Search billions of records on

Antelope Valley Settlers

Settlers from Sullivan Co. Indiana migrated to Sheridan Co. Nebraska by train in 1884.  Historical information is below the list of names.   Don Strum


Name Index

Alkire, John Hultz, Elisha Ross, Mrs. H. K.
Allen, Edward Hultz, Eva Scamihorn, John
Allen, Ethan Hultz, Myrtle Scammahorn, Rev. John
Allen, Lee Hummell, Frank Scott, Clark
Bailey, John Hummell, Harold Shankes, John
Barker, Mrs. Carrie Shattuck Hummell, William Shankes, Mary
Barnett, Alvin Shattuck Hunt, Charles T. Shattuck, C. H.
Barnett, Jess Hunt, Chris Shattuck, Carrie
Borders, George Hunt, Clyde Shattuck, Clara
Borders, Mike Hunt, J. W. Shattuck, Curt
Borders, Sally Hunt, John Shattuck, Fannie
Brewer, Emily Hunt, Lizzie Shattuck, W. C.
Brewer, S. V. Hunt, Rush Sherman, Mrs. Amanda DeBaun
Briggs, Ben E. Jewell, George Smith, Ed. S.
Briggs, Editor Jones, Charles Speake, C. W.
Brown, Harry Jones, Cora Speaker, Chas.
Brown, Mrs. Ruth Crowder Jones, H. R. Strain, Thomas
Burton, Charles G. Jones, John Stratton, Virgil
Burton, John Kelly, Harry Strawn, G. R.
Burton, O. R. Leach, Esom Trueblood, Jesse
Burton, Roscoe Leach, Ed Tucker, Judge
Burton, Tom Leach, Jap Turman, C. R.
Cain, Sallie Leach, Levi Turman, Charles R.
Crabb, William Lisman, Dr. W. A. Turman, Ed
Crowder, John Markee, Mary Turman, Ira
Crowder, Dr. Joe E. Markee, Maude Turman, James L.
Crowder, Hosea Markee, Mrs. Mary Turman, Walter
Dix, Mordecai McBride, Pete Turman, Will
Dix, Sol McKinney, Jeff VonBuskirk, Joseph
Estabrook, Oscar McKinney, John Walls, Elza
George, Isaac Merrill, Abe Walls, Hanna
Gilkerson, Mr. and Mrs. Uriah Milam, Jake Walls, Josiah
Hanchette, Nelle Miles, Maude Winifred Markee Walls, Ora
Hanchette, Rolland Morris, Lew Walls, Sarah
Harris, Tyra Morris, Mr. and Mrs. Hamilton Walls, Solomon
Heck, Harvey Moss, Laban Weir, Dr. Andrew N.
Heck, Punch Myers, Homer Weir, H. N.
Helms, Dan Myles, Mrs. Maud M. Weir, Dr. A. W.
Helms, Sam B. Orr, Ira Weir, Harvey
Herbert, Merve Orr, Charles Weir, James A.
Herbert, Mervin Potter, Morton Westover, W. H.
Holmes, T. H. Reed, David Wilhite, Cruce
Hotz, E. A. Reid, John Wilhite, W. C.
Hultz, Arthur Reid, P. L.  
Hultz, Belle Robertson, Pleasant  

The following articles were originally printed in the Sullivan, IN newspaper and later saved in James R. Maples’ Scrapbooks and have been transcribed by Don Strum.

Antelope Valley Colonist Returns - October 17, 1935

"He (Ed S. Allen) is a son of Lee Allen who died here many years ago. His mother was a Cartwright. Mr. Allen is one of the members of the original Antelope Valley colony that left here in 1884 and located at what is now known as Valentine, Nebraska, a then small settlement in that territory then government land. The colony was one of the largest colonization outfits that ever left Sullivan, and was organized here by Rev. John Scammahorn, a Methodist minister. The purpose of the colony was to enter tracts of government land in the Antelope Valley. Many members of the colony remained in the west while a few of the original colony returned here afterwards, but the bulk of the colony remained. Mr. Allen and his brother, Ethan Allen, did not remain in Nebraska but located at Rapid City, South Dakota, then a small settlement in the then sparsely settled western country."

"Recalling the incidents of the Antelope Valley colony, "Mr. Allen said that he will never forget the day that the colony arrived in the then wilds of the Nebraska valley. The colony traveled in a long train of box cars with coaches and sleeping cars for the accommodation of the families, while the box and cattle cars were loaded with household effects, cows, pigs and other belongings of the colony. He recalled that there was long painted banners along the side of the coaches bearing the name of the colony and its destination."

