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Phelps Helps Newsletter
Holdrege Area Genealogical Society

To Subscribe, Write:
The Holdrege Area Genealogy Club
P.O. Box 164
Holdrege, Phelps County, Nebraska

Vol. 8-3
Fall 1999
The Holdrege Area Genealogy Club
meets at the Phelps County Historical Museum
on the first Monday of the month at 2:00 PM.
The public is welcome!

Phelps Helps Newsletters


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Barbara Folk. Wanting any information on the children of John and Luretta Cattern Miller. It is thought that Bernice, Johnny and George Miller were adopted in the 1920s. Other children in the family were Lloyd, Roy, Edna and Goldie.

Rick Wickwire. Rick is researching all Wickwire families in the United States. Please contact Rick if you have any Wickwire information. Only one Wickwire family came to United States and it is believed they are all related to one another.

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Donated by Patti Simpson -
Donated by Kay Thompson
Holdrege Area Genealogy Club
(Rosy Gleason Memorial Gifts)
Donated by Tam Service by R. C. Booth Enterprises
Donated by Sara Olson
Donated by Richard Carlson
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Phelps County Marriage Book, 1878 - 1923, Volume 1, Compiled by Dick and Marjorie Dyas and Published by Holdrege Area Genealogy Club is now on sale. Included are entries of bride, groom, marriage date, parents name if found, book and page number of marriage record to help locate the marriage record on microfilm at our museum or at the Courthouse. Price $15.00 plus $4 shipping and Handling. Add .75 for tax if resident of Nebraska.

*COMING SOON* Phelps County Marriage Book, August 1923 - May 1976, Volume 2. We'll let you know when it's available.
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President's Message

We are fortunate at Phelps County Museum to have a place for a library. The library has a great collection of information about Phelps County, the state of Nebraska and histories and genealogical books from other states and countries. Holdrege Area Genealogy Club maintains the library and works in the library on Tuesday and Thursday afternoons. However, the library is open all times the museum is open.

The genealogy club has purchased all the Nebraska census on microfilm and are purchasing the Soundex, which is an index for the 1880 and 1900 census. Our club will also be publishing the second volume of Phelps County Marriages which should be available soon. Holdrege Area Genealogy Club will be sponsoring an Everton Genealogy Workshop on Saturday, September 11th, 1999 at the Phelps county Museum. They always provide an excellent speaker. This would be an excellent opportunity for you who want to learn more details on how to research your family tree. Any one wishing more information call the museum or 995-6712.

Your President, Sandra Slater

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~ Phelps County, Nebraska ~
~ October 15, 1925 ~

This information taken from a series of cemetery histories done by

Bertrand Herald Several years ago.

This cemetery is located in Rockfalls township in the southwest corner of Phelps County. Urbana Cemetery is another of the burial grounds in the vicinity of Bertrand that was established before the turn of the century. It was connected with the Urbana Church that served this neighborhood about nine miles southeast of Bertrand.

The Herald photographed this burial ground recently and then the Griffith family was contacted for information. As far as the Herald files go, little has been mentioned about the cemetery, but a complete history was printed on the Urbana church.

Dave, Spencer and Claude Griffith and Mrs. Gaillen Vinzant were called and they came up with much information concerning the plot. We thank them for their efforts.

The land on which the cemetery is located was donated by Perry D. Lewis, and strangely enough, he was the last person to be buried there, that being in 1942

A visit to the cemetery disclosed several graves, as follows: J Albert Smith, 1872-1892; Lucinda, wife of Frank Shaw, died April 10, 1892, 31 years, 1 month 3 days; Emma, wife of Frank Shaw, died March 6, 1894, 24 years and 20 days.; James 1832-1894; Margaret Griffith (wife of David Griffith Sr. and born in Cefn, Wales) died Feb. 10, 184, 36 years 11 months and 5 days; Carl G. Sandquist, born March 3, 1892, died Non. 1902, 10 years. 8 months, 15 days. Ann Griffith (wife of David Griffith), died Dec. 23,1903 48 years and 23 days; Albert Caswell, 1901-1904, 2 years, 10 months and 24 days.; George Lynch, 1887-1904, 16 years old; Martha A. Lewis (wife of Perry Lewis) 1857-1911, 54 years; Lucinda Shaw, 1834-1912; Nils Anders, no date on tombstone. Minnie (?) hard to identify, July 3, 1906; Perry D. Lewis was the last person buried in this cemetery, but no marker can be found as the grave has settled in about three feet. He died November 15, 1942.

