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York County, Nebraska York Homepage

History of the State of Nebraska
Chicago: The Western Historical Company
A. T. Andreas, Proprietor

Page 1500

Co., Ill., November 14, 1831; and was married in the same State, in Jacksonville, in 1856, to Miss Hannah J. Kerr, who died January 31, 1882, at York, Neb., leaving four children—James W., Edward B., Charles G. and Ellen; the two older boys being partners in the store with him. Previous to coming West to Nebraska, he had been a merchant at Carlinville, Ill., for twenty years, and during the years 1867-68 was extensively engaged in the woolen mill business at that place. Was a member of the Northwestern Woolen Manufacturers' Convention, that convened at the Tremont House, Chicago, and during this meeting Mr. Woods offered a resolution to establish an exposition of wool and woolen goods for the purpose of exhibiting their progress in this line. This was finally adopted, and during the two years following expositions were held both at Cincinnati and Chicago; and from this said resolution sprung the great Chicago Exposition of to-day—for which Mr. W. may claim the credit. He is a member of the Methodist Episcopal Church, of York, and was Chairman of the first Board of Trustees of the Nebraska State Conference Seminary, being also one of the building committee, and was greatly instrumental in getting this institution, which is one of the largest educational enterprises in the State, located in York.

GEORGE H. WOOLMAN, family grocer, was born in Clarke County, Iowa, August 21, 1855. He is the the son of Benjamin Woolman and Lydia Woolman; the former a descendant from the Quakers, and the latter, whose maiden name was Hobaugh, of German extraction. His father served as County Commissioner of York County for three years. In 1873 George H. came to York County, Neb., and bought a farm on Section 31, Town 10, Range 3 west, Henderson Precinct, where he lived until July, 1880. He then sold his farm and started a weekly newspaper at York, called the Tidal Wave. After editing this a short time in company with L. A. Adams, he sold his interest, and in June, 1881, embarked in his present business, which he has successfully operated. He was married November 11, 1878, at Seward, Neb., to Miss Dianna J. Hickman.

WILLIAM WRAY, of the firm of Penn & Wray, machine and blacksmith shop, came to Nebraska in 1872, locating in Beaver Creek Precinct, and started the first blacksmith shop in the said precinct. This he ran until 1875, then removed to the village of York and formed the co-partnership as above. The subject of this sketch was born in Janesville, Wis., February 3, 1852, and there learned his trade. He was married at York, Neb., in 1875, to Miss Addie Le Count. He is a member of the I. O. O. F., York Lodge, No. 35.

ALFONSO D. WYCKOFF, druggist, was born in Brown County, Ohio, June 17, 1830. He is the son of Asher and Armerilla Wyckoff. In 1838 they removed to Putnam County, Ill., where his father plied his trade, which was that of blacksmithing. The subject of this sketch learned the trade of cabinetmaker, and in 1852 went to California, where he worked in the mines and at carpentering until 1855, then returned to Illinois and spent four years in acquiring a collegiate education at Wheaton College; then entered the ministry, and was ordained in the Congregational Church. In 1863 he entered the army as Chaplain of the Sixty-fourth Illinois Regiment, serving until the close of the war. Returned to Illinois and presided over different churches until 1872, when his eyesight failed him and he was obliged to quit the ministry. He then became connected with his brother in the drug business, which he has since continued, removing to York, Neb., in the summer of 1880. Is now the oldest resident druggist in the city. He was married in Illinois, in February, 1852, to Miss Lovina Beresford.

EMIL V. ZIMMERER, of the firm of Bischoff & Zimmerer, hardware dealers, came to Nebraska in 1871, locating at Nebraska City, where he was employed as a clerk for six years. In June, 1877, he came to York and opened a hardware store, under the above firm name. They also handle farm machinery, and in 1881 did over $20,000 worth of business. The subject of this sketch was born in Germany, September 19, 1847. Emigrated to the United States the same year that he came to Nebraska, and was married, in 1877, at Nebraska City, to Miss Theresa Sand, who was born in Missouri. Both are members of the Catholic Church, at York.

