B. B. Frazer, 
Houston Russell, James W. Coleman, Allen L. Coate, Israel R. 
Cuming, Stephen Sloan, A. J. Benedict, Henry W. Lake, O. F- 
Lake, W. A. Finney, Hiram Alderman, W. H. Hoover, Homer 
Johnson, R. J. Whitney, Mat. Alderman, Eli Fishburn, B. B. 
Chapman, Hudson Clayton, Thomas Heady, Sr., Mr. Christian, J. 
N. Knight,, Dr. Hoover, Wm. Hall, Wm. Hawk, Thomas Jeflries, 
Wm. Hays, Arch Handley, and others. 

The first officers of the County were appointed hy Governor 
Cuming, and are recorded as follows: A. J. Benedict, Probate 
Judge; H. W. Lake, Register of Deeds and County Clerk; 
Thomas B. Edwards, Sherijff. 

458 Johnson's history of Nebraska. 

The first election for County Officers, held December 12, 1855^ 
resulted as follows: A. J. Benedict, Probate Judge; W. II. Hoover, 
Register of Deeds and County Clerk; J. W. Coleman, Sheriif; "W". 
Hobbitzelle, Treasurer, and Allen L. Coate, County Surveyor. 

Richard Brown was elected to the Council, and Wm. A. Fin- 
ney and Joel A. Wood, to the House, of the First Territorial Leg- 

Mrs. Thomas B. Edwards was the first white woman to settle 
in the County. Talbot Edwards erected the first house in Brown- 
ville. A daughter was born to Thomas and Mary Fitzgerald, at 
Brownville, October 20, 1854, this being the first birth in the 
County. Shortly after this event Mr. Samuel Stiers and Miss 
Nancy Swift were married by Rev. J. M. Wood. The first death 
in the County was that of an infant daugliter of John MuUis, Jr.^ 
near Brownville, in September, 1854. 

A. L. Coates surveyed the townsite of Brownville during the 
spring and summer of 1855. Messrs. I. T. Whyte and Wm. Hob- 
bitszille opened the first stock of goods at Brownville in March^ 
this year. In March, W. A. Finney built for R. Brown, the first 
flat-boat, to be used as a ferry across the Missouri River at Brown- 
ville. During this spring R. Brown, Henry Emerson and S. E. 
Rogers, built the first steam sawmill in the County. The Chris- 
tian Church organized a society at Brownville, in January, 1855, 
Rev. Joel M. Wood, Pastor. H. S. Thorpe, on July 10, opened 
the first school at Brownville, with a dozen or so of scholars. Dr. 
A. S. Halliday located at Brownville November 2, 1855, and 
was the first physician in the County. Richard Brown was the 
first Postmaster at Brownville, receiving his appointment in the 
summer of 1855. 

Brownville was incorporated and made the County Seat by the 
first Legislature, in March, 1855. About the same time, and by 
the same authority, Thos. B. Edwards, W. A. Finney, and H. W. 
Lake, were appointed Commissioners to locate the first Territorial 
Road in the County, commencing at Brownville and ending at 
Marshall's Trading Point, on the Big Blue River. 

Daniel L. McGary, the first lawyer in the County, located at 
Brownville, in February, 1856. 

Johnson's history of nebea.ska. 45^ 

In June, 1856, the first military company was formed in the 
County, at Brownville, called the "Home Guards;" O. F.Lake, 

The first number of the Nebraska Advertiser was issued on 
the Tth day of June, 1856; E. W. Furnas, publisher and editor. 

William Thurbur was the first Comity Superintendent of 
Common Schools. The first school district was organized at 
Brownville, June 21, 1856, with A. J. Benedict, President; R. W. 
Furnas, Secretary; and Homer Johnson, Treasurer. 

The first Fourth of July celebration was held in 1856, at 
Brownville. !N'early every inhabitant in the County attended. R. 
J. Whitney was President of the day; Capt. Tliurbur, Marshal; 
and JSr. Meyers, Assistant. Henry W. Lake read the Declaration 
of Independence; and R. W, Furnas delivered the oration. 

Nemaha Yalley Bank was established during- the summer of 
1856; A. Hallam, Cashier; S. H. Riddle, President. 

The town site of Brownville was entered at the Land Oftice at 
Omaha, in February, 1857, by the Mayor, A. S. Holliday. At the 
same time and place, William Ferguson entered the land now known 
as South Brownville, being the first claim entry in the County. 

The Brownville Stone and Stone Coal Company was organized 
in March, 1857. John Jackey was the first adult to die in Brown- 
ville, which occurred March 25, 1857. 

In the spring of 1857, the U. S. Land Office for Nemaha Dis- 
trict was located at Brownville, and commenced business in Sep- 
tember following. 

The first school house in the County was erected at Brownville, 
and was used for several years as a Church also. 

The first apple orchard to bear fruit was in 1857, and belonged 
to John W. Hall, on Honey Creek. The Nemaha County Agri- 
cultural Society was organized in 1857. Its first Officers were: J. 
S. Minick, President; J. W. Coleman, Yice-President; R. W. 
Furnas, Secretary ; and Jesse Cole, Treasurer. 

In October, 1857, the first stearn ferry-boat, the " Nemaha," 
arrived at Brownville. The event was hailed with loud rejoicing, 
and in the evening a cotillion party was held on board the boat. 

Brownville Union Sabbath School was organized November 
15, 1857. 

460 Johnson's history or Nebraska, 

First meeting for the organization of ITemalia Yalley Lodge, 
Ko. 4, A. F. & A. M., was held at the residence of Jesse Noel, at 
Brownville, on the 26th day of September, 1857. Date of Charter, 
June 2, 1858. 

The first Coimty Commissioners were elected in November, 
1856. The Board consisted of D. C. Sanders, J. IST. Knight, and 
John W. Hall. First meeting, Dec. 1. 

The first citj election, under the new Act incorporating 
Brownville, was held February 9, 1857, and resulted as follows: 
Mayor, A. S. Holliday; Recorder, B. B. Thompson; Aldermen, J. 
T. "White, J. D. N. Thompson and George "W. Bratton; Marshal, 
Homer Johnson; Treasurer, J. T. Dozier; and A. L. Coates, Sur- 

The first code of ordinances was adopted February 23, 1857. 

The first term of District Court was held in a log cabin, at 
Brownville, in May, 1856, with Hon. James Bradley, Judge; J. 
"W. Coleman, Sheriff; Wm. McLellan, District Attorney; and "W. 
H. Hoover, District Clerk. 

The Methodist Church at Brownville, was organized in Febru- 
ary, 1858; Rev. Gordon in charge. At the same time the first 
protracted meeting was held. Revs. Goode, Cannon, Powell, Gor- 
don and Horn ofiiciatino^. 

The Brownville House, now a part of McPherson's Block, was 
completed in the spring of 1858, and opened on the 4th of July 
of the same year, b}'^ Robert Morrison and C. W. Wheeler. 

In the fall of 1858, the Presbyterian Church of Brownville 
was erected through the efforts and under the supervision of Luther 
Head ley. 

The first Lodge of the I. O. O. F. was organized at Brown- 
ville, January 29, 1858. 

January 14, 1857, B. F. Lushbaugh and John L. Carson estab- 
lished a Bank at Brownville. This firm dissolved in 1860, and J. 
L. Carson continued the business of private banker until August 
28, 1871, when the private bank was consolidated with, and organ- 
ized as the First National Bank of Brownville, John L. Carson, 

The first daily mail commenced from Rockport, Missouri, to 
Brownville, on July 1, 1858. 


In January, 185T, the first number of the Nemaha Journal 
■was issued at Brown ville; S. Belden, editor and publisher. Shortly 
after, Langdon & Goff commenced the publication of the Daily 
Snort, which was short lived. 

The Baptist Church was organized at Brownville on January 
29, 1859. 

First Kemaha County Agricultural Fair was held at Brown- 
ville, Oct. 6 and 7, 1859. October 10, 1859, the first Church bell 
arrived in Brownville, for the Presbyterian Church. 

R. W. Furnas published the first number of the Nebraska 
Farmer, the first journal of the kind in l^ebraska, in January, 

The telegraph line was completed and an office duly opened 
for business, on August 29, 1860, 

On the 1st of [November, 1867, Brownville Chapter No. 4, R. 
A. M., was duly organized. 

Brownville High School Building was completed in 1865. 
The Congregational Church was erected in 1859, and sold to the 
Methodists in 1861. The Christian Church, erected in 1859, was 
blown down by a hurricane in 1866, and rebuilt by the Baptists in 

The first number of the Brownville Journal was issued Jan- 
uary 1,1868. The office was removed to Falls City the same year. 

Holladay & Hill commenced the publication of the Brown- 
ville Democrat on July 11, 1868. The name of this paper was 
changed to the Nemaha County Granger by Holladay & White- 
head, and the first number was issued by them January 23, 1874. 

The first railroad train arrived in Brownville, on February 1, 
1874, over the route known as the Midland Extension, from Ne- 
braska City, now called the Nebraska Railway. 