Mr. Lewis was the great-grandfather of Eldon Steinbrink of Loomis and the grandfather of George Steinbrink of Kearney who recently died.

David Griffith, Sr. cared for the cemetery as long as he lived and then his daughter, Gwennie, took care of it as much as she could, especially the part fenced off where her parents are buried.

There might be more graves in the burial plot, but this is all the Griffiths could come up with. In the meantime, they are investigating the possibility of receiving county funds to restore the cemetery. According to information received, the plot qualifies under law to receive aid for restoration and care.

This information came from an old Loomis Sentinel, November 20, 1930. The families lived in the Loomis, Nebraska Vicinity.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

History without the names is very dry reading, and to attempt a historical review of the founding and growth of Loomis without paying special attention to the "old Timers" would be a folly.

MR. AARON JOHNSON: Mr. Aaron Johnson came to Phelps County from Illinois in 1876, homesteading north of Loomis, right out in the open country, for there for there was no railroad or town.

Mr. Aaron Johnson's life, after first settling in Phelps County, is closely related to the founding of the town of Loomis for to him goes the honor of the first suggesting to the Burlington the need for a rail road from Holdrege to Grant and the direction the line should take. Writing honorable George Holdrege, of the Burlington, Mr. Johnson suggested the need for a line. Mr. Johnson was the first to build and stock a General Store. Mr. Johnson was one of the first stock shippers in the county. He shipped 28 car loads of hogs down in the line to astern markets, Using a little pony to make the rounds of the farms in that part of the county, Mr. Johnson would sometime ride 40 or 50 miles a day, buying hogs to ship to market. He was married to Augusta Granlund, June 15, 1878, and they celebrated their fiftieth wedding anniversary, June 15, 1928. Mr. Johnson passed away January 14, 1929. At the age of 77 years, 4 months, and 14 days. He and Mrs. Johnson had lived on the same place all the years, where Mrs. Johnson lives now with her sons, Joseph and Lloyd and her daughter, Mable. The other children, Frank Walter and Henry and a daughter, Ida Carlson live in Loomis; Justice in the country near Loomis; a daughter; a daughter Julia Abramson in Holdrege; a son Victor near Bertrand; and a son Harry, passed away a few years ago.

L. M. LARSON: Mr. and Mrs. L. M. Larson came to Phelps County from Chicago in March of 1884, living in the Phelps Center neighborhood for 1 1/2 years. They moved to their farm near Loomis where the Minor Johnson lives now and lived there until 1888. Mr. Larson operated a blacksmith shop in Loomis and walked to his shop each day from his farm. His brother Gust came to the community in 1885 and they built a blacksmith shop in 1887 near where the home now stands. In 1885, Mr. and Mrs. Larson moved to Loomis and built the home where Mr. & Mrs. Larson now live. The shop burned down in 1915 and another shop was built later. Mrs.Larson is the mother of three boys, Elmer and Simon of Chicago, David in Flint, Michigan and Esther Johnson of Loomis. Grant Larson passed away March,1922, L. M. Larson September 10, 1923. Mrs. Larson has had many pleasant and some unhappy remembrances. Fires were a worry in the early days, she said.

AUGUST BERGMAN: August Bergman is another pioneer of the community, coming here May 5, 1882 and living on a farm north of town until he moved to Loomis seven years ago. Mr. Bergman was married in 1887 and they lived in a sod house until they built their frame house in 1892. Mr. and Mrs. Bergman are the parents of five children, Joe, who lives on the home place, Elmer who lives east of town, where the Trees Oil Co. are drilling, Paul in Kansas, Ruth at home and Marie, wife of Albert Anderson, in the Holcomb neighborhood. Mr. Bergman tells the story of the blizzard in the year of 1886. Clothes line ropes were tied to the door knob so that the men, when doing chores could follow it back to the house without being lost. He also tells of driving an ox team in his work to break the prairie.

