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having a population of 500. It is a brisk business point and is growing rapidly.


Situated on the line of the Fremont, Elkhorn & Missouri Valley Railroad, several miles northwest of Hooper, has 360 inhabitants, and is a very flourishing place, having a large shipping and general merchandising trade.


Is a small village situated on the east bank of the Elkhorn, near the mouth of Logan Creek, and has a good flouring mill, store, and an excellent school house.


Is a thriving village located in the middle-western part of the County, and has two Churches, good general stores and a fine school building.


Is the first important station on the line of the Fremont, Elkhorn & Missouri Valley Railroad, north of Fremont. It does an excellent grain business and is rapidly developing.


Is a growing village, situated near the mouth of Pebble Creek, in the north-central part of the County.

     There are twenty odd Postoffices in the County.


     Dawson County was organized July 11, 1871, by proclamation of Acting Governor Wm. H. James. It is situated in the southwestern portion of the State, 231 miles west of the Missouri River, and is bounded on the north by Custer, east by Buffalo, south by the Platte River, Gosper and Frontier Counties, and west by Lincoln County, containing 1,008 square miles, at an average elevation above the sea level of 2,370 feet.

     WATER COURSES.--The Platte River flows in a southeasterly



direction through the southwestern portion of the County. Wood River and its numerous branches water the northeastern townships; Elm, Buffalo, Plum and several smaller streams water different portions of the County.

     TIMBER.--This County has about 950 acres of forest trees under cultivation. The Streams are all tolerably well timbered, as are also many of the gulches and canyons.

     PHYSICAL FEATURES.--Nearly one-half of the County lies in the fertile valley of the Platte. The uplands consist mostly of smooth, beautiful prairies, probably five per cent. being broken, untillable land. The prairies yield an abundance of the richest grasses for hay and pasturage, making this an admirable region for the stock-grower. The grass cures on the ground, furnishing rich food for cattle the winter through.

     FIRST SETTLEMENTS.--The first permanent settlements in the County were made in what is now Plum Creek Precinct, by Daniel Freeman, J. W. Delahunty and a few others, in 1867-68, or about the time of the completion of the Union Pacific Railroad. On April 9th, 1872, a colony from Philadelphia, Penn., consisting of sixty-five men, women and children, arrived. This colony took up their quarters in four empty box-cars, which the Railroad Company placed on the side-track for their use until they could build themselves permanent houses. The first post office in the County was established at Plum Creek, in this Precinct, in 1872, and was kept in the U. P. depot, by J. A. McDonald, deceased.

     MELLOTT Precinct was settled in April, 1872, by H. Clay Stuckey, Jeremiah Smith, Simon Fetters, and others.

     WILLOW ISLAND Precinct was settled in March, 1873, by Josiah Huffman.

     WOOD RIVER Precinct was settled in April, 1873, by James B. Mellott.

     CAYOTE Precinct was settled in April, 1873, by S. S. Baldwin.

     OVERTON Precinct was settled in 1873, by James N. Patton and Prof. D. B. Worley. Mr. Patton built the first house and Geo. Slocum the Second.

     PLATTE Precinct was settled early in the spring of 1873.

     COZAD Precinct was settled in December, 1873, by Samuel Atkinson, who was soon followed by a small colony. In February,




1874, a much larger colony arrived, and the population of the Precinct was 333.

     COUNTY ORGANIZATION.--The first general election was held on the 11th day of July, 1871, at the store of Daniel Freeman, at Plum Creek, in accordance with Acting Governor Wm. H. James proclamation of June 26, 1871, which also named J. W. Delahunty, R. O'Keefe. and Otto Hansen as Judges, and John Kehoe and E. Delahunty, Clerks of said election.

     A full board of County officers was chosen at this election, as follows: J. W. Delahunty, Joseph Smith and Otto Hansen, Commissioners; Daniel Freeman, Clerk, and Superintendent of Public Schools; Richard O'Keefe, Probate Judge; Patrick Delahunty, Treasurer; John Kehoe, Sheriff; David Meek, Surveyor, and Patrick Gaffney, Coroner.

     CHURCH MATTERS.--As early as 1867, Father Ryan, of the Catholic Church, held services at the old Plum Creek stationhouse, which have been regularly continued.

     In the fall of 1872, Rev. William Wilson organized the first Methodist Society in the County. It has largely increased and now has regular appointments at Plum Creek and other towns.

     In April, 1864, Rt. Rev. Bishop Clarkson organized Plum Creek Parish, and through the untiring perseverance of W. Tudor Tucker and family, a neat brick house of worship was erected at Plum Creek, in April, 1875, being the first Church building in the County.

