(Note: Only Hamilton County is available here)
(See the Hall County section on the Hall County NEGenWeb Project site.)
|Those green robed senators of mighty woods,|
Tall oaks, branch-charmed by the earnest stars,
Dream, and so dream all night without a stir. -Keats.
Besides Aurora, there are five good railroad towns in the county, four of which are incorporated as villages. Before proceeding with a description of these it will probably not be out of place to speak first of the first town started in the county, the old county seat, Orville City.
Orville City, the first county seat, was located by the county commissioners in 1870, and surveyed, platted and recorded as a town by them. The site lies on a beautiful plateau over-looking both forks of the Blue River, on the south half of the northeast quarter of Secion 22, Town 9, Range 6, west. It was declared the county seat of Hamilton County May 3, 1870, by a vote of the people at the first election held in the county, and remained such until January 1, 1876, at which date the county seat was removed to Aurora by a majority vote in compliance with a general act of the Legislature of Nebraska approved February, 1875.
The site was pre-empted by the commissioners and surveyed by John Harris. The first to locate there were T. H. and William Glover. T. H. Glover opened the first store, in the fall of 1872, with a stock of general merchandise. He was followed shortly after by William Glover, who inaugurated the second business interprise of the town, that of a hotel and boarding house. The court-house was erected in May, 1872, which was the first building put up, and in November of the same year, the first frame house was built by T. H. Glover. In 1873, it was a thriving town containing three grocery and general merchandise stores, one drug store, hotel, blacksmith shop, real-estate law office and saloon. A school house was erected in 1873, in which Miss Nettie Hileman taught the first term of school in 1874. After the removal of the county seat to Aurora, the buildings were removed to Aurora and elsewhere, and the site of the sometime city is now the county poor-farm, on which the county established a poor-house in 1884 at a cost of about $2,500.
Hampton was surveyed and platted in October, 1879, about the time the Burlington & Missouri River Railroad was completed to that point.
Mr. Cox had purchased 440 acres of land here in the spring of 1879, and it was on this land the town was located. During the next year he pur-
chased 600 acres more, making a solid body of about 1,000 acres. His brother, James M. Cox, also purchased 1,00 acres adjoining that of Joshua. Building began immediately after the platting of the town, Ernest Leyer erecting the first store building, in which he opened the first general stock of goods. C. R. Young soon after built the first dwelling house. These were soon followed by the grocery store of C. R. Young, the general store of A. T. Vich & Co., the grain store-house of F. Eberhardt, the hardware store of A. G. Evans, drug store of J. F. Morse and the lumber yard and offices of D. C. Bell.
In 1880 G. P. Chessman put up a grain elevator, the first in the town. Among those who were prominently identified with the building up of the village were W. J. Williamson, Holden & Lane, H. H. Lohman, Frank Chambers, T. J. Fiegenbaum, A. G. Evans, G. P. Chessman, R. A. Ingalls, Wellman & Son, and the Cox brothers, Joshua, James M. and Levi. In 1882 the first hotel was built by James M. Dodge, and the same year a bank was opened by Cox Bros.
A school house was built in 1881, in which the first term of school was taught (the same season) by J. H. Sauls, one of the oldest settlers in this vicinity and the representative of the county in the constitutional convention in 1875. An excellent school building, adapted to the needs of a graded school, was erected in 1885. Hampton was incorporated as a village January 10, 1883, with E. D. Foster, S. W. Holden, D. M. Zook, Levi Cox and M. E. Gerdes as trustees.
This has always been a good business point, as will be seen from the following statement of railroad business:
In 1887 there were shipped from Hampton Station a total of 1,065 cars of grain, and in 1888, 700 cars; in 1889 there were shipped 497 cars of corn, 93 of oats, 13 of barley, 40 of flax, 16 of ground feed, 1 of flour, 120 of cattle, 75 of hogs and 2 of sheep, a total of 857 cars, the freight receipts of the office amounting to $16,439.58.
Among the leading business houses of the village at the present time are Joshua and James M. Cox, live-stock feeders and shippers; Houghton & Son, bankers; George E. Lane, general store; W. J. Williamson, general store; Lohman & Erlenborn, general store; B. F. Buckley, hardward; G. L. Wagner, hardware; Bailey & Klumb, agricultural implements; T. J. Fiegenbaum, drugs; F. Chambers & Co., drugs; Eskeldsen & Kaufman, lumber; G. P. Chessman, grain; F. G. Chessman, grain; Cannon & Morissey, grain; Farmers' Alliance Business Association, grain; Hampton Roller Mills, and others.