ALBERT SUNBLADE: Albert Sunblade came to Phelps county in 1887 from Illinois at the age of 19 years . He homesteaded and lived on his farm over fifty years. He built a sod house and lived in it till 1897 when he built the frame house. He was married to Miss Nancy Johnson on March 22, 1884 and to them were born nine children, who live in or near Loomis now. Mr. Sunblade was a charter member of the Moses Hill church. He passed away two years ago. Mrs. Sunblade now lives in the north part of Loomis. The son Carl lives on the home place. The Sunblades endured many hardships. They worked with Ox teams and hauled their produce to Kearney and got there provisions from that place. The children are: Simon, Frank, Carl, Harry, Minnie Johnson, Mrs. Carl Young, Mrs. Arney Anderson, and Mrs. Carl Thorell.

MR. AND MRS. JOHN EKLUND: Mr. and Mrs. John Edlund with their two children, who are now E. H. and Mrs. Charlie Ericson came to Phelps County in 1880 and settled in the Westmark neighborhood and here two brothers attended school in their own home. The mother gave up the big room for the school and she stayed in the kitchen during the day. The teacher Amelia Hallgren, boarded with them. The Edlunds built their frame house in 1889, a half mile west of the sod house, where the son Fred Edlund, now lives. E. H. Edlund lives in the Moses Hill neighborhood.

MRS. ALFRED CARLSON: Mrs. Alfred Carlson came with her parents Mr. & Mrs. Zeph Nyquist to the Holcomb neighborhood in 1885. She moved to Loomis in 1902. One brother Martin Nyquist lives in the Westmark neighborhood. The rest of the Nyquist children live in Washington state.

MR. & MRS. ARCH WHITE: Mr. and Mrs. Arch White located in Loomis in 1885 on the Chaplin place across the road from Mr. L. M. Larson's place. Mrs. White is still living and at the present time is in Phelps county. Two of her daughters also live in this county, Mrs. Lambert Sunblade of this place and Mrs. Charlie Gassaway of Holdrege.

Mr. and Mrs. John August Carlson came to Phelps county in 1776 and lived seven miles north and three miles east of Loomis. Charlie and Alfred Carlson of this place, came with their parents. They built a two room house and later a sod house and the frame house still stands which they built on the homestead. Alfred Carlson tells of the Indian scare when word was brought to them the Indians were coming and it proved to be a herd of Antelope. After the prairie fire, there were three families living on their place, one family taking shelter in the cellar. The Carlsons' were one of the first to have a bucket well. The children living are, Alfred, Charlie and Christin in Loomis, Selby, near Bertrand, and Mrs. August Hanson of Holdrege.

C. E. STABERG: C. E. Staberg's parents came to this county in 1879 and settled in the Westmark neighborhood. Their home was of sod, as were all the buildings. Last year in April C. E. Staberg and his wife held open house celebrating the stay here in the county fifty years. He still lives on the farm in Westmark neighborhood.

MRS. F. D. SWANSON: Mrs. F. D. Swanson (Charleston) came to this county in 1879 with her parents and her brother, Gus Charleston, of Holdrege. Mrs. Swanson was married in 1884 to F. Swanson and they lived for a number of years in the Westmark neighborhood before living north of Loomis. They reside now in Holdrege. Gus Charleston and wife live in Holdrege and they are charter members of the Westmark church.

A. T. BLOOMQUIST: Mr. A. T. Bloomquist came to Phelps County in 1884 and then moved to the farm where the Frank Holm family now lives, in 1885. He later moved on the farm south of town where he lived 10 years. He moved to Loomis with his family a few years ago. Mrs. Bloomquist passed away in February of 1929. Mr. Bloomquist's children, Mrs. Ernest Abramson, Ruth, Sigma, David and Gust live here and Marie lives in Minnesota.

