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Below: "Up the 'Crick'" Article

The Tekamah Journal - Thursday, Feb. 22, 1900


Decatur's Old Timers Tell The Journal Many
Interesting Reminiscences.


Sunday afternoon I called at the home of James HANSLIP. It is a piece of desirable city property valued at $1000. Jim is a bachelor, and a sister, Mrs. Sarah A. NORRIS, keeps house for him. A short talk on reminiscences brought out these facts: He was born in Erswell, England, March 16, 1850. In his boyhood days he was "valet de honore" for Prince Dulib Sing, a wealthy member of the royal family. This prince at one time was a king in East India. He sold his throne to the English government for an estate in England and several thousand pounds, English money. Jim lived in England a few years and during his stay there had acted as footman for Lord Ivans. He crossed the ocean in 1883, and lived in Kansas for awhile. Later moved to Decatur; worked out, managed a store, restaurant and billiard hall; saved his money and built a nice home. Shortly after arriving here, one day when repairing a windmill sixty feet high, he fell. Jim was "badly bruised" and a leg broken, but he is one of those men you cannot kill and he lives to day, an enemy of gloom, constantly seeking the sunny side of life.

In the evening a pleasant call was made at the home of Wm. BEAIRD. Will tells it cheerfully that he made his initiatory bow to the world, in Fox county, Ohio, December 6, 1856. When 7 years old moved to Wisconsin. Tarried here 8 winters and wandered on to Houston, Minnesota. Apprenticed himself to the blacksmith trade but gave it up. In Houston he met Miss Loyanne TIPPERY which resulted in a happy union. 1880 they moved to Decatur, renting the John D farm. His father died in Washington territory, and his mother at Houston, Minnesota, 1878. Mr. and Mrs. Beaird are earnest members of the Methodist church; own a comfortable home, a thrifty bunch of hogs, several head of cattle and two good work teams. With them life is not a burden, and they appreciate the glow of sunshine which always radiates from the diadem of honest industry.

At noon, Monday, I met Cass CRAMMER in the office of the Decatur House. He has just got back from a month's visit to the place where he was born; Springfield, Summerset county, Penn. This notable event occurred January 27, 1835. When 17 years old Cass enlisted in the army of the north; received and honorable discharge and gets a pension of a $8 per month. He was wounded in a skirmish with Mosley, the rebel gorilla, in the spring of 65, at Hamilton, Virginia. The bullet entered the left side and was cut out under the right shoulder blade. After the war he went to Richardson county, Nebr., and drove a freight team. Migrated to Knuckles (sic) county and conducted a cattle ranch; was a cowpuncher on the Laramie plains; has been identified with Thurston county stock men for a long time. Cass is a "bach" and generally makes Decatur his home. He owns a good farm besides some valuable town property. He is not adverse to the charms of woman and if the right one happened along would be willing to call it a go.