The corner stone of the Catholic Church in Brownville, was 
laid July 24, 1870, by Rev. Father Curtis, of Omaha. 

The corner stone of the Episcopal edifice, was laid by Rer. 
Geo. R. Davis, in October, 1857. 

Furnas Council, No. 3, R. A. M., was organized April 25, 
1871. Ada Chapter No. 2, was organized February 10, 1872. 

Brownville Division, No. 19, Sons of Temperance, was organ- 
ized November 12, 1872. Excelsior Lodge No. 15, Knights of 

462 Johnson's history of Nebraska. 

Pjtliias, was organized October 21, 1873. The State Bank of Ne- 
braska organized on October 1, 1870. 

The State Agricultural Fair was held at Brownville, in Sep- 
tember, 1870, and October, 1871. The first graded or high school, 
was organized at Brownville, during the term commencing April 
6, 1868. 

Public Schools. — Present number of districts in the County, 
seventy -five; school houses, seventy-four; children of school age — 
males, 1,906, females, 1,925, total, 3,832; qualified teachers em- 
ployed, — males, forty-nine, females, eighty-four; total wages paid 
teachers for the year, $13,849.06; value of school houses, $46,194; 
value of sites, $3,117; value of books and apparatus, $1,069. 

Taxable Property. — Acres of land, 246,762; average value 
per acre, $4.13; value of town lots, $146,570; money invested in 
merchandise, $63,935; money used in manufactures, $13,460; 
horses, 4,892, value $111,050; mules and asses, 630, value $18,146; 
neat cattle, 13,630, value $130,019; sheep, 591, value $419; swine, 
34,739, value $31,267; vehicles, 1,668, value $26,026; moneys and 
credits, $23,978; mortgages, $35,425; stocks, etc., $,26085; furni- 
ture, $36,192; libraries, $1,499; property not enumerated, $76,760; 
railroads, $62,831.69; telegraph, $676.80; total valuation for 1879, 

Railroads. — The Nebraska Railway, under control of the B. 
& M., runs through the eastern portion of the County, a distance 
of about thirteen miles, Nemaha City being its present terminal 
point. Track laying for the extension of this road to a connection 
with the B. &. M. branch at Beatrice, Gage County, sixty-five 
miles distant, via. Tecumseh, on the A. &. N. road, is now being 
vigorously pushed forward, and is nearly completed to the latter 
point. The surveys for several other lines projected through the 
County have already been made. 

Lands. — Improved lands are worth from $7 to $30 per acre; 
wild lands from $4 to $10. 

The estimated population of the County in 1879, was 10,604. 


The County Seat, is an enterprising city of about 1,500 inhabitants. 
It has a handsome location on the high ground facing the Missouri 

Johnson's history of Nebraska. 


River, near the center of the County from north to south, and ia 
also on tlie line of the Nebraska Railway. The bottoms and bluffs 
of the Missouri in the vicinity are well timbered, while the sur- 
rounding country on the north, west and south, is highly culti- 
vated, and dotted with numerous large orchards and beautiful 
artificial groves. 

4 - -^^ c^ ...:..7:,^.r 


A splendid steam ferry connects the city with the Kansas 
■City, St. Joe and Council Bluffs Railroad, on the opposite side of 
the Missouri. Two excellent weekly newspapers are published 
here, the Granger and the Advertiser^ and there are besides, two 
banks, a large number of stores, representing all the various lines 
of trade, several handsome Churches, a very fine high school build- 
ing, accommodating a graded school, etc. 


Is a beautiful city of 600 inhabitants, situated on the banks of 
the Missouri, and on the Nebraska Railway, seven miles north of 

464 Johnson's history of Nebraska. 

Browuville. The State Normal school is located here. Business 
is represented by a weekly paper, the Herald^ a large three story 
flouring mill, one manufacturing establishment, several grocery 
and dry gooils stores, two drug stores, a brick yard, harness, boot 
and shoe, millinery, confectionery and a host of smaller establish- 
ments. It has several Church organizations and neat Churches, 
and an elegant school house, supplied with complete apparatus and 
all the modern improvements. 


Located near the mouth of the Little Nemaha River, about five miles 
south of Brownville, was one of the earliest towns located in the 
County. Allen T. Coates came here in the summer of 1854, and 
in December following, the town site was surveyed by Drs. Hoover 
and "Wyatt. It was incorporated by the Legislature in 1856, and 
during the same year a Postoffice was established, with Dr. 
Jerome Hoover, postmaster. The Methodists organized the first 
religious Society, Rev. Philo Gordon, Pastor. Joel W. Wells, 
elected in 1857, was the first Mayor of the city. S. Belden issued 
the first number of the Nemalia Yalley Journal here in January, 
1858. Geo. "W. Fairbrother and T. C. Hacker commenced the pub- 
lication of the Nebraska Herald here in October, 1859. The first 
white child born in the Precinct was a son of Alex. Weddle, on 
June 23, 1855. 

Nemaha City is at present the terminus of the Nebraska Rail- 
way, and has made more substantial progress during the past year 
than ever before. The railroad has put new life into it and new 
buildings are going up very fast. It contains about 250 inhabi- 
tants, two Churches — Methodist and Episcopal — a good school 
house, stores, grain houses, etc. 


Situated on the Missouri, in the southeastern part of the County, 
was surveyed in 1857. Hobbitzill &, Co., opened the first store in 
the town. Among the first settlers of the place were Darius Phipps, 
"Wm. Tliurman, Henry Hart, Hegler and Paulin. Miss Clara 
Parker taught the first school here in the fall of 1861. The town 
was incorporated in 1870, At present it contains several mercantile 

Johnson's history of Nebraska. 4G5 

stores and other business establishments, good school and Church 
advantages &c. Extensive coal mines are being worked at this 


Is a flourishing town of two hundred inhabitants, situated near 
the geographical center of the County. It was surveyed and 
recorded in 1869, and the first store was opened the same year by 
"Wesley Dundas. Dr. A. Opporman located here in May, 1871, 
and was the first physician. The first hotel was erected in 1S7-1 by 
A. W. Morgan. Tiie first school was taught by E. E. Savage, in 
November, 1874, and during the same year the Methodist Church 
was organized. Sheridan is located on the Branch of the Burling- 
ton and Missouri River Railroad now building through the County, 
and is improving very rapidly. The railroad will make it one of 
the best business centers in the County. All classes of business 
are represented and well sustained. It has excellent Church aud 
school facilities, and a weekly newspaper, the I^ost. 


Is an old village located in the southeast corner of the County. 
It was laid ovt in 1854, and surveyed by Greever, Nuckolls and 
others. Judge A. J. Ritter opened a general merchandise store 
here in 1859. A Postoffice was established in 1861. It contains a 
fine brick school house, a first class flouring mill, two blacksmith 
and one wagon shop, stores, and other places of business. 


Located on the Little Nemaha, in the northwestern part of tho 
County, is a new town and contains a grist mill, hotel, tin shop, 
wagon and blacksmith shop, grocery and dry goods stores, two 
physicians, etc. 


Three miles west of Brownville, has two Churches a fine school 
house and several business establishments. 

Dratton, Johnson, Grant, Sherman, Hillsdale, Febing, St. 
Frederick, Popens, Clifton and Locust Grove, are promising 

young towns. 

iGQ Johnson's history of Nebraska. 


Merrick County was organized by the Legislature in tlie win- 
ter of 1858-9, It lies between the Platte and Loup Rivers, in the 
middle-eastern part of the State, bounded on the north by Nance 
and Platte Counties, east and south by the Platte Piver, — which 
separates it from Polk and Hamilton Counties, and west by Hall 
and Howard Counties, containing about 400 square miles, at an 
average elevation of 1,686 feet above the sea level. 

Water Courses. — The County is finely watered by the Platte 
River and tributaries. The Platte washes the southeastern border, 
a distance of about fifty miles. Prairie Creek, a very fine stream, 
flows from southwest to northeast through the central portion of 
tlie County. Silver and several smaller creeks meander throngh 
<3iffereut portions of the County. Well water is obtained almost 
anywhere at a depth of from 15 to 25 feet. 

Timber. — ISTative timber is scarce. Along the banks of the 
Platte and on the islands, there is a small amount. A very large 
amount of timber has been planted in the County, however, and 
fuel is no longer a scarcity. The reports for 1879, show the num- 
ber of forest trees under cultivation to be 2,10Y|- acres, or 1,301,390 
trees, besides llf miles of hedging. 

Fruit. — 2,26-1 apple, sixty-four pear, 1,773 peach, 2,811 plum, 
and 616 cherry trees, and 284 grape vines are reported. Many of 
the orchards are in bearing. 

Oharacter of the Land. — The surface of the country consists 
almost entirely of fertile valley land, the Platte River being on the 
eoutheastern boundary, and the Loup River just beyond the 
northern boundary of the County, while through the central por- 
tion, midway between the two, extends the fine valley of Prairie 
Creek. At least seventy per cent, of the area is valley and bottom, 
and the remainder low, undulating prairie. 

