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     CHARACTER OF THE LAND.--Fifteen per cent. of the County is valley, and the balance rolling prairie, with bluffs along the Republican and other large streams. The Valley of the Republican is here from three to six miles wide. The Red Willow, Beaver and Driftwood, each have fine valleys varying in width from one to three miles. The blue-stem and gramma grasses abound on the bottoms, and the buffalo grass on the uplands and divides. The soil is fertile and easily tilled.

     CROPS.--Area under cultivation in 1879, 2,990 acres. Winter wheat, 45 1/2 acres, 485 bushels; spring wheat, 331 1/2 acres, 4,814 bushels; rye, 343 1/2 acres, 4,653 bushels; corn, 1,631 acres, 32,064 bushels; barley, seventy-three acres, 1,403 bushels; sorghum, 17 1/4 acres, 982 gallons; broom corn, 13 1/2 acres, two tons; potatoes, 17 1/2 acres, 1,132 bushels; onions, one-half acre, 114 bushels.

     HISTORICAL.--The first actual settler in the County was John S. King, who took a claim on the Republican, near the east line of the County, in the fall of 1871.

     On the 22d of November, 1871, various claims were staked out near the mouth of Red Willow Creek, and the town site of Red Willow located by a party of gentlemen representing a Town Company, which had been organized in Nebraska City that fall. This Company was regularly organized under the laws of the State, and had a President, Vice-President, Secretary, Treasurer and Board of Directors. An exploring party, consisting of Hon. Royal Buck, President of the Company; Latrop Ellis, Surveyor; and John Roberts, John F. Black, W. W. W. Jones, John Longnecker, L. R. Sitler, Wm. Byfield, Frank Usher, Wm. McKinney and J. M. Davis, left Nebraska City in the fore part of November, with two wagons loaded with provisions sufficient for a thirty-days trip; and after a very trying journey over roads made almost impassable by deep snows, they arrived at Red Willow Creek on the 22d of the same month, and went into camp in a grove near its mouth. One week was spent at this camp in selecting claims and locating the town site, which they named RED WILLOW, after the beautiful stream near by; and here also, on the 28th, was held the first religious meeting in the County. On the 29th, they broke camp, and retraced their steps to Nebraska City, where they arrived on the 10th of December following. On the 10th of January,



1872, the town site was filed at the Land Office at Beatrice, and at the same time homestead entries were made by Messrs. Black, Longnecker, Jones, Byfield, Davis, and a Mrs. Shaw.

     The first arrivals in the spring of 1872, were Messrs. Hunter, Hill, Korns, H. Madison, and W. Weygant and son, on the 29th of April. A few days later, L. H. Lawton and family, Mr. Young and family, Henry Burger, and several other single men, arrived. In May, quite a number of families came, viz: Royal Buck and family, Mrs. Shurvinton and family, Mrs. Shaw and family, and T. P. Thomas and family, who brought with him a fine herd of cattle.

     Early in May, 1872, a Company of U. S. Cavalry and one of Infantry established a camp near Red Willow, and guarded the settlement until November following.

     The first election for County Officers and the location of the County Seat, was held on the 27th of May, 1873, at the house of Willburn Morris, on section fifteen, township three, range twenty-eight, west. Sixty-three votes were polled, and the following officers elected, viz: W. H. Burger, W. S. Fitch and W. B. Bradbury, Commissioners; G. A. Hunter, Sheriff; E. S. Hill, Probate Judge; I. J. Starbuck, County Clerk; J. E. Burger, Treasurer; P. F. Francis, Surveyor; Edward Lyon, County Superintendent.

     At this election, Indianola received a majority of seven votes for the County Seat, over Red Willow. The latter, however, contested the election on the ground of fraud, claiming that a number of votes greater than the majority, had been cast for Indianola, by men not citizens of the County. A long and tedious litigation followed, which ended in the final triumph of Indianola.

     The first Postoffice in the County was established at Red Willow in April, 1872; Royal Buck, postmaster. In the summer of 1873, a Postoffice was established at Indianola, and later in the same year, at Canby, Lebanon, and Danbury on the Beaver.

     The first session of the District Court for Red Willow County, was held at Indianola, on the 28th and 29th days of April, 1875; Judge Gaslin presiding.

     During 1872, there were no deaths in the County, of record; in 1873, there were two; in 1874, none; in 1875, six, of whom two were killed by lightning, and one was drowned.



