Located on the West Blue River, was laid out in 1870, by Mr. J. L. Martin. It has an excellent water-power flouring mill, but has not made much progress as a town.
Franklin County was created by the Legislature in 1867, and organized in 1871. It is located on the middle-southern border of the State, and is bounded on the north by Kearney, and east by Webster County, south by Kansas, and west by Harlan County, containing 576 square miles, or 368,640 acres.
WATER COURSES.--The Republican River flows from west to east through the southern portion of the County, having a large number of tributaries on either side, the most prominent being Thompson, Cottonwood, Center, Turkey and Lovely Creeks, which have their rise a dozen miles or so back in the prairie, and are fed by innumerable springs and small branches. Water-power is abundant.
TIMBER.--The Republican River and tributaries are all skirted with a fine growth of native timber, a large portion of it being hardwood, especially that along the streams on the south side. The uplands are now dotted with large, thrifty artificial groves, sufficiently grown to supply all the fuel needed. In 1879 there were 719,703 forest trees, and sixteen and one-half miles of hedging reported under cultivation.
FRUIT.--This County has made great advancement in fruitculture and now has many fine orchards in bearing. In 1879 there were 2,130 apple; eighty-nine pear, 5,079 peach, 8,549 plum, 312 cherry trees, and 252 1/2 acres of grape vines in the County.
BUILDING STONE.--A good quality of limestone is found in different parts of the County, and is abundant on the south side of the Republican.
PHYSICAL FEATURES.--About fifteen per cent. of the area is valley, the remainder rolling prairie and occasional bluff. South of the Republican the surface is considerably broken, in the vicin-
ity of the streams. The north half of the County consists of broad tables and gently undulating prairie. The valley of the Republican varies in width from four to eight miles.
SOIL AND CROPS.--The soil is a rich, black vegetable mould, varying from eighteen inches to three feet thick, on the uplands. Franklin County was awarded the champion prize medal at the Nebraska State Fair, in 1876, 1877, and 1878, for the best display agricultural and garden products of all kinds. The acreage under cultivation reported for 1879 was 32,136, the yield of the principal crops being as follows: Winter wheat, 424 1/2 acres, 4,701 1/2 bushels; rye, 1,130 acres, 14,868 bushels; spring wheat, 8,647 acres, 85,545 bushels; corn, 7,557 acres, 199,067 bushels; barley, 423 acres, 7,276 bushel; oats, 1,105 acres, 24,254 bushels; sorghum, thirty-nine and one-fourth acres, 3,140 gallons; broom corn, 356 acres, forty-six and one-half tons; millet and hungarian, 577 acres, 3,124 tons; potatoes, 470 acres, 53,391 bushels.
FIRST SETTLEMENT.--On the 14th of September, 1870, James W. Thompson, W. C. Thompson, Richard Beckwith, John Corbin, Isaac Chapel, and Barnett Ashburn started from Omaha to explore the Republican Valley country with a view to settlement. They crossed the Platte River on the 15th, and passed through Beatrice on the fourth day out, where they crossed the Big Blue. Entering the Republican Valley at Elm Creek, Webster County, they proceeded to a creek within two miles of the east line of Franklin County (now known as Thompson Creek) where they encamped. J. W. Thompson explored this creek to its forks, found it to be a good mill stream and well timbered, with fine bottoms on either side. After inspecting the country as far west as Turkey Creek, they returned and selected claims near the mouth of Thompson Creek, where the town of Riverton now stands, and then started on their return to Omaha, arriving there the latter part of October, of the same year.
About the time the foregoing party were making their explorations, another party, known as the "Knight Colony," were sent out from Omaha by the Republican Land Claim Association to look up a favorable location for settlement. This company selected a site about a mile northwest of the mouth of Center Creek, where they laid out and surveyed Franklin City.
On the first of November, 1870, several families were sent out to the new city by the Association, under the charge of its Vice President, C. J. Van Laningham.
Another company, organized in Plattsmouth, selected a location one mile east of Franklin City, where they laid out the town of Waterloo--the name afterwards being changed to Franklin.
The first claim on Thompson Creek was entered at the Land Office, at Beatrice, in September, 1870, by Burnett Ashburn, on his return to Omaha from his first exploration of the country. William C. Thompson entered the adjoining claim. In March, 1871, the first log house was finished, and in April, the breaking plow was started.