The village has a present population of about 600, the following being the officers and trustees: D. S. Woodard, chairman; J. M. Cox, Chris Newman, T. J. Fiegenbaum, D. M. Zook; W. C. Bailey, clerk; George E. Lane, treasurer. The post-office was removed from Williamsport to this place in 1879. E. L. Ingalls is the present postmaster. The business of the office for 1889 was $1,039.85
Two religious societies have houses of worship at this place. The Mehodist Episcopal Church was organized in 1883 with the following members: R. A. Wellman, Dora Wellman, Eunice Young, Martha A. Maguire, Mary C. Maguire, John Douglass, Mariah Douglass, J. H. Sauls, Mary Tyler, and Rev. W. H. Babcock as pastor. The pastorate has been successively held by Rev. H. C. Wood in 1884, who succeeded Rev. Babcock, Rev. D. S. Davis (1885), Rev. G. A. Hobson (1886), Rev. J. H. Carmichael (1886), Rev. L. H. Archard (1887), D. T. Wildon (1888) and Rev. E. L. Wells, who was assigned to this charge at the beginning of the present conference year, October 20, 1889, and continues to fill the duties at this time. The church has twenty members. A church building was erected in 1883 at a cost of $1,500. The Christian Church was organized here in 1885, and a church, 32x60 feet, built the same year, and dedicated June 15, 1885. The following were the original members: A. G. Evans, William Mapes, T. B. Johnson, James Moore, Adam Mokler, G. C. Boyce, David Patrick, Nelson Kutch, and Rev. A. W. Harney, pastor. Rev. Harney remained with the church until January 1, 1890, and was succeeded by the present pastor, Rev. W. D. Curtis. The church is highly prosperous and has a membership of about forty. The elders are T. B. Johnson, William
Mapes and E. C. Roggy, and the deacons, S. E. Chambers, P. H. Wind and H. Bundergard. There is a flourishing Sunday-school in connection with the church, of which E. C. Roggy is superintendent.
Star Lodge of the I. O. O. F. was organized here November 7, 1883, with the following officers and charter members: R. A. Wellman, N. G.; J. H. Sauls, V. G.; Daniel Westenhaver, treasurer; A. R. Allen, secretary; J. J. Klumb, W.; G. W. Bonner, E. B. Hoyt, A. H. Chapman, A. Linsley, Jhn Hinshaw. The lodge has a present membership of twenty, and the following are the officers; J. Hackenbary, N. G.; W. E. Widger, V. G.; D. S. Woodard, secretary.
Hampton Lodge No. 167, A. O. U. W., was organized February 17, 1890, with the following officers and members: E. C. Roggy, P. M. W.; W. C. Bailey, M. W.; H. R. Grear, F.; E. L. Ingalls, O.; G. E. Lane, recorder; D. S. Woodard, F.; A. Wilsey, R.; F. E. Boslow, G.; J. J. Klumb, I. W.; James Johnson, O. W.; Joshua Cox, Chris. Newman and A. P. Jensen, trustees; M. P. Jensen, George F. Latham, J. M. Cox, E. F. Morrissey and S. E. Chambers. The lodge meets regularly on the first and third Thursdays of each month.
Stockham is a lively village on the line of the Fremont, Elkhorn & Missouri Valley Railroad, on Section 25, Township 9, Range 6. It was surveyed and platted in 1887 by the Pioneer Town Site Company. Among the first business enterprises were the Bank of Stockham, I. D. Evans, cashier; P. Moore & Son, druggists; A. D. Atwwod, livery; J. W. Gray, livery; C. F. Tatro, restaurant; Joseph Stockham, hotel. The above-named parties erected buildings about the same time.
The town is located in the vicinity of the first settlement made in the county, and is in the remarkably fertile valley of the Blue River. The farmers being "well-to-do," and many of them even wealthy, the town has had an encouraging amount of business, and has grown rapidly. In September, 1888, it was incorporated as a village, with the following board of trustees: F. J. Sharp, Joseph Stockham, W. C. Flickinger, Walter Scott, Henry Reiselt.
