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Union precinct is located in the east central part of Saunders County. Its legal description is Township 15, Range 9 east. The Platte river makes up the east boundary. The north row of sections was made a part of Leshara Precinct. Along the river lies a valley of dark loam soil mostly pasture and hay land. From there west are gently rolling hills of clay that are excellent farm land.
On December 3, 1866, the county was divided into three commissioner districts, one of which was named Union. During the next five years the county was divided into smaller districts until February 1, 1871, when it was divided into twenty-three precincts.
The main purpose of the Precinct was to build and maintain public roads. The first road supervisor was E.S. Ballou, appointed on August 24, 1869. Road maintenance is still today one of the most important functions of the precinct. The governing board consists of three members, Justice of the Peace, which goes back to the early days when the board was the main local governing body, Secretary, and Treasurer. The present board members are Marvin (Bud) Zaugg, Danny Street, and Larry Buck.
The population of Union precinct has steadily grown through the years. Early figures show 1880, 704; 1890, 779; 1900, 845; and 1910, 790. The 1980 population was 1448. Union precinct includes the town of Yutan and Timbercrest subdivision. Submitted by Lester Zwiebel
The Village of Yutan was platted in 1876 by the Omaha and Republican Railroad which was then extending its line from Valley to Wahoo, and on to Lincoln. It was customary for the Railroads to plan towns to be approximately 7 or 8 miles apart. The Union Pacific purchased the Omaha and Republican Railroad in 1898 and still owns and operates the system.
The name Clear Creek was first given to the settlement, but there was a town in the state called Clearwater and the towns were often confused. It was decided that another name must be selected. After much discussion the name Yutan was chosen in honor of Indian Chief Itan of the Oto-Missouri Tribe which had an encampment for 30 years about 1 ½ miles southeast of the present site of Yutan. The name change took place June 6, 1884.
In 1868, a post office had been established at Headland, about 3 ½ miles southeast of Yutan's present location. There was a stagecoach line from Fremont to Ashland, and it was thought that there might be a railroad built following this route. But this was not to be and the post office was moved in 1876 to the 16-block area which the Omaha and Republican Railroad had platted out for the new town site.
According to old records 6 or 7 houses were built at Clear Creek in 1876. At least 2 of those houses are still standing. John Peters built a store and a home, and Frederick Milek built a home and blacksmith shop. Reverend Frederick Hullhorst, pastor of the Reformed Church which had been organized in 1874, had built a home in the Headland area. He now tore this house down and rebuilt it on land next to the lots donated to the Church by the Railroad. This house stood for almost 103 years; it was gutted by fire January 4, 1979, and had to be demolished. At the time of the burning it was owned by the Church but was not being used as a parsonage. There were other houses built in this general vicinity before 1876 but the three mentioned above are the only ones we know of which were built in 1876 within the Clear Creek townsite.
Fur traders had traveled along the Platte River in Nebraska during the 1800's and considered it a treeless expanse on their way to the mountains and to the west coast. But white settlers were coming into the state. Omaha was a trading post in 1825, and obtained a city charter in 1857. The Territory of Nebraska was created in 1854 and this Act opened the land to homesteaders. The Civil War had ended in 1865 and people from the Eastern States sought new homes west of the Missouri River. At the same time conditions in Central Europe were very unsettled and people there were seeking new homes.
Settlers started coming into northeastern Saunders County in 1869, and by 1873 there were many German families in the area, -- people by the name of Duerrbaum, Heuck, Hollst, Kolb, Kuhr, Matzen, Mumm, Peters, Plambeck, Schulz, Strom, Thomas, Wagemann, Weuthrich, and Zaugg. Descendants of some of these families are still living here, some are even farming on land homesteaded by their great-grandparents.
"Old Timers" say that Yutan experienced its greatest period of growth from 1890 to 1905 when the early settlers moved into town leaving the management of the farm to one of the sons, or possibly a son-in-law.
The Burlington Railroad built a line from Fremont to Lincoln in 1905 and this line went through Yutan giving the people of this community excellent train service for many years. At one time four passenger trains and several freight trains traveled through town each day. Now there are some freight trains but no passenger trains. The Burlington Depot closed in 1954, and the Union Pacific in 1958.
Until the middle 1960's Yutan was definitely a village with a population of about 300. Then houses were gradually built and occupied at the southern edge of town. In 1972 a housing development started east of town with about 170 residences. These houses, too, were soon occupied as people moved out from Douglas County. The population has now stabilized at around 1200 (twelve hundred), which many folks feel is just about the right size for a town. Neva L. Peters (Mrs. Hubert H. Peters)
THE UNITED STATES
good gathering places for people as they picked up their mail. It was an opportunity to exchange remarks about the crops, the weather, some special incident in the community, or some political information. Of course this has been true of Yutan also. The people in the older section of town still get their mail at the postoffice. But in the two housing developments, one east and one south of town, the people receive their mail from a rural postal carrier. The Post Office in Yutan serves about 2,000 people. Submitted by Donis Hancock and JoAnn Schulz
THE OTO AND MISSOURI
|Legion Parade 1983|
The Yutan American Legion Auxiliary Unit #262 was organized in 1956 with 24 charter members. The Unit assists the Legion in its aims and programs.
The charter members were: Lorraine Anderson, Janet Behrens, Marianne Bull, Lucille Christiansen, Elsie Drews, Carol Ecklund, Lois Heldt, Emma Kennec, Betty Kirchmann, Gertrude Kuehl, Evelyn Lorenz, Anne Mumm, Neva Peters, Marian Stamp, Jean Stange, Rickie Stange, Rose Stange, Faye Stranathan, Gladys Storm, Marian Trost, Evelyn Turner, Eileen Wagemann, Viola Wendt, and Donna Yocum.
The present membership stands at 31 members. Doris Karloff is the current President.
To advance the cause of Americanism, the Auxiliary sponsors a girl to Girl State each year. For God and Country we associate ourselves together to safeguard and transmit to posterity the principles of Justice, Freedom, and Democracy.
Yutan village records show that the town purchased fire extinguishers from Ferrill & Company of Omaha in 1895 for $90. On November 3, 1903, "Truck Number Three" with hooks, ladders, and buckets was ordered from Lindgren-Mahan Company in Chicago for $225.40 plus $68 in freight.
There was no organized fire department. When the fire bell rang it was the duty of every able-bodied man to turn out to fight fires. This was done by bucket brigade, -- water being relayed by buckets, man to man, from nearby wells, watering tanks, or cisterns, and tossed on the fire. This method was used until 1910 when a water system was installed with mains, hydrants, and a tower.
On May 31, 1921, a group of 19 men met at Cowles Drugstore to organize the Yutan Volunteer Fire Company. Hubert H. Peters was elected President, H.D. Rohde Vice-President, Harry P. Sievers Chief, and A.C. Jensen Secretary-Treasurer. During 1921 the Company answered two alarms, -- one at the Morton Hotel and one at the Lyric Theatre.
After a fireman was injured fighting a fire and the Village Board refused to pay the $4 doctor bill and $2 for trousers, the men decided to re-organize under State Law and to be tax-supported by the Village. A new constitution and bylaws were adopted and new officers selected. Fred O. Zaugg was elected President, Hubert Peters elected Secretary-Treasurer, and Harry Sievers was continued as Chief.
In June, 1922, twelve rubber coats were bought