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visited the County, and swept all cultivated vegetation from the land.

     In February, 1875, the citizens of Lone Tree petitioned the District Court to change the name of that town to Central City, and it was so changed.

     CHURCH MATTERS.--Elder T. B. Lemon, of the Methodist Church, conducted services at the residence of James G. Brewer, June 24, 1866, taking his text from Daniel, 6th Chapter, 10th verse; and during five days of the following week, held a protracted meeting in the log school house, at the close of which a class was formed, with Jacob Rice, as leader.

     The first Church in the County was erected at Silver Creek, by the Episcopalians, in 1870, and dedicated in 1872.

     The first Baptist Church was built at Lone Tree, in 1872, and, dedicated in August, of that year.

     The Presbyterian and Union Churches at Clarksville were erected in 1873. The Presbyterians also have a Church at Central City. At the present time there are seven Churches and several Church organizations in the County, and services are held in the school house, also.

     PUBLIC SCHOOLS.--Miss Ella Abbott, now Mrs. Dodge, taught the first school in the County in the winter of 1866-7. The number of districts in 1879 was forty-eight; school houses, forty-six;. children of school age, males, 848, females,799, total, 1,647; whole number of children that attended school during the year, 1,303; number of qualified teachers employed, males, forty-one, females, thirty-three; total salary paid teachers for the year, $9,418.44; value of school houses, $29,990; value of sites, $1,789.25; value of books and apparatus, $1,599.76.

     TAXABLE PROPERTY.--Acres of land, 222,763, average value per acre, $2.25; value of town lots, $47,748; money invested in merchandise, $44,325; money used in manufactures, $10,585; horses, 2,434, value, $47,177; mules, 189, value, $4,532; neat cattle, 7,340, value, $35,341; sheep, 1,189, value, $598; swine, 3,621, value, $350; vehicles, 918, value, $13,720; moneys and credits, $13,489; mortgages, $12,139; stocks, $37.00  furniture, $12,013; libraries, $514; property not enumerated, $39,380; railroads, $462,323.60; telegraph, $3,791; total valuation for 1879, $1,386,999.60.



     RAILROADS.--The Union Pacific Railroad passes through the County from east to west, a distance of 44.60 miles. The Nebraska Railway, under control of the B. & M., is now being extended from Aurora, Hamilton County, to a connection with the Union Pacific at Central City. The track is being laid as fast as men and money can do the work, and the road will be in running order between these points before the close of the present year.

     LANDS.--The Union Pacific Railroad Company owns about 20,000 acres in this County, for which $3 to 16 per acre is asked. Improved lands are worth from $5 to $24 per acre.

     POPULATION.--The following are the names of the Precincts, and the population of each in 1879: Silver Creek, 368; Clarksville, 831; Lone Tree, 977; Chapman, 406; Prairie Island, 56; Mead, 328; Prairie Creek, 406; Loup, 365; Central, 144; Vieregg, 456; Midland, 288.

     Total population of County; 4,625--males, 2,480; females, 2,145.

     THE KETCHUM AND MITCHELL MURDER.--In December, 1878, the sheriff of this County, assisted by the sheriff of Buffalo County, arrested Luther Mitchell and A. W. Ketchum, homesteaders, of Custer County, for the murder of Sheriff Stevens, of that County, who, with two comrades went to the place of Luther Mitchell, to arrest Ketchum on a warrant charging him with cattle stealing from the ranche of I. P. Olive, in Custer County.

     It is claimed that Mitchell and Ketchum were out doors handling stock, when Stevens and companions rode up and commenced firing. Mitchell and Ketchum returned the fire; and Mitchell shot Stevens, who died a few days afterward. On the other hand, it is claimed that Ketchum resisting arrest, and was aided by Mitchell.