On Lovely Creek, Thomas Shoemaker, John Hanna, and a Mr. Roberts were among the first settlers. Center Creek was first settled by Messrs. Van Laningham, Van Etten, Thompson, Hagar, Haines, Buster, Ashby, Hunt, Harman, Chapman, Hutchison and Pury. On Vining Creek, Messrs. Vining, Bass, Durant, Blackledge, Hammond, Betts, and Kave were among the first. On Turkey Creek, among the first were Messrs. Sprague, Healy, Marston, Young, Walter Brown, J. M. Brown, Burley, Lloyd, Streets, Ray, Mrs. Wadkins, Bush, Edgerton, Walter Brothers, and Phillips. On Crow Creek, Mr. Stanlow settled in 1871, and Messrs. Gage, Brown, Novinger, Stover, Hawks, Kent and Chalfance, in 1872. Rebecca Creek was first settled by G. L. Thompson, L. M. Moulton, J. F. Zediker, Mrs. Douglas, Albert Dowd, James Douglas, Elam Douglas, Dr. N. L. Whitney, and the Johnson brothers. On Cottonwood Creek the first were the Pugsley family, Messrs. Nixon, Enos J. Haynes, E. Haynes, Pilgers, Bass, Shaffer, J. W. and Jacob Dearey, 0. and W. Davis, Harold, and J. Kezer, and brother. J. F. Pugsley, Sr., came out from Omaha in the fall of 1870, and selected claims for himself and sons near the mouth of Cottonwood and Pugsley Creeks, and in May, 1871, he brought out his wife, two sons and two daughters. He has now one of the best improved, well-stocked farms in the County. The first settlers on Pugsley Creek were Gideon Pugsley, Pogle, Morton, Steward, Rev. C. R. Townsend, and Charles H. Townsend.
The first County Fair was held in 1873, with great success.
RAILROADS.--Early in the present year the Republican Valley
branch of the Burlington & Missouri Railroad, was completed through the County from Hastings, and is now in running order.
LANDS.--All the desirable Government land is taken. The Burlington & Missouri River Railroad Company owns 50,000 acres of land in this County, for which they ask from $2 to $5 per acre.
The tide of emigration is now very strong, and the broad acres of the County are fast being taken up by Sturdy settlers from the eastern States.
This is an excellent country for the stock business. Several stock farms are located on the south side of the Republican, and many on the north side, having from 100 to 300 head of cattle.
PUBLIC SCHOOLS.--The present number of school districts in the County is forty-three; number of school houses, thirty; children of school age--males, 755, females, 697, total, 1,452; qualified teachers employed, forty-four--males, nineteen, females, twenty-five; total wages paid teachers for the year, $3,353.50; value of school buildings, $1,535.00; value of sites, $313.00; value of books, etc., $153.50.
TAXABLE PROPERTY.--The amount and valuation of all taxable property in the County, is as follows: Acres of land, 181,354; average value per acre, $1.04; value of town lots, $18,447; money invested in merchandise, $21,839; money used in manufactures, $5,490; number of horses, 1,659, value, $57,364; mules, 176, value, $7,505; neat cattle, 3,276, value, $32,188; sheep, 1,325, value, $1,088; swine, 4,516, value, $3,700.65; vehicles, 743, value, $13,046; moneys and credits, $6,469; mortgages, $8,209; stocks, etc., $788; furniture, $9,495; libraries, $184; property not enumerated, $17,889; total, $392,013.89.
POPULATION.--The population of each Precinct in 1879, was as follows: Grant, 911; Salem, 194; Buffalo, 204; Oak Grove, 247; North Franklin, 387; Turkey Creek, 279; Franklin, 621; Bloomington 523; Macon, 369; Ash Grove, 407; total population of County, 4,137--males, 2,245, females, 1892. Population in 1875, 1,807; increase in four years, 2,330.
The County Seat, is the principal town in the County. It is pleasantly located on a southern slope facing the Republican, and has a fine view of the valley for miles in either direction.
The United States Land Office for the Republican Valley is located here. An iron bridge spans the river at this point and brings in a large Kansas trade. Among the different branches of business represented are a bank, nine attorneys, three real estate offices, three hotels, three restaurants, three bakeries, two drug stores, three dry goods, grocery and general merchandise stores, two tin shops, two millinery shops, five lumber yards, two agricultural implement and two furniture stores, three blacksmith, one wagon and two paint shops, five contractors and builders, etc. The religious element is well represented, there being three congregations--Methodist, Presbyterian and Baptist. The Methodists will have a Church building completed this fall. The Guard, is a well-sustained weekly paper published here. The town is in a healthy, growing condition, it having about doubled its population and number of buildings since the railroad reached it several months ago.
On the line of the Republican Valley Railroad, near the east line of the County, is a flourishing town of about 500 inhabitants. It is beautifully situated on the Republican, at the mouth of Thompson Creek, and has the best water-power of any town in the valley. The business of the place is represented by one newspaper, the Reporter, six general merchandise stores, two hardware, and two drug stores, two millinery and two farm machinery establishments, four restaurants, four meat markets, three blacksmith and wagon shops, one harness shop, one furniture store, three large livery and feed stables, four attorneys, one grain elevator, and two first-class flouring mills. There is a good school house, and the citizens are about to erect a Church.
