Buffalo County NEGenWeb Project ©  2001
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Denman Nebraska     Pages 2-5

FOREWORD

We hope you will enjoy this little booklet and consider it a worthwhile project. Many hours of interesting work have gone into its' formation.

The one desire was to make a little momento to our small village of Denman, its' surrounding territory and people; from the earliest days to the present.

Sometimes we found conflicting dates and yes, even spelling. If there are mistakes it is very unintentional and hope you will understand.

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EARLY DENMAN

A village on Elm Island in the Southeastern part of Buffalo County, In Shelton Township was named after the former owner of the site and a pioneer of the neighborhood.

On an early government map the island was called Denman Island.

 

                --From Nebraska -Places-Names by Lillian L. Fitzpatrick

 
 

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This picture was taken from the top of the elevator toward the South in 1916. It shows the hotel, store building that also contained a prospective bank and a post office. The school house is at the right.

Buildings not shown are: depot, elevator, lumber yard, stock yards, railroad section houses and a blacksmith shop, just back and North of where the farm implemets are visible in the lower right hand corner. Mike Andersen became the "Village Blacksmith" In the early '20's, and continued as such for many years.

The land Denman was laid out on was homesteaded by Thomas Peck. He had come to Nebr. in 1873 and filed a soldiers homestead claim near where the four counties join in Hall County. Three years later he filed a pre-emption claim across the county line In Buffalo County where Denman was later laid out.

Others who filed old pre-emption claims in Platte Township, Buffalo County were James F. Lippincott, R.R. Pember, John Pember, I. L. Graffius, and Chas. Ernst. Other early settlers in the territory were John Hibbers, John Rayback and H. Wilcox.

In gathering Information many interesting old time events came up. One such was about Mrs. Sarah Miller, who with her husband had homesteaded on the South bank of the South Channel, East of Denman. Early in the morning she would gather up her produce (eggs and butter), cross the South Channel ford which was just North of their homestead, (Lockwood's place) and on foot head up the island for the nearest trading post, which at this time, soon after 1871 was Lowell, Neb.

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The Homesteads were sometimes quite far apart and as she walked West, Mrs. Tom Peck would join her (from Virgil Ramseys' place), Mrs. Jane Graffius (from Fred Stades' place), a Mrs. Weaver coming from North river (or Don Webbens') and Mrs. Jane Kessler (from Charles Keublers). Another ford in the South Channel was also South here.

It took a whole day for this, getting home late in the evening. Lowell was the nearest and biggest trading center at that time, there being no bridge across the North Platte rivers' main stream.

To the Southeast lay Juniata where the early settlers went with their oxen in off seasons to "lay in" winter supplies of flour, sugar, coffee and such building materials as they might need and could purchase or trade for.

Another interesting note is that this same Mrs.   Graffius later moved to California where she celebrated her 100th birthday and has only recently passed away.

Francis Marion Denman, second owner of the land and a Civil War Veteran, was with General Sherman on his famous March to the Sea. He saw action at The Siege of Vicksburg, Shiloh, Champion Hill, Siege of Jackson, Kenesaw Mountain, Siege of Atlanta, Jonesboro and many others.

Following his honorable discharge from the army, he returned to his old home in Ohio where he farmed until 1866. He then went to Illinois where he married and farmed for fourteen years, before moving to Bruning, Nebraska. In 1909 he moved to Kenesaw, Nebraska. He acquired the Southeast quarter of section 36, township 9, range 13, West Buffalo County, on which the town of Denman was laid out.

Mr. and Mrs. Denman had four children: Albert J. or "Sir Golly" as he was affectionately known;  Ella, wife of E. Cook of Hastings, Nebraska; Martha B., wife of Samuel Wells of Hall County, and John F. who passed away when a young man.

The Denman's son, Albert and wife Laura, inherited the farm and lived in Denman until 1942 when they retired to Gibbon. Laura Denman passed away in 1960 in Texas, and Albert continued to live there at the home of his daughter, Hazel Pellymounter. He passed away at the age of 98. They also had a son Marion, named after his grandfather and is now living in California.

"Denman, as a native said, is the last thing in Buffalo County. From the main street of the Village, a stroller needs only a couple of minutes to walk into Hall, Adams or Kearney Counties ."

Denman is the cornerstone of the four and at one time was a community hub of sorts for farmers all around. Imagine the territorial ruckus Denman would have raised if it had grown into a metropolis. The jurisdictional fights could have been classics.

Instead, Denman remained "that little town on the road to Kenesaw". The surrounding land is typical of the Platte Valley-fertile and as flat as a desktop.

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Hard-working farmers bring in bumper crops that keep cattle fat and sassy.

Except for the barbed wire, trees and buildings, the region is much like it was what Francis Marion Denman pioneered the area, known as Elm Island, in the early 1900’s.

"There was a lot of bustle in the old gal (Denman) when I came out here in 1921,” said F. C. Wiese. “There was an implement and blacksmith shop, a hotel and my grocery store. When I closed it in 1961, I lacked four months of puttin’ in 40 years.”
 
 

--From Explosion-Omaha World Herald, May 16, 1971
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