All branches of business are represented in the village, the Fremont, Elkhorn & Missouri Valley Railroad affording facilities for the shipment of goods and products, and the Western Union Telegraph Company affording telegraphic communication. The Stockham Reporter, a bright, newsy Republican paper, was established here in August, 1888, by F. P. Corrick. It is now edited by J. S. Lounsbury.
A handsome two-story frame school-house 24x60 feet was erected in 1888. The school is in a flourishing condition, and is presided over by E. C. Grubble, as principal, with Miss Minnie Rowe as assistant. The school will be graded the present year. Churches are represented by the German Lutheran, Presbyterian and Methodist Episcopal. The first named erected the first church building in 1887, and Rev. G. Grobe is the present pastor. The Presbyterians built a church in 1889, and Rev. John Branch ministers to their spiritual welfare. Rev. G. E. Abern is pastor of the Methodist Episcopal society, but as yet they are not provided with a house of worship, a deficiency which will be removed by the erection of a commodius church during this year.
March 29, 1882, Griffin Post No. 87, G. A. R., was instituted here, its membership consisting of the veterans living in the vicinity of what was then merely the post-office called Stockham, which was on the northeast quarter of Section 25. A. Toland is now P. C.
A post of the Sons of Veterans was organized in June, 1888, with the following officers and charter members: F. P. Corrick, captain; John C. Galford, first lieutenant; John W. Stokesbary, second lieutenant; Irvin Clark, L. G. Evans, N. W. Swearingen, D. G. Lewis, J. H. Stephens, William Stephens, J. A. Wentz. It has now twenty-four members, and the present officers are D. G. Lewis, captain; John C. Galford, first lieutenant; Irvin C. Clark, second lieutenant.
Stockham Lodge No. 163, I. O. O. F., was organized October 6, 1888, with the following officers and charter members: A. J. McConaughey,
N. G.; J. W. Swearingen, V. G.; Henry Reiselt, recording secretary; Ed Van Wormer, treasurer; W. C. Flickinger, permanent secretary; L. P. Beamen, W.; W. H. Hart, J. T. White, E. E. Bird, T. J. Threadkill. The lodge has now eighteen members, and the following are the present officers: E. E. Bird, N. G.; Henry Reiselt, V. G.; Gustave Buss, recording secretary; W. C. Flickinger, permanent secretary; Ed Van Wormer, treasurer; A. J. McConaughey, Gustave Buss and William F. Waddell, trustees.
The present village board is composed of F. J. Sharp, chairman; Gustave Buss, H. Hick, I. D. Evans and E. F. Elmoe, trustees; W. E. Sharp, clerk; E. M. Van Wormer, treasurer.
Bromfield was surveyed and platted in the spring of 1886, by the Lincoln Land Company. [Transcriber's note: Name was changed to Giltner on September 14, 1895]. It is located on Section 6, Town 9, Range 7, on the branch of the Burlington & Missouri River Railroad Company running from Aurora to Hastings. The first building was erected by Joe Brown soon after the town was platted. This was followed the same season by the business buildings of W. H. Leniberger, L. P. Wheeler, G. H. Myers, Alfred Carriker, F. C. Mather, M. W. Trobee, C. N. Dietz, National Lumber Company, G. S. Cole & Co. and S. D. Chapman, and the residences of C. E. Brown, M. D., J. A. Foster and Frank Wright. The town has had a good steady growth, and now has a population of between 300 and 400. It was incorporated as a village December 11, 1888, with the following board of trustees: C. E. Brown, L. P. Wheeler, W. H. Leniberger, John McCarthy and Charles Allen. The post-office was removed from Lerton to this place in 1887, A. V. B. Peck having held down the postmaster's chair since the establishment of the office here. The business of the office last year amounted to $700. The town and vicinity has had a remarkable history in its chapter of crimes, accidents and casualties. The first of these was in the fall of 1886, when a serious cutting affray occurred, by which one Fred Gossner very nearly lost his life. Two years later Mrs. John Schultheis was shot and instantly killed by S. D. Pierce, a neighbor. The shooting was entirely accidental, Pierce having been requested by Mr. Schultheis, to shoot a skunk which had taken refuge under the corn-crib. Mr. Pierce fired under the crib intending to kill or dislodge the animal. Upon entering the house shortly after, he discovered Mrs. Schultheis lying on the floor, dead, with a bullet hole in her forehead. Investigation revealed the fact that the ball had glanced, passing through the window, and striking the woman with the result above stated. The same season another sad accident occurred here by which