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     SCHOOLS.--The number of school districts in the County in 1879 was fifty-one; school houses, forty-eight; children of school age, 2,169--males, 1,017, females, 1,152; whole number of children that attended school during the year, 1,302; wages paid teachers during the year, $9,797.74; value of school houses, $22,913.88; value of school house sites, $604,00; value of books and apparatus, $1,484.85.

     CROPS.--The crop returns for 1879 show the number of acres under cultivation in the County to be 54,595. The acreage sown and the yield of the principal crops was as follows: Spring wheat, 25,297 acres, 307,847 bushels; rye, 2,853 acres, 44,556 bushels; corn, 13,484 acres, 414,392 bushels; barley, 913 acres, 22,192 bushels; oats, 4,987 acres, 160,085 bushels; sorghum, twenty-six acres 1,763 gallons; flax, 1,787 acres, 13,328 bushels; potatoes, 323 acres, 23,345 bushels.

     TAXABLE PROPERTY.--The taxable property of the County, reported for 1879, was as follows: Number of acres of land, 219,378*; average value per acre, $3.84; value of town lots, $98,895.00; money used in merchandise, $41,214; money used in manufacture, $2,050.00; number of horses, 2,308, value, $69,479.00; mules and asses, 171, value, $5,215.00; neat cattle, 6,255; value, $56,600.00; sheep, 4,611, value, $5,335.00; swine, 8,273, value, $6,177.00; number of vehicles, 843, value, $13,566.00; mortgages, $17,599.00; furniture, $3,997.00; libraries, $800.00; property not enumerated, $25,375.00; railroads, $186,588.00; telegraph, $1,530,-00 [sic]; total, $1,376,724.00.

     POPULATION.--There are eleven Precincts in Colfax County, the population of each in 1879 being as follows.: Richland, 362; Shell Creek, 455; Wilson, 340; Stanton, 213; Schuyler, 1,160; Grant, 539; Midland, 603; Adams, 383; Colfax, 523; Maple Creek, 500; Lincoln, 512. Total population of the County in 1879, 5,960. In 1875 the population was 3,651, showing an increase in four years of 2,309.


The County Seat, is the chief town in the County. It was laid out in April, 1869, and is located in the south-central part of the County, on the line of the Union Pacific Railroad, and has 900 inhabitants. It is a prosperous town and does an immense ship

Note: The number "2" is inverted in the original.



ping business, having large elevators, warehouses, stock yards and all the conveniences for the handling of grain and stock. Since the completion of the splendid wagon bridge over the Platte River at this place, it has also been the shipping point for the grain and farm products of the northern part of Butler County. Business is generally well represented. It has some very fine stores, good hotels, real estate offices, lumber yards, agricultural implement warehouses, various mechanics' shops, etc. Two weekly newspapers are published here, the Sun and the Democrat, and both are well supported, the Sun being the first paper published in the County. A brick Court House, costing $20,000, was erected in 1871. The High School building is an elegant and commodious structure. The Methodists, Congregationalists, Presbyterians and Episcopalians each have a house of worship.

     Rogers and Richland are shipping stations on the Union Pacific Road, the former east and the latter west of the County Seat.

     Several small villages, with a postoffice as a nucleus, have sprung up in different parts of the County.


     Cuming County was established and the boundaries defined by an Act of the first Territorial Legislature, approved March 16, 1855. The same Act also located the County Seat at Catharine. By an Act approved February 12th, 1857, the boundaries were re-defined and the name of the County Seat changed to Manhattan. By a special Act approved February 12, 1866, the boundaries were fixed as they exist at present.

     The County was named in honor of Thomas B. Cuming, the first Secretary and Acting Governor of Nebraska. It is located in the northeastern part of the State, and is bounded on the north by Wayne County and Omaha Indian Reserve, east by Omaha Indian Reserve and Burt County, south by Dodge and Colfax, and west by Stanton County, embracing 576 square miles, or 368,640 acres of land.