Soil and Crops. — The soil is a deep, black sandy loam of in- 
exhaustible fertility, and almost everywhere yields abundant crops. 
The area in cultivation reported for 1879, was 78,270 acres. Rye, 
2,503 acres, 36,485 bushels; spring wheat, 16,606 acres, 206,520 

Johnson's history of Nebraska. ,^67 

bushels; corn, 9,168 acres, 239,633 bushels; barley, 595 acres^ 
15,094 bushels; oats, 4,041 acres, 128,220 bushels; sorghum, thirty, 
-six acres, 2,958 gallons; flax, 121 acres, 1,195 bushels; miikt, fifty- 
three acres, 912 tons; potatoes, 318 acres, 31,014 bushels. 

Historical. — James Yieregg, a returned Californian, has the 
honor of being the first settler in the County, locating on the south- 
east quarter of section five, town eleven north, range eight west, 
■on Thursday, September 15, 1859. Later on the same day, Charles 
Eggerton and Jesse Shoemaker, selected a site for a ranche within 
n few rods of the original "lone tree" on the left bank of the Platte 
Hiver, three miles southwest of where Central City now stands^ 
Here they built a large sod house and stabling, which soon became 
widely known as the "Lone Tree Eanche." A few months later 
the co-partnership of Eggerton & Shoemaker was dissolved, the 
latter going eight miles farther west, to the banks of Wood River 
iwhere he established "Shoemaker's Point Ranche." 

On the first of January, 1S60, Jason Parker staked his claim 
upon the land where he etill resides, about two miles southeast of 
■Central City, and on the first of March following, he brought his 
family out, being the pioneer family of the County. 

Many of the Pike's Peak gold seekers, upon their return, set- 
tled permanently in this County, among whom were James G. and 
"Wells Brewer, who located in 1860. 

John L. Martin, who had been living at Silver Creek for a year 
-and a half previously, settled upon a claim about a mile and a half 
eoutheast of Chapman, on Tuesday, May 21, 1861. Mrs. Martin 
■was for five years the only physician between Columbus and Fort 

On Tuesday, July 15, 1862, Mrs. Jason Parker was buried, 
being the first death among the settlers. 

The first marriage ceremony in the County, was performed by 
Judge James G. Brewer, at his residence, between John M. Hyes 
and Yiola Parker, on Sunday, December 25, 1864, in the presence 
of Charles Combs and Wells Brewer. 

According to the provisions of an Act of the Legislature, the 
•Commissioners of Platte County issued an ordar for an election to 
be held in Merrick County, on the 18th day of April, 1864, for the 
purpose of County organization. At this election the following 

468 Johnson's history of Nebraska. 

Connty officers were elected, viz.: Commissioners, George Gilson^ 
Jason Parker, and Jesse Shoemaker; Probate Judoje, James G. 
BrcM-er; Clerk, Wm. II. Mitchell; Treasurer, AVells Brewer; 
Prosecuting Attorney, Ileury Latrop; Sheriff, Frank Parker; 
Coroner, Robert Mitchell. 

All the County business was transacted at the house of James 
G. Brewer for several years. 

The first jury trial held in the County was on a civil suit be- 
fore Jas. G. Brewer, Pjobate Judge, wherein Plenry Twitchell was 
plaintiff and William Haylen and Jesse Shoemaker, defendants. 
Counsel for plaintiff, JohnL. Martin; for defendant, "Wells Brewer. 

The first criminal trial was before the same, on June 16, 1867, 
the People against Matt Vertz, charged with shooting Isaac Berry. 

During the year 1868 the Indians made several raids into the 
County, but the greater part of the mischief done by them was in 
Btealmg stock. However, a son of Claus Gottcsh, and a hired man, 
was killed by Indians in 1868, and in June, 1869, Wm. Shoulders 
and John Sanford were also killed by them while trying to recap- 
ture stolen animals. 

At an election held on the 12th of October, 1869, Lone Tree 
was selected as the permanant County Seat. 

The iirst term of th,e District Court of Merrick County was 
held at Lone Tree, November 24, 1869; Hon. Lorenzo Crounse, 
presiding Judge; E. F. Gray, District Attorney; Ira Prouty, Clerk, 
and G. W. Moore, Sheriff. 

The first bonded indebtedness of the County was created on 
June 4, 1870, when the citizens, at a special election, voted bonds 
to the amount of $18,000 for the erection of a court house and jail 
at Lone Tree. The contract for its construction was awarded, 
March 21, 1871, to Charles Lightfoot, for $16,000. The building, 
however, was finished by Q, B. Skinner, and owing to changes made 
in the plans, cost about $20,000. It is brick, fifty by sixty, and 
thirty feet high; offices and jail below, and court room above. 

A tornado crossed the County, from west to east, on the after- 
noon of the 5th of July, 1871, destroying everything in its path for 
a width of about 200 feet. It lifted the roof from the depot at 
Lone Tree, destroyed part of Bryant's Hotel, demolished a black- 
smith shop and several small buildings, and scattered Traver & 



3Iay's lumber yard in every dirt ction. About a mile east of town, 
the house of a Mr. Phelps, in which he and his four children were 
eating supper at the time, was lifted bodily from the ground, and 
carried some eighty yards, making a complete wreck of it. Mr. 
Phelps was instantly killed, his body being found partially hanging 
in a Cottonwood tree, while around him, in the debris, lay his 
children, stunned and bleeding; but, strange as it may seem, they 
dl eventually recovered. 


County bonds, to the amount of $6,000, were voted January 
9th, 1872, to aid James G. Brewer in the construction of a water- 
grist mill in the County. 

In 1872-73 peace and prosperity reigned in Merrick County, 
and its growth and improvement was substantial and great. And 
it so promised for 1874, but in July vast swarms of grasshoppers 

470 Johnson's history of Nebraska. 

visited the County, and swept all cultivated vegetation from the 

In February, 18Y5, the citizens of Lone Tree petitioned the 
District Court to change the name of that town to Central Cityr 
and it was so changed. 

Church Matters. — Elder T. B. Lemon, of the Methodist 
Church, conducted services at the residence of James G. Brewer, 
June 24, 1866, taking his text from Daniel, 6th Chapter, 10th 
verse; and during five days of the following week, held a protracted 
meeting in the log school house, at the close of which a class was 
formed, with Jacob Rice, as leader. 

The first Church in the Countj' was erected at Silver Creek,. 
by the Episcopalians, in 1870, and dedicated in 1872. 

The first Baptist Church was built at Lone Tree, in 1872, and 
dedicated in August, of that year. 

The Presbyterian and Union Churches at Clarksville were 
erected in 1873. The Presbyterians also have a Church at Central 
City. At the present time there are seven Churches and several 
Church organizations in the County, and services are held in the. 
school house, also. 

Public Schools. — Miss Ella Abbott, now Mrs. Dodge, taught 
the first school in the County in the winter of 1866-7. The num- 
ber of districts in 1879 was forty-eight; school houses, forty-six; 
children of school age, males, 848, females, 799, total, 1,647; whole 
number of children that attended school during the year, 1,303; 
number of qualified teachers employed, males, forty-one, females, 
thirty-three; total salary paid teachers for the year, $9,418.44; 
value of school houses, $29,990; value of sites, $1,789.25; value of 
books and apparatus, $1,599.76. 

Taxable Ppoperty. — Acres of land, 222,763, average value per 
acre, $2.25; value of town lots, $47,748; money invested in mer- 
chandise, $44,325; money used in manufactures, $10,585; horses, 
2,434, value, $47,177; mules, 189, value, $4,532; neat cattle, 7,340, 
value, $35,341; sheep, 1,189, value, $598; swine, 3,621, value, $350; 
vehicles, 918, value,- $13,720; moneys and credits, $13,489; mort- 
gacres, $12,139; stocks, $37.00 furniture, $12,013; libraries, $514; 
pro])erty not enumerated, $39,380; railroads, $462,323.60; tele- 
graph, $3,791; total valuation for 1879, $1,386,999.60. 

Johnson's history of Nebraska. 4T1 

Hailroads. — The Union Pacific Railroad passes throngli the 
County from east to west, a distance of 44.60 miles. Tho Nebraska 
Railway, under control of the B, & M., is now being extended 
from Aurora, Hamilton County, to a connection with the Union 
Pacific at Central City. The track is being laid as fast as men and 
money can do the work, and the road will be in running order 
between these points before the close of the present year. 

Lands. — The Union Pacific Railroad Company owns about 
20,000 acres in this County, for which $3 to $6 per acre is asked. 
Improved lands are worth from $5 to $25 per acre. 

Population. — The following are the names of the Precincts 
and the population of each in 1879: Silver Creek, 368; Clarks- 
ville, 831; Lone Tree, 977; Chapman, 406; Prairie Island, 56; 
Mead, 328; Prairie Creek, 406; Loup, 365; Central, 144; Viercgg, 
456; Midland, 288. 

Total population of County, 4,625 — males, 2,480; females, 

The Ketchum and Mitchell Murder. — In December, 1 878, 
the sheriff of this County, assisted by the sherifi" of Buffalo 
County, arrested Luther Mitchell and A. "W. Ketchum, homestead- 
ers, of Custer County, for the murder of Sheriff Stevens, of that 
County, who with two comrades went to the place of Luther 
Mitchell, to arrest Ketchum on a warrant charging him with cattle 
stealing from the ranche of I. P. Olive, in Custer County. 

