History of Buffalo County
and Its People
by Samuel Clay Bassett
LOUP AND RUSCO TOWNSHIPS -- NAMES OF EARLY SETTLERS -- PETER'S BRIDGE -- BUFFALO IN PLEASANT VALLEY IN 1874 -- THE VILLAGE OF PLEASANTON -- A 10-GRADE HIGH SCHOOL -- BUFFALO COUNTY TELEPHONE COMPANY -- FARMERS GRAIN COMPANY -- THE PLEASANTON STATE BANK -- THE FARMERS STATE BANK -- COMMERCIAL CLUB -- CHURCHES -- FRATERNAL AND BENEFICIAL LODGES.
The first settlers in what is now known as Loup Township were H. F. Hand, J. T. Palmer, L. A. Colburn, C. B. Oakley, N. Dick, N. A. Brunce, J. Welch and H. H. Clark, who took homestead claims in the year 1874. Previous to the year 1880 twenty-nine homestead claims had been filed upon in the township. The first settler in what is now Rusco Township was E. M. Holly, in 1873, and A. Peake, John Wilson, L. H. Johnson, J. L. Scott, L. Allen, B. L. Graham, A. M. Morse, F. Boyer and J. H. Lockard, in 1875. Twenty-five claims had claims had been filed upon in the township previous to the year 1880.
The earliest settlement in the vicinity of Pleasanton was made on the farm now owned by Henry Peters on section No. 2. This land was homesteaded in 1874, and for many years there was a log house on this farm built by the previous owner. The name of Peters gained more than local fame on account of a bridge across the South Loup bearing his name. In the early settlement of the county there was a large amount of travel passing over this bridge by settlers who, arriving at Kearney, were making settlements in the northern part of Buffalo County and in Sherman and Custer counties, Kearney being the nearest railroad point. In the year 1874 Charles B. Oakley, Louis Colburn and H. H. Clark came looking for free land in the vicinity, and located in Pleasant Valley. The original survey was so faulty it was necessary for Mr. Clark to return to Kearney and secure the services of the county surveyor in order to properly locate their claims. Mr. Oakley located on section No. 8, the others on sections No. 7 and No. 22.
At this date the country was wild, there being many antelope, some deer and a small herd of buffalo. Mr. Clark and Mr. Colburn left the country, but Charles B. Oakley still lives here, and is still enjoying life, having seen the country grow up from a wild region, passing through the sod-house period to one of the many prosperous settlements of Buffalo County. During the grasshopper years most of the settlers left this part of Buffalo County, so that Mr. Oakley has seen this locality settled twice, so to speak, he remaining through all the trials incident to pioneer life.
HISTORY OF BUFFALO COUNTY
The townsite of Pleasanton was surveyed and platted in 1890, and the village incorporated January 12, 1894, and the following board of trustees appointed: E. C. Moffitt, E. W. Noyes, A. V. Hlava, D. Wort, S. E. Smith.
A school district was organized (No. 105) in 1890, the first district officers being Rudolph Ritter, Sr., James Welliver and A. V. Hlava.
This school district now (1915) has a 10-grade accredited high school, employing three teachers, and has built, at an expense of $5,000, an up-to-date school building, all paid for. The present school district officers are: W. R. Scribner, director; I. T. Hart, moderator; R. B. Wort, treasurer.
That the country tributary to Pleasanton is fertile and fruitful, and that the early settlers made good on their homestead claims, is best evidenced by the value of farm products shipped from this point in the year 1915, approximately: Grain, $150,000; hogs and cattle, $120,000; horses and mules, $20,000.
At Pleasanton are two grain elevators with a capacity of about twelve thousand bushels, and the lumber sales for the year 1915 amount to approximately forty thousand dollars.
The village owns a complete water system, costing $9,000, and furnishing an abundance of water for domestic use and fire protection.
The members of the village board in 1915 were: F. L. Grammer, chairman; A. L. Randall, R. A. Eaton, A. E. Pearson, C. F. Hall.
The Buffalo County Telephone Company was organized by the people of Pleasanton and vicinity in the year 1903 and incorporated in 1910 with S. B. Carpenter, president; A. V. Valentine, vice president; P. S. Holtzinger, manager; M. S. Booher, secretary; F. L. Grammer, treasurer. The company had 128 telephones in operation.
In the year 1915 the capital stock of the company was $6,580; surplus, $2,000; phones in operation, 324. Officers: A. H. Valentine, president; Adolph English, vice president; B. S. Wort, manager; M. S. Booher, secretary; F. L. Grammer, treasurer.
The Farmers Grain Company, with four stockholders, was incorporated in January, 1905, under what is known as the "Line" system, Pleasanton being one of the successful branches of the system. In 1915 the company had a membership of more than one hundred, comprising both business men in the village and farmers of the surrounding community. The company handles grain, coal and lumber. D. Phillips is president of the company; the local board of trustees, Albert Reese, Fred Wise, W. F. Vest.
The Pleasanton State Bank was incorporated July 23, 1892, with a capital of $10,000. The incorporators were D. W. Titus, F. L. Grammer, Joseph Grammer, E. W. Noyes and John Terhune, who were also the board of directors. The officers of the bank: John Terhune, president; E. W. Noyes, vice president; F. L. Grammer, cashier. In 1915 the bank had a capital stock of $25,000; surplus, $10,000; deposits, $150,000. The officers: A. H. Grammer, president; E. W. Noyes, vice president; F. L. Grammer, cashier; W. R. Scribner, assistant cashier.
