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ber of acres under cultivation to be 5,300. Rye, 293 acres, 3,891 bushels; springwheat, 1,322 acres, 17,643 bushels; corn, 2,610 acres, 55,878 bushels; barley, 105 acres, 2,940 bushels; oats, 292 acres, 7,491 bushels; potatoes, 140 acres, 12,492 bushels.

     For Stock raising, dairy farming, or agriculture this County affords every advantage. Stock can subsist the year round on the nutritious grasses which grow here in abundance, and the wooded canons furnish all the shelter necessary for large herds.

     The Elkhorn Valley Railroad is now being graded through the adjoining County on the southeast, and no doubt before another year, the citizens of this County will also enjoy all the benefits and advantages of railroad communication with the eastern markets.

     There is considerable fine government land in this County, which is being fast taken up by colonies from the Eastern States. Improved lands are worth from $4 to $12 per acre; wild lands, from $1.25 to $6.

     HISTORICAL.--The first settler in the County, of whom there is any record, was Wm. H. Inman, who erected a house on the banks of the Elkhorn, in 1872. During the following year, Dr. Wentworth, James Ewing, Tom Kelly and William Dougald located claims in the County. On the 13th of June, 1873, Henry H. McEvony, Eli H. Thompson, Frank Bitney, John T. Prouty, Eli Sanford and John Sanford, from Sauk County, Wisconsin, located claims in range eleven west, near the Elkhorn.

     James McFarling, Conrad Mitchell, David Weisgarber, Samuel Wolf, John Develin, Mr. Hoxie and sons, Joe Kreiser, Mr. Gunther, and the Palmer brothers, located here during the summer and fall of 1873.

     The above named parties, together with their families, included about the entire population of the County until the spring of 1874, at which time General John O'Neil arrived from the East with an Irish colony, and established the now flourishing town of O'Neil. The members composing this colony were: Patrick S. Hughes, Michael H. McGrath, Neil S. Brennan, Thomas N. J. Hynes, Thomas Connolly, Timothy O'Connor, Patrick Murry, Thomas Cain, Pat. Brannon and Thomas Kelly.



     General O'Neil has since brought out many additional Irish families from the Eastern cities, all of whom are much pleased with the country.

     The organization of the County was effected on the 26th day of August, 1876, by Messrs. Ewing, Thompson and Berry, Special Commissioners appointed by the Governor for that purpose. The first County Officers elected were as follows: Ryland Parker, Probate Judge; Wilson Hoxie, Treasurer; Michael McGrath, Clerk; H. H. McEvony, Sheriff; Herman Strasburg Coroner; T. N. J. Hynes, Surveyor; Patrick Haggerty, Austin Hynes, and Jacob Shrob, Commissioners.

     The first Church in the County was erected by the Catholics, at O'Neil, in 1876. Several other denominations now have flourishing organizations. The first clergyman to visit the County was Father J. P. Bedard, from Antelope County. Rev. J. H. Wolfe held a protracted meeting at O'Neil in the fall of 1876.

     PUBLIC SCHOOLS.--Number of districts in the County, twenty-one; school houses, three; children of school age--males 190, females, 163; total, 353; number of qualified teachers employed, ten; wages paid teachers for the year, $60; value of school property, $160.

     TAXABLE PROPERTY.--Acres of land, 4,568; average value per acre, $2.00. Value of town lots, $7,199. Money used in merchandise, $3,431; money used in manufactures, $2,950; horses 630, value $19,507; mules, fifty-six, value, $2,165; neat cattle 3,344, value $25,190; sheep 215, value $245.75; swine 494, value $1,086.75; vehicles 321, value $6,018; moneys and credits, $1,522; mortgages, $1,870; furniture, $304; libraries, $56; property not enumerated, $3,762. Total valuation for 1879, $84,444.44.

     POPULATION.--The following is the population of the County, by Precincts, in 1879: Paddock, 537; Steel Creek, 171; Keya Paha, 241; Inman's Grove, seventy-nine; Atkinson, 176; Center, 660; Ford, ninety-five.

     Total, 1,839, of whom 1,063 were males and 776 females. Increase in population since 1878, 539.


Is located in the Valley of the Elkhorn, which is here finely timbered. It was surveyed and recorded in the spring of 1874, and



the first store in the County was opened here the same year, by Wilson Hoxie. The city at, present contains 150 inhabitants, a hotel, school house, three large general merchandise stores, a harness shop, drug store, two blacksmith and wagon-makers' shops, etc. It is favorably situated on the line of travel and immigration to the government lands of the Niobrara region, and commands the trade of an immense stock-grazing country. It was the County Seat until 1878.