     Stevens, it is claimed, was a brother of I. P. Olive, and was passing under an assumed name, on account of crimes committed in Texas. Shortly after he was killed, Olive sent out notices offering a reward for the capture and delivery to him of Mitchell and Ketchum--$500 for Mitchell and $200 for Ketchum. They were arrested, as before stated, by the Sheriffs of Merrick and Buffalo Counties, and taken to Kearney, and from there were taken by Barney J. Gillen, Sheriff of Keith County, to Plum Creek, Daw-



son County, arriving there December 10, in the afternoon. Gillen, accompanied by a young man named Dufrand, and with the two prisoners shackled together, left there the same afternoon in a wagon, for the County Seat of Custer County, forty miles north. Before reaching their destination, they were met on the road by Olive and a dozen or fifteen "cow boys," who took the prisoners from the Sheriff, and murdered them in the most atrocious manner. Their bodies were found the next day, in a canon three miles south of Olive's ranche. Ketchum's body was hanging to a tree, with a rope around the neck, and Mitchell's was lying partly on the ground, nearly upon the knees, and held in this position by shackles to the body of Ketchum. The tall, dry prairie grass had been set on fire, which burned the bodies in the most horrible manner,the flesh falling from the limbs of Mitchell while being raised from the ground.

     I. P. Olive, W. H. Green, John Baldwin, Pedro Dominicus, Phil. Dufrand, and Barney J. Gillen, were surprised and captured soon after at and near Plum Creek. Dennis Gartrell, one of the party, escaped.

     Custer County being unorganized, the Judge of the Fifth Judicial. District set the trial of the case at Hastings, in Adams County. The Legislature appropriated $10,000 to carry on the prosecution.

     The District Attorney, T. D. Scofield, was assisted by Attorney-General Dilworth. Hon. J. M. Thurston, of Omaha, and O. W. McNamara, of Plum Creek, were employed by the Governor.

     The defence [sic] was made by John Carrigan, of Blair, Hinman & Neville, of North Platte, Conner, of Fillmore County, James Laird, of Juniata, and Warrington, of Plum Creek.

     The trial was had in April, 1879, and including disposition of technical points, lasted nearly three weeks, resulting in the conviction of Olive and Fisher of murder in the second degree, and sentence to penitentiary for life, by Judge Gaslin. Ten of the jury stood for murder in the first degree. Bion Brown turned State's evidence.

     Immediately after the conviction of Olive and Fisher, Baldwin and Green were tried, the jury disagreeing. The defence [sic] made the point that they were at most only spectators and not par-



ticipants. In their trial the Mexican, Dominicus, turned State's evidence.

     The other prisoners have not yet been tried, and will not be till the case of Olive is passed upon by the Supreme Court.

     Gillen and another prisoner, name not ascertained, escaped from Plum Creek jail.


Formerly called "Lone Tree," is the County Seat, and has about 500 inhabitants. It is situated in the valley of the Platte, and on the line of the U. P. Railroad, 132 miles west of Omaha. Mr. Ed. Parker, and a Mr. Mills, erected the first house on the townsite in May, 1866. At present it contains a fine brick court house, two story school house, three Churches, a weekly newspaper, the Courier, two hotels, several stores, a bank, two elevators, lumber yards, etc., and the prospects of the town are very flattering. There is a fine wagon bridge across the Platte at this point, making this the trading and shipping center of a number of villages on the south side of the river.


Named after S. H. H. Clark, manager of the Union Pacific Railroad, has a population of 400. The first house on the town-site was completed October 30, 1871, by Mr. L. B. McIntyre. The city is located on the line of the U. P. Railroad, ten miles east of the County Seat, and contains a weekly paper, the Messenger, several fine stores, large lumber yards and implement stores, a hotel, three grain elevators, two Churches, fine school house, etc. This is an extensive shipping point, and in 1876 a bridge was completed across the Platte here, at a cost of $11,000, for the convenience of the farmers of Hamilton and York Counties.


On the Union Pacific, eleven miles east of Clarksville, has about 200 inhabitants. It contains several business houses, an Episcopal Church, school house, grain elevators, etc. A wagon bridge across the Platte connects it with Polk County, and draws a large trade.



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On the Union Pacific, in the southwestern part of the County, is a flourishing village of about 150 inhabitants. It does a large shipping and general merchandise trade. The first house erected here was completed June 19, 1872, by Leake and Read.


     Nuckolls County was organized early in the summer of 1871. It is located on the south-central border of the State, and is bounded, on the north by Clay and east by Thayer County, south by the State of Kansas, and west by Webster County, containing 576 square miles, or 368,640 acres, at an average elevation of 1,600 feet; above the sea level.

