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About fifteen miles to the west of Tekamah, on the Logan in the famous Logan Valley, is situated Oakland, a fine little country town of about 150 inhabitants. Besides the different mercantile industries, an excellent flouring mill, and the different trades usual to a small town, religious and educational interests are well represented in Oakland. As in most other portions of Burt County, the town is flanked on every side by as rich and beautiful farming country, as can be found in the State. The Omaha & Northern Nebraska Railway, was extended from Tekamah to Oakland in the year 1879.


Some four miles east of Tekamah, in Arizona precinct, is situated Newton postoffice, where will be found a good country store, with a church, school and other advantages. Newton is the home of Senator Beck, brother of United States Senator Beck, from Kentucky, and is surrounded by a rich farming country.


Is situated on the Missouri River, about five miles north of Newton, where will be found a fine steam saw mill, postoffice, country store, etc. The logs that are converted into lumber at the Riverside Mill, are procured chiefly from a fine body of timber on the Iowa side of the river.

     HOMESTEAD postoffice is about six miles south of Newton, where will be found a country store, blacksmith shop, etc. This little centre is also in the midst of a highly productive farming country.

     GOLDEN SPRING postoffice is about eight miles to the north of Tekamah. These springs flow from a rock of peculiar formation, and for the purity of its waters, or the beauty of its surroundings, is not excelled in the State.

     There are also what is known as Clarke's postoffice, on Bell Creek, near the center of the County, Alder Grove postoffice, situated about ten miles southwest of Tekamah, and Bertram, the last postoffice organized in the County, and situated about ten miles northwest from Tekamah.



     FIRST SETTLEMENTS.--On the 2d of October, 1854, a party of nine men, consisting of B. R. Folsom, W. N. Byers, J. W. Pattison, H. C. Purple, John Young, Jerry Folsom. Wm. T. Raymond, a Mr. Maynard, and a Mr. White, crossed the Missouri River at Council Bluffs, Iowa, for the purpose of exploring the interior of Nebraska, with a view to permanent settlement therein. The first night in the new Territory the party camped at the old Mormon town of Winter Quarters, now called Florence, a village six miles above Omaha, and from here they took a westerly course crossed the Elkhorn River, and examined the country as far west as the present town of North Bend, on the Platte River; from here they returned to the Elkhorn, re-crossed that stream, and followed it up to the mouth of Logan Creek, thence up that stream to a point nearly west of the present town of Decatur. Not finding the country and timber such as they wished, they changed their course to a southeasterly direction, finally arriving at a fine, large body of cottonwood timber, on the Missouri, and all being favorably impressed with the advantages of the situation for a town site, they decided upon its selection. Accordingly, on the 6th day of October 1854, the town site of Tekamah was located, after which the party returned to Council Bluffs for supplies, and to make preparations for surveying, &c., returning to Tekamah again in a few days with an accession to their number of twenty-three men, making in all thirty-two.

     In the meantime contracts had been made by the Town Company and settlers for the erection of a Town House and ten other buildings in Tekamah, before winter set in, but owing to the difficulty of obtaining the material, and the annoyances from Indians, they were not fulfilled, and no adequate shelter being provided for man or beast, the whole party returned to Iowa, where they remained during the winter.

     Early in the Spring of 1855 John R. Folsom, in company with W. N. Byers, F. W. Goodwill, Miles Hopkins, Z. B. Wilder, and N. R. Folsom, returned to Tekamah and commenced getting out logs for two houses. The timber was divided with a whip-saw for the walls and floor, the roof being covered with cottonwood bark, and by the first of July following, the houses were finished and occupied.



     A week or two after the return of Mr. Folsom and others to Tekamah, they were joined by Dedrick Face and wife, F. E. Lange and W. B. Beck. Mrs. Face has the honor of being the first white woman in the County.

     On the 28th of July of this year, a colony from La Salle County, Illinois, consisting of G. M. Peterson, Thomas Thompson, John Oak and George Erickson, with their families and household goods, twenty-four souls in all, arrived at Tekamah. These were the first families to locate upon claims in the County. They located north of Silver Creek, and at once began cutting and hauling logs for building permanent homes; but they had scarcely commenced work before a messenger was sent to them with the terrifying news that two white men had just been killed and scalped by the Santee Sioux near Fontenelle, and that a general Indian attack was apprehended. Their fond dreams of peace and prosperity were thus suddenly changed to consternation and disappointment; and gathering up their effects, they hastily left for Tekamah, where preparations for a defense were being made.

