History of Buffalo County
and Its People
by Samuel Clay Bassett
CHAPTER XXXV (continued)
October 12, 1873, J. W. Leland was appointed to take a census of the Town of Kearney Junction with a view of organizing a city of the second class. In a published biography of Mr. Leland it is stated, "He took a census of Kearney in 1873, when the population numbered only 245." There seems no question that this was the census ordered by the trustees of the Town of Kearney Junction with a view of organizing a city of the second class, the returns of the census disclosing a population of 245.
INCORPORATING THE CITY OF KEARNEY
On December 3, 1873, the "Town of Kearney Junction," one year and one month old, ceased to have a legal, existence and "Kearney," a city of the second class, with a population of approximately three hundred was incorporated, officials of the Town of Kearney Junction serving as like officials of the City of Kearney until a regular election was held. Hence it was that E. B. Carter, L. R. More, J. N. Keller, H. H. Achey and James O'Kane were the members of the first city council; E. B. Carter the first mayor, Thomas S. Nightengale city clerk and Samuel Wenzell chief of police or marshal. In this brief history of the Town of Kearney Junction, is given, as appears in the record and in published proceedings available, the name of every person mentioned (about one hundred in all), because, having no other records of those who took part in the foundation and life of the town, from these we may learn and record the names of a portion of the residents and of those who took a more or less prominent part in public affairs.
THE FIRST POSTOFFICE
On February 9, 1872, a postoffice named Kearney Junction was established with Asbury Collins as postmaster. It is understood that at that date Mr. Collins and family were residing in the Junction House, located on section 2, and that the postoffice was kept there.
PERKINS AND HARFORD'S ADDITION TO KEARNEY JUNCTION
In the month of September, 1872, Asbury Collins had C. W. Colt and James MacGonegal, surveyors residing at Lowell, Neb., survey South Kearney as an addition to Kearney Junction, the same being on the northwest quarter of section 12, town 8, range 16. In July, 1872, D. N. Smith bought of the Union Pacific Railway Company the east half of section 35, town 9, range 16, for a consideration of $960, and sold the same to Perkins and Harford for a consideration of $16,000. In volumes No. 1 and No. 3, issue of the Buffalo County Beacon, published at Gibbon and dated July 27, 1872, appears the following item: "Esquire Collins of Kearney Junction made us a pleasant call a few days ago. He informs us that real estate at that point is on the rise in price. Mr. Smith (D. N. Smith) sold to parties from Minnesota (Minneapolis), (Perkins and Harford), a short time since the east half of section 35, town 9, range 16, for the snug sum of $50 per acre." In the month of August, 1872, Perkins
HISTORY OF BUFFALO COUNTY
and Harford had Anselmo B. Smith survey and plat into city lots Perkins and Harford's first and second additions to Kearney Junction, being the east half of section 35, town 9, range 16. Thus it will be noted that before the Burlington had made junction with the Union Pacific there had been surveyed and platted into city lots and such plats made a matter of record, 960 acres of land in a solid body.
It is a matter of tradition that because of the unfair advantage taken by the townsite company in obtaining possession, in advance, of the townsite and because of the extravagant prices asked for city lots, the first buildings erected were on school section No. 36 and the Perkins and Harford Addition. The county records show that on April 2, 1872, A. Collins was appointed agent for the county to notify all parties not to occupy or erect any buildings on section 36, town 9, range 16, the same being school lands. In March, 1872, F. N. Dart erected a store building on the school section. An advertisement of Mr. Dart's business appeared in issues of the Buffalo County Beacon in the year 1872. Rev. Wm. Morse also erected a building on a lot in Perkins and Harford's addition, purchased in September, 1872. As before noted, the first lots sold in the original townsite was to L. R. More in May, 1873. The building erected by Rev. Wm. Morse was occupied by James Jenkins as a shoe store, Mr. Jenkins being a shoemaker by trade. The first saloon opened at Kearney Junction was either on section 35 or section 36.
THE PUBLIC SCHOOL
School district No. 7, embracing 120 square miles of territory, was organized March 8, 1872; the place of organizing was at the "Hotel Collins" (known also as the Junction House), James Smith being chosen director. The first district report discloses thirty-six children of school age in the district. An enumeration of school children made in April, 1873, shows forty-five children of school age.
The first term of school taught in this district (No. 7--Kearney) was by Miss Fannie Nevius, who was first licensed as a teacher in the county in the year 1873. Dan A. Crowell, county superintendent, under date January 24th, records: "Visited school in district No. 7, taught by Miss Nevius. Owing to some disagreement between the school officers and citizens relative to the selectopm of a site, no house has yet been built and the school is at present domiciled in a room rented to suit the emergency. It is, however, poorly furnished and but illy adapted to the purposes of a school." On January 24, 1874, J, J, W. Place, county superintendent, records: "Visited district No. 7, found two schools in session taught by O. E. Hansen and Miss Fannie Nevius."
FIRST COUNTY TEACHERS' INSTITUTE
The first county teachers' institute was held at Kearney, November 25, 1875, J. J. W. Place superintendent. The teachers in attendance were entertained by the people of Kearney. State Superintendent J. M. McKenzie was in attendance and delivered two lectures. Prof. D. B. Worley had charge of
HISTORY OF BUFFALO COUNTY
the music. There were twelve teachers from the county in attendance. A county teachers' organization was formed with O. E. Hansen, chairman; J. S. Zerbe, secretary; Miss Bunnell, treasurer; and Miss Fannie Nevius, critic. Dan A. Crowell was one of the teachers in the Kearney school at that date.