The Farmers State Bank at Pleasanton was incorporated May 29, 1909 with M. L. Dolan, president; Charles G. Ryan, vice president; J. R. Bonson, cashier. This bank has a capital stock of $12,000; deposits, $62,000. The officers in
HISTORY OF BUFFALO COUNTY
1915; M. L. Dolan, president; Ludwig Mueller, vice president; F. A. Mueller, cashier.
In September, 1914; was organized the Pleasanton Commercial Club, with a membership of thirty. The officers: R. O. Stevenson, president; H. H. Lammers, vice president; F. A. Mueller, secretary.
UNITED BRETHREN CHURCH
During the summer of 1892 the people of Pleasanton and vicinity, being eager for church privileges, thought it expedient to organize a Sunday school at the Pleasanton schoolhouse, one-half mile south of town.
Daniel Cluster was elected superintendent, serving for one year, and being followed by C. W. Wood and Marion W. Perkins. During the existence of the Sunday school it was convenient for the West Nebraska Conference of the Church of the United Brethren in Christ to send a preacher each year to conduct services at the Pleasanton schoolhouse. In the year 1895 the Pleasanton church was organized, but the services continued to be held at the schoolhouse until January, 1899, at which time the new United Brethren Church was dedicated. The charter members of this church were: Mr. and Mrs. D. Cluster, Mr. and Mrs. James Pearson, Mr. and Mrs. A. L. Chingrin, Mr. and Mrs. J. M. Easley, Mr. and Mrs. Marion W. Perkins, Mrs. E. C. Moffitt, Mrs. J. Van Buskirk, Mr. and Mrs. R. S. Koffroth. The church has (in 1915) property worth $3,000, and a membership of 100.
The pastors who have served this church and people have been, in the order named, A. B. Bechtold, D. A. Geil, William Tooley, W. G. Arnold, Mary W. Holman, Mr. Henline, J. A. Darby, E. White, T. J. Gallagher, A. Boyd, A. W. Neville, R. A. Giles, R. L. Brill, Blaine Radcliff.
The Roman Catholic Church was organized in March, 1906, by Father Wolfe, and meetings were held in Grammer's Hall until January 1, 1910, when the new church building, which cost $3,000, was dedicated. The different priests in charge of the church have been Fathers Cavana, Moser, Link, Kampman, Yorke and Schida. The church trustees are Joseph R. Nickman, Joseph Schuller and Joseph Zwiener.
Pleasanton Lodge No. 282, A. O. U. W., was instituted in April, 1893, with the following charter members: J. Johnson, Walter W. Reese, Joseph Grammer, D. Wort, Vanzle Voseipka, F. L. Grammer, C. B. Oakley, Thomas Bell, William Johnson, Berdine F. Rogers, S. Remington, Charles M. Trott, William Moxley. The officers: D. Wort, M. W.; W. W. Reese, P. M. W.; Joseph Grammer, F.; C.M. Trott, O.; F. L. Grammer, Rec.; A. V. Hlava, Fin.; C. B. Oakley, G. In 1915 the officers were: W. R. Jones, P. M. W.; T. M. Davis, M. W.; F. L. Grammer, Rec.; E. W. Noyes, Fin.; C. B. Oakley, G.; Dr. A. L. Randall, physician.
Pleasanton Camp No. 2053, M. W. A., was organized July 15, 1893, with the following charter, members: E. C. Moffitt, V.C.; S. E. Smith, W. A.; F. G. Hays, banker; J. H. Hansen, clerk; C. W. Wood, escort; Dr. J. H. Penn, physician; J. H. Booher, sentry. In 1915 the camp was in a flourishing condition, with the following officers: F. L. Grammer, V. C.; J. H. Booher, W. A.; A. H.
HISTORY OF BUFFALO COUNTY
Grammer, banker; W. R. Scribner, clerk; Louis Zimmer, escort; Dr. A. L. Randall, physician; W. C. Stevenson, watchman; Carl Kirschner, sentry.
The Village of Poole in Buffalo County had its beginning about the year 1889, a little trading post with one store, a grain elevator, and was known as Poole's Siding. In the year 1905 the Union Pacific Railroad Company completed a depot and installed an agent.
THE POOL RANCH
In 1876 W. W. Pool came to Nebraska, taking as a pre-emption claim 160 acres in section 12, township 11, range 15, in what was later known as Cedar Township. In 1883 Mr. Pool and others organized the Nebraska Land and Cattle Company, which engaged in cattle raising, the company having some ten thousand acres of land in Beaver and adjoining townships. The officers of the company in the beginning were: B. F. Peck, president; R. L. Downing, vice president; W. W. Pool, secretary and manager. In addition to stock raising the company cultivated about thirty-five hundred acres in mixed crops, and in 1889 grew 800 acres of wheat.
REGISTERED DEVON CATTLE
Mr. Pool brought with him from New York a small herd of registered Devon cattle, the first, and so far as the editor knows, the only herd of registered cattle of the Devon breed ever brought into the county.
At a county fair held in Shelton, Mr. Pool exhibited his cattle and they attracted much attention. They were well bred, of a deep red color, long branching horns and active on their feet. The cows of the breed are good milkers and here are no better oxen than those of the Devon breed. Mr. Pool and many others who were acquainted with the breed were of the opinion they would prove a very desirable, valuable breed for this locality. The result was most disappointing. The climate and conditions were not congenial, and the writer is advised the breed made no impress on the cattle of the county. Mr. Pool being engaged extensively in the cattle business, and living some distance from a commercial center, and it being before the days of telephones, he constructed a private telegraph line from his ranch to Ravenna, and himself and two of his daughters became fairly expert operators. At a later date, when the Union Pacific branch was built to Pleasanton, a siding was put in near the Pool ranch and named Pool Siding, and later the name changed to Poole. The first and only agent at Poole has been J. C. Mahoney.