RICHARD AND ELIZABETH MORRISON: Richard and Elizabeth Morrison came to Phelps County in 1884 living near Atlanta in a sod house with neither door or floor, from spring to August of the same year. Then they moved to the Whitcomb place, which is now the Peter P. Nelson Farm, southeast of here, where they lived for 15 months in a sod house with an up stairs. In the meantime, they had bought a section of land from the Union Pacific at $4 an acre, and when the railroad was built through Loomis, the stakes were put in the corner of their sod house. Jim had lived in a shack on this place while they were building their sod house. They moved to this place in 1886 where the father passed away in 1887.

In 1890 Tom Morrison was married and built a house which he occupied until 1900. Rob then was married and he moved to this place which has been his home ever since. When the house was being built, a hail storm destroyed the newly built roof. R. G. Morrison was married to Jessie Marshall in 1868 and he, with his wife have lived on the home place. They remodeled this home in 1926, and it is now one of the up-to-date homes of the community.

The diary begun in 1863 by Richard Morrison, Sr. has been preserved by his son Richard. It contains many interesting points of history.

The Morrison boys all live in Phelps county at the present time. R. G. on the home place, R. M. , 1 miles west of ton, Tom on his farm 1 miles northwest of town, Jim in Atlanta, John in Holdrege, The daughters are Lillie Redfern, who lives near Holdrege; Ann De Lorme of Chicago, and Mary Taylor, who passed away a number of years ago. Her husband was one of the first depot agents of this place.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Senior Editor of the Alexandra Argus
(This article donated by Clyda Johnson, Atlanta, NE )

My first school teaching in Nebraska, in 1886 was in a sod school house near Holdrege where I stayed with my sister, Mrs. Clem Simpson, now of Mirror, Alberta, Canada. Mrs. Hopewood was the superintendent of Phelps County. She offered a cash prize of $6 for the best school exercise put on at the county fair. I remember one day a big snow storm suddenly came up; I kept all the children in the school house until parents came after them. Nels Kronquist, a young man, came on horse back after his brother and sister and came back after me. The children had all been taken home by this time, hence I rode behind Mr. Kronquest on his horse to his fine cultured home where I was entertained with the family until the storm was over.

A year later, I contracted with another school near Holdrege, where the village of Atlanta is now located. The patrons of two school districts had gone together and built a school house by popular donated labor. The patrons of one school district built the sod walls, while the patrons of another district put on a thatched roof. I contracted with the school district who had built the walls of the school house, the building being located in their territory. After school began, my school officers announced that pupils not residing in the school district would have to pay tuition. The parents who had built the roof of the school house said if they had to pay tuition to send their children they would come and take away the roof of the school house, and they did take it down while the school was in session. We finished the term of school in a dugout. Miss Laura V. Pickering, who was one of the pupils, wrote from her home at McCook, Nebr. saying : "We had a fine school, never the less, even if we did finish it in the old dug out."

Oh! Those were the days
that were spent in the school house on the plain.
Just a place to get in form the cold and the rain.
Built of sod, dug-out of the ground
not a thing to call fine.
Many happy days were spent in the
little old sod dugout school of mine.

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In researching the records at the Phelps County School Superintendents office, we found that L. H. Thornburg taught two schools north of Holdrege. First in School Dist. 25, a sod school house, called Hanson School in Sheridan Township for 58 days starting in August of 1886.

He then taught 21 students in School District 72 (Capital School), a wood school located in Center Township.

The above story states that he taught in a school where Atlanta, Nebraska is now located. A search of school records indicate that district 64 (Atlanta School District) was not created until September 6th 1888. The above mentioned school "walls" were built by School District 40 (Hawkeye School). School district 41 (Lake View School) had provided the thatch roof.

Three different teachers were hired in 1888 for School District 40. They were Mrs. S. C. Barrum in January, L. H. Thornburg in April and Joseph R. Fulk who stayed for two terms starting in October of 1888 until February of 1889. The term papers shows there were 39 students in January and February in the sod house listed as in bad condition. Mr. Thornburg has 27 students listed in his April through July school term. The school is still a sod structure with two square feet of blackboard. By October 1888 Joseph R. Fulk was teaching 17 students in a wood structure building. That same year, the County School Superintendent, Mina Hopwood resigned.


