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Phelps Helps Newsletter
Holdrege Area Genealogical Society

For a full hard copy issue, email:
Holdrege Area Genealogy Club


Vol. 9-4
Winter 2000
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!

 


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PRESIDENT'S MESSAGE

This has been a busy year for Holdrege Area Genealogy Club. We have republished our Phelps County Cemetery books, have completed several research requests and continue to add valuable information to the library. This could not be accomplished without the help of so many volunteers. We appreciate all that contribute.

Ada Hinson volunteers at the library on Tuesday and Thursday afternoons. She catalogs books and assists with research. Virginia Lindstrom catalogs all the material housed in the Records Room at the Museum and works on Tuesday afternoons at the library. Renate Emken is making a card index for all the Camp Atlanta P.O.W. Archives and works on Thursday afternoons at the library. Ben Boell volunteers on Tuesday afternoon with research requests and fix up projects. He also does our Harlan County research. Harry Stuart is currently updating our master obituary index on the computer and is keeping our shelf list updated on the computer. Martha Tweety is currently indexing our books containing biographies, business and church histories.

Julie Elmore a student from ESU, is indexing the 1903 Phelps County Atlas. Marcia Rost is making a copy of Polk County, Nebraska atlas for us. Lorena Smith, Eleanor Haselquest and Joy Lindstrom, our Wednesday crew, cut out all current newspaper articles for our scrapbooks. Patti Simpson updates our Phelps Helps Newsletter and maintains our Holdrege Area Genealogy site on her Web page. Sara Firehammer creates the index for the Phelps Helps newsletter that is then added to our Web page.

Your President, Sandra Slater

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NEW BOOKS ON THE SHELF

DONATED BY WARNER CARLSON
ANDREW G. LINDEN, A Family History

DONATED BY ARA SANDERS
ILLINOIS SCHUYLER COUNTY "THE SCHULYERITE" ­

DONATED FROM CLASS OF 1950
REMEMBRANCES OF CLASS OF 1950, HOLDREGE HIGH SCHOOL, HOLDREGE, NE
VFW MEMBERSHIP RECORDS OF PHELPS COUNTY, NE (NOTEBOOK)

GIFT FROM SARA FIREHAMMER
WESTERN PENNSYLVANIA GENEALOGICAL SOCIETY QUARTERLIES, VOL. 26, NO. 2, FALL 1999.
INDEX TO INDIANA WILLS, PHASE 1 THROUGH 1850
WESTMORELAND IN THE COUNTY OF LITCHFIELD IN THE COLONY OF CONNECTICUT,
THE WYOMING VALLEY, PROBATE RECORDS FROM JANUARY 6, 1777 TO JUNE 16, 1783
INDEX TO ALLEGHENY COUNTY, PA WILLS 1789-1869
OWEN COUNTY INDIANA MARRIAGES 1819-1844
PRE 1882 INDIANA BIRTHS FROM SECONDARY SOURCES, Vol. 1 & 2
INDIANA ANCESTORS, Index 1
ABSTRACTS OF CUMBERLAND COUNTY WILLS 1750-1785
INDEX TO 1850 CENSUS OF DELAWARE
THE FOUR FLAGS AREA GENEALOGICAL SOCIETY
FOUR FLAGS TRACER , Indiana and Midwestern History" Genealogical Newsletter (17 issues 1992-1998)
"TRACES " Of Indiana and Midwestern History, fall 1998

DONOR UNKNOWN
DESCENDANTS OF WILLIAM IRELAND

DICK AND MARGERY DYAS
THE CARTER SCHOOL 1874-1974, District 35, Harlan County, NE

DICK MULLINER
OMAHA BEACHHEAD ST-LO
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NEBRASKA 1900 SOUNDEX NOW AVAILABLE AT OUR LIBRARY

Our Genealogy Club voted to purchase the remaining 42 microfilms to complete our 1900 Nebraska Soundex collection. The Soundex is very helpful for the research requests we receive.