In 1910 the village was incorporated, the members of the village board being C. E. Clark, J. S. Hanna, J. E. Criffield, Henry Abrams and J. C. Mahoney.
School District No. 60 was organized in 1882, and the first schoolhouse built of sod, and was located on the northwest quarter of section No. 22. The members of the first school district board were Messrs. Swigart, Dodge and John
HISTORY OF BUFFALO COUNTY
Anderson. In 1884 a frame schoolhouse was built, and in 1800 this was moved to a grove on John Jergensen's farm, near the Union Pacific track, west of Poole. In 1907 the old schoolhouse was sold and a new one built in the village. The present school board is composed of John Jergensen, Charles Brabham and William Klein.
On July 9, 1907, was organized the First United Presbyterian Church of Poole. The charter members: T. J. McConnell, Mrs. Orie McConnell, Roy McConnell, Ruth McConnell, Vada McConnell, J. Charles Miller, Martin A. Sullivan, Mrs. Nonnie Miller, Mrs. Effie Sullivan, Ella Watt. The pastors serving the church, in their order: N. A. Whitehill, J. S. Tussey, Earl C. Coleman.
The State Bank of Poole was chartered July 11, 1905, with a capital stock of $10,000; deposits (1915)) $100,000. Officers: M. L. Dolan, president; Adam Schneider, vice president; C. E. Clark, cashier; E. A. Clark, assistant cashier.
Poole has two grain elevators, with a capacity of 1,500 bushels. During the year 1914 there was shipped of carload lots: Corn, 20; hay, 2; stock, 40; wheat, 160; miscellaneous, 10; total, 232.
The population of the village is 200. The members of the village board (1915): Joseph Clayton, A. D. Hanna, Francis Reynolds, B. J. Stover, J. C. Mahoney.
ARMADA TOWNSHIP AND MILLER -- LIST OF EARLY SETTLERS -- WM. CRAVEN STARTS IN BUSINESS IN A SOD HOUSE WITH A CAPITAL OF $9 -- POSTOFFICE ESTABLISHED IN ABOUT 1884, NAMED ARMADA -- VILLAGE OF MILLER INCORPORATED IN 1890 -- NAMES OF VILLAGE TRUSTEES -- NAMES OF POSTMASTERS -- NAMES OF PHYSICIANS -- THE FIRST NEWSPAPER -- THE MILLER INDEPENDENT TELEPHONE COMPANY -- BANKS, SCHOOLS, CHURCHES, LODGES -- W. C. T. U. ESTABLISH A LIBRARY AND REST ROOM.
ARMADA TOWNSHIP -- MILLER
The first settlement in Armada Township appears to have been by H. C. Harbaugh, A. J. Fannell, Wm. Carr, R. Burney and Thomas Jeffry in 1873; John Mercer, J. H. Brown, Robert Miller and Oscar Hamilton in 1874; I. Lamb and J. F. Mackey in 1875; A. L. Armstrong in 1877; Wm. M. White, G. A. Roach and H. Zarrs in 1878; J. L. Abel, R. F. Simpson, F. B. Craps, A. F. Burt and H. T. West in 1879.
In the year 1881, Wm. Craven, a soldier in the Civil war and a native of North Carolina, purchased ten acres of land, built a sod house in which on a capital of $9 he began the keeping of a store. A postoffice had been established about three miles distant, a petition was circulated and the postoffice moved to that point, William Craven named postmaster, and the name of Armada given to the embryo commercial center. When the K. and B. H. Railroad was built into the township the village was moved to the railroad and named Miller. Miller was incorporated in the year 1890, with J. Millspaugh, M. O. Polter, A.B. Cherry, H. S. Pease and Dr. E. W. Northrup as its first board of village trustees. The names of the present board of trustees are: Dr. J. P. Norcross, chairman; J. W. Miller, A. E. Kappel, Ray Cox and J. M. Robinson; Ross Brown, village clerk.
Miller has three grain elevators with a grain storage capacity of 160,000 bushels.
A postoffice was established in 1890 and the names of those who have served as postmasters are in the following order: A. B. Cherry, H. S. Pease, B. F. Harbaugh, H. S. Pease, L. W. Hall, L. K. King.
The names of the physicians who have served the people of the locality are: Dr. E. W. Northrup, Dr. J. P. Norcross, Dr. C. R. Watson.
The first newspaper was edited by Charles M. Huston, 1891-1893.
The Miller Sun, edited by F. W. Pace since 1915.
The Miller Independent Telephone Company was organized in 1906 with
HISTORY OF BUFFALO COUNTY
a capital stock of $2,500. Its first officers: J. P. Norcross, president; L. W. Hall, manager; F. D. Brown, treasurer. The names of those most active in promoting the company were J. P. Norcross, L. W. Hall, F. D. Brown, L. P. Wells, N. Maddox, C. M. Huston, R. M. Pierce. This company began business with forty phones in operation. In the year 1915 the company had a capital stock of $4,500 and 150 phones in use. Its officers: J. C. Power, president; P. M. Jacobson, vice president; L. W. Hall, manager; F. D. Brown, treasurer.
The First Bank of Miller was organized in 1889 with a capital stock of $25,000. Its officers: J. E. Dickerman, president; W. C. Tillson, vice president; F. D. Brown, cashier.
In the year 1915 the bank had a capital stock of $25,000; surplus and undivided profits, $25,000; deposits, $100,000. Its officers: K. Dickerman, president; K. H. Dickerman, vice president; F. D. Brown, cashier; Ross Brown, assistant cashier.
The bank occupied its present (1915) quarters in 1909.
The Bank of Miller was organized in 1889 with a capital stock of $25,000; the first officers, Mathew Maddox, president, W. L. Maddox, cashier. In the year 1915 the bank had a capital stock of $25,000; surplus, $7,000; deposits, $40.000.