Dr. T. L. Myers, a prominent citizen, and one of the leading physicians, of Aurora, lost his life. The Doctor had been spending the day in Bromfield, with his son, G. H. Myers, and was starting to return to Aurora by the freight train, which left at 6 p. m. As he stepped from the platform of the depot, to the step of the way-car, the train being in motion, he lost his balance and fell under the car, the wheels of which passed over his body, killing him almost instantly. This accident cast a gloom over the community, from which they had hardly recovered when they were again shocked by another fatal accident. this was the case of Dell Henry, who in company with another young man, was riding out from Bromfield in a road-cart. They had a shot-gun with them, which Henry was holding. While he was attempting to light his pipe, he permitted the gun to slip from his grasp, and it dropped through the slated of which the bottom of the cart was made. The hammer striking on a slat exploded the cartridge, the charge entering the side of his head and face, mangling him terribly and killing him at once. The same year Mary O'Brien, a girl living in the family of Mrs. Bush, near Bromfield, committed suicide by hanging.
These events were yet fresh in the minds of the citizens when the murder of William Alonzo Barrett occurred a few miles east of this village. As a full account of this tragedy is given on a previous page of the present volume it will be unnecessary to repeat it here.
Hardly had the words been pronounced which sentenced Henry Thornhill to be hanged by the neck until dead, when the entire country was thrilled by the news of the double tragedy occurring in the village on Saturday, March 15, 1890. Shortly after 2 o'clock p. m. on that day Amos E. Staton, a farmer living a short distance south of the village, came into the town on foot and proceeded at once to the rear door of Charles Harrod's meat market, which he entered. W. W. Lewis, a highly respected citizen of the town, was the only occupant of the shop at the time, and was seated near the front window reading a newspaper. A few seconds after Staton entered, a pistol shot was heard, and Mr. Lewis was seen running from the rear door of the building, screaming and pressing his hand to his breast, and closely pursued by Staton, who had a revolver in his hand. A few rods from the shop door Staton again fired, the ball striking the flying man in the region of the kidneys, killing him almost instantly. It was afterward ascertained that the shot fired in the shop had taken effect in the center of the brast. Staton at once went to the street and started south, but was immediately arrested and placed in the village jail or "lockup."
Great excitement prevailed, and within a few minutes a large crowd had assembled on the street. Less than an hour after the shooting a party of masked men were seen to emerge from an implement warehouse and march toward the jail, while a piece of new half-inch rope dangled ominously from their hands. Proceeding to the "lockup," the door was forced open, the rope properly knotted around Staton's neck, and he was led to an adjacent livery barn, where the rope was passed across a beam and the murderer of W. W. Lewis was quickly sent to his account. The masked men remained but a few minutes after accomplishing their work, then proceeded to the place from where they had come and disappeared. Meantime, the news of the shooting having been promptly telegraphed to the sheriff, Deputy Sheriff Whitesides, County Attorney Whitmore, City Marshal George Barschin, Coroner Elarton, and others, had boarded the train for Bromfield. The train from the east was twenty minutes late, hence the train for Bromfield did not leave Aurora until about 3:30 p. m., reaching Bormfield at 4 o'clock. As soon as informed of the circumstances detailed above, the officers proceeded to the livery barn, where they found Staton hanging by the neck. He was immediately taken down and efforts made to resuscitate him, but they were ineffectual. The coroner at once began his investigations and an inquest was first held upon the body of Mr. Lewis. The jury rendered a verdict that he had come to his death at the hands of Amos E. Staton, in accordance with the foregoing facts.
On Sunday, March 16, a jury was empaneled to hold an inquest upon the body of Staton. After an investigation, lasting the greater part of three days, the jury rendered a verdict of death by hanging at the hands of parties unknown.
A two-story frame school building was erected in 1887 at Bromfield, in which from six to nine months school is held each year.
The Methodist Episcopal congregation built a church here in 1889, Rev. Francis Deal, pastor.