     Hon. B. R. Folsom made a requisition upon the Governor for arms and ammunition for the settlers, which were readily supplied. In the meantime Major Olney Harrington and family, and a few others, had arrived at Tekamah, which increased the number of inhabitants to about fifty. A military company was organized with B. R. Folsom as Captain, W. B. Beck, Lieutenant, and N. R. Folsom, First Sergeant. Eighteen names were enrolled, and the men drilled twice a day. A great number of logs were cut and hauled from the grove on the Missouri bottom, and a fort or block house, partially erected as a better means of defense, (now a hotel and is called the Astor House, kept by C. Astor--resident fourteen years). But the summer wore away without any more Indian disturbances occurring, the scare gradually died out, and the settlers returned to their claims to make preparations for the coming winter.

     The first election for County organization was held on the 6th of November 1855, at which the following officers were elected, viz: William Bates Judge of Probate; John Newett, Sheriff; Peter Peterson, Register; Lewis Peterson, Treasurer; Wm. F. Goodwill, Surveyor; Olney Harrington, and Adam Olinger, Justices of the Peace.



     Tekamah had been incorporated as a city by an Act of the Legislature, approved March 14, 1855, and was made the seat of justice.

     During the Spring and Summer of 1856 a large number of claims were taken throughout the County and Tekamah improved rapidly. The terrible winter following, which caused such widespread suffering among the young settlements of Nebraska, was also severely felt by the pioneers of Tekamah and vicinity. Cut off for a time by the deep snows from all supplies, they suffered greatly for provisions, especially flour. Most of the stock perished from exposure and starvation. However elk, deer, and all kinds of small game was abundant, and formed the chief article of food for the settlers.

     The first marriage in the County was that of Lewis P. Peterson to a daughter of Thomas Thompson, in the Fall of 1855.

     The first death was that of Mrs. Thomas Thompson, in the Fall of 1855, who died in child-birth, the child dying shortly afterward, also making it the first birth and death in the County.

     Rev. L. F. Stringfield, of the Methodist Episcopal Church, organized a Society in Tekamah in August, 1856. In the Fall following, Rev. J. M. Taggart, of the Baptist Church, organized a Society with eight members. From this time onward religious meetings were regularly held at Tekamah and at other points in the County.

     B. R. Folsom was appointed Judge of Probate for Burt County, by the Governor, his commission dating May 16, 1855.

     Very little progress was made in the settlement of the County during the year 1857, but in the following Spring claims were taken in all parts of the County, farms were opened out, buildings erected and other substantial improvements made, and from this date the real prosperity of the County commenced and continued steadily up to the present time.

     The Omaha & Northwestern Railroad, now the Northern Nebraska, was completed to Tekamah in the Fall of 1876, which remained its terminus until the present year, 1879, when it was extended to Oakland, in the western part of the County,

     SCHOOLS.--Good schools were among the first institutions opened at Tekamah and Decatur, and as the County developed,



comfortable school houses were erected in all the most convenient centers.

     The number of school districts in the County in 1879, was fifty-two; school houses, fifty-one; children of school age, 2,010; --males, 1,067; females, 943; whole number of children that attended school during the year, 1,445; number of qualified teachers employed--males, thirty-five, females, forty-nine; wages paid teachers--males, $3,977.39, females, $5,156.35; value of school houses, $30,610.00; value of school house sites, $1,073.00; value of books and apparatus, $1,107.00.

     CROPS.-The reports for 1879 give the number of acres of land under cultivation in the County at 22,515. The acreage sown and the yield of the principal crops, is as follows: Winter wheat, eighty-three acres, 784 bushels; rye, 1,088 acres, 16,790 bushels; spring wheat, 10,175 acres, 138,293 bushels; corn, 2,494 acres, 61,861 bushels; barley, 612 acres, 14,246 bushels; oats, 1,614 acres, 56,318 bushels; potatoes, 238 acres, 18,303 bushels.

     TAXABLE PROPERTY.--The total valuation of taxable property in the County, as returned by the Assessor for 1879, is as follows: Acres of land, 278,979, average value per acre, $3.75; value of town lots, $53,287.00; money used in merchandise, $30,061; money used in manufactures, $7,885.00; number of horses, 3,033, value $65,481.00; mules and asses, 271, value, $5,316.00; neat cattle, 9,765; value, $82,544.00; Sheep, 6,385, value, 6,434.00; swine, 17,246, value, $10,788.00; vehicles, 967, value, $11,788.00; moneys and credits; $5,511.00; mortgages, $12,837.00; stocks, etc., $613.00; furniture, $17,863.00; libraries, $796.00; property not enumerated, $16,173.00; railroads, $24,129.00; total, $1,406,160.00.


     Butler County lies in the great Platte Valley about fifty-one miles west of the Missouri River. It has an area of 594 square miles, or 351,360 acres of land, and is bounded on the north by the Platte River, which separates it from Platte and Colfax Counties east by Saunders, south by Seward, and west by Polk County, having an average elevation above the sea level of 1,500 feet. It was



organized June 26, 1856, by a proclamation of Governor Cuming, and was named in honor of Wm. O. Butler, of Kentucky, who was appointed by President Pierce to be Territorial Governor of Nebraska, but who, however, declined.