KEARNEY JUNCTION TIMES
As the writer understands the Kearney Junction Times, established by Mendel, Clapp and Cunningham (L. B. Cunningham, editor) was the first newspaper published at Kearney Junction. Its first issue was October 12, 1872. The Times was ever loyal to the best interests of Kearney Junction, and the City of Kearney and exceedingly helpful in the upbuilding of the town and community; in the discussion of public affairs it maintained a high moral standard, its editor having no sympathy with the belief of many that open saloons and dens of vice were essential to the up-building of the city and hence the Times was not in close touch and fellowship with certain elements which exerted a powerful influence in the early history of Kearney Junction and Buffalo County, influences which at times largely controlled in the distribution of public printing and public patronage age. In later years the Times became the Buffalo County Journal, having a general circulation throughout the county and exerting a large influence.
CENTRAL NEBRASKA PRESS
The exact date of the establishment of the Central Nebraska Press at Kearney Junction is, to the writer, not known. Official records disclose that February 10, 1873, the Press was made the official organ for publication of ordinances of the Town of Kearney Junction, and that on June 3, 1873, there was being published both the daily and weekly Press. In the days of the founding of the Town of Kearney Junction it was generally understood that the owners of the townsite and the promoters of the town donated to "Web" Eaton a considerable number of city lots as an inducement to establish a newspaper, daily and weekly; in March, 1873, Mr. Eaton secured the subscription list and good will of the Buffalo County Beacon being published at Gibbon. "Web" Eaton had a love for politics and was a very shrewd politician; he secured, by appointment, political preferment and left the management of the Press largely in the hands of his brother, R. H. Eaton. Rice Eaton, as he was familiarly called, was born in Rochester, N. Y., in 1838; by profession and training he was a printer and newspaper man. He was a soldier of the Civil war, had traveled somewhat and was a keen observer of mankind. He was of a lovable disposition, witty, original in thought and expression, a versatile and apt writer.
He had a liking for politics and a nose for news of a political nature.
Under his management the Press soon secured a state wide reputation, was widely quoted, and exerted a large influence. Of the days of which this article treats, the Central Nebraska Press easily took first rank among the newspapers published in the county. In the year 1879 Mr. Eaton disposed of the Press to W. C. Holden.
HISTORY OF BUFFALO COUNTY
CENTRAL NEBRASKA STAR
The Central Nebraska Star was established (as recalled) in the year 1871 by Moses H. Sydenham; its publication was not regular and no files of its issues are known to exist. Its date line hailed from "Centoria," a paper-boom town in Kearney County, a few miles west of Fort Kearney. Centoria was surveyed and platted by Mr. Sydenham but had no existence except on paper. The Star advocated the removal of the national capitol to the Fort Kearney military reservation, the geographical center of the nation, urging that by surveying the reservation (ten miles square) into city lots the sale of the lots would provide for all expense of erecting Government buildings and the removal of the national capitol. While the Star had a considerable circulation in Buffalo and Kearney counties in the years 1871-2-3, it can not be said to have exerted much influence in the settlement and development of Central Nebraska; it was the personal organ of its editor who was without experience in public affairs and seemingly not in touch or sympathy with the development of the agricultural resources of this portion of the state. Mr. Sydenham was an Englishman by birth, served first at Fort Kearney as a sutler's clerk and later as postmaster at the fort; he also served a term as county commissioner when Kearney County was organized in 1872. Fort Kearney was abandoned as a fort in 1871.
EARLY REMINISCENCES OF KEARNEY
L. B. Cunningham
August 18, 1872, I arrived at Lowell, the then terminal point of the Burlington & Missouri River Railroad in Nebraska, about 5 P. M. One other man beside myself desired to get to Kearney and a third desired to reach the Union Pacific Railroad as soon as possible.
Lowell was then a flourishing railway station, crowds coming and going, businesses lively, hotels full, cow boys, whiskey and roustabouts galore. We three hired a livery rig and driver to take us to the south and east terminal of the Burlington Railway bridge across the Platte River. We had learned that the main pillars of the bridge were laid across and that one could walk over. We arrived at the bridge about dark. The night was starlight but no moon. The third man proved to be well acquainted with directions and locations; he knew about where Kearney Station (now Buda) was and we gladly permitted him to lead the way. The meadows north of the river were luxuriant with grass, some of which was higher than our heads. After wading the high grass and over buffalo grass sod, carrying our grips, we arrived at the station and found a lodging house conducted by Mrs. Johnson and her son, Wm. C., the latter a lad of about fourteen, who died in Kearney about four years ago. His mother later married M. W. Benschoter. The traveling man rose at 3 A. M. and boarded a passenger train for Omaha. Years after I met him in Iowa, only once.
My remaining companion and self took a tie-path late Sunday morning for Kearney. When about half the distance a brother of Jacob Gabriel drove up with a wagon and team and asked us to ride, which kind invitation we gladly accepted. We were directed to the Smith Hotel (sometimes called Junction
HISTORY OF BUFFALO COUNTY
House--sometimes Hotel Collins) then located in the center of section 2-8-16, later removed to south part of town and used as a hotel. We foynd there James A. and George E. Smith, also Frank Woods, each of whom, with a fourth man we now disremember his name, each a homesteader (pre-emptor) holding down a quarter of that section. The house was four big rooms below and also above one room by survey on each quarter of the section, thus questionably complying with the law. James A. Smith and wife kept public house for the accommodation of travelers.
CHURCH SERVICES HELD
We were surprised to see almost immediately on our arrival, homesteaders coming in for church services and two gray haired preachers present, Rev. Wm. Morse, a pioneer, Methodist, and Rev. Nahum Gould, likewise a pioneer, Presbyterian, both homesteaders. Then there was Asbury Collins whom we subsequently learned was a minister also, and his good wife, Mrs. Louisa Collins, whom I believe is still living.