     WATER COURSES.--The County is finely watered by the Republican and Little Blue Rivers and tributaries. The Republican flows through the southwestern portion, and is supported by numerous fine tributaries, which have their source in this County. The Little Blue flows diagonally through the northeastern portion, and has several large tributaries, the most important of which is Elk Creek, a splendid mill stream flowing through the central portion of the County. Every township has a living stream. Water power is unlimited.

     TIMBER.--The larger streams are all well skirted with timber, much of it being hardwood; 215,779 forest trees have been planted in the County up to date, and fuel is already abundant. Six and one-half miles of hedging are reported.

     FRUIT.--4,222 apple, 79 pear, 5,618 peach, 118 plum, and 854 cherry trees, are returned, besides 928 grape vines. Various wild fruits are found along the streams.

     BUILDING STONE of an excellent quality is found in different localities.

     CHARACTER OF THE LAND.--About twenty per cent. of the area is valley and bottom land, and the balance rolling prairie, with prominent bluffs in occasional places along the streams. The Republican valley averages six miles in width. The valley of the



Little Blue, which extends a distance of about fifteen miles through this County, varies from three to five miles in width. Elk and Spring Creeks also have beautiful valleys. The general average of the surface soil of the uplands is from one and a half to three feet in thickness. The following statement will show the principal productions as reported for 1879.

     CROPS.--Area under cultivation, 24,730 acres. Winter wheat, seventy-five acres, 1,148 bushels; spring wheat, 8,549 acres, 80,871 bushels; rye, 479 acres, 6,694 bushels; corn, 7,361 acres, 220,638 bushels; barley, 761 acres, 17,3337 bushels; sorghum, twenty-six acres, 2,823 gallons; hungarian, forty-four acres, 172 tons; potatoes, 132 acres, 14,867 bushels.

     HISTORICAL.--As early as in 1858, a few hardy pioneers located upon claims in this County, but for the next several years scarcely any progress was made toward its permanent settlement, even as late as 1871 the population numbering only eight, according to the State census returns. From that date onward, however, the tide of immigration has continued steadily, and close settlements have sprung up in all parts of the County. A few years ago, a large body of Danes and Norwegians located in the southeastern part of the County. In the northwestern part, in the neighborhood of Liberty Creek, there is a thrifty settlement of Germans.

     The first election for County Officers occurred on the 27th of June, 1871, and resulted as follows: Commissioners, A. Simonton, and J. Hannum; Probate Judge, A. E. Davis; Clerk, E. L. Downing; Treasurer, Willis Henby; Sheriff, R. J. Harmon; Superintendent Public Instruction, D. W. Montgomery; Coroner, F. Naylor; Surveyor, D. W. Montgomery.

     The St. Joe & Denver City Railroad was built through the northeastern part of the County in 1872. The Burlington & Missouri River Railroad Company have made their surveys through the County for a branch line running from Beatrice, Gage County, to Red Cloud, Webster County, and the road is to be constructed as rapidly as possible.

     LANDS.--A large amount of the land in this County is owned by the Railroads and non-residents. The price of wild lands is from $2 to $8 per acre; improved from $5 to $18.



     Five flouring mills and two Churches are among the recent improvements in the County.

     PUBLIC SCHOOLS.--Number of school districts, thirty-four; school houses, twenty-eight; children of school age--males, 588, females, 469; total, 1,057; qualified teachers employed--males, twenty-four, females, twenty-six; wages paid teachers for the year--males, $3,554, females, $2,753.81; total, $6,307.81; value of school houses, $12,985; value of sites, $302; value of books, etc., $602.

     TAXABLE PROPERTY.--Acres of land, 325,854; average value per acre., $2.15; value of town lots, $14,398; money invested in merchandise, $11,200; money used in manufactures, $8,453; horses, 1,862, value, $31,902; mules, 211, value, $5,186; neat cattle, 2,995, value, $26,953; sheep, 999, value, $825; swine, 7,776, value, $7,307.55; vehicles, 578, value, $7,536; moneys and credits, $5,489; mortgages, $8,654; stocks, $66; furniture, $5,560; libraries, $164; property not enumerated, $19,945.45; railroad, $25,088.07. Total valuation for 1879, $880,908.07.