     WATER COURSES.--The principal stream in the County is the Elkhorn River, which flows southeasterly through the central portion, furnishing an abundance of water power and many superior sites for the location of flouring mills and other manufacturing enterprises. Logan Creek, with its branches, waters the eastern portion of the County. It is next in size, and is also an excellent will stream. Plum Creek enters the County from the northwest and joins the Elkhorn in the central portion. Rock, Cuming, Fisher and Pebble Creeks, tributaries of the Elkhorn, meander through different portions of the County, and are all clear, beautiful streams. Springs are abundant. Well water can be had anywhere at a depth of from ten to fifty feet.

     TIMBER AND FRUIT.--There is, a moderate supply of natural timber on the Elkhorn River, Logan and Plum Creeks, and an occasional small grove is met with. An immense amount of artificial timber was set out at an early day, and thrifty groves, now sufficiently grown to supply all the fuel needed, adorn a great many farms. Grapes, plums and other wild fruit grow in profusion along the streams. There are a number of orchards of choice fruit trees under cultivation in the County, but no report has been made of the kind or quantity of trees planted.

     CHARACTER OF THE LAND.--At least thirty per cent. of the land in this County consists of valley, and the balance of rolling prairie, with very little bluff or waste. The Valley of the Elkhorn is from three to seven miles wide, rich and beautiful. Logan Valley, at this point, is scarcely inferior to the Elkhorn. Plum and the larger creeks all have fine wide bottoms, on which from one to three tons of hay are put up to the acre. Timothy and bluejoint grass grow luxuriantly. The soil on the uplands is a black loam, from one to four feet in depth. There is an abundance of the finest grasses for pasturage. Sheep raising is carried on to a considerable extent. In 1878, 34,561 acres were cultivated in the County; 52,855 bushels of wheat and 69,920 bushels of corn were raised. No crop reports for 1879.

     HISTORICAL.--In the summer of 1856, Benjamin B. Moore left Hillsdale, Michigan, with his wife, daughter Kate, and three sons, Abram, George and Oscar, and coming to Nebraska, located a claim, and made the first settlement in Cuming County



at Catharine, or Dead Timber, where they immediately erected a cabin.

     The winter following was an unusually severe one, the snow falling to such a depth that it was impossible to drive a team, and Mr. Moore and his sons were compelled to haul their provisions from Fontenelle, a distance of twenty-five miles, on a hand Sled. But fortunately wild game was abundant that winter, the Elkhorn Valley being literally alive with deer, antelope and elk. These animals flocked to the friendly shelter of the timber on the bottoms, and during that winter Mr. Moore and his sons killed not less than seventy-five of them close to their home.

     In March, 1857, Uriah Bruner, John J. Bruner, Henry A. Kosters, William Sexaner, Andrew J. Bruner, Peter Weindheim, Henry Eike, Charles Beindorf and others of Omaha, associated themselves together under the name and style of "The Nebraska Settlement Association," and appointed a committee to go up the Elkhorn Valley and select a town site. Uriah and John J. Bruner, with several others of the company, immediately started up the valley on a prospecting tour, and arriving at the present site of the town of West Point, they were so favorably impressed with the general appearance of the country, the apparent richness of the soil, with the beautiful stream that so gracefully wound its way down the broad undulating valley, and the excellent facilities it afforded for manufacturing purposes, that they determined to locate their town there. Returning at once to Omaha they reported to the Association, who approved of the selection they had made, and measures were immediately taken to establish and lay out a town thereon. A steam saw mill was purchased by the Company which arrived at the town site in June of that year. Log houses were erected, and during the summer the town site was surveyed by Andrew J. Bruner. The town was christened Philadelphia, but the name was soon changed to West Point.

     In March, 1858, John D. Neligh and James C. Crawford, of Pennsylvania, and Josiah and John McKirahan, of Ohio, took claims near West Point, built houses and commenced breaking prairie as soon as the season opened. Messrs. Neligh and Crawford that summer bought and put in running order the saw mill of the "Nebraska Settlement Association," and also its claim to the



town site. A postoffice was established at West Point, with J. C. Crawford as postmaster.

