NEGenWeb Project
Resource Center, On-Line Library



     Adams County was organized on the 12th day of December 1871. It is located in the south-central part of the State, in the sixth tier of Counties west of the Missouri, and second north of the Kansas line, and is bounded on the north by Hall, east by Clay, south by Webster, and west by Kearney County, containing 576 square miles, or 368,640 acres, at an average elevation of 1,850 feet above the sea level.

     Population of the County in 1870, nineteen; in 1875, 3,093; in 1879, 8,162; increase in four years, 5,069.

     WATER COURSES.--The Little Blue River, with its source in the northeast of this County, is the principal stream. It flows southeasterly through the central portion, having numerous tributaries on either side reaching through nearly every township, the most important being Thirty-two Mile Creek, a very fine stream, affording a volume of water sufficient for mill purposes. Pawnee Creek waters the southeastern part of the County, while the northern townships are watered by innumerable springs and rivulets, which rise in this County and flow north-eastwardly toward the West Blue River. The Platte River cuts across the northwest corner, and altogether, Adams is a well-watered County. Soft, sweet water can be found almost anywhere, by boring, at a depth of from twenty-five to seventy-five feet.




     TIMBER.--Considerable native timber yet remains in the vicinity of the Little Blue, while nearly all of the streams have more or less along their banks. The principal varieties of native trees are the box-elder, cottonwood, soft maple, elm, ash and oak. Large quantities of timber have been planted throughout the County by the settlers, and already flourishing artificial groves maybe seen dotting the prairie in every direction. Each year the amount of planting is largely increased, and as the cottonwood, box-elder and other varieties grow very rapidly, it will not be long before Adams County will have plenty of timber for fuel of her own growing.

     FRUIT.--Planting of fruit trees of various kinds has received a large share of attention from the people, and their efforts in this line have fine promises of reward. In 1879 there were 17,627 apple, 529 pear, 1,814 cherry, 9,839 plum and 18,361 peach trees under cultivation in the County, besides 3,514 grape vines, and many other varieties of fruits. The plum and grape, in the wild state, are found in great abundance along the streams.

     CHARACTER OF THE LAND AND SOIL.--The surface of the country in the vicinity of the Little Blue and other streams in the Western part of the County, is broken with occasional deep-cut ravines; but this forms only a very small per cent. of the whole, by far the greater part consisting of beautiful undulating table land, intersected with the fine valleys of the numerous streams. On the Blue, Thirty-two Mile Creek and many smaller streams, there are long stretches of bottom land that cannot be surpassed for fertility and beauty. Immediately next to the Platte River there is a narrow strip of sandy land, to the South and east of which the surface rises in a succession of plateaus, of a mile or so in width, and terminating in high, undulating table land.

     The soil almost everywhere is of the best quality, consisting of a deep, rich mould, impregnated with lime, clay and sand, and resting on a gravelly bed. It will stand any amount of drougth or moisture, and when properly cultivated yields bountiful crops.

     THE CROPS.--The number of acres under cultivation in the County, by the Assessors, returns for March, 1879, was 62,848. In winter wheat, seventy-five; yield, 837 bushels. Spring wheat, 36,177 acres; yield, 421,036 bushels. Corn, 11,403 acres; yield,



284,762 bushels. Barley, 2,146 acres; yield, 40,714 bushels. Oats, 3,193 acres; yield, 90,432 bushels. Potatoes, 301 acres; yield, 17,195 bushels. Broom corn, 3,839 acres; yield, 574 tons. Hungarian, 216 acres; yield, 5,232 bushels.

     FIRST SETTLEMENTS.--In 1870 the population was nineteen, composed of a few settlers on the Little Blue. Several years previous to this, however, a few ranches had been established, and other efforts made at settlement, on the old over-land road to Pike's Peak, but the Indians were unusually troublesome in this part of the country, and destroyed many of the ranches, killing the inmates and compelling others to leave, through fear. The graves of a number of the pioneers may yet be seen on the banks of Thirty-two Mile Creek and the Blue. The first actual settlement north of the Little Blue, was made by Mr. T. Babcock, April 24, 1871, on the present town site of Juniata. John Stark, and his son Isaac W., with their families, came on the 5th day of May of the same year and located on the same section. Soon after homesteads were taken by other settlers near by and during the month of May, along and adjacent to the survey for the B. & M. Railroad, some twenty-five or thirty settlements were made. Settlements continued to increase rapidly, mainly under the patronage of Messrs. Bowen & Brass, agents of the Michigan Emigration Company, who themselves became permanent residents.

     Over one hundred families, mainly from Michigan, settled in the County during the year 1871 and the Spring of 1872, and the tide of emigration has continued steadily up to the present time.