     POPULATION.--The following is the population of the County in 1879, by Precincts: Alban, 99; Beaver, 377; Bonhard, 319; Elk, 488; Liberty, 313; Nelson, 707; Sherman, 404; Spring Valley, 65; Spring Creek, 192.

     Total, 2,964--males, 1,615; females, 1,349.


The County Seat, is a rapidly growing town of 600 inhabitants. It is situated on a gentle slope on the north side of Elk Creek, near the geographical center of the County, and was surveyed in December, 1872. It contains a good court house, secure jail, fine new school house, Church, grist mill, weekly newspaper, the Herald, several stores and shops, real estate offices, lumber yards, agricultural implement stores, etc. Excellent bridges span the Elk and other streams in the vicinity, adding greatly to the convenience of trade, and making this a fine business center.


Is a prosperous town of about 400 inhabitants, located on the Republican River, twelve miles south of Nelson. The town site was surveyed in February, 1875. It has a weekly newspaper, the



Guide, an elegant school house, hardware, drug, grocery, dry. goods, furniture, implement, and various other stores and business places. A substantial bridge, 480 feet long, costing, $10,000, spans the Republican at this point, and draws large travel and trade from northern Kansas.

     ELKTON, HENRIETTA, SPRING VALLEY, BEACHAMVILLE, OX BOW, OAK and NORA are prosperous young towns of fifty to 250 inhabitants each.


     Nance County, formerly the Pawnee Indian Reservation, was organized by proclamation of Governor Nance, after whom it. was called, June 16, 1879. It lies near the center of the State from north to south, in the fifth tier of Counties west of the Missouri River. and is bounded on the north by Boone and Platte, east by Platte, and Merrick, south by Merrick, and west by Merrick and Boone Counties, containing 450 square miles, or 288,000 acres.

     The Loup River flows from west to east through the entire length of the County, and receives several fine tributaries from the north, of which the most prominent are Beaver, Plum and Cedar Creeks. The southeastern portion of the County is watered by Prairie Creek. There are numerous fine mill privileges on the tributaries of the Loup.

     The surface of the country consists of about eighty per cent. undulating prairie, and the balance valley and bottom. Almost every acre is rich tillable land. The Loup Valley is from three to seven miles wide. Cedar, Plum and Beaver Creeks each have beautiful valleys, varying in width from two to five miles, and well fringed with timber along the banks of the streams. Taken as a whole, Nance County embraces as fine a body of lands as there are to be found in the State.

     In the spring of 1857, three colonies of Mormons, comprising together over one hundred families, located on the Loup, near the mouth of Beaver Creek, where they established the town of Genoa.



They enclosed, with a ditch and sod fence, 2,000 acres of rich land, and put 1,200 acres under cultivation.

     In 1862, the U. S. Government surveyed the territory now comprising this County, and confirmed it by treaty to the Pawnee Indians, for a Reservation. This displaced the Mormons, and they removed to other localities. The Indians afterwards cultivated the land which had been broken up by the Mormons. In 1875, the Pawnees were removed to their reservation in the Indian Territory, and these lands were appraised for sale and opened for settlement.

     The first election for County Officers and location of County Seat, occurred in November, 1879, under the supervision of D. E. Stearns, George McClusey and J. W. Whitney, special Commissioners appointed by the Governor for that purpose. The results of the election are not yet fully assured, Genoa had a small majority, but it is contested on illegal votes, by its rival town Fullerton. The Governor located the temporary County Seat at Fullerton

     The old village of Genoa, in the northeastern part of the County is building up very rapidly since the organization of the County. At present it contains forty or fifty dwellings, good stores and a school house. The Omaha, Niobrara and Black Hills Railroad, now being constructed from Jackson, on the Union Pacific to Albion, in Boone County, will pass through Genoa and assure its prosperity.


Is a town recently established on Cedar Creek, fifteen miles west of Genoa. It has already three stores, two livery stables, one hotel., lawyers and doctors offices, a newspaper, the Journal, and other improvements.

     The estimated population of the County in 1879, was 1,000.

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