     Mrs. John Gaul died early in 1858, being the first death in in the County.

     The first election for County officers occured [sic] at West Point on the 12th of October, 1858, and resulted as follows: W. R. Artman, Probate Judge; James C. Crawford, Treasurer; G. W. Houser, Clerk; John D. Neligh, Register; Henry Cline, Sheriff, A. A. Arlington, John Bromer and J. McKirahan, Commissioners.

     At this election West Point was chosen as the County Seat, and an old log house became the official headquarters.

     The following persons voted at the first election: Aron Arlington, Henry Cline, J. D. Neligh, J. C. Crawford, George W. Houser, John McKirahan, Josiah McKirahan, W. R. Artman, John Roggansock, Jergen Roggensock, George Weikel, B. B. Moore, A. L. Ward, Amasa Babbit, John Bromer, E. C. Dallon, J. S. Walters, John Freeburg and Mr. McCrea. Nineteen votes were cast.

     In the latter part of June, 1859, about three thousand Pawnee Indians came up the Elkhorn Valley, ostensibly on their way North on a hunting expedition, but, as the sequel proved, their main errand was to plunder the whites. They seemed to be in a half starved condition, and, in order to satiate their hunger, commenced a systematic warfare upon the settlers' pigs, poultry, and stock, whenever a favorable opportunity offered. They made their appearance in the vicinity of West Point on the 29th of June, and butchered a heifer belonging to Mr. Clemens. The Indians having committeed [sic] numerous depredations further down the valley, the citizens organized and started in pursuit. About sundown on the 29th, a Company of volunteers from Fontenelle and vicinity, commanded by Captain Kline, arrived at West Point. The next day a number of Indians made their appearance across the river, opposite the saw mill, and the Germans, seeing their approach, concealed themselves between the saw mill and river, with a view of sending some of them to their "happy hunting grounds." Their guns, however, missed fire, and the Indians, discovering that danger was brewing, retreated. Upon discovering that a strong force was rendezvoused at West Point, the Indians moved up the river, and




a party of thirty men, commanded by Captain Patterson, a young lawyer of Fontenelle, started up the river on the east side in order to protect the few settlers in the vicinity of De Witt, where B. B. Moore resided. The whites saw eleven Indians approaching, and conceived the idea of taking them prisoners. Accordingly the party moved into the kitchen, where Mrs. Moore and daughter were preparing dinner, with a view of decoying the Indians into the sitting room, which was divided from the kitchen by a light board partition. The Indians came to the house and entered the sitting room, whereupon a part of the whites passed out of the kitchen and took a position near the south door to prevent their escape. Soon after, firing commenced, by which party is unknown, and then followed a scene which beggers [sic] description.. With a wild war whoop the Indians rushed out of the house, dashed through the lines of the whites, and ran towards their camp on the opposite side of the river, followed by a deadly shower of leaden hail. The battle cry sounded by the retreating Indians was answered by their comrads [sic] across the Elkhorn (a distance of two miles or more), and as the echo and re-echo of the terrible war whoop found its way along the river and over the prairie, consternation filled the breasts of all who heard it, and many of the settlers were panic-stricken. Just how many Indians were killed is not known, but members of the tribe afterwards admitted that only three reached their camp, and that one of them was mortally wounded. One Indian was left dead at Moore's house, and two others were left badly wounded. They were put in a wagon when the party started for West Point; one died on the way, and the other was supposed to be dead and thrown into the river at the Dupray place. He proved, however, to have been playing "possum," and struck out for the shore, but never reached it. An ounce or two of lead caused him to sink to rise no more. The only white man wounded was a Mr. Peterson, of Fontenelle.

     Immediately after the fight everybody left for West Point. A rumor being started that several hundred Indians were preparing to swarm down upon the little band of settlers to avenge the death of their fallen braves, caused a panic such as the citizens of West Point have never witnessed since. During the excitement a consultation was held, and the majority determined to abandon West



Point and go to Fontenelle. Messrs. Neligh, Crawford, McClellan, Babbitt, Schadaman and Thomas, who were opposed to the move, remained behind to secret what goods they could. There were only two persons left in the County, A. L. Ward and Casper Eberline, both of whom were several miles above DeWitt at the time of the fight, in blissful ignorance of the stirring scenes being enacted.

