History of Buffalo County
and Its People
by Samuel Clay Bassett
SHELTON--KNOWN AS WOOD RIVER CENTER FROM 1860 TO ABOUT 1873--COUNTY SEAT OF BUFFALO COUNTY--FIRST RELIGIOUS SERVICES HELD IN 1870--AN OFFICIAL DOCUMENT IN THE HANDWRITING OF PATRICK WALSH- OLIVER BROTHERS ESTABLISH A STORE IN 1871--AN OFFICIAL NOTICE TO THE POSTMASTER GENERAL NOTIFYING HIM OF CHANGE IN THE NAME OF THE POSTOFFICE--LIST OF PHYSICIANS AND SURGEONS--THE FIRST DENTIST--SHELTON FLOURING MILLS--THE FIRST GRAIN ELEVATORS--ALFALFA MILL--THE SHELTON CLIPPER--TWENTIETH CENTURY CLUB--FIRST TERM OF SCHOOL IN COUNTY BY LICENSED TEACHER--SHELTON PUBLIC SCHOOLS--PUBLIC LIBRARY --BANKS--CHURCHES--FRATERNAL AND BENEFICIARY LODGES.
At the locality where now (1915) is the thriving and prosperous Village of Shelton, at as early a date as 1860, on maps and publications of that date appeared the name Wood River Center, and there is good reason for believing that an even earlier date there was here a hamlet, a way station, as it were, for travelers over the Overland Trail, doubtless dating from the establishment of Fort Kearney in 1848.
The trails up the Platte Valley, on the north side, extended from the Platte to the bluffs until in the vicinity of Wood River Center, when all trails north of Wood River (those which had followed Prairie Creek) crossed to the south of Wood River at or near this point, proceeding westward on the south side.
To this point in the year 1839 came Joseph E. Johnson, a Mormon, a man of considerable means and of more than average ability. Here he established a store, a blacksmith and wagon repair shop, a tintype gallery, a bakery and place where meals might be had and in April, 1860, a newspaper (The Huntsman's Echo) published, as announced in its columns, at Wood River Center, Nebraska Territory, so that from April, 1860, until February 3, 1873, the name of the place was officially and otherwise known as Wood River Center.
Mr. Johnson fenced with poles cut from Wood River an enclosure, where he engaged in gardening, raising of flowers and planted small fruits and also cherry and apple trees. From copies of the Huntsman's Echo, in the library of State Historical Society, we learn that near this point was a portable sawmill in operation; that corn and spring wheat were grown; that Mr. Johnson had a portable mill in which he ground both corn and wheat for customers.
From the Huntsman's Echo, published in 1860-61, it appears that in the year 1860 J. Sterling Morton and other candidates for congressional and territorial
HISTORY OF BUFFALO COUNTY
office came to Wood River Center and made political addresses on the streets of the village. We learn that in the fall of 1860 an election for county officers was held at this point, forty-two votes being cast, resulting in the election of Henry Peck, probate judge; J. H. Wagner, Joseph Huff and Thomas Page, county commissioners; P. H. Gunn, sheriff; L. VanAlstine, coroner; James E. Boyd and J. H. Wagner, justices of the peace; James E: Boyd, treasurer and register of voters; Edward Huff, county clerk; P. H. Gunn and John Evans, constables, and Joseph E. Johnson, county superintendent. It was at this point August 20, 1860, that the first postoffice in the county was established, Joseph E. Johnson, postmaster. It was in this immediate vicinity in the early '60s that the families of Mrs. Sarah Oliver, James Oliver, Owen, Dugdale, Meyer, Nutter, Walsh, Thompson, Slattery and Stearley made settlement on lands, becoming permanent residents of the county, honored citizens of the commonwealth. It was at this point in 1860 that the Great Western Stage Company, extending as far west as Fort Kearney, established a stage station, with August Meyer in charge.
When in August, 1864, occurred the stampede, memorable in the history of the territory, occasioned by a raid of Cheyenne and Arapaho Indians, in which terrible atrocities were committed in Central Nebraska Territory and many lives of white settlers lost, and all inhabitants west of the Missouri River terrorized, it was at Wood River Center that settlers north of the Platte gathered, placed themselves under command of August Meyer, who had served in the United States regular army, barricaded themselves in an unfinished log building, and later all journeyed to Omaha and Iowa points until fear of the raid was over -- except August Meyer and "Ted" Oliver, who remained to care for the stage company horses. Here the first school district was organized, the first schoolhouse provided, the first terms of school held.
It was citizens of Wood River Center, Patrick Walsh, Martin Slattery and others, who joined in a petition to Governor David Butler to reorganize Buffalo County in 1869, and it was in the schoolhouse at this place that the special election reorganizing the county, January 20, 1870, was held, Wood River Centre being the county seat.
In this schoolhouse, in the winter of 1870-71, was held the first public religious services in the county, conducted by Rev. David Marquett, a Methodist missionary.
AN OFFICIAL DOCUMENT--1871
The following is a copy of an official certificate of appointment to office , issued by the county clerk of Buffalo County under date of February 24, 1871. This document is in the handwriting of Patrick Walsh and bears the seal of Buffalo County, Nebraska:
"I Patrick Walsh Deputy clerk of said county do hereby certify that at a meeting of the county commissioners of said county on the l8th day of this
"State of Nebraska
"County of Buffalo
HISTORY OF BUFFALO COUNTY
month the said commissioners have duly appointed Oliver Thompson for the office of county Sheriff of Buffalo Co. and that he has been duly qualified by taking the oath of office and giving bond as the law requires.
"Given under my hand at Wood River Center this 24th day of February A. D., 1871.
(Signed) "MICHAEL COADY, Co. Clerk.
(Signed) "By PATRICK WALSH, Deputy."
(Note-The original of this document is in possession of Shelton Township Library.)
