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     Before the organization of the Territorial Government it was found necessary to have some tribunal for the settlement of disputes, and each settlement, defining its own boundaries, formed itself into a "Club" for this purpose. These clubs varied much in character, according to location. The earlier settlements near the river were largely composed of speculators, who often equaled, if they did not outnumber, the real settlers; while further back from the river the number of pioneers largely predominated. Of course the different clubs varied in character. On the one extreme, self interest ruled largely in most of the proceedings; while on the other, the general interest and welfare of the settlement was the ruling principle.

     An offender against the laws or decisions of the club was generally summarily dealt with. There was no machinery for assessing fines; no jails or prisons; hence little or no attempt was made to grade the punishment according to the offense. In the clubs controlled by real settlers the offender had a fair trial and was informed what he must do to retain his membership, and the penalty of refusal to conform at once to the judgment of the club. The penalty of obstinate and unyielding disobedience was "Removal from the Territory," or, in the language of the day, to be "Put over the River." Very few had the hardihood to resist the judgment of the club, for it was well known that persistent offenders would be so effectually removed that they could cause no more trouble.

     There was probably but one case in Cass County when it became necessary to resort to this extreme penalty. The one, but too vividly remembered yet by many citizens of Plattsmouth, when four unhappy men were started on their last voyage over the river, but their arrival on the other side has never been reported, nor have they ever been seen or heard from since.

     Following are the names and time of settlement of a few of the pioneers. Many of the first on the ground in several of the precincts were merely speculators, or of a transitory character, selling out their claims and passing on, and their names are therefore omitted:

     In MARTIN'S PRECINCT, now Plattsmouth, are found in 1854, Samuel Martin, Jacob Adams, Wm. H. Shafer, J. W. O'Neill, W.



Mickelwait, C. H. Wolcott, Levi Walker, Stephen Wiles, A. J. Todd and William Gullion.

     ROCK BLUFFS--N. R. Hobbs, Wm. Young, F. M. Young, Sr., Wm. Gilmour, Sr., Abram Towner, Benj. Albin, J. McF. Haygood, 1854.

     FOUR MILE CREEK--Lorenzo Johnson, 1855; Thomas Thomas, Wm. L. Thomas, Samuel Thomas, Peter Beaver, Capt. D. L. Archer, 1856.

     EIGHT MILE GROVE--John Scott, 1855; John Mutz, Geo. S. Ruby, J. P. Ruby, 1856.

     LOUISVILLE--Adam Ingram, James Ingram, 1856; A. L. Child, 1857; Wm. Snyder, Conrad Ripple, Pat. Blessington, Fred Stohlman, 1858.

     AVOCA--John Kanoba, J. G. Hanson, 1856; Amos Teft, Sr., Amos Teft, Jr., Orlando Teft, 1857; Geo. W. Adams, 1859.

     LIBERTY--Joseph Van Horn, 1854; Samuel Kirkpatrick, 1855; L. Sheldon, J. F. Buck, Stephen Hobson, 1856.

     On March 30, 1865, the Governor appointed Abram Towner Probate Judge, and Thos. J. Palmer Register of Deeds, as also, Thomas B. Ashley Justice of the Peace for KANOSHA PRECINCT.

     On the same day Judge Towner opened his Court, and by order, divided Cass County into two precincts, viz: Plattsmouth and Rock Bluffs. He also ordered the first County election to be held on April 10, 1855, and appointed James O'Neill, Elias Gibbs and Stephen Wiles as Judges, and Charles Wolcott and P. Shannon as Clerks of Plattsmouth Precinct, and Thomas B. Ashley, Frank McCall and Curtis Rakes, Judges, and Wm. H. Davis, and John Griffith Clerks of Rock Bluffs Precinct. No returns or poll books are to be found of this election, but it appears that L. G. Todd and Allen Watson were elected as Justices of the Peace for Plattsmouth Precinct, and Thomas B. Ashley and Thomas Thompson for Rock Bluffs, and Bela White, County Treasurer.

     The first session of the District Court was held in Cass County in April of 1856, Judge Edward Hardin presiding; A. C. Towner, Sheriff.

     On March 3, 1856, Rock Bluffs Precinct was divided into Cassville and Kanosha; and on September 10, on petition of several citizens of Clay and Lancaster Counties, the Probate



Judge created the Precinct of Chester, and on the same day divided Cass County into three Commissioners' Districts, named Plattsmouth, Kanosha and Cassville, preparatory to the election of County Commissioners, which occurred at the general election of November, 4, 1856.