We had church services, preaching and singing; James A. Smith and wife, and James Jenkins were each fair singers, and they with others and an organist made the building ring with melody. C. S. Greenman and wife, also daughter and son, the daughter now Mrs. T. N. Hartzell, then a pretty young girl blooming into womanhood, Herbert the, son, then five years of age. Roswell Gould was present, a prominent figure then, and I believe still living. Judge and Mrs. F. G. Hamer were there, which was, of course, my first sight of them. I went to Kearney with the intention of starting a newspaper, and had not thought of taking land, but on Monday most all were taking land, homesteads, and Frank Woods saddled two ponies and induced me, I having taken the homestead fever, to mount one of the ponies and accompany him on a hunt for a claim. He took me out to where is now Riverdale--the Fort Kearney reservation not then being open for settlement--where I selected the northwest quarter section 6-9-16 and filed upon the same the next day at the Grand Island land office. J. R. King, C. Sisco, Peter Calhoun, and Wm. Stevenson had already settled on section 8. Jake Bunnell had located on the east half of section 6; Cosmo Hill, and father, Charles Porter and W. F. Piercy were further east and John Sammons, John Henning, Fred Cuddebeck, Wilson Hewitt, J. F. Chase, James Carson and others were settled in the neighborhood of where now is Glenwood Station. On returning to Kearney Frank Woods refused to accept a cent of pay for his time and trouble in assisting me to select a claim; he said, at the time, it was the best claim then untaken within twelve miles of Kearney and thereafter I proved by my crops that he prophesied truly.
F. G. Hamer, Rev. N. Gould and Roswell Gould were located north of the present electric light plant, Rev. Wm. Morse, James Jenkins and others two miles north of the hamlet called Kearney, while Wm. Schram, L. D. Forehand, and George N. Smith were six or seven miles northeast. Of these early homesteaders the following named have passed to their rewards, Rev. N. Gould, Rev. Wm. Morse, C. Cisco, J. R. King, C. Hill, Sr, W. F. Piercy, J. F. Chase, and James Carson, but I believe the others are still living. Aside from the Smith House,
HISTORY OF BUFFALO COUNTY
which was in reality westward from the town site, there were six houses in Kearney. John Mahon, the oldest settler, had a cottage and blacksmith shop on the south of the Union Pacific track. Simon and Dr. J. T. Murphy were constructing the Harrold House which still stands. David Anderson, later sheriff of the county, lived with his family in a little cottage upon what is now West Twenty-fourth Street, then or soon after, known as Smith Avenue. F. N. Dart and brother-in-law, W. H. McClure, had a shanty well filled with a general stock of goods located on almost the extreme southwest corner of section No. 36. Charley Christenson was the drayman of that day and lived with his horses in an adjoining stall.
After filing on my claim in Grand Island, on Tuesday, August 21st, I returned to Iowa, arranging my affairs, and again landed in Kearney on a Burlington freight at midnight September 6, 1872, the passenger train not yet running. During my two weeks' absence Kearney hamlet had moved some, almost to the character of a village. Union Pacific trains did not stop at the town proper but would let off passengers and mail at the Smith House. Freight had to be hauled from Kearney Station (now Buda). D. N. Smith, of Burlington, Iowa, a Burlington Railway right-of-way man and construction agent, had played snap judgment upon the Union Pacific Railway Company and had slipped in and purchased as a private citizen, several sections of railroad lands in that vicinity, of the Union Pacific Company, knowing that the Burlington would form a junction with the Union Pacific at some point very near, hence the Union Pacific would not stop its trains at the new hamlet (Kearney Junction) until some satisfactory arrangement could be made about lands and lots. This logger-head business went on for some weeks while the new comers suffered inconveniences.
L. R. MORE STARTS A BANK
L. R. More and Will C. Sunderland started lumber and coal yards. L. R. More soon started a little bank, first doing business in his coal and lumber office and later erected a small frame on a corner on Main Street, then called Colorado Avenue and Twenty-first Street, where now stands the opera house. This corner has practically been the foundation and support of a banking house ever since. Charles W. Dake removed his family from Mount Ayr, Iowa, and soon started another bank in the north part of town, later known as the Buffalo County National Bank. Owing to grasshopper depredations, drouth and general hard times this bank failed some years later and Mr. Dake went to Denver.
Mr. St. Clair started a bank, he having moved from Schuyler, Nebr.; he failed inside of a year, but he proved strictly honorable and paid every cent of indebtedness. L. D. Grant came from Schuyler about August 25th and removed his wife and daughter the following January. S. S. St. John came in October from Wisconsin. Peter W. Wilson from Mount Ayr, Iowa; Samuel Wenzell accompanied the latter, each with their families. H. C. Andrews came the following December from the same place as the latter two. V. B. Clark soon started a hardware store in October; T. J. Parish and Byron Marsh came some months later as did C. J. Burke, the latter the tinner, the former two clerks for Mr. Clark. Mr. Williams came from Lincoln, built a frame building on smith Avenue and
HISTORY OF BUFFALO COUNTY
placed therein a stock of groceries. James O'Kane built on the south side just north of the Harold House and kept groceries and produce. J. S. Chandler of St. Joe built in the corner where the Presbyterian Church now stands; Doctors D. A. Vance and C. T. Dildine came in June, 1873. Doctor Bolton came from Illinois and started a drug store and practiced some and had a partner in the store, the firm known as Bolton and Barlow.
I built a two story building on Smith Avenue for a printing office and under the firm name of Mendel, Clapp and Cunningham started the Kearney Junction Times, the first issue being dated October 12, 1872, and the first paper in Kearney. Messrs. L. D. Gant, L. D. Forehand and perhaps Judge F. G. Hamer each has a copy of the first issue. For a couple of months the paper was printed at the Union office in Albia, Iowa, until we could establish our material in the upper rooms of the building above referred to. Webster Eaton, of Red Oak, Iowa, started the Daily Press in January or February following (1873), and in a few months was joined by his brother, Rice Eaton.
