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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 1503

John and Sarah Fox, who were among the first settlers in the State. They have two children, Ada A. and France L.

JOHN J. EVANS, Postmaster and grocer, Waco, came to Nebraska, October 10, 1871, and took up a homestead in Beaver Creek Precinct, York County, on Section 26, Township 11, Range 1 west. Here he made his home, improving his land till 1880, and during this time served as Assessor and Justice of the Peace in said precinct a number of terms. He then came to Waco and began buying grain and hogs, being appointed Postmaster in November of the same year. He was the second person to hold that position in the said town. He was born in Sussex County, Del., February 20, 1833. He removed to Hancock County, Ill., in 1861, where he soon enlisted in the war of the Rebellion in the Second Illinois Volunteer Cavalry, Company G, and served until August, 1864. He then went back to Illinois, where he farmed one year, and at the expiration of that time returned to his native State, where he was married at Gloucester, N. J., in 1855, to Miss Percilla Stephens. Then came back to Illinois, where he lived till his removal to Nebraska. They are both original members of the Methodist Episcopal Church of Waco. They have three sons and three daughters. Mr. E. is an A., F. & A. M., being a charter member of Waco Lodge, No. 80, and of Dick Yates Post, No. 41, of the G. A. R.

JOHN T. HILTON, proprietor of the Commercial Hotel, and Deputy Sheriff, at Waco, was born in Grant County, Wis., January 16, 1850. Removed to Buchanan County, Iowa, in 1868, where he was engaged in the pump and windmill business for a time, and then at various occupations until March, 1880; then came to Waco, Neb., and began farming, which he finally abandoned to begin keeping hotel. He was married February 12, 1882, to Miss Rachel A. Logan, of York County. He is a member of the I. O. O. F., York Lodge, No. 35. Is also proprietor of the Waco Livery Stable.

GEORGE W. SHRECK, wagon manufactory and blacksmith shop, was born in Harrison County, Ind., August 6, 1857. He learned the trade in his native State, and afterward worked on the farm with his parents and at his trade until July, 1878. He then came to Waco, Neb., and started a blacksmith shop in partnership with H. C. Smith; this firm continuing till November, 1881, when Mr. Shreck bought out his partner. He was married in April, 1878, in Indiana, to Miss Miranda Milton, of that State, who died September 14, 1879, at Waco. He is a member of the Methodist Episcopal Church there.

HERMAN C. SMITH, of the firm of Smith & Einsel, dealers in lumber and farm machinery, came to Nebraska in 1870, and took up a homestead in York County, Section 28, Town 12, Range 1 west, Stewart Precinct. In the spring following he moved his family from Whiteside County, Ill., on to his claim, and he immediately opened a blacksmith shop, the first in the precinct. When the village of Waco was started, in 1878, he moved there and continued his former occupation till 1881, when he embarked in his present business. He was born in Racine County, Wis., in 1846. Here he learned his trade, and in 1864 enlisted in the Thirty-ninth Wisconsin Volunteer Infantry, Company D, 100-day call, after which he re-enlisted in the Forty-eighth Wisconsin, serving until 1866, when he returned to his native State. He is a member of the G. A. R., Dick Yates Post, No. 41. John H. Einsel, of the above firm, was born in Pickaway County, Ohio, December 7, 1852. He moved to Tippecanoe County, Ind., in 1862, where he lived until 1878, then came to York, Neb., and in January, 1881, moved to Waco, and in company with his brother, E. D., commenced dealing in farm machinery. This they continued until November, 1881, when the present firm was established. Mr. Smith also owns a farm of 240 acres.

GALEN J. RICHMOND, of the firm of Inbody & Richmond, blacksmiths, came to Nebraska in February, 1870, locating at Seward, where he formed a co-partnership with Samuel Stevenson, and opened the first blacksmith shop in the town. This he ran till August, 1880, and in the same month of 1881 established himself at Waco. He was born in Lewis County, N. Y., in 1841, but his parents removed to Cleveland, Ohio, when he was only two years old. In April, 1861, he enlisted in the first three-months' call of the rebellion in the Nineteenth Ohio Volunteer Infantry, and in the fall of the same year re-enlisted in the Second Ohio Volunteer Cavalry, Company L, and was afterward transferred to the Twenty-fifth Ohio Battery, and veteranized in that till January 5, 1866. At the close of the war he went to Jasper County Iowa, where he was married in 1868, to Miss Martha E. Springer, of that State. He is a member of the A., F. & A. M., Seward Lodge, No. 38.