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Below is the list of students L.H. THORNBURG
was teaching in April of 1888.
School District 40, Industry Township


C. Soderstrom
John Soderstrom 20 SE. Sec. 24,
Twp. 5
C. Soderstrom
Charles Soderstrom 17
Axel Soderstrom 14
Joseph Soderstrom 11
Hannah Soderstrom 10
Olof C. Johnson
John Johnson 20 NE Sec. 25,
Twp. 5
Hannah Johnson
Andres Johnson 18
Emma Johnson 16
Scot. Neff Louie Neff 13 NW Sec. 34,
Twp. 5
Otto Neff 10
Herman Sealing
Mary Sealing 17 NE Sec. 34,
Twp. 5
Sarah Sealing 15
Moses Skiles
Harry Hefty 14 NW Sec 27,
Twp. 5
Louisa John Hefty 12
C. H. Sheaffer
Milton Sheaffer 18 NE, Sec. 22,
Twp. 5
Rebecca Sheaffer
Edgar Sheaffer 16
Elmer Sheaffer 14
Mary Sheaffer 12
Pearl Sheaffer 8
George M. Skiles
Mary A. Skiles 17 SE, Sec. 22,
Twp 5
Elizabeth Skiles
Roy Skiles 15
Robert Skiles 13
Fred Skills 10
J. B. Picketing
Laura Picketing 16 SW Sec. 23,
Twp. 5
Virginia J. Picketing
Clara Picketing 10
Fred Pickering 20
A. Wanmer
Silivia A. Wanmer 12 SW Sec. 24,
Twp 5
Lucy A. Mina E. Wanner 9
Charles F. 5
Louis Sealing 19
James Liegh
Grace Leigh 9 NW Sec 25
Twp. 5
Catherine Leigh
Edna Leigh 7
Hiram A. Pickering
Frank Pickering 20 NW Sec. 24
Twp. 5
Mary A. Pickering
Oscar Pickering 17
Cordila Pickering 15
Flora Pickering 12
Edward 8
Jo. Glasgo Jessie Glasgo 7 SW Sec. 27
Twp. 5
Catherine Glasgo
Fred Hill 20
Samuel L. Danner
Cora Danner 12 NE Sec. 35
Twp. 5
W. A. Montgomery
E. P. Montgomery 20 SW Sec. 26
Twp. 5
M. A. Montgomery
Louis M. Montgomery 11
John Stennett
Eliza Stennett 17 SE Sec. 27
Twp. 5
John Brandt
Charlie Pickering 18 NE Sec. 27
Twp. 5
G. M. Case
Charlie Case --- SW Sec. 27
Twp. 5
Susan Case
Byron Borden
Sidney Borden 10 SW Sec. 27
Twp. 5
Louisa Borden
Russell 9
Harvey 7
Nillie 5
Aziriah Silver
Bert Silver 20 SW Sec. 25
Twp. 5
Elizabeth Silver
Emery 17
Norman 13
Nillie 10
Maude 8
H. Rodabush
Charlie Rodabush 15 SW Sec. 27
Mattie Twp. 5

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~Harlan County Nebraska~
The Phelps Helps Newsletter highlights Harlan County Nebraska in this section. With many of our subscribers interested in and from Harlan County, and since Harlan County is a connecting county to Phelps County, the Phelps Helps will publish history information on Harlan County.

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P.O. Box 13 320
Johnsonville, Wellington
New Zealand

Holdrege Area Genealogy Club received a email from New Zealand a few months ago. Trenor Cobeldick found mention of the old Cobeldick Cemetery in Harlan County in our home page on the internet. We sent him some information and he in return has sent additional Cobeldick information from New Zealand which we have added to our surname files.

Jabez Cobeldick and Mary Ann Cobeldick were both buried in the Cobeldick Cemetery but have been moved to Republican City Cemetery near Republican City, NE.

