Is located on the Sappa, directly south of the County Seat. Mr. H. W. Brown was the first settler, he locating here on the 15th of June, 1872. A Postoffice was established here in November; 1872.
LYNDEN, SPRING GREEN, ROCKTON, PRECEPT, MIDWAY, WILMOT, CARRISBROOKE, WHITNEY and BUFFALO, are Postoffices in the County.
Gage County was created by the Legislature, in 1855, and organized in July, 1857. It lies in the southeastern part of the State, in the third tier of Counties west of the Missouri, and is bounded on the north by Lancaster, and east by Johnson and Pawnee Counties, south by Kansas and Otoe Indian Reserve, and west by Jefferson and Saline Counties, containing 680 square miles, or 435,200 acres.
WATER COURSES.--The Big Blue River is the principal stream of the County. It flows diagonally through the central portion, from the northwest to the southeast corner, and has a large number of tributaries on either side, which, with their branches, extend through and drain nearly every township in the County. Its principal tributaries are Bear, Indian, Mud, and Cub Creeks. The Blue furnishes unlimited water-power, and is not excelled in the State as a mill-stream.
The Great Nemaha River and branches water the northeastern townships.
TIMBER.--Native timber is more than ordinarily plentiful in this County, the Blue and many of its tributaries being well skirted with forest trees and an occasional beautiful grove. In 1879 the County had 603,682 forest trees and 115 miles of hedging under cultivation.
FRUIT.--Like in all the southeastern Counties of Nebraska, the settlers of Gage gave early attention to fruit culture, and now
possess many fine orchards bearing the choicest varieties. The kinds and quantity under cultivation in 1879 were: Apple trees, 27,641; pear, 647; peach, 42,865; plum, 2,496; cherry, 7,360; grape vines, 2,572.
BUILDING MATERIAL.--Magnesian limestone of the finest quality is found in abundance on the Blue. Extensive quarries have long been in operation at Beatrice, and large quantities of the stone taken therefrom were used in the construction of the public buildings at Lincoln. Good brick clay is plentiful, and potter's clay of a superior quality is also found here.
CHARACTER OF THE LAND.--The wide and magnificent valley of the Big Blue, with the smaller valleys of its tributaries, comprise about twenty-five per cent. of the area, the balance consisting of rolling prairie table and a very small per cent. bluff. The hills skirting the larger streams are generally low and rounded and easily tilled. The soil is described as a rich, dark vegetable mould, intermixed with sand and lime, and ranging in depth from one and a half to three feet.
CROPS.--Area under cultivation, 75,496 acres. Winter wheat, 1,356 acres, 26,812 bushels; spring wheat, 24,118 acres, 208,412 bushels; rye, 1,649 acres, 22,824 bushels; Corn, 29,789 acres, 938,956 bushels; barley, 2,495 acres, 52,271 bushels; oats, 4,636 acres, 154,297 bushels; buckwheat, sixteen acres, 742 bushels; sorghum, seventy-six acres, 10,168 gallons; flax, ninety-three acres, 446 bushels; hungarian, 136 acres, 287 tons; potatoes, 234 acres, 28,984 bushels; onions, 952 bushels.
HISTORICAL.--On the morning of the 3d of April, 1857, the steamer Hannibal, then plying up and down the Missouri, left the levee at St. Louis, bearing on board a numerous collection of western-bound immigrants, representing almost every State in the Union. Old men and women, the middle-aged and young, the rich and the poor, the learned and unlearned, mechanics, artisans, farmers, laborers, and professional men, some seeking homes in the then Territories of Kansas and Nebraska, others looking still farther on toward the shores of the Pacific coast.
Among this promiscuous gathering were the first settlers of the now beautiful and flourishing town of Beatrice, some of whom have held honorable positions in the State, some have wandered
beyond their comrades' visions, and others sleep in honored graves.
Thirty-five persons on board the steamer organized themselves into a company or colony, bound together by a written constitution and by-laws. Among the signers were J. B. Weston, who has filled the office of State Auditor for three successive terms; Judge John F. Kinney, of Nebraska City; G. T. Loomis, J. R. Nelson, and Albert Towle, prominent citizens of Beatrice; the lamented Dr. H. M. Reynolds, Bennett Pike, and the late John McConihe.
An exploring committee, consisting of J. B. Weston, Bennett Pike, H. F. Cook, Dr. Wise, and Judge Kinney, was sent out to select a favorable location for the colony. They chose the present town site of Beatrice (so named in honor of Judge Kinney's daughter), as the most desirable; and at a meeting of the company at Omaha, on the 22d of May, it was adopted as the future home of the colony.