A SCHOOL ESTABLISHED
Families of children came and a school was in demand. I leased the lower room of the Times Building to James A. Smith, director of the newly organized school district for a term of six months school and Miss Fannie Nevius, now deceased, was employed as the first teacher in Kearney, who immediately started in to teach the young hopefuls.
This room in the Times Building was also leased to the Methodist and Presbyterian Church people, a few of each, who held union services during the winter (1872-73), and to a literary society organized, called the "Philomathean," at the instigation of F. N. Colwell, J. C. McAdams, Walter Colby, S. S. St. John and the writer and we held weekly debating societies therein on Saturday evenings. The Methodist people had a preliminary church organization. Rev. L. B. Fifield built Walworth Hall on corner of Smith Avenue and Colorado Street (now Central and Twenty-fourth) in which he continued to preach and later organized a Congregational Church. The Baptist people organized the following summer (1873) with V. B. Clark and family as principal force.
PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH ORGANIZED
About March 7th (1873) the synodical missionary with Rev. Nahum Gould organized the first Presbyterian Church of Kearney in the Times Building with a membership of eight beside the minister, as follows: Dr. J. T. Brown, Roswell B. Gould, Eddy Lloyd, Mrs. Smith, Mrs. George E. Smith, Emma Greenman, Mrs. C. S. Greenman, and L. B. Cunningham, and the former two named were elected elders.
A SOUVENIR OF EARLY DAYS
E. B. Carter came in the fall of 1872 and started a jewelry store in a small building near where the Downing-Bartlett Block now is. We have in our home
HISTORY OF BUFFALO COUNTY
a pleasant reminder of my old friend Carter. In June, 1873, I bought a plain walnut case eight-day alarm clock of him for which I paid $7. We still have this clock in good condition, keeps perfect time and it will awaken you at any hour if you but set the alarm right. It now times our cook in egg boiling and biscuit making. E. B. Carter was a veritable yankee, sharp and shrewd, always active in the upbuilding of the town. He was a member of the early town council and third mayor, Marsh (D. B.) being the first and Nathan Campbell, a settler coming in June, 1872, being the second. (Note--The records disclose that E. B Carter was chairman of the board of trustees of the Town of Kearney Junction when organized in November, 1872, was elected a member of the board of trustees May 5, 1873, and served as chairman of the board when the City of Kearney was incorporated in December, 1873, and served as mayor of the City of Kearney until the first election held in the city when Nathan Campbell was elected mayor.)
NAMING THE NEW TOWN
At a meeting in the lumber office of More and Sunderland, it was voted to lay out (incorporate) the town four miles square--sixteen square miles--thus putting down on paper a big foundation for a big city. On account of there being so many places and things called "Kearney," such as, Kearney County, Kearney City (in Kearney County), Fort Kearney and Kearney Station (now Buda), it was seriously discussed to change the name of the new town. I do not recall all of half a dozen names proposed, but one gentleman (Commercial Hotel proprietor) very much desired to name it "Inter Ocean"--half way between the oceans--thus you see that "Midway City" was thought of as early as October, 1872. I remember distinctly that I wanted "Permanence," as I believed we were laying the foundation for a permanent city, and how surely my early ideas are coming true, you citizens of Kearney best know. But there were too many present, of whom L. R. More, a very positive sort of man, who had the Kearney fever very badly, and they outvoted us and Kearney it is and no doubt Kearney it will remain while time lasts.
Attorneys E. C. Calkins and Warren Pratt came, if I mistake not, in June, 1873. These gentlemen were partners in law for a number of years and now still living, and as separate attorneys, are prosperous. James Harron and Thomas C. Roberts came from St. Joseph, Mo., and conducted a store for a while; the former branched off into farming and the latter returned to St. Joseph; both have passed to the unknown. F. J. Switz came from Ohio and established a furniture store and is still a very prominent figure in Kearney. W. J. Perkins was a '72 recruit. A. H. Connor with F. G. Hamer made a strong law firm. Nightengale and F. G. Keens opened the first drug store. J. P. Johnson, the "inevitable" as I used to advertise him, came from Mount Pleasant and Red Oak, Iowa; he engaged in various occupations, among them, hardware and also a general stock of clothing and dry goods. Hiram Randall should not be overlooked nor Robert Haines now an honored councilman. John J. Bartlett, W. A. and R. L. Downing, all time-honored early pushers for Kearney. Doctor Hull, Joseph, Samuel and Charles Black, C. B. and E. B. Finch and Jack Crocker were
HISTORY OF BUFFALO COUNTY
on the ground a little later, as were Wm. H. Roe, John H. and Dan W. Roe. Col. John H. Roe did a nice thing for Kearney, which deserves a special mention: as agent for Union Pacific lands and lots he secured the handsome block of lots where the Kearney High School now stands as a permanent school ground for the city.
Misses Libbie Wilson and Ella Grant were the first, or among the first, young ladies of the place. Charles W. Porter and Miss Osterhiel were the first to get married in Kearney although George E. Smith and Miss Clemm were married in Logansport, Ind., and came to Kearney before the Porter-Osterhiel wedding.
Frank Kearney Clark, son of Mr. and Mrs. V. B. Clark, was the first child born in the city. I was married September 3, 1872, to Mary E. Clapp at Fairfield, Iowa, and arrived home in Kearney, September 30th. But I must find a stopping place; from hamlet to village, Kearney grew rapidly, having three hundred or four hundred people by Christmas, 1872, and one thousand within twelve months from that time, and her magnificent growth has been, in the main, gradual, steady, and permanent ever since.