     COUNTY ORGANIZATION.--The election for County officers and location of the County Seat was held December, 12, 1871, at the residence of T. Babcock, and resulted in the unanimous choice of section twelve, town seven, north, range eleven west - the present location of Juniata - for the County Seat, and the election of the following County officers, viz.: Commissioners, Samuel L. Brass, Edwin M. Allen, and W. W. Selleck; Probate Judge, Titus Babcock; County Clerk, Russel D. Babcock; Sheriff, Isaac W. Stark; Treasurer, John S. Chandler; Assessor, W. W. Camp; Superintendent of Schools, Adna H. Bowen.

     RAILROADS.--Prior to 1871 the trial line for the B. & M. road had been run near the line now used. The road runs nearly east



and west through the County, entering at a point about eight miles south of the northeast corner, and passing out about four miles south of the northwest corner. During the summer of 1871 the road bed was constructed through the County, and west to its junction with the Union Pacific. By the first of September the rails were laid to within three miles of the east line of the County when work was suspended for the season. In June, 1872, the road was completed to Juniata, and continued thence west to its present terminus. Length of road in County, 24.06 miles.

     The St. Joe & Denver City Railway was completed to its present junction with the B. & M., in 1873. It enters the County near the middle of the eastern line, and runs northwesterly, joining, the B. & M. at Hastings. Length of road so far completed in County 7.20 miles.

     The Hastings & Republican Valley R. R., running from Grand Island, on the Union Pacific, through this County, via Hastings, to points in the Republican Valley, was completed in 1879. Length of road in County about twenty-eight miles.

     PUBLIC SCHOOLS.--The number of school districts in Adams County in 1879 was sixty-two; school houses, fifty-eight; children of school age, 2,678; average number of days taught by each teacher, ninety-six; districts having six months school or more, twenty-five; total number of children in the County between the ages of five and twenty-one years, 2,678 - males, 1,377; females, 1,301; number of qualified teachers employed - males, twenty-eight, females, forty-eight; value of school houses, $35,866; value of school house sites, $1,751; value of books and apparatus, $375.85; wages paid teachers for the year, males, $3,919.7; females, $6,593.29; total, $10,312.36.

     TAXABLE PROPERTY.--Statement of the taxable property of the County, as returned by the Assessors, for 1879: Acres of land, 267,495; average value per acre, $3.11; value of town lots, $114,750; money used in merchandise, $90,422; money used in manufactures, $25,592; number of horses, 2,510; value, $86,838; number of mules, 572, value, $19,579; number of cattle, 4,071; value, $37,065; number of sheep, 977, value, $994; number of swine, 8,166, value, $6,732; number of vehicles, 1,296, value, $22,973; moneys and credits, $18,821; mortgages, $24,392; stocks,



etc., $805; furniture, $42,351; libraries, $1,010; property not enumerated, $94,914; railroads, $316,649.17; total, $1,734,848.17.

     LANDS.--There is no desirable Government land remaining in this County. The Burlington & Missouri River Railroad Company owns 10,000, and the Union Pacific Company several thousand acres of well located and desirable land here which they offer for sale at prices ranging from $2.00 to $10.00 per acre.

     PRECINCTS.--The County is divided into eight precincts. We give the name and population of each for 1879: Denver, 3,026; Little Blue, 548; Silver Lake, 518; Kenesaw, 542; Cottonwood, 610; Pawnee, 1,017; Juniata, 1,125; West Blue, 776. Total for County, 8,162.

     FLOURING MILLS.--There are three flouring mills in this County one located at Gilson, on the Blue, one at Millington, and one at Juniata. The Juniata Mills are propelled by steam; the building is four stories high, has three run of stone, with a capacity of one hundred barrels of flour every twenty-four hours.


     The County Seat, is one of the most enterprising and rapidly developing cities in Nebraska. Scarcely more than half a dozen years old, it already has a population of 3,500, and the increase has been greater in the last two years than at any other period. The admirable location of Hastings, at the junction of three leading railway lines - the Burlington & Missouri, St. Joe & Denver, and Hastings & Republican Valley - gives her great commercial advantages and is the main cause of her remarkable and substantial growth. She is the center of trade for a large portion of the Republican Valley and northern Kansas, and transacts an immense business in the handling and shipment of grain, in the sale of agricultural implements, lumber and merchandise of all description. The wholesale and retail houses do a thriving business, and generally have, commodious, well-stocked stores, while all the minor branches of trade and mechanics are well represented. The hotel accommodations are ample; the schools are graded and have a large attendance; the school houses are models of beauty and are furnished with all the modern improvements in desks and apparatus; Churches of the leading



denominations have erected houses of worship, several of them very neat in appearance and costly, and all the prominent secret societies - Masons, Odd Fellows, Good Templars and Temple of Honor - have flourishing lodges. There are three newspapers published at Hastings - the Adams County Gazette and Hastings Journal, weeklies; and the Central Nebraskian, a semi-monthly and weekly paper-all well patronized and able papers.