The Grand Army of the Republic and the Women Relief Corps have organizations at this place, and the Masonic order recently organized a lodge, under dispensation, with the following officer and members: J. R. Kerr, W. M.; Charles Allen, S. W.; J. W. Farrand, J. W.; W. H. Leniberger, secretary; John Detamore, treasurer; Goege Hunnicutt, S. S.; Jonathan Foster, J. D.; C. E. Brown, J. M. Brown, A. V. B. Peck, John M. Brock, Jonathan Foster, W. K. Ream, Samuel Fry, Henry Jarvis, John Marks, George Washburn.
Following are the officers at present of the G. A. R.: W. S. Mattern, C.; Jerome Pratt, S. V. C.; William Bagear, J. V. C.; Earl Tuttle, Q.; J. Foster, chaplain; L. A. Franklin, O. D.; _____ Garber, O. G.; E. E. Smith, A.
The Corps officials are: Mrs. Emma Robbins, president; Mrs. Della L. Smith, S. V. P.; Mrs.
Pratt, J. V. P.; J. Snider, S.; Lena Ehlenbraugh, T.; Mrs. Sophia Evans, C.; Miss Effie Smith, G.; Mrs. Ida Graham, A. G. The corps numbers over thirty members.
In the spring of 1880 the Burlington & Missouri River Railroad extended its line of road from Aurora to Central City. At the time of the completion of the road to the latter place there was a post-office located on the east half of the northwest quarter of Section 21, Town 12, Range 6, on the section line between Sections 16 and 21, a few rods west of the line of the railroad, and known as "Avon," kept by Mrs. Nancy Carnahan. The company being desirous of locating a station as near the post-office as possible, but being unable to secure any lands for that purpose for the first six months after the completion of the road, trains were stopped merely to throw off and receive mail. A "station" was then opened , which for a year consisted of a hand-car house, located on the section line between Section 16 and 21, with O. H. Wirsig as agent. He was soon after appointed postmaster. Early in 1882 the Lincoln Land Company secured from J. W. Marquis 100 acres of land on the southwest quarter of Section 16, Town 12, Range 6, and surveyed and platted the town of Marquette. The railroad company moved an old depot building from Dorchester to this place, which still remains as an early landmark of the village.
Soon after the establishment of the station Mr. Sweeny put up a small frame building for the handling of grain. The first lot sold in the town was to J. A. Waddell, on September 12, 1882. G. H. Shears and W. H. Fairchild shortly after purchased lots, and each of the three began the erection of store buildings at about the same time, that of G. H. Shears being the first completed. This building was occupied jointly by Mr. Shears with a stock of groceries and Dr. Nickerson with drugs. This was the first retail store in the town. The enterprise was short lived, and Shears soon after turned it into a boarding-house, the bill of fare consisting principally of wild goose. The building was subsequently much enlarged, as well as the menu, and was traded to W. O. Barngrover for a stock of goods. Fairchild & Deal opened a general stock immediately on the completion of their building in 1882, J. A. Waddell opening up a grocery stock at about the same time. The town grew rapidly, and in 1883 increased to a population of about 300. It was incorporated as a village on February 28, 1889, with the following board of trustees: T. H. Line, S. P. Boyd, M. E. Farr, Reuben Cox and H. D. Hall.
The village is situated in the midst of a highly prosperous community, and gives evidence of the fact in the success of its various business enterprises. All branches of business are well represented, including two banks, two elevators, flouring-mill, large brick blacksmith and machine shop, etc. Among the leading business men of the village at the present time are: Fairchild & Deal, general stock; J. A. Waddell, groceries; Bank of Marquette; Farley's Bank, R. K. Hughes, drugs; J. F. Adams, lumber; J. D. and B. A. Hickman, drugs; F. H. Line, M. ., physician and surgeon, Larson & Peterson, machine shops; Greer & Hall, hardware and furniture; Aaron Eichelberger, real-estate owner; J. A. Ruby, president Bank of Marquette; Hon. J. J. Farley, president Farley's Bank. Mr. Farley is one of the present members of the Legislature. Samuel Raynor, Elias Farr and William Ray are honored residents of the village, and have been closely identified with the prosperity of the community for a number of years. There were shipped from this station last year, 421 cars of grain, and eighty-eight cars of stock. At the village election in April, 1889, the following board of trustees and village officers were elected: H. D. Hall, chairman; James Adams, James Peterson, S. P. Boyd and J. A. Waddell; B. H. Walker, clerk; James A. Ruby, treasurer. In March, 1890, James Adams removed from the village, and J. W. Nicholson was appointed to fill the vacancy. O. H. Wiesig was succeeded as postmaster in August, 1884, by Miss Lillian Davy, who served for three years, and was succeeded by the present postmaster, Joseph Pinkerton.