After dinner, by appointment, I met Captain S. T. LEAMING at his cosy home; a piece of property which he has been offered $10,000 for. Mr. Leaming was very affable, and the story of his life is certainly interesting. He was born in Schohami, county, New York, and at the age of 4 years, in 1833 went to La Porte, Ind. He was educated for a civil engineer. In 1852 he went to California, and returned in 1855; was employed by the Iowa Central Air line (now the Chicago and Northwestern) in the winter of 1856 and spring of 1857; surved the road from Ida Grove, Iowa, to the Missouri river. Came to Decatur March 1st, 1857, and assisted in laying out the town. Bought a claim of a Mr. ROSE of 320 acres paying $6,400. The Captain now owns 120 acres adjoining the corporation and about 200 town lots. He was the first man of Decatur and held this position for six years. Was elected chief civil engineer of South Pass Air Line railroad and made the first actual railroad survey. in the state of Nebraska; said survey running westward from Decatur 100 miles. In 1859, he was elected to the territorial legislature and served two years under President Buchanan's administration. Was appointed by the government through Major PAINTER to allot the farms for the Omahas and Winnebagos; the former being allotted in 1863 and the latter in 1864. Major Painter was agent for the Omahas and Major White for the Winnebagoes. The Captain was county surveyor for two years. In 1862 he enlisted in the Union army, Co. I, Second Nebraska cavalry. Robert W. FURNAS, ex-governor of Nebraska, was his colonel, and John TAFF a well known politician, his major. In 1863 Mr. Leaming was promoted lieutenant, and later received his commission as captain, which rank he held until mustered out. In 1889, he moved to Milwaukee, Wis., and was the manager of a medical institute in that city for eight years. He returned to his Decatur home in the spring of 1897. The Captain has no faith in railroads, and says he has spent more money to induce railroads to come to Decatur than any man in Burt county. He owns twelve and a half acres of walnut trees, which average twenty inches through, and stand about seventy-five feet high. It is the finest walnut grove in the state of Nebraska. Dr. MILLER of Omaha, authority on tree culture, estimates their present value at $11,000 per acre. He has four boys and one girl, Ed, the oldest is in California; Collins is railroading in Wisconsin; Silas is studying law at the Madison University, Milwaukee; Anna lives in Los Angeles, Cal. She married a Tekamah boy Charlie Shafer, who is chief clerk for Wells Fargo Express Company in the city where he resides; Charlotte M., age 10, attends school at home, and H. E. J., is the baby 8 months old, and does just as he pleases. The Captain considers this a wonderful infant and I chronicle his measurement as follows: Chest 20 inches, ear to ear over the head 11 inches, around the head 29 inches, heighth 2 feet 6 inches, weight 28-lbs. This remarkable child talks quite plainly and has a mouth-full of teeth.

Monday afternoon I was entertained by Mr. and Mrs. D. C. GRIFFIN. He was named after the founder of the New York canal, Governor Dewitt Clinton; was born in the state of New York, Schoharrie county, Sept., 22, 1824. Lived here 8 years, and then moved with a colony of 33, all relatives, to La Porte, Indiana. Remained there 5 years and then made a trip back to New York. Stayed one year and then returned to the old stamping grounds. When a resident of La Porte, he was manager of a sawmill, assessor, and held other positions of trust. In the spring of 1839 he sold out and moved to Elyria, Ohio. Here he met Miss C. C. JOHNSON, and on October 14, 1846 they were married. Mr. and Mrs. Griffin lived in this city 12 years. 1851 they went to Chatauqua, N. Y., on business, remaining one year, and when this time had expired again returned to La Porte. In 1869 after the close of the civil war they moved to Decatur, and have lived here 33 years. Mr. Griffin has an absolute title to 565 acres of improved farming land. The house in which he lives costs $3000. It is a typical home and the owner has one of the neatest lawns in Burt county. To them was given five children: Charles, Frank, Earl, George and Mary Francis; three of whom are dead. Frank still lives, a successful Burt county stock feeder, and Charles resides in Lincoln, writing insurance and doing other commercial work. Mrs. Griffin tells me her brother-in-law T. H. ROBINSON, and Bert CHAPMAN, a congressman, laid cases for the first paper in Omaha, but sold out their interests before they went to press. When Mr. and Mrs. Griffin came to Burt county there were no papers published here and not for years after.

I mentioned the recent demise of Barton PARKS and they were very much surprised. It seems they were old friends. Mr. Griffin tells me he bought his home from Mr. Parks, and they lived in the same house for one year. Mr. Parks at one time conducted a boot and shoe store in Iowa, and came to Decatur about 33 years ago. He took a homestead, a farm west of here about three miles and a few years after sold it to A. B. FULLER. He farmed some but finally gave it up, and went to clerking for different merchants of the town. He moved from here to Tekamah and eventually was lost sight of by his old friends.