CARL ZIMMERER, dealer in general merchandise, came to Nebraska in 1866, first living at Nebraska City, where he was employed as stone cutter, having learned that trade in his native land. Then followed merchandising in various places, and finally located permanently at York, in February, 1878, and opened a general merchandise store. He was born in Germany, March 8, 1846, coming to the United States in 1866. He was married at Nebraska City, in 1870, to Minnie Schnurr, also born in Germany. They are original members of the Catholic Church at York. They have five children—Willie J., Emil C., Louisa M., Minnie K. and Mary T.


Baker Precinct is situated midway on the western tier of precincts. The general formation of the surface is a gentle undulating prairie, well watered by Beaver Creek, which flows through the center, east and west, and Lincoln Creek on the northern edge. The "Old Trail" passed through the southern portion on the divide south of Beaver Creek, winding its way as nature provided its roadbed.

At the point known as Porcupine Bluffs, near the line of Hamilton County, it is believed by the writer, the first dwelling of the white man in York County was erected.

Benjamin F. Lushbaugh, U. S. Indian Agent of the Pawnees, and proprietor of the Nebraska Overland Stage Company, established Porcupine Ranch at the Bluffs, in the fall of 1863. It was also a relay station of the stage company, being the next west of Fouse's Ranch, on the west line of Seward County, making a "run" of twenty-seven miles. It was kept by Samuel Reaney [Kearney] and operated by him until the Old Trail and stage coach gave place, and were superseded by the Union Pacific Railway.

The first permanent settlement was made by Thomas Bassett and S. P. Buckmaster, in the month of December, 1869, Bassett taking a homestead claim on Section 10, and Buckmaster on Section 6, Township 10, Range 3. They settled in the timber groves that skirted the Beaver. Bassett built a small dugout and turned the first furrows in breaking on his claim that were made by the plow in the territory now included in Baker Precinct. Marion Shackelford came next, arriving upon his homestead in March, 1870, taking his claim on Section 4. He immediately commenced work in building a dug-out for himself and family, but before it was completed a severe snow storm set in, that lasted nearly twenty-four hours, so severe that they almost perished from cold. Mr. Shackelford succeeded in forcing his way to the residence of David Baker and in company with him returned to Mrs. Shackelford and the the children, whom they found in bed covered by a huge snow drift, and removed them to Mr. Baker's house where they were cared for.

The following month of June marks the date of settlement of Anthony Heitz, the next settler, who took up his claim on Section 10. Mr. Heitz also settled on the Creek and obtained his living and money to pay for his homestead claim by trapping the beaver and mink on Beaver Creek.

During the closing months of 1870 quite a number of claims were taken up. Among the first were those of Mrs. Sarah Buckmaster and T. H. Buckmaster, Section 6, on Beaver Creek. In the north part Henry Benson settled on Section 30, Township 11, Range 3. In the northeast corner W. K. Atkinson, on Section 20. In the western part Price Raymond, on Section 8; Alva Meismer, Section 6; Abner Stout, Section 10; C. M. Johnson, Section 10; Martin Funk, Section 14, Township 10, Range 4. In the south part, A. F. Monger, Section 23, and the following spring of 1871, A. W. Wellman, Section 24, Richard Mutton, Gustavus Faustman, W. A. Thomas, C. A. Siran, all on Section 24.

During the years of 1871-72 a large immigration came into the precint and the sod houses and dug-outs could be found scattered all over the upland.

Baker Precinct originally included North Blue and Henderson precints, and was named in honor of David Baker, the pioneer of York Precinct. Stephen P. Buckmaster was appointed the first Justice of the Peace in January, 1870. J. W. Buckmaster made the first assessment after the creation of Henderson and North Blue precincts.

The first post-office was established in the winter of 1870-71, under the name of Aikins Mills, and was kept at the house of C. Aiken, who received the appointment of Postmaster.

Miss Annie Bassett, daughter of Thomas Bassett, was the first child born in the precinct, the date being December, 1869.

