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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 1502

The settlers are liberal in their praise of Miss Lowry's early work and honor her as the pioneer teacher of the county.


United Brethren.—The organization of this church took place in the winter of 1868 and 1869 at the house of David Buzzard. The original members of the society are Mr. and Mrs. David Buzzard, Mr. and Mrs. A. J. Gilmore, William Buzzard, and Kate Buzzard. The first meetings were held at the "dug outs" and sod houses of the settlers. When the Buzzard school house was completed it was used as a house of worship as well as a school. The society met in the school house until the church was completed, in April, 1879, at which date the dedication services took place. Rev. Simeon Austin was called as pastor in the spring of 1871 and remained two years. Rev. N. P. Spafford succeeded him in 1874 and officiated for one year. Rev. E. F. Austin was called as the successor of Mr. Spafford, in the spring of 1875 and presided over the church until the spring of 1878. After Mr. Austin closed his labors the present pastor, Rev. E. W. Johnson, took charge. The present Board of Trustees are Christian Holoch, Charles Wullbrandt, A. J. Gilmore, P. Heller.

Methodist Episcopal.—West Blue Mission was established in April, 1869. The first services were held at the residence of John Anderson, by Rev. William Worley, one of the first missionaries of the South Platte country. The West Blue class was the first organized in the county, which took place during the following month of May. The West Blue Circuit was established in the spring of 1881 and Rev. Mr. Oliver appointed to this field. The Buzzard school house is used as a house of worship and a supply regularly furnished to the society.

Christian.—The Christian Church Society was organized by Rev. Kelso in the month of February, 1873. Rev. Mr. Brittell, the first pastor, was called in the summer of 1873 and his labors cover a period of two years. His resignation took effect during the fall of 1875 since which date the pulpit has been supplied.

Advent.—The society of the Adventist faith was organized in the winter of 1877 by Rev. L. Butler at the Armstrong school house.

JULIUS A. ADDISON, farmer, Section 2, Town 9, Range 2 west, P.O. York was born in Susquehanna County, Pa., January 26, 1838, son of Isaac and Laura Addison. He remained at home, working on the farm, and going to school during the winter season till 1861, when he enlisted in the Rebellion, at Bennington, N. Y., in the Sixty-fifth New York Volunteer Infantry, Company G. Served till June, 1862, when he was wounded at the battle of White Oak Swamp, W. Va., in the right side, the ball passing over the hip bone and lodging in the abdomen, where it still remains, the result of which is, he has never been able to work since. He then returned to Pennsylvania, and in 1865, removed to Manistee, Mich., thence in 1868, to La Salle County, Ill., and in March, 1872, came to Nebraska, and took a soldier's claim, which he afterward homesteaded. Was among the early settlers of West Blue Precinct, and now owns 160 acres of well improved farm land. Mr. Addison was married in January, 1865, New York, to Miss Phoebe A. Chalker, a native of Pennsylvania. They have four children—Jennie M., Alonzo B., Ottis and Ulysses.

RICHARD BROOKE, farmer and stock raiser, Section 26, Town 10, Range 2, west, P.O. York, is a native of Pennsylvania, born in Somerset County, January 13, 1832. Here he received his education, and in 1852, went to California, going round by the Isthmus, but soon returned, and subsequently made four different trips to that State, the last time in 1873, crossed the plains with a drove of horses. He married in Pennsylvania, 1864, Miss Nancy A. Dean, and soon afterward removed west, to Wapello County, Iowa, where his occupation was stock raising. In 1867, went to Missouri, from there to Nebraska, in October, 1874. He purchased 160 acres at first, but has since enlarged his farm till he now owns 560 acres, of which 480 is under cultivation, and the entire farm fenced. Of stock, he has 150 graded cattle, 100 hogs, and twenty-three head of horses and mules together. His residence is a fine, large, two story, frame building, and he has one of the largest barns in the county, 50x60. Mr. Brooke and wife are members of the United Brethren Church.