In the year 1873 Edward Oliver and brother established a store at Wood River Center, first in a building 12 by 16 feet in size, later, occupying a much larger building south of the track and carrying a line of dry goods and groceries. An advertisement of E. Oliver and Brother, dry goods, groceries and provisions, Wood River Center, appeared in a copy of the Buffalo County Beacon, published at Gibbon, in 1873. A postoffice at Wood River Center was established October 11, 1872, with Patrick Walsh as postmaster, the postoffice being kept in Mr. Walsh's dwelling, a log house, and later in the Oliver store, with E. Oliver as deputy postmaster. There is a tradition that when the postoffice inspector visited the office and found no stamps on sale the deputy informed hime that he did not have to keep stamps for sale without a profit and the inspector threatened to close the office, the salary of the postoffice being some twelve dollars a year.
The name of the postoffice was changed from Wood River Center to Shelton on February 3, 1873, Mr. Walsh continuing to serve as postmaster until March 31, 1879, when Mark G. Lee was appointed.
The postmasters in their order have been Patrick Walsh, Mark G. Lee, John Conroy, J. M. Harman, S. F. Henninger, Frank D. Reed (three terms), I. T. Peterson and John Conroy, dating from August 1914. The revenue of the office in 1914 was $l,500.
It is related that the village was named in honor of N. Shelton, an auditor in the land department of the Union Pacific Railroad Company.
There is a tradition that Postmaster Walsh, desiring the name of the postoffice changed, notified the postmaster general in substance as follows:
Mr. Postmaster General,
"Washington, D. C.
You are hereby notified that the name of this postoffice has been changed from Wood River Center to Shelton and you will govern yourself accordingly."
In the year 1879 Patrick Walsh had a townsite surveyed on his homestead farm and additions were soon after surveyed by the Union Pacific Railway Company and by Michael Coady, who had a claim on an adjoining section.
In the year 1876 the Union Pacific established a station and installed George Mortimer as agent.
HISTORY OF BUFFALO COUNTY
As recalled, the pioneer physician was Doctor Childs, who erected a two-story frame building south of Wood River bridge on the west side, the lower rooms occupied by More & Nethercut, dry goods and groceries.
Of resident physicians in the life of the village the following are recalled: Henry W. Brickett, Ames, Theron E. Webb, R. M. Beecher, Geo. C. Paxton, E. L. Smith, Charles Lucas, W. W. Hull, R. Kanzler, J. Soper. Of the physicians named doubtless Dr. E. L. Smith was most widely known, had the most extensive practice. His devotion to his chosen profession, his ready response to the calls of suffering humanity doubtless had much to do with his death in the prime of life.
The pioneer dentist was Alex Thomas, who had a pair of rough, home-made forceps, about the size of horse forceps. He had an improvised chair in which to perform his dental operations, his office being in the pioneer hardware store of Eb Marsh, and later John Heatherington.
INCORPORATION OF THE VILLAGE
The Village of Shelton was incorporated January 6, 1882, the county board naming as trustees H. S. Colby, Edward Oliver, George Mortimer, Mark G. Lee and E. O. Hostetler. The oath of office was administered by B. F. Sammons, justice of the peace. H. S. Colby was chosen chairman and F. D. More clerk. The first meeting was held in Oliver Hall, south of the track.
The United States census returns give the population of the village, 1890, 706; 1900, 861; 1910, 1,005.
In the year 1904 the village installed a water system, bonds to the amount of $12,000 being voted.
In the year 1915 the village took over the electric light plant of the Shelton Light and Power Company, village bonds to the amount of $8,000 being voted for the purpose.
Members of the village board in 1915, J. B. Hodge, chairman; E. L. Templin, Lee Roberts, Fred Spahr, H. C. Hofgard; G. L. Bastian, clerk; V. L. Johnson, treasurer.
THE HORSE INDUSTRY
Much attention is given to the breeding of horses and some of the finest draft stallions in the state are owned by Shelton parties and kept for breeding purposes. Colt shows are held and the animals exhibited are among the finest specimens of their class. In the year 1905 mention was made in the public press of the weights of some of the colts of draft breeding shown. In the two-year-old class, Jacob Johnson's weighed 1,390 pounds, H. H. Stedman's 1,320, Albert Allen's 1,200, Chauncey Cook's 1,150, Silas Coon's 1,170, C. J. Soderstrom's 1,130. In the yearling class I. K. Henninger's weighed 1,010, H. J. Dugdale's 950, John Hosier's 810, Lew Anderson's 830.
Shelton has a driving park association, a fine half mile track, and speed
HISTORY OF BUFFALO COUNTY
events are held each year at which liberal purses are offered and which attract large numbers of speed horses from this and other states.
The Shelton Flouring Mill was erected in the year 1874 by Jason I. and Dr. I. P. George, brothers.
Wood River, which furnishes the water power to operate this mill, is a stream exceedingly difficult and expensive on which to maintain a dam, and the owners of the Shelton Mill in the earlier days were put to great expense on this account.
In the year 1901 the mill was owned and operated by the Shelton Milling Co., composed of S. A. D. Henninger, F. T. Turney and S. G. Carlson.
In the early spring of 1912 the old dam was completely washed out by an immense flood and the new permanent dam was immediately built of reinforced concrete.
In 1893 the mill was changed from the old stone system to the modern roller process and has been constantly kept up to date with new machinery.
A fine grade of flour is made by this mill which is not only sold largely in Shelton and surrounding towns, but considerable shipments are made abroad. In the year 1915 the mill was still owned and operated by the Shelton Milling Co., which is composed of S. A. D. Henninger only, who in turn is the acting president and manager.
The milling capacity is 100 barrels per day and the grain storage capacity is 12,000 bushels.