Antelope Valley Colony of 1884 - no date available

As a child she had been a member of that historic colony that left Sullivan in 1884 for the "wilds of Nebraska." Her father and mother, the late C. H. Shattuck and wife had been among the leaders.

‘How did the colony happen to go?’

‘Well, here’s the origin.’

Two or three of the men met in the Shattuck drugstore or other places of business in the evening and played checkers. Some of the men received advertising from the Railroad company telling all about Antelope Valley, Which was just about the end of civilization at that time. These men continued to get this advertising and to discuss it among themselves as well as with their families. In 1883, until the bug had taken possession of them. My father was never robust and he feared TB, which was in his family. So by March, 1883 it was decided that a bunch of them would go and look over the prospects. Rev. Scammahorn of the M. E. Church had been the leading spirit of the colony.

In August, Rev. Scammahorn met Judge Tucker in Louisville, KY at the Fair and plans were materialized. This is the first party that went in September, 1883; Rev. Scammahorn, W.C. Shattuck, Frank Hummell, John Hunt (now of Pimento), Dr. Andrew N. Weir, John Crowder (uncle of the Sullivan Crowders), John Reid (uncle of P. L. Reid, Mrs. H. K. Ross, and Dr. Crowder).

They went to Valentine, the end of the branch of the Northwestern Railroad. Then they secured a guide and spring wagon and went up to Antelope Valley and had lunch under a lone cottonwood tree. (It stands today and has a marker).

The cowboys had pulled up all the stakes and not a corner could be located. The guide wasn’t any good and they threatened to hang him on the lone cottonwood. The cattlemen did oppose the settlers coming in, but later they were kind to them.

The party was impressed with the country and each one took a claim. The law permitted them to go back and prove up in six months. So they came back and announced that they would all go back in six months to Nebraska. Mother announced that she would go too. Father told her that she couldn’t stand the hardships. But we went. During the winter 14 families decided to go in March.

A [train] car had been chartered and in our car there were two boys, pair of mules, Jersey cow, coop of chickens, our Kentucky cardinal in his cage, (mother had caught the bird in a tree), and a bulldog, in the other end of the car was our piano, (a Sterne, the first piano to be sold in Hutsonville, Ill. And still a good piano today, as is all of our furniture). (The redbird lived for 17 years too).

The Families

Reverend and Mrs. Scammahorn, W. C. Shattuck wife and daughter, Cruce Wilhite and his family, Solomon Walls and family, Mr. Jones from Graysville, Joseph VonBuskirk, Rush Hunt, Clark Scott, James Weir and family, Jeff McKinney, Horea Crowder (uncle of Crowders), William Crabb, John Reid (uncle of Dr. Joe E. Crowder), Thomas Strain and wife, Laban Moss, E. A. Hotz, Harvey Weir, Ben E. Briggs (son of Editor Briggs of the Democrat) George Jewell (drowned in a cloudburst), Tyra Harris and wife, Pleasant Robertson, Rolland Hanchette (brother of Miss Nelle Hanchette).

‘We all ate like starved animals on that trip.’

Clara Shattuck in later years became the wife of Jess Barnett, nephew of Rev. Scammahorn, who was also a member of the colony.

‘We our family never regretted the move,’ said Mrs. Barnett. ‘When father died at the age of 69 he left an estate valued at $250,000. He had 3600 acres of land, horses, mules, and cattle. He kept a foreman. (He had but $500.00 in cash when he went and that was probably the most of then had).’

‘Mother lived to be 80 years old.’

We have one son, Alvin Shattuck Barnett, and two granddaughters, one of whom, Virginia, accompanied me on this trip.’

Made History

The Antelope Valley Colony was so busy making history that they did not have time to write it. So we, their descendants, today are proud to record the happenings of that brave little colony.

‘That first spring there was a terrible blizzard. Snow piled up everywhere but most of it was gone by noon. Other blizzards through the years piled their snowdrifts up to the latches on the doors of the settlers’ homes, but spring always cane and they were never blue.

On our arrival we stayed in an empty store room in Valentine until later. We drove by covered wagon to our claim 100 miles farther west. We had a feather-bed, the redbird in his cage, and a cow tied on behind. I had seen but one or two covered wagons in Sullivan and the people were none too clean or happy looking. On the way I remarked, ‘Mama, I never knew that anybody rode in covered wagons but trash, but we’re not trash.’

