ley Railroad. It contains about 400 inhabitants, and is at present a very prosperous and brisk business place. The town site was surveyed in the summer of 1872, by Lewis Headstrom, who acted for the Stromsburg Town Company. The first building was erected in the fall of 1872. The Baptists organized a Society in 1873, and the Lutherans in 1874; both have neat Churches. The surrounding country is thickly settled by Swedes, who have some of the finest and largest farms in the County.
PLEASANT HOME, WAYLAND, CYCLONE, REDVILLE, and THORNTON, are young towns, with stores, Postoffices, school house, etc.
Phelps County was organized in 1873. It is located in the south-central part of the State, bounded on the north by the Platte River, east by Kearney, south by Harlan, and west by Gosper County, containing 500 square miles, or 320,000 acres.
Ninety per cent. of the area consists of undulating prairie. The bottoms of the Platte, extending across the northern portion of the County, are from two to six miles wide. Several Creeks, tributaries of the Republican River, water the southern portion of the County, along which there are some fine bottom lands. Good water is obtainable on the prairies, at a depth of thirty to seventy feet. The soil is well adapted to the growth of small grain. No returns have been made of crops, timber, or fruit. The Platte River is spanned with bridges affording easy access to the shipping stations on the Union Pacific Railroad. There is still a large amount of good government land in this County. The Union Pacific Railroad Company own some 50,000 acres here, ranging in price from $2.50 to $5.00 per acre.
PUBLIC SCHOOLS.--Number of districts, ten; school houses, four; children of school age--males 195, females 160; total, 345; qualified teachers employed, six; amount of wages paid teachers for the year, $387.50; value of school houses, $1,675.50; value of sites, $200; value of books, etc., $136.54.
TAXABLE PROPERTY.--Acres of land, 130,239; average value per acre, $1.88.Money used in merchandise, $1,505; money
used in manufactures, $648; horses 496, value $19,315; mules 111, value, $5,948; neat cattle 916, value $12,255; sheep 190, value $197; Swine 315, value $387; vehicles 248, value $5,723; moneys and credits, $3,673; furniture, $3,879; total valuation for 1879, $300,842.
The population of the County in 1879 was 1,275.
The County Seat, is located on the Platte bottom, near the center of the County from east to west. It contains 250 inhabitants, the County Offices, a school house, good general stores, and a weekly newspaper.
HOPEVILLE and SHERWOOD are small villages located on the Platte bottom, in the eastern part of the County. ROCK FALLS is a new town established on Spring Creek, in the southwestern part of the County.
Richardson County, named in honor of Wm. A. Richardson, of Illinois, third territorial Governor, was created by proclamation of Acting Governor Cuming, in 1854, and re-organized by the first Territorial Legislature in the spring of 1855. It is located in the south-east corner of the State, bounded on the north by Nemaha County, east by the Missouri River, south by the State of Kansas, and west by Pawnee County, containing 550 square miles, or 352,000 acres.
WATER COURSES.--The County is finely watered by the Missouri and Great Nemaha Rivers and small streams. The Missouri washes the entire eastern border. The Nemaha flows in a general easterly direction through the southern portion of the County. The North Fork waters the northwestern townships, and the South Fork the southwestern portion of the County. The principal tributaries of the Nemahas are Pony, Walnut, Contrary, Wild Cat, Rattle Snake, Easley, Sardine, Deer, Half Breed, Rock, Long Branch and Muddy Creeks, the last two being fine large streams. Water-power is abundant.
CHARACTER OF THE LAND.--About fifteen per cent. is valley and bottom land, and the remainder rolling prairie, with a small
per cent. bluff. The valley of the Nemaha is three miles wide on an average. Muddy Creek also has a beautiful valley extending through the central portion of the County, and wide sloping bottoms are found along several of the other streams. Altogether, Richardson is one of the finest and richest Counties in the State. The prairies have a deep rich soil, and there is but little waste land in the County.
CROPS.--Area under cultivation, 109,179 acres. Winter, wheat, 4,756 acres, 89,637 bushels; spring wheat, 22,944 acres, 188,130 bushels; rye, 2,485 acres, 31,700 bushels; corn, 61,182 acres, 2,215,810 bushels; barley, 2,644 acres, 57,169 bushels; buckwheat, 77 acres, 709 bushels; sorghum, 213 acres, 18,886 gallons; flax, five acres, forty-two bushels; broom corn, ten acres, three and a half tons; millet, 240 acres, 195 tons; potatoes, 552 1/2 acres, 45,167 bushels; onions, six and one eighth acres, 1,085 1/2 bushels.
TIMBER.--This is one of the very best timbered Counties in the State, the streams being skirted with a heavy growth, and beautiful natural groves are frequently met with, while large thrifty domestic groves adorn every farm. The total number of forest trees planted is 2,827,816, or 14,742 acres; hedging 949 1/2 miles.