     In 1874, the Missionary Baptist Society was organized, and now holds stated services in the several towns.

     The Presbyterian congregation of Plum Creek was organized in 1873, and during the same year a Society organized at Overton.

     Flourishing Sunday Schools are now in operation at Plum Creek, Overton, Cayote, Cozad, Willow Island, and Smith's school house.

     PUBLIC SCHOOLS.--The first school district was formed in 1872, and embraced the entire County. In 1879 there were twenty-four districts, fourteen school houses, 291 male, and 259 female children of school age in the. County. Number of qualified teachers employed, nineteen--males, eleven, females, eight; total wages paid



teachers for the year, $1,282.50; value of school houses, $19,400; value of sites, $1,085; value of books and apparatus, $327.50.

     TAXABLE PROPERTY.--The amount and valuation of the taxable property of the County returned in 1879, was as follows: Acres of land, 145,180.10, average value per acre, $1; value of town lots, $15,876, money used in merchandise, $6,335; number of horses, 643, value, $8,414.50; mules, forty-eight, value, $907.75; neat cattle, 5,155, value, $23,971; sheep, 3,068, value, $2,035; swine, 295, value, $277.50; vehicles, 240, value, $2,089.50; moneys and credits, $6,163, furniture, $3,128; libraries $50; other personalty, $2,544; railroad, $456,104; telegraph, $3,740; total, $676,805.

     LAND.--There is a large amount of both Government and railroad land in this County which is admirably adapted to stock raising and agriculture. The price of the Union Pacific lands is from $2 to $6 per acre.

     POPULATION.--In 1879 the County had a population of 3,871.

     RAILROAD.--The Union Pacific traverses the County from east to west, a distance of forty-four miles.


The County Seat, is a flourishing town of 750 inhabitants. It is located on the Union Pacific Railroad, 231 miles west of Omaha, and was incorporated March 7, 1874. J. W. Ayers erected the first building in the town, and T. Martin, the first hotel--called the "Alhambra," now the Union Pacific. A very fine stone and brick Court House, and an imposing school house adorn the town. A substantial wagon bridge crosses the Platte at this point, and draws a large trade from the Republican Valley towns.

     Plum Creek is the headquarters of a large district, and is a lively business center. It has a number of well-stocked general merchandise stores, good hotels, a hardware, two drug, jewelry, and furniture stores, lumber yards, grain warehouses, etc., and an excellent weekly newspaper--the Pioneer.


Is a village on the Union Pacific Railroad, about twelve miles west of Plum Creek. It was founded by J. J. Cozad, of Ohio, in December, 1873, a number of very fine brick houses were erected.



     On the night of April 29, 1876, the town, was nearly destroyed by fire. At present it has seventy-five inhabitants, and is gradually improving. A weekly newspaper is published here, called the One Hundredth Meridian.


On the Union Pacific Railroad, twenty miles west of Plum Creek, was laid out in March, 1873, by Josiah Huffman. It has two stores, a blacksmith shop, telegraph office, etc.


On the Union Pacific railroad, in the southeastern portion of the County, was laid out in June, 1873. It has an elegant school house, costing $2,100, and a number of stores and business places. A splendid iron bridge, has been erected over Buffalo Creek at this point, adding greatly to the business of the town.

     JEWELL and TRAPPER'S GROVE, are Postoffices in the northern part of the County.

     INCIDENTS OF THE EARLY SETTLEMENT.--While the railroad was being built through Dawson County, the engineers, graders and track-layers were frequently driven from their work by the Indians. Not only then, but after the track was laid and trains running, it was sometimes torn up and trains ditched, causing the loss of lives and the destruction of property. One of these attacks took place near Plum Creek. In July, 1867, a train was ditched about four miles west of the above named station. It was by a band of Southern Cheyennes, under a Chief called TURKEY LEG. He was a vicious looking fellow, his appearance naturally suggesting him as a fit subject for a hanging bee. At a small bridge or culvert, over a dry ravine, they had lifted the iron rails from the ties--raising only one end of each rail--about three feet, piling up ties under them for support, and firmly lashing the rails and ties together by wire cut from the adjoining telegraph line. They were pretty cunning in this arrangement of the rails, and evidently placed them where they thought they would penetrate the cylinder on each side of the engine. But not having a mechanical turn of mind exactly, and disregarding the slight curve in the road at this point, they missed their calculations, as the sequel shows, as one of the rails did no execution whatever, and the other went straight



into and through the boiler. After they had fixed the rails in the manner described, they retired to where the bench or second bottom slopes down to the first, and there concealed themselves in the tall grass, waiting for the train. Before it left Plum Creek, a hand-car with three section men was sent ahead as a pilot. This car encountered the obstacle, and ran into the ravine, bruising and stunning the men and frightening them so that they were unable to signal to the approaching train. As soon as the car landed at the bottom of the ravine, the Indians rushed up, when two of the men, least hurt, ran away in the darkness of the night--it was little past midnight--and hid in the tall grass nearby. The other, more stunned by the fall of the ear, was scalped by the savages, and as the knife of the savage passed under his scalp, he seemed to realize his condition partly, and in his delerium wildly threw his arms out and snatched the scalp from the Indian, who had just lifted it from his skull. With this he, too, got away in the darkness, and was afterward in the employ of the Company at Omaha.