Having a fire in my newspaper office in 1890, all my newspaper files burned and now I have not the record of a single issue from which to copy, and neither have I a line or word anywhere with which to refresh my memory in gathering together these events of long ago days, but if any old or new friend or neighbor becomes interested in what I have here contributed of early events, early history of Kearney I will feel amply repaid for the time and trouble.
(Note-Mr. Cunningham and son are in the newspaper business at Glenwood, Iowa, and in the year 1911, at the request of the writer (S. C. Bassett) contributed this very interesting and valuable history of the founding of Kearney Junction and reminiscences of those early days.)
SEDGWICK POST NO. 1, G. A. R.
Sedgwick Post No. 1, Department of Nebraska, Grand Army of the Republic, has the distinction of being the first G. A. R. post organized in Nebraska.
Past Post Commander A. H. Boltin furnishes the following history of the post: Sedgwick Post was organized at Fort Kearney in the year 1870, under jurisdiction of the Department of Illinois. In 1874, at Kearney, the post was reorganized under jurisdiction of the Department of Iowa. On December 1, 1879, the post was again reorganized and chartered as Sedgwick Post No. 1, Department of Nebraska.
In the life of this post thirty-three comrades have served as post commanders in order as follows: E. C. Calkins, J. W. Wilson, Joseph Black, Robert La Fountain, James Jenkins, A. H. Boltin, J. W. Parker, W. J. Perkins, R. M. Grimes, J. M. Tisdell, W. Smith, D. A. Dorsey, I. A. Arnold, I. B. Wambaugh, John Barnd, Dr. H. S. Bell, Dwight Phelps, Henry Seaman, W. W. Dye, J. C. McKeene, Phil Bessor, B. H. Goulding, John Hoge, J. C. Beswick, E. W. Thomas, George N. Smith, George C. Ray, Freeman Merryman, J. A. Larimer, Rev. Henry Wood, Simon Landis, A. D. Rice, Lorenzo Smith.
In the year 1915 the post was in a flourishing condition, with seventy members. There are buried in the cemetery at Kearney 162 soldiers of the Civil war.
HISTORY OF BUFFALO COUNTY
SEDGWICK WOMAN'S RELIEF CORPS NO. 1, G. A. R.
Sedgwick Woman's Relief Corps No. 1, Department of Nebraska, G. A. R, was organized at Kearney in January, 1884, with the following charter members: Josephine Gillespie, president; Julia McKelvey, Mary La Fountain, Maria Miles, Mrs. Lacy, Laura Perkins, Sarah Parker, Mrs. Fields, Mrs. Fitch, Mrs. Vanhorn, Mary Lotterman, Mrs. Harding, Sarah Hoge, Mrs. R. M. Grimes, Mrs. Shiers, Mrs. William Hunt, Martha Goulding, Mrs. J. W. Wilson, Mary Jenkins, Mrs. Bicknell, Harriet Worley, Mrs. Wilks.
In the year 1915 the corps had a membership of thirty-five. Its officers: Grace Hardy, president; Lucinda Ball, S. V. P.; Melissa Wiley, J. V. P.; Effie Boltin, chaplain; Phoebe J. Lancaster, secretary; Aurelia Whitney, treasurer; Anna Kilgore, conductor; Louisa Lowe, A. C.; Louisa Haase, guard; Mary Bailey, A. G.; Effie Boltin, patriotic instructor; Anna Kilgore, press correspondent; color bearers, Elizabeth Smith, Jennie Shiers, Maria Reed, Mary Harper.
This was the first corps organized in the Department of Nebraska.
SMITH GAVITT POST NO. 290, G. A. R.
Smith Gavitt Post No. 200, G. A. R., of Kearney, received its charter March 4, 1890, with the following charter members: John Tottersman, L. O. Hyatt, James P. Tucker, James M. Duley, Franklin W. Nichols, John Larimer, Stewart W. Calhoun, Joseph McKain, William M. Woodruff, H. H. Wade, Benedict Streigel, Joseph Worsley, J. A. Larimer, William B. Ray, John H. Boatwright, Andrew J. Snow, John R. Mote.
The officers elected and installed were: John W. Totterman, commander; James M. Duley, S. V.; John Larimer, J. V.; Andrew J. Snow, Q. M.; Franklin W. Nichols, surgeon; William M. Boatwright, chaplain; H. H. Wade, O. D.; J. J. Boatwright, O. G.; Joseph Worsley, adjutant; S. A. Hyatt, S. M.; W. B. Hay, Q. M. Sergt.
In 1915 the post had a membership of fifty-three. Its officers: M. Hopkins, commander; S. Bell, S. V.; J. S. Wiley, J. V.; W. H. Marshall, O. D.; Robert Haines, chaplain; J. A. Larimer, Q. M.; F. J. Switz, adjutant; D. T. Hostetter, O. G.
SMITH GAVITT WOMAN'S RELIEF CORPS NO. 106, G. A. R.
Smith Gavitt Woman's Relief Corps No. 106 at Kearney received its charter March 18, 1890, and was instituted with the following officers and charter members: Marie Y. Miles, president; Mary J. Tottersman, S. V.; Hattie J. Worsley, J. V.; Lucy A. Willoughby, secretary; Estelle Rogers, treasurer; Maggie McKain, chaplin; Frances Woodruff, conductor; Sarah A. Seaman, G.; Kate A. Tucker, A. G.; Nancy Murphy, A. G.; May Demar, Jennie Coleman, Mary A. Webbert, Mary J. Triggs, Hannah N. Hyatt, Mattie O'Kane, Jennie Wood, Martha E. Tague, Eva Uhrig, Lucy Willoughby, Jennie Calhoun, Victoria Brundage, Marion Steigle, Cleronne Ray, Eleanor Hawk, Ada Caswell. In the year 1915 the corps had a membership of twenty-five. Its officers: Mrs. Barbara Scheiling,
HISTORY OF BUFFALO COUNTY
president; Liddie Bonser, S. V.; Elizabeth Marshall, J. V.; Emma L. Hostetter, treasurer; Nellie M. Stimpson, secretary; Mary M. Page, conductor; Celia Talbert, chaplain; Olie Springer, G.; Amanda Green, Emily McKinney, Henrietta Pickerel and Costelia Rogers, color bearers; Emma L. Hostetter, patriotic instructor ; Melissa Hemmingway, press correspondent.