FRUIT.--Large orchards have been in bearing here for several years past and fruit is now abundant. The following statement will show the number of trees in the County: Apple, 101,229; pear, 2,365; peach, 118,466; plum, 2,901; cherry, 13,944; grapevines, 13,618.
COAL is found in thin seams and is mined to some extent.
BUILDING MATERIAL.--Limestone and sandstone abound, and many fine quarries have been opened. Good brick and fire clays, are plentiful.
HISTORICAL.--The first settlement by whites in the County was in August, 1854, although Stephen Story, Charles Martin and F. X. Dupuis, white men who had intermarried with the Indians, came shortly before that time, and settled upon what has since been called the "Half Breed Tract." Story, still residing in the County, laid out, platted and surveyed the town of St. Stephen, which was up to 1865, a thriving village, but is now nearly vacated. Dupuis lived with the widow of the great Iowa Chief, "White Cloud," whose remains are interred in the Rulo Cemetery.
The first white settler outside of the "Half Breed Tract," was a man by the name of Level, who in the spring of 1854, dug a hole in the side of a hill near the townsite of ARCHER, and kept whiskey to sell to the Indians, until the Chiefs came in and emptied his whiskey barrel.
In the summer of 1851, Jesse Crook, Wm. G. Goolsby, John A. Singleton and J. C. Lincoln, passed through the County,. making a survey, naming the streams, and taking claims--Crook and Goolsby, near ARCHER, and Singleton and Lincoln, near SALEM, to which they returned with their families in the fall. They were soon followed by Isaac Crook and J. F. Harkendorff, who settled near ARCHER, John Crook and Wm. Roberts near SALEM, and Thomas F. Brown and Wm. Withrow, who located in the west end of the County.
The County when first organized, comprised what is now known as Richardson, Pawnee and Johnson Counties, there being but little settlement in the territory of the two last named Counties, and they were detached and organized by themselves some two or three years later.
Richardson County, in 1855, consisted of two election Precincts--SALEM and ARCHER.
The following is a list of the first County officers, as appointed by Governor Cumming, to wit: John C. Miller, County Judge; F. L. Goldsberry, Clerk; Louis Misplais, Treasurer; and -- McMullin, Sheriff.
At the election in 1856, there were ninety-eight votes polled in the County.
The first Court was held at ARCHER, then the County Seat, in 1856, at Judge Miller's large log house, which served as Court House, jail, and tavern, all in one. Archer was then quite a busy little place, with two stores, two hotels, a blacksmith's shop and quite a number of dwellings.
At the election in 1857, there were 320 votes polled in the County, and the following County officers elected, to wit: W. H. Mann, Clerk; Isaac Crook, Treasurer; Samuel S. Keefer, Sheriff; and Joseph Yount, Arnet Roberts and George Coffinan, County Commissioners. At the election in 1859, the election Precincts
were Rulo, St. Stephenson, Falls City, Salem, Spizer and Franklin; 800 votes were polled.
In the winter of 1857, the Half Breed Line was run, and the land east of it to the Missouri River, reserved by the U. S. Government to be divided, 320 acres each, between certain Half Breeds or mixed Indians, according to the treaty of PRAIRIE DU CHEIN, Wis., made in 1831. Archer being supposed to be on the Half Breed Track, the County Seat was removed to SALEM in 1857, where it remained until 1860, when it was removed by Act of the Legislature to FALLS CITY, the present County Seat.
The first death in the County was that of the wife of Francis Purkett, who died in child-birth, near Archer, in the fall of 1854.
The first birth in the County was that of Frank Luchman, born near Archer, in the spring of 1855.
The first marriage in the County, was in May, 1855, at St. Stephen, between N. J. Sharp, Esq., and Miss Tramel (daughter of Esquire Tramel, afterwards Probate Judge of the County.)
The first saw mill run by water power was built in 1856, by Chas. Rouleau, Wm. Kencelear, E. Bedard, E. H. Johnson, E. Plant, and others, at the mouth of Muddy Creek where Thacker & Jones' grist mill now stands. The first steam saw mill run in the County was put up at Rulo, in the Spring of 1858, by Israel May.
E. H. Johnson, residing at Rulo, was the first practical surveyor and engineer who came to the County. In the fall of 1856, Mr. Johnson surveyed the townsite of Rulo (named from Charles Rouleau, one of its proprietors) for Charles Martin, Charles Rouleau, Wm. Kencelear and Eli Bedard, proprietors of the town.
In 1858, the Rulo Western Guide, published by a man by the name of Barret, was commenced at Rulo, and also the Falls City Broad Axe, published at Falls City, by J. E. Burbank and S. R. Jamison, and these were the two first newspapers published in the County.