After the spot was decided upon, a portion of the company started at once to commence operations on the town site, which was then four days' journey from Nebraska City, with only a few scattered settlements intervening over what is now a thickly-settled and wealthy country.
David Palmer, who lost his life in the latter part of June, 1876, by drowning, while swimming in the Big Blue, settled in the County some time before the arrival of the thirty-five constituting the Beatrice Town Company, and is generally supposed to have been the first settler.
There is no uncertainty, however, as to who was the first woman that came into the County, for all agree that it was Mrs. J. P. Mumford.
Mr. Mumford, with his wife and two men, had crossed the Missouri in search of a suitable location for settlement, and entering Gage County, were seen by one of the Beatrice people, who carried the news to camp. The presence of a woman so near the camp caused great excitement; and eager to gain so valuable an acquisition to the little colony, all bands turned out to welcome the party and induce them to stop at Beatrice, which was readily accomplished.
Mrs. Mumford shortly afterward opened a boarding-house for
the accommodation of the members of the Town Company, who made it a paying business during the summer of 1857.
The Fourth of July was celebrated in grand style. A number of persons came out from Nebraska City, among whom were Judge Kinney and his daughter, Beatrice. The national colors were presented to the Town Company, by Miss Beatrice, in a neat and appropriate speech, which was responded to by Bennett Pike, on behalf of the company, in a very felicitous manner.
The first election was held on July 16, 1857, and resulted as follows: Albert Towle and Dr. H. M. Reynolds, Commissioners; O. B. Hewett, Probate Judge; and P. M. Favor, Sheriff.
At the time of holding the first election, the total population of the County was thirty-three men and one woman, and each candidate received just thirty-three votes.
The Sheriff never made an arrest during his two-years' term; neither did "His Honor" have a case in that time. J. P. Mumford, the first Treasurer, served two years without collecting a cent or paying a warrant. Lawrence Johnson served one year as County Clerk for fifty cents.
The town of Beatrice was pretty well deserted by its inhabitants during the winter of 1857-8. The few who remained and braved the hardships of that first winter experienced much suffering for food before the dawning of spring.
Settlements were made on Bear, Indian and Cub Creeks, and at Blue Springs, in the latter part of 1857 and spring of 1858.
The names of a few of those who located on Bear and Indian Creeks, near Beatrice, are Joseph Proud, Ira Dixon, Samuel Jones, John Pethoud, John Wilson, George Mumford, a family by the name of Austin, M. C. Kelley, J. H. Butler, and Orr Stevens, whose names appear upon the records of the County, in connection with the organization of Beatrice. Samuel Kilpatrick, familiarly known as "Uncle Sammy," whose death occurred in 1875, together with L. Y. Coffin, Thomas and Joseph Clyne, William Webb, Charles Buss, F. R. Roper, J. B. Roper, and others, settted [sic] on Cub Creek. James H. Johnson, Jacob Poff, R. A. Wilson, Ruel Noyes, Jacob Chambers, and a family named Elliott, settled at Blue Springs. William Tyler and C. C. Coffinberry settled in the vicinity. S. M. Hazen and F. H. Dobbs settled on Mud Creek.23
The extreme northern part of the County was not settled until about 1862, with the exception of a few who had located on the Great Nemaha, in Adams Precinct. John Adams, John Hillman, John Shaw, George Gale, John Lyon, Joseph Stafford, Frank Proudfit, S. P. Shaw, William Silvernail, William Shaw, L. Silvernail, John Stafford, Lewis Hildebrand, Val. Kebler, J. Fisk, and Frank Pillmore, are a few of the first settlers in this locality.
David Palmer, Mr. Dewey, Jonathan Sharp, N. D. Cain, and others, settled on Plum Creek, in the southeastern part of the County, at a very early date.
The first death in the County was that of M. W. Ross, one of the original Town Company, which occurred at Beatrice in the winter of 1857.
The first birth occurred early in 1858, was a son to a Mr. Cross, who lived in a "dug-out" on Indian Creek.
Miss Katie Towle was the first female child born in the County.
The first school house was built at Beatrice, on the property known as the "School Block;" and the first teacher was a Mrs. Francis Butler.
The first mail route through the County was established in 1860, from Nebraska City via Beatrice, to Marysville, Kansas. Joseph Sanders was the first mail carrier. He brought the first mail into Beatrice on the 3d day of October.
The Blue Valley Record, established at Beatrice in 1867, was the first newspaper published.