This microfilm is available to anyone who visits our library. Our staff is available on Tuesday and Thursday afternoons for anyone needing assistance

Microfilm available at the library:
Nebraska Federal Census for 1860, 1870, 1880, 1900, 1910, 1920
Nebraska State Census for 1885
Nebraska Mortality schedules for 1880 and 1885
Phelps County Marriage records
1880 Nebraska Soundex
1900 Nebraska Soundex

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NUTZMANN RANCH HOMESTEAD

From the Bertrand Herald newspaper
dated about 1950

The above house [pics available in hard copy only] of many chimneys is the one built by Mr. Nutzmann and is still standing on the farm. Left to right are Louie Heintz hired man; Emma Heintz, hired girl; Mrs. Alf Nutzman, Harold Nutzman (son), Alf Nutzman, Willie Dannehl, Lena Dannehl (Mrs. Ramels), Louie Dannehl, Lillian Nutman (Mrs. Guy Walters), Mrs. Josie Lewis, Mrs. Chris Nutzman, Chris Nutzman, Albert Nutzman.

Under the right gable of the house is a bell. This was used to call the family and hired men to dinner. A bell was located in the bedroom of Mr. and Mrs. Nutzman, and when this sounded, feet in all eleven rooms hit the floor, for it was a signal to start the day's work.

Mrs. Mollie Huggett wrote the account of the history of the late Chris Nutzmann ranch.

Mrs. Emma Roepke recently sold the land that is known to the older people as the Chris Nutzmann farm and ranch. Mr. and Mrs. Henry Roepke have owned it since 1915 when they purchased it from the Nutzmann estate. Mrs. Emma Roepke is a daughter of Chris Nutzmann.

William Fanter also purchased an amount of the Nutzmann estate and joining this ranch in the year of 1915. Chris Nutzmann homesteaded the farm recently sold to Mrs. Roepke in October of 1878, 72 years ago. Mrs. Roepke sold it in October 1949.

When Mr. Nutzmann homesteaded this land he dug a one room dugout where he and his wife and two daughters lived for a while and in 1881 built a sod house for the family. Then in the year of 1885 he built one-half of the present frame house now standing. Later he purchased and added more land on his homestead. In the year 1900 he added to the frame house, the west half making it an 11 room structure, with two large hallways, four large porches and several clothes closets. Also during his stay there he built a large barn in which 48 head of horses were stalled as plenty of horses were needed to farm his land with many hired men employed there; also a hired girl, Mrs. Ed Huff, formerly Miss Lydia Esslinger, was employed there as a hired girl for several years by Mr. and Mrs. Nutzmann.

On this farm is also a large cow barn, cattle shed and hog houses. The last building Mr. Nutzmann built there was a very large granary, constructed in the years of 1904 to 1905.

Mr. Nutzmann moved from his farm to near Bertrand. His son Jim Nutzmann moved from his farm near Bertrand. His son Jim Nutzmann rented it and lived there three years, moving to near Bertrand. Mr. and Mrs. Henry Toepke then rented and lived there three years and purchased from the estate, living there 18 years, moving to Bertrand. They rented it to their daughter and son-in-law, Mr. and Mrs. Sam Phillips, who lived there 9 years and moved to near Elwood. In 1940 it was rented by Roepkes and Mr. and Mrs. Fred Wissmann, the first non-relative to operate the farm of the 71 years. In November 1948, Wayne Huggett, a great grandson of Chris Nutzmann moved there and is at present operating the section. However, he will move next spring, and the buildings will be sold.

Mr. Nutzmann fed and fattened many head of cattle on this ranch, driving the herds to market on the foot to Edison, Smithfield or Bertrand, to ship to eastern markets.

He also built a large set of improvements on the northeast part of his land, which was purchased by the late Wm Fanter, now owned by J. J. Lewis of Hastings.
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~ THE WESTFALL FAMILY ~

(Information from the Bertrand Herald, date unknown)

On the 17th of September 1885 the three Westfall brothers, Newton, Michael and Marion with their families left Urbana, Ohio by train for a long trip west. Their destination being Bertrand Nebraska, where another brother Amos Westfall, had lived for many years. We arrived in Bertrand on the evening of the 19th. We did not leave the train as my father had arranged with the conductor to take us as far as the crossing where Alton Maaske now lives. The charge for this was fifty cents. A man named Dennis Wandling lived near there and took us in his wagon to my uncle's home two miles distant. It was after dark when we reached there.