     On the 4th of July a party was organized at Fontenelle to go to DeWitt, consisting of J. D. Neligh, J. M. McKirahan, J. C. Crawford, Jno. McClellan, A. Clemens, J. B. Robinson, Thos. Parks, Jno. Shoer, Wm. Keys and others for the purpose of seeing what the Indians had been doing. Arriving at Moore's house they found a dead Indian lying on the kitchen floor with a bucket of water beside him, a pan of unbaked biscuit on the stone hearth, dishes broken, feathers strewn on the floor, and bureau drawers broken and contents strewn about. While the party was viewing this picture of disolation [sic] and death, from without came the startling cry of, "Indians! Indians! Indians!" and in an instant all was in commotion. A general rush was made for the wagons in which their arms were lying, and in the excitement which followed, a gun was accidently [sic] discharged, its contents lodging in Mr. Shoer, killing him instantly. The alarm was discovered to have been a false one, and soon after the sad accident the party started for Fontenelle, where they arrived the same evening, bearing with them the lifeless body of their unfortunate comrade.

     A month or so later peace was made with the Indians, and a majority of the settlers returned to their claims. Late in the Fall (1859) J. D. Neligh and J. C. Crawford erected a frame building, which has since been remodeled into a hotel, known as the West Point House.

     Early in the Summer of 1860, seven families, with nine teams, under the escort of J. D. Neligh, arrived at West Point.

     The first patent issued upon land in Cuming County, was to Patrick Murry, on the 3d day of July, 1860, giving a title to the northeast quarter of section twenty-one, township twenty-two, range six, east.

     The first marriage license was issued by the Probate Judge in the Summer of 1861, the parties being John Pilger and Miss Harriet Arlington.



     The valuation of all taxable property in the County in the Spring of 1863, was--personal, $4,654; real estate, $2,635; total, $7,289.

     The first homestead entry was made by Benjamin B. Moore; February 16, 1863.

     A. E. Fenske opened a small store at West Point in the Summer of 1865. This was the first mercantile establishment in the County.

     Father Erlad, a Catholic missionary, organized the St. Antonius Church at St. Charles, in 1866. In April, of this year, Rev. Louis Janney, of the M. E. Church, was sent to the DeWitt Mission. The first Quarterly Meeting was held on June 29 and 30, at Mr. Moore's residence, at which time the first Methodist Society in the County was formed.

     The first warranty deed recorded in the Clerk's Office was, given December 17, 1867, to Catharine B. Neligh by Mattias Schmacker.

     On the 24th of July, 1870, Rev. Sheldon Jackson perfected the organization of the Presbyterian Church at West Point. Rev. Mr. Peebles, of the Presbyterian Church of Decatur, had preached here in the Spring of 1867.

     The Catholic Church at St. Charles, erected in the Spring of 1867, was the first Church building in the County.

     In 1868 Bruner & Neligh completed a grist mill at West Point, and people came here to mill from fifty miles around. In the Summer of this year the organization of the German Evangelical Church was effected.

     West Point was incorporated on the 17th of May, 1869. In June, of this year, the U. S. Land Office was located here, and in the fall a splendid bridge was completed over the Elkhorn. In the spring of 1870 the town site of West Point was re-surveyed. In June a Masonic Lodge was organized. The Fremont, Elkhorn and Missouri Valley Railroad was completed to West Point on the 25th of November, of this year, and on the 28th trains commenced running regularly. The value of improvements at West Point from December, 1869 to December, 1870, was estimated at $129,000, exclusive of the depot and other improvements made by the Railroad Company. The first number of the West Point Repub-



lican was issued November 18, 1870; E. N. Sweet, editor, M. S. Bartlett, publisher.