     The choice of lands in 1854 was confined almost entirely to the vicinity of the Missouri River; few if any were taken at any considerable distance from it. In 1855 a few settlers reached out to Four Mile Creek, Eight Mile Grove and a short distance up the valley of the Weeping Water. But in 1856 there was a more general extension. The several earlier settlements were much enlarged, and in addition, the Weeping Water, up to and above the Falls, Cedar, Thompson, Fountain, and Salt Creek, had considerable settlements.

     At the general election of November 4, 1856, as before stated, J. Vallery, Jr., R. Palmer and W. D. Gage were elected as the first .Board of County Commissioners.

     The pioneers of Cass County suffered but little from the Indians. In the early days they were in the habit of roaming through the settlements, from the single individual up to fifteen or twenty in number, but there is nothing on record to show that they ever attempted personal injury to any settler of the County. They were always a source of great terror to the women and children, and also to husbands and fathers lest they should attack the family in their absence, but beyond a few raids made for the purpose of stealing, and the intolerable annoyance caused by their continual begging for food, they committed no serious depredations.

     The first death in the County was that of Samuel Martin, on December 15, 1854. Mr. Martin was not only the first white settler in the County, but the first to fill a settler's grave.

     The first marriage was that of Elza Martin to Sarah Morris, on November 16, 1854, by Abram Towner, Probate Judge.

     The first white child born in the County was Nebraska Stevens, son of Wm. Stevens, in December, 1854, or January, 1855.

     The first sermon preached in the County was in October, 1854, at the house of Thos B. Ashley, by Abram Towner.

     During several years preceeding 1864 a number of citizens of this County suffered much loss and hardship from horse thieves.



About the first of June of that year, 1864, (some say 1863) two horses were taken from Capt. Isaac Wiles, and one from John Snyder, of this County. Pursuit was immediately made. A quarrel between the thieves, about the division of the horses induced one of the three to betray the other two. The informer was secured, and on the information given the two were followed and found secreted in a loft at "Mullen's Ranch," on the divide South of South Bend. They were secured, and the party returned with them to Eight Mile Grove. In the trial of the men which followed before the self-constituted court, there was not, nor could there be, any denial of guilt. They were horse-thieves taken in the very act. No possible mistake in their identity, design or act. A plea was offered for the one who betrayed the other two. But it was considered that, as no repentance or better feeling had induced this action, but only revenge and malice toward his fellow criminals, it gave no shadow of an excuse for sparing him, perhaps to repeat the offense before another day, and without a dissenting voice, sentence was passed and followed by immediate execution; and death then and there closed the career of three miserable men.

     The Burlington & Missouri River R. R. run's across the northern portion of the County, from the city of Plattsmouth westward. This Company owns 25,000 acres of land in Cass County, the price ranging from $7.00 to $10.00 per acre.

     POPULATION.--Cass County is divided into sixteen voting precincts, the population of each, in 1879, being as follows: Plattsmouth, 2,692; Rock Bluffs, 1,251; Liberty, 1,215; Plattsmouth*, 975; Greenwood, 729; Stove Creek, 721; Weeping Water, 687; Eight Mile Grove, 664; Elmwood, 629; Center, 594; Tipton, 575; South Bend, 573; Salt Creek, 558; Avoca, 554; Louisville, 544; Mount Pleasant, 474. Total population of County in 1879, 13,435--males, 7,305; females, 6,130.

     EDUCATIONAL ADVANTAGES.-There are eighty-four school districts in the County and eighty-six school houses; seventy-two are frame, ten brick, and two stone. The total value of school property in the County is $78,120; number of teachers employed in 1879, was males, sixty-six, and females, sixty-eight; average wages paid teachers monthly, males, $35.61; females, $28.90; the number of children of school age in the County, in 1879, was, males, 2,724;

Note: Plattsmouth appears twice, and population numbers are not the same.



females, 2,430; total, 5,154; the attendance during the year mentioned was, males, 1,973; females, 1,671; total, 3,644.

     CROPS.--The reports for 1879 give the number of acres under cultivation in the County at 95,078. The yield of the principal crops, was as follows: Winter wheat, 392 acres, 5,968 bushels; rye, 1,501 acres, 20,927 bushels; spring wheat, 47,440 acres, 587,815 bushels; corn, 17,028 acres, 552,292 bushels; barley 5,438 acres, 133,687 bushels; oats, 4,313 acres, 127,933 bushels; sorghum, sixty acres, 1,982 gallons; flax, 165 acres, 1,382 bushels; millet and Hungarian, 329 acres, 1,325 tons; potatoes, 612 1/2 acres, 65,519 bushels; tobacco, two acres, 2,060 pounds; beans, 19 3/4 acres, 107 bushels; onions, 6 8-10 acres, 1,004 bushels.