The banking quarters were destroyed by fire November 9, 1915, the bank occupying its new quarters early in the year 1916.
School District No. 54, Miller, was organized in 1890, the first district officers H. S. Peace, P. L. Anderson, C. H. Aron. At an expense of approximately three thousand five hundred hundred dollars a school building was erected in 1893.
The Miller School has ten grades and employs four teachers; the present (1915) district officers are Charles Aron, C. M. Houston, L. W. Hall.
The United Brethren Church was organized at Miller in 1890 with a charter membership of some twenty-five or thirty; among the names which can be recalled are Henry C. Green, J. W. Wylie, W. F. Triplett, J. W. Stevens, Wallace Pierce and A. Boyd.
The first pastor was Rev. A. Boyd. A church building was erected in the year 1893 at an approximate cost of fifteen hundred dollars. The membership of the church in 1915 is forty-six; its pastor, Rev. William Buswell.
Church of Christ of Miller was organized in 1913 with a charter membership of fifteen; H. Ehreman and J. P. Norcross were chosen elders, and Wm. Fisher, deacon. The first pastor was Paul Young, evangelist.
A church building was purchased in 1914 at a cost of $1,500.
The membership in 1915 was twenty; the church has no regular pastor, A. J. O'Neal serving as resident evangelist.
A Methodist Episcopal Church was organized at Miller in 1890, with a charter membership of twenty-five; the first pastor, Rev. S. J. Medlin. A church building was erected in 1893 at an approximate cost of two thousand dollars.
This church organization disbanded and sold their church edifice to the Church of Christ.
The Christian Church at Miller was organized in 1905 with a charter membership of thirty-five; the elders were J. P. Norcross and H. Ehreman; the deacons, D. F. White and Ray Cox. The first pastor, Rev.J. W. Walker. A church
HISTORY OF BUFFALO COUNTY
building erected in 1907 cost approximately sixteen hundred dollars. The present membership is forty. Rev. Charles J. Shook was pastor up to 1913, since that date the church has been without a resident pastor.
In the year 1910 there was instituted at Miller an organization of the Woman's Christian Temperance Union with a charter membership of about twenty. Among those most active in this movement, as called to mind, were Mesdames L. W. Hall, F. D. Brown, J. G. King, Ray Cox, A. E. Kappel, H. W. Fox, Wm. Fisher, C. A. Sea and Miss Ruby Aron.
The members of the union have a library of about two hundred volumes, a club room for meetings and support and care for a rest room for ladies.
Jewett Post No. 228, Grand Army of the Republic, Department of Nebraska, was instituted at Miller in 1885 with thirty-five charter members. In 1915 the post had a membership of eleven, J. W. Stevens, post commander.
A. F. & A. M.
Square and Compass Lodge No. 213, A. F. & A. M. of Nebraska. Organized in 1888 as Armada Lodge U. D., moved to Miller in 1890 and chartered as Square and Compass Lodge No. 213, December 14, 1891. Charter membership, eighteen: Peter L. Anderson, Henry R. Berkheimer, Frank D. Brown, Oliver R. Bryan, Arthur F. Burt, Willard J. Clark, William M. Craven, Henry C. Green, Howard C. Harbaugh, Nathaniel H. Hawk, Frank J. Himmelwright, Darius B. Jones, Isaac R. Kidd, Erie W. Northrup, Thurston W. Sibley, Samuel Veal, Cyrus W. Wright, James W. Wylie. First officers: William M. Craven, W. M.; Howard C. Harbaugh, Sec'y. Present membership, forty. Present officers: Ross Brown, W. M.; C. R. Watson, S. W.; D. W. Friend, J. W.; F. D. Brown, Treas.; L. W. Hall, Sec'y.
Miller Camp No. 973 M. W. A. was instituted with a charter membership of thirteen: Mark Aspinwall, Frank D. Brown, Wm. Lamma, Mark O. Petter, Peter L. Anderson, David Cummins, M. J. McNally, Joseph W. Stevens, L. B. Irwin, Harvey Brown, John W. King, Erie W. Northrup, Edward Wilson.
The first officers were: L. B. Irwin, V. C., Edward Wilson, Mark Aspinwall, clerk. In 1915 the membership was eighty-five. A. N. Bliss, V. C., A. E. Scranton, clerk.
Logan Lodge, Knights of Pythias, No. 125, was instituted March 12, 1890, with officers and charter members as follows: W. L. Maddox, P. C.; M. B. Potter, C. C.; H. C. Green, V. C.; Charles Porter, P.; Jos. Millspaugh, M. E.; C. M. Huston, M. F.; J. W. King, K. R. & S.; A. B. Cherry, M. A.; Thomas Walker, I. G.; F. C. Potter, O. G.; G. E. Tarbox, W. A. Hackett, E. C. Wilson, E. B. McElhinney, Allen Bush, Edward Bush, Thomas Cook, Edward Moore, L S. Pease. In 1915 the lodge had a membership of forty-two. Its officers: A. N. Bliss, C. C.; J. W. Larson, V. C.; Ross Brown, P.; A. C. Andrews, M. W.; J. J. Norcross, K. R. & S.; H. M. Crusinberry, M. A.; L. W. Hall, M. E.; George Comstock, M. F.; C. M. Houston, I. G.; L. S. Baker, O. G.
Miller Lodge No. 303, I. O. O. F., was instituted May l, 1905. The charter members being: A. W. Osborn, N. G.; S. B. Montgomery, V. G.; Wm. Tiede, Secy.; E. E. Cole, Treas.; L. A. Hazzard, J. E. Elmore, E. F. Wagner, C. W. Draper, James Sennett, J. G. Hall.