Visited Here 32 Years Ago

‘I was a guest of our cousin, the late Mrs. Amanda DeBaun Sherman, when I was here 32 years ago.’

‘When our outfit struck Valentine there had been a storm. It was about 2:30 am. We were awakened in our train by cowboys going through the train. They said ‘You are the sickliest looking bunch we have ever seen.’

The town of Gordon, name selected by Mr. Scammahorn because it was simple, but dignified., easy to remember, was built on his claim.

Mr. Shattuck died in 1910 at 69 years of age, Mrs. Shattack died in 1928 at 84.

In the colony were several from Carlisle. They were Mrs. Mary Markee and daughter, Mrs. Maud M. Myles, Sam Helms, Dan Helms, Jake Milam, Oscar Estabrook, Chas. Speaker (leader), Dr. W. A. Lisman (who returned to Carlisle later).

Today Gordon, Neb. Is a thriving little city of almost 2,000.

Old Antelope Valley Colony from This County Recalled - Dec. 11, 1941


In reviewing an old clipping of 1886 anent the Antelope Valley colony that left here that year to enter claims on government land in that valley near Gordon, Nebraska, there remains only six survivors of this colony that attracted many residence of this community.

The colony was sponsored by Rev. Scamihorn, who was them pastor of the Methodist church here. The survivors of this colony are Rush and Charles T. Hunt, both of this city; Harry Brown, of Turman township; Clyde Hunt, of Toledo, OH, then a small child whose parents were John and Lizzie Hunt, members of the colony; Mrs. Carried Shattuck Barker, now living at Los Angeles, Calif., and Ed S. Allen, now living at Rapid City, South Dakota, and Mervin Herbert of Gordon, Neb., now spending the winter here, and Ben E. Briggs, now living at Erie, Pa.

There are now two lists indicated in the clipping, the first contingent going to Nebraska via the old O. and M. at Vincennes, viz. Rev. J. A. Scamihorn and wife, S. V. Brewer, Ira Orr, Laban Moss, Isaac George, W. C. Wilhite, wife and four sons, Burton, O. R., John, and Roscoe, W. C. Shattuck, wife, Fannie, and daughter, Carrie, H. R. Jones, daughter Cora and two sons, Charles and John, Elza Walls and wife Sarah, Josiah Walls and wife Hanna and son Ora, J. W. Hunt and wife Lizzie and son Clyde, Elisha Hultz and wife Belle and daughters Eva and Myrtle and son Arthur, Morton Potter, Frank Hummell, Mervin Herbert, John and Mary Shankes, John Reid, Clark Scott, William _?__, Rush Hunt, Charles G. Burton, Rollin Hanchette, Oscar Estabrook, Sam B. Helms, C. W. Speake, Mary Markee and Dr. W. A. Lisman.

Those going by the northern route via Chicago: Dr. A. W. Weir, H. N. Weir, John Crowder, Hosea Crowder, John McKinney and wife, George Jewell, C. R. Turman, Harry Brown, John Alkire, Thomas Strain and wife, Tyra Harris, Jesse Trueblood, James A. Weir, Edward Allen, Abe Merrill, Ben E. Briggs, T. H. Holmes, __?__ Brown, G. R. Strawn.

The clipping states that there was some from Fairbanks and others in the county who names were not learned.

Survivor Writes Close-up of Trek and the Settlement of Antelope Colony in Nebraska

"First Lonely Winter Spent in Sod Homes on Snowy Prairie. Railroad Was Completed to New Town of Gordon The Next Summer. Celebrate Arrival of First Train."

Written by, Maude Winifred Markee Miles - June 29, 1944

My Dear Mr. Editor:

You have asked me for my impressions of the Antelope Valley Colony, of which I find I am one of the few survivors. So much has already been written from time to time about that historic trek from Sullivan county to northwest Nebraska in 1884 which culminated in the founding of Gordon, Nebraska, that I have decided to give you an account of the matter from the standpoint of a child, reluctantly uprooted form her home and transplanted in a far away country.