The County Seat, is situated on the Niobrara River, at the mouth of Eagle Creek. It was first called Troy; but, in 1875, the name was changed to Paddock, in honor of U. S. Senator A. S. Paddock, of Nebraska. The founder of the settlement was Mr. William T. Berry, who located here in June, 1874. Thomas Berry, J. B. Berry, T. H. Berry, J. W. Ross and C. G. Benner came shortly afterwards. The first marriage in the County was that of Thomas Berry to Sarah Smith; the first death was that of William T. Berry, the founder of the colony, on the 24th of November, 1874; the first birth was that of Cora A. Berry, March 28, 1875.

     During the last year, Paddock was made the County Seat, and as a consequence is improving very rapidly. It is the largest town in the County, having 450 inhabitants and a good assortment of stores and mechanics' shops. The surrounding country is closely settled and very fertile.


Is a young village on the Elkhorn, twenty miles from O'Neil City. It has a Postoffice, school house, general merchandise store, etc. John O'Connell located here in the spring of 1875, and was the first settler. The first birth in the settlement was that of Sarah Burke.

     RED BIRD, LAVINIA., and KEYA PAHA, are close town settlements along the Niobrara, each having a Postoffice and store.




     Howard County was organized by a special Act of the Legislature, approved March 28, 1871. It is located in the central part of the State, and is bounded on the north by Greeley, east by Nance and Merrick, south by Hall and west by Sherman County, containing 576 square miles, or 368,640 acres.

     WATER COURSES.--The County is finely watered by the Loup Rivers and tributaries. The main Loup is formed in the north eastern part of the County by the junction of the North Fork, which enters the County at the northwest corner, and the South Fork, which enters at the southwest corner. The Middle Loup joins the South Fork in the Southwestern part of the County. The Loups have numerous tributaries in this County, of which the most important are Oak, Turkey, Spring, Munson and Davis Creeks. Water-power unlimited, and springs of pure water are numerous in the vicinity of the larger streams.

     TIMBER AND FRUIT.--Cottonwood, ash, elm, box elder, walnut, hackberry and willow skirt the streams, and the canyons are frequently well timbered with oak. The farmers give more or less attention to forest tree planting, many of the domestic groves being old enough to furnish fuel. Wood can be bought at $2.06 to $3.00 per cord. Many of the farmers have surrounded their places with osage-orange and honey locust hedges, and have also planted orchards of choice fruit trees, which are now in a promising condition.

     STONE.--A good quality of limestone crops out along the North Loup River, and is extensively used for building purposes.

     PHYSICAL FEATURES.--About forty per cent. of the County is valley and bottom land, and the balance rolling prairie, tables and bluffs. The Loup valleys are from three to seven miles wide, and fautless [sic] in face and outline. The smaller streams have valleys from one to three miles wide. The bluffy districts abound in canyons and ravines, and present the finest openings for cattle and sheep ranches. Leaving out twenty per cent. of hilly and sandy lands, the balance, or eighty per cent. of the entire County might be turned into a vast grain field.



     SOIL.--Eighty per cent. of the County has a deep and mellow soil, and is especially adapted to the growth of small grains. Spring wheat yields from sixteen to thirty-five bushels per acre; barley and oats from thirty to seventy bushels, and rye from twenty to thirty. bushels per acre. Corn has proven a good crop, the yield being from thirty to fifty bushels per acre, but steadily increasing in average as the lands become better subdued and cultivated.

     The buffalo, mesquite, and gama grasses, are still abundant in this region, and make excellent winter grazing. The coarser varieties, which are very numerous, are fine for summer pasturage or hay.

     HISTORICAL.--On the 9th day of January, 1871, J. N. Paul, accompanied by Major Frank North, Ira Mullen, A. J. Hoge, Joseph Tiffany, Enos Johnson, J. E. North, Luther North, Charles Morse, Gus. Cox, and S. M. Smith, (all of whom afterward settled on Spring Creek, except J. E. and Frank North) entered the present limits of Howard County for the purpose of making an exploration of the North and South Forks of the Loup, and their tributaries, with a view to selecting the most desirable locality for settlement. So well pleased were they with the country, its numerous well-wooded streams, and fine soil, that favorable sites were soon selected and located upon.

     On the 31st of March following, thirty-one additional colonists arrived under the escort of Mr. J. N. Paul, and made a temporary camp in a cottonwood grove in section 28, town 14, north, of range 10 west. The next day, April 1, the party crossed the river and located claims in the vicinity of the present County Seat. Among those who settled at this time were T. McNabb, D. Aleshire, A. G. Metcalf, J. Peters, J. C. Lewis, N. Z. Woodruff, H. M. Copeland, F. M. Crowell, R. E. Cockerel, F. Godfrey, N. Baxter and A. Robinson.

     Lawrence Fleming brought the first load of pine lumber into the County on the 4th of April, 1871.

