CROPS.--Acres reported in cultivation, 7,350. Winter wheat, twenty-eight acres, 360 bushels; spring wheat, 3,042 acres, 39,568 bushels; rye, 860 acres, 4,214 bushels; corn, 1,123 acres, 28,781 bushels; barley, 281 acres, 7,997 bushels; oats, 877 acres, 49,309 bushels; sorghum, eleven and three-fourth acres, 1,348 gallons; potatoes, seventy-six and a half acres, 9,963 bushels.
LANDS.--There is a small amount of good Government land in this County. The Burlington and Missouri Railroad Company owns 120,000 acres here, ranging in price from $1 to $5 per acre.
PUBLIC SCHOOLS.--Number of districts, nineteen; school houses, fourteen; children of school age, males, 251, females, 225, total, 476; qualified teachers employed, males, six; females, ten; total wages paid teachers for the year, $1,341; value of school houses, $5,126.35; value of sites, $115.
TAXABLE PROPERTY.--Acres of land, 154,980; average value per acre, $1.66; value of town lots, $3,405; money invested in merchandise, $4,157; money used in manufactures, $585; horses, 681, value, $19,338; mules, sixty-eight, value, $2,503; neat cattle, 1,909, value, $20,568; sheep, fifty-four, value, $52; swine, 522, value, $509; vehicles, 320, value, $4,529; moneys and credits, $1,562; mortgages, $2,222; furniture, $2,959; property not enumerated, $6,814; total valuation for 1879, $326,768.
POPULATION.--The County is divided into eight voting Precincts, the following being the population of each in 1879: First, 268; Second, 261; Third, 187; Fourth, 107; Fifth, ninety-two; Sixth, 125; Seventh, 292; Eighth, 208; total, 1,540,--males, 838, females, 702.
The County Seat, is located on the North Loup near the geographical center of the County, and has a population of 150. It contains a hotel, good school house, the County offices, several stores, a grist mill, blacksmith shop, and a lively weekly paper--the Journal. A Howe truss bridge spans the river here.
Is a small village situated on the Loup, ten miles south of the County Seat, at the mouth of Myra Creek. It contains a hotel,
store, blacksmith shop, and a good school house. A bridge spans, the river at this point also.
VINTON, ARCADIA, SPRINGDALE, ADAIR, CALAMUS and IDA, are the names of Postoffices in the County.
Wayne County was organized in the fall of 1870, by proclamation of Governor David Butler. It is located in the northeastern part of the State, in the second tier of Counties west of the Missouri River, bounded on the north by Cedar and Dixon Counties, east by Dixon County and Omaha Indian Reservation, south by Cuming and Stanton, and west by Madison County, containing 448 square miles, or 286,720 acres.
WATER COURSES.--The central and northern portions of the County are finely watered by Logan Creek and its numerous branches, which flow in a general easterly direction and furnish several fine mill privileges. The southern portion of the County is watered by Plum, Humbug, Spring and other tributaries of the Elkhorn River.
Well water is found at a depth of twenty to sixty feet.
TIMBER.--Along the Logan and branches there is a limited supply of native timber. 325 1/4 acres, or 126,637 forest trees, and seven and three-fourth miles of hedging have been planted.
FRUIT.--657 apple, eleven pear, 325 peach, 663 plum, 243 cherry trees, and thirty-two grape vines are reported.
CROPS.--About ten per cent. of the County is valley, ten per cent. broken, and the balance gently rolling prairie. The Logan has a beautiful and fertile valley, with bottoms frequently four miles wide. Several of its tributaries have fine valleys ranging from one to two miles in width. In the vicinity of the sources of the several creeks, the land is considerably broken by deep ravines and gulches, in which stock find excellent shelter from the storms of winter. The soil is well adapted to the growth of the different cereals.
CROPS.--Acres in cultivation, reported for 1879, 5,114 1/4; spring wheat, 1,344 acres, 16,420 bushels; rye 265 1/4 acres, 4,132 bushels;
corn 1,589 acres, 52,898 bushels; barley, 117 acres, 2,161 bushels; sorghum 2 3/4 acres, 266 gallons; potatoes 33 7/8 acres, 3,435 bushels; tobacco 5/8 acre, 800 pounds.
HISTORICAL.--The pioneer settler of the County was Mr. B. F. Whitten. His house, completed in April, 1869, was the first erected in the County. A month later, a small colony from Illinois located homesteads in the eastern part of the County, mostly along Coon Creek. In the spring of 1870, a colony of Germans located on Spring Branch, in the southwestern part of the County.