     The first stock of goods brought into the County was by T. P. Thomas, late in the summer of 1872. John Byfield also opened a store on his homestead, adjoining Red Willow town site, in the same year.

     The Christian denomination organized a Society at Red Willow, in 1873; and another has since been organized on the Beaver. In 1875, the Congregationalists organized Societies at Indianola and Valley Grange; and since then, a Society of the same denomination has been organized at Red Willow. In 1876, the M. E. Church organized a Society at Indianola, and the United Brethren a class at Red Willow. A Union Bible class and prayer-meeting was organized at Red Willow in the summer of 1872, and early in 1873 a regular Sabbath school was organized at the house of Royal Buck. There are now several Church buildings in the County, and flourishing Sabbath schools are conducted at Indianola and at different points on the Beaver.

     PUBLIC SCHOOLS.--The first school districts were organized in December, 1873, at Indianola and Red Willow. The present number of districts is fifteen; school houses, eleven; children of school age, males, 162, females, 141, total, 303; qualified teachers employed, males, six, females, seven; total wages paid teachers for the year, $792.80; value of school property, $525.

     TAXABLE PROPERTY.--Acres of land, 18,775; average value per acre, $1.50; value of town lots, $2,457; money invested in merchandise, $1,330; money used in manufactures, $200; horses, 544, value, $11,764; mules, 51, value, $2,132; neat cattle, 2,817, value, $19,778; sheep, 1,375, value, $1,222; swine, 284, value, $351; vehicles, 192, value, $2,783; moneys and credits, $2,506; mortgages, $175; furniture, $258; property not enumerated, $623; total valuation for 1879, $73,741.

     RAILROADS.--The nearest railroad point at present is at Bloomington, Franklin County, sixty miles distant. The grading for the extension westward of the Republican valley branch of the. B. & M. road is now in progress, and the road is to be completed through this County before the close of 1979.

     LANDS.--There is some good Government land still left in this County. The price of wild lands ranges from $1.25 to $7 per acre.



     POPULATION.--The following are the precincts and population of each in 1879: Indianola, 420; Red Willow, 207; Driftwood, 108; Beaver, 125; Danbury, 103.

     Total, 963,--males, 644, females, 419.


The County Seat, is located on the east bank of Coon Creek, near its junction with the Republican, and five miles northeast of the geographical center of the County. The town site was surveyed and recorded in the fall of 1873. It has a population of 300, and contains a newspaper, good school and Church facilities, the County offices, several general stores, hotel, blacksmith shop, lumber yard, etc.


Beautifully located on the west bank of Red Willow Creek, within a mile of the Republican, was the first town laid out in the County. It contains 150 inhabitants, a good school house, three well-stocked. general assortment stores, a flouring mill, etc. It is surrounded by a magnificent fertile country, and the streams are well timbered and bridged.

     VALLEY GRANGE, on the Driftwood, and DANBURY and LEBANON, on the Beaver, are flourishing young towns.


     Saunders County, formerly called Calhoun, was created in 1856. By an Act of the Legislature, approved January 8, 1869, its name was changed to Saunders, in honor of Hon. Alvin Saunders, the last Territorial Governor and present United States Senator from Nebraska. By an Act approved February 8, 1865, it was attached to Cass County for election, revenue and judicial purposes. The organization of the County was effected in October, 1866. After several changes by the Legislature in the boundaries of the County, they were fixed as they exist at present by an Act approved February 25, 1875.

     Saunders is located in the middle-eastern part of the State, in the second tier of Counties west of the Missouri River, bounded



on the north and east by the Platte River, which separates it from Dodge, Douglas, and Sarpy Counties,-- south by Cass and Lancaster, and west by Butler County, containing about 756 square miles, or 483,840 acres, at an average elevation of 1,150 feet above the sea level.

     WATER COURSES.--Besides the Platte River, which forms the County boundary from the northwest to the southeast corner, there are many beautiful streams flowing through the County in every direction, among which are the Salt, Wahoo, Sand, Cottonwood, Dunlap, North Fork, Miller's Branch, Silver, Upper Clear, Lower Clear, Rock and Oak Creeks, making this one of the best watered Counties in the State, every township having one or more living streams passing through it. Several of the creeks afford excellent mill privileges.

