Search billions of records on

[Nemaha County Genealogical Society]

Nemaha Township

Seneca Courier-Democrat

June 29, 1900

      In January, 1854, the first settlement in Nemaha County was made by W. W. MOORE, who came from St.Joseph and settled at Baker's Ford on the Nemaha, nine miles from Seneca in Nemaha Township. The old California trail crossed the Nemaha at Baker's Ford. The name of Moorestown was subsequently given to the eighteenth election district. This point formed the center of a settlement and was afterwards known as Urbana. The first marriage solemnized in the county was in Nemaha township November 12, 1854, the contracting parties being Charles LEACHMAN and Mrs. Caroline Davenport, a widower and widow, who had emigrated from Iowa to which state they soon afterward returned. The marriage was solemnized by Rev. Thomas Newton. The first white child born in this county was in Nemaha township, Mollie KEY, born to Greenberry and Polly KEY, March 1855. There is some question if regard to the first death. In September, 1854, Jacob B. Newton, son of Rev. Thomas Newton, died of typhoid fever. The record further says that Mrs. Davenport's first husband died in this county and was buried on the Henri KORBER place in Nemaha township, his coffin being made by Christian BOBST and Ralit TURNER out of his wagon-box.
      The only Indian scare in which the early settlers of Nemaha county were concerned occurred in the spring of '56. The preceding winter the Pottawatomi Indians had been 'very' restless and it was thought they would go on the war path as soon as the grass started. The settlers gathered in force at Baker's Ford and were expecting the Indians to swoop down on them at any moment. After several days they learned that the Indians had no designs against the whites, but were preparing an expedition against their old enemies the Pawnees, by whom they were afterwards badly defeated.
      The early history of Nemaha township was marked with some interesting and exciting times. Miles CARTER was hanged at Baker's Ford February 27, 1865. CARTER had been arrested on that day for horse-stealing and his preliminary hearing was set for the next day, February 28, before John W. FURROW's Justice of the Peace in Seneca. CARTER was lodged in jail to await the hearing on the next day. But that night the vigilantes took him from jail and he was hanged to a limb of a maple tree that overhung the old trail at Baker's Ford. The next morning Fred KORBER had started to Seneca with an ox team and when on the opposite side of the stream he saw as he thought a man standing on the other side waiting for a ride to Seneca. But when he drove across and came to where the man was, he saw him dangling in the air at the end of a rope, with his face black and swollen and his tongue protruding. He was thoroughly frightened, and Star Pointer never made better time for nine miles than did those oxen from there to Seneca.
      Nemaha has a population of 656, the increase during the past year being 17. This township is a great grazing and farming country, and its people own 485 horses, 2724 cattle, 51 mules and asses and 3333 hogs.
      We met a frost in the way of new subscribers when we entered Nemaha township from the southeast, as nearly all the farmers in that locality are already subscribers.
      The first new subscriber was Jacob THONEN. He has been in Kansas nine years and owns 250 acres of land located near Baker's Ford, where the first settlement in Nemaha county was made.
      We took a spin over to the farm of Ed ROGERS, who is a son of Michael ROGERS, deceased, one of the first settlers. On this farm is a flowing well which furnishes water for the family and all the stock.
      Frank HAFERKAMP is generally rushed with work, but takes time between meals to post himself on the county news. It is easy to guess what paper he reads.
      We met C. E. JUDY in the road on horseback with a magazine in his hand and six papers in his pocket. He now takes seven. Mr. JUDY is a native of Ohio and has been in Kansas a dozen years. He owns a model farm of 330 acres in the Nemaha valley. he usually makes his fat cattle and hogs haul his corn to market.