Dr. Whitmeyer, of St. Stephens, Dr. Johnson, and Dr. H. O. Hanna, of Falls City, John R. Brooks, of Salem, and A. Godfrey, of Rulo (the last now dead) were the first practicing physicians in the County.
The first practicing attorneys in the County were Hon. E. S. Dundy, now U. S. District Judge for Nebraska, Hon. Isham Reavis, late U. S. Judge in Arizona, and Hon. Augustus Schoenheit, of Falls City; A. D. Kirk, and A. M. Acton (killed while a Colonel in the Confederate army) of Rulo, and Hon. J. J. Marvin, of Falls City.
The oldest living explorer of this County, or of Nebraska, is a Frenchman named Zephyr Rencontre, now nearly one hundred years old, living at the White River Indian Agency, in Dakota Teritorry [sic], as interpreter. He accompanied Lewis and Clark in their world famed tour of discovery to the Pacific Ocean, and passed through Richardson County, to which he returned in a few years, and residing there for several years, drew land for his children as Half Breeds, from the Government.
Henri Goulet, who came to the County in 1854, and laid out the town of Yankton, and Antoine Barrada, who first passed through the County in 1816, and from whom Barrada Precinct takes its name, are two of the old French pioneer settlers, who still live in the County.
In 1855 and 1856 the County was filled with wild game; gangs of fifteen or twenty deer could be seen any day, and wild turkeys and prairie chickens were abundant. In 1856, Wm. G. Goodsby, had during the winter, a cabin filled with venison which he had slaughtered himself, and gave away to his neighbors when they came after it.
The first sermon preached in Richardson County was in St. Stephen Precinct, two and a half miles south of St. Deroin, in the spring of 1855, by Rev. David Hart, a Methodist minister, now dead; the next sermon was delivered near Archer, in the summer of 1855, by Rev. L. D. Gage, also a Methodist.
There are at present from twenty-live to thirty Church buildings in the County, costing from $200 to $3,000, and upwards each.
In 1858, the greatest inundation ever known in the County took place, commencing on the 12th day of July, the rain falling for ten days and nights until the Nemaha and its tributaries burst over their banks and inundated all the bottom land in the County. The bridges upon all the streams were swept away, and Falls City
left isolated and cut off from connection with the rest of the County. and the farmers and their families were compelled to leave their inundated homes, in skiffs or by swimming.
The two first murder trials in the County, were that of one Clifford, for the murder of a young man in his employ, and the suspected murder of his wife, and one Moran for the murder of Hudgins. These murders took place in 1858 and 1859,--and singularly enough, Hudgins, just before be was killed, was one of the Grand Jury who indicted Clifford; both murderers escaped, being found Not Guilty by the Juries who tried them.
A most remarkable change of weather occurred in the County in January or February of 1871--upon a Sunday, morning. At ten o'clock, there being some little snow upon the roofs of the houses, the eaves were dripping; at half-past ten a dark cloud came up from the west, with a howling wind, and at eleven o'clock it was as dark as night, and the thermometer had sunk from 30 degrees above zero, to 10 degrees below--a change of forty degrees in one half hour.
The first Court House in the County was built by subscription, at Falls City, in 1863, and cost $2,500, upon a block donated by Falls City to the County. The County jail was built in 1871, at a cost of $11,000. The present Court House was built upon the site of the old one and cost about $30,000.
PUBLIC SCHOOLS.--The first school in the County was taught near Archer, in the spring of 1856, by Mrs. Samuels. The present number of districts is ninety-five; school houses, ninety-four; children of school age, males, 3,073, females, 2,790, total, 5,863; total number that attended school during the year, 3,816; qualified teachers employed, males, fifty-six, females, sixty-five; wages paid teachers for the year, males, $9,275.45; females, $8,871.56; total, $18,147.21; value of school houses, $73,374.55; value of sites, $4,270; value of books and apparatus, $1,810.40.
TAXABLE PROPERTY.--Acres of land, 325,563; average value per acre, $4.70; value of town lots, $179,483; money invested in merchandise, $67,894; money used in manufactures, $8,193; horses, 7,221, value $171,830; mules and asses, 696, value $19,095; neat cattle, 18,091, value $142,575; sheep, 3,162, value $2,390; swine, 34,690, value $25,206; vehicles, 2,195, value $30,519;
moneys and credits, $57,244; mortgages, $6,820; Stocks, etc., $1,585; furniture, $32,790; libraries, $1,560; property not enumerated, $65,837; railroads, $211,473.43; total valuation for 1879, $2,556,705.43.
RAILROADS.--The Atchison and Nebraska was completed through the County in 1871. It follows the valley of the Great Nemaha, a distance of 42.95 miles, in this County.
LANDS.--The price of wild land ranges from $5 to $12, and improved, $7 to $35 per acre.