A commodious frame school-house was erected in the village in 1884, and a graded course of study adopted. There is an average attendance of over
100 pupils. Churches are represented by four denominations, Presbyterian, Christian, United Brethren and Methodist Eposcopal. The Presbyterians and Christians erected church buildings in 1884 and 1885, respectively. Each of the societies has a good membership.
The secret societies having lodges in the village ae the G. A. R., A. W. U. W., I. O. G. T. and M. W. of A.
Putnam Post No. 142, G. A. R., was organized March 12, 1883, with the following charter members: George Liebbart, H. B. Goodrich, W. W. Shenberger, W. De Hart, J. P. Jones, Ed Nugent, R. D. Stotler, William H. Ray, John Doak, R. W. Graham, H. P. Hiscock, Henry Jennings, Joseph Pinkerton, E. Henderson, William Thomas, James Ruby, Ed Henderson, William Henderson, R. C. Butler, John Jones, James Hallowell, T. Clother, J. Allen, Andrew Hickman. The post is in a properous condition, the following being the present officers: W. H. Ray, C.; J. Buffington, S. V. C.; D. Fye, J. V. C.; James Ruby, adjutant; Joseph Pinkerton, Q.; Joseph Fye, chaplain.
Marquette Lodge No. 45, A. O. U. W., was organized in July, 1884, with the following officers and charter members: J. R. Erford, P. M. W.; H. P. Hiscock, M. W.; Joseph Hollowell, F.; Joseph Pinkerton, O.; A. W. Wicker, recorder; Thomas J. Chenowith, F.; Reuben Cox, R; T. E. Chambers, Charles Harder, J. L. Thomas, George Liebbart, W. W. Shenberger, George Bennett, T. H. Line, James Ballard, William Thomas, Ed Mundhenke, D. A. Hiscock, O.W. Kenoyer, R. D. Stotler and William Hickman. The lodge now numbers sixty members, the following being the present officers: W. Fink, P. M. W.; H. D. Hall, M. W.; J. P. Jones, F.; M. E. Farr, O.; William H. Swope, recorder; B. H. Walker, F.; Joseph Peterson, R.; D. W. Brunk, G.
An I. O. G. T. lodge was organized March 26, 1887, with forty members. It is in a highly prosperous and flourishing condition.
South Platte Camp No. 861, M. W. of A., was organized March 6, 1889, with the following officers: T. H. Line, V. C.; U. Fink, A.; John E. Boyd, B.; B. A. Hickman, C.; B. H. Walker, E.; Charles Stalnaker, S. The camp is growing rapidly, having increased from six at date of organization to a present membership of thirty-six. The present officers are: U. Fink, V. C.; H. P. Hiscock, A.; H. B. Walker, B.; B. A. Hickman, clerk.
The town of Phillips is pleasantly located on the line of the Burlington & Missouri River Railroad, on Section 27, Town 11, Range 8, one mile and a half from the Platte River. The site was purchased from P. M. Cross, in the winter of 1873-74, by the Lincoln Land Company, and was surveyed by them in the spring of 1884. The said railroad being extended westward from Aurora the same season reached the town in June. One-half the town site was owned by the Lincoln Land Company, the other by Hon. Willian G. Hastings, of Wilber, Neb., and others.
The first building was erected by J. C. Murphy and was commenced April 16, 1884. Soon after Messr. Burk & Dingman, hardware dealers, and Raben & Myers, druggists, built substantial frame store buildings. These were soon followed by the store buildings of S. D. I. Emerson, W. H. Fairchild, J. O. Baker, M. Grass, and Dr. R. Smith; the lumber yards and offices of J. H. Wilsey, National Lumber Company, and Richey Bros.; the hotel of A. Prathur in June, 1884; hotel and livery stable of N. F. Lane, the summer of the same year; the real-estate office of Samuel Spanogle, and the grain elevator of S. W. Little & Co. The first family residing in the town was that of W. B. Dingman, who moved into the old "Cross house" before any new buildings were erected. Early in the summer of 1884 dwellings had been built, and were occupied by the families of J. C. Murphy, J. C. Miller, Charles L. Crane, F. R. Reiter, N. F. Lane, Samuel Spanogle, D. V. Joyner, A. P. Peterson, S. R. Bickley, and others.