     But the fated train came on without any knowledge of what had transpired in front. As the engine approached the ravine, the head-light gleaming out in the darkness in the dim distance, fast growing less and less, the engineer, Brooks Bowers by name, but familiarly called "Billy Brooks," by the railroad men, Saw that the rails were displaced, whistled "down brakes," and reversed the engine, but all too late to stop the train. The door of the fire-box was open, and the fireman was in the act of adding fuel to the flames within, when the crash came. That fireman was named Hendershot, and the boys used to speak of him as "the drummer boy of the Rappahannock," as he bore the same name, and might have been the same person whose heroic deeds, in connection with Burnside's attack on Fredericksburg, are now matters of history. He was thrown against the fire-box when the ravine was reached and literally roasted alive, nothing but a few of his bones being afterwards found. The engineer was thrown over the lever he was holding in his hands, through the window of the cab, some twenty feet or more. In his flight the lever caught and ripped open his abdomen, and when found he was sitting on the ground holding his protruding bowels in his hands. Next to the engine were two flat-cars loaded with brick. These were landed, brick



and all, some thirty or forty feet in front of the engine, while the box cars, loaded with freight, were thrown upon the engine and ground the wreck in great disorder. After a time these took fire, and added horror to the scene. The savages now swarmed about the train and whooped and yelled in great glee. When the shock first came, however, the conductor ran ahead on the north side of the track to the engine, and there saw Bowers and Hendershot in the position we have described them. He told them that he must leave them and flag the second section of the train following after, or it, too, would be wrecked. He then ran back, signaled this train, and with it returned to Plum Creek. Arriving there about 2 o'clock in the morning, in vain did he try to get a force of men to proceed at once to the scene of the disaster. No one would go. In the morning, however, they rallied, armed themselves and went out to the wreck. By this time it was near ten o'clock. The burning box cars had fallen around the brave engineer, and while the fiery brands had undoubtedly added to his agony, they had also ended his earthly existence. His blackened and charred remains only told of his suffering. The rescuing party still found the train burning--the Indians had obtained all the plunder they could carry, and left in the early morning. In the first gray dawn of the morning they manifested their delight over the burning train in every possible way, and their savage glee knew no bounds. From the cars not then burned they rolled out boxes and bales of merchandise, from which they took bright-colored flannels, calicos and other fancy goods. Bolts of these goods they would loosen, and with one end tied to their ponies' tails or the, horn of their saddles, they would mount and start at full gallop up and down the prairie just to see the bright colors streaming in the wind behind them. But the end of this affair was not yet.

     Major North, in command of a company of Pawnee scouts, assisted by a few white soldiers stationed in the neighborhood, hastened to the scene of the late disaster. He followed the trail of the Indians far enough to ascertain that they were southern Cheyennes, and then returned and went into camp at Plum Creek, believing if not pursued, the Indians would soon return on another raid. Subsequent events proved this belief to be true, and they had not long to wait. In about ten days one of the scouts came



running into camp from the bluffs south of Plum Creek, and reported that the Indians were coming. He had discovered them in the distance, making their way in the direction of the overland stage station, which they soon after reached. Arriving here, they unsaddled their horses and turned them loose in an old corral to feed and rest. They then began preparations to remain all night. The scouts, however, proposed to find out who and what they were before the evening approached. There were in the command two white commissioned officers--Captain James Murie, and Lieutenant Isaac Davis--two white sergeants and forty-eight Pawnees, The company marched from their camp striaght [sic] south to the Platte River, which they crossed; then turning to the left, followed down its banks under the bushes to within about a mile-and-a-half of the creek. Here they were discovered by the Cheyennes. Then there was mounting in hot haste--the Cheyennes at once preparing for the fray. There were one hundred and fifty warriors to be pitted against this small band of fifty-two, all told. As the order to charge was given, the Pawnees set up their war-whoop, slapped their breasts with their hands and shouted "Pawnee!" The opposing lines met on the banks of the creek, through which the scouts charged with all their speed. The Cheyennes immediately broke and fled in great confusion, every man for himself. Then followed the chase, the killing and the scalping. The Indians took their old trail for the Republican Valley, and put their horses to utmost speed to escape the deadly fire of the Pawnees. Night finally ended the chase, and when the spoils were gathered, it was found that fifteen Cheyenne warriors had been made to bite the dust, and their scalps had been taken as trophies of victory. Two prisoners were also taken, one a boy of sixteen, the other a squaw. The boy was a nephew of Turkey Leg, the Chief. Thirty-five horses and mules were also taken while not a man of the scouts was hurt. A company of infantry, under command of Captain John A. Miller, had remained in camp guarding Government and company property, and knowing that a battle had been fought, were intensely anxious to learn the result. When the Pawnees came near, it was with shouts and whoops, and songs of victory. They exhibited their scalps and paraded their prisoners with great joy, and spent the whole night in scalp-dances and wild revelry.