PHIL KEARNEY CIRCLE NO. 4, LADIES OF THE G. A. R.
Phil Kearney Circle No. 4, Department of Nebraska, Ladies of the Grand Army of the Republic, was organized at Kearney, May 12, 1904; with ten charter members. The first officers were: Lizzie Trimble, president; Christie Hoge, S. V. P.; Lizzie Wambaugh, J. V. P.; Josephine Stephenson, secretary; Jane Larimer, treasurer; Mary J. Stear, chaplain.
In 1915 the membership of the circle was seventy-five. The officers: Flora Rawell, president; Fannie Wilson, S. V. P.; Mary Webbert, J. V. P.; Effie Sullivan, secretary; Anna Warren, treasurer; Lillie Rahn, chaplain; patriotic instructor, Emily Stark; Sophia Brown, guard.
FORT KEARNEY CHAPTER, D. A. R.
Fort Kearney Chapter, Daughters of the American Revolution, was organized at the home of Mrs. Charles Oliver Norton, Kearney, May 16, 1908, with the following charter members and first officers: Mrs. Lottie Gove Norton, chapter regent; Mrs. Florence Valentine Miller, vice regent; Mrs. Henrietta Bearce Roby, historian; Miss Isabel Amanda Tabor, secretary; Mrs. Maybelle Nye Miller, treasurer; Mrs. Anna V. A. Peterson, registrar; Mrs. Irene Holbrook clark, chaplain; Mrs. Elijah Atwood Gove, Mrs. Frederick R. Kingsley, Miss Arathusa Calkins, Mrs. Leroy V. Patch, Mrs. Harry J. Reed, Mrs. E. St. Claire Snyder, Miss Agnes M. Tabor, Mrs. Henry Gibbons, Miss Catherine A. Nye, Mrs. Robert A. Moore, Miss Alice Ruth Miller, Mrs. Burton Lothrop, Mrs. Joseph Plumb.
Since organization 150 members have been admitted to the chapter, which now (1916) is the third in size in the state.
Among the patriotic work accomplished by the Fort Kearney Chapter has been the placing in the Union Pacific Park in Kearney of a granite monument to mark the "Oregon Trail," which had its beginning in the Valley of the Platte River in the year 1811, this monument being the first stone to mark this historic trail erected in the State of Nebraska.
BUFFALO LODGE NO. 38, I. O. O. F.
Buffalo Lodge No. 38, I. O. O. F., was instituted at Kearney, May 31, 1873, by Grand Secretary John Evans, with the following charter members: N. H. Hemiup, Henry W. Morse, James P. Johnson, I. B. Wambaugh, D. B. Marsh, Philip H. Allison, W. F. Marsh, Hugh Stotler, H. A. Wakefield.
In the year 1915 I. B. Wambaugh, a soldier of the Civil war, is the only one of the charter members living.
In the year 1915 the lodge had a membership of 275. Its officers: T. A.
HISTORY OF BUFFALO COUNTY
Pickerell, N. G.; A. G. Barlow, V. G.; J. A. Larimer, secretary; W. A. Miller, treasurer.
In the year 1907 the lodge erected, on a lot owned by the lodge, a substantial brick building at a cost of $15,000, the upper rooms of the building being used for lodge purposes.
KEARNEY ENCAMPMENT NO. 18, I. O. O. F.
Kearney Encampment No. 18, I. O. O. F., was instituted at Kearney, September 3, 1881, by Grand Patriarch J. W. Walters and Grand Secretary D. A. Cline, with the following charter members: A. T. Cannon, Swan J. Johnson, L. L. Ketchum, William Schram, W. F. Pickering, James Wallace, H. C. Andrews, W. H. Bushell, C. R. Clapp, L. D. Forehand, C. D. Ayres, H. W. Morse, Theodore Wilhelmy, C. J. Burke, I. B. Wambaugh, W. H. Hunt, Thomas H. Ayres.
In the year 1915 the encampment had a membership of seventy-five. Its officers: T. J. Scott, chief patriarch; E. E. Gardner, senior warden; E. A. Miller, scribe; M. N. Troupe, treasurer.
NAOMI REBEKAH LODGE NO. 12, I. O. O. F.
Naomi Rebekah Lodge No. 12, I. O. O. F., was instituted June 26, 1887, with a charter membership of twenty. G. H. Cutting, N. G.; Emma Haines, treasurer.
In the year 1915 the membership of the lodge was 203. Officers: Margaret Webbert, N. G.; Nellie Wilkins, V. G.; Aurelia Whitney, secretary; Frances Whitney, treasurer.
ROBERT MORRIS LODGE NO. 46, A. F. & A. M.
Robert Morris Lodge No. 46, A. F. & A. M., of Kearney, was organized at Gibbon soon after the completion of the courthouse, the lodge meetings being held in the courtroom of the building. The preliminary organization was early in the year 1873, the date of the charter June 26, 1874. The charter members were: A. H. Brundage, Frank S. Trew, L. Worthington, Christopher Putnam, George S. Thomas, Benjamin Sartoria, Michael Coady, Rollin L. Downing, Simon C. Ayer, Alva G. H. White. Officers: Christopher Putnam, W. M.; Frank S. Trew, S. W. ; Simon C. Ayer, J. W.