It is claimed that Mitchell and Ketchum were out doors 
handling stock, when Stevens and companions rode up and com- 
menced firing. Mitchell and Ketchum returned the fire; and 
Mitchell shot Stevens, who died a few days afterward. On the 
other hand, it is claimed that Ketchum was resisting arrest, and 
was aided by Mitchell. 

Stevens, it is claimed, was a brother of I. P. Olive, and was 
passing under an assumed name, on account of crimes committed 
in Texas. Shortly after he was killed, Olive sent out notices offer- 
ing a reward for the capture and delivery to him of Mitchell and 
Ketchum— $500 for Mitchell and $200 for Ketchum. They were 
arrested, as before stated, by the Sheriffs of Merrick and Buffalo 
Counties, and taken to Kearney, and from there were taken by 
Barney J. Gillen, Sheriff of Keith County, to Plum Creek, Daw- 

4:72 Johnson's history of Nebraska. 

Bon Conntj, arriving there Decemher 10, in the afternoon. Gillen, 
accompanied bj a joung man named Dufrand, and with the two 
prisoners shackled toiicther, left there the same afternoon in a 
wagon, for the County Seat of Custer County, forty miles north. 
Before reaching their destination, they were met on the road by 
Olive and a dozen or fifteen "cow boys," who took the prisoners 
from the Sheriff, and murdered them in the most atrocious manner, 
Tiieir bodies were found the next day, in a canon three miles south 
of Olive's ranche. Ketchum's body was hanging to a tree, with a 
rope around the neck, and Mitchell's was lying partly on the 
ground, nearly upon the knees, and held in this position by shack- 
les to the body of Ketchum. The tall, dry prairie grass had been 
set on fire, which burned the bodies in the most horrible manner, 
the flesh falling from the limbs of Mitchell while being raised 
from the ground. 

I. P. Olive, W. H. Green, John Baldwin, Pedro Dominicus, 
Phil. r)ufrand, and Barney J. Gillen, were surprised and captured 
soon after, at and near Plum Creek. Dennis Gartrell, one of the 
party, escaped. 

Custer County being unorganized, the Judge of the Fifth Ju- 
dicial District set the trial of the case at Hastings, in Adams 
County. The Legislature appropriated $10,000 to carry on the 

The District Attorney, T. D. Scofield, was assisted by Attor- 
ney-General Dilworth. Hon. J. M. Thurston, of Omaha, and 0. 
"W. McNamara, of Plum Creek, were employed by the Governor. 

The defence was made by John Carrigan, of Blair, Hinman 
& Neville, of North Platte, Conner, of Fillmore County, James 
Laird, of Juniata, and Warrington, of Plum Creek. 

The trial was had in April, 1879, and including disposition of 
technical points, lasted nearly three weeks, resulting in the convic- 
tion of Olive and Fisher of murder in the second degree, and 
sentence to penitentiary for life, by Judge Gaslin. Ten of the jury 
stood for murder in the first degree. Bion Brown turned State's 

Immediately after the conviction of Olive and Fisher, Bald- 
win and Green were tried, the jury disagreeing. The defence 
made the point that they were at most only spectators and not par- 

Johnson's history of Nebraska. 473 

ticipants. In tlieir trial the Mexican, Dominicus, turned State's 

The other prisoners have not yet been tried, and will not be 
till the case of Olive is passed upon by the Supreme Court. 

Gillen aud another prisoner, name not ascertained, escaped 
from Plum Creek jail. 


Formerly called "Lone Tree," is the County Seat, and has about 
500 inhabitants. It is situated in the valley of the Platte, and on 
the line of the U. P. Railroad, 132 miles west of Omaha. Mr. Ed. 
Parker, and a Mr. Mills, erected the first house on the townsite in 
May, 1866. At present it contains a fine brick court house, two 
story school house, three Churches, a weekly newspaper, the 
Courier^ two hotels, several stores, a bank, two elevators, lumber 
yards, etc., and the prospects of the town are very flattering. 
There is a fine wagon bridge across the Platte at this point, making 
this the trading and shipping center of a number of villages on the 
south side of the river. 


Named after S. H. H. Clark, manager of the Union Pacific Rail- 
road, has a population of 400. The first house on the townsite 
was completed October 30, 1871, by Mr. L. B. Mclntyre. The 
city is located on the line of the U. P. Railroad, ten miles east of 
the County Seat, and contains a weekly paper, the Messenger^ 
eeveral fine stores, large lumber yards and implement stores, a 
hotel, three grain elevators, two Churches, fine school house, etc 
This is an extensive shipping point, and in 1876 a bridge was com- 
pleted across the Platte here, at a cost of $11,000, for the con- 
venience of the farmers of Hamilton and York Counties, 


On the Union Pacific, eleven miles east of Clarksville, has about 
200 inhabitants. It contains several business houses, an Episcopal 
Church, school house, grain elevators, etc. A wagon bridge across 
the Platte connects it with Polk County, and draws a large 


Johnson's history of Nebraska. 

Johnson's history of nebkaska. 475 


On the Uuion Pacific, in the southwestern part of the County, is a 
flourisliing village of about 150 inhabitants. It does a large ship- 
ping and general merchandise trade. The first house erected 
here was completed June 19, 1872, by Leake and Read. 


Nuckolls County was organized early in the summer of 1871, 
It is located on the south-central border of the State, and is bounded 
on the north by Clay and east by Thayer County, south by the 
State of Kansas, and west by Webster County, containing 576 
square miles, or 368,640 acres, at an average elevation of 1,600 feet 
above the sea level. 

"Water Coukses. — The County is finely watered by the Tte- 
pnblican and Little Blue Rivers and tributaries. The Republican 
fl'.ws through the southwestern portion, and is supported by nu- 
merous fine tributaries, which have their source in this County. 
The Little Blue fiows diagonally through the northeastern portion, 
and has several large tributaries, the most important of which is 
Elk Creek, a splendid mill stream flowing through the central por- 
tion of the County. Every township has a living stream. "Watei* 
power is unlimited. 

Timber. — The larger streams are all well skirted with timber, 
much of it being hardwood; 215,779 forest trees have been planted 
in the County up to date, and fuel is already abundant. Six 
and one-half miles of iiedging are reported. 

Eruit. — 4,222 apple, 79 pear, 5,618 peach, 118 plum, and 854 
cherry trees, are returned, besides 928 grape vines. Various wild 
fruits are found along the streams. 

Building Stone of an excellent quality is found in diflercnt 

Character of the Land. — About twenty per cent, of the area 
is valley and bottom land, and the balance rolling prairie, with 
prominent blufifs in occasional places along the streams. The Re- 
publican valley averages six miles in width. The valley of th€ 

476 Johnson's history of Nebraska. 

Little Bine, wLicli extends a distance of about fifteen miles throngli 
this Count)-, varies from three to five miles in width. Elk and 
Spring Creeks also have beautiful valleys. The general average 
of the surface soil of the uplands is from one and a half to three 
feet in thickness. The following statement will show the principal 
productions as reported for 1879: 

Crops. — Area under cultivation, 24,730 acres. Winter wheat, 
seventy five acres, 1,148 bushels; spring wheat, 8,549 acres, 80,871 
bushels; rye, 479 acres, 6,694 bushels; corn, 7,361 acres, 220,633 
bushels; barley, 761 acres, 17,333 bushels; sorghum, twenty-six 
acres, 2,823 gallons; hungarian, forty-four acres, 172 tons; potatoes, 
132 acres, 14,867 bushels. 

Historical. — As early as in 1858, a few hardy pioneers 
located upon claims in this County, but for the next several years 
scarcely any progress was made toward its permanent settlement, 
even as late as 1871 the population numbering only eight, accord- 
ing to the State census returns. From that date onward, however, 
the tide of immigration has continued steadily, and close settle- 
ments liave sprung up in all parts of the County. A few years 
ago, a large body of Danes and Norwegians located in the south- 
eastern part of the County. In the northwestern part, in the 
neighborhood of Liberty Creek, there is a thrifty settlement of 

The first election for County OflBcers occurred on the 27th of 
June, 1871, and resulted as follows: Commissioners, A. Simonton, 
and J. Hannum; Probate Judge, A. E. Davis; Clerk, E. L. Down- 
ing; Treasurer, Willis Ilenby; Sheriff, K J. Harmon; Superin- 
tendent Public Instruction, D. W. Montgomery; Coroner, F. 
Naylor; Surveyor, D. W. Montgomery. 

The St. Joe & Denver City Railroad was built through the 
northeastern part of the County in 1872. The Burlington & 
Missouri River Railroad Company have made their surveys 
through the County for a branch line running from Beatrice, Gage 
County, to Red Cloud, Webster County, and the road is to be con- 
structed as rapidly as possible. 

Lands. — A large amount of the land in this County is owned 
by the Railroads and non-residents. The price of wild lands is 
from $2 to $8 per acre; improved from $5 to $18. 