Tuesday afternoon, I enjoyed a short social chat with Frank Oscar Y-DEEN, whose home is on the south line of the city limits. Mr. Y'Deen tells me he was born, in Linskiping, Sweden, Nov. 20th 1847. In his childhood days he was a miller boy, and when 21 years of age joined the King's army, serving twelve years. He was a sharpshooter four years and won three prizes for his excellent marksmenship, and received extra pay. He was married in Sweden in 1872, to Miss Charlotte ISAACS. Crossed the ocean in 1881, and when he landed in America had $80 in money, a wife and three babies. They arrived in Lincoln, May 11th and worked as a section hand on a railroad. August 10th he moved to Decatur, and worked out by the day; saved a little money bought a team and went to farming. He now owns twenty town lots, a residence valued at $300, 63 heard of cattle, 80 head of hogs and 12 head of horses. He now has a car load of cattle on full feed. Mr. and Mrs. Y-Deen are members of the Lutheran church of the old country. Miss Mary, their only daughter, was a member of the first graduating class of the Decatur high school; 1891; professor, W. G. FOWLER who is now a teacher at the state university. This family is self-made. It is one of the practical, successful constituents of Burt county. By prudence, economy and good judgement they have acquired for themselves an independence which is honorable, and speaks highly of their environments. Peace-loving and thrifty people, they command the respect of the community.

Mrs. Hattie CHOICE informs me the statement, "if Decatur will put up $250, the bishop of the Episcopal church for this diocese will build a $1200 chapel," printed in last week's paper, is erroneous. The bishop will assist, so she says, but the members of the Decatur parish would also have to contribute quite liberally.

Mrs. WILLOUGHBY, nee Emma PRESTON opened a select millinery store in this city in 1894. She carried a select stock of ladies' furnishing goods and fancy novelties. She speaks very encouragingly of her business and has a patronage which she appreciates. Miss Preston was lately married and she will accept the congratulations of her many friends.

My last and interesting conversation was with E. Jefferson TELLIFERO, Tuesday evening. Jeff appeared on the stage of Life, March 14,1861; in Worth county Missouri. Moved to Mills county, Fremont, Iowa, when about 5 years old. In his youthful days he followed the vocation of farmer and was a great lover of horses. Visited Decatur 1877 and finally made his home here in 1880. His father, J. A. Telliferro was a captain the confederate army, and was wounded at the battle of Pea Ridge. The Captain was taken to a hospital, and fell in love with his nurse, a pretty and fascinating young lady. after the war they were married and made Texas their home, where they are now, the Captain president of a bank, and a wealthy man. Jeff's mother also fell captive to the Cupid's charms for the second time for the second time and married Orrin ROBINSON, a gentleman of Missouri. Mr. Robinson died in Decatur a few years ago. He was a member of the Masonic lodge and had a host of friends. Mrs. Robinson, loved by all who knew her, for her sweet motherly disposition, passed away at the home of her son, in Decatur, November of last fall. Senator James P. Telliferro of Florida, is a half brother of Jeff's. Jeff was married to Miss Ida PAGE in the month of August, 1886. Tired of farming he went into the livery business and afterwards took charge of the well known pacing stables of George M. BYRAM. He was on the road with Mr. Byram's famous pacer, Haroul, two seasons; class 2-year-old and 3-year-old; travelling through Iowa, Wisconsin, Illinois, Kansas, and Nebraska, and entered all races elligible (sic). Won several 1st, and 2nd monies, and made a record of 19 1/4. Haroul would have made a mark of 5 had he been handled another year. Jeff says he is the best colt that was ever foalded (sic) in Burt county; barring all exceptions. He quit training the horses when George took sick, and entered Mr. Byram's store as head clerk which position he yet holds. Jeff is a man who does not swear, chew, drink, smoke nor gamble. He has a happy family of two boys and one girl; Lonnie, John and Helen. He owns a good piece of residence property on Broadway; governs himself in harmony with the laws of nature, and says life is what you make it.

A. P. DeMilt.

This article is from the Thursday, April 26, 1900, issue of the Tekamah Journal.
It apparently is not one of the Pilgrim series of articles although has some of the same type of stories.



The Journal Takes a Jaunt Among a Few of
its Silver Creek Friends.


On Friday morning of last week the JOURNAL was invited to a seat beside Judge M. R. HOPEWELL and behind his fine roadsters. The Judge had considerable driving that day out to and among his many farms in the county, and as usual, he wished good company and it was quite natural he should ring up "56." The morning was an ideal one after an April shower. The Judge drove to the many ranches which he owns and is superintending this season, telling his hands what he would like done here or there and giving advice about what to do with stock of different kinds, and asking if there was anything needed to aid and push along the springs' work, giving and taking advice as he went among his men.