     TIMBER.--The native timber is limited, being found chiefly in the bluffs, on the islands of the Platte, and along the banks of the creeks. The amount reported under cultivation is 2,538 acres, or 1,451,358 trees. Of hedge fencing, 130 miles are returned.

     FRUIT.--4,762 apple, 1,059 pear, 14,938 peach, 8,035 plum, and 8,716 cherry trees are returned, besides six and three-fourths acres of grape vines.

     LIMESTONE and sandstone of fair quality are found in several localities.

     CHARACTER OF THE LAND.--Twelve per cent. of the County is valley, and the remainder plain and rolling prairie, with high bluffs skirting the valley of the Platte. The flood plains of the Platte River, Salt, Wahoo and Rock Creeks are extensive, being broad and beautiful expanses of natural meadow, clothed with. nutritious grasses growing upon a deep alluvial soil of great fertility.

     CROPS.--The area under cultivation reported for 1879, was 152,354: acres. Winter wheat, 400 acres, 5,059 bushels; Spring wheat 64,695 acres, 723,206 bushels; rye 3,790 acres, 39,598 bushels; corn, 59,794 acres, 1,578,366 bushels; barley, 2,301 acres, 36,006 bushels; oats, 11,209 acres, 120,033 bushels; buckwheat, ten acres, seventy-nine bushels; sorghum, nine acres, 687 gallons; flax, 660 acres, 3,204 bushels; broom corn, 409 acres, eighty-eight and three-fourths tons; potatoes, 437 acres, 38,226 bushels.



     HISTORICAL.--Mr. Joseph Stambaugh, who located upon section thirty-five, of town thirteen, range nine, of the Sixth Principal Meridian, September 6, 1856, has the honor of being the first white settler of Saunders County. Mr. Stambaugh and his heroic wife are entitled to much credit for perseverance, fortitude and heroism in enduring the privations, hardships and annoyances of frontier life. The murauding [sic] and thieving Pawnees were a constant source of annoyance to them during the first years of their stay in the County. Scarcely were they settled upon their homestead--ere they were compelled to leave it and seek shelter and protection among the settlers of Cass County. Their first house was destroyed by the Indians soon after their departure. Early in the spring of 1857, however, a new house was erected, and the brave parents with their little ones returned to their chosen home. With not a Postoffice, store, or even a blacksmith shop, nearer than the town of Plattsmouth, over thirty miles distant, with numerous unbridged streams intervening, requiring days to make the trip, the loneliness and hardship of their lives during the first three years cannot be imagined by the uninitiated. But victory perched upon their banner, and has crowned their efforts with success. A brick house now occupies the place of their original "sod mansion," and it; surrounded with a fine grove of forest trees, a thrifty orchard and several barns for the protection of stock. John Stambaugh, their second son, was the second white child born in the County, April 9, 1858.

     Reuben L. Warbritton and family, and John Aughe, accompanied Mr. Stambaugh on his return to the County in the spring of 1857. In June, Mr. Ramsey settled upon the south side of Wahoo Creek, about one mile above Mr. Warbrittons, where his widow still resides. She has the honor of giving birth to the first white child born in the County, March, 1858.

     Thomas K. Chamberlain also came in 1857, and located near the junction of Musquito Creek with the Wahoo.

     In 1860, came Austin Smith, John Smith, Henry Howe, Stephen Brown, Solomon Henry, and a Mr. Aldrich, all from Wisconsin. They settled upon the table land north of R. L. Warbritton. Perry Tarpenning came in 1861, and settled between Warbritton and Smith.



     In 1858, Samuel Hahn settled upon section one, town twelve, range nine, then a part of Cass County, but now a part of Saunders. In 1861, Charles Richart settled on the Platte bottom, town seventeen, range six; near him settled, in the fall of the same year, John Garrett and a Mr. Anderson. W. H. McCowan and Doctor Wood settled upon the table land just above Pohocco headland, in 1863, and Perry Reed on the headland bluff, in 1865.