All Antelope Valley stories begin with September, 1883. Mine does also, for in that month my father died and my life thereafter was to conditioned by this melancholy event. During the winter of 1883-84 I remember nothing about the organization of a colony until suddenly my mother left with a large party for the Antelope Valley. She returned immediately and I heard a little about the affair. My teacher, Miss Sallie Cain, began to show extra solicitude for me. In summer after my sister’s wedding my mother’s activities increased and several new words punctuated the conversation in such a way that I still have a vivid memory of them. "Chartered Car" was something that sounded interesting. Charters were things that kings had given to colonists in New England; one of then was important enough to be hidden in an oak tree. What could a chartered car be? I found out that we were to have one and were to share it with Mr. Scammahorn. Would he ride in it? I didn’t know. Then there was a remark with which I was greeted by almost everybody I knew, "I hear you are going to go out and live with the Indians." This bothered me so much that I spent much time away from my mother with a married sister who had a baby , teaching him to take his first steps. I had other nephews and a niece; I had an aunt since I was born and I was very proud of it. This came, they told me, from my having been a "post script" to a large family.

Before the summer was over another word "Necessities" dominated everything. The Necessities were to be put in the car and nothing else. A very strange assortment of things. Great jars of preserved fruit, apple butter, much carefully packed jelly, large tins of fresh rendered lard, flour, sugar, and pantry stores. Then from the lumber yard came lumber, flooring, doors, window, kegs of nails. A complete stock of notions and millinery were added. A great roll of new carpet was put in and much bedding was carefully packed. So little furniture was set aside that I was moved to ask why and received the same answer , "Only the Necessities can be taken." Passing a nice box in process of packing with the best quilts of which my mother had so many, I got my doll and carefully placed her in the folds. She would not pass muster as a "Necessity" by my mother, but she was a Necessity to me. My school books also I tucked in boxes in every available corner lest they be left out.

And then, just before we were to start, it leaked out that there would probably be no school out there for a year. This was the last straw! This was what was in Miss Cain’s mind when she was telling me that I was ahead of my class. She knew-and was trying to help me all she could.

I had been in a state of apathy since my father’s death. Now I was filled with helpless anger. We were to go to Vincennes and take the O. & M. from there. We were at my brother’s and my spirits rose a little when I saw Little Fred, another nephew, just beginning to walk. My brother’s wife, observing how well we were getting on together, said she wished I could be near enough to help take care of Fred. Later in the conversation she said she hoped this would not turn out to be a wild goose chase. My mother replied that she was doing all this for me. I had heard this before. They say that children and fools speak the truth. That day I was both a child and a fool and I made it clear to my elders that everything I needed was here in Carlisle, Vincennes and Loogootee-sisters and a brother to look after me, children to grow up with and schools which didn’t stop for a year, and taking the baby by the hand I demanded that I be left here to take care of him. My small bomb was accurately aimed, but ill-timed. It was a dud. My mother had already filed for her three hundred and sixty acres of land. The die was already cast. I had been a fool to embarrass then with my outburst. Soon I was waving a small wet handkerchief at my family from the car window and we were on our way to Antelope Valley.

We arrived at Valentine on the anniversary of my father’s death, September 6, 1884. We were met by Mr. Van Buskirk, his brother-in-law, Mr. Crabbe, and Mr. Wilhite, who had come to escort us to the Valley and take out our goods. It was a happy circumstance that brought these tow families into our lives at this moment to be our first real friends. If I live to be a hundred I will never forget how kind and understanding they were. They had already met my mother, of course. They seemed not surprised that I looked unhappy and bewildered. They saw only a father-less little girl starting on an adventure in which the thing she would most stand in need of was the father she had lost. They easily and delicately conveyed to me the conviction that whatever friends could do was going to be done. They had children of their own and they vied with each other in trying to interest me in them-Mr. Buskirk in his five daughters and Mr.Wilhite in his four sons.

We were to camp several days on the way our to Valentine. A group of Indians camped near us most of the way. I had noticed them at the station when the men were unloading the car. A little Indian girl about my sized eyed me with as much interest as I did her. When we opened the apple barrel I went over to her and gave her some, which she accepted with a smile. She was with the camping party I noticed but we had no more encounters. She was very pretty and wore beautiful beaded moccasins. I wished I knew her name.