On the removal of the county seat from Gibbon the lodge was removed to Kearney.
In the year 1915 the lodge had a membership of 215. Officers: Daniel Quinton, W. M.; J. D. Hawthorne, secretary.
KEARNEY CHAPTER NO. 23, R. A.M.
Kearney Chapter No. 23, R. A. M, was organized September 13,1881. The charter members were: H. P., A. L. Webb; K., James H. Davis; S., H. L. Strong; treasurer, F. J. Switz; secretary, T. N. Hartzell; Ross Gamble, Reuben E. Barney, Paul Kalmuk, Charles B. Finch, Lawrence Ketchum.
HISTORY OF BUFFALO COUNTY
In the year 1915 the chapter had 130 members. Officers: J. O. Pierce, E. H. P.; J. D. Hawthorne, secretary.
MOUNT HEBRON COMMANDERY NO. 12.
Mount Hebron Commandery No. 12 was organized in January, 1882. The charter membership: Henry Gibbons, E. C.; Rheuben E. Barney, Gen.; Sylvester S. St. John, C. G., Frederick J. Switz, prelate; Paul Kalmuk, S. W.; Lawrence Ketchum, J. W.; A. L. Webb, warden; James H. Davis, Sent.; William C. Villson, Rec.
In the year 1915 the commandery had 117 members: Officers: John Wilson, E. C.; G. E. Haase, recorder.
TUSCAN CHAPTER NO. 35; O. E. S.
Tuscan Chapter No. 35; O. E. S., was organized June 12, 1890, with a charter membership of twenty-five. The officers: W. M., Francis B. Burkhead; W. P., George W. Kern; secretary, A. S. Potter; treasurer, R. M. Rankin.
In 1915 the membership of the chapter was 160. The officers: W. M. Mrs. Dorothy Clifton; W. P., C. B. Manuel; secretary, Bessie Manuel; treasurer, Mrs. Minter Todd.
KEARNEY LODGE NO. 984, B. P. O. E.
Kearney Lodge No. 984 of the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks was instituted on June 30, 1905 by the initiation of a class of ninety. At this same meeting the following officers were elected:
L. M. Welsh, Exalted Ruler.
N. P. Hansen, Esteemed Leading Knight.
K. R. Andrews, Loyal Knight.
G. E. Haase, Lecturing Knight.
E. S. Chadwick, Secretary.
J. A. Miller, Treasurer.
On July 2ist of the same year the lodge secured the top floor of the City National Bank Building for lodge rooms and have held them ever since. In connection with the lodge room a fine suite of club rooms are maintained for the convenience and comfort of the members. Under the supervision of a steward these rooms are always open to members and visiting brothers.
The following men have served as exalted ruler and secretary of the lodge since its inception:
1905-06-- L. M. Welsh; E. S. Chadwick.
1906-07-- E. S. Chadwick; T. B. Garrison, Jr.
1907-08-- K. R. Andrews; A. E. Faidler, T. W. Maus.
1908-09-- J. A. Miller; Chas. O. Swan.
1909-10-- J. A. Miller; Chas. O. Swan.
1910-11-- Arthur A. Scoutt; Chas. O. Swan.
1911-12-- Warren Pratt; Chas. O. Swan.
HISTORY OF BUFFALO COUNTY
1912-13-- Clyde W. Norton; Chas. O. Swan.
1913-14-- H. B. Watson; Chas. O. Swan.
1914-15-- H. B. Sammis; Chas. O. Swan.
1915-16-- Clark Thomas, Chas. O. Swan; H. B. Watson.
KEARNEY COMMERCIAL CLUB
H. B. Watson
On Saturday evening, April 2, 1881, a delegation of citizens met in Mores' Hall and organized the first business men's association in Kearney and gave it the name of the Kearney Board of Trade. Mr. J. N. High was chosen chairman of the meeting and Mr. J. H. Roe was chosen secretary. The following gentlemen were elected to form an executive committee: H. C. Andrews, C. F. Bodinson, N. Campbell, E. C. Calkins, R. L. Downing, R. R. Greer, J. N. High, F. G. Keens, J. H. Roe, J. D. Seaman, F. J. Switz, G. R. Sherwood, S. L. Savidge, J. J. Saville and J. Fred Wiley.
On the following Thursday, April 7, 1881, the above committee met in the Nonpareil office and organized by electing E. C. Calkins president and J. J. Saville secretary. At this meeting Mr. J. N. High presented suggestions for a plan to organize a company and raise funds for the purpose of building a canal from the Platte River to supply water to the City of Kearney and water power for manufacturing purposes. After a careful discussion of the subject a. committee was appointed to procure an estimate of the cost of the work, and another committee to draft a plan for forming a company and devise a method to be used in raising money for the project.
At this meeting Mr. Hodges, a citizen of Sweetwater, appeared before the executive committee and made a statement regarding the bridges over Cedar Creek and the Loup River. It seemed that the bridges were in very poor condition and would require piling and lumber to repair them and the people in the vicinity were not in a financial position to buy the material. A committee of five was appointed to raise the needed funds and the results of their efforts were explained at the following meeting held on April 9, when Mr. Andrews reported that the committee had obtained five piles from the B. & M. Railroad Company and had telegraphed the agent of the Union Pacific Company requesting a donation of five piles from them, and by circulating a subscription paper had secured from the citizens of Kearney cash subscriptions amounting to $113.95 with which to purchase lumber.