On July 20, 1884, a tornado visited the town doing considerabe damage. The hotel of A. Prathur was entirely demolished, and a number of persons injured, but none seriously. The post-office was removed to this place from St. Joe in the summer of 1884, and J. O. Baker was appointed postmaster, which he held until October
1, 1885, when he was succeeded by Mrs. Minnie Baker, who presided behind the window until June 10, 1889, when the present incumbent, Hon. A. J. Spanogle, was appointed. It was made a money order office October 1, 1888. The business of the office for 1889 was $800.
Among the prominent business men, at the present time, who have been closely identified with the interests and history of the town are N. F. Lane, commonly and better known as "Dad" Lane, in whose honor, Dad Lane Camp M. W., was named: J. O. Baker, banker; Richey Bros., lumber; R. Connell & Co., Grand Island Grain Company, and Farmers' Alliance Business Associaton, grain dealers; W. H. Fairchild & Co., William Bebb & Son, M. K. Grass, merchants; E. D. Smith, drugs; B. J. Fulton and Levi Cox, livestock shippers, and others.
There were shipped from this station in 1886, 404 cars of corn, 42 of oats, 34 of wheat, 7 of barley, 4 of flax, 4 of rye, 21 of hogs, 31 of cattle, 41 of brick, and 7 of miscellaneous goods; 1887, corn 467, oats 73, wheat 9, rye 3, flax 23, hogs 24, cattle 12, brick 82, miscellaneous, 10; 1888, corn 330, oats 110, wheat 1, rye 3, flax 16, hogs 31, cattle 71, brick 22, miscellaneous 8; 1889, corn 283, oats 125, rye 1, flax 11, hogs 43, cattle 68, brick 7, miscellaneous 8.
A good school-house was built in 1886, in which school is held from six to nine months each year; the district was organized in 1885. Two church societies hold regular services in the town, the Methodist and Baptist. The former was organized in 1884, with Rev. G. M. Jones as pastor. He was succeeded in 1886 by Rev. C. E. Rowe, and he in 1886 by the present pastor, Rev. Francis Deal. A handsome church edifice was erected in 1888. The church is in a flourishing condition, and now numbers fifty members. The Baptist Church was organized here in July, 1889. The membership is small. Rev. J. McLeod is pastor and has services every alternate Sunday.
In the fall of 1885 a company consisting of N. F. Lane, J. O. Baker, C. L. Crane and Samuel Spanogle erected a two-story and basement brick building, the second story of which was arranged with a good, large hall, reception and ante rooms, etc., disigned for serving as lodge rooms. Soon after the completion of the hall the Masonic Lodge at St. Joe was removed from that place to Phillips, holding its meetings in the hall. This was Keystone Lodge No. 62, A. F. & A. M., the oldest Masonic organization in the county, having received its charter June 20, 1876.
The following is a list of the first officers (U. D.) and the charter members: Martin Ennis, W. M.; J. T. Price, S. W.; William J. Ball, J. W. At the end of a year the lodge received its charter, and Martin Ennis was elected W. M.; J. T. Price, S. W.; D. S. Parkhurst, J. W.; Ed Dearing, treasurer; S. P. Cowgill, secretary; I. E. Ball, S. D.; William H. Sampson, J. D.; George L. Levee, S. S.; Joseph A. Campbell, J. S.; William J. Parker, tyler. Charter members: William H. Sampson, George L. Levee, Martin Ennis, S. P. Cowgill, William J. Parker, D. S. Parkhurst, Edward Dearing, Jonathan Foster, J. T. Price, William J. Ball, I. E. Ball and J. W. Skelton. Since it organization the Worshipful Master's chair has successively been filled as follows: Martin Ennis, J. T. Price, Martin Ennis, D. E. Price, J. N. Brock, A. W. Price, Samuel Spanogle, George L. Levee and W. U. Biggart. The lodge has now thirty-five members, and the present officers are: W. U. Biggart, W. M.; J. O. Baker, S. W.; W. H. England, J. W.; N. F. Lane, treasurer; L. F. England, secretary; A. C. Adams, S. D.; J. W. Skelton, J. D.; B. J. Fulton, tyler.