HISTORY OF BUFFALO COUNTY
In 1915 the lodge had a membership of twenty-five. H. M. Crusinberry, N. G.; H. Reir, V. G.; A. E. Scranton, Secy.; E. E. Cole, Treas.
Watertown, a station on the branch line of the Union Pacific extending north from Kearney, was established in the year 1890.
A postoffice was established in 1800 with J. S. Veal as postmaster.
In the year 1886 a school district, No. 101, was established; in the year 1915 there were thirty-nine pupils enrolled, two teachers employed and ten grades taught in the school.
In the year 1801 a Methodist Church was organized with fourteen members. The pastor in 1915, Reverend Mr. Thurber.
At this point is a grain elevator with a capacity of 10,000 bushels, and twenty-five cars of hay, grain and live stock were shipped in the year 1914.
The Village of Amherst was incorporated in the year 1894. Its first village officers were O. G. Cobleigh, John Schnoor, Frank Outson, J. Y. Jones, Stanley Wysoki.
It is a thriving village, with two banks, a telephone exchange, two grain elevators, a feeding point for large numbers of sheep, and is a thriving commercial center having the patronage and support of a prosperous rural community.
Notwithstanding every reasonable effort has been made by written communications to obtain data and information as to the local history of the village, its churches, its fraternal organizations, its telephone company and other features of the history and activities of its people, the result has been disappointing.
School District No. 119 (Amherst) was organized in 1893, with Herman Kapedsky as director. In 1892 a church building had been erected and this building was purchased by the school district and used as a schoolhouse; the cost of the building was approximately six hundred dollars. A high school was established in 1908. In 1915 ten grades were taught and four teachers employed. The school district officers were: James L. Vest, F. M. Kenney, W. W. Johnson.
The Commercial State Bank of Amherst was organized June 10, 1908. The incorporators, Henry Menke, T. B. Garrison, Sr., H. H. Sinclair. The capital stock, $10,000. The first officers, T. B. Garrison, Sr., president, Henry Menke, cashier.
In 1915 the bank had a capital stock of $10,000; surplus, $3,499; deposits, $46,242. W. M. Ross, president, S. E. Smith, cashier.
First National Bank of Amherst--In the year 1915 its officers, A. U. Dann, president, A. T. Reynolds, cashier. Capital stock, $25,000; surplus, $5,000; deposits, $195,000.
Amherst Lodge No. 324, I. O. O. F., was instituted March 25,1907, with a charter membership of forty. Its first Noble Grand being E. F. Wagner.
In 1915 the membership was thirty-three. The present officers are: A. R.
HISTORY OF BUFFALO COUNTY
Green, N. G.; J. H. Hoagland, V. G.; W. W. Johnson, Sec'y; T. R. Curd, Treas.; Frank Long, Warden; L. Trumble, Conductor; Bert Jones, O. G.; J. M. Johnson, I. G., Jas. Jameson, R. S. N. G.; Roy Curd, L. S. N. G.; S. Y. Harris, R. S. V. G.; C. T. Grimes, L. S. V. G.; M. E. Parker, R. S. S.; Wm. Buettner, L. S. S.; Milton King, Chaplain.
The Past Grands of the lodge have been L. Trumble, F. Harris, W. W. Johnson, F. H. Belschner, C. Blois, T. R. Curd, G. Veal.
The unincorporated Village of Riverdale had its beginning irt the fall of 1890 when August Raymond built the first dwelling house.
In 1915 there were three general stores, two grain elevators with a storage capacity of 20,000 bushels each, one bank, a telephone exchange, two churches and three fraternal lodges.
Riverdale is most appropriately named, located as it is in the beautiful and charming, fertile and fruitful Wood River Valley of the Platte.
School District No. 15 was organized by Dan A. Crowell, county superintendent, May 3, 1873. The territory embraced was four miles from east to west, extending to the north line of the county, twenty-two miles, embracing eighty-eight square miles of territory.
Official notification of the formation of the district was delivered to J. R. King, directing that the first meeting be held at the house of said King, on Saturday, the 10th day of May, 1873, at 7 P. M. The records seem to disclose that J. R. King was elected director of the district, that on the 10th day of July, 1873, there were in the district seventeen children of school age and that the district had been apportioned $37.29 of the state school fund.
At a cost of $1,200 a schoolhouse was erected in 1873.
In 1911 the number of grades taught was increased to ten, and in 1912 the school building was enlarged and improved at an expense of $1,200. Three teachers are employed. The present (1915) district officers are: O. G. Knox, director; C. H. Pratt, treasurer; John Farrell, moderator. O. G. Knox has served as director since 1905.
The State Bank of Riverdale was organized in July, 1907, with a capital stock of $5,000. Its incorporators were: A. T. Reynolds, Fred Bargmann, W. H. Swartsley, C. H. Pratt, Thomas Pratt.
The officers of the bank: Fred Bargmann, president; A. T. Reynolds, vice president; C. H. Pratt, cashier.
In 1915 the bank had as capital stock, $5,000; surplus, $5,000; deposits, $50,000. Its officers: Fred Bargmann, president; Thomas Pratt, vice president; C. H. Pratt, cashier.
The Riverdale Christian Church was organized January 1, 1898, with the following charter members: William Knox, Emma Knox, J. C. Burnell, Belle Burnell, W. A. Whitney, Mattie Whitney, Charles Larsen, Henrietta Larsen, W. T. Keyes, Flora Keyes, Homer R. Knox, Jacob Flury, Catherine Flury. The first pastor was Rev. J. W. Walker.
A church building was erected in 1894 at an approximate cost of twelve hundred dollars. In 1915 the church had a membership of seventy.
