by Catherine Renschler
Leroy was located on the south side of the Little Blue River on the southwest quarter of section 25 in Ayr Township, three and one half miles northwest of Ayr and nine miles south of Hastings. In 1872 John Dyer had secured from the Burlington and Missouri Railroad a forty acre tract along the Little Blue, and in that year began to build a grist mill. Power to operate the mill was obtained from the water of the Little Blue through a diversion canal that tapped the river at a point about one half mile west. A dam was built below the mill site and a lake was formed.
Before the project was complete in 1875, Elbridge and True Dyer joined their uncle as partners. The lumber used to construct the mill was hauled from Inland and the large mill stones were brought from Juniata, which at that time was the end of the Burlington railroad line. This early settlement was called Millington.
In 1876 W. Klingman built a cheese factory in Millington. In 1879 this factory manufactured 26,000 pounds of cheese. A store was built and operated for a short time, but in 1880 this business was moved to Ayr by Keith and Kress.
The settlement continued to prosper: In 1887 when the K.C. & O. Railroad reached the area, a depot was moved from the junction one and one half miles north of Ayr. A store was built that year by John Marshall and John A. Frank. A post office was established in this store, with Mr. Marshall serving as the first postmaster. It was at this time that the name of the community was changed to Leroy, named for Leroy Stone, whose father Charles Stone was a substantial stockholder in the railroad.
This was the boom period for the tiny village. The water-powered mill with its three runs of burrs was kept busy as farmers from miles around brought their wheat to be ground into flour. An elevator was built, along with a blacksmith shop and livery stable. In 1881, a school building was moved from a site about one mile north, where it had stood originally, and was used as a church by the Presbyterians. During these years Leroy was an active trading center; settlers brought their grain to be processed at the mill, and secured machinery, repairs and the simple necessities at the store.
However, the community became best known throughout the area as a recreation and resort center. Called Dyer's Mill, the facility included a park, and opportunities for boating and swimming. A dance pavilion was built, and was patronized from Hastings and surrounding points for many years. In the summer of 1898 vaudeville was among the attractions offered. Fourth of July celebrations were held, and many from the Hastings area attended. On one occasion a special train was run from Hastings for the event. In 1908, a telephone office was opened with Mrs. Allie Brown as the first operator. In the spring of 1912, the Hastings chapter of the D.A.R. placed a granite marker on the Leroy road seven miles south of Hastings, marking the point at which the Oregon Trail approached nearest to Hastings.
The Dyer brothers continued to operate the mill until 1905, when high water destroyed the dam. The popularity of Leroy as a recreational area began to wane. The dance Pavilion burned in 1937-1938, along with what remained of the old mill. Business and Population, listed at 76 in 1910, declined steadily, and the village eventually became only a pleasant memory of the early history of Adams County.
POST OFFICE HISTORY
In July, 1877 Allison P. Dyer applied to establish a post office named Millington in the southwest quarter of Section 25, Ayr Township. The post office would be located on the south side of the Little Blue River. There were four dwellings and one grist mill at the location. The post office which would supply about 400 persons in the area was established in August, 1877. Allison Dyer was postmaster until December, 1879 when William S. Moote became postmaster. The post office was closed in February, 1881.
In January, 1889 John Marshall asked to establish a post office named Millington at Dyervill. Millington was marked out and Leroy written in on the application form. It was to be 40 rods south of the Little Blue River on the K.C.& O. Railroad with daily mail each way. The application stated the village of Leroy had a population of 48. The application was approved and John Marshall became postmaster in February, 1889. Subsequent postmasters and the dates they began service were: Geo. J. Munson November, 1889; Wm. D. Willoughley June, 1890; John Marshall May, 1894; Robert J. Marshall March, 1900; and Calvin Dreibelbis August, 1902. The post office closed in November, 1907.
ERDMANN & HAMEN'S
Hastings City and Adams County Directory, 1895
Alphabetical list of Leroy residents
A little village situated on the Kansas City and Omaha branch of the St. Joe & Grand Island RR in the south central part of the county, nine miles from Hastings. One grain elevator, one mill, and one school. John Marshall postmaster. Population 60
Bunker, May Miss
Bunker, Emma Miss teacher
Coffman, Sials H
Coffman, Clara B Mrs
Coffman, Elizaberh Mrs
Crandall, Amanda Mrs
Dyer, Eldredge J flour mill
Dyer, Etta Mrs
Dyer, A. T. miller
Ferris, Hannah Mrs
Finerty, Lucy Mrs
Gardner, Mary Mrs
Meakins, John Jusice of the Peace
Meakins, Margaret Mrs
Marshall, John general merchandise and vegetable gardener, postmaster and notary public
Marshall, Sarah C Mrs
Marshall, R. J. mgr Midland Elevator
Marshall, Mary E Mrs
Midland Elevator Co.
Oatman, Hulda Mrs
Yundt, Alice L Mrs
ADAMS COUNTY DIRECTORY 1925-26
Published by Wolfe and Pickering, Kenesaw, Nebraska
Alphabetical List of LeRoy Residents
Eigenberg, R. H. General Store, wife Kate, Waldeen 2, Margaret 5.
Blauch, Letha Teacher, School House, district 22.
Burkholder, Wm wife Grace, Dan 16.
Dyer, Paul & Russel both single.
Emel, Tom foreman gravel pit, wife Clara, Ted 3.
Ashton, Fuller renter, wife Genoa, Howard 10, Jack 7, Lois 3.