On the 5th of July, 1857, after the inhabitants had exhibited their patriotism by celebrating the national anniversary, they assembled together for religious devotion, the Rev. D. H. May, Pastor of the M. E. Church at Nebraska City, officiating, who then delivered the first sermon preached in the County.
The Presbyterian Church of Beatrice was organized in 1869, by the Presbytery of Nebraska City. The building is a commodious and elegant edifice.
In April, 1871, the Episcopal Church of Beatrice was organized as a Mission Station, and two years thereafter it was organized as a Parish, under the name of Christ Church. In the Summer of 1874 a neat edifice was erected, at a cost of $3,000.
The Christian Church of Beatrice was organized in October, 1872. In the summer of 1874, an edifice was erected at a cost of $2,500.
The First Baptist Church of Beatrice was organized in the fall of 1873, and in the following year a neat edifice was erected, at a cost of $1,400.
The United Brethren Church of Beatrice was organized on the 14th of December, 1874, and have since erected a commodious house of worship.
The German Baptists, or "Dunkards," organized a Church in the County on the 9th of June, 1875, which is in a flourishing condition.
The German Methodist Church, in Clatonia Precinct, was organized in 1870, and an edifice erected in the following year, at a cost of about $1,000. In 1875, the Lutherans organized a Society here, and have secured land for an edifice, cemetery, school house, and parsonage. Religious services are also held by the Congregationalists, Methodists, and the Church of God, in the several school houses in the Precinct.
The M. E. Church of Blue Springs was organized in 1859, and an edifice of stone erected in 1869. The Evangelical Association and Adventists also hold regular services at this place.
The M. E. Church in Adams Precinct was organized in 1867, and in 1874 built a parsonage at a cost of $500. A Baptist Society was organized in the same Precinct in 1870.
A Society of the Church of God was organized in the northwestern part of the County in 1874. Services are held every Sabbath.
The Baptists have a Church on Plum Creek, in Liberty Precinct.
RAILROADS.--There are at present 22.16 miles of railroad in the County; the Burlington & Missouri River having thirteen, and the Atchison & Nebraska 9.16 miles. The B. & M. reached Beatrice through the valley of the Big Blue, in November, 1871. The Atchison & Nebraska road passes up the valley of the Great Nemaha, across the northeast corner of the County, and was built in 1872.
PUBLIC SCHOOLS.--Districts in the County, eighty-seven;
school houses, seventy-five; children of school age--males 1,854, females 1,614, total 3,468; qualified teachers employed--males, seventy-one, females, sixty-seven, total, 138; wages paid teachers for the year--males, $10,082.33, female, $7,777, total, $17,859.33; value of school houses, $36,858; value of sites, $3,277; value of books and apparatus, $1,787.26.
TAXABLE PROPERTY.--Acres of land, 414,196; average value per acre, $2.13. Value of town lots, $216,489. Money invested in merchandise, $63,141; money used in manufactures, $3,430; horses 5,070, value $110,504; mules and asses 490, value $12,820; neat cattle 10,359, value $74,244; sheep 13,377, value $12,528; swine 20,994, value $22,286; vehicles 1,616, value $20,051; moneys and credits, $20,461; mortgages, $14,576; stocks, etc., $500; furniture, $3,950; other personalty, $30,000; libraries, $1,745; railroad, $149,879.05; total valuation, $2,054,574.05.
LANDS.--The price of wild lands ranges from $4 to $12, and improved $7 to $25 per acre, The B. & M. Company owns 9,000 acres in this County, for which they ask from $5 to $8 per acre.
MILLS.--There are four flouring and several saw-mills in the County, with excellent sites for many more.
POPULATION.--The County is divided into sixteen Precincts, the population of each in 1879 being as follows: Beatrice, 2,606; Blue Springs, 896; Clatonia, 645; Paddock, 598; Blakeley, 540; Cicily Creek, 541; Liberty, 526; Rockford, 507; Grant, 463; Highland, 460; Mud Creek, 437; Adams, 385; Nemaha, 339; Holt, 327; Bear Creek, 191; Hooker, 171. Total 9,629, of whom 5,196 are males, and 4,433 females. Population of County in 1875, 5,714; increase in last four years, 3,915.
The County Seat, is beautifully located in the valley of the Big Blue, near the geographical center of the County, and is at present the terminus of a Southeastern branch of the B. & M. Railroad. It is handsomely built up, and is one of the largest and most attractive towns in Southeastern Nebraska. Its present population is 1,700. Among the buildings of note are a neat $16,000 courthouse, an $18,000 school house, a $15,000 flouring mill, and several Churches, ranging in cost from $2,000 to $8,000 each. There
are many elegant brick business blocks and beautiful private residences surrounded with shade trees and shrubbery. Beatrice, being the terminus of a railroad, is the shipping point for the stock and grain of a large scope of country on the south. It also has three excellent newspapers, the Courier, Express, and Leader. Good bridges span all the streams in the vicinity. The U. S. Land Office is located here.
