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1905 Plat Book of Cass County, Nebraska; continued

Historical Sketch of Cass County Nebraska

A treaty between the United States government and the Indians, at which the latter relinquished their title to lands bordering on the Missouri River, was ratified April 17, 1854.

The proclamation of the United States President, Franklin Pierce, extinguishing the Indian title, was made June 24 of that year. Anticipating this event, large numbers of people had gathered on the Iowa side of the river, ready at any time when the signal was given to cross the river and stick their "claim stakes" on the coveted grounds of Nebraska. Before this treaty the government had successfully blockaded the passage by establishing military posts on either side of the river, and only by permission from the secretary of war was any person allowed to settle or remain on Nebraska soil.

Samuel Martin in the spring of 1853 obtained such a permit and established a trading post on the ground now occupied by the City of Plattsmouth, and was therefore the first white settler to locate in what is now Cass County. Under this permit he, assisted by James O'Neil and others, built a two-story hewed log house situated on what is now lots 6 and 7, block 31, in the original town of Plattsmouth, and for some time conducted an Indian trading post. After his death, December 15, 1854, the "barracks," as it was usually called, was used for various purposes, stores, offices, and postoffice, until it was finally torn down to make room for other buildings. In July, 1853, Mr. Martin also had erected a smaller log house, which in later days was used for county offices. Many of the pioneers paid their first tax in this building, which, on account of some illegality in proceedings, were afterward refunded.

A soon as the Indian title was relinquished a rush was made for the most valuable claims, and within a very short time nearly all the most desirable lands near the Missouri river in Cass county were staked and the claimant's name written thereon. The U. S. laws allowing a claim of 40, 80, 120, or 160 acres.

Like all new countries, the claim speculators were much in evidence in Cass county. Their scheme was for each man to make as many claims as he could, many times one man's name appearing on ten or a dozen different pieces of land, and then force the bona fide settler to buy him out at fabulous prices.

To make a claim would be to stake out any of the above quantities of land and write the claimant's name and usually the description, upon the stakes, and file such description with the secretary of the "Claim Club."

Before territorial organization it was found necessary to have some tribunal by which to facilitate the settlement of disputes that were constantly arising over claims. Therefore the Claim Clubs were established, each one defining its boundaries. Club law was the personal government of the settlement, by the settlers in club meeting assembled. The officers were a president, secretary and treasurer. A constitution and by-laws were adopted and provisions made for regular and special meetings. No claim was supposed to be recorded that conflicted, in the least, with any other member's rights, and must be properly described, section township and range, and date of claim. Most of the clubs also required an assurance of bona fide settlement. However, these clubs varied according to location. Near the river they were largely composed of speculators, who often equaled, if not outnumbered, the real settlers. Where the speculators were in the majority, usually self-interest ruled in the proceedigs, but in the other clubs the welfare of the settlement was first considered.

Where these speculators controlled the clubs many abuses were made of their power. Some of them were composed of men remaining only long enough to secure and dispose of their claims and then return east, or farther west, to greener fields. Many of them, void of all integrity, secured claims by jumping them, and then by perjury, try to hold them and bring their case before their claim club. When the claim of an honest member came before such a club, there was no such thing as justice meted out to him, and the "over-the-river" route was suggested to him if he further protested.

Claim jumping consisted of pulling up the stakes already set and replacing them with other names attached. There was no law controlling the assessment of fines, no jails or state prison. Therefore there was but little effort made to grade the punishment according to the offense. Where clubs were controlled by bona fide settlers a fair trial was accorded any offender, and notice given him what he must do. If he failed, or was obstinate, the penalty was a removal from the territory, or in pioneer parlance, "put over the river," which did not always mean a safe landing on the other side, at least of the Missouri.

Thus, it can be readily seen how an unprincipled, non-resident Claim Clb, as it might be termed, following the same tactics as the legitimate claim club, could impose upon honest people.

Only one case has ever been recorded where the extreme penalty was meted out to anyone, and that one was not one, but four, a more complete description of which is given in the reminiscence of L. G. Todd.

The speculator was the demoralizer of the clubs, and caused many hard names to be circulated regarding club law. But where clubs were controlled by the better classes, as they usually were, no jury, it is said, ever gave a more fair trial.

Most of the early settlers' latch strings were out. Their cabin or dugout was always open to strangers. They were anxious to see the country improve, would assist, if they could, to establish a permanent settlement where they might again have the privilege of the school and church they had left behing. To obtain these privileges they would divide their last crust with no assurance of another for themselves, would leave their work to go out over the prairie and hunt a claim for a promising stranger, or do any other honorable thing to increase the settlement, and thereby gain the advantages they so much desired.