     This victory put an end to attacks on railroad trains by the Cheyennes. The boy and the squaw were kept in the camp of the Pawnees until late in the season, when a big council was held by the Brule Sioux, Spotted Tail's band, at North Platte, to make a new treaty. Hearing of this council, Turkey Leg, Chief of the Cheyennes, sent in a runner and offered to deliver up six white captives held in his band for the return of the boy and the squaw. After the necessary preliminaries had been effected, the runner was told to bring the white captives, that the change might be made.

     The captives were two sisters by the name of Thompson, who lived south of the Platte River, nearly opposite Grand Island, and their twin brothers; a Norwegian girl, taken on the Little Blue River, and a white child, born to one of these women while in captivity. They were restored to their friends as soon as possible.


     Dixon County was organized by Act of the Territorial Legislature, in December, 1858. It lies on the northeastern border of the State, and is bounded on the north by the Missouri River, east by the Missouri River and Dakota County, south by Omaha Indian Reservation and Wayne County, and west by Wayne and Cedar Counties, containing about 450 square miles, or 288,000 acres.

     WATER COURSES.--The Missouri River washes the northeastern border of the County. The principal streams of the interior are the Powder, Turkey and Lime Creeks, in the northern part, and Silver, West Branch, Daily, South, and Ayoway Creeks, in the central and southern part of the County. These are all beautiful, clear streams. Ayoway Creek, especially, being a large and superior mill stream, already furnishing power for three flouring mills, with excellent sites for twenty more. Altogether, the County is well watered, every township having one or more living streams passing through it. Springs are abundant.

     TIMBER.--On the Missouri bottoms and skirting all the creeks,



there is a fine natural growth of timber, the varieties consisting principally of cottonwood, willow, ash, elm, maple, basswood, ironwood, walnut and oak. Dry cottonwood can be bought in the markets at $2.50 per cord. The number of forest trees under cultivation in the County in 1879 was 285,155; hedge fencing seven miles.

     FRUIT.--Grapes, plums and several other varieties of wild fruit grow in profusion along the streams.. There are at present 3,663 apple, twenty-four pear, twenty-seven peach, 743 plum, and 544 cherry trees, and 267 grape vines under cultivation, and in a thrifty condition.

     PHYSICAL FEATURES.--Twenty-five per cent. of the area is fertile bottom land. Ayoway and several of the creeks have very fine valleys. The bluffs of the Missouri are frequently very high, and precipitous but the greater part of the upland is gently rolling prairie, with a good soil, well adapted to agriculture or stock raising.

     CROPS.--Number of acres under cultivation. in the County, 30,146. The yield of the principal crops was as follows: Winter wheat, three and one-half acres, seventy-five bushels; rye, 189 1/2 acres, 2,514 bushels; spring wheat, 9,480 acres, 404,883 bushels; corn, 6,053 acres, 197,200 bushels; barley, 588 acres, 13,180 bushels; oats, 2,250 acres, 76,719 bushels; sorghum, eighty-one acres, 6,362 gallons; flax, forty-seven acres, 542 bushels; hungarian, eight acres, sixty-five tons; potatoes, 155 acres, 17,945 bushels.

     MINERALS.--A fair quality of coal has been taken from the bluffs of the Missouri, in small quantities, for several years past, and recently more extensive beds have been discovered and preparations made for their immediate development.

     Lime and building stone, marl, kaolin, and fire-clay, are found in the County.

     FIRST SETTLEMENT.--The County was first settled in the spring of 1856, by a small Irish colony who took claims in the valley of South Creek. The steady tide of emigration that at once set in received an unexpected check toward the close of 1857 by the great financial panic of that year and the consequent prostration, of all branches of industry. Many of the settlers of this County returned to the East, or removed to localities where the prospect of

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