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Merrick County
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Merrick County's 100th Year: 1858-1958

 

Silver Creek

Silver Creek was platted by the Union Pacific in November, 1866. The depot and section house were the first buildings. Next was the home of Mr. and Mrs. B. F. Hobert, parents of Paul Hobert who is the present station agent. The Hobert home stood where the present home of Mr. and Mrs. George White now live. The building was later used as a saloon, a store, and a schoolhouse. It is still in use as a cob house on the Alex McQueen farm. The depot of 1866 was sold and remodeled as a barn. The new depot was erected in 1906.

In September of 1870, Byrus Lee built the Lee Hotel, first semi-public building in the village. The earliest settlers in the community included the Shaw brothers; Mr. Lathrop on a ranch two miles south of town; Ed Howland, locating 1 1/4 miles north of town; Lawson Harris, 2 1/2 miles northwest of town. Fred and Ed Terry, who had married two sisters from Illinois, settled one mile north of Silver Creek and their descendants have played a prominent part in the life of the community. Pearl Simmons and Lynn Simmons, well known over the county are grandchildren of Ed. Terry. Other names among the early settlers are: Chas. Powers, Martin Kargas, Hubert Polman, and the names of Maurer, Dittmer, Shepherd, Antrim, and many. others.

Silver Creek derived its name from a creek south of town. Sixty years ago, the town was visited by floods quite frequently, damaging crops greatly. On one occasion, it flooded so early in the spring that it froze hard enough for one to start from home and skate for miles. Many experiences such as floating through streets in boats and rafts occurred. One family floated away in a wagon box.

In 1870, the song birds were mainly the meadow lark and black bird. Prairie chicken and wild game furnished meat for the pioneer. Wood was scarce and the inhabitants often went eleven miles for fuel. Many of the Silver Creek settlers came from fruit country and were soon making use of wild elder berries, common sorrel, wild grapes, plums, and sand cherries.

Silver Creek's first newspaper was the "Silver Creek Times." It was first published Dec. 24, 1887, by Chas. H. Urwin. It was a seven column folio. The paper was purchased by Chas. Wooster four years later and in 1900, it changed hands again and was edited by Dyo F. Davis. In 1901, it was issued by W. M. Hult, but was unsuccessful and the "Times" expired. October 3, 1903, the present Silver Creek paper, the "Silver Creek Sand," was created under Dyo F. Davis and Son, so named because someone said it took "grit" to publish a paper in Silver Creek. Later, the son, Dyo, took over and continued until 1950, when he sold to John F. Carter.

The people suffered the usual hardships of early pioneers. The Easter storm of 1888 did little damage due to the townsmen's providing shelter for teachers and pupils. In 1874, the grasshopper raid left barren fields and in 1894, hot winds destroyed the crops.

The first school was a private school built in 1870, taught by Miss Clamina Goodrich. It was held in the Cyrus Lee Hotel. Teachers were paid each quarter by collection. A district school was organized in 1871. Several buildings were used for schoolhouses. The Flyn and Mimis houses were two of the first school buildings. The new building was a two story, four room structure built in 1886. It was later sold to C. R. Metzer and used in building a house for Malin which later burned. The new brick building was built in 1910. The north ward school began in a building on Chas. Terry's on Section 18. "Home Girls," most of them children of Pioneers, have played an important part in the education of Silver Creek. The first annual commencement was held June 2, 1892, in the Congregational Church.

The Silver Creek Township Library was organized in 1917, through the effort of Chas. Wooster. The new building was built in 1934.

In 1865, the Stage Route Post Office, then called Silver Glen, was. established two miles east of Silver Creek. In 1869, this was abandoned and mail was cared for at the depot. On April 4, 1877, Silver Glen passes into nonentity and C. H. Lee was issued a commission to be Postmaster of Silver Creek.

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The old water mill was built in 1878, on the George Tivey farm. The Silver Creek Roller Mill was established in 1893. Some of the old construction is still standing. The son of the owner of the mill was fatally injured in the mill. The hub of an old pulley wheel had been fastened on the end of the main drive shaft as a cap to prevent end-play. A few broken spokes had not been removed from the old pulley. These spokes caught in the boy's coat and whirled him over and over before the power could be shut off. (Our informant was unable to recall the names of the men operating this mill.)

The first Platte River bridge was built in 1877 at a cost of $10,000. At this time, people had to go to Duncan and then to Osceola. Between seven and six thousand people gathered in Silver Creek on Aug. 13, 1925, to observe the dedication of the present bridge. The cost was $100,000. The state paid one half and Merrick and Polk counties each paid for one fourth of the new bridge.

Early settlers had little to fear from Indians but dishonesty and begging caused discomfort. In 1873, the Pawnee passed between Silver Creek and Genoa. Many Indian relics have been found in the sand hills near Silver Creek.

Darius Towslee was chairman of first village board of Silver Creek. C. H. Urwin was the first editor. The first marriage in this township was Wm. Jarman and Bridget McDermit in the Episcopal Rector's study, Dec. 26, 1870. The first marriage in the Church was 1871. The first religious services were held in a log cabin in 1867, by Henry Shaw and Samuel Goodale. The St. Stephens Episcopal Church was the first church in Merrick Co. The first death was in 1871, Ann Fuhrman, and was laid to rest in the yard of the St. Stephens Church. The first railroad was the Union Pacific and was built through Silver Creek in 1866.

Silver Creek is one of the three second size towns in the county. It is located in a very fertile area, has excellent schools, church, and business facilities, including a newly established irrigation supply company. The Kula Department Store ranks with the best in the country. It has a fine public library and through the years, has had very good bands.

Silver Creek was originally named Silver Glen and located about two miles west of the present town of Silver Creek. Later, it was moved to the present site and the name changed.

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Around Town In Silver Creek

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Compliments of CENTRAL CITY FLORISTS
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City Park
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High School and Gymnasium

Township Library

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Compliments of BOB STUART, Farmer

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© 2001 for the NEGenWeb Project by Mary Alice Vampola, Ted & Carole Miller