     In September, 1879, Hastings was visited by a most destructive fire, which destroyed nearly two blocks in the business portion of the city, causing a toss estimated at from $75,000 to $100,000. This happening during the busy opening of the fall trade, was severely felt; but the citizens, with their characteristic energy and business enterprise, set to work immediately to clear away the debris, and larger and more substantial brick blocks will occupy the places of those destroyed, before the present year is out.


     The next town of size and importance in the County, is located on the line of the B. & M. Railway, six miles west of Hastings. It was laid out as a town in 1872, and at present has some 400 inhabitants.

     Juniata is the oldest town in the County, and was, until quite recently, the County Seat. It is surrounded by a magnificent and fertile country, dotted with large and highly cultivated farms, many of them supplied with groves of fruit and forest trees. A brisk business is transacted here in grain, implements, lumber and general merchandising. They have a good school house costing $3,500; several Churches, two hotels, and one of the best flouring mills in the West. The Juniata Herald is published here weekly, and is a journal of influence in the County.


     Is a thriving little town on the line of the B. & M. road, eight miles west of Juniata, and was laid out soon after that place. It has a very fine, large school house, a hotel and several business houses.


     Is a small village on the B. & M., five miles east of Hastings. It



was laid out in 1872, and bids fair to become a prosperous. town. It has several business establishments and is a good market for grain and stock.


     Is the name of a town laid out within the past year, on the line of the Republican Valley branch of the B. & M. R. R. It is located in the midst of an excellent agricultural section, and business is already well represented in the town.

     POSTOFFICES.--The postoffices in the County, outside of the towns named, are: Millington, Gilson, Kingston, Little Blue, Mayflower, Silver Lake, North Blue, Roseland and Rosedale.


     ANTELOPE COUNTY was organized in accordance with an Act of the Legislature, in June, 1871. It is located in the northeastern part of the State, in the fifth tier of Counties west of the Missouri River, and is bounded on the north by Knox, east by Pierce, and Madison, south by Boone, and west by Holt County and unorganized territory, and contains 864 square miles, or 552,960 acres of land.

     WATER COURSES.--The Elkhorn River is the principal stream, flowing diagonally through the central portion, and by its tributaries draining the entire country, except the northern townships, which are nourished by the numerous branches of Verdigris and Bazile Creeks that flow northward to the Missouri. The Elkhorn at this point is about twenty-five yards wide, with an average depth of eighteen inches, has a rapid current, clear, pure water, and sandy bottom. On the south side are two tributaries, Clear Water and Cedar Creeks, both large enough for mill purposes. There are also seven smaller streams within the limits of the County tributary to the Elkhorn, and two or three that water the southern townships and flow southward into the Loup. Springs are abundant along most of the small streams throughout the County, and a few are to be found along the Elkhorn.

     TIMBER.--There is enough native timber in this County, especially in the western part, to supply all fuel for many years to



come. Well seasoned oak wood can be bought for $3.50, and cottonwood for $3.00 per cord. The timber found along the Elkhorn is chiefly cottonwood, ash, white elm, willow and oak. The tributaries are timbered with the above named varieties, with the addition of red elm, hackberry, basswood, and box elder. Cottonwood is more abundant along the Elkhorn than any other wood, and oak is more plentiful on most of the smaller streams, and in the timbered gulches.

     Artificial groves have been set out by almost every farmer.

     WILD FRUITS.--Many kinds of shrubs grow either among the timber or in thickets by themselves, the most common of which are the plum, and choke cherry. Wild fruits are very abundant in a favorable season, the most plentiful being plums, grapes and gooseberries.