HISTORY OF BUFFALO COUNTY
It was without a pastor.
Riverdale Lodge No.--, I. O. O. F., was organized April 5, 1910, with charter members and officers as follows: W. H. Grassmeyer, N. G.; John Farrell, V. G.; C. S. Hubbard, Sec.; A. E. Walters, Treas.; Thomas Pratt, Fred Schirneker, W. O. Stephens, Sanford Merrill, W. H. Cottrell, Howard Wimberly.
In 1915 the lodge had a membership of sixty-nine. Its officers: E. W. Pratt, N. G.; J. E. Nelson, V. G.; R. L. Prascher, Sec.; C. H. Pratt, Treas.
SCOTT AND SARTORIA TOWNSHIPS -- LIST OF EARLY SETTLERS-REMINISCENCES BY JOHN SWENSON -- JEF HOOLEY SHOOTS AN ELK -- HOOLEY, A PROFESSIONAL HUNTER -- SWENSON'S RIDGLING PONY -- "YES, STRANGER, FOR HUMANITY SAKE" -- FIRST SETTLERS -- FOUR DAYS' LABOR TO GET A SACK OF FLOUR -- CHILDREN QUARREL OVER WHO SHALL HAVE A FLOUR SACK FOR A GARMENT -- TEAM LOST IN QUICKSAND HOLE IN LOUP RIVER -- A DUCKING IN AN AIR-HOLE -- A COW, A LAMB AND A PIG -- COTTONWOOD TIMBER ON THE SOUTH LOUP.
SCOTT AND SARTORIA TOWNSHIPS
The first settlements in Scott Township appear to have been by Benjamin Scott and John Laro in 1873, W. Hanshen, J. P. Gilmore, James A. Betts in 1874, J. J. Moore and James Broadfoot in 1878, and W. W. McLea and O. H. Lowry in 1879.
The first settlers in Sartoria Township appear to have been B. Lee, Nels Lee and Mattie Stockdale in 1878, and P. Pierce, C. Cook, Wm. Cook, W. J. Grant and George Pfeiffer in 1879.
Township No. 12, Range No. 17, was originally named Taylor Township. There is a tradition that the name "Taylor" did not appeal to John Swenson for some reason and Mr. Swenson induced the county board to change the name to Sartoria, explaining that Sartoria was a French word having a like meaning as Taylor.
REMINISCENCES IN THE EARLY SETTLEMENT OF SCOTT AND SARTORIA TOWNSHIPS
By John Swenson
(Note--Mr. Swenson was a soldier of the Civil war, leaving one arm on the battlefield. He took a homestead claim in Divide Township in the year 1874. He served two terms as county superintendent.)
My reasons for becoming a dweller in the region afterwards named Sartoria was that I wished to get into a territory which afforded opportunities for raising live stock. The country was then regarded as useless for any other purpose; with this end in view, I went from my homestead on section No. 4, town No. 10, range No. 16, early in March, 1879, up along the South Loup River to look for a suitable location. Finding no place suitable to my purpose, after having gone to Elk Creek, I returned the next day. It rained and snowed alternately that day. At the foot of a high hill, now called Black Hill Creek, I saw a cabin. Of
HISTORY OF BUFFALO COUNTY
course I went in. Here dwelled Jephtha Hooley, a professional hunter. He met me with every kind of good will and generosity.
Put my horse in a roofless stable and gave him some of his last bunch of hay. Making known the object of my visit Hooley pointed east and said: "See that bluff yonder? There you will find a log house and a good well; occupy this and you will have plenty of hay and lots of range." I took Hooley's advice and am still on that ground to which he pointed me.
HOOLEY SHOOTS AN ELK
During our conversation Hooley told me of an accident that hit him on one of his recent hunting expeditions. Having heard that elk were often seen in a certain locality, Hooley went there to get some of them. He arrived at the objective region late one evening and let his mules loose to graze while he was arranging for the comforts of his camp. Something scared the mules and they came stampeding by the camp, and Hooley said, "Here come the elks," leveled his faithful rifle and down fell one of his mules.
One thing more in connection with Jef Hooley. Poverty though not injurious is always inconvenient and sometimes occasions loss. For stabling our stock during the first we lived on the Loup (1879), we put two long stacks in parallel positions about sixteen feet apart and roofed the space between them with poles the hay. The 12th of February, 1880, was the worst day of the worst winter which I have experienced during all the years I have lived in Nebraska.The wind piled the snow on our stable roof so it broke. I had opened the door so the sheep were running out just as the crash came. The last of the thirty in number, and one calf, became covered with the debris; I needed help to manage the situation. Jef Hooley, two miles distant, was the nearest and only place I could go to expect help.
Hooley appeared to be indifferent to God's commandments except the one which advises to not give thought for the morrow. When I came to his house, the last handful of twigs had been put into the stove. So before he could render me any assistance, he had to provide something to burn for his house. To effect this, he with a hunting partner, had to go to the river one mile away, in one of the worst Nebraska storms, to drag home a load of willow brush and chop it up before he could go with me. He and his companion worked for me till dark pulling out from under the debris, dead sheep.
Jef Hooley's source of livelihood was what he could bring down by his gun. He went west into what he called the sandhills, and came home about Christmas time with a big load of deer and antelope. I remember with affection Jef Hooley mostly for the good heart he carried covered with a lot of rubbish.
MY RIDGLING PONY
My first power of conveyance was a ridgling pony, weighing in good condition 812 pounds. He took good care of himself on the road whether he had burden on his back or behind him. However, if there was a horse within several miles ahead of him, he would deliver a speed and assume a style that the king's
HISTORY OF BUFFALO COUNTY
horses could not surpass. There being no special inducement for progress on the other side of the river and somewhat heavily loaded his wagon got stuck in the quicksand and one time when I asked him to cross the river without any load he refused to go on.