Their house was a roomy sod building, very nice and housed the twenty of us very nicely.

There were sixteen in our party. My father Michael brought lumber from Ohio to build a house and he being a carpenter and with the help of others, soon had it completed and we were at home in the new country. We were a little homesick at first. There were no trees for shade no grass to play on, the wind blew and we were not used to the dust.

The schoolhouse at Tracyville, which still stands had just been completed and school was in session. We were soon enrolled there and were too busy to be discontent. The sod school house stood just across the road from it. We just missed getting to go to school in it. Frank Farmer was the teacher. If any pupil misbehaved he made them learn the thirteen's.

Sunday school was started in the schoolhouse with a Mr. Whitaker as superintendent. It was well attended and was the only place there was to go. It was decided to buy an organ for the Sunday School and we had to raise money. So ice cream socials and box suppers were held and we soon had an organ. Etta Brand was the organist.

In time a literary society was organized and good programs were put on and we had lively debates. Wilson Winslow was one of the forceful speakers. We also had spelling matches and later a man named Johnston came and organized a singing school. It proved to be interesting and worthwhile, both young and old taking part. Good programs were given and people came from miles around.

There were no fences and one could take shortcuts to any place they chose to go. The winters were severe with much snow and occasional blizzards and fuel was not plentiful. We had to resort to burning corn at times, also cane seed.

My father and his three brothers were Civil War veterans and the first social affair we attended in Bertrand was a "bean supper" given by the veterans here. They had a short program. The only number I can recall was a bean song, the chorus of which ran thus: "Beans for super, Beans, Beans, Beans!" It was sung to the tune, "Go Tell Aunt Rhody."

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ELECTION BET OF 1888 IS PAID OFF

An election bet on the Cleveland-Harrison presidential race in 1888 resulted in a Rock Falls farmer wheeling his neighbor 15 miles in a wheelbarrow and delivering him in Holdrege.

W. D. Bird, ardent Republican, and John J. Blackburn, just as ardent a Democrat, agreed on the election bet. Harrison was elected and the bet was paid off a few days following the November election. The Holdrege paper reported, "One fine day in November Mr. Blackburn ate an uncommonly large breakfast, loaded, the victorious neighbor on his wheelbarrow, and started. The procession arrived in Holdrege about one o'clock of that day. Bird said he was about as tired as Blackburn."
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~ PHELPS COUNTY ~

Brief History of Our County

Phelps County was organized April 23, 1873. Williamsburg, located in Section 14, Township 8 and Range 19 was named the county seat. The County seat was moved to Phelps Center in 1879 and to Holdrege, its present location, in 1883. Early settlers lured by government Homesteaded lands and cheap railroad lands, were mainly of Swedish descent.

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HISTORY OF OUR PRESENT TOWNS
IN PHELPS COUNTY, NEBRASKA

ATLANTA - This village was laid out in 1883. Post office was established in 1884. Town was incorporated in 1908 and probably named after Atlanta, IL, former home of some of its early settlers. Other old settlers claim the name was taken from the mythical Atlantis. Located in Section 27, Industry Township, Range 19.

BERTRAND ­ Migration to the community that was later to be known as Bertrand began in 1879. Bertrand was incorporated on December 11, 1885. Named for Alonzo Bertrand Minor, a Burlington Land Dept. official, who was later secretary of the Lincoln Land Co. for 15 years. Located in Section 31 of Garfield Township, Range 20.

FUNK- Named in honor of P. C. Funk, a Civil War Veteran and community leader who settled in Phelps County in 1879. First house built in 1887. Funk was incorporated in July of 1913. Located in Section 28, Divide Township, Range 17.