Is situated two miles from the western line of the County, on the eastern side of Turkey Creek, near its confluence with the Republican. The town was laid out in February, 1879, since which time one hotel, one livery stable, several business houses, and a large number of dwellings have been erected. At present it is a flourishing town and already has a good weekly newspaper, the Naponee Banner. The track of the Republican Valley Railroad is completed to this place and trains are now running.
Naponee Mills, containing three run of burrs, are situated here. A wagon bridge across the Republican at this point is now in course of construction.
MACON, MOLINE, ASH GROVE, WEST SALEM, STOCKTON, AMAZON and LANGDON are villages in different parts of the County, with school house, general store, Postoffice, etc.
FRANKLIN and MARION are stations on the railroad, and have promising futures.
Frontier County was organized in 1872. It lies in the southwestern part of the State, bounded on the north by Lincoln and Dawson, east by Gosper, south by Gosper, Furnas and Hitchcock, and west by Hayes County, containing 972 square miles, or 622,080 acres.
It is watered by Medicine and Red Willow Creeks, two very prominent tributaries of the Republican, and numerous smaller streams, all flowing in a southeasterly direction. There are some good mill privileges.
This County is chiefly devoted to the stock business and is sparsely settled, the number of its inhabitants being estimated at 626. No report of crops or improvements for this year.
Taxable property reported for 1879 was as follows: Acres of land, 5,722, average value per acre, $1.25; money used in manufacture, $300.00; number of horses, 529, value, $12,541.00; number of mules, eighteen, value, $480.00; number of cattle, 8,672, value $60,704.00; number of sheep, 1,471, value, $1,102.25; number of swine, eighty-six, value, $107.00; vehicles ninety-seven, value, $1,576.00; moneys and credits, $1,810.00; mortgages, $350; property not enumerated, $653.00; total, $86,472,75.
There are two school districts in the County, and one hundred and thirty children of school age.
County nearly all Government land. As a stock region it cannot be excelled, and much of it is fine agricultural land.
Situated on Medicine Creek, near the geographical center of the County, is the County Seat.
Furnas County was organized in April, 1873, by proclamation of Governor R. W. Furnas, in honor of whom it was named. It is located on the southern border of the State, bounded on the north by Frontier and Gosper, east by Harlan County, south by Kansas, and west by Red Willow County, containing 720 square miles, or 460,800 acres.
WATER COURSES.--The County is well watered by the Republican River and its several large tributaries. The Republican flows from west to east through the upper portion of the County, being supported on the north by Medicine, Deer, Elk, Muddy and Turkey Creeks, all fine large streams. Through the central and southern portion of the County flow Beaver and Sappa Creeks, magnificent streams, tributaries of the Republican, which are supported by innumerable small creeks and Springs. Water-power in great abundance.
TIMBER.--The Republican, Beaver, Sappa and several of the smaller streams are well timbered. In 1879 there were 102,093 forest trees under cultivation.
FRUIT.--The number of fruit trees under cultivation at present is as follows: Apple, 573; pear, seventy-six; peach, 1,212; plum 289; cherry forty-nine. Grapes and plums grow in profusion on all the streams.
BUILDING STONE is abundant.
PHYSICAL FEATURES.--About thirty per cent. of the area is valley, five per cent. bluff, and the balance rolling prairie. The Valley of the Republican varies in width from two to five miles, and the valleys of the Beaver and Sappa are here also very wide, fertile and beautiful.
SOIL AND CROPS.--The soil is everywhere mellow and rich, the uplands yielding splendid crops of small grain. The area under cultivation reported for 1879 was 12,630 acres. The yield of the principal crops was as follows: Winter wheat, 581 acres, 10,181 bushels; rye, 2,080 acres, 42,004 bushels; spring wheat, 3,472 acres, 49,429 bushels; corn, 3,662 acres, 80,687 bushels; barley, 554
acres, 16,380 bushels; oats, 394 acres, 13,953 bushels; sorghum, fifty-three and five-eighths acres, 4,138 gallons; broom corn, twenty and one-fourth acres, twelve tons; hungarian, 381 1/2 acres, 108 tons; potatoes, ninety-two acres, 10,844 bushels.
FIRST SETTLEMENTS.--In September, 1870, Galen James, alone, made his way up the valley of Beaver Creek from the Stockade on the Republican River, where the town of Melrose is now situated, to the junction of Sappa Creek with the Beaver, in what was then called James County, and there built himself a "dug-out." Here he lived alone for a year and a half, seeing no white persons, except when in rare instances he visited the stockade, or some of the early settlers on the Republican.
In the spring of 1871, Theodore Phillips, with his family, settled on the Republican, at the mouth of Turkey Creek, being the first of a large settlement now known as New Era.