     Under the provisions of the special Act of the Legislature, approved March 28, 1871, I. N. Taylor, Probate Judge of Platte County, on the 17th day of April following, appointed N. J. Paul, J. C. Lewis, and L. H. North, Commissioners for Howard County. This Board, on the 9th of May, located the temporary Seat of Justice at St. Paul.



     The first election was held at St. Paul on the 10th day of October, 1871; fifty-four votes were polled. At the general election in 1874, the permanent County Seat was located at St. Paul by vote of the people.

     In May, 1871, a Danish colony from Milwaukee, Wisconsin, made up of Lars Hannibal, John Scehusen, Niel Nelson, Jens Wilkenson, Fred. Ohlson, Paul Anderson, and Loren Erichson, made a settlement on the South Loup, near the mouth of Oak Creek; and in the following year a large colony of Canadians located on the table land between Turkey Creek and the North Loup.

     At an early date, steps were taken for the erection of a substantial bridge across the South Loup, to facilitate the settlement of the country on the west side of that stream, where lay much of the finest land of the County. Subscriptions were solicited at Grand Island and other places, by J. N. Paul, who succeeded in raising $650, of which $392 were paid; and on the 27th of April, 1871, a site for the proposed bridge was selected on sections twenty-one and twenty-eight, town fourteen north, range ten west. On the 4th of May following, Dr. Beebe arrived to superintend its construction; a camp was established at the bridge site, for the accommodation of the workmen; and on the afternoon of the same day, work was formally begun. A week later, Captain Munson arrived at the bridge site with a company of soldiers, who rendered valuable assistance in its construction, and remained until its completion, June 10, of the same year.

     On the 2d day of March, 1872, the people voted bonds to the amount of $15,000 for the purpose of bridging the Loups, and on the 10th of May following, additional bonds to the amount of $4,000 were voted for the same purpose. Shortly afterwards, H. P. Handy entered into a contract with the County for the construction of two bridges--one over the South Loup, near Dannebrog, and one over the North Loup, north of St. Paul--both of which were completed according to contract, and accepted by the Commissioners.

     The great storm which occurred in April, 1873, will long be remembered by the people of Central Nebraska, and Howard County especially, for its terrible severity and the suffering it entailed. On the afternoon of Sunday, the 13th, a steady rain set in,



which continued till late at night; on the morning of the 14th, the people awoke from their slumbers and found that a terrific gale was in progress, from a little west of north. The air was so filled with drifting snow that it was impossible to discern an object beyond a few yards. On Monday night, the gale increased to an alarming height, and the strongest buildings creaked and shook to their very foundations. It continued with unabated fury all the next day, and until the afternoon of Wednesday, the 16th, when it lulled somewhat, and people dared to venture from their houses to look after their stock and ascertain the extent of the damages. Although great loss of property, and perhaps life, was anticipated, yet, the people were unprepared for the startling news that the families of Cooper and Haworth had perished in the storm.

     On Sunday, before the storm began, James Cooper, of Coatesfield [sic], was unexpectedly called to Grand Island on important business. His only son had in the morning crossed the river to visit some friends for a few hours, and being unaware of his father's absence, did not return on account of the rain, thus leaving the mother and two daughters unprotected. On Tuesday morning, when the storm was at its height, the roof of the unfinished dwelling was blown off. The two daughters volunteered to go for help. Carefully covering their mother with blankets, carpets, etc., and feeding, watering and sheltering the horses, they went out into the storm, not to be seen again till the afternoon of Wednesday, when, as the gale was subsiding, Emma, the younger sister, was seen to fall on the prairie while approaching the house of Capt. Munson, then occupied by W. T. Wyman. On being carried into the house, she informed them of the helpless condition of her mother, and that her sister Lizzie lay dead in a canyon. Search was made, and the body of the sister was found, as described, at the head of a canyon, near the Dannebrog and Cotesfield road. The mother was found the next day, lying dead on the prairie, about a hundred yards from a neighbor's house. Among the sad incidents in the meanderings of the girls, is the fact that on Tuesday night they found a dug-out or cave about a hundred yards from Capt. Munson's house, and tried to force an entrance; but failing in this, they left it, supposing they could safely reach the house. There was exhibited all through the long hours of their mental and physical sufferings,



that inflexible and resolute spirit by which the body clung to life with the greatest tenacity. It was actuated by such a spirit that led Emma, in the darkness of the night, while lying in the snow by the side of her dead sister, to exclaim, "I will live! I will live to tell the story!" and then begin anew, bareheaded, barefooted, and almost destitute of clothing, the battle for life with the storm-king, that for suffering and endurance for the next twelve hours for indomitable determination to conquer, "to tell the story," if then but to die--has few parallels in history.