Johnson's history of Nebraska. 477 

Five flouring mills and two Churches are among the recent 
improvements in the County. 

Public Schools. — Number of school districts, thirty-four; 
school houses, twenty-eight; children of school age — males, 588, 
females, 469; total, 1,057; qualiiied teachers employed — males, 
twenty-four, females, twenty-six; wages paid teachers for the year 
—males, $3,554, females, $2,753.81; total, $6,307.81; value of 
school houses, $12,985; value of sites, $302; value of books, etc., 

Taxable Property. — Acres of land, 325,854; average value 
per acre, $2.15; value of town lots, $14,398; money invested in 
merchandise, $11,200; money used in manufactures, $8,453; horses, 
1,862, value, $31,902; mules, 211, value, $5,186; neat cattle, 
2,995, value, $26,953; sheep, 999, value, $825; swine, 7,776, 
value, $7,307.55; vehicles, 578, value, $7,536; moneys and credits, 
$5,489; mortgages, $8,654; stocks, $66; furniture, $5,560; libraries, 
$164; property not enumerated, $19,945.45; railroad, $25,088.07. 
Total valuation for 1879, $880,908.07. 

Population. — The following is the population of the County 
in 1879, by Precincts: Alban, 99; Beaver, 377; Bonhard, 319; 
Elk, 488; Liberty, 313; Nelson, 707; Sherman, 404; Spring Val- 
ley, 65; Spring Creek, 192. 

Total, 2,964— males, 1,615; females, 1,349. 


The County Seat, is a rapidly growing town of 600 inhabitants. 
It is situated on a gentle slope on the north side of Elk Creek, 
near the geographical center of the County, and was surveyed in 
December, 1872. It contains a good court house, secure jail, fine 
new school house, Church, grist mill, weekly newspaper, the IltT' 
aid, several stores and shops, real estate offices, lumber yards, agri- 
cultural implement stores, etc. Excellent bridges span the Elk 
and other streams in the vicinity, adding greatly to the conveni- 
ence of trade, and making this a fine business center. 

Is a prosperous town of about 400 inhabitants, located on the Re- 
publican River, twelve miles t^outh of Nelson. The town site was 
surveyed in February, 1875. It has a weekly newspaper, the 

478 Johnson's history of Nebraska. 

Guide, an elegant scliool lionse, hardware, drug, grocery, dry- 
goods. furniture, implement, and various other stores and business 
places. A substantial bridge, 480 feet long, costing $10,000, spans 
the Republican at this point, and draws large travel and trade from 
northern Kansas. 

Elkton, Henrietta, Spring Yalley, Beachamville, Ox Bow, 
Oak and Nora are prosperous young towns of fifty to 250 inhabi- 
tants each. 


Nance County, formerly the Pawnee Indian Reservation, was 
organized by proclamation of Governor Nance, after whom it was 
called, June 16, 1879, It lies near the center of the State from 
north to south, in the fifth tier of Counties west of the Missouri 
River, and is bounded on the north by Boone and Platte, east 
by Platte and Merrick, south by Merrick, and west by Merrick 
and Boone Counties, containing 450 square miles, or 288,000 

The Loup River flows from west to east through the entire 
length of the County, and receives several fine tributaries from the 
north, of which the most prominent are Beaver, Plum and Cedar 
•Creeks. The southeastern portion of the County is watered by 
Prairie Creek. There are numerous fine mill privileges on the 
tributaries of the Loup. 

The surface of the country consists of about eighty per cent, 
undulating prairie, and the balance valley and bottom. Almost 
every acre is rich tillable land. The Loup Yalley is from three to 
seven miles wide. Cedar, Plum and Beaver Creeks each have 
beautiful valleys, varying in width from two to five miles, and well 
fringed with forest timber along the banks of the streams. Taken 
as a whole, Nance County embraces as fine a body of lands as there 
are to be found in the State. 

In the spring of 1857, three colonies of Mormons, comprising 
together over one hundred families, located on the Loup, near the 
mouth of Beaver Creek, where they established the town of Genoa. 

Johnson's history of Nebraska. 479 

They enclosed, with a ditch and sod fence, 2,000 acres of rich land, 
and put 1,200 acres under cultivation. 

In 1862, the U. S. Government surveyed the territory now 
comprising this County, and confirmed it by treaty to the Pawnee 
Indians, for a Reservation. This displaced the Mormons, and they 
removed to other localities. The Indians afterwards cultivated the 
land which had been broken np by the Mormons. In 1875, the 
Pawnees were removed to their reservation in the Indian Territory, 
and these lands were appraised for sale and opened for settle- 

The first election for County Officers and location of County 
Seat, occurred in November, 1879, under the supervision of D. E. 
Stearns, George MeClusey and J. "W. Whitney, special Commis- 
sioners appointed by the Governor for that purpose. The results 
of the election are not yet fully assured, Genoa had a small 
majority, but it is contested on illegal votes, by its rival town 
Fullerton. The Governor located the temporary County Seat at 

The old village of Genoa, in the northeastern part of the 
County, is building up very rapidly since the organization of the 
County. At present it contains forty or fifty dwellings, good 
stores and a school house. The Omaha, Niobrara and Black Hills 
Railroad, now being constructed from Jackson, on the Union 
Pacific to Albion, in Boone County, will pass through Genoa and 
assure its prosperity. 


Is a town recently established on Cedar Creek, fifteen miles west 
of Genoa. It has already three stores, two livery stables, one 
hotel, lawyers and doctors ofiices, a newspaper, the Journal, and 
-other improvements. 

The estimated population of the County in 1879, was 1,000. 


Johnson's history of Nebraska. 







Johnson's history of Nebraska. 481 


Otoe Coiintj was organized by an Act of the first Territorial 
Legislature, approved March 2, 1855. It is located on the south- 
eastern border of the State, bounded on the north by Cass County, 
east by the Missouri River, south by Nemaha and Johnson 
Counties, and west by Lancaster County, containing about 575 
square miles, or 368,000 acres. 

Water Courses. — The County is most excellently watered by 
the Missouri and Little Nemaha Rivers, and several large creeks. 
The Little Nemaha River, affording fine mill advantages, flows 
diagonally through the central portion from northwest to south- 
east, its chief tributaries being the North and South Forks, 
Muddy, Porter, Deer, and Fpx Creeks. The eastern portion of 
the County is watered by the "Weeping Water, North and South 
Table, Dunbar, Stanton, Rock, and Camp Creeks. There are but 
very few quarter sections of land which do not furnish good stock 

Character of the Land. — The surface of the country consists 
chiefly of rolling prairie, about fifteen per cent, being valley and 
bottom. The Missouri bottom is exceedingly fertile, yielding from 
fifty to eighty bushels of corn per acre, and the bottoms of the 
other streams are equally as productive. The blufis of the Missouri 
are high, cut through with innumerable draws, or ravines, and are 
admirably adapted for grape growing. From the valleys of the 
streams in the interior, the land rises and falls in gentle undula- 
tions, gradually blending in long stretches of nearly level prairie. 
The area in cultivation in 1878, was 94,247 acres, and in 1879, 
104,439 acres. Bushels of spring wheat returned, 300,000; corn, 

Timber. — The blufis of the Missouri and banks of the other 
streams of the County are well clothed with timber, the varieties 
most common being oak, ash, elm, maple, cottonwood, box-elder 
and hackberry. The estimated number of acres of timber planted 
is 11,000. Well developed groves gladden the eye on every hand, 


482 Johnson's history of Nebraska.. 

and many of the farms are surrounded with honej-locust and 
osage hedges. 

Fruit. — Otoe has more vineyards and orchards than any otlier 
County in tlie State. Hon. J. Sterling Morton, of Nebraska City, 
has a fine orchard of forty acres. Ex-Chief Justice Mason has an 
orchard near the same place, containing some 15,000 choice fruit 
trees. Apples, pears, plums, grapes and all the minor fruits grow 
to perfection. A few years ago an apple was grown in the orchard 
of Perry & Walker, near ^Nebraska City, which weighed twenty- 
nine and a half ounces. 

Building Material. — Limestone abounds throughout the 
middle and eastern portions of the County. Sandstone also crops 
out in several places. Good building sand and fine clays for the 
manufacture of brick are abundant. 

Coal, in thin seams, has been discovered in several localities. 

Historical. — The first settlements in the County were made 
where Nebraska City now stands. In 1844 the United States Gov- 
ernment occupied a portion of the present townsite for a Military 
Post, which was named Fort Kearney. The Fort proper, a block- 
house, was built in 1846. It stood in what is now Fifth Street. 
A log cabin, used for officer's quarters, barracks, or hospital, stood 
about 150 feet easterly of the block-house. 

A Mr. Hardin was put in charge of the government buildings, 
when, in 1848, the Military Post was removed to New Fort Kear- 
ney, on the Platte River. 

Col. John Boulware, who came to the Fort in 1846, and 
established a government ferry, was appointed in Mr. Hardin's 
place, in 1849; and Hiram P. Downs, formerly a sergeant in the 
United States army, was, in 1850, put in charge, instead of Col. 