The unprincipled speculator, however, after accepting the hospitality of these people, would then, in many instances, secure four stones, easily carried in his pocket, go out and take possession of a claim, drop the stones at what he imagined as the four corners of a house, split the end of some sticks and therein insert a piece of glass. Sticking these in the ground on the supposed sides of the house for the windows, he would secure a piece of board or plank, lay it down in the center of the supposed enclosure, take a blanket and retire for the night in his newly made house. In the morning he would leave for the land office and there solemnly swear that he had taken a claim, describing it, that he had built a house with glass woundows and wooden floor; that it was his intention to make a permanent settlement, and wished to enter his claim, and that he had already moved onto it. As soon as he had secured his papers he would start to his eastern home, congratulating himself on his shrewdness as a land speculator and the ease with which he worked the green pioneer. The result of these operations were very discouraging to the early settlers. They were thus gradually hemmed in and surrounded by the speculators, who held their lands for advanced prices. By their own generosity and kindness they assisted in isolating themselves from friends and neighbors and the many comforts they had anticipated. By privation and stick-to-ative-ness they enhanced the value of their lands. The country, however, was slower in developing than it would have been under more favorable circumstances, and many of the settlers became discouraged and sold their lands to these same unpricipled land-grabbers.


The following list of settlers, chronologically arranged, is probably far from complete, but it will serve to show the years that the greatest settlement was made from 1853 to 1870.


Samuel Martin


L.G. Todd, Isaac Wiles, Stephen Wiles, Luke Wiles, John Schwab, L.C.W. Murray, Richd Pell, W.M. Wiley, Thomas L. Wiles, Mary (Murray) Sullivan, Delila Schwab, William Young, Mrs. G.F. McNurlin, J.G. Hansen, Mrs. Z.W. Shrader.


T.D. Buck, L.B. Brown, William Young, F.M. Young, Jr., W.W. Kirkpatrick, Adam Ingram, Bucephalus Wolph, William Ellington, F.M. Young, Sr.


Joshua Gapen, Nicholas Young, Lawson Sheldon, Isaac Pollard, Cap. Isaac Wiles, T.L. Campbell, G.D. Amick, J.H. Allison, Thomas Thomas, S.L. Thomas, Lee Allison, J.R. Vallery, Theobold Vallery, J.S. White, Ann (Smith) White, G.S. Ruby, Nelson Jean, H. Eikenbary, Joseph Cook, W.G. Erhart's parents, W.D. Hill, T.W. Fountain, G.C. Cook, Sarah M. Young, D.L. Amick, Mrs. J.D. Ferguson, Charles Swan.


J.B. Moore, Joseph Sans, S.G. Latta, J.M. Chalfant, A.B. Taylor, T.J. Todd, A.B. Todd, F.P. Todd, E.R. Todd, William Coleman, John Holschuh, E. Todd, Nicholas Halmes, William Gilmour, W.H. Royal, Shadrach Cole, S.O. Cole, Z.W. Cole, George L. Berge, J.C. Crabtree, Hon. Orlando Tefft, H.C. McMaken.


Peter Gruber, Simon Gruber, L.C. Pollard, Peter Stoll, C.J. Martin, Frank Stander, J.D. Ferguson, I.M. Ward, Eliza A. Stander, G.D. Pearson, Charles P. Hall, W.H. Smith, Abagail Smith.


L.J. Griffith, T.A. Sullivan, William Wetenkamp, Gertrude M. Wiley, W.W. Willey, William Snyder, R.E. Contryman, C.E. Mockenhoupt, Henry Hubbard, W.C. Noxon, A.M. Noxon, W.J. Laughlin, O.W. Loughlin, E.G. Laughlin, A.A. Leesley, William Leesley, Mrs. Henry Behrns, Henry Behrns, William Leesley, G.W. Garrison.


J.M. Craig, Jas Spratlen, F.H. Stander, Garry Treat, J.M. Craig, F.H. Stander.


Rev. A.L. Folden, William Rose, Mrs. F.H. Stander.


G.W. Eaton, J.W. Edmisten, W.A. Edmisten, John Buskirk, Hery Behrns, C.J. Gaebel, Allie Adams.


Lewis Bird, I.W. Capple, Mathias Meyer, William Rose, S.H. Loder, J.T.A. Hoover, J.M. Hoover, S.F. Ranard, A.J. Hoover, Abraham Mst, F.W. Fowler, James R. Vanatta, Frank J. Morgan, M.G.McQuin, Mrs. W.H. Mark.