     This noted headland merits a brief notice in this place. Having in a former geological period occupied the position of an island in a lake of considerable magnitude, it now stands as a bold headland, against which the waters of the Platte impinge with violence, at least 150 feet beneath its surface. Across its smooth bosom the fierce Red Man laid his trail, and from its higher elevations stood and gazed over the beautiful landscape--beneath, the rushing, turbid waters of the Platte, and around, a sea of verdure; in the distance, to the northeast, the valleys of the Elkhorn River and Maple Creek; on the other hand, the immense Platte bottom, stretching far to the northwest--presented a scene of softened loveliness seldom surpassed. Near the close of 1856, this lovely spot was selected by a party of speculators residing in Nebraska City, Plattsmouth, and Glenwood, Iowa, as the site for a town, which was to become the city of the Territory, and Capital of the future State. NEOPOLIS was laid off with imposing proportions. Broad avenues and spacious streets crossed each other at right angles; public squares and parks were numerous; and a saw-mill was purchased and set to work to cut out lumber for the building of the future Capital of Nebraska. But, alas! all these visions of future greatness came to naught. The great Capital City was never built; and the operators, after losing considerable money, abandoned the enterprise.

     At the general election held October 8th, 1866, for the purpose of County organization, Ashland was selected as the County Seat, and the following County Officers elected: Commissioners, Wm. Reed, Austin Smith, and Thompson Bissell; Hobart Brush, Clerk; J. Richardson, Treasurer; Loomis Nickwin, Sheriff; Andrew Marble, Probate Judge; S. E. Wilson, Surveyor; Marcus Brush, Prosecuting Attorney.



     The first Commissioners' Court was held at Ashland, November 10, 1866.

     A. B. Fuller was the first Superintendent of Public Schools--appointed by the Commissioners in April, 1867.

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     The first tax was made July 8, 1867. The first license to sell spirituous, vinous, and malt liquors within the County, was granted April 6, 1868.

     At an election held on the 8th of May, 1869, the County voted bonds to the amount of $40,000 to the B. & M. Railroad in Nebraska, to aid in the construction of that road.

     The first marriage in the County occurred November 7, 1866, between Mr. Samuel V. Bumgarden and Miss Lucinda Hooker.



     CHURCHES.--The religious denominations in the County are: Episcopalian, Presbyterian, Congregational, Lutheran, Baptist, Reformed Church, Baptist Missionary, Presbyterian Reformed, Methodist, Disciples, Catholic, and Universalist. The Methodists, erected the first house of worship in the County. There are now twelve Church buildings altogether.

     PUBLIC SCHOOLS.--Number of school districts, 100; school houses, ninety; children of school age--males, 2,523, females, 2,435, total, 4,958; whole number of children that attended school during the year, 3,412; qualified teachers employed,--males, sixty-five, females, ninety-four, total, 159; total wages paid teachers for the year, $18,763.60; value of school houses, $51,518; value of sites $3,314; value of books, etc., $1,014.60.

     TAXABLE PROPERTY.--Acres of land, 430,860, average value per acre, $2.67; value of town lots, $120,636; money invested in merchandise, $59,497; money used in manufactures, $3,235; horses, 6,379, value, $142,712; mules and asses, 599, value, $15.615; neat cattle, 11,847, value, $79,328; sheep, 2,979, value, $2,016; swine, 29,512, value, $21,751; vehicles, 2,303, value, $26,632; moneys and credits, $19,750; mortgages, $14,666; stocks, etc., $51; furniture, $22,891; libraries, $2,407; property not enumerated, $76,652; railroads, $179,583.59; total valuation for 1879, $1,938,734.59.

     RAILROADS.--The Omaha and Republican Valley Railroad runs through the central portion of the County from northeast to southwest. The Burlington and Missouri Railroad crosses the southeast corner of the County at Ashland.

     LANDS.--The price of improved lands ranges from $7 to $30, per acre. The Union Pacific and Burlington and Missouri Railroad Companies each have several thousand acres for sale in this County at from $3 to $7 per acre.

     MILLS.--There are eight flouring mills in the County, all water-power except one; one is located at Valparaiso, two at Ashland, two at Wahoo, two near Clear Creek, and one at Ithica.

     POPULATION.--The following are the Precincts and population of each in 1879: Oak Creek, 414; Newman, 484; Elk, 783; Chester, 461; Bohemia, 485; Rock Creek, 466; Chapman, 507; Mariposa, 676; Douglas, 858; Richland, 557; Stocking, 1,460; Center, 569; Cedar, 687; Green, 470; Wahoo, 532; Marietta, 492;



Pohocco, 714; Ashland, 1,012; Clear Creek, 551; Marble, 692; Union, 658.

     Total, 13,528,--males, 7,119, females, 6,409. Population of County in 1878,12,614; increase, 1,014.

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