From the earliest history of the county Shelton has been prominent as a grain shipping point, one of the first to engage in the business being "Jake" Rice about the year 1878. At that date there were no elevators for storing grain and when cars could not be secured in which to load the grain for shipment, it was piled on the ground and at times several thousand bushels of wheat were thus in piles on the open prairie awaiting cars for shipment, and as Mr. Rice could not pay for the wheat until loaded in a car, when he drew on the bill of lading, the wheat was in these piles at the risk of the farmers.
Fortunately, in those years, there was little rainfall in the fall of the year and the loss on the wheat thus exposed was not large.
At first the storage elevators were "shovel elevators," that is, grain was shoveled into the storage bins from the farm wagons and then shoveled into cars. When the first elevators were built the loaded wagons were drawn up an incline plane to the top of the elevator and then dumped. In 1915 Shelton has four grain elevators, with a total capacity of 130,000 bushels.
Alfalfa is extensively grown in this locality and in the year 1911, at an expense of $15,000, E. C. Warren erected an alfalfa meal mill with a capacity of thirty tons per day.
THE SHELTON CLIPPER
The Shelton Clipper, in the history of Shelton, has been recognized as a model country newspaper of the state--model in its mechanical make up, model in its editorial and business management. Frank D. Reed, for many years its owner and editor, brought the Clipper into statewide recognition and left a last-
HISTORY OF BUFFALO COUNTY
ing impress in the village and county in which he did the most useful and important work of his lifetime. His death, which occurred November 7, 1911, was a distinct loss to the county and state.
In Vol. II, No. 13, of the Shelton Clipper Editor H. C. McNew gives the following history of the Clipper to that date:
"The Clarion, the second newspaper in Shelton (the first being The Huntsman's Echo in 1859-60-61), was started in 1879 and came under the control of the present publisher of The Clipper in May, 1880, after being five months under the management of four men at different times. The Clarion continued to be published until October, 1880, when the name of the paper was changed to the one now used. This was done in order to protect our own interests and prevent trouble with former publishers of the Clarion.
"In 1883 The Clipper was purchased by Reed Bros., William M. and Frank D. Reed. In 1895 The Clipper became the property of the junior member of the firm, who still continues as editor and publisher. The Clipper office was destroyed by fire on March 22, 1903; the loss was almost total, the insurance being very small. Mr. Reed at once made arrangements for a temporary office until the building could be replaced, and issued the usual weekly number on the regular publication day, not a single issue being missed on account of the fire.
"The office is now equipped with a full complement of up-to-date machinery and material and is above the average for a town of the size of Shelton. The job work turned out is of superior quality and The Clipper is a newspaper which Shelton citizens and the Twentieth Century Club members are justly proud."
On the death of Frank D. Reed in 1911 the editorial and business management of The Clipper was taken over by E. L. Templin and C. C. Reed and still (1915) enjoys a wide circulation and a profitable patronage.
THE TWENTIETH CENTURY CLUB
In the Twentieth Century Club souvenir edition of The Shelton Clipper, Mrs. Catherine Smith writes of the history of the Twentieth Century Club excerpts from which appear in this article.
"In 1892 a woman's club was organized in Shelton, its object being 'To stimulate the intellectual development of its members and for the promotion unity and good fellowship among them.' It was known as the Nineteenth Century Club."
"In 1887 a Chautauqua circle was formed with a membership of fifteen. Some dropped out, some moved away. Mrs. H. A. Hostetler alone finished the course, in 1891 receiving her diploma at the assembly in Beatrice. It was through her influence the Nineteenth Century Club of Shelton was organized. She served as its first president and has held that position at different times since. At the meeting of the organization of the state federation in Omaha she represented the Shelton Club and it became a part of the federation in 1894."
"In 1901 the name of the club was changed to the Twentieth Century Club. Our colors are purple and gold; the club flower, the pansy; the motto, 'All that is human must retrograde if it does not advance.'
HISTORY OF BUFFALO COUNTY
"The study has been history, art, music, literature and current events."
"The club has done some work along altruistic lines. The present library is the outgrowth of a library established by the club in 1896. We are aiding in a small way a colored Nebraska girl to fit herself as a kindergartner to go South and teach among her own race. The club is also interested in the public schools. The lady teachers are usually active members."
The membership of this club in the year 1915 was thirty. Mrs. Charles Lucas, president; Mrs. C. S. Lyle, vice president; Mrs. Maurice Weaver, recording secretary; Mrs. S. E. Smith, corresponding secretary; Mrs. Albert Allen, treasurer.
The past presidents of the club, Mesdames M. A. Hostetler, H. H. Stedman, Charles Lucas, Rufus Bentley, Eugene Phelps, George Meisner, C. F. Graves, George Prouty, Carlton Bly, Joseph Owen, Jr., E. F. Monroe, Roy Reynolds, Frank Turney and I. K. Henninger.
FIRST TERM OF SCHOOL BY LICENSED TEACHER
The first term of school in Buffalo County, taught by a teacher duly licensed was in the summer of 1871. The teacher, Miss Clara Lew, was a member of the Soldier's Free Homestead Colony, coming from the State of Ohio in April, 1871. Miss Lew was the first teacher to whom a certificate to teach was granted in the county.
The records disclose that her examination took place before C. Putnam, county superintendent; on June 3, 1871, who issued to her a third grade certificate. This school was taught in a board shanty, sodded on the outside, located on the farm of Joseph Owen in school district No. 1. Originally this schoolhouse was a rough board shanty used in the construction of the Union Pacific Railway and purchased by inhabitants interested in having a school in that locality.
James Dugdale, who was old enough to go to school but who had to herd cattle furnishes, from memory, the names of the scholars attending the school as follows: Lulu Slattery, Albert Slattery, Hattie Bayley, Harry Oliver, John Walsh, John Stearley, Lester W. Bayley, Thomas Dugan, James Walsh, Mary Stearley, John Bayley, Maggie Walsh, Wm. H. Nutter and George Dugdale.