Our food on this trip was cooked over an open fire and was very good. The men shot some will game, grouse I think, and my mother enjoyed cooking it even if she had to make the gravy with cracker crumbs and water. The men had brought watermelons from their own gardens and they were very refreshing. I wondered where we were going to sleep, as the wagons were not covered and were piled high with goods. When we made camp the wagons were placed about 20 feet apart and the horses staked our not far away. The men got out two large pieces of canvas and fastened them on the side of the wagon beds on the inside of the space between the wagons; the folds fall to the ground. They got out the bed rolls and soon my mother and I were snug in a comfortable bed on the ground under the wagon, one side open to the prairie. The stars came out and it was as if we had never before seen stars-nothing between us and the whole heavens. The world was like a big sheet of brown paper with nothing on it-a huge blue glass bowl over us by day-darker at night but lighted with stars which seemed to watch over us.

We were three of four days on the way across sandhills. On the last day one of the men called our attention to some changes in the monotonous scene. I saw a lot of little black spots away off in the distance. "What does that look like to you?" said one of the men to me. "It looks like somebody had upset a big game of dominoes," I answered. "Well, well, I hadn’t thought of that-you’re right , it does. But that my child is the Antelope Valley and those ‘upset dominoes’ and the sod houses we have built for ourselves this busy summer. You are going to have one like that. A domino house-not a bad name for it, but we are playing a lot more interesting game our here than dominoes; we are building a fine community and you are going to have your part in it."

Soon we drew up in front of Mr. Van Buskirk’s house and they all came running out to greet us; mother and Mrs. Van Buskirk wept a little; the girls took possession of me and we were soon all over the place, getting acquainted and laying the foundation for a lifetime friendship. The welcoming dinner made a great impression on me. It began with a solemn blessing as Mr. Van Buskirk gave thanks for our safe journey. When the food was served to us each dish was offered with special reference to the child who had kept the vegetable free of weeds-the children’s corn and cucumbers. "My potatoes" said Mr. Van Buskirk, and "Crissy’s tomatoes" he added. It was so with everything we had for dinner, and this spirit of co-operation, this bringing the children into everything and having them share in the decisions became a familiar trait of this interesting family. In these days of Victory Gardens I often let my mind go back to this, the first real victory garden I ever knew.

We went immediately to our homestead and put up a tent under which the goods were stacked. Men were sent to Wounded Knee for the ridge poles and rough lumber for the roof of the sod house. Our friends had organized a "house raising" party and in a very short time the sod house was ready to receive us. A well was dug, nine loads of logs for fuel were brought down from Wolf Creek, and before the first snow fell we were over the worst of the preparations for our first Nebraska winter, an unknown quantity to all of us.

In the midst of these activities we had, of course, looked over the town which was starting up around the home of Mr. Scammahorn. Here we met many of the Sullivan people, notably the Weirs and the Shattucks. Dr. Weir was taking his family back to Sullivan for the winter. Their claims were not near ours, the Buskirks (we had dropped the Van by this time) being the nearest to us of any of the original settlers from Indiana. Those from Carlisle had chosen to settle near the Niobrara River, ten miles to the south of Goshen, and their settlement developed into the town of Lavacca.

While the Sullivan county party have the undisputed credit of founding the town of Gordon, other groups from other localities were close on their heals. The surveyors and the engineers working in the interests of the railroad were for the most part from eastern Nebraska and had filed on land, not quite so random as some of the colonists did. My mother found her land was within two miles of the Buskirks, but entirely surrounded by the claims of the Oakdale people coming from eastern Nebraska, went back to Oakdale for the winters. This left us quite alone and increased the difficulties of the winter, which of course we dreaded. Before the winter set in, however we had the acquaintance of the Irwins and had been to the Wilhite home which was south of Gordon and got acquainted with the boys. Mrs. Wilhite, who was an expert cook, thought I looked puny and had a way of stuffing me with everything I liked best. I always loved to go there. These little sod houses were very cozy and homey and attractive. Because of the large store of goods we brought with us it was more difficult for us to create a homey atmosphere first. My mother arranged the boxed goods as a sort of partition at one end of the cabin. By the aid of curtains this made two small "rooms" for sleeping. Emptied boxes were stacked in a tall row and made a cupboard. Another huge box had legs put to it and made a good pantry. Our stove was an ordinary cook stove. There remained another huge box which had originally been an organ box and they were about to take it apart in order to save the lumber; I decided I’d like it for a playhouse. It was placed against the wall experimentally. We tried putting it on its side, leaving the sloping part open. I walked in and took possession. By putting in the roll of new carpet and arranging some bedding over it I had a little couch. The smooth lumber inside this box was a relief from the mud-plastered walls of the soddy. It made a nice place for my pin-up pictures. I had a place for my doll and my books. If my mother came to regard this as a closet it did not take away from my enjoyment of it as a playhouse.