JOHN P. COOK, farmer, Section 30, Town 10, Range 1, west, P.O. Blue Valley, came to Nebraska in May, 1870, and took up a homestead. This consisted originally of eighty acres, but he has added to it till he now owns 360 acres, of which 150 are under cultivation. He has a fine young orchard of twelve acres, set out with choice fruit trees, and a grove of timber of his own planting, he has been successful in fruit raising, and his experience of twelve years is sufficient to prove to the public that the fruit business has, and can be made a successful enterprise in Nebraska. He was born in Tuscarawas County, Ohio, in 1836, and is the son of John P. and Ruth Cook, nee Nickols, who were of English descent. In 1850, they removed to Illinois, from there Mr. Cook went to Cedar County, Iowa, in 1860, where he engaged at farming. Was married in the same county, in 1865, to Miss Barbara E. Brown. They have seven children, of whom two are girls. Mr. Cook has served as School Director of District No. 58, and always taken an active part in the agricultural interests of his county.

JACOB R. GILMORE, farmer, Section 5, Town 9, Range 1, west, P.O. Blue Valley, came to Nebraska in January, 1866, in company with his father and W. H. Taylor, and all took up homesteads the same month. He was the third white settler in York County, preceded by Nerva Fouse, Henry Chatterton and George Anderson, but the two latter gentlemen have moved away, making Mr. Gilmore the second oldest resident in the county. In 1869, he organized the first voting precinct in the county, called West Blue, York being then attached to Seward County, for judicial purposes. Was appointed and commissioned as Registrar of Precinct. Also organized the first school district about this time which embraced a Territory six and one-half by nine miles and has been one of the school board from that time to the present. The first election was held under a special grant from Gov. Butler, only seventy votes being cast, and this included all the votes from York, Hamilton and Fillmore counties. In the spring of 1870, Mr. Gilmore started a small store on his homestead, the third store in the county, and during the same year was appointed Postmaster at Blue Valley, filling that position until 1877. Has also served as Assessor of that precinct for several terms. He is a member of the G. A. R., Robert Anderson Post, No. 32, York. He was born in Fayette County, Pa., August 12, 1835. He is the son of Elias and Huldah Gilmore, nee Rush, who were descendants of Pennsylvania Dutch. In 1859, he left his native State and came to Livingston County, Ill., where he was employed at farming until the breaking out of the Rebellion, then enlisted in April, 1861, with the Twentieth Illinois Volunteer Infantry, Company D, and in January, 1864, veteranized in the same regiment, serving until the close of the war, and took an active part in all the engagements of the same. He was wounded twice at the storming of Fort Hill in Logan's Division at Vicksburg. Then returned to Illinois and resumed farming, where he made his home until his removal to this State. He was married in Illinois, November, 1860, to Miss Catherine E. Barrows, who was born in Michigan. They have a family of seven children—Ellen A., Lillie May, born June 3, 1866, being the first white child born in York County.[It was later discovered, and acknowledged by the Gilmore family, that there was at least one birth that occured earlier than their daughter's.]

CHRISTIAN F. GUNLACH, farmer, Section 30, Township 10, Range 1, W., P.O. Blue Valley, came to Nebraska in May, 1870. Took up a homestead in York County, where he now lives and was among the early settlers in West Blue precinct. He was born in Germany, February 11, 1847, the son of Christian and Mena Gunlach, who emigrated to the United States in 1856, locating at Milwaukee, Wis. From there he went to Waukesha County, same State, where he lived till he came to Nebraska. He has served as School Treasurer of District No. 58, West Blue precinct. He married in March, 1878, Miss Matilda Widle. They have two children—Frederick C. and Lillian V.


Beaver Creek Precinct is situated in the centre of the eastern tier of precincts, and is well watered by the creek that courses its way through a gentle valley, from which it receives its name. The surface is some what crossed by "draws," but the soil here is considered as ranking with that of any portion of the county, in depth and richness. In the spring of 1868, the first settlers found their way into the precinct, and established themselves on the banks of the creek, among the many timber groves that fringed its banks. Julius Frost settled on Section 28, U. L. Nichols and R. Clark upon the same section, John Corey and T. Godding on Section 26, Charles Le Count on Section 24, and William Zweig on Section 8; all in Township 10, Range 1 west. The following spring of 1869, William Goche [Gocke] took up his homestead on Section 34, and Jared Goche [Gocke] on Section 32, and made the first settlements on the "divide." In 1870, a large number of settlers arrived. Among the first were Henry Cesheler [Cashler], George and Robert Bray, who located on Section 24; John Widle, on Section 32; Christian Bristol, Henry Goche [Gocke] and Henry Wellman, on Section 22; Detricht Naber and F. Hoffschneider, on Section 26; and the following spring, of 1871, they were followed by a host of others, who soon took up all the government land. The first school district was formed in 1869. The first schoolhouse consisted of a dug-out, built in the banks of a draw, and was furnished with one wooden bench and a rough pine desk, for the teacher. The first school was taught by Frank Manning.