POPULATION.--The following are the precincts and population of each in 1879: Arago, 799; Barada, 1,137; Falls City, 2,651; Franklin, 447; Grant, 739; Humboldt, 1,253; Liberty, 622; Muddy, 721; Nemaha, 546; Ohio, 855; Porter, 443; Rulo, 1,205; Salem, 807; Spicer, 644; St. Stephens, 464.
Total, 13,433,--males, 7,227, females, 6,206.
The County Seat, is located in the southeastern part of the County, on the high ground overlooking the Nemaha Valley and about two miles north of the river. The County Seat was removed to this place from Salem, in 1860, by an Act of the Legislature. At the election held in the spring of 1860, upon the location of the County Seat, the contest between Falls City and Rulo was very spirited, two men being shot and killed at the former place on election day Doctor Davis, of Rulo, and a Mr. Meeks, of Falls City. The Atchison and Nebraska Railroad was completed to Falls City on the 4th day of July, 1871, and to-day this is one of the best business centers and most prosperous towns on the line of that road. The population of the city is 2,200. It contains five handsome Churches, two parsonages, a $20,000 school house, an elegant Court House, substantial jail, two flouring mills, two banks, one pork packing establishment, large grain elevators and stock yards, and a multitude of fine stores and minor places of business. The newspapers published here are the Globe-Journal, and the News, both able papers.
Is the second largest town in the County, having at present a population of 1,000. It is located on the Atchison and Nebraska Railway, twenty-one miles west of Falls City, and is surrounded by a
very fertile and beautiful country. Business of all kinds is well represented here. There are two grist mills, a bank, several dry goods and grocery stores, two drug and two hardware stores, two grain warehouses, two hotels, large lumber yards, and numerous other business enterprises. It has a fine graded school and excellent Church facilities. The Sentinel, a weekly newspaper, is published here. This town is only seven years old and already many elegant residences and fine business blocks of brick have been erected.
Situated at the confluence of the North and South Forks of the Great Nemaha, in the south-central part of the County, has a population of 550. It is also a station on the A. & N. Railroad, seven miles west of Falls City, and is one of the best trading points in the County. It contains two elevators, a grist mill, several general assortment stores, one hardware, one drug, one agricultural implement, and one furniture store, a good hotel, good school and Church advantages, etc., and a weekly paper, the Advertiser. Fine limestone quarries have been opened here.
Is a town of 800 inhabitants, situated on the banks of the Missouri, in the southeastern part of the County. The A. & N. runs a side-track up to the town, and a large amount of grain and stock is shipped from here. It contains a steam flouring mill, steam saw-mill, a bank, hotel, grain warehouse, stock yards, a brickyard, and several large mercantile establishments.
Situated on the banks of the Missouri River, near the center of the County from north to south, has about 300 inhabitants. Business is represented by three general assortment stores, one hardware, one drug, and one implement store, a hotel, cooper-shop, blacksmith and wagon shop, and a pork-packing establishment.
Is a village of 100 inhabitants, located on the Railroad, sixteen miles west of Falls City. It contains a Church, school house,, flouring mill, grain elevator, hotel, two general assortment stores, a drug store, lumber yard, wagon and blacksmith shop, and two physicians.
ARCHER, ST. STEPHEN, YANKTON, WINNEBAGO, and GENEVA, were flourishing villages in the early days of the County, but are now entirely abandoned.
BARRADA, WILLIAMSVILLE, ELMORE, MIDDLEBURGH, ATHENS, and FLOWERDALE, are villages having a Postoffice, general store, school house, etc.
The reservation of the Sacs and Foxes, and the Iowa Indians, is located in the southeast corner of this County, extending over into Kansas, and comprises a body of rich and beautiful land) well timbered. The Postoffice of NOHART is on this reservation.
Red Willow County was organized in May, 1873. It is located on the Southwestern border of the State, bounded on the north by Frontier and east by Furnas, south by the State of Kansas, and west by Hitchcock County, and contains 720 square miles, or 460,800 acres.
WATER COURSES.--The County is watered by the Republican River, Beaver, Red Willow, and other large Creeks. The Republican flows from west to east through the central portion of the County. Red Willow Creek, from which the County takes its name, is a fine stream about seventy-five miles long, which flows from the northwest, and empties into the Republican near the center of the County. The Beaver flows through the southern portion of the County, and is one of the largest tributaries of the Republican. Driftwood, Coon, Dry, and many smaller streams meander through the County. Water power is abundant.
TIMBER.--25,170 forest trees are reported under cultivation. The streams are generally well skirted with natural timber.
FRUIT.--Wild fruits are abundant. A large number of fruit trees, embracing all the choice varieties of apple, peach, pear awl plum, have been planted in the County within the past two years, and are reported as growing finely.
BUILDING STONE of an excellent quality is found in several localities.34
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