We had left Indiana in the midst of a political campaign. Sullivan county every four years tried their best to elect Democrats and this year were saying terrible things about our "Plumed Knight". My family was always Republican. I pictured our candidate riding triumphantly into Washington, clad in armor with waving plumes. I do not remember anything being said about politics after we reached the Valley. Getting ready for winter was the keynote of all activity. It was ten days at least after the election that news was brought in by mail carrier that Cleveland was elected. The first Democratic president since the Civil War! "How Sullivan county will like that" was my first thought and indeed, we heard when we got our letters from home that they had a huge bonfires in the streets of Sullivan and most people went a little mad for awhile.

As for us, we had been two months in the Valley; we lived in a county so big that it was going to have to be cut up into several new counties. Our part was to be cut off first and was to be named Sheridan, after another picturesque character on horseback. Perhaps our little town of Gordon would be the county seat, though this hope was not to be realized. Nebraska had gone Republican, anyway, and it would not have surprised any of us, big or little, if some prophet had announced to us that some day our town of Gordon was to produce the most popular Republican Governor Nebraska ever had-Dwight Griswold, whose name had been frequently mentioned in the canvas for Vice Presidential candidate in 1944.

It would take too long to go into detail of that first long, lonely winter on the claim, shut-up in the sod cabin in a trackless white world from December to May. Looking back, the choicest memory is the sight of Mr. Buskirk appearing in the white drifts at our door; living up to the admonition of James 1:27, "Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is to visit the fatherless and widows". From his great coat pockets there would always be little presents from the girls. Always he would bring another Alcott book and I was thus provided with imaginary playmates. We children wrote notes to each other and slipped them into his pockets. We longed to be together, but the snow was too deep and only Mr. Buskirk’s long legs could break a fresh trail. Finally they all got worried about us and induced my mother to take in their bachelor friend, Mr. Mead, who was tired of living alone in his dugout. He was a very agreeable young man and in later years, when he had moved to Omaha, he came back to see us many times.

The extension of the railroad from Valentine to the new settlement had progressed in spite of the snow. When the first construction train arrived in June everybody was hilarious. I had walked to town every day for a week in order not to miss the great event. The town was platted and lots sold; my mother established us on Main Street; in a couple weeks a small school building was erected by subscription and on June 20, 1885, the first school opened in Gordon. I was the first child enrolled. Our teacher was Miss Kitty Hyde. She must have had a difficult time with her twenty-seven pupils, each with a different set of school books. We swapped and read each other’s books, we were very proud of our teacher and happy to be back in school at last. The most important part of our education at his time was that we were taking part in the organization of a community; we were watching it develop "from scratch"; we were thinking in terms of town sites, railroads, precincts, school districts; we watched the building materials as they were unloaded and saw every tent and building go up. The banner of the church had been unfurled immediately upon his arrival by Mr. Scammahorn; the church was organized the first thing. Very soon we had a church building, the first of others to come. We were dealing in "firsts". We did not need playthings-we were playing with American dynamics. The brown tableland, with its "upset dominoes" was seething with activity; more colonists were arriving with every train and from many states. More Sullivan county people came out. Dr. Weir came back with his family for the summer. (Alas, he was to die suddenly that year.)

Mr. Wilhite had assured me that I would take my part in the making of this community. My first opportunity came when a few years later I was accepted as a clerk in the post office, one of my school teachers having been made postmistress. Believe it or not, I was thirteen years old and it took an affidavit by our attorney, W. H. Westover, to get me past the regulations. I was in school of course, and worked after school hours and on Saturdays and a short time on Sundays after church. The mail trains came and went in the night so there was plenty of time and much of the work was done in the evenings.

A few years later when I was employed in the office of the county clerk at Rushville, the county seat, as recorder of legal documents, I was often called into the court room to be a witness, particularly in the identification proceedings of "proving up" on claims and in the case of making out final papers of citizenship, etc. I had been there from the first, I handled their mail, I knew their initials; I knew exactly where they lived. I was an acceptable witness.

We remained in Nebraska until 1896, leaving as we had come in a presidential election year, when a silver-tongued orator from Nebraska stole the show at the Chicago convention.