Shortly after this, John and Ben Arnold located near the mouth of Dry Creek, and were the first settlers upon that stream. About this time J. B. Burton pitched his tent at Burton's Bend, in the western part of the County, where he soon gathered around him a number of families, and in the fall of 1872 obtained the establishment of a Postoffice. In July, 1871, G. W. Love and family settled near where the town of Arapahoe is situated. Early in the spring of 1872, a company consisting of Captain E. W. Murphy, Charles Brown, and G. W. Calvin, arrived and surveyed the town site of Arapahoe.
In April, 1872, Eugene Dolph and John Mitchell settled upon Beaver and Sappa creeks respectively, and were the first settlers in the County south of the Republican, after Galen James. In May and June of the same year, the greater part of the most valuable land in the Beaver valley as far west as Beaver City, and in the Sappa valley as far west as Richmond, was taken up as homesteads by a good class of settlers, mainly from the North-Western States. H. W. Brown located a claim upon the present town site of Richmond, on the 15th of June, 1872, and in November following had a Postoffice established there for the accommodation of the settlers --this being the first Postoffice in the County south of the Republican.
In May, 1872, C. A. Wilson, James A. Gibson, J. R. Johnson,
and George Soper passed up the Beaver, and began a settlement in the western part. of the County, which was at first known as Wild Turkey, but is now called Wilsonville. This settlement increased rapidly, and in the spring of 1873 a Postoffice was established; with Miss Jennie Plumb as postmistress.
During the year 1872, settlers arrived in rapid succession, several towns were laid out, and Postoffices established in various parts of the County.
The first general election for County officers was held on April 8, 1873, at which a full board of County officers were elected, and the County Seat located at Beaver City.
PUBLIC SCHOOLS.--The number of school districts in 1879 was 35; school houses, 19; children of school age--males, 538; females, 431, total 969; number of qualified teachers employed--males 18, females 15; amount of wages paid teachers for the year, $1,262; value of school houses, $2,619; value of sites, $254.54.
TAXABLE PROPERTY.--The following is a statement of the taxable property of the County for 1879: Acres of land, 78,067, average value per acre, $2.15; value of town lots, $14,799; money invested in merchandise, $19,435; money used in manufactures, $5,928; number of horses 1674, value $46,342; number of mules 135, value $5,393; neat cattle 4,229, value $38,265; sheep 2,267, value $2,267; swine 1434, value $1,397; vehicles 555, value $9,031; moneys and credits, $11,392; mortgages, $11,873; furniture, $4,948; libraries, $226; property not enumerated, $17,701; total, $356,659.
LANDS.--There is a small amount of good government land left. The price of wild lands ranges from $1.25 to $5.00 per acre. The Republican Valley Railroad is now in running order to the west line of Franklin County, twenty-four miles distant, and is being rapidly pushed toward Furnas.
POPULATION.--The following are the names of the Precincts and the population of each in 1879: Burton's Bend, 288; Arapahoe, 449; New Era, 426; Beaver City, 998; Wilsonville, 230; Spring Green, 203; Richmond, 288. Total population of County, 2,982--males 1,711; females 1,271.
The County Seat, is the largest town in the County, about 500 pop-
ulation, and is an excellent business center. It is beautifully situated on the north bank of Beaver Creek, which is here spanned by a good wagon bridge, facilitating trade with the southern portion of the County and Northern Kansas. The first store was opened in October, 1873, by McKee & Denham. In June, 1873, the town site was surveyed, and in the fall of the following year Monell & Lashley's grist and saw mills were completed. Since, the town has been constantly improving, and now has several well-stocked stores, lumber yards, grain warehouses, hotels, good school and court-house, and a weekly newspaper, the Times.
Situated on the Republican, near the mouth of Muddy Creek, in the north-central part of the County, is an excellent business point. The town site was surveyed in the spring of 1872, and the first house completed on the 9th of August of that summer, by G. W. Calvin. It now has several stores and other business establishments, a good grist-mill, and a newspaper. It is the nearest point in the County to the Union Pacific Railroad, about thirty miles distant, and the greater part of the freighting passes through it.
Is a thriving village, situated on the Republican, about ten miles northeast of the County Seat. Mr. Theodore Philips and family came here in the spring of 1871, and were the first settlers. It has an excellent school house, and several lines of business are represented.
Is a village on the Republican, five miles west of Arapahoe. It was started by J. B. Burton in 1871, and in the following year a Postoffice and store was established. The town is gradually improving.
Is a rapidly growing town, located on the north side of Beaver Creek, in the western part of the County. The first settlements were made here in 1872; a Postoffice was established in the spring of 1873, and in August of the same year Mr. L. M. Wilson, after whom the town is named, opened a general merchandise store.
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