William Carroll, W.B. Roberts, August Thimgahn, H.W. Thomas, Jacob Adams, Helen Marshall, Charles Ingwerson, G.W. Shrader, Joseph Shera, R.R. Nickels, J. Henry Ahl, J.A. Walker, James M. Carper, Mrs. Belle Shrader.


A.F. Boedeker, C.H. Boedeker, George McReynold, Z.P. Earl, John Rohrdanz, F.W. Schlichtemier, George Shafer, P.J. Shafer, Henry Spangler, C.F. Vallery, Peter J. Vallery, C.F. Bouck, Truman Sampson, D.C. Rhoden, George W. Rhoden, William Rhoden, Theodore Boedeker, C.A. McReynolds, W.P. Hutcheson, J.M. Hutcheson, A.G. Nolting, F.W. Nolting, William Nolting, May (Rhea) Nickels, Robert Perry Rhea, W.H. Mark, Jacob Vallery, Sr., W.A. Rhoden, Nancy B. Rhoden, A.H. Weckbach, Nancy J. Hill


T.J. McCulloch, Isaac Nelson, L.W. Nelson, Morgan Waybright, R.W. Long, Mary Metzger, Jacob Tritsch, Philip Tritsch, W.M Buster, Richard Deles Dernier, Charle D. Clapp, William L. Bates, W.H. Waggoner, Florinda J. Berger, L.H. Woods, L.A. Tyson, C.M. Cherry, G.H. Woods.


Peter Eveland, C.B. Hadley, C.E. Heebner, J. Fred Shomaker, Fred Brandt, Charles Brandt, William Coatman, I.S. Fries, George Heebner, Theodore John Jacob Schlanker, C.G. Taber, Sarah J. Taber, M.M. Shipman, Jacob Kunzman, R.A. Young, J.F. Ragoss, Joseph Messina, L.H. Young, C.A. Mathias, J.P. Rouse, Herman Thieman, J.L. Smith, G.I. Lloyd.


J.H. Waggoner, B.F. Allen, H.E. Calkins, Archibald Rager, M.A. Hall, Edward Williams, Augusta Rockenbach, Thomas Wiles, P.J. Linch, J.C. McNurlin, C.M. Seybert, Jacob Schneider, J.J. Schneider, Jacob Seybert, S.M. Holden, William Seiker, W.C. Wollen, John K. Johnson, B.W. Bates, J.M. Stone, Peter Opp, I.N. Applegate, Arthur Rikli, Fred Wehrbein, William Schneider, Levi Rusterholtz.


George E. Buell, S.M. Cox, Abraham Long, Christ Miller, H.C. Nielsen, Fred Ruge, G.E. Vanderburg, A.A. Watlinger, H.R. Waldron, Charles Creamer, L.R. Seybert, J.B. Seybolt, Christian Duerr, C.E. Noyes, Amos Keiser, W.E. Whitney, J.L. Wood, Harman Bester, R.L. Propst, T.T. Young, Samuel Long, Fred Holka, Andrew Christenson, John Erickson, L.C. Hanson, George Hanson, Paul Johnson, I.Wl Towland, A. Hoenshell, G.F. McNurlin, Z.W. Shrader, Wendel Heil, John Kelly, G.W. Gilmore, C.C. Cowell, John Bickert, Robert H. Wall, J.C. Hayes, Herman Dettman, Samuel Johnson, W.A. Johnson, William Starkjohan, T.N.Bobbitt, Wesley Bird, James Root, Harriett A. Root, C.F. Bouck.


Margaret Bornemeier, William Cook, H. Taylor Richars, S.L. Furlong, Justus Lillie, C.N. Beverae, Norman Slocum, E.M. Standley, A.E. Hess, Julius A. Pitz, George Goos, Louis Desour, Abel Bevan, Andrew Christianson, N.L. Keefer, J.C. Stevenson, Elizabeth Spencer, J.R. Cathery, W.H. Heil, Adam Heil, William Heil, George P. Heil, Henry Kehrie, Malinda Gustin, J.J. Christensen, Martin Schafer, Carl Strobel, Joseph Mullin, A.H. Denison, E.H. Norris, John W. Rubga, G.O. Harman, C.C. Sherfey, Mary C. (Onstott) Sherfey, William Lindsey, A.C. Carey, B.F. Horning, F.G. Egenberger.

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Last Modified on:Sunday, 06-Dec-2015 11:17:51 MST