On April 11, 1881, the Board of Trade met again and at this meeting J. J. Saville reported that the estimated cost of the canal was: Dam, $1,000; excavation, $14,448; flumes, $3,000; bridges, $1,500; survey and right-of-way, $1,500, making a total cost of $21,448.
At this meeting a committee was appointed consisting of Messrs. Calkins, Savidge and Roe, which secured the co-operation of Mr. F. G. Hamer, with instructions to correspond with the Nebraska delegation in Congress, with the secretary of the interior and the law department at Washington and procure from them charter, department regulations and laws relating to subsidised railroads
HISTORY OF BUFFALO COUNTY
and especially those relating to the St. Joe and Denver and the obligation of that company to build their road to Kearney.
This meeting was adjourned to meet Thursday evening, April 14, 1881, when the canal subject would again be discussed. Of this meeting there are no records, neither of any subsequent meetings. However the Board of Trade remained in existence for some time after this date and was directly responsible for the initial work on the Kearney Canal.
Several years passed by before another organization of this nature was perfected in the city. On March 21, 1887, the second Kearney Board of Trade was launched with the following officers: President, C. B. Finch; first vice president, Homer J. Allen; second vice president, F. J. Switz; treasurer, E. C. Calkins; secretary, K. O. Holmes. This organization was perfected in the third story of the Buffalo County Bank Building, now known as the Porterfield Building. Afterwards rooms were taken in B. D. Smith's office in a building near where V. C. Chase's store now stands.
The records and minutes of this organization have been destroyed and the actual progress of the association as revealed by substantial records is not known. Several members of this organization are still in Kearney and many of these will be found among our leading merchants. Upon their recollection and upon the newspaper files of that epoch I must rely for data of its activities.
At that time Kearney was in a transitory period. She was expanding very rapidly and growing from a small town of the plains into a city of business and a mart of trade. Eastern capital was flowing into the town in large quantities and expansion was the watchword. Business became rushing, money was easy and the spirit of enterprise filled the air. With these conditions it was natural that the newly organized Board of Trade found much to do. The business men represented on its directorate worked until the early hours of the morning planning new methods to attract capital and to advertise Kearney. There was no lack of funds flowing into the treasury and with these, alluring literature telling of "Kearney's Gait" was prepared and mailed broadcast over the land. Committees were appointed to follow up every tangible prospect and money was spent freely but judiciously in interesting such prospects.
This organization during 1887 and 1888, under the leadership of C. B. Finch and K. O. Holmes accomplished much good and was instrumental in securing many enterprises for the city. At that time Mr. Finch was mayor of the city and much of the success of the Board of Trade was due to the harmony that existed between it and the city council.
During the summer of 1888 many real estate promoters from the east formed a combination in Kearney and in March, 1880, secured control of the organization when a reorganization was effected under the name of the Kearney Chamber of Commerce. The officers elected were: President; O. S. Marden; first vice president, George W. Frank; second vice president, Homer J. Allen; treasurer, E. M. Judd; secretary, K. O. Holmes. The membership of the new organization was 108 and the meetings were held in room 11 of the old Midway Hotel.
By this time Kearney had developed a portentous boom and the men at the head of the Chamber of Commerce were directly interested in the boom, consequently the efforts of the association were directed to that end. The cotton mill
HISTORY OF BUFFALO COUNTY
was built, factories of various kinds and on an elaborate scale were secured, subsidised [sic] and built, street railways were constructed, steam railroads were projected and bonds voted to assist them in building. Men of affairs had wonderful visions; they saw Kearney a second Chicago, the big city of Nebraska. Times were feverish. The people became aquiver with expectation, a wonderful city was in the making and then the crash came. The Chamber of Commerce was forgotten, its officers moved to other parts and at last the organization passed into history. Later on an effort was made to resuscitate the association, but the move failed and it went the way of the boom.
The present Commercial Club was organized during 1907, but the first minutes of its meetings now available are dated March 3, 1908. At this meeting Mr. Henry Gibbons served as chairman and W. W. Barney was elected temporary secretary.
The organization of this Commercial Club, like the inception of the others, was demanded through an exigency arising that effected the people of Kearney. The First club was organized to build the Kearney Canal and thus furnish Kearney with a water supply, the second club was an outgrowth of a necessity that furnished a medium through which the boosting of the city could better be accomplished, while the organization of this present association was demanded to furnish a co-operation of the business men in a struggle to secure just and equitable freight rates into and out of the city.
Mr. J. W. Patterson was elected its first president and Mr. J. G. Lowe was chosen secretary of the newly organized club. During the succeeding years the following men have served as president and secretary:
1908-- J. W. Patterson; J. G. Lowe.
1909-- J. W. Patterson; W. F. Bailey.
1910-- W.H. Roe; W.F. Bailey.
1911-- C.W.Kibler;C.E. Oehler.
1912-- Warren Pratt; C. E. Oehler.
1913-- J.W. Patterson; W.F. Bailey.
1914-- J. W. Patterson; F. W. Brown, H. B. Watson.
1915-- A. C. Killian; H. B. Watson.
1916-- C. B. Manuel (elected); H. B. Watson.
During these years the club has been actively engaged in the fight for better freight rates for the city. It launched the Buffalo County Fair, it has consistently advocated better roads, it has promoted street paving, and during the last three years its scope of action has broadened until it has developed into the community forum. Every question effecting the city and its environs is brought to the club for discussion. Its attitude on public questions is eagerly sought.
For several years the club has maintained a Monday noon lunch for its members which service has become very popular. The meeting of its board of directors is held weekly, directly after the Monday lunch.
The original board of directors was composed of fifteen members. This number was soon increased to twenty-five and at the annual election of 1916 was raised to fifty. This allows a large percentage of the membership a voice in the weekly deliberations of the directors and creates added interest in the activities of the club.