      The next day we drove up to Joseph SELBACH's in time for dinner and the way we devoured the choice viands set before us,was evidence enough to Mr. and Mrs. SELBACH that we heartily enjoyed their hospitality. Mr. SELBACH is a native of Indiana and has been in Kansas 30 years, and Mrs. SELBACH was born in Nemaha county near their home place. Her father Ed McCAFFREY was one of the first settlers in the county.
      Joseph H. HAUG and A. W. HAUG were next visited. They are both prosperous young farmers. We left each of them plenty of democratic literature to read.
      We found Frank AZIERE wiping the perspiration from his brow, caused by stacking new-mown timothy and clover hay. He didn't have time to tell us of his history, but judging by his looks we put him down as a jayhawker.
      Peter and James McQUAID were born in Seneca. They are not living on their mother's farm of 440 acres. We found James in the field plowing corn and Peter in the house with a pair of lame lungs caused by a cold. We left Peter with plenty of good reading material and moved on.
      The threatening clouds and cool breeze from Nebraska and dusty roads made us seek shelter at the fine home of Wm. H. ALLISON. Here we were pleasantly entertained for the night. Mr. ALLISON is a native of Illinois and came to Kansas in 1869. Mrs. ALLISON was born in Maine. Their splendid farm of 160 acres is a model of neatness and thrift. Mr. ALLISON has always voted the republican ticket, but he is one of those liberal minded men who respect the opinions of others. He is a gentleman and an scholar.
      We next drove to the home of William KATZ. His home is hid among shady bowers, where he and his beautiful young wife are spending their first year of married life. Mr. KATZ' find field of corn shows that he understands farming and that he is not afraid of work.
      We next stopped at the home of Lewis WIESEDEPP. He was born in Wisconsin. He has a nice farm of 160 acres. He has been in Kansas thirty-one years.
      The first sight we got of Henry POPPE he was chasing a runaway horse. Mr. POPPE is a bachelor and it is a wonder that with such a fine home as his, he has been able to remain single so long.
      Robert EICHE is a good farmer and a good democrat. He has only been in the county about a year.
      We next visited Andrew TAYLOR. Mr TAYLOR is a native of Scotland and has been in Kansas thirty-one years. He has always voted the democratic ticket except when Gen. GRANT ran for president against Horace GREELY, when he voted for the great commander. He owns a fine 160 acre farm, well stocked and improved and here he expects to live the balance of his days, an independent and happy farmer's life.
      W. D. BOND is a recent acquisition to Kansas, having moved here last spring from Nebraska. Mr. BOND will help to swell the majority of BRYAN, BREIDENTHAL and BUSINESS in Kansas this fall.
      As we drove on over the rugged hills towards the west line of Nemaha township we swooped down on Vendolyn NOVAK in his comfortable farm home hidden from public view by the surrounding hills. Mr. NOVAK's parents came to Kansas from Bohemia many years ago and settled on this farm where they reared a large family of children, all of whom live in this county. Mr. NOVAK's mother, a very old lady, is making her home with him.
      We luckily met John STUEVE, a bright young democratic farmer of Richmond township and found him very eager to add his name to the long list of readers of the Courier-Democrat.
      We drove over to see Henry FANGMAN, another Richmond township farmer. Mr. FANGMAN has had quite a serious time this spring and summer. He was taken down first with the measles, when he got over the measles he was taken down with pneumonia and was very sick for a long while. He is now slowly convalescing and will be cheered up each week by reading the fresh, crisp news in the best newspaper in the county.
      Monday morning we drove t the home of W. E. KENNEDY in time for dinner. Mr. KENNEDY had just finished harvesting as fine a field of wheat as we ever saw. Mr. KENNEDY is a conservative man and he estimates that his wheat will yield about 35 bushels per acre. We had a splendid dinner at this home. Mr. KENNEDY is well posted on the current events, and of course he reads good papers.