ROBERT P. STRICKLER, drug store, came to Nebraska in June, 1872; took up a homestead in York County, on Section 10, Town 11, Range 1 west, Stewart Precinct, where he lived, improving his land till March, 1880, which was the date of his starting in the drug trade at Waco. He was born in Fayette County, Pa., September 21, 1839, subsequently coming to Illinois. He was a soldier in the late war, enlisting in the Sixteenth Illinois Volunteer Infantry, Company B. Entered the army in May, 1861, and served until the close of the rebellion, when he returned to Illinois, and was there married in March, 1864, to Sarah M. Bennett, who was born in Clarke County, Ind. He remained in that State until 1872, engaged in farming and merchandising. He is a charter member of the Dick Yates Post, No. 41, G. A. R., and belongs to the Methodist Episcopal Church at Waco.


North Blue Precinct is situated in the northwest corner of the county. The north fork of the Blue courses through the precinct, and other minor streams furnish abundant facilities for obtaining pure water. J. W. Kingston is honored as the first settler in the precinct. He arrived in the spring of 1870 and took up a homestead claim on Section 8, Town 12, Range 4. Along the banks of the Blue, a few weeks later, he was joined by Samuel Cline and Philanda [Philander] Church, who located on the same section. During the summer of 1871, Jordan Denny and V. Dich settled on Section 4, and A. C. Eberhart on Section 8. In the spring of 1871 the south part of the precinct was settled. R. M. Lytle, John Lett, A. M. Daucker and William Cross arrived at the same time, and each took up a claim on Section 32. About the same time George Myers and Thomas Mitchell took up their claims on Section 2. G. W. Bowers and A. J. Bowers on Section 8, Albert and Edward Eastman on Section 6, Riley Myers and James Eads on Section 2. In 1872 a large immigration of settlers came into the precinct and took up all the Government land. The first school district was organized in the south part of the precinct during the summer of 1872. Robert Lytle was elected Director, A. M. Daucker, Moderator, and William Cross, Treasurer. During the summer of 1873, the first school was taught, a three months' term, by Miss Carrie Lorence, at the house of William Cross. Arborville was laid out as a town in 1874, by C. S. Harrison. It contains one general merchandise store, a blacksmith shop and post-office. The Methodist Episcopal Society organized in 1872. The Congregational Church, at Arborville, was organized in 1873, at the residence of W. S. Hill, by the Rev. Mr. Harmon, who became the first pastor. Services were held in the schoolhouse up to the year 1879, at which time the church building was completed. The society of the Presbyterian Church was organized April 23, 1874, by the Rev. Mr. Robison, Synodical Missionary, assisted by the Rev. T. K. Hedges. William Greer and John Lett, were elected elders, and Mr. Hedges was called as pastor. His labors cover a period of one year, and were continued by Rev. Mr. Powell for two years. From 1877 until 1880 the church was without a pastor. Rev. B. F. Sharpe, the present incumbent, was called in 1880. The United Brethren organized their society in 1875, and erected a church building in 1877. Samuel Cline built the first frame house in the precinct in 1872.


Henderson Precinct lies in the rich and fertile valley of the Blue River, in the southwest corner of the county. It receives its name from David Henderson, who in company with his son John Henderson, Randolph Fairbank and Daniel George, made the first settlements on the Blue River, July 2, 1866. David Henderson settled on Section 20 and the others on Section 38. In 1867 but two settlers arrived. Alexander Lowry located on Section 28 and Charles White on Section 30. The spring of 1868 brought Edward Copsey and Thomas M. Bearse, who established themselves on Section 28, and in November, 1869, Rollen Sheppard settled on the same section, purchasing the claim of Alexander Lowry. In the spring of 1870 the first claims were taken up on the prairie. Orlando Darling was the first to arrive, locating on Section 26, and shortly after was followed by the following settlers who took up their claims in the following order: John Staller, J. A. Larkins, Section 22; M. Riggs and Mr. McCarty, Section 14; E. Higby, William Armstrong, F. Leaming, Martin Suliver and George Allen, on Section 10; William Consor, Section 22; George Russell, George Williams, John Moore, Section 18; Henry Fay, N. H. Hopkins, Fred Hemper, James Addis, on Section 8. In 1872 this precinct settled very rapidly and all the land was taken up.