HOLDREGE- Named for George Holdrege, master builder of the Burlington and Missouri Railroad. Settlement began October 9, 1883 and became incorporated in February of 1884. When determined railroad would not go near Phelps Center, the new town of Holdrege was built. Businessmen in Phelps Center were offered locations in Holdrege and many moved to the new town. First additions to the original town were platted as early as 1887. Located in Section 32-33 of Sheridan Township and 4-5 of Prairie Township, Range 18.

In 1906 an ordinance passed that changed the names of the streets running east and west. The streets were formerly designated avenues. The former street names were changed as follows: Howard ­ 2nd Ave.; Hopwood ­ 3rd Ave.; Hayden ­ 4th Ave.; Hedlund ­ 5th Ave.; Hoyt ­ 6th Ave.; Hudson 7th Ave.; Howard ­ 8th Ave.; Hansen ­ 9th Ave.; Harvey ­ South 1st Ave.; Hewitt - South 2nd Ave.

LOOMIS ­ Named in honor of an Omaha lawyer connected with the Burlington Railroads. Incorporated in 1886. Located in Section 20, Laird Township.

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SCOTCH-IRISH IMMIGRATION
Nugget Newspaper
February 20, 1884, Holdrege, Nebraska

Last week a delegation of 30 men, woman and children arrived in Holdrege on their way to new homes five miles west of Phelps Center. They are relatives of D. N. Hart, who located there last year, and who by the way, is one of the finest auctioneers in the county. These people are mostly Scotch-Irish and they are the very best citizens. We hope there are more to follow.

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FERRY BOAT SINKS
Nugget Newspaper, July 16, 1884

On Friday last, the ferry boat on the Platte River sank at Kearney. Three men were plunged into the water but were pulled out by a gentleman who happened along. The Kearney mail thus failed to arrive until Saturday.

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JOHN FRASER
Nugget Newspaper
February 20, 1884, Holdrege, NE

John Fraser, Cottonwood postmaster was out hunting chickens Saturday and instead of emptying a barrel of shot into the prairie chicken, received the contents in his left hand, tearing off the thumb. An imperfect gun was the cause of the racket.

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CHRISTMAS MEMORIES
OF OUR EARLY
PHELPS COUNTY PIONEERS

Christmas was a gala time in the Swedish home, especially for the children. Preparations began weeks earlier, when the housewives pooled their supplies of milk and made cheese, enough for all. Some of the cheeses were white, some colored: some were flavored with caraway. Cheese making meant a good deal of work and attention each day in turning.

Celebrations began Christmas Eve with a supper of lutfisk, which was more work. The dried fish had to be sawed in small pieces soaked in water for a time, into a solution of lime and wood ashes, back to the water again before it was ready to be cooked and served with mustard sauce.

Ostkaka, ever present on the holiday menu, required time and labor, too. After the milk was curdled, just so, the whey removed, milk, sugar and eggs were added and the whole baked into a pudding. Lingonberries (from the big wooden bucket) topped the warm pudding, and a dash of whipped cream completed the dish.

Rice pudding, another favorite dish, had lines of cinnamon across the top, forming a pattern. Sometimes they were baked with almonds; sometimes only one almond and the lucky finder of the almond had a wondrous future in store.

Most cooks had a hand on supplies of potato bologna and barley and liver pudding, and of course ample stores of mandel krantz, or almond wreath, the delicious Swedish cookie so full of butter that dexterity is needed in forming its crinkle-edge wreath shape. Flavored with almonds crushed or an extract, the cookies were served with coffee to the frequent visitors during the holidays.

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JUL-OTTA

Christmas morning brought Jul-otta, 5 o'clock church services with tall white candles, two to a window, lighting the path across the still dark prairie. From the church ceiling hung the ljusa krona, or lighted crown, a candelabrum made of wire, decorated with colored tissue and streamers and holding more of the tall white candles.

Each church and most of the homes had a Christmas tree, small cottonwood striplings from the banks of the Platte River. Branches were wrapped in long strips of tissue, red and white fringed to give the tree a frothy appearance. Apples, Cranberries and popcorn were used for further decoration 'the trees were kept up thirteen days following Christmas, waiting the season of Epiphany.