At the farm known to all old timers as the HOPKINS place, we found its renter Mr. PETERSON busy plowing and preparing corn ground, and he had three teams turning the soil over that day. He has been a renter on this place about five years and is making it pay both for the Judge and himself.

We met A. J. PEASLEY who is working one of the Judge's farms, and he will have about 100 acres in corn and perhaps 25 acres in oats.

Isaac DRAYER was found "on up the crick," busy plowing; this ranch contains 560 acres. Mr. Hopewell has about 100 head of cattle on this place and lot of well-bred hogs.

On our way "up the crick," while stopping to have a word with Mr. Marion MOORE, at the place we used to know as the CLARK farm, the Judge incidentally remarked that it might be possible he could get through with his business at the upper ranch in time to strike this place again along about 12 o'clock noon, and shied rather a wistful look at a fine young rooster that came capering around the buggy. Mr. MOORE caught the glace (sic), and extended a most cordial invitation to by all means return and dine with him. The Judge consulted his watch as though he wasn't sure but what it might be best to turn in at once, but finally decided he could make a flying trip to the upper ranch and swing back to Mr. MOORE's in time for dinner and lo, the feat was accomplished.

Mr. and Mrs. MOORE have been in Nebraska about two years, coming from Webster City, Iowa. Mr. MOORE is working this farm of Mr. HOPEWELL's on shares and is well pleased with the layout. Mrs. MOORE gave us an ideal farmer's dinner, there was nothing lacking, and as it had been housecleaning time for a few days at the Judge's home, it was no wonder he did justice to the many good things; while we, well we are always hungry. Mrs. MOORE has between 150 and 200 chickens, mostly of the Barred Plymouth Rock breed, and says she could send thirty dozen eggs a week to town. Her chickens more than buy all the groceries the family can use.

Mr. HOPEWELL has, on nearly all of his ranches, married men and families while a few years ago he had none but bachelors, and heard considerable complaint in not having families on his places instead of single men, so a change was made.

On our way back we stopped at the ranch known as the HOPEWELL and STREBELOW place, and was shown some very fine stock; about forty Whiteface calves in a lot by themselves was a pretty sight. They commenced milking about forty head of cows and started up the cheese factory Monday. As Mr. STREBELOW was away at Blair purchasing bran for the milk cows, we did not remain long at this ranch but hurried on home. It was a pleasant and profitable outing, and fortunate are those who get a ride into the country in company with Judge M. R. HOPEWELL, and over his several fine farms.


We took a ride to the country Saturday in company with H. C. BURDICK, resident agent for the Mutual Life Insurance Co. of New York. Mr. BURDICK wished to try his horseless carriage in the hills and asked the JOURNAL to accompany him. The road leading north of the city was found rather rough after the recent heavy rains, but Mr. BURDICK seemed to understand the vehicle and guided it gracefully in and out of all the ruts and chuck holes along the route. As we neared Silver Creek, we could see Mr. CLOSE with an ax over his shoulder just leaving the house for the timber to do some chopping, when he spied us and our curious looking vehicle approaching, we could see him draw his hand across his face or eyes as though he would get a clearer view of us, and we smiled as we thought of how curious we must really look to others, and as our carriage left the main road and pulled up in front of Mr. CLOSE's residence the old gentleman swung his ax and striking it in a stump, came forwarded (sic) and extended us a cordial welcome, and asked us to alight and look over his home.

