1905 Plat Book of Cass County, Nebraska;
Cass County Reminiscences
BY REV.FRED SPRIEGEL
St. Paul's Evangelical Lutheran Church in Eight Mile Grove
precinct is a landmark well known over Cass County.
The German Lutheran congregation of Cass County, Nebraska,
was founded in about 1875, and for some years held meetings
in the old Baker school house. Ministers Swartz and Brickner
of the Presbyterian church of Plattsmouth also preached in
the same building for several years.
The writer of this sketch began to preach to the people of
that neighborhood in August, 1880. The congregation was
reorganized and accepted the constitution of the General
Synod. It changed its name and is now called the German
Evangelical Lutheran Church of Eight Mile Grove precinct. The
names of those who at that time joined the church are as
follows: Jacob Tritsch, Sr., G. Sprick, L Bor**[unreadable],
J. Jones, Sr., H. Falter, C. Hennings, F. Hennings, J.
Kunsman, J. Albert, M. Friedrich, G. Meisinger, C. Meisinger,
J. Meisinger, Peter Meisinger, A. Kaffenberger, A. Hild, J.
Kaffenberger, H. Thierof, F. Engelkemier, A. Krager and
In 1890 the congregation built a church 32x54 feet, at a
cost of about $2,500. In August 1904, Rev. Spriegel will have
ministered to this congregation for 24 years.
BY ORLANDO TEFFT.
The writer first became a resident of Avoca Precinct in
the month of September, 1857. There were but few settlers at
that time, and they were scattered on the north and south
branches of the Weeping Water where land could be secured
having some timber on it.
There was a postoffice named Avoca located on the south
branch. The postmaster's name was Carr, who formerly lived in
Illinois, but who did not remain long in Nebraska.
The name was taken from Tom Moore's beautiful poem
entitled "The Meeting of the Waters," and persistently clung
to the precinct, finally giving the name to the present
village on the Missouri Pacific Railway.
Among the prominent early settlers was Hon. Lawson
Sheldon, from Vermont, who had recently married at the time I
speak of, and who, I believe, was the owner of the first
buggy in the precinct. The rest of us had lumber wagons, and
so the buggy incident impressed itself upon my boyish
Among the early settlers were the Clousers, the Ashleys,
and Crewes, who had choice locations, but were imbued with
the restless spirit of the frontiersman and soon sold out and
The precinct originally extended to the Missouri river,
embracing what is now the village of Union, and the east end
of it had a varied history. Upon a water power on the south
branch was built Hunts mill, which was later sold to Rev.
Geo. Jennings, a Methodist preacher, and a promoter of no
mean ability. From his optimism grew the idea of a splendid
future for the location, and the town of Factoryville was
built, which seemed at one time to have considerable promise.
Rev. Murfin located there and run[sic] a store for some
years, but the town gradually dwindled in importance, and
finally, upon the location of Union as a station, on the
Missouri Pacific Railway, disappeared altogether.
E.W. Barnum, James Dysart, I.N. Applegate, Peter Gruber,
M.H. Shomaker, and R.O. Hoback, were among the early settlers
of the east end of the precinct who proved to be permanent.
At the west end only two families of what might be called
early settlers remain.
Amos Tefft came from Elgin, Ill., in the spring of 1857,
took up a claim, and remained on it, preparing for his family
a wife and son, Orlando, who followed him in September of the
Two brothers, Z.J. and M.T. Quinton, settled on claims
adjoining Mr. Tefft on the east; the family of Z.J. still
residing there; both of the brothers being dead.
H.T. Fisher & Co., harness dealers in Weeping Water, Neb.,
commenced business in that city July 1, 1904, purchasing the
harness stock of Mason Bros. The Building occupied by them,
opposite the City National Bank, has been used as a harness
shop for upwards of sixteen years.
Mr. H.T. Fisher, the manager of the business, came to Cass
County, from Hickman, Neb. He is a man that has had upwards
of thirteen years experience in the harness business in
different sections of the country. His father, and partner in
business, Carl Fisher, of Hickman, is a man of over forty
years' experience in the same line.
They will carry, in their Weeping Water store, as full a
stock of seasonable goods as can be found in a first-class
up-to-date harness shop. All harness carried by them will be
of their own make, and will at all times receive their
Mr. Tefft and Mr. Clouser had bought together the first
combined reaper and mower in that part of the country, and
while they were setting it up at Mr. Tefft's place one of Mr.
Clouser's boys came up from home and said that his mother
wanted Mr. Clouser to come home immediately and take the
family across the Missouri river to Iowa, as there were 4,000
Indians out at Salt Creek murdering everybody and coming this
way in their work of destruction. Some of the people we knew
were reported killed and all were seriously alarmed. Mr.
Clouser was an old frontiersman, but he said he knew he would
have to go and asked my father what he was going to do.
The machine had not gone together as readily as it ought
and father was somewhat out of patience, and taking off his
hat and wiping his bald head he said he was not going until
he had seen some Indians.
The only families who staid through was ours and the two
Quintons, our next neighbors, who came over to our place and
With the alarming rumors in circulation I did not think it
best to remain quietly at home without finding out as to
their truth, and so saddled a horse, took a rifle and
revolver and rode over to Weeping Water to see if anything
was going to be done. I reached there just after a scouting
party consisting of Deacon Beach, E.L. Reed, a cousin of Hank
Hubbards, Mr. Fowler and another whose name I do not
recollect, had started to Salt Creek to see what was going
on. By a little hard riding I soon overtook the party and we
proceeded on our way.
The history of that trio had never been written. It was
crowded full of such incidents as a lot of lively boys would
be likely to make when going through a country where
everybody we met was thoroughly excited. Incidentally I might
say it was the first time the writer ever ate raw bacon, and
it tasted good. After capturing a train which was on its way
to Denver and thoroughly scaring a man who was out scouting,
we arrived at Salt Creek and found a good many families from
further west gathered there for safety, but the Indians were
reported as far away as when we started, so we came home the
next day and quieted the people with our report, and soon the
fugitives came back and we settled down into the old
Matters drifted along; some selling and their places being
taken by others, until in 1881, reports began to be
circulated that a railroad was going to be built and would
strike the west line of the precinct.
The reports were true, and as the Tefft family owned the
land the road was to run through, the writer negotiated with
the company for a station and named the town Avoca after the
name of the precinct.
A thriving town has sprung up, located where the settler
furthest west had located, and the appearance of things were
The pioneers are beginning to reap the fruits of their
toil and hardships, and those early settlers who staid
through now find their farms which they bought for $1.25 an
acre worth $100.00.