Stephen P. Buckmaster built the first frame house in December, 1869, which was blown down during the following winter. The organization of the first school district, District No. 13, was effected in the spring of 1871. Thomas Bassett was chosen Director, Marion Shackleford, Moderator, and Stephen P. Buckmaster, Treasurer. The first schoolhouse erected was a sod building, situated on Section 8, near the residence of B. C. Deitrick. School was opened in May, with Miss Alice Babcock as teacher.

The first marriage that took place occurred at the house of Postmaster Chauncey Aiken, in the summer of 1871, the happy participants were Isaac Mullen and Miss S. Aiken, and Justice Buckmaster tied the knot, which was his first official act after receiving his appointment.


In 1879, the Burlington & Missouri River Railroad was continued from York to Central City, and one station was established in York County, eight miles west of York, which is known by the name of Bradshaw. A town was at once laid out by the Railroad Company, stimulated by one of the most productive sections of the West, it has undergone a surprisingly rapid growth, and bids fair to become one of the most important villages of York County.

W. D. Post put up the first frame building, in which he opened the first store, stocking it with general merchandise in the spring of 1880. Among the first merchants, who located at this place, are Asa Trusdell, Austin Lindsley, and the Richards brothers. After the location of the town, the Methodist Episcopal Church, formerly organized at the Plainfield schoolhouse, was removed to Bradshaw and reorganized by Dr. W. H. Babcock and Rev. Mr. Sheldon. A fine frame church building is in process of construction by the society. The Congregational Church Society was organized in 1879, by Rev. W. Woolman, who became the first pastor, and is still in charge. The organization of the Baptist Church Society was effected in the spring of 1882, by Rev. A. T. Heath, the present pastor of the church. There is also an organization of the Christian Church.

The population of the town, at present, reaches 150.

At Rose Valley schoolhouse, the Congregational Church Society was organized, with Rev. William S. Hill as pastor. It is known as the Council Church Society, and erected its house of worship in the summer of 1879, and is situated on Section 13, Town 10, Range 4. A class of the Methodist Episcopal Church was formed at Fairview school-house in 1878, by E. J. Hancock.

The Swedish Lutheran Church Society was organized at the residence of John Sandall in 1874, with a membership of twenty-two. The Society has never called a pastor, but has been regularly supplied. A large frame church building was erected in 1879, and Cemetery laid out on the Swanson homestead.


WILLIAM H. BABCOCK, eclectic physician and surgeon, came to Nebraska in the summer of 1878, locating in Hamilton County, where he operated his farm in addition to practicing his profession. He is also an ordained deacon in the Nebraska Methodist Episcopal Conference, and has charge of the Bradshaw Circuit. He was born in Livingston County, N. Y., November 2, 1838, and, in 1846, removed to McHenry County, Ill. Here he received his education, attending the Marengo Collegiate Institute. He was a soldier in the Rebellion, enlisting in 1862, with the Ninety-fifth Illinois Volunteer Infantry, Company A; during this service was detailed for two years as steward in the McPherson U.S.A. Hospital. After the war, he went to Boone County, Iowa, and, in 1873, entered the Eclectic Medical College of Chicago, where he graduated in 1874; then returned to Iowa and commenced the practice of his profession. Dr. Babcock married, in September, 1865, at Boonesborough, Iowa, Miss Luceba Terry, of Illinois.

GUST. F. BURKE, farmer, Section 29, Township 11, Range 3, west, P.O. York, was born in Sweden, June 14, 1844; came to the United States with his parents, in 1857, locating at Galesburg, Ill., where he was employed at various occupations till 1859; then came west to Jefferson County, Iowa, where his father rented a farm, which he helped work; removed to Henry County, in the same State, in 1868, thence to Nebraska, in March, 1873, where he purchased 160 acres of land of the B. & M. R. R. Co. This he has improved until he has it all now under plow, with nice groves, hedges and fruit trees. Mr. Burke was married, in Iowa, to Miss Lottie Linstrom, who was also a native of Sweden. They are original members of the Bethesda Swedish Church, Baker Precinct, and have one daughter,

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