The first election for County Officers was held on the 5th of September, 1870, at the house of George Scott, on Coon Creek, and resulted as follows: Commissioners, W. E. Durin, M. T. Sperry, and Isaac Miner; Clerk, C. E. Hunter-, Treasurer, B. F. Whitten; Sheriff, A. D. Allen; Probate Judge, A. A. Fletcher; Surveyor, Wm. G. Vroman; Superintendent of Public Instruction, R. B. Crawford; Coroner, Nathan Allen.
Mr. B. F. Whitten failing to qualify for Treasurer, George Scott was appointed to fill the vacancy.
The first Postoffice in the County was established September 8, 1870, near the Logan bridge, and was called Taffe; Wm. Agler, postmaster. The second Postoffice was established at Laporte, Feb. 21, 1871; C. E. Hunter, postmaster.
The first child born in the County was a son to Mr. and Mrs. Charles Phillips, near Logan Bridge, on June 1st, 1869.
The first death was that of a son of William Vroman, August 6th, 1870.
The first marriage occurred on the 14th day of May, 1871, between M. T. Sperry and Miss Sarah Eayrs.
The first Sermon was preached by Mrs. M. B. Richardson, at the residence of Alexander Scott, in December, 1870.
The first practicing physician in the County was Dr. R. B. Crawford, who located June 1, 1869.
On the 4th of July, 1871, a grand celebration was held near LaPorte.
The first store was opened in June, 1872, by C. E. Hunter and Solon Bevins, near LaPorte. The first school district was organized on February 11, 1871; first school teacher, Miss Jane Olin. The first school house was erected in October, 1871. The first
newspaper established in the County, was the Wayne County Review, by C. E. Hunter, August 5, 1876.
On the 24th of February, 1874, at a special election, County bonds to the amount of $15,000 were voted for the erection of a brick Court House at Laporte, forty by fifty feet in size. The building was completed by Sawyers & Leach, December 8, 1874, and cost $11,983.
PUBLIC SCHOOLS.--The number of districts is eleven; school houses, eight; children of school age, 169; qualified teachers employed--males, seven, females, six; total wages paid teachers for the year, $1,674; total value of school property, $6,334.
TAXABLE PROPERTY.--Acres of land, 239,267; average value per acre, $1.92; value of town lots, $2,420; money invested in merchandise, $875; money used in manufactures, $100; horses, 288, value, $6,908; mules, ten, value, $275; neat cattle, 675, value, $5,649; sheep, 1,439, value, $1,314; swine, 878, value, $515.40; vehicles, ninety-two, value, $975; moneys and credits, $310; stock, $38.55; furniture, $201; property not enumerated, $2,580.50; total valuation for 1879, $482,059.88.
LANDS.--There are about 5,000 acres of Govenment [sic] land in this County. The B. & M. Company owns about 20,000 acres here, for which they ask from $1.25 to $6 per acre. Improved lands vary from $4 to $15 per acre.
POPULATION.--There are three Precincts in the County, the population of each in 1879 being as follows: La Porte, 228; Spring Branch, 119, and Leslie, 134; total, 481,--males, 269, females, 212.
The County Seat, is situated in the middle-eastern part of the County, and was laid out on the 22nd of May, 1874, by Mr. Solon Bevins. It contains a fine Court House, good school house, hotel, two general stores, blacksmith shop, grain warehouses, lawyers, doctors and real estate offices, and a weekly paper--the Review. Divine services are held every Sabbath in the school house.
Is the name of a Postoffice four miles southeast of the County Seat.
A fine flouring mill is now being erected on Logan Creek. It is 26x60 and three stories high, and wilt contain a four and a half foot Turbine wheel and four run of burrs.
Washington County was organized by an Act of the first Territorial Legislature, approved February 22, 1855. It is located on the middle-eastern border of the State, bounded on the north by Burt County, east by the Missouri River, south by Douglas County, and west by Dodge County and the Elkhorn River, containing about 400 square miles, or 256,000 acres.
WATER COURSES.--The County is finely watered by the Missouri and Elkhorn Rivers and tributaries. The Missouri washes the entire eastern border, and the Elkhorn the southwestern border for a distance of about two townships. Bell Creek, a beautiful tributary of the Elkhorn, flows from north to south through the western portion of the County. Among the smaller streams are Fish, Long, New York, Stewart, North, South, Turkey, Deer, Moore, Little Bell, Brown, Walnut, and Papillion Creeks. Every township in the County has running water.