The original settlers and claimants of the ground embraced by 
^Nebraska City, were John Boulv/are, Hiram P. Downs and John 
B. Boulware. John B. Boulware built, in 1853, a ferry house, and 
the first permanent habitation on the townsite, on the river bank, 
at the foot of Commercial street. His father's claim was the pres- 
ent Kearney Div^ision of the city, and was staked off in the spring 
of 1853. Hiram P. Downs claimed 320 acres, and in the fall of 
1853, Charles W. Pierce surveyed the claim, running the north line 

Johnson's history of Nebraska. 483 

from the river nearly along North Table Creek, to Tenth Street, 
the west line along Tenth Street, and the sonth line south of the 
present Kansas street. John B. Bonlware claimed 320 acres from 
the south line of Down's claim to South Table Creek, and from his 
father's, on the east, nearly to the west line of what is known as 
Hail & Go's Addition. West of Tenth Street, Mr. Pierce also sur- 
veyed ] 60 acres for a Mr. Fawks. 

Hiram P. Downs sold his claim — which embraced the greater 
part of the land now occupied by Nebraska City — to the Nebraska 
City Town Company, which was composed of S. F. Nuckolls, A. 
A. Bradford, H. P. Bennett, Wm. B. Hail, Lafayette Nuckolls, 
John Doniphan, L. D. Bird, Jas. Doniphan, S. E. Frazee, Marshall 
& Woodward, N. B. Giddings, C. F. Holly, J. W. Kelly, W. S. 
Van Doren, Robert Cook and J. Sterling Morton. 

The Town Company, as aforesaid, employed Chas. W. Pierce, 
to survey the land and make it into streets, alleys and lots. On 
May 5, 1855, the first grand sale of town lots was held. The three 
lots where the Nebraska City National Bank now stands, on the 
corner of Main and Sixth streets, were sold for twenty dollars each; 
the lot on Sixth street, now Hawke's Hall, was donated to Conrad 
MuUis for a blacksmith shop. At figures ranging from fifty to 
sixty -five dollars, almost any " claim " within a distance of four 
miles from Nebraska City, could have been readily purchased. 

The survey of the original plat of Nebraska Citj'^ was made by 
Chas. W. Pierce, assisted by Dr. Wm. Dewej'^, Cornelius Schubert, 
Samuel Saunders, and others, in the fall of 1854. 

By Act of the Territorial Legislature, approved March 2, 1855^ 
Nebraska City was declared to be the seat of justice of Otoe County. 
The charter was amended in 1867. 

In 1857 a small patch of corn was grown where the court house 
now stands. 

Chas. H. Cowles erected the first, and Chas Pierce the second 
frame house on the town site. The former stood on the corner of 
Fifth street, and the latter next door to where the Press ofiice stood. 
The first brick house was built by Mr. Nuckolls, upon the north- 
west corner of Main and Fifth streets. The first hotel was built 
by Mr. Downs, in the fall of 1854, and called the City Hotel. A 
few years later Mr. Simpson Hargus erected a four story brick hotel 

484 Johnson's history of Nebraska. 

upon the site of the old City Hotel, which he named the Morton 
House, and now called the Seymour House. 

The first stock of goods brought to the city was by Charley 
Cowles. The next store was opened by Joel Deneen, in Kearney, 
and the third by Kuckolls & Hail, afterwards Nuckolls, Hail & 
Yan Doren. The Platte Valley Bank was estableshed at an early 
day, by S. F. Nuckolls, Joshua Garside and N. S. Harding, and 
maintained its credit by the redemption of its whole issue. 

The first Postoffice was called Table Creek; it was established 
in 1852, with John Boulware as Postmaster. In 1854 the name of 
the ofiice was changed to Nebraska City. 

The first regular preaching in the city was by Wm. D. 
Gage, a local preacher of the Methodist Church. The first build- 
ing for religious services was erected in 185-i, by the Baptists. 
The first Methodist Episcopal building was commenced in 
1855. The walls were thrown down by the wind the following 
winter, but were rebuilt and the house finished in 1856. The 
Presbyterian Society was organized not long after the founding 
of the city, with Rev. Henry Giltner as Pastor. Their Church 
was completed in 1857, and the bell which adorns it was taken 
from the wreck of the steamboat " Genoa," which was sunk in 1856. 
The Protestant-Episcopal Church (St. Mary's Parish,) was organ- 
ized in April, 1857, with Henry B. Bartow, as Rector. 

The first newspaper, now the oldest in the State, was the ]}^e- 
hraska City News. The press- work of the first number was done in 
Sidney, Iowa. It was dated November 14, 1854. The ofiice was 
first opened in the old Block- House; Thos. Morton was the printer. 

The second United States land ofiice in the State was located 
at Nebraska City. 

The first and only slaves that were ever brought into the 
Territory, were owned in Nebraska City, in 1857. There were 
eleven in all. 

The Peojde's Press was established in 1858, by O. H. Irish 
and L. L. Lurvey. It still flourishes as the Daily Nebraska Press; 
W. A. Brown, publisher and proprietor. 

The first steam ferry boat — the "Nebraska" — was brought to 
Nebraska City by Mr. McLennan, in May, 1854. The next was 
the "Comet," brought from Ohio, in 4857. 

Johnson's history of Nebraska. 485 

^ Game, which before the winter of 1856-7, liad been abundant, 
perished from cold and hunger that winter. Deer run through 
the streets seeking safety from wolves, which followed them on 
the ice-crusted snow, making them an easy prey. Herds of deer 
frequently passed from the north between J. Sterling Morton's 
house and the court house square. 

The population in the early days was made up of emigrants 
from Michigan, Ohio, Illinois, Indiana and Missouri. The Camp- 
bellites and Methodists were the ]ar2:est of the religious denomi- 
nations. The Old School Presbyterians were also quite strong. 

During the early spring of 1856, immigration was unusually 
heavy. While this continued, the price of lots steadily advanced, 
and a number of additions were made to the town plat. 

The first election in Otoe County was held on the first Monday 
in November, 1854. Henry Bradford, Hiram P. Bennett and 
Charles H. Cowles, were elected to the Territorial Council, and 
Jas. H. Decker, Harvy C. Cowley, Wilson M. Maddox, Gideon 
Bennett and Wm. B. Hail, to the House of Representatives. 

The first city election was held in April, 1855, and the follow- 
ing ofiicers were elected: Mayor, Dr. Henry Bradford; Alder- 
men, Wm. R. Craig, John W. Pearman, Wm. B. Hail; Recorder, 
Martin W. Riden; Treasurer, W. D. Gage; Marshal, Smith Mc- 
Manus, and Assessor, Alfred B. Wolston. 

The first election for County ofiicers was held October 8, 1855, 
and resulted as follows: Wm. B. Hail, Probate Judge; Wm. Birch- 
£eld, Sheriff; J. W. Pearman, Treasurer, and C. C. Hail, Recorder. 

On March 31, 185T, Mayor Bradford "entered" Nebraska City 
as a town site, in the land ofiice at Omaha. 

In 1858, Nebraska City and the suburban cities of Kearney, 
South Nebraska City and Prairie City, were consolidated and 
organized into Nebraska City, as it now stands. 

In the winter of 1856-7 the corporation of Kearney was organ- 
ized by the election of Mills S. Reeves, Mayor; Henry C. Norton, 
Recorder; Byron Sanford, Marshal; Councilraen, David Lindley, 
John Boulware, and J. C. Campbell. 

Kearney was surveyed as a town in June, 1854, and was 
entered at the land ofiice in Omaha, under the town site law, by 
Mayor Reeves, on April 13, 1857. 

486 Johnson's history of Nebraska. 

On the first Monday in May, 1857, the corporation of South 
I^febraska City, comprising the old survey, and Hail & Co.'s ad- 
dition, was organized by the election of John B. Lull, Mayor; 
Recorder, Fountain Pearman; Marshal, Henry Brown; Treasurer, 
Samuel W. Burnam; Attorney, Chas. F. Halley; Councilmen, 
Wm. W. Saper, Simon Hooper, and Geo. Allen. It was surveyed 
in 1854-5, and entered by Mayor Lull, on the 25th of June, 1857. 


"Was organized in August, 1858, by the election of Benjamin F. 
Hayward, Simpson Hargus, John H. Croxton, H. M. Giltiier, and 
James F. Hoffman, Trustees. It was surveyed by John A. Good- 
lette, and entered as a town site by John H. Croxton, for the 
Trustees, on the 7th of October, 1857. 

Besides the towns named already, there was up to 1857, 
ground adjacent to tlie present city, surveyed and staked off in 
Marietta, McLennan's Addition to Marietta, Anderson's first and 
second Additions, Cambridge, Belmont, Elmwood, Greggsport, 
Gregg's Addition to Greggsport, Cowles Addition to Greggsport, 
and Condit, while the island rejoiced in two towns under the 
euphonious titles of Woodlawn and Woodville. 