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(From the Biographical Souvenir of the Counties of Buffalo, Kearney, Phelps, Harlan and Franklin county, Nebraska, 1890)

Jebez Cobeldick, an early settler and an honored and much respected citizen of Prairie Dog Township, Harlan county, Nebraska was born in England, June 10, 1816, and is the son of Richard Cobeldick, also a native of England and a shipwright in Her Majesty's ship yards. His mother, Betsie (Sloggett) Cobeldick, was born in England and lived and died in her native country. Our subject spent his early life at home, and up to the twenty-first year of his life attended school and served an apprenticeship under his father at the trade of shipwright. Arriving at his majority and being of some what romantic turn of mind, and desiring to see more of the world than his native land, he set sail in 1838 for Australia. Arriving there, he soon found employment at his trade and continued working and viewing the country for fifteen months. He then took passage by steamer and after a voyage lasting some days concluded to land at Van Dieman's Land where he worked nine months at his trade as shipbuilder. His next exploit was as carpenter on board a whale ship, bound for the China Seas. The voyage was a very successful one and lasted for three years and afforded him a great opportunity, which he took advantage of, to study the customs and manners of foreign nations. He next landed at Swan river, in western Australia, where he built a schooner and repaired a broken ship, spending five years there, and finally returned to England in the ship he had repaired. After a sojourn in his native country of six months' duration, he embarked for America, landing in this country in December of 1848. He first located in Cincinnati, but remained there only a short time, finally settling permanently at Andalusia, Ill., where for nearly twenty years he ran a warehouse and bought and sold grain. Although well up in years at the time, he decided to come West and settle on the frontier and grow with the country, so to speak. He accordingly did so, landing in Harlan County, Nebraska, February 28, 1872. He at once homesteaded a claim on one hundred and sixty acres, lying half in section 25 and half in section 26. He was among the earliest settlers, there being a few further up the creek. The country presented a dreary appearance and looked anything but inviting to one who had almost circumnavigated the globe and lived on some of the most densely populated and most productive districts in the world.

Wild buffalo were roaming over the unbroken prairie in herds of thousands and deer, elk and antelope were almost daily seen along the creeks and within the draws of little neighboring hills. His success at farming, like that of every other settler in a new country, was somewhat varied, getting fair crops some years and again nothing at all. The doughty and grasshoppers proved very drought to the crops and farming for the first five and six years was up-hill business, but after the country became more generally settled, the rains fell oftener and more gently, and his crops gradually increased until complaint on account of failure entirely ceased. Of late years Mr. Cobeldick has been devoting his time and attention to fruit growing and he now has twelve hundred very fine thrifty apple trees, just beginning to bear.

Mr. Cobeldick was married November 2, 1848 to Mary Ann Mitchell, a native of England, born February 24, 1810. Their happy union has been blessed with the birth of one child---John S., born October 11, 1849, who is married and owns and farms a place adjoining that of his father's. Mr. and Mrs. Cobeldick are both active members of the Methodist Episcopal church at Republican City, Politically, Mr. Cobeldick is a prohibitionist and a strong believer in the principles.

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"THE FIRST 24X6X6" deep steam yacht, the "Minnie B" sailed up the Republican River from Orleans, Nebraska in 1904; the Orleans Mill and Elevator Company would in time manufacture 120 barrels of flour per day.


Samuel L. Roberts, general merchant, was born in Clark County, Ohio in 1845 and followed farming as an occupation in Warren County, Iowa, and Cass County Missouri, until he came to Nebraska in June of 1874. Mr. Roberts homesteaded 160 acres in Harlan County and for eighteen months devoted his time to farming the same, he then "proved up" sold out and removed on to Methodist Creek, Harlan county where he preempted 160 acres, residing there for nearly three years; this he then sold and purchased 200 acres in the same county where he was for a year engaged in raising stock, etc. In May, 1880, he came to Alma and read law, also acted as Justice of the Peace. In the following November, he engaged in the business in company with C. O. Smith, who retired in January, 1882. Mr. Roberts was appointed a member of the Alma, Nebraska town board at its incorporation, the Treasurer of town in May of 1882.

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