      Our next stop was at the fine home of Uncle James GREGG. Mr. GREGG was born in Scotland in 1827 and emigrated to America in 1857, settling on the farm where he still lives. At one time he owned over eleven hundred acres of fine Nemaha land but with advancing age he found the work of looking after it all too much for him and he has sold off until he has 438 acres left, which is, however, one of the model farms of the county. He is a great horse fancier and has no doubt done more than any other man to improve the stock of horses in this county. His favorite breed of horses is the Clydesdale and he has at various times added high priced imported Clydesdale stallions to his stud. he has at present two fine specimens of the equine family, one of his own raising and the other a two-year-old, foaled in Indiana, which promises to become the finest Clydesdale stallion ever owned in the county.
      From Mr. GREGG's to Christ BEHRENS' is not far as the crow flies, but we couldn't fly so we slowly wended our way along the devious road that leads through the woodland that fringes the Turkey creek and finally landed in BEHRENS' dooryard. Mr. BEHRENS has been in Kansas seventeen years and in Nemaha county two years. He owns eighty acres of Nemaha township land and 405 acres in Marshall county near Marysville. He is a stalwart democrat and is doing good missionary work for democracy among his neighbors in old Nemaha.
      We found Wm. CLARK sitting in the shade of a hedge fence watching his fat horses eat grass and his corn grow. This Napoleon of Nemaha township democracy seemed to be enjoying himself immensely as we drove up. Mr. CLARK is a native of Scotland and has been in Nemaha county twenty-eight years. HE sold his farm last spring but couldn't make up his mind to leave Nemaha county.
      August OEHMKE has been a resident of sunny Kansas twenty years, but he has only been farming a few years. Previous to moving on the farm he lived in Bern.
      David FISHER has lived in our county twenty-nine years. Mr. FISHER was born in Scotland, and Father Time and Kansas climate have dealt kindly with him.
      Just as the sun was going down we drove over into Clear Creek township, here we met A. B. SHARPE. Mr. SHARPE was born in Tennessee, and came to Kansas in 1857, when a young man. Neighbors were few and far apart in those days. Mr. SHARPE has traveled a great deal and in all his travels he has invariably turned back to his old love -- Nemaha county.
      We stopped over night with our old friend John SKOCH. John was born in Bohemia, but has lived in Kansas nearly all his life. He is one of these jolly fellows, who always looks on the bright side of life, and when John's head has turned gray, he will have plenty to keep him in comfort and ease.
      M. H. CALNAN is a Kansas product, he was born in Kansas in 1863. Mr. CALNAN has been a continual reader of the Courier-Democrat for over twenty years. Mike as he is familiarly called is one of the democratic Democrats of Clear Creek. He can always be depended onto do his share of work in a campaign year and some day Nemaha county will be glad to honor him with an office should he desire it.
      J. P. HYNES is living on the old CALNAN farm, he was born in Maryland and reared in Chicago. Mr. HYNES has been a resident of Kansas for 22 years and like all Kansas people thinks Kansas the only place to live.
      We couldn't quit our perambulations and leave the confines of Clear Creek township without calling on that warhorse of Clear Creek democracy, John MCGRATH. We found him at home and it didn't take much talking to convince him of the superior qualities of the Courier-Democrat as a first class democratic purveyor of everything that is going on in Nemaha county, for he has known this fact for thirty-eight years. Mr. McGRATH is a true blue son of the "auld sod" although he was born in Ohio and has lived in this county for forty years. We were most pleasantly entertained by Mr. McGRATH during our short visit and when we left he handed us the wherewith to work the Courier-Democrat slot machine for a year's subscription.
      We met M. B. KERNS in the cornfield with the perspiration rolling down his cheeks. Mr. KERNS lives in Marion township where he spent his boyhood days. He is a son of Lemuel KERNS who now lives in Ottawa. Burr, as he is know in the neighborhood, is a rustling hard worker, who doesn't spend all his money for fine carriages and clothes, but he seems to enjoy about as much prosperity as any of them.

Prepared for posting on the
Kansas Heritage Server
University of Kansas

Last updated 

Return to
Nemaha County Genealogical Society || Seneca, Kansas
Nemaha County GenWeb