     The Assessors' returns for 1879 show the total value of land in the County to be $1,624,683; average value per acre, $4.90; total value of town lots, $207,792; money invested in manufacturing including buildings and material, $38,585; money invested in mercandising [sic], $55,055; number of horses, 7,311, average value, $29.00; total, $22,068; number of mules and asses, 729, average value, $31.63; total, $23,068; number of cattle, 18,305, average value, $10.14; total,. $185,691; number of sheep, 307, average value, $1.17; total $359; number of swine, 41,043, average value, $1.09; total, $42,485; number of vehicles, 2,199, average price, $19.31; total value, $424,629; mortgages, stocks, bonds and other securities, $180.64; household furniture not exempt, including gold and silver plate, musical instruments, watches and jewelry, $70,557; private libraries, $21.41; all other property not enumerated, $171,369; railway property, $288,030; total value of property in the County, $3,058,135.


     Twenty-one miles South of Omaha, on the west bank of the Missouri, about one and a half miles south of where the Platte empties into the first named river, deriving its name from its location near the mouth of the Platte, is situated the City of Plattsmouth, the County Seat of Cass County, which was platted, laid out and christened on the 15th day of August, 1855, which entitles it to a place among the oldest cities of the State. In 1879 the city contained a population of 3,300, about forty per cent. of which were foreign born. Although too near to Omaha and Lincoln, to



acquire more than a local importance as a commercial centre, its railway advantages and the rapid development of the rich agricultural country that flanks it to the west and south, has served to make it a solid business town, and to somewhat increase its patronage, both as a receiving and distributing market. The business portion of the city is built very compact and includes some really attractive structures, although as a rule, the business houses are of wood and rather ancient in their general aspect. The streets are laid out at right angles, and are broad and pleasant, and under a fine system of natural drainage towards the river; the town is kept comparatively clean with little labor. The city is situated on a strip of table land, about fifty feet above the level of the river, which slopes gently towards the stream, while to the south, west and northwest, rises a range of high bills, which are well wooded with both natural timber and artificial groves. The residence portion of the town is somewhat rolling and occupies the space between the range of hills mentioned, and the business center of the place. There the streets are adorned on either side with luxuriant shade trees, and one sees numerous beautiful residences that are surrounded with fine shaded yards, so that whatever the town lacks in the way of attractiveness in its business portion, is nearly or quite compensated for in the inviting appearance of its resident streets.

     A view of the city from the river is indeed charming. Passing over the portion, of town devoted to trade, the eye rests on the Stately mansion of the opulant [sic], and the neat cottage of the less pretentious citizen, the one standing out in bold relief, and the other nestling in the cooling shade of tree and vine, all speaking, in the most unmistakable language, "We are the homes of wealth, contentment and virtue."

     The religious and educational advantages, as in most other cities throughout the State, are excellent and ample. There are eight church buildings in the city--some of which have attractive exteriors and finely finished interiors--including one Methodist, one Episcopal, one Lutheran, one Christian, one Baptist, one Catholic and one African Methodist. There are four good Common School buildings, 26x4O feet, constructed of brick, and one High School building, which stands on a commanding elevation and is a



very fine structure. Among the more prominent public buildings is the post office and custom house, Court House and opera house, all of which, except the Court House, are of a character that would reflect credit on a much larger town.

     Society organizations include one Masonic Lodge, one Odd Fellows, one Knights of Honor, one Good Templars, one Temple Of Honor, one Red Ribbon Club and one Ladies' Christian Temperance Union. The various industries are represented as follows: B. & M. Railway Shops, employing five hundred men; three newspapers, the Sentinel (weekly), Herald (Weekly), and Enterprise (daily); nine dry good stores, three hardware, three clothing, three millinery, three jewelry, four drug, three farming implements, four hotels, one flouring mill, one saw mill, one bank, one loan agency, three grocery stores, four confectionery shops, two tin shops, four blacksmith shops, six carpenter shops, two carriage and wagon shops, three harness shops, one shoe store, two shoe shops, one foundry and machine shop, two lumber yards, four paint shops, four meat markets, two wood yards, three coal dealers, two undertaker's stores, three elevators, four warehouses, one pork house, eight grain merchants and numerous others, such as billiard halls, saloons, barber shops, laundries, etc. The B. &. M. R. R. bridge, now in course of construction across the Missouri River at this point, is to be finished early in 1880.

     EARLIER HISTORY OF PLATTSMOUTH.--Samuel Martin, with his two log houses commenced the settlement of both city and County. Club law ruled supreme from June, 1854, to September, 1855, when it was weakened some from the presence of the two Justices of the Peace, Allen Watson and L. G. Todd, but still exerted a controlling power for a year or so later.

     The first movement on record. looking towards the "City of Plattsmouth," was the organization of the "Plattsmouth Town Company," October 26, 1854.