     WATER SUPPLY.--The Platte River washes the northern, boundary of the County, Wilson, Elm, Deer, Bone and Skull creeks have their source in the central portions of this County, and flow northwardly into the Platte, the last two being very fine streams. The central and southwestern portions of the County are watered by the Blues, and the southeastern townships by Plum Creek and the Oaks.

     Good well-water is generally attainable at a depth of ten to sixty feet.

     TIMBER.--Native timber is scarce, although considerable is yet found along the Platte and Blue Rivers, on Oak Creek and the other streams. Small quantities of cedar and hardwood are found in the bluffs. Large quantities of artificial timber have been planted throughout the County, and thriving groves may be seen on many farms; and where cultivation has kept the prairie fires, from the brush-land young native timber is springing up rapidly.

     In 1879 there were 2,514 acres of timber under cultivation in the County, and 1,400,505 trees planted.

     FRUIT.--The people of Bultler [sic] County have long enjoyed choice fruit from their own Orchards and vines, and in the past year or two the number of fruit trees has been nearly doubled. In 1879 there were 6,454 apple, 322 pear, 3,634 peach, 1,411 plum and 3,981 cherry trees, and 214 acres of grape vines under cultivation in the County.

     CHARACTER OF THE LAND, ETC.--The surface of the country consists for the most part of gently rolling prairie or upland, which is almost everywhere susceptible of easy tillage, and possesses a rich dark soil well adapted to the growth of cereals. The valley of the Platte averages about five miles in width in this County, and is level and beautiful, with a gradual rise towards the bluffs. The Valley of the Big Blue, in the southwestern part of the County although much narrower, is generally smooth with wide fertile bottoms. Splended [sic] well-drained bottom lands are found on the: North Blue, Skull, Bone and other streams.



     In an irregular line from four to six miles south from the Platte River bank, the bluffs or breaks rise suddenly and boldly up from the floor-like plain, affording a landscape spectale [sic] of surpassing beauty, and one peculiarly different from any view east of the Missouri. After pitching and tossing about promiscuously, these ridges which constitute natural winding turnpikes or highways, and the interjacent ravines, abruptly cease, blending all at once in the perfectly level and beautiful tableland. The contrast thus presented is most enchanting to one just arrived from the timbered countries of the east.

     Away to the southward and eastward, lie the valleys of the Big Blue and the Oaks, marked in summer time by a thread-like continuation of green groves and plum thickets winding through the nude plain. Approaching these, after crossing the table land proper, you behold a moderately rolling surface stretching away to the southward, a region most admirably adapted to pasturage and agriculture.

     FIRST SETTLEMENTS.--In 1857 the Waverly Town Company, from Plattsmouth, arrived upon the banks of Skull Creek--so named from the surprising number of Pawnee Skulls found strewn about--near the ruins of an ancient village of that tribe, which once flourished near the spot where Linwood now stands. This was the first bona fide attempt to settle in this region, which was still really in possession of the murderous Pawnee, not to speak of an occasional visit by marauding bands of Sioux.

     Huttsizer, Barker, Garrison and nine others were the members of this pioneer company, which, however, was short-lived, owing to the Pike's Peak excitement of the next year (1858-9). These erected the first house in Butler County, about a half mile above the Linwood mills, on the west bank of Skull Creek. At this date no white man had broken a permanent trail through the grass upon the Platte bottoms, (south side) but the Mormon trail, and old Government road had wound their lonely lengths in dusty majesty along the table lands for many years prior.

     Soon after the advent and exodus of the Waverly Company, the families of Solomon Garfield and James Blair followed, and took up their lonely abode in the house alluded to. Both families still reside in the County.



     In 1859 an attempt was made to effect a County organization, in which the following persons participated, viz: John Beecroft, Thompson Bissel, William Bissel, James Blair, Solomon Garfield, William Earl, J. W. Seeley, Simpson, Beardsley and McCabe; but this organization was never perfected.

     These, then, were the videttes, the outposts of civilization, who, with a few persons Subsequently arriving, held lonely possession of this County from 1858 to 1868--ten years. The skirmish line of permanent settlers penetrated this region about the latter date. As is usual with first comers, they avoided the high, broad prairie, tables and benches, preferring to distribute themselves along the valleys of the various streams, settling in the little groves and nooks under the protection of the hills, in the vicinity of these prime necessities of frontier life--water and wood--each new arrival venturing a little further up the stream, to the next thicket or shelter.

     Thus such portions of the valleys and bottoms along the Platte, the Blues, Oaks, etc., as are within this County, were first selected and occupied, while the highlands were yet entirely unsettled.