The first church organization in the precinct took place in 1871, under the auspices of the German Methodist Episcopal Church. The initiatory services were held at the house of Henry Goche [Gocke] , under the leadership of Rev. C. Herman, who became the first paster, officiating until the year 1874. His successor was the Rev. Charles Ott, in the spring of 1875, remaining in charge until 1878. Rev. Mr. Bruns was the next pastor, commencing his labors in the spring of 1878, which was closed after a period of two years. The present pastor, Rev. Mr. Behrns, took charge in 1881. The organizing members were: Detricht Naber, C. Dwehous, H. Kleinschmidt, John Widle and John Brahmstedt. Regular services were held at the houses of the members, and at the school house until the year 1874, at which date the present church building was erected. The society is now in a prosperous condition, and one of the strongest in the county.

The organization of the German Lutheran Church took place at the school house in District No. 6, in the month of September, 1873, with the Rev. Theodore Gruber in attendance. Henry Goche [Gocke], A. Bulgrin and G. Tieken were elected deacons, and H. Burhopp [Burhoop], church clerk. The first resident pastor of the society was Rev. G. Endrs, the present incumbent, who commenced his labors in the fall of 1878. The first church erected was a sod building, dedicated in the winter of 1875-76. Services were conducted here until the fall of 1880, at which date the present building was completed and dedicated. It is a fine frame structure, and is valued at $2,000.

Waco.—Waco was the out-growth of the railroad, and sprang up as a market town, upon the advent of the railroad. In 1877, Thomas C. Tagg commenced buying grain here, and shipped the first car load in 1877, upon completion of the railroad, to York. The first house erected was a small frame structure, now used as a kitchen by J. W. Strickler, also one of the business men of Waco. Nelson Creech and J. W. Armstrong were early upon the scene, and engaged in merchandising. Waco has made very rapid progress, and is now an important shipping and trading point. A new public school building has been erected at a cost of $1,600. There are about 100 scholars in attendance. The Protestant Methodist, the Methodist Episcopal and Christian Church Societies have permanent organizations effected at the establishment and laying out of the town. The population of the town is about 300, and Waco bids fair to become an important village.

JOHN B. ALLEN, farmer, Section 24, Township 10, Range 2 west, P.O. York, came to this State in the fall of 1870, and took up a homestead where he now lives, and in the spring following moved his family from Madison County, Iowa. He was born in Lawrence County, Ind., March 15, 1838; the son of James and Margaret Allen, nee Phillips, who removed to Iowa in 1853. Here John B. worked on a farm for his father till twenty-one years of age, and then commenced farming for himself, first in Iowa and then in this State as above. He owns 320 acres of land, all of which is under a high state of cultivation. He has a ten-acre grove of his own planting, and four acres of various kinds of choice fruit trees, and has always taken great interest in the agricultural improvements of the country, being one of the instigators of the York County Agricultural Society, and Vice President of the same one year. He married in 1862, near Topeka, Kas., Miss Helen Harvard. They have five sons and five daughters living.

JOHN S. BENNETT, Justice of the Peace and Notary Public, and land agent for the B. & M. R. R. Co., at Waco. Came to Nebraska in 1874, locating in York County, Section 26, Township 11, Range 1 west, Beaver Creek Precinct. When the village of Waco was started he left his farm and moved there in 1878. He was born in Union County, Ohio, March 31, 1845, and is the son of Charles and Ellen Bennett, nee Hyde, of English descent. They removed to Henderson County, Ill., when John S. was only five years of age, and engaged at agricultural pursuits. Here he enlisted in the Rebellion with the Tenth Illinois Volunteer Infantry, Company F, and served until the close of the same, having veteranized in the same regiment in 1863. He then returned to Illinois, and farmed until his emigration to this State. He was the instigator of Dick Yates Post, No. 41, G.A.R., Waco, and first Commander of the same. He is one of the original members of Waco Lodge, No. 80, of the A., F. & A. M., and the first Master of the said Lodge. He was married in Osceola, Neb., in 1876, to Miss Samantha Fox, who was born in Plattsmouth, and is the daughter of

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