     The first members of this Company were Samuel Martin, James O'Neil, J. L. Sharp, C. and L. Nuckolls and Manly Green. Other members subsequently joined them. In November, 1854, this Company proceeded to lay out and plat the City of Plattsmouth.

     O. N. Tyson was the surveyor of the Company, and surveyed



and platted the future city. On March 16, 1855, the Company obtained from the first Legislature an Act of Incorporation of the City of Plattsmouth. The town site was entered January 22, 1859.

     In the order for a County election issued by Judge Towner for April 10, 1855, he changed the name of the Precinct from "Martins" to Plattsmouth, so that Martin's name now remains only as a name in history. Meantime he had finished his work in the settlement and was laid away with so few attending spectators that when active search and inquiries were instituted a few years since by his relatives for his remains, they failed to find any clue to them.

     Mr. Martin's two log houses, built in 1853, were followed by the third, a log house, built by T. G. Palmer; the fourth, also of logs, by W. Mickelwait, and the fifth, of logs, also, by Wm. Garrison.

     The first frame building erected was on the south side of Main street, just above where the Platte Valley House now stands. It was built for and used as the first hotel in the city. It was called the "Farmer's Hotel." The foregoing log houses and this hotel were built during the fall of 1854 and spring of 1855.

     Three good frame houses were built in 1856 by W. Mickelwait, among which was the "Nebraska House," or City Hotel, built for the Plattsmouth Town Company. During the same summer, Messrs. Slaughter and Worley built the old New York store. The first brick was probably built by Judge A. L. Sprague, in 1858 or 1859, now used as the Surveyor General's office; the second about the same time or a little later, by J. Krouth; and the third, in 1859 and 1860, by W. B. Warbritton. In 1863 and 1864 three or four more brick houses were erected. Tootle & Hanna's store, the Masonic Block, in 1865, and John Fitzgerald's block on the corner of Main and Sixth streets, are structures of which no city need be ashamed. The second hotel was built in 1856 and named the "Farmers' Home;" the third was the "Platte Vallley [sic]," built in the spring and summer of 1857.

     Wheatley Mickelwait was the first postmaster of Plattsmouth. He was appointed in the fall of 1855.

     A saw mill was erected by C. Heisel early in 1856; an attach-



ment was added by which some flour was made in the fall of the same year. It was subsequently moved, rebuilt, and by August, 1857, was doing a good business as a saw and flouring mill. Sarpy's flouring mill was built in the summer of 1862.

Sketch or Picture


     "A ferry across the river at Plattsmouth," was one of the Acts of incorporation of the first legislature. The parties included in this Act were W. Mickelwait, J. O'Neil, J. L. Sharp, J. G. Palmer and L. Nuckolls and their associates. The charter was dated March 1, 1865. A flat-boat was run up to August, 1857, when the




"Emma" was put on; followed by. the "Survivor," in 1858, the "Paul Wilcox," in the fall of 1859, and later by the present "Mary McGee."

     Under the charter of March 16, 1855, a city government was organized by an election, on December 29, 1856, at which Wheatley Mickelwait was elected Mayor, and Enos Williams, W. M. Slaughter and Jacob Vallery, Aldermen. This City Council met and proceeded to business January 29, 1857.

     At a special election held in Plattsmouth on April 24, 1869, $50,000 in bonds were voted by the city, and donations made by individual citizens of a large number of city lots to the B. & M. Railway Company, on condition that the Company should erect there, and maintain depot, shops, and general fixtures, making and continuing Plattsmouth the headquarters of the Company in Nebraska; putting the road through to the west end of the County, all in good running order and actual operation, within sixteen months after June 3, 1869. These conditions were accepted by the company, and the contract closed by W. Thielson, the authorized agent of the Company, and the City Council, June 15, 1869. Early in July, in the presence of a large crowd of spectators, John Fitzgerald, at the foot of Main street, in Plattsmouth, displayed his strength and skill in "breaking ground" for the railroad track. In September, 1869, in a still larger and more excited crowd, the first locomotive, the "American Eagle," was landed and gave her first scream on Nebraska soil. The long wished, and long listened for whistle was now a matter of unquestionable fact upon the streets of Plattsmouth.

     The first newspaper published in the city was the Plattsmouth Jeffersonian, by L. D. Jeffries, assisted by J. D. Ingalls, who finally succeeded Jeffries as publisher. The Jeffersonian was first issued early in 1857.

     Late in 1858, or early in 1859, the Platte Valley Herald was started by Alfred Thompson.

     A few months after the establishment of the Herald, E. Giles moved the Cass County Sentinel from Rock Bluffs to Plattsmouth. The Sentinel died out or was sold out to Joseph I. Early, who for a short time issued the Democratic Times.

     In February, 1865, H. D. Hathaway started the Nebraska

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