Russell, Majors & Waddell, government freighting firm,, 
established themselves in Nebraska City, in the spring of 1858. 
The Government had made this its point for the transhipment of 
army stores destined for the plains and mountains. The next few 
years witnessed scenes of great activity. The levee and several 
great warehouses were constantly filled with immense piles of 
merchandise. The streets and byways were filled with a multitude 
of heavy freight wagons drawn by six to ten yoke of oxen each. 
Hundred of millions of pounds of army stores were transferred 
from here prior to the completion of the Union Pacific Railroad. 

The following statement taken from the books of Mr. Majors,, 
of the firm of Russell, Majors & "VVaddell, will illustrate the im- 
mense amount of freighting done by a single firm, over the great 
Central Route leading from Nebraska City across the Plains to 
Pike's Peak, Utah and the Forts: "From April to October, 1859: 
Number of pounds transported, 2,782,258; number of oxen used, 
6,682; number of wagons, 517; number of mules, seventy-five; 

Johnson's history of Nebraska. 487 

number of men employed, 602." There were a great many other 
heavy freighters, among whom were Kobert Hawks, S. F. Nuck- 
olls, and A. & P. By ram. 

The first child born in the County was the son of George H. 
Benton, in August, 1854. The first death was that of — Clemons, in 
January, 1855. The first marriage was that of George W. Nuck- 
d11& to Sarah Kennedy. The first marriage license was issued 
August 11, 1856, to Francis Berger and Mary Ann Jameson. 

The first term of District Court was held in March, 1855, 
beginning on the 19th of the month; Edwin R. Hardin, Judge; 
M. W. Riden, Clerk. 

The first case of murder in Nebraska City, was committed on 
April 23, 1856, by Simpson Hargus, who shot Benjamin Lacey, 
during a claim quarrel. Hargus was indicted, and had two or 
three trials, but finally escaped. 

In 1860, the great fire occurred. On Saturday, the 12th of 
May, at a few minutes past 12 o'clock, noon, a fire was kindled in 
a butcher's shop in the rear end of the bank building where Hawk's 
store now is. A strong, hot south wind was blowing, and in less than 
three hours the business part of the city — forty buildings — was in 
ashes. The sun which rose that morning upon a young city full 
of life and promise, set behind a cloud of blackest gloom and dis- 
aster. But with a will of iron, the people rallied and commenced 
life anew. The calamity of the fire, however, closed the youthful 
days of the city, and became the foundation of the strength of its 
manhood. The insurance on the property destroyed by the great 
fire amounted to more than sixty thousand dollars; but out of that 
entire sum, less than three thousand dollars was re-invested in the 
city. The era of speculation, its fallacies and its fever, had passed 


September 18, 1860, a telegraph office was opened in Nebraska 


in April, 1861, the First Nebraska Cavalry, afterwards the 

Fifth Iowa Cavalry, was partially organized in Nebraska City. 
Lieut. A. Mathias, editor of the Press, recruited one of the com- 
panies, and afterwards became its Captain. 

Company F, second Nebraska Cavalry, was recruited in Ne- 
braska City; Lieut. D. P. Rolfe, recruiting officer. Its Officers 

488 Johnson's history of Nebraska. 

were: D, Laboo, Captain, Nebraska City; Robert Mason, First 
Lieutenant, ISTebraska City; C. W. Hail, Second Lieutenant, Peru, 

Company B, First Is^ebraska Infantry, was recruited in 'Ne- 
braska City, in 1861. Allen Blacker, Captain; Lee P. Gillette, 
First Lieutenant. J. C. Potts, a corporal at tlie organization, be- 
came a captain after the regiment veteranized. 

On the 4th of July, 1860, the corner stone of the Methodist 
Church was laid. Rev. Isaac Chivington performed the ceremony. 
Copies of the People's Press and Nebraska City News^ sketch of 
Nebraska City, and Act of Consolidation, etc., were placed in a tin 
box and deposited in the foundation of the building. 

The erection of the Catholic Church, on Kearney Heights, 
was commenced in October, 1860. 

The first exhibition of the Otoe County Agricultural Society 
was held in September, 186 L 

J. A. "Ward's new banking house, the finest in the Territory at 
that time, was completed in 1861. 

In 1861, when the "burnt district " was being rebuilt, a board 
of trade was organized. 

The " Nebraska Staats Zietung," edited by Dr. F. Renner, 
made its appearance in April, 1871. 

The first annual session of the M, E. Conference for Nebraska, 
was held at Nebraska City, in March, 1861. Bishop Morris, of 
Cincinnati, presided. H. T. Davis was appointed Presiding Elder, 
and T. B. Lemon, Pastor for this station. 

At this time there were the following Churches in the city: 
Baptist, Rev, J. M. Taggart, Pastor; Duer'sHall, Rev. J. Stickney 
Haskell, Pastor; Episcopal, Rev. Eli Adams, Pastor; United Pres- 
byterian, Rev. Wm. M'Cartney, Pastor; Protestant-Methodist 
Church, Rev. J. M. Toung, Pastor; Methodist-Episcopal Church, 
Rev. T. B. Lemon, Pastor; Lutheran, Rev. Mr. Muhlenbrook, Pas- 
tor; Roman-Catholic, Father Phillip, Pastor; First Presbyterian, 
Rev. H. W. Giltner, Pastor. 

In September, 1866, a lad named Hamilton, while herding, 
cattle, was riddled with buck-shot and killed by a man named Dirks, 
who afterwards stripped the body and threw it into a creek near 
by. The crime was soon detected, and Dirks was arrested, tried 

Johnson's history of Nebraska. 489 

^J ^ J"J*J of twelve citizens, found guiltj, and was hung the same 
day in the court house yard. 

The court house, Nebraska City, was finished in December, 
1866. It is a fine building, eighty-two by forty-six feet, two stories 
high, and cost, with furniture, about $35,000. 

The Union School House, on Ferry street, was completed in 
1866, and cost upwards of $38,000. It is a model of architectural 
neatness and beauty. 

In 1866, the citizens voted S^iOjOOO to aid in the construction 
of the St. Joe & Council BlufiB Raih-oad, which runs along the east 
bank of the Missouri Eiver. The first train of cars on this road 
reached Nebraska City station in 1867. 

In 1867, the County voted bonds to the amount of $150,000 
for the construction of a railroad running from Nebraska City 
westwardly to a connection with the Union Pacific, and on the 15th 
of Noyember, 1867, the Midland Pacific Railway Company was 
organized at Nebraska City. On the second day of March, 1868, 
the first spade full of dirt was turned at Nebraska City to make 
smooth the bed for the iron highway. It was a joyful occasion; 
cannons were fired and speeches and processions were the order of 
the day. 

Hawk's Hall, and one of the finest Church buildings in the 
<jity — the Methodist Episcopal — were erected in 1868. 

The Nebraska College and Divinity School, formerly Talbot 
Hall, was established by Bishop Talbot, of the Episcopal Church, 
in 1867. Cost of building, $20,000. 

The Opera House, formerly called Turner Hall, was finished in 
1869, at a cost of $20,000. 

The Nebraska City Gas Light Company was organized in 
March, 1869. 

The Third Ward School House was completed late in the sum- 
mer of 1869, and cost $10,000, exclusive of the grounds. 

The County having voted two hundred thousand dollars in aid 
of an Eastern railroad connection, and the Burlington & Missouri 
River Railroad Company having proposed to build a railroad from 
Red Oak, Iowa, making Nebraska City its terminus, a contract 
was entered into in May, 1869, Otoe County paying $150,000 in 
bonds drawing eight per cent, interest, payable semi-annually from 

490 Johnson's history of Nebraska. 

January 1, 1870, for the building of the said road from Red Oak 
to that city. The road was finished in 1870. 

In 1871, Mr. Jacob Shoff, an old and wealthy citizen, began 
the erection of the Shoff House. The name was afterwards 
changed to Grand Central Hotel. The building cost $50,000, and 
is an ornament to the city. 

The city was illuminated with gas, for the first time, early in 
the year 1872. 

The IlTebraska City Elevator Company was organized in the 
spring of 1871, by T. Ashton, J. Metcalf, W. E. Hill, O. Stevenson 
and B. J. Newsom. The Elevator was built at a cost of $22,000. 

The city voted $100,000 in bonds for a bridge across the Mis- 
souri River at this point. Ten thousand dollars were expended bj 
the Bridge Company, James Sweet, J. Sterling Morton and others, 
in surveys, soundings, etc. The Trustees, Messrs. Tuxbury, Horace 
Monroe and Gen. Coe, turned over the balance of the bonds, 
$90,000, to the City Council, which body, on the 25th of August,. 
1873, destroyed them. 

The Congregational Church was dedicated in January, 1873. 

Work was commenced on the distillery at the foot of Main 
street. May 2, 1873. Capacity of the building, six hundred bush- 
els per day, and the cost about $50,000. 

At a special election on the 6th of December, 1873, $75,000 in 
bonds were voted for an extension of the Midland Pacific south, in 
accordance with their amended charter, to Brownville; and in the 
following year the road was completed. 

On the morning of the 24:th of February, 1874, the Third 
"Ward School Building burned to the ground. The building was 
insured for $10,000, and was immediately rebuilt. 