BEATRICE COURT HOUSE.
Is a thriving village of several hundred inhabitants, located on the Blue, about eight miles southeast of Beatrice. It was first settled in 1857. The surrounding country is a fertile agricultural region, and well settled. The town commands a large trade, and is improving rapidly. It has excellent school and Church privileges, and a weekly newspaper, the Reporter.
On the Atchison & Nebraska Railway, is the shipping point for the northern portion of this and the adjoining Counties of Johnson and Otoe. It has a splendid location, and is a good business center.
Besides the above, there are eighteen other villages in the County, each having a Postoffice, stores, good school and Church advantages.
Greeley County, named in honor of Hon. Horace Greeley, was organized in 1872. It is located in the sixth tier of Counties west of the Missouri River, in the central part of the State from north to south, and is bounded on the north by Wheeler, east by Boone, south by Howard, and west by Valley County, containing 576 square miles, or 368,640 acres, at an average elevation of 2,000 feet above the sea level.
WATER COURSES.--The County is watered by the North Fork of the Loup River and several large tributaries. The North Fork flows through the southwestern portion, and is a good mill stream. Its principal branches in this County are Fish, Wallace, Babcock, Shepard, Stewart, Willow and Davis Creeks, the latter stream having a flouring mill upon it. Spring Creek waters the central portion, and Cedar Creek the northeastern portion of the County.
TIMBER.--The natural timber is confined to the small quantities along the streams, cottonwood and elm being the most abundant. Some very fine cedar timber is found along the stream bearing that name, and in the bluffs. Thrifty artificial groves surround almost every farm house.
STONE.--A good building stone is found in the bluffs of the North Fork.
TOPOGRAPHY.--About one-fourth of the County is valley--the balance rolling prairie and bluff. The valley of the North Fork is here from two to four miles wide, and is usually skirted on both sides with a high range of bluffs. Cedar Valley varies in width
from one and a half to three miles. The uplands possess a dark, rich soil, and produce excellent crops of small grain. Nutritious grasses and running water are abundant, affording fine advantages for sheep and cattle raising.
CROPS.--Acres under cultivation, 4,685 1/4. Rye 177 acres, 2,323 bushels; spring wheat 1,992 3/4 acres, 24,302 bushels; corn 1,005 1/2 acres, 19,670 bushels; barley 143 acres, 3,402 bushels; oats 4181 3/4 acres, 13,673 bushels; sorghum 6 7/8 acres, 851 gallons; potatoes 52 1/4 acres, 6,737 bushels.
HISTORICAL.--The first permanent settlements in the County were made in August, 1871, by S. C. Scott, A. Shepard and J. G. Kellog, who came from Illinois and located on Shepard Creek, on the north side of the Loup.
November 1, 1871, Messrs. A. P. Fish, L. E. Gaffy and J. M. Talmadge located claims on Fish Creek. Mr. Gaffy built the first house in the County, into which he and Mr. Fish moved in February, 1872, Mr. Fish's family arriving in May following.
Claims were taken on Cedar Creek in 1872, Mr. William Shaw being one of the first to locate here.
In 1874, O. M. Harris, T. McKernan, and others, located on Spring Creek, and soon afterwards the town of Eldorado was laid out and a Postoffice established.
The first woman in the County was Mrs. James Wallace, of Virginia, who came in 1872. She shortly afterwards, however, returned to her home in the East. Mrs. Gray, who still resides in the County, was the first permanent lady settler.
The first sod was turned in May, 1872. The first Postoffice was established at Lamartine, on the Loup, in 1873, with Mr. A. P. Fish postmaster. The first marriage occurred in April, 1874, and was that of Mr. A. N. Bradt to Miss Clara Harlow. The first birth was a son to Mr. and Mrs. John Sheldon, in July, 1873. The first death in the County occurred in September, 1875, and was that of Job Skay, an old gentleman over seventy years of age, who was thrown from a load of hay and instantly killed.
The first general election for County officers was held at the house of Mr. A. P. Fish, on the 13th of October, 1872, and resulted as follows: A. P. Fish, A. Shepard, and T. C. Davis, Commissioners; E. B. Fish, Clerk; S. C. Scott, Treasurer; M. Davis, Survey-
© 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001 for NEGenWeb Project by Pam Rietsch, T&C Miller