The first school established was a subscription school held in the summer of 1868 in a log building owned by Edward Copsey, taught by Mrs. Jarvis Chaffee. In the summer of 1869 the school was again opened in the old log building under the instruction of Mrs. Chaffee. From 1870 to the spring of 1876 the residence of Thomas Bearse was utilized for school purposes. On the third of April, 1876 the organization of the district was perfected with the following officials: Daniel George, Director; Thomas Bearse, Moderator; Randolph Fairbank, Treasurer. A frame school building was immediately erected and school opened under public instruction during the ensuing summer. Among the early teachers in this district the names of Miss Nellie Henderson, W. W. Elliott, and O. Darling will be remembered with pleasure by both parent and pupil.

Rev. Mr. Colwell preached the first sermon in Henderson Precinct at the residence of David Henderson in 1868, journeying all the way from Saline County to spread the good news of the gospel, and among the early missonaries who labored in this precinct are the Rev. Mr. Austin and Rev. Henry Spafford. No church organization was perfected until the year 1876. During the fall Rev. William F. Hill organized the Congregational Church society at the school house in District No. 11. The Methodist Episcopal Church also organized its first class about the same time under the instruction of Rev. William Blackwell, and at the Darling school house, the United Brethren Church society was organized by Rev. Mr. Austin; at the Ellis school house in the south part of the precinct, Rev. Mr. Austin organized a second society of the United Brethren Church. This society erected its church building in 1879.


HENRY C. HECHT, farmer, Section 17, Town 9, Range 3 west, P.O. York, came to Nebraska in April, 1871, took a homestead on Section 20, which consisted originally of eighty acres but by purchase has increased it to 160 acres, also leases 120 acres more, with a view of purchasing when put on the market. Of this 208 acres are under cultivation, thirty-five acres being fenced for pasture; has also six acres of grove, and one and one-half acres of fruit trees and a good frame residence, and a windmill to keep a steady stream of cool fresh water flowing to quench the thirst of his stock. Mr. Hecht has been unfortunate since coming to this State, having lost all of his household goods by fire. He was born in Germany, December 17, 1837, and emigrated to the United States with his parents, in October, 1844, landing in Baltimore, Md. He located in Frederick County in what is known as Middletown Valley, within three miles of Middletown. After living there four years they removed to Columbiana County, Ohio, in 1849, remaining until 1851, then removed to Richland County, and finally settled down in Ashland County, Ohio, until the year 1862. Henry C. lived with his parents until his twentieth year on a farm, tilling the soil for a living, after which he entered the business world to battle for himself, went to Stark County, where he was married to Miss Christina McQuait, on the morning of February 2, at six o'clock, 1858, calling the minister from his couch of repose at that hour for the purpose of taking the early train for the West. Having been convinced that farming in the East did not pay he returned to the neighborhood of his wife's previous home, remaining there about seven months. He then returned to within five miles of his former home, now the home of his parents and engaged with the Pittsburg, Fort Wayne & Chicago R.R. Co., in the year 1860, as night watchman at a prominent station, where he came near losing his life, being shot at from the rear by a supposed friend, the friend having robbed the Railroad Company's safe of $1,000. After remaining in the employ of the railroad company for about two years went to Wayne County, in the same State, and remained two years, part of the time on a farm and part of the time in a grist mill at Mohickinville, running a steam engine for Joseph Bemenderfer, an uncle of his wife's. In 1864 the subject of this sketch moved to Clinton County, Mich., and bought a farm of eighty acres in the woods paying $200 down, and the remaining $200 in debt, remained there seven years working hard clearing land, part of the time for himself and part of the time for others, to get something for himself and family, a great deal of the time shaking with ague. During this time of struggle his $200 debt increased to $850. He then sold out and located at his present home in York County. He borrowed $80, on which to live until he could raise a crop. To-day he is a prosperous farmer. He was school Director during the whole seven years that he resided in Michigan, and for eight years of the time of his residence in this State, being re-elected this spring for another term of three years. Politically he has been a Republican, but voted for Gen. Weaver, the Greenback candidate at the last Presidential election; he was himself a candidate as Representative in the State Legislature, and was this year elected Assessor of his precinct. Henry C. and Christiana Hecht are the parents of five children, Isaac H., William H., Truly C., Harry E., and a son up to this time unnamed.

CALVIN V. KEITH, farmer and stockraiser, Section 12, Township 9, Range 4 west, P.O. York. Was born in Lorain County, Ohio, July 12, 1847. His parents were Martin H. and Rachel B. Keith, the former of Scotch extraction and the latter, whose maiden name was Bouton, of old New England stock. He lived on a farm with his parents, who gave him a good practical education, and he was a stu-

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