SHELTON PUBLIC SCHOOLS
Shelton has from the beginning taken great pride in her public school and spared neither time nor expense in the effort to have the best, for in educational lines the best is none too good.
In the Twentieth Century Club souvenir edition of The Shelton Clipper (1895) Miss Elsie Burr writes as follows of the history of the Shelton schools: "As early as 1866 this part of the country was settled by people destined to be forerunners of a commonwealth, forerunners in politics, citizenship and education.
"One of their first thoughts was for the education of their children, so clubbing together and headed by Patrick Walsh they bought lumber that had been used for a section house in the building of the Union Pacific Railroad.
HISTORY OF BUFFALO COUNTY
With this they built the first schoolhouse in Buffalo County. This before the county was organized in 1870. This schoolhouse was located on the same spot where the district No. 1 now stands and was known as school district No. 1. Mrs. Harry Norton was the first teacher in Buffalo County. There were no funds (public) with which to pay the teacher so these men paid her--$35 a month. Beside this she 'boarded round,' and it is said as the school did not require her undivided time, she even did dress making during school hours. The term was for four months. For several years (1866 to 1871) school was held in this building. About 1876 a new school district was organized, taking some territory from district No. 1 in Buffalo County and also some from Hall County, making the present school district of Shelton known legally as No. 19 in Buffalo County and No. 41 in Hall County.
"The first schoolhouse was a frame structure 14 by 18 feet in size. The seats were arranged around the walls of the room and in front were rude, home-made desks. Miss Mattie Davis of Gibbon was the first teacher. This building was used for two years when a larger and better building was erected. In this structure the youth of Shelton received instruction for four or five years when the school was divided owing to crowded conditions. Mrs. Max A. Hostetler taught the last term before division was made. One section of the school remained in the schoolhouse under the instruction of Miss Addie Thomson, the other division was located in a room over Mr. Oliver's store in charge of Miss Laura Hardin. This division was made about the year 1881; in the year 1882 a four room building was erected on the site of the present building; at first but two rooms were used. Professor Griffin taught in one and Miss Lulu Slattery the other."
From Miss Burr's article it is further learned that the school building was greatly enlarged and in the year 1905 twelve grades were being taught. In the year 1911-12 one of the finest, most up-to-date school buildings in the state was erected at a cost of $40,000, school district bonds for such being issued. Supt. E. F. Monroe, writing as to the later history of the Shelton school says: "It has been said that the first class to be graduated was that of 1890, from an eleventh grade.
"I believe from the evidence that the twelfth grade was introduced in 1899.The six-year high school (the six-and-six plan) was begun in 1911-12, with beginnings in 1909-11 and 1910-11, in the old building and was put in full force in the new building in 1912-13.
"In 1912-13 the Shelton schools were accredited by the North Central Association of Colleges and Secondary Schools, thus giving the Shelton schools the official rank as one of the fifty best public school systems out of about five hundred high school systems in the state. This accreditment includes the colleges of sixteen states from Ohio to Montana, and admits Shelton graduates without examination."
The enrollment of the school as given by Superintendent Monroe for the school year 1915-16 is: boys, 163; girls, 202; total 365. Number teachers employed, twelve. The members of the school district board, 1915. W. S. Ashton, Frank Easter, George W. Smith, Dr. Charles Lucas, H. H. Stedman, and V. S. Pierce.
HISTORY OF BUFFALO COUNTY
SHELTON SCHOOLS AND TEACHERS IN 1881
H. C. McNew in Shelton Clipper, 1881.
In educational matters, Buffalo County has taken a decided lead. J. T. Mallalieu, county superintendent, has labored faithfully for two years to build up the schools of the county, and it may be truthfully said, that the greatest success has crowned his efforts. We paid our first visit to the Shelton School in an official capacity last Thursday. We "went in" with the scholars after recess and remained until noon, and would have stayed longer but did not care to stay there alone. The school is under the management of G. W. Hartman and Miss Addie Thomson. Mr. Hartman, one of the graduates of our state university, and one of the young men who built up Buffalo County's good reputation in that institution, will have charge of the Oliver Hall School, when the school will be divided, which will be soon. Miss Thomson will continue the intermediate department in the old school building. When the school is divided, Shelton can boast of as good schools as any town of its size for it certainly has two as good teachers. About seventy pupils were in attendance. In the space of one hour six classes were heard, two of the number arithmetic, numbering thirteen and fourteen pupils. Both classes were reciting at the same time, Mr. Hartman hearing one class, Miss Thomson the other. Notwithstanding the large number of pupils in one small room, the best of order prevailed. We were greatly pleased with the general appearance of the room, and can assure the patrons their children are well cared for and instructed.
Miss Lulu Slattery is wielding the birch in district No. 17. She has thirty-five scholars--this her second term.
Miss Annie Barbour, sister of Mrs. Frank More, is teaching in district No. 43.
Miss Stonebarger, lately from Illinois, is teaching in district No. 52.
Miss Ella Smith has a six months' term on district No. 1.
George K. Peck is teaching in Hall County.
James Steven holds forth in the Nebraska brick building (a sod schoolhouse) in district No. 41, Elm Island.
E. O. Elliot is teaching the young ideas "how to shoot" in district No. 10.
C. Allen Cook is engaged in district No. 11, near Buda.
Cooley Walker is teaching his first term in Hall County.
Frank Cooper is teaching over in the bluffs.
