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Intro. to 1905 Plat Book

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1905 Plat Book of Cass County, Nebraska; continued

Cass County Reminiscences
part 3


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 others.

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.


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 mind.

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 drifted away.

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 same year.

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 guarantee.

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 staid nights.

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 monotony.

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 materially changed.

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.

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