I have never regretted that my formative years were spent in Nebraska. When I think of the points of the compass, even now, it is not the town of my birth which comes first to mind, but the broad streets of the town which I had a small part in founding-Gordon, Nebraska.

Visitor Here Knew Members Antelope Valley Colony

"Recalls Many Original Group" - June 15, 1950

Mr. and Mrs. Hamilton Morris of Gordon, Nebraska, visited here last week with Mr. and Mrs. Uriah Gilkerson, west of the city. Mr. Gordon, now retired, was in the clothing business at Gordon for 42 years and was well acquainted with old members of the Antelope Valley Colony from this county that helped to found Gordon.

The first colony left here in 1884, headed by Rev. John Scamihorn, a minister of the Methodist Church. Mr. Morris knew him well at Gordon, along with Curt Shattuck, former merchant here who was a member of this colony. He also recalled the Wilhites and Mervin Herbert, all now deceased.

Mrs. Morris is a relative of the Shattucks and they recently visited the daughter of the Shattucks, formerly Clara Shattuck, in California.

Mr. Morris was well acquainted with Mrs. Ruth Crowder Brown, who formerly lived at Gordon, now living at Bowling Green, Ohio, where her daughter Prudence, is a teacher in the city schools. He said that William Hummell and son Harold, former residents, live at Gordon. The former is a grocery salesman and Harold is connected with the newspaper business. George Borders, a brother of Mike Borders, of Merom, lives at Gordon.

Writes Anent Antelope Valley

"James L. Turman Tells of Colony From Here and Settlement in Nebraska" - August 27, 1951

Hay Springs, Nebraska, Aug. 19

Dear Mr. White,

I see so many items in your "Local Interest All in a Bunch", I thought I would drop you a few lines in regard to the Antelope Valley Colonies.

My father, Charles R. Turman, came to Gordon in 1884 to see about getting a line up on a homestead and in 1885 came back and got a relinquishment form George R. Jewell. He lived on this land that summer, had plowed and planted corn and potatoes. He gave the crop to a good old Kentucky neighbor who had helped him with his claim shack, of Dugout, (as that was it). The neighbor’s name was Jeff McKinney.

Father went back to Indiana had a sale in February and Tom Burton of your home town was the jolly auctioneer. And in March we loaded two cars with horses, cows, team of mules, farm implements, and household equipment. The rest of the family came on a passenger train with the crowd. I came with the two cars, as the stock had to be unloaded, fed and watered in Chicago and Missouri Valley. I landed in Gordon, March 16th at 12 o’clock midnight and was met by several friends that were waiting there to unload the livestock. It was a rough and tiresome trip, but guess it did not hurt me much, as I am still able to drive a tractor or run a binder, which I have just done for my son, James.

Father’s land was three miles west and a half a mile south of Gordon. I can give you the manes of some of the Antelope crowd such as; Dr. Weir, Charles Turman, Jesse Trueblood, Chris Hunt, John Hunt, Elisha Holtz, Sol Dix, Thomas Strain, Jap Leach, Ed Leach, John Crowder, David Reed, John Reid, Harvey Heck, George Jones, Charles Orr, James Weir, John Alkire, Curt Shattuck, Virgil Stratton, and John Scamihorn; all of whom had families.; Mrs. Markee and daughter, Maude. The unmarried were Hosea Crowder, Esom Leach, John Bailey, Lew Morris, Elmer Brewer, Merve Herbert, Pete McBride, George Jewell, Ira Orr, Tyra Harris, Punch Heck, Levi Leach, Harry Kelly, Homer Myers, a Mr. Helms, George and Sally Borders and Miss Haines.

There are not very many of these old pioneers still living and those who are living are not too thrifty-they are just fading away.

And speaking about that Mordecai Dix martial band, I heard them play a good many times and they were very good. And don’t forget that we had a good and peppy Martial Band in our own Big Spring community. Ira Turman was the fifer, Will and Walter Turman were the snare-drummers, and Ed Turman came in on the home stretch with the bass drum. I remember some of their tunes, such as Yankee Doodle, The Girl I Left Behind Me, Jay bird, and some other good ones. And those drummers were as active as a cat on those snare drums and sure could make’em roll.

Well, Friend White, if this should miss your waste basket, I will come your way again with some of threshing experience as I see some of the old fellows have given theirs.

I remain respectively yours, James L. Turman, Sr.


This page was last updated on
Tuesday, 10-Mar-2009 20:07:58 MDT