SHELTON PUBLIC LIBRARY
In the Twentieth Century Club souvenir edition of The Shelton Clipper (1905) Miss Rosa Stebbins writes of the early history of Shelton Public Library: "In the year 1896 the Nineteenth Century Club, believing a circulating library to be in the highest degree beneficial to the public, first assumed the responsibility of placing one in the town. Certain of its members solicited the community and secured by subscription the amount of $50. With this capital the club subscribed to what was known as the Fremont Circulating Library. This library sent out a set of books every three months, the club paying the freight and subscription and being entitled to their use for five years. Miss Anna Wood
HISTORY OF BUFFALO COUNTY
(later Mrs. John Light) was authorized to care for these books as librarian. Later on in the year 1898, the club ladies believed that a library owned by the public would prove more far reaching and satisfactory, and thereupon began their work for the establishment of a public library.
"A call was extended to all ladies interested through the Clipper which resulted in the formation of an association with a membership of thirty-five ladies. At this time it became independent of the club, and became possible through the courtesy of A. H. Morris, who donated the use of a steam-heated room for this purpose, and to those who subscribed books and money. The club donated a large number of books they had on hand. During the next three years, Miss Minnie Smith being made librarian in 1901, by dint of hard work and unflagging interest on the part of the association, the library was kept open, and at the close of the year 1902, 670 books were reported on the shelves.
"On "November 1, 1903, the association deemed, it advisable to close the library for one year, there being a deficiency of funds, and a seeming lack of interest on the part of the public. In January, 1905, the association again took up its work with redoubled vigor, and reorganized with a much larger membership than ever before.
"The library is now (1905) situated at the north end of Main Street, a pleasant room in the Meisner Building having been donated by Mr. Meisner for its use. The library hours are from 2 to 6 o'clock on Wednesday and Saturday afternoons, and the room is also kept open on the same evenings as a reading room. There are now 1,370 books on the shelves and subscription to several magazines has been donated. Although the Twentieth Century Club deserves credit for the first establishment of a library in the town, the idea and desire for it originated in the mind of Mrs. H. H. Stedman."
In January, 1908, it became the Shelton Public Library, a village tax being levied for its support. On April 25, 1912, at the annual town meeting of Shelton Township, it was made a township library, one of the first thus established in the state and a two mill tax levied for its support. On April 7, 1913; Andrew Carnegie's offer of $9,000 with which to erect a library building was received and accepted.
On June 1, 1914; the library moved into the new building. The members of the library board (1915) are George W. Smith, president; V. L. Johnson, Leroy Barrett, Mrs. J. H. Dugdale and Mrs. George Prouty, secretary.
The annual report for the year ending June 1, 1915; shows: Number of volumes in library, 3,411; number of volumes issued, juvenile, 3,113; number of volumes issued, adults, 4,582; number of readers, 2,748.
Those serving as librarians, Minnie Smith, Rosina Stebbins, Jessie Smith, Hattie Bissett, Gladys Adams, Edith Weaver, Mrs. H. A. Vose.
The Shelton Bank was started as a private enterprise in 1882 by Coleman and Leachey, who were succeeded in about a year by Huggins and Leachey and these in turn (in June, 1883) by H. J. Robbins and S. H. Graves; the bank remained a private affair until July, 1889, when it organized as a state bank with
HISTORY OF BUFFALO COUNTY
an authorized capital of $50,000, one-half paid in. The charter members were J. S. Hedges, D. P. Junk, George Mortimer, S. H. Graves, and L. F. Stockwell; George Mortimer, president; S. H. Graves, cashier. In 1902 was organized the Farmers Bank, with a capital stock of $10,000. George Mortimer, president; M. L Phelps, vice president; P. H. Graves, cashier. In the year 1905 the Farmers Bank was taken over by the Shelton Bank. In 1915 the bank had a capital stock of $25,000; surplus, $6,200; deposits, $120,000. The officers of the bank, H. C. Hansen, president; H. H. Stedman, vice president; V. L. Johnson, cashier.
Meisner's Bank was a private enterprise on the part of George Meisner, starting in the year 1884 with a capital stock of $35,000. In June, 1889, the bank was reorganized as First National Bank with a paid up capital of $50,000, the charter members being George Meisner, J. H. Robbins, H. J. Robbins, M. G. Lee, Henry Fieldgrove and George Smith; Mr. Meisner, president; A. H. Sterrett, cashier; F. D. More, assistant cashier.
In the year 1895 the bank was chartered as a state bank (Meisner's Bank) and in the year 1915 had a capital stock of $40,000; surplus, $8,000; deposits, $250.000. President, H. J. Robbins; vice president, M. G. Lee; cashier, George W. Smith; assistant cashier, F. D. More.
THE METHODIST CHURCH
The first history of record of the Methodist Church at Shelton appears to be that of Rev, J. Marsh, who came to Buffalo County in 1873, taking a homestead claim in Gibbon Township. Mr. Marsh records that he organized in 1873-4 a class at Shelton with Rufus Mitchell as leader. The names of the members of this class as given by Mr. Marsh are: Eunice Mitchell, Nathan T. Britton, Jane A. Warner, Alexander Ross, Henry M. King, Margaret Vanwey, Jane A. West, Isaac A. King, Hannah Britton, Josephus Morgan, Eliza J. Ross, Amanda E. King, Robert Gilispie, Emma J. Bly, Charlotte C. King, James A. Light, Celesta Morgan, John C. Vanwey, Joseph T. Ross, Angeline Gilispie, Almira Jaunta, James O. King, Mary A. Light, Eliza Vanwey, Wm. J. Vanwey, Kate Ross, Roswell West and Almed Morrow.
The church services were held in the old schoolhouse until 1882 when a church edifice was erected. In the year 1896 the Epworth League room was added and extensive repairs made.
The Methodist Episcopal Aid Society was organized in 1882. In 1915 there were forty members, the officers being, Mrs. George Hauke, president; Mrs. Charles Lucas, vice president; Mrs. Clyde Burkerd, secretary and Miss Elizabeth Richardson, treasurer.
In the year 1906 a new church building was erected at a cost of $9,500.