Leaving my sod house on the divide and directing my course towards my newly acquired home, I had to cross the Loup; Billy stopped again. Mr. Elisha Miles' ranch was near by. Unhooking the horse I led him up towards the ranch house. Mr. Miles was plowing. I went up and saluted him. He did not answer my greeting nor face towards me, just turned his head and looked askant towards me. I explained my predicament and asked him to help me out. At that time in comparison with Mr. Miles I was a young man. He said, "Young man where are you bound ?" I answered: "I am moving on the place vacated by O. W. Smith." "The deuce you are," said Miles. "That is right in the midst of my range. Don't you know that the cattlemen allot the range between them and they allow no squatters to come in and occupy any part of it?" I said, "I have heard of such arrangements, but any private agreement about a matter of which they have no legal right, has no binding power on others who have just the same rights as they have." "Can you pull me out?" I asked. "Yes, stranger, for humanity sake," he said.
Coming up to my new habitation, which consisted of a log house 11 by 12, with earth roof, one window, and no door, I put in my load of furniture and ascended a high bluff from which I could view the landscape in all directions. No where was there a habitation of man visible. But along the river-bottom was life and joy; there were thousands of prairie chickens playing and cooing, while in the hills vibrated the thrilling melody of cranes.
The first settlers in the region afterwards named Sartoria, came in the fall of 1877. They were Norwegians named Lee. They consisted of the parents, four stalwart sons and two grown up daughters. They took three homesteads at first and more afterwards. They had but one team. Began breaking prairie early in April and ended in June.
With that only team, they went to Kearney, once a week (twenty-eight miles) to get their two plows sharpened. They raised eighteen bushels of sod corn to the acre, that year. The Lees, though prosperous were impressed by a spirit of expansion to seek better opportunities, sold out their holdings to a colony which came from Iowa. They were Richard Hughes, Owen Jones, and W. R. Jones, of these only the latter is now left. He is quite prosperous, has raised a colony of daughters who have the peculiar distinction of having acquired education and are not above work. There came also with those mentioned a family named Royale. They were and are so numerous that I have to limit my narrative to the mentioning of, only one, George. George Royale came to Sartoria with five motherless children, and was apparently the poorest of the poor. What has he now? He owns all the homesteads which his fellow colonists bought and has a landscape west of numberless acres and all his places stocked to their full capacity.
HISTORY OF BUFFALO COUNTY
The other settlers who came by companies, were the Browns, McCurries, the Chipps and others from Missouri.
This township was first settled by Benjamin Scott, after whom it was named who settled on his homestead on Deer Creek in 1873, and on which he lived continuously till 1907; when he hung up his armor and was put to rest. His good wife went some years before him. There was nothing remarkable about Ben Scott, except that he was a model citizen, as I believe he had been a model soldier.
On the west bank of the river Cornelius Cook erected a rather nice frame house. He and his family were people of education and refinement; they tried to live like white people should live; at this undertaking their means soon quit them and they quit the country.
Mr. Cook's land was transferred to his son-in-law, T. J. Parish, who has added many acres to it since and made it a good size ranch. Frank, his son, lives on the place now (1915) and is prosperous.
The first Klunders, the Sohrweids, the Wheelers and the Dickmans, were there when I came on the river. Just where they settled I do not know, but I know they have been and are prosperous; they are worth from twenty-five to one hundred thousand dollars, every one of them, and though some of the first settlers are dead and some gone to other places, their children have succeeded them and are worthy successors, making wealth and improving the country.
LUDICROUS AND DANGEROUS INCIDENTS
There were many ludicrous as well as dangerous happenings along the river, which, if related, would read stranger than fiction. I will mention but two with which I had to do. Early in March Dan Rohrbarger and I went south on the divide after some corn. On coming back my horse, being used to cross the river, bounded right through. Rohrbarger's horses, despite his whipping with a two-foot long willow switch, stopped in the middle of the stream to drink. The team having satisfied itself, when urged to go on could not move the wagon. Rohrbarger, facing the river diagonally and seeing the water running by him swiftly, cried to me, "Ain't I going?" "Not that any one can see," I replied. "What will I do? No, rather say, what can you do? Will I have to leave the wagon here?" he said. I replied, "If you can not move that's the only thing you can do." Rohrbarger unhooked the horses and walked out on the wagon tongue and shooked the tongue loose from the neckyoke and jumped on one of the horses. When this one was asked to go he could not get his feet loose. After floundering for some time he finally fell on his side with Mr. Rohrbarger under him. Rohrbarger at last got out and walked home in his wet clothes, four miles. The next morning he came with two men and two teams. How to get the wagon loose looked to be a difficult matter, indeed. All that was to be seen of the wagon, was one corner about eight inches above water. The two men went into the wagon in the water and as the team passed forward and back the men in the wagon threw,
HISTORY OF BUFFALO COUNTY
each time, four grain sacks of corn into the passing wagon. The corn being all out the wagon had to be taken to pieces to the last wheel to get it out of the quicksand.
A DUCKING IN AN AIR-HOLE IN THE ICE
Poverty having somewhat let loose its grip, we slowly crawled out of it and some of us got in possession of some not insignificant herds of cattle. I, among the most of those mentioned, got in possession of cattle and knew, like the man who has earned a dollar, how to use it, took care of my herd. One Sunday, bright the breezy, I went to the river to see that the cattle got water and to prevent them from falling into air-holes and drowning. One large bunch came to one of these air-holes and, behold, the ice broke and the whole bunch fell in.