     In August, 1868, Butler County was permanently oraganized [sic] and the first election held, showing a poll of seventy votes, indicating a population of about two hundred souls; for it must not be forgotten that at this early day a large per centage of the inhabitants were unmarried young men. The County Seat was located at Savannah, on the banks of the Platte.

     In 1869-70 the advance columns of the great army of occupation swarmed in, entirely absorbing the valleys, and soon after the table and rolling lands beyond the Platte bluffs and breaks. The immediate cause of this remarkable influx of immigrants was, of course, the completion of the Union Pacific Railroad, affording both an outlet and an inlet to this heretofore isolated territory.

     During the summers of 1869-70-71-72, inclusive, rather more than 2,500 persons pitched their tents and settled in the County, transforming it, as if by magic, into a very garden, with a population containing all the elements and conditions found in communities which have been generations growing up to their present estate. More than 40,000 acres of prairie sod were overturned by the plow, and hundreds of dwellings and, school houses erected.



     Twenty years ago all this country was a blank--a lonely, silent region of grass-covered hills, hollows and plains, whose time-old solitude had been forever unbroken save by the whistling of the winds, the tramp of the bison, or the twang of the red man's bow string.

     Five or six years later, a dozen or so persons had straggled hither, scattered along the old wagon trails to the mountains; in 1868 the number had increased to about 200; in 1870 to 1,280; in 1873, to 3,800; in 1874, to 4,440; in 1876, to 4,695, and in 1879, by the census, to 7,310.

     The Bohemians are congregated in the northeast, among the hills, and ravines of Skull and Bone Creeks, and are industrious and economical. They number several hundred in the County, many of whom have opened up and improved fine farms.

     The first white child born in the County was Amanda Simpson, November, 1860.

     There are sixteen voting precincts in the County, the following being the population of each in 1879:

     Linwood, 1,008; Bone Creek, 515; Savannah, 339; Alexis, 410; Summit, 343; Olive, 410; Franklin, 1,082; Skull Creek, 621; Oak Creek, 397; Center, 456; Union, 386; Reading, 622; Read, 305; Ulysses, 304; Spurk, thirty-six; Richardson, seventy-five. Total, 7,310, of whom 3,956 are males, and 3,354 females.

     The origin of the several names of the precincts are generally apparent. Three of them are in commemoration of old residents; three are named for streams passing through them; Linwood from the presence of linn or basswood--very rare in this vicinity; Savannah for an Eastern town of that name; Summit for the former Wisconsin residence of C. C. Cobb, Esq., who established a mercantile business here in 1872; Center from geographical position; Reading for a Michigan town of that name, and Ulysses for Gen. U. S. Grant.

     The first public house of any description was erected in the Summer of 1867, on section four, township, sixteen, range three. The materials used for its construction were small, unhewn logs; the roof--as was the custom in those days--was of poles and long slough or bottom grass, covered with sod; its dimensions about ten feet by twelve. In this unpretending edifice the first Commission-



ers' meeting was held and the first school taught, Miss Ada Vanderkalk being the teacher, and the juvenile members of the families of D. R. Gardner, James Blair, Wm. Butler, Jas. Green and Mrs. Solomon Garfield, pupils. This was a "subscription school," the wages paid were $20.00 per month.

     Ranche life in Butler County covered a period of ten years, beginning with 1858 and ending about 1868, when the County was organized, and freighters' customs and road laws gave way to legislative enactments.

     Gardner's Ranche was established in 1859, by David R. Gardner, on the site now occupied by the town of Savannah. McCabe's Ranche, on Deer Creek, Thomson Bissel's, on Elm Creek, and Simpson's Ranche a few miles further west, were all established in 1859. Thomson Bissel broke the first land in the County and raised the first crop.

     Several graves of "Forty-niners" may yet be seen on the hill points near McCabe's Ranche, but of the ranche itself little is visible beyond a profuse growth of gigantic weeds.

     The first session of the District Court held in Butler County was at Savannah, on May 20, 1871. As may be supposed, the docket was not cumbered to any great extent with the names of litigants and attorneys. One case only was brought on for trial. This was in reference to the murder of one Edward McMurty, (a citizen of what is now known as Pepperville precinct) by some Pawnee Indians. For some fancied insult to certain members of their tribe, who were in the habit of begging and pilfering among the settlers on the south side of the Platte, a party of the redskinned assassins laid in wait for their victim at a secluded spot on the Stage Company's Island, two in miles south of Columbus, and upon his appearance riddled him with bullets and arrows, dragged his body to an out-of-the-way place, and anchored it out of view in a water-hole, by means of a forked stick.

     A change of venue was had on account of some supposed unfriendliness of the deceased's relatives and neighbors, and the culprits were placed in the Omaha jail. They were finally liberated and sent to their reservation above Columbus.

     Much shorter and more satisfactory were the proceedings in the case of one Robert Wilson, who killed Ransal B. Grant,


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