The following pastors have served the Methodist Church at Shelton: Revs. J. Marsh, Charles Reily, Peter DeClark, J. A. Bartholemew, H. Somers, H. C. Harman, Charles A. Mastin, G. H. McAdam, J. G. Martin, C. C. Wilson, C. C. Snavely, S. Blair, James Leonard, M. T. Stiffler, W. H. Mills, W. H. D. Horneday, A. L. Umpleby, J. R. Martin and E. E. Carter.
HISTORY OF BUFFALO COUNTY
FIRST PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH
The First Presbyterian Church of Shelton was organized April 12, 1880, by Rev. George L. Little, assisted by Rev. J. G. Tate.
The charter members were George L. Warner, Mrs. Jane A. Warner, James W. White, Mrs. Ella J. White, Henry Fieldgrove, Mrs. Margaret Fieldgrove, Philip Smith, Mrs. Philip Smith, Mrs. E. Gilbert, John Gutherless, Mrs. L. L. McDonald, Shield Smith, Mrs. Shield Smith, Mr. and Mrs. Daniel Meals, Mrs. J. G. Tate, Mr. and Mrs. George Smith, Mrs. Emily Beekman, O. J. Vandyke, Mrs. Sarah Vandyke, Mrs. A. J. Heatherington, Mrs. B. P. Thomson, Miss Addie Thomson. George L. Warner, Shield R. Smith and O. J. Vandyke were chosen elders and Henry Fieldgrove, Philip Smith and A. A. Burrows trustees. A church building was erected in 1887 and since improved at a total cost of $5,000. The manse was built in 1904 and since made modern at a total cost of $2,000.
The membership of the church in 1905 was seventy-two and in 1915 sixty-five.
During the pastorate of Rev. F. A. Mitchell a pipe organ was installed in the church at an expense of $1,200.
The pastors who have served this church in their order have been: J. G. Tate, George Bray, John Gilmore, James Griffis, C. F. Graves, L. W. Scudder, F. L. Higdon, J. M. Skinner, F. A. Mitchell, George McNab, John R. Bennett, George F. Williams.
The Presbyterian Social Circle was organized in 1884. In the year 1915 the membership was fifty. The officers were: Mrs. M. G. Lee president; Mrs. A. L. Strand, vice president; Mrs. F. H. Redington, secretary; Mrs. O. R. Crumley, treasurer.
UNITED EVANGELICAL CHURCH
Shelton Mission was organzed by the annual conference held at Athelstan, Iowa, March 16, 1896. The board of trustees for the church were elected and organized April 7, 1898, and were incorporated the following day. Services were held in the Advent Church for some time and in the month of November, 1890, under the pastorate of Rev. E. W. Brooker, a subscription paper was circulated for the purpose of securing funds to erect a church building in Shelton.
This church was dedicated by Bishop R. Dubs, May 30, 1900, under the pastorate of Rev. M. B. Young.
The church building was built at an expense of $2,700 and a parsonage at the expense of $1,300.
The pastors who have served in this field have been: Revs. I. B. Wolford, E. W. Brooker, M. B. Young, C. F. Beller, B. A. Shively, Con Hewett, H. C. Farley, H. Wood, W. T. Randolph.
The cornerstone of the Catholic Church at Shelton was laid in May, 1908, the building completed the following year. The structure is of brick and cost $11,000. It was largely through the efforts of George Meisner that the work of
HISTORY OF BUFFALO COUNTY
building was accomplished, he donating the first $1,000 towards the building fund. Non-Catholics of Shelton and vicinity were most liberal in their donations towards the church budding. Edward B. McDermott, a law student at Creighton College, Omaha--a resident of Shelton and a graduate of Shelton High School--delivered the address of the day when the church was dedicated.
Rev. P. J. Daly, the first pastor of the church, was active in securing the building of the church.
The church at present (1915) has a membership of forty families. The pastors of the church have been: Rev. P. J. Daly, Rev. H. Alberts, Rev. H. Muenstermann.
THE SEVENTH DAY ADVENTIST CHURCH
The Seventh Day Adventist Church at Shelton was started through the efforts of Elders George Langdon and A. L. Hooper, who held a course of lectures here in 1885.
The church was organized with a charter membership of thirteen.
A church building was erected in 1893 at a cost of about twelve hundred dollars.
It has a seating capacity of 125.
The church was dedicated August 5, 1893, by Elder Daniel Nettleton, assisted by Elders G. Smith and W. B. White. In the year 1905 the membership was twenty-eight and in 1915 fifteen.
The pastors or elders in charge of the church have been: Simon Mosser, Lorenzo Plumb, Albert Danman.
FIRST BAPTIST CHURCH
The First Baptist Church, Shelton, was organized January 30, 1904.
The charter members were: Sarah L. Wilkenson, Benjamin Wilkenson, M. P. Cleveland, Daniel Stonebarger, Hannah Stonebarger, Thomas Blakeley, Sarah Blakeley, Mary Keefauver.
A church building was erected in 1904 at an approximate cost of two thousand dollars. The membership in 1915, twenty-three.
The first pastor was Rev. J. W. Groves, the others in order: B. F, Farrer, Edwin Hardcastle, C. F. Deuholm, Joseph James, M. C. Powers.
UNITED BRETHREN CHURCH
In School District No. 22, in Shelton Township, was organized the United Bretheren Church in Christ on November 20, 1873.
The church was organized by Rev. W. S. Spooner, in the house on the homestead farm of George Stearley. The charter members were: A. W. Zimmerman, Louisa E. Zimmerman, husband and wife; George Stearley, Barbery Stearley, husband and wife.
The name given the organization at the time was "The Zimmerman Class."
In the year 1897 a church was built at a cost of approximately twelve hundred dollars. In the year 1915 the membership of the church was fifty-five.