     CHARACTER OF THE LAND, SOIL, ETC.--The greater portion of this County is embraced in the beautiful valley of the Elkhorn River, which drains a country about thirty miles wide. The valley of the Elkhorn is here generally about two miles wide, but is in some places from three to five, and nearly always undulating, with small level tracts, and many smooth, long slopes from the adjacent foothills toward the river. The bottom lands have an average elevation of about twenty feet above the river, with sufficient fall to carry off all surplus water from heavy rains. Near the river there are some small tracts of low land known as first bottoms, which produce a heavy grass, and are subject to occasional overflow. The valley of the Elkhorn is skirted on either side by a range of hills varying from about twenty to one hundred and fifty feet above the bottom lands, and broken through every two or three miles by small streams tributary to the Elkhorn. These hills are in some places steep and broken, in others low and rounded, and susceptible of cultivation. The uplands are gently rolling, and are intersected with small valleys each from one to four miles wide and drained by a tributary of the Elkhorn. There are no large tracts of level land in the County. There are only a few small tracts along the Elkhorn too low, and a few on the divides between the streams too rough and broken, to admit of cultivation. As a whole the surface of the country is rolling, with one large valley running diagonally through the center, and nine or



ten smaller valleys running in a direction nearly at right angles with the larger one. About three-fourths of the land in the County has a first-class clay loam soil, the remaining fourth a sandy soil, varying in quality from a rich sandy loam to a worthless yellow sand. The usual depth of the soil on the uplands is about eighteen inches, and on the bottoms, two-and-a-half to three feet. There are exceptional places on the narrow ridges where the soil is but a few inches deep, while at the foot of steep hills, where decayed vegetable matter has accumulated for ages, it may be eight or ten feet in depth. A large portion of the sandy land is rolling or hilly, and is almost worthless for any purpose except grazing. It produces a tolerably good growth of grass, and will be of value in the future when stock raising becomes a leading business. Wherever the sandy tracts are level, the soil is fair in quality, and in some places rich and black, producing equally as well as the clay loam soil. Water can be had by digging or boring, on the Elkhorn bottom, at the depth of from ten to twenty-five feet; on the bottoms of the smaller streams at the depth of from twenty to forty feet, and on the uplands from sixty to ninety feet.

     FIRST SETTLEMENTS, &c.--The first settler in the County was Crandall Hopkins, of Wisconsin, who located with his family on a claim in the Elkhorn Valley, in November, 1868. He was followed by Thomas Mahan, in February, 1869, and early that spring by J. H. Snider and family, Mr. Timms, William Clark, A. M. Salnave and A. J. Leach. The settlement of the County once begun, proceeded rapidly. The summer of 1869 was a productive one, and the settlers who were there early enough to do any breaking, raised excellent crops; prosperity smiled upon them, new settlers came weekly, sometimes daily, and before fall the choicest tracts of the Elkhorn bottom were settled as far west as the Upper Yellow Banks, within two or three miles of the west limit of the County.

     In 1870 the settlers suffered from the first Indian raid. A party of ten Indians visited the new settlement, appearing friendly at first, but in two or three instances becoming extremely insolent, firing a number of shots into the house of Louis Patras, and finally stealing nine horses and hurrying off toward the Sioux reservations in the northwest.



     In November of this year, the Indians made a second raid upon the settlements, breaking into the house of Robert Horne, living on the head of Cedar Creek, and carrying off or destroying all his household goods. These Indians were followed by fourteen of the settlers, overtaken and severely punished, within sight of where James McFarland now lives, in Holt County, a few miles below O'Neil City. Two of their number were killed, and two or three known to be wounded. The whites also suffered in this battle, two of the men receiving severe arrow wounds, and one horse was killed and three wounded. Since that time the settlers have not been molested by Indians.

     These raids did not stop the settlement of the County. During the summer of 1870 the Elkhorn bottom continued to fill up with new settlers, and the valleys of the smaller streams, at least as far west as Cedar Creek, were tolerably well settled by fall. By the first of November there were not less than 150 voters within the limits of the County. The pioneers were subject to many privations and inconveniences. The nearest postoffice, store or mill was at Norfolk, distant from thirty to fifty miles. Mr. A. J. Leach, before there was a postoffice in the County, frequently brought the mail from Norfolk for the entire community, in his overcoat pockets, leaving it at Judge Snider's for distribution.

     The organization of the County was effected by the election of a full board of County officers, at the first general election, held in June, 1871, in pursuance of an Act of the Legislature. At this election 202 votes were polled, and OAKDALE designated as the County Seat.

     In 1879 there were thirty school districts in Antelope County; school houses, twenty-seven; children of school age, 914; males, 511; females, 403; number of qualified teachers employed, males, nine; females, twenty-two; value of school houses, $3,923; value of school house sites, $772.

     The Assessors' returns for 1879 show the following amount of taxable property in the County: Number of acres of land, 127,395; average value, $1.62 per acre; value of town lots, $22,340; money used in merchandise, $8,120; money used in manufactures, $300; horses, 1,079; value, $30,362; mules and asses, ninety-four, value, $4,088; neat cattle, 2,361, value, $22,136; sheep, 502, value,

Prior pageTOCNext page

© 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001 for NEGenWeb Project by Pam Rietsch, T&C Miller