All scrambled out except one little calf. This one raised his front part up so that his knees rested on the edge of the ice. I, reaching out for a hold at the root of his tail, to help him out, slid into the river head foremost. With difficulty I got out. Thermometer 6 below zero, alone, and three-fourths of a mile from the house, to go against a brisk northwest wind. I expected to freeze to death, but there was no other way than to try to get home. In running towards the house my clothing soon got stiff and kept the wind from using its power on me. I got home all right.
A COW, A LAMB AND A PIG
In my sheep keeping we sometimes had orphan lambs. These we had to feed with a bottle. This was tiresome and so with one lamb I tried to teach it to nurse a small cow. This went well after the first trial. When the little cow was lying down, the lamb hunted out the teat and then nursed the cow. The cow let down her milk so that it ran on the ground. A pig took care of what seemed to be wasting. He followed the stream from the ground to the teat, and in this way learned to nurse the cow also. These two followed the cow until satisfied, after which they would lie down. When again the cow wanted to be relieved she lowed, the lamb came running and bleating at every jump and the pig came following as fast as he could and squealing at every jump. The cow stood the same as for her own calf. These two grafters grew to big proportions.
COTTONWOOD TIMBER ON THE SOUTH LOUP
The South Loup River having its banks covered with lots of big trees and brush was, for a short time, free for all, and was a real blessing to the people of a large extent of country. This timber served for fuel and building material for the settlers. There was nothing anywhere else one could get to burn except what could be had from the river, and how the pioneers made use of this opportunity may be judged from this--there were 300 large cottonwood trees in front of my house in September, 1870, and in the following year there were eleven of the scrubs left. Besides furnishing building material and fuel these trees were also shaped into ways to furnish bread to the most needy. John
HISTORY OF BUFFALO COUNTY
Stockdale, after having built his sod habitation and broken a few acres of prairie, his means for a livelihood were all gone. He had to turn to the timber to see what he could get out of it. He went after a cottonwood log one day, split into stove length the next day, hauled it to Kearney (some twenty-five miles) the third day and brought home a sack of flour the fourth day. It sometimes happened that he arrived home a little later than usual, then all the light used by the family would not leave the window and all the members of the family waited and watched till father was in sight; the children often quarreled among themselves about who should get the flour sack for a garment.
Among the early arrivals of homesteaders there were not more than one in five that owned a team; one who possessed even a pair of oxen was considered well off. He had constant appreciation from those not so fortunate, and was solicited to break some sod with which to build a sod house and to break a few acres of prairie that would enable the homesteader to plant a little garden and a few acres of corn.
The homesteaders kept coming, not all at one time, but right along for fifteen or twenty years, but seldom any better provided with means than were the first arrivals. These last ones had to take land less choice than was the privilege of those who came before them. Our opportunities to help a new comer did not cease for years. After we had pulled ourselves out of the deepest ruts of poverty we were better able to help those who came ten or fifteen years after we came.
One cold morning in March a very small man came to me and asked to buy a pair of oxen, without money. I had no oxen at all. "Have you no unbroken steers?" he asked. I replied, "I have one three-year-old half-bred Texan and one what we call a native, three years old." "Let me have them," he urged. "My good man, you could not handle the half-breed at all," I replied. "Yes, let me try it. I can handle him," he still insisted. With all the persuasion I could make, he insisted so hard that we had to get him the steers. But how could we catch the wild one, that was the important question. We had a haystack, close and parallel with the end of a shed, with a door which opened into a partition in the shed, the haystack and the end of the shed serving as a chute. We got him in and how this steer felt about his captivity you can imagine when you know that he stood on his hind legs and reached his front feet up to the roof. We managed to put loops of a strong rope over his big horns and then we led the wild fellow out with little Felix Kreutzer at the end of the rope. Now the comedy commenced. The steer behaved after the fashion of a bucking broncho, but with all his capers Felix stuck to the end of the rope. Finally the animal became somewhat tired and had turned in the direction he should go. Felix went ahead, pulling on the steer, who now stood stock still. After about two hours of jerking and pulling the steer took now and then a leap forward. In this manner Felix led the steer home, a distance of sixteen miles, and the next morning, while we were breakfasting at 8 o'clock, Felix and his wife stood outside the door and wanting the other steer. In my judgment Hercules never performed a greater wonder than did little Felix Kreutzer when he led that wild steer sixteen miles, all alone. These steers he broke to the yoke, broke up his farm with them and had no other team for several years. He is now a retired farmer, living at Amherst, contented and happy.
HISTORY OF BUFFALO COUNTY
While serving as county superintendent and visiting schools over the county I had a good chance to learn the condition of the people.
Sometimes when I had occasion to stop over night with some farmer, most generally a school director, on asking to stay, the woman would say, "I hate to refuse you staying, but the fact is we are so hard up for something to eat that we cannot think of asking anyone to subsist on our fare." I would answer, "If that is all the trouble, it seems to me that what you can live on every day and look as well as you do, I can get along with for one night." "Well," she would generally reply, "if that is the way you look upon the situation and are willing to take what we have to offer, you are welcome."
In the morning, when I asked the lady what I owed for my accommodation, "Oh, nothing. I would not think of charging anything for such fare as you have had." I would say, "Indeed, you must. I am out on business and am making money, and invariably pay my way, and you shall not be an exception."
Well, she would say, "If you are so insistent on paying, give what you will." On giving her $1 she would object and say at any rate that was too much. After some parley back and forth, she would take the dollar, finger it and squeeze it and exclaim, "Oh, my! my! my! Now I have money to buy some tea." I would be invited to come to their house next time and at such time I should pay nothing, and they would have coffee, tea, sugar and meat, which they lacked at this time.