HISTORY OF BUFFALO COUNTY
As near as can be recalled the pastors who have served this church and people, in their order, are as follows: W. S. Spooner, O. Knepper, J. M. Witters, John Green, H. S. Munger, J. J. Smith, J. M. Witters, J. Bremser, W. S. Fields, Mr. Fowler, W. Thompson, T. B. Cannon, C. W. Bohart, A. Boyd, A. L. Zimmerman, Wm. Tooley, A. Boyd, W. C. Miller, L. L. Epley, G. W. Arnold, Walter Smith, W. G. Rooker, F. Grow.
The church was built during the pastorate of Rev. A. L. Zimmerman.
LADIES' AID SOCIETY
The first ladies' aid society in Shelton was organized in the year 1882. The meeting was held in the unfinished building of the M. E. Church, the ladies sitting, meantime, on piles of lumber. Mrs. Max A. Hostetler was elected president; Mrs. James Steven, secretary; Mrs. M. L. Phelps, treasurer. A bazar was held soon after in a corner of the church building. The Methodist Church was the first church erected in the village and everyone interested in churches assisted with labor and finance. When the church was completed it was painted a white color. The painter, being something of an artist, conceived the idea of an oil painting high above the front windows. Accordingly, he painted a woodland scene--a stream, some fallen logs, a man with an ax and a cow. An elderly gentleman, being asked later what he thought of the painting, replied: "Well, I guess the painting is all right but it seems a funny place for a cow pasture."
W. C. T. U.
The first county organization of the Woman's Christian Temperance Union appears to have been in Kearney in 1890, Mrs. Cooley organizer. The officers were: Mrs. Louise M. Collins, president; Mrs. A. H. Connor, Kearney, corresponding secretary; Mrs. Max A. Hostetler, of Shelton, recording secretary; Mrs. James H. Davis, Gibbon, treasurer.
It is recalled that Miss Mary Ripley, of Kearney, was greatly interested in this work, especially along the line of scientific instruction in the public schools.
Miss Frances Willard, national president of the . C. T. U. spoke on two occasions in Kearney in the interests of the work of the Union. On both occasions there was a large attendance, both Shelton and Gibbon being well represented.
The records of the organization of the W. C. T. U. in Shelton disclose Mrs. C. F. Graves, president; Mrs. H. H. Stedman, treasurer; Miss Elizabeth Richardson, secretary. In the year 1915 there were twenty-one members: Miss Elizabeth Richardson, president; Mrs. Charles Soderstrum, vice president; Mrs. R. A. Mears, secretary; Mrs. H. H. Stonebarger, treasurer.
P. E. O.
A P. E. 0. society was organized in February, 1914, with a membership of twelve persons. The officers in 1915 were: Mrs. H. H. Stedman, president; Mrs. E. C. Emigh, vice president; Mrs. Leroy Barrett, corresponding secretary; Mrs. F. H. Redington, recording secretary, Mrs. H. C. Hansen, treasurer.
HISTORY OF BUFFALO COUNTY
Joe Hooker Post No. 28, Grand Army of the Republic, was organized at Shelton December 6, 1879. Its first officers and charter members were: C. S. Bailey, Com.; J. R. George, S. V. C.; Patrick Walsh, J. V. C.; D. B. Allen, Q. M.; S. A. Banks, O. D.; J. H. Barrett, O. G.; Rev. J. N. Allen, Chap.; A. D. Burrows, Surg.; H. S. Colby, Adj.; J. H. Heatherington, Sergt. Maj.; W. H. Barnes, Q. M. Sergt.; C. H. Horth, S. R. Blois, T. Carrol, W. W. Dubbs, B. F. Sammons, L. Waldron, Rufus Mitchell, H. Willey, W. McCracken, James McCreary, J. R. George, J. H. Smith, J. P. Smith, George L. Gardner. In 1915 the Post had a. membership of seventeen. The officers were: R. A. Mears, Com.; Aug. Meyer, S. V. Com.; W. S. Allison, Q. M.; J. A. Light, O. D.; W. H. Barnes, Adj.; D. Stonebarger, Chap.; J. H. Bliss, P. I. Forty-seven soldiers of the Civil War are buried in Shelton cemetery.
Joe Hooker Woman's Relief Corps No. 136, of Shelton, was organized April 17, 1891. The charter members and officers were: President, Amelia H. Sterret: S. V., Lottie Murphy; J. V., Eunice Mitchell; Treas., Kate McCreary; Chap., Mary E. Smith; Cond., Mary Bolding; G., Ollie Armbus; Secy., Maude L. Beecher; Bertha L. Hedges, Mary B. Town, Hannah Stonebarger, Emma Childs, Lide Waters, Angelina Horth, Polly E. Marble, Olive Armbus, Emretta Ficher, Jane Lippincott, Lettie M. Hedges, Delia Beecher.
In the year 1915 the membership of the corps was seventeen. Pres., Mary Light; Secy., Jessie Meyer Lawson; Treas., Margaret Bliss.
Banner Lodge No. 48, Degree of Honor, A. O. U. W., was organized at Shelton April 3, 1893. The officers were: Mrs. Ella White, P. C. H.; Mrs. Laurene Hostetler, C. H.; Mrs. Edith Bailey, L. H.; Mrs. Max A. Hostetler, Rec.; Mrs. Sarah Barrett, Fin.; Mrs. Sarah Blakely, receiver; Mrs. James Stevens, C. C.; Miss Gertrude Graffius, usher; Miss Nancy Bastian, I. W.; George Smith, O. W. In 1915 the officers of the lodge were: Mrs. Mary Bills, P. C.; Mrs. Maggie Corrigan, C. H.; Mrs. Maggie Fieldgrove, L. H.; Mrs. Sarah Vandyke, C. C.; Mrs. Max A. Hostetler, Rec.; Mrs. L. Anna Adams, Fin.; Mrs. Hazel Templin, receiver; Mrs. Hattie Reed, usher; Mrs. Sarah Meusch, I. W.