Mr. CLOSE's birthday was the 19th of this month, making him 80 years old that date. Nearly everyone in Burt county is acquainted with Mr. CLOSE, he having come here in 1857. His farm is a good one and consists of 80 acres, well improved, with plenty fruit of all kinds, and the buildings are substantial and good. He keeps a few cows a some good blooded hogs of the Berkshire and Poland China breeds, and one carriage horse, besides Dick, "Of course I keep old Dick," said Mr. CLOSE, "I could sell him, but am afraid he might not be cared for by strangers, so will keep him for the good he has done: and Carl, too, we wouldn't part with him either, for Carrie has had him a long time and wouldn't part with the faithful old dog." Mrs. ROCKWELL, his daughter, is his only companion, and lonely indeed would their lives be without each other now, for they have lost by death a dear wife and mother. The large cottonwood trees which line the yard in front of the place, Mr. CLOSE set out in the spring of 1868, and measuring one, we found it to be 11 feet in circumference. Mr. CLOSE is feeling quite well this spring, and we can't see but what he looks as young now as when we first met him about twenty-five years ago, though he still retains his usual health and strength he has given up working in the fields and rents his farm land to his near neighbor Mr. ROBINSON, and spends his time in caring for his garden, fruit, and stock, and also keeps a watch over his pet squirrels that have their nests in the large trees around his home. Parties going to and from the lake during the spring and summer would sood (sic) kill them off were it not for the fact that he watches and stands guard over them. Having enjoyed a morning chat with Mr. CLOSE and Mrs. ROCKWELL, we climbed aboard and headed the automobile westward "up the crick," passing Harve WEBSTER's home we noticed Dan KJELDGARD busy on the place preparing corn ground. As we rode up to A. J. ROBINSON's home he was just hooking up the team to do some plowing, so we put on breaks (sic)and slowed down stopping up against a haystack, and had a few words with Mr. ROBINSON; he said he was a little late in getting to work that morning and was a little short handed too, as his son Jesse was laid up with the chicken pox, but we didn't go, until we had a little visit. Mr. ROBINSON has been a Nebraskan for about eighteen years, coming here from Illinois. There are 80 acres where he now lives which with the 70 acres he farms for Mr. CLOSE makes him a nice little piece of ground to till, beside this he owns a nice 160 of hay land out on the bottom. Mr. ROBINSON will have 70 acres in corn and about the same number of acres of wheat, oats and barley. He has six head of work horses, about 20 head of Berkshire and Poland China brood sows; and milks six head of cows.

J. M. ROBINSON has a nice little farm of 40 acres, and has a good young orchard started; he also rents forty acres of Mrs. RUSSELL.

Theodore ROBINSON, brother of J. M. is working 120 acres of Horace BROOKINGS and will put in 60 acres to corn, having sown 60 acres in wheat.

T. H. ELLIOTT was near home harrowing and making garden, and pulled up his team to get a better look at our rig as we hove in sight. We stopped and learned he had about 3a5 head of mixed cattle, but did not keep many hogs. This home place he said, contains 120 acres, which will be put into corn; and they would also farm 160 just south of there which would be in wheat and corn. Mr. ELLIOTT showed us a span of 4-year-old, well matched mules that he has no use for and would like to dispose of, and would let them go at $200, which would be a bargain to anyone in need of a good span of mules.

At the H. SHANE home we found C. S. between the handles following a strong plow team. The children were frightened by our looks and crying would have ran back to the house had not Mr. SHANE took them in his arms and comforted them by telling them we were harmless and wouldn't bite. There are 130 acres in this farm, said Mr. SHANE, fifteen acres of it is (?) little pasture (?) and produces wonderfully. C. S. will tend about 45 acres of corn, and has perhaps 30 acres in small grain. He has Berkshire and Poland China hogs, but says he intends getting rid of all the Berkshires on the place as soon as possible. We left Mr. SHANE feelling (sic) good and the children smiling, and headed the auto "on up the crick."