Phillips Lodge No. 92, A. O. U. W., was organized September 20, 1886, with the following officers and charter members: A. J. Spanogle, P. M. W.; Levi Cox, M. W.; J. D. Lucas, F.; E. L. Stephens, O.; J. C. Brannock, Samuel Spanogle, J. M. Gillespie, Charles Tomphins, B. F. McDaniels, N. F. Lane, D. F. Roach, Alden Garwood, C. L. Crane, C. B. Edmunds. The present membership is twenty-six, and the officers are: M. J. Peterson, M. W.; F. R. Reiter, F.; E. Rogers, O.; B. F. Webb, recorder.
Dad Lane Camp No. 971, M. W. A., was organized May 15, 1889, with the following-named officers and charter members: W. U. Biggart, V.
C.; J. O. Baker, W. A.; J. C. Faught, E. B.; Mark Spanogle, clerk; Eben Rogers, W.; J. W. Hiler, E.; C. B. Coleman, S. The camp has a membership of twenty, the following-named being the officers: W. U. Biggart, V. C.; J. C. Faught, W. A.; J. O. Baker, E. B.; R. G. McKebben, clerk; B. J. Fulton, W.; J. W. Hiler, E.; Eli Decker, S.
The Farmers' Alliance also has an organization and business association at this place, with 160 members. The officers are: J. W. Eaton, president; E. C. Purdy, vice-president; E. H. Ball, secretary, and August Baartz, treasurer.
Hamilton ws surveyed and platted by J. F. and T. H. Glover, in April, 1874, on the northwest quarter of Section 10, Township 10, Range 6. During 1874-75 it was an active, lively place, but after the location of the county seat at Aurora, the business houses were removed from Hamilton into the limits of its more successful rival. Hamilton consists now of less than a dozen residences and a school-house.
St. Joe was surveyed and platted in 1881 by Joe Skelton, and for a few years was an enterprising little burg. The post-offices of Bunker Hill and Lincoln Valley were discontinued, and that of St. Joe established. In 1884 the Burlington & Missouri River Railroad was built through the west part of the county, and the town of Phillips located. The post-office at St. Joe was then removed to Phillips, and most of the buildings of St. Joe followed. Maj. Skelton purchased the lots which had been sold, and on July 7, 1886, the commissioners on petition of Mr. Skelton, vacated the town, and it is now a part of that gentleman's farm.
Farmers' Valley is a post-office point, at this time, and is the only one off the lines of railroad in the county. It is on Section 24, Township 9, Range 5, on one of the first farms located in the county.
Lerton, Alvin, Bunker Hill, Buckeye, Shiloh and Otis, were post-office points in the county, but have been discontinued.
A number of country churches have ben erected by the various religious societies throughout the county, many of them having regualar pastors and a large membership. Of these the Russian Menonite (Rev. Peter Regier, pastor) is one of the largest. It was built in 1887 at a cost of $3,000, and is one of the strongest congregations, numerically, in the county.
The Danish Lutheran also have several large societies in the northeast part of the county, with an aggregate membership of 200 families. There are also four Swedish, four German Lutheran, one Baptist, one Catholic, one Presbyterian, one Congregational, one Methodist, one Christian, one Evangelical, and one United Brethren
The county is in good financial condition, the bonded indebtedness being small, and a large portion of that being already provided for by the accumulation of a sinking fund.
While a few "sod" houses remain, relics of the early days, the farmers, as a rule, have good, substantial frame-houses and barns, which give evidence of the thrifty class of people by whom the county has been settled. Already, although but twenty-three years have elapsed since the first homesteader camped on the Blue, the well-fenced farms, fine, thrifty orchards, elegant dwellings and large, substantial barns will compare favorably with those of the best agricultural counties in the older States, and if the past is an indicaton of the future, it will be but a few years until "Little Hamilton" takes its place in the front rank among the agrucultural counties of the United States.