Dewey Lodge No. 598, Modern Brotherhood of America, was organized in August, 1899, with Max A. Hostetler as president; C. A. Washburn, secretary. The charter membership was left open for some time and when closed the lodge had a membership of 151. In 1915 the lodge had a membership of 103. Officers: G. W. Dawson, Pres.; C. A. Washburn, Secy.
Anchor Lodge No. 14, A. O. U. W., located at Shelton, was organized August 23, 1883, the charter members being: H. J. Fleck, J. P. Bastian, A. A. Burrows, E. Oliver, James Steven, H. E. Jones, A. E. Rice, Rev. J. G. Tate, D. W. Underwood, Henry Fletcher, T. E. Mundle, H. C. McNew, Dr. R. M. Beecher, Rev. J. M. Harman, J. H. Waters, J. M: Hawk, D. W. Smith, J. W. Kearn, Paul Kalmuk, John Gutherless.
The present (1915) membership of the lodge is 137. M. W., James Buck; Rec., F. Carpenter; Fin., V. S. Pierce; receiver, R. R. Mathieson.
Phoenix Lodge No. 158, A. O. U. W., was organized February 27, 1897. The charter members were: C. F. Graves, P. M. W.; A. D. Graham, M. W.; James
HISTORY OF BUFFALO COUNTY
W. White, Rec.; John Heatherington, Fin.; J. W. Weaver, Erford Wescoatt, J. P. Moore, James Waters, Thomas Blakeley, O. P. Guffey.
The present (1915) membership of the lodge is thirty-five. M. W, Barney Wiest; Rec., Jeff Devall; Fin., M. A. Hostetler; receiver, J. P. Moore.
Buffalo Camp No. 1190, M. W. A., of Shelton, organized October 10, 1889. The records of the camp were destroyed by fire in 1903, making it not possible to give the number of charter members. The first officers were: Coun., C. M. Wallace; W. A., E. O. Hostetler; banker, James McCreary; clerk, J. W. Wharton; escort, F, A. Bailey; watchman, Wm. P. Harmon; sentry, Robert Beckman; managers, C. S. Bailey, J. S. Hedges, M. G. Lee; physician, Dr. E. L. Smith.
In 1915 the camp had a membership of sixty. The officers: Coun., R. Kesterson; advisor, Frank Webbin; banker, J. B. Hodge; clerk, C. M. Wallace; escort, W. H. Lute; watchman, H. G. Grumprecht; sentry, Leo Kesterson; trustees, A. H. Morris, John Mullen, M. G. Lee; physician, Dr. Charles Lucas.
Shelton Lodge No. 141, I. O. O. F., was instituted February 26, 1886, by Grand Master Arthur Gibson, assisted by members of the order from Gibbon and Kearney. The charter members were: James Steven, F. J. Taylor, D. P. Crable, W. V. Fox, Edward Oliver, J. M, Harman, E. V. Bush, Joseph Owen, H. C. Bull, A. N. Murphy, W. E. Bull, W. W. Watters, J. H. Watters, James Vanwey, Eli Campbell, L. D. Hile. Joseph Owen, N. G.; James H. Watters, R. S. In the year 1915 the lodge had a membership of seventy-nine. Officers: Samuel Druse, N. G.; Fred Haug, V. G.; Joseph Owen, Sr, R. S.; H. J. Dugdale, Treas. ,
Ellen Rebekah Lodge No. 306, I. O. O. F., was instituted at Shelton February 5, 1913; with sixteen charter members. The officers were: Ella Grafius, N. G.; Clara A. Smith, V. G.; Bertha E. Kunkle, Secy.; C. C. Grafius, Treas. In 1915 the lodge had forty-seven members. The officers were: Melissa E. Kunkle, N. G.; Lillian F. Webbin, V. G.; Bertha E. Kunkle, Secy.; Maggie Webbin, Treas.
Shelton Lodge No. 99, A. F. & A. M., was organized July 28, 1882, with a charter membership of fifteen. George L. Gardner, W. M.; Rodney Beecher, S. W.; Moses L. Phelps, J. W.; B. F. Sammons, Secy.; M. G. Lee, Treas.; John A. Hogg, S. D.; Joseph Smith, J. D.; George L. Thomas, Tyler. In the year 1915 the lodge had fifty-two members. Lawrence E. Treat, W. M.; Vernon S. Pierce, Secy.; M. G. Lee, Treas.
FRATERNAL AID UNION OF AMERICA
On January 19, 1909, there was organized at Shelton a lodge of American Order of Protection, with a charter membership of thirty-seven. The instituting officer was ex-Governor W. A. Poynter.
At a later date the name was changed to Fraternal Aid Union of America.
In 1915 the lodge had a membership of sixty. Pres., J. R. Johnson; V. Pres., John Oliver; Secy., E. L. Light; Treas., Mary Light.
Castle Hall, Shelton Lodge No. 92, Knights of Pythias, was instituted at Shelton December 1, 1887, with a charter membership of forty-four. Officers: F. E. Ellis, P. C.; J. S. Hedges, C. C.; C. A. Kinney, V. C.; David Neely, M. of
HISTORY OF BUFFALO COUNTY
Ex.; F. D. More, M. of F.; F. H. More, prelate; J. H. Heatherington, M. of A.; S. H. Graves, K. of R. & S.; C. S. Bailey, I. W.; J. W. White, O. G.
In 1915 the castle had a membership of seventy-four. Officers: Joseph Owen, Jr., C. C.; V. S. Pierce, V. C.; Joseph Owen, Sr., M. of Ex.; Lee Roberts, prelate; F. T. Turney, M. of A.; W. H. Barnes, K. of R. & S.; Paul More, I. G.; Carl Carlson. O. G.