On the solicitation of Mr. and Mrs. S. PADDOCK to dine with them, Mr. BURDICK ran his horseless carriage against a stump and we proceeded to climb down, accepting the invitation on our way down. Mr. PADDOCK was in good spirits and seemed to enjoy showing us his farm of 320 acres, "and say," he remarked, "Willie is home now and has taken charge of the farm and things are commencing to move again." Mr. PADDOCK showed us over the place pointing out the many odd and beautiful things which his home and farm contains: among those that interested us was the many wonderful springs, something like a dozen or more are on this place, but the most wonderful of all is a mound about five or six rods across and perhaps rising five to eight feet above the surrounding ground is what seems to be a body of fathomless water with a crust of earth, grass and moss, completely covering it, and bears one's weight to walk upon, yet it trembles and shakes as though it would break through when jumped upon. We took a pole about eleven feet long and sticking it down through the crust tried sounding the bottom, but were told we could not touch bottom if the pole were many time its present length, so we dropped it and looked wise. From this mound of water is fed a large fish pond which is stocked with German Carp, and were told that a catch or haul would be made in a few days. During the recent heavy rains the levy on one side of the fish pond was somewhat damaged, but is now repaired. Will says he intends enlarging the pond and make a number of needed improvements, in fact intends making one of the finest little country resorts of the place to be found in the county, and surely nature has endowed this place with many wonders to work upon. Mr. PADDOCK works about 150 to 160 acres and keeps one man. He will be 73 years old in September, is a member of the G. A. R. Post. He enlisted at La Porte, Ind., in company 128; he had two years of service and his last battle was fought at Kingston, N. C., and was in the fight at Franklin and Nashville, Tenn.: he showed us a little piece of his army flag and silk fringe which he brought out of those battles, and he prizes them very much. He left the army at Morgantown, N. C. The PADDOCK family are relatives of the GOULDS and have photographs of some of the elder members, also correspondence is kept up between the families. Among other relics which Mr. PADDOCK prizes, is an old musket, of the flint-lock persuasion, and was used by his grandfather during the uprising in Canada. "And still another of my relics," said Mr. Paddock pointing to a self-binder that was nicely housed in a roomy machine building, "for say, that binder has been in use for seventeen years, and hasn't cost but $6 for repairs during all that time, and I am in favor of housing all machinery as soon as its work for the season is over, of course there are some who argue they can buy a new machine every few years for what it costs to buy lumber and keep the building in repair." On this farm are plenty of good, roomy buildings, such as horse and cow barns, granaries, cribs, machine sheds, and all up off the ground on good foundations, and the pens, for the fine hogs that they breed, are dry and clean. In these pens were about fifteen brood sows, and there were about thirty nice young pigs. The horse barn is a model for convenience, and holds sixteen head of horses, with hay, oats, corn and harness room: so that in cold weather one can feed and water the stock under cover; the cow barn is roomy enough to hold a herd: they now have 17 head of old cattle and 14 head of calves. Will made the remark that they had Whitefaces, blackfaces, redfaces, and all kinds of faces. He has finished a four years course at Lake Forest University, Chicago, Ill.: he has a fine library at home and makes good use of it: he is anxious to go on with his studies, but said duty kept him home now, as his parents and the farm needed his services, but later, when he can be spared from home duties, his desire is to resume his studies in Germany.

We ran the automobile down a steep hill and around the curve to Commissioner WETHERELL's substantial home, expecting to get a few moments chat with him, but not finding him at home, thanked the lady of the house for desired information backed up, sped on down the hill, "across the crick" and up against P. C. BRANDT's gate. That gentleman had just returned the day before from Omaha, where he had been in attendance at the meeting of the Presbyterian presbytery. Mr. BRANDT has a farm of 220 acres, a neat little home, with good farm buildings, a nice old orchard and has set out fifty more apple trees this spring, besides all kinds of small fruits, he has plums and peaches. He has some fine pedigreed Duroc Jersey hogs: and has sold off most of the marketable hogs but had twelve or fifteen which will be taken to market this week, they are last May pigs and will average 350 pounds, and are an extra good lot of hogs. Mr. BRANDT came direct from Denmark with his parents in 1807, has worked hard, and is now beginning to reap the benefit of his labor. He is nicely located, being only half a mile from church and school. Mr. BRANDT keeps a little bunch of cattle and seven head of work horses. After saying goodbye at this place, Mr. BURDICK headed the auto(mule)bile "down the crick" towards home, but hadn't gone far when we found Wm. JOHNSON stretching fence wire with a wheel-barrow, monkey wrench and a long pole, Mr. BURDICK thought that now he surely had found a man who needed insurance, as stretching wire seemed to him to be rather dangerous, but Mr. JOHNSON had been there, and was well up on insurance pointers, having taken out a policy on his hogs long ago in some ding donged company, had lost 15 or 18 head, hadn't received a cent for deceased hogs, but was still receiving assessments from the company.

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