     Meanwhile, diligent search was being made on Spring Creek for the family of Dillon Haworth, son-in-law of M. Crow, On Friday, the 18th, the mother and two children were found lying in a snow-drift. The mother and eldest child were dead; the younger daughter, two years old, was still alive, and after tender care was restored. On Saturday afternoon, the husband was found dead in the hills, about four miles east of the creek.

     Allen Cozens, a resident of the North Loup, was also found dead after this storm, making a loss altogether of six lives in the County, besides a large amount of stock and other property.

     The first child born in the County was a daughter to Mr. and Mrs. John Ellis, in the summer of 1871. The child died a few weeks after it was born, which was the first death in the County.

     The first marriage in the County was that of Mr. Benjamin F. Johnson to Miss Mary T. Thomas, on the 30th of May, 1872.

     SCHOOLS.--The first school district was organized at St. Paul on the 29th of April, 1872. Miss Lizzie Cooper--who perished in the storm of April, 1873--taught the first term.

     Present number of school districts, thirty-six; school houses, twenty-nine; children of school age--males 620, females 494; total, 1,114; total number of children that attended school during the year, 655; number of qualified teachers employed--males, ten, females, ten; amount of wages paid teachers for the year--males, $1,770.50 females, $1,104; total, $2,874.50; value of school houses, $9,890.75; value of sites, $249; books, etc., $149.50.

     TAXABLE PROPERTY.--Acres of land, 155,705, average value per acre, $1.42; value of town lots, $19,603; money invested in merchandise, $11,880; money used in manufactures, $3,105; horses, 1,083, value $33,567; mules, 220, value $8,690; neat cattle, 2,420,



value $31,873; Sheep, 1,250, value $1,058; swine, 1,786, value $11,415; vehicles, 548, value $1,157; moneys and credits, $9,832; mortgages, $300; furniture, $8,714; libraries, $140; property not enumerated, $28,994; total valuation for 1879, $392,256.00.

     LANDS.--There is no desirable Government land left in the County. Improved lands are worth from $3.00 to $15.00 per acre. The Union Pacific and B. & M. Railroad Companies own a large amount of land here, for which from $2.00 to $5.00 per acre is asked.

     RAILROADS.--The nearest railroad point at present is at Grand Island, on the U. P., twenty-two miles from St. Paul. Bonds have been voted by the County for the construction of a branch of the U. P., extending from Grand Island up one of the Loup Valleys, via St. Paul, and the grading between these points is now being pushed vigorously. The road is to be in running order to St. Paul, by June, 1880.

     POPULATION.--There are six voting precincts in the County, the population of each in 1879 being as follows: First, 974; second, 519; Third, 970; Fourth, 185; Fifth, 170; Sixth, 423. Total population of the County, 3,246, of whom 1,712 are males, and 1,524 females.


The County Seat, was laid out in 1871, and has at present 400 inhabitants. It is beautifully located on the high bottom of the South Loup, four miles above the junction of the North and South Branches, and by virtue of its commanding position at the gateway to the two valleys, must become a prominent commercial city at an early day. It contains a handsome court house, fine school house, two hotels, a livery stable, lumber yard, a dozen stores and shops, and two weekly newspapers, the Advocate, established by J. N. Paul, shortly after the organization of the County, and the Phonograph, established within the past year.


Is a flourishing town located on the South Loup at the mouth of Oak Creek. It was laid out in 1871, and is situated in the midst of a large Danish settlement. It contains several general stores and shops, a substantial brick school house, hotel, and the best grist mill in the County. An excellent bridge spans the Loup at this point.




Is a Canadian settlement established in 1872, on the table land near the center of the County. A Postoffice was established here in 1873, and during the same year a school house and Methodist Church was erected--this being the first Church in the County.


On Munson Creek, in the northwestern part of the County, was located in 1871. A Postoffice, general store and school were established in 1873.

     KELSO, GAGE, VALLEY, LOUP FORK AND FAIRDALE, are small villages with Postoffice, general store, etc.


     Hayes County was created by an Act of the Legislature, approved February 19th, 1877. It is located in the southwestern part of the State, bounded on the north by Lincoln and Keith, east by Frontier, south by Hitchcock, and west by Chase County, containing 720 square miles, or 460,800 acres.

     The principal water courses are Red Willow, Whiteman's Fork and Stinking water Creeks, tributaries of the Republican. These are all large streams and are fed by numerous small branches.

     Hayes County as is yet unorganized. Estimated population, 600. No reports of schools, crops, property or improvements. County nearly all Government lands.


     Jefferson County was mapped out by the Territorial Legislature, January 26, 1856, under the name of Jones County. At the same time the adjoining County on the west, now Thayer County, received the name of Jefferson. Eight years after, 1864, Jefferson County organized by holding its first election at Big Sandy. An "Act to Enlarge Jefferson County" passed the Legis-

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