     Early in the Spring of 1871 a Company was organized by the stockholders of the Fremont, Elkhorn and Missouri Valley Railroad, known as the Elkhorn Land and Town Lot Company. A tract of land was purchased in Elmont Precinct, on the line of this road, upon which a town site was surveyed, platted and named Wisner in honor of S. P. Wisner, at that time Vice President of the F., E. & M. V. R. R. Company. On or about the 20th of July, the railroad was completed to this point, and on the 26th following, town lots were sold at auction, the proceeds netting $8,130. Immediately after the sale of lots the erection of business houses and dwellings was begun. The first work commenced was by George Canfield, upon the Wisner House, and the first building completed in the town was a warehouse and office, by John W. Pollock. A depot was built by the Railroad Company, and during the summer and fall, several business houses were opened.

     In the meantime improvements were being rapidly made in and around West Point. In 1871 a brick Evangelical Church was erected; Bruner, Neligh and Kipp built a brick bank building; a Teachers' Institute was organized; a Lutheran Church was erected in Bismarck precinct; a hook and ladder company was organized, and also a County Medical Association, of which Dr. Alex. Bear was chosen President, and R. J. Mulhern, Secretary. In 1872 the contract for the building of a brick Court House was let, and in 1874 the building was finished at a cost of about $40,000. January 9, 1873, the brick hotel, known as the Neligh House, at West Point, was completed. In March, of this year, the West Point Land Office was removed to Norfolk. September 11, the Second Annual Fair of the Cuming County Joint Stock Agricultural Society was held at the Fair Grounds at West Point.

     In the spring of 1874 an iron bridge was constructed over the Elkhorn, at West Point, at a cost of $7,000; an Odd Fellows Lodge and a Fire Company was organized. On November 4 of this year, the West Point Manufacturing Company was organized. The business to be transacted by this Company was the manufacture of flour, paper, woolen goods, agricultural implements, etc. In 1875 machinery for a furniture factory arrived and a two story



building was erected in which to put up and operate the same. in May, 1876, machinery for a paper mill and a foundry arrived from the East, and work was commenced on a race at West Point, capable of operating immense manufacturing establishments, During the Summer of 1876 the structure for the paper mill. 60x120 feet, two stories high, of brick, was completed, and the machinery set up in the furniture factory. These enterprises are now in successful operation. In 1876 a lodge of the Knights of Pythias, and a Literary Club were organized at West Point, and a very fine Catholic Church erected.

     SCHOOLS.--The first school district was organized on the 11th day of April, 1864, and embraced all the territory in the County on the east side of the Elkhorn River. Sixty dollars was voted at the same time toward building a school house. Mrs. J. C. Crawford taught a private school at her residence in Bismarck precinct, in the Winter of 1865, and had fourteen scholars. This is said to have been the first school opened in the County.

     The number of school districts in the County, in 1879, was forty-five; number of school houses, forty-two; children of school age, 1,836--males, 983; females, 853; total number of children attending school during the year, 1,137; number of qualified teachers, fifty-seven--males, thirty; females, twenty-seven; wages paid male teachers, $6,174.55; paid female, $3,633.62; value of school houses, $24,308; value of school house sites, $2,259; value of books and apparatus, $1,225.50.

     TAXABLE PROPERTY.--The taxable property, as returned for 1879, was as follows: Number of acres of land, 300,053; average value per acre, $2.12; value of town lots, $120,942; money used in manufactures, $2,854; money invested in merchandise, $120,942; number of horses, 2,298, value, $43,524; mules and asses, 173, value, $3,969; neat cattle, 5,772, value, $33,559; sheep, 5,694, value, $4,032; swine, 8,902, value, $4,739; number of vehicles, 714, value, $6,461; moneys and credits, $12,345; mortgages, $3,225; furniture, $1,467; libraries, $205; property not enumerated, $9,188 railroads, $76,048; telegraph, $855; total valuation, $987,286.50.

     POPULATION.-- 1856 the County had a population of eight; in 1860 it had increased to sixty-seven; in 1875 it was 6,152; in 1878, 7,74:4, and in 1879 it was 9,095.


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