The High School Building was erected in this year (1874). 
Cost of grounds and building, $50,000. 

The State Institution for the Blind is located in this city. 
The State appropriated $10,000; Otoe County, $3,000; total, 
$13,000. The ground was purchased of John M. Gregg for 
$2,400; cost of building, $9,795. 

March 20, 1875, the Third Ward School House for the second 
time was burned down. The insurance, $7,000, paid for the re- 
building of the present handsome edifice. 

Johnson's history of Nebraska. 49t 

The " City Mills," of Messrs. Pinney & Thorp, are one of the 
best mills in the State. 

The " Star Mills," located on South Table Creek, are owned 
by Messrs. Schminke & Eeiber, Their mill building is one of the 
finest in the County. 

Frontier Lodge No. 3, I. O. O. F., was organized March 24, 
1856. Two other Lodges have been organized from the members- 
of this Lodge— Golden Era, No. 16, and Nebraska Lodge, No. 1. 

Eureka Lodge No. 7, Knights of Pythias, was organized in 
May, 1871. 

Mount Olivet Comraandery No. 2, Knights Templar, was or- 
ganized in February, 1869. 

Early in December, 1878, Henry Martin, Henry Jackson, 
colored, and Wm. Givens, a white man, broke into the house of 
Charles Slocura and wife, at Nebraska City, an aged couple, killed 
the husband, outraged the wife, and robbed the house of a small 
sum of money. They were promptly arrested and indicted; their 
trial begun inside of a week after the crime was committed ; Judge 
"Wm. Gasliu, of the Fifth District, occupied the bench; the evi- 
dence was circumstantial until Givens offered to turn State's 
evidence on condition of being released from arrest for being acces- 
sory to the murder. His offer was accepted, and it was on his 
testimony that Martin and Jackson were convicted of murder in 
the second degree only, for which Judge Gaslin sentenced them to 
the penitentiary for life — the heaviest penalty the statutes allowed 
him to impose. But confinement for life was deemed to be insuffi- 
cient punishment; and in the still hours of the night of December 
10, a number of citizens of Nebraska City, went to the jail, took 
the prisoners Martin and Jackson therefrom, and hung them. 

Public Schools. — Present number of districts, eighty-five; 
school houses, eighty; children of school age, males, 2,840, females, 
2,345, total, 5,185; wages paid teachers for the year, males, 
$8,264.21, females, $7,615.60, total, $13,879.81, value of school 
houses, $38,725; value of sites, $2,820; value of books and 
apparatus, $1,032. 

Taxable Property. — Acres of land, 369,527; average value 
per acre, $4.27. Value of town lots, $638,232. Money used in 
merchandise, $128,575; money invested in manufactures, $15,820; 

492 Johnson's history of Nebraska, 

horses, 5,994, value $137,814; mules, 725, value, $21,487; neat cattle, 
18,460, value $169,081; sheep, 5,649, value, $4,244; swine, 31,742, 
value, $30,709; vehicles, 1,967, value, $32,278; moneys and credits, 
$34,329; mortgages, $40,903; stocks, etc., $80,075; furniture, 
€0,565; libraries, $2,510; property not enumerated, $92,424; rail- 
roads, $208,911.82; telegraph, $2,250.45; total valuation for 1879, 

Railroads. — The Nebraska Railway, now operated by the Bur- 
lington and Missouri R. R. Company, runs westward from Nebraska 
<Jity through the center of the County, and it has recently been 
•extended from Nebraska City southward along the Missouri River 
to Nemaha City, in Nemaha County. This road also connects 
with the Chicago, Burlington and Quincy, St. Joe and Council 
Bluffs Railroads, on the east side of the Missouri, opposite Ne- 
braska City. 

Lands. — The price of improved lands ranges from $7 to $30 
per acre. The Burlington and Missouri River Railroad Company 
owns 10,000 acres in this County, for which they ask from $6 to 
$10 per acre. 

Population. — The following will show the population of the 
•County by Precincts, for 1879: Hendricks, 328; South Branch, 
258; Osage, 493; McWilliams, 407; Rock Creek, 720; Otoe, 949; 
Four Mile, 564; Nebraska City, 4,551; Belmont, 693; Delaware, 
369; Syracuse, 919; Russell, 903; Palmyra, 1,137; North Branch, 
420; Berlin, 504; Wyoming, 648. 

Total, 13,863,— males, 7,412, females, 6,451. 


The County Seat, is the third largest city in the State, having 
about 8,000 inhabitants. It is an enterprising, well built city, 
situated on the banks of the Missouri, near the center of the 
County from north to south, and contains seventeen Churches, 
three elegant school buildings, an Episcopal College, the State 
Blind Asylum, a fine court house, an opera house, several good 
hotels, commodious brick business blocks, several manufactories, 
machine shops, a well-appointed steam ferry, excellent railroad 
advantages, three first class flouring mills, large steam grain 
elevators, two newspapers, the Press, daily and weekly, and the 
weekly Mews, etc. The streets are broad, and in the resident part 

Johnson's history of Nebraska. 49S 

of the city planted with shade trees. The open plain to the south 
and west, is divided up into highly cultivated farms, while large 
orchards and vineyards, bearing the choicest fruits, dot the surface 
in every direction. 


Is a prosperous town of 800 inhabitants, located in the central part 
of the County, on the line of the Nebraska Railway, and on the 
north bank of the Little ISTemaha River. The first stake was 
driven in the ground toward laying off the town site on September 
18, 1871, and the first house was erected thereon by T. E. Sensa- 
baugh. The town was incorporatad on the 6th of January, 1875. 
It contains a $1,000 school house, two Churches, a weekly news- 
paper, the Journal^ several stores, three grain warehouses, a flour- 
ing mill, lumber yard, and all the general branches of trade are 
represented. The County fairs are usually held here on account 
of its central location. A thriving trade is carried on with the 
surrounding country, which is a well settled farming section, and. 
the shipments of farm products are extensive. 


Located on the Little Nemaha and on the line of the Nebraska 
Railway, in the northwestern part of the County, contains some 
600 inhabitants. It was laid out in 1870 by J. M. Taggart, and is 
situated on a beautiful slope facing the river, thirty-four miles, by 
rail, west of Nebraska City, and twenty three miles east of Lincoln. 
The surrounding country is well settled by an industrious class of 
farmers. The Presbyterians and Methodists have each comfortable 
houses of worship here, and the Baptists are well organized. In 
1874, a $3,500 school house was erected, and in the following year 
the Masons and Odd Fellows, together, built a fine Hall. There 
are an excellent steam flouring mill, two grain elevators, two hotels, 
several general merchandise stores, hardware and drug stores, 
mechanics' shops, lumber yards, etc., and the shipments of hogs, 
cattle and grain are very large. 

Dunbar, Unadilla, Mineksville and Barney, are prosperous 
young towns on the railroad. 

Hendricks, Salon, Burr Oak, Osage, North Branch, Ela 
and Wyoming, are Postofiices with general stores, etc. In the 
County there are seven flouring mills and three cheese factories. 

494 Johnson's history of Nebraska. 


Platte County was organized by an Act of the first Territorial 
Legislature, in 1855, and was composed of the twenty-four miles 
square included in townshijDS seventeen, eighteen, nineteen and 
twenty north, of ranges one, two, three and four east of the Sixth 
Principal Meridian. In 1858, it was made to include, in addition, 
all of Monroe County, on the west, which was not comprised with- 
in the Pawnee Indian Reservation. In 1868, the County of Col- 
fax was created, taking from Platte all of the three east ranges. 
Subsequent legislation fixed the boundaries of the County as they 
exist at present. It is located in the middle-eastern part of the 
State, in the fourth tier of Counties west of the Missouri Piver, 
bounded on the north by Madison and Stanton Counties, east by 
Colfax County, south by the Platte River, Merrick and Nance 
Counties, west by Merrick, Nance and Boone Counties, containing 
684 square miles, or 437,760 acres. 

Water Courses. — Platte is a finely-watered County, and 
possesses numerous excellent mill privileges. The Platte River 
-washes the southern border, a distance of about twenty miles. 
The Loup River flows from west to east through the southern por- 
tion of the County. Shell and Looking Glass Creeks, both large, 
beautiful streams, water the western and central portions of the 
County. Union Creek waters the northeastern townships, and 
there are besides a large number of rivulets and springs. 

Timber is in fair supply along the streams, and in the north- 
ern part of the County are found some fine natural groves, consist- 
ing principally of hardwood. The amount of timber reported 
under cultivation is 1661f acres; hedging, ]5f miles. 

Fruit. — The amount returned is as follows: Apple trees, 4,936; 
pear, fifty-one; peach, 714; plum, 2,345; cherry, 557; grapevines, 

Sandstone is found in several localities. 

Character of the Land. — One-third of the County is valley 
and bottom land, and the balance gently rolling prairie. The wide 
valleys of the Platte and Loup embrace about one-sixth of the 

Johnson's history of Nebraska. 495 

area. Shell Creek has a magnilicent valley, extending directly 
through the central portion of the County, from northwest to 
southeast. Eastward from this, the surface