Some homes had the fun of Doppa grytaa (dip Kettle) Christmas morning, with the family gathered round the kettle, dipping their pieces of bread into the good thick broth with much merriment.

No less vivid, in the memories of some, is the fragrance of the coffee beans when mother roasted them in the oven, mixed with rye and molasses before grinding. Swedes seldom drank tea, and their coffee was brewed with strength though not unduly so because of the Swedish thrift. Loaf sugar, a real luxury, was saved for occasions of note and was dissolved, not in the cup, but in the mouth with the last swallow of coffee.

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~Harlan County Nebraska~
NOTE:
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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MORE PIONEER HISTORY OF
HARLAN COUNTY, NE

Extracted From speech Delivered by William Gaslin, At Alma, Nebraska, April 14, 1880

The first town in the county had the high sounding name of Napolean, laid out in the fall of 1870. Next came Melrose. The first building there was the old stockade erected by F. A. Biuon in the spring of 1871. Next was the log store of Casey and Connelly. In 1872 Hooper and McKee erected a commodious two-story building and put a large stock of goods therein. For a full history of the rise and development of Melrose, I refer the reader to those who actively took part and delighted in the county seat boils and townsite fights. I never had any desire for such and will not enter into the recitals of the same. Sufficient to say Melrose and Carthage were soon no more. The next town on paper and in the fertile imagination was Alma in the spring of 1871.

In 1871, Dr. John McPherson, in company with a party visited Harlan County and returned in and founded Republican City, not on paper, but visibly and actually by the erection of buildings. It has gradually grown and flourished till it is one of the best towns in the valley.

Upon my return from Omaha, to the Valley in 1871, I brought with me one of the most worthy young men that ever settled in Harlan County. Warren M. Fletcher. He took the claim on which now Orleans is located. He proved up in the fall of 1872, and sold it to the late D. N. Smith, on which the town was soon laid out, and during the following winter John King, I think, erected the first building, the hotel building occupied by Mr. Webb. Orleans has gradually improved till it is one of the largest and best towns in the valley.

In the county seat and town fights D. N. Smith incurred the animosity of many. Two or three years prior to his death, I came in close contact and become well acquainted with him. I found him very intelligent, genial, honorable gentleman, for whom I felt a warm friendship. He had an iron will, possessed extended and varied knowledge, and was ever true to his friends. For his memory I entertain my most profound respect.

The townsite of Alma, who's anniversary we this day celebrate, was selected by Coad, Murrin, and others in the spring of 1871, after the fear of Indians began to subside. In the spring of 1872, there was a great rush to Harlan County, and the entire valley. Men came to Alma with money, and resolved to build up the town. A certain man was chosen to go to Beatrice and enter the townsite for the benefit of the occupants, but he endeavored to secure it in his own name. He was dismissed and Frank Shaffer was appointed in his place, and he erected the first log house on the townsite in 1872. Broadball also built a sod blacksmith shop. Moore and Sapping in the summer of 1872 erected the first store. Dissections and discord broke up the town. Shaffer moved his buildings to Orleans. Moore and Sapping sold their building to Mr. Jewel and moved to Melrose, and Alma was dead. I think in 1873, the people of Republican City filed a mandamus to compel Melrose to give up the county records as a virtue of an election of 1872; the latter place had been declared the county seat. When the case came up, I filled an interpleading to have Alma made a party to test her right to the county seat under the election held July 3, 1871 by virtue of an act of June 3, same year. At the next term the court Judge Gaunt decided to have Alma the county seat of Harlan County. In 1875, Frank Shaffer moved a little house from his homestead, which was the first building in Alma since its resurrection. This was used for county purposes till Judge Guyler erected his store in the fall of 1877, which was occupied by the county till the present county building was erected. The next building in Alma in 1875 was Guyer's log house. Third was a little house erected by Will Downs, County Clerk, to reside in. District court has been held and county business transacted here since 1876. No town in the valley has grown and prospered so much in a year as Alma. Your growth and prosperity is apparent to all and need no comment by me.



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