TIMBER.--There is an abundance of timber for fuel in this County. On the Missouri bottoms and along several of the streams there is a fine native growth. The amount of timber planted is 1,840 1/2 acres; hedging, twenty-four and a half miles.
FRUIT.--59,629 apple, 1819 pear, 3,287 peach, 3,277 plum, 9,960 cherry trees, and 19,013 grape vines are reported under cultivation.
TOPOGRAPHY.--Thirty per cent. of the County is valley and bottom, sixty per cent. rolling prairie, and ten per cent. broken and bluffy. The bottoms of the Missouri at this point are very wide, ranging from three to seven miles. The bottoms of the Elkhorn, on the southwestern border of the County, vary from three to six miles in width, while the beautiful valley of Bell Creek, extending through the County from north to south, is from one to three miles wide, with fine level table lands adjoining. Everywhere in the County the soil is of an excellent character.
CROPS.--The area in cultivation, reported for 1879, was 77,657 acres. Winter wheat, forty-two acres, 893 bushels; spring wheat, 23,057 acres, 259,241 bushels; rye, 1,857 acres, 28,002 bushels; corn, 34,084 acres, 1,308,486 bushels; barley, 1,597 acres, 17,856 bushels; oats, 7,772 acres, 36,662 bushels; buckwheat, sixty-six acres, 585 bushels; sorghum, 106 acres, 10,357 gallons; flax, 211 acres, 1,772 bushels; broom corn, 1 1/2 acres, nine tons; onions, five acres, 910 bushels; potatoes, 543 1/2 acres, 39,706 bushels.
HISTORICAL.--The first permanent settlement was made in the southeastern part of the County, upon the beautiful plateau upon which old Fort Calhoun stood. The buildings of the old Fort consisted of about sixty small brick structures, arranged in four lines inclosing about ten acres of ground. Outside of this inclosure [sic], to the north, were a number of other buildings supposed to have been used by officers and Indian traders. The brickyard was southeast of the Fort, at the foot of the bluff. Some eighty rods to the west was a spring, where was erected a spring-house for dairy purposes, and still further to the north was a large cultivated field where grain and vegetables were raised to supply the fort. The, stone magazine building was still standing in 1854. This site was selected as a claim early in the summer of 1854, by John Goss, Sr., who, however, soon after donated it, with the exception of two shares, to a Town Company consisting of Casady & Test, Addison Cochran, and H. C. Purple, of Council Bluffs, Iowa; and Mark W. Izard, A. J. Poppleton, and Hadley D. Johnson, of Omaha.
This Company built a cabin on the site of the old Fort, near the magazine; and in March, 1855, the town was surveyed and platted by E. H. Clark.
Several families came to the new town immediately after it was located, and a number of others settled on claims near by.
By Act of the Legislature, approved February 22, 1855, Fort Calhoun was made the County Seat; and at the same time the County was fully organized by the appointment of Stephen Cass, Probate Judge; George W. Newell, Recorder; and Thomas J. Allen, Sheriff.
During the spring of 1855, an immense immigration came into the County, and many settled at Fort Calhoun.
The first District Court in the County was opened here in June of this year, in the claim cabin of the Town Company. It was presided over by Hon. Fenner Ferguson, with Major J. W. Paddock, as Clerk; Gen. E. Estabrook, U. S. Prosecuting Attorney; and Thomas J. Allen, Sheriff. The attorneys present were A. J. Poppleton, E. H. Clark, Jonas Seeley, and J. McNeal Latham. The first case tried was that of Elias Wilcox vs. James M. Taggart for claim-jumping; verdict for the defendants.
About the 10th of August, the Calhoun town site was jumped by Charles D. Davis, who moved into the town house, where he and his friends fortified themselves. The Town Company and citizens undertook to put him off, which resulted in the killing of Mr. Goss, the shooting of Mr. Purple through the shoulder, and the wounding of Mr. Thompson in the thigh--all being of the Town party. Thus matters rested until November, when Davis made sale, or pretended sale, of his interests; and a new Town Company was formed, taking in several new members, including the widow of Mr. Goss.
During the summer of 1855, E. H. Clark built a hotel for the Town Company, which was opened to the public the following spring, by Col. Geo. Stevens.
A court house was built in 1856, in which Hon. E. Wakely presided as Judge, with Hon. Geo. M. Doane, prosecuting attorney, Roger T. Beal, clerk, and Orrin Rhodes, sheriff.
During this summer, Rev. Collins, a Methodist minister, residing at Omaha, preached in the court house once a month.
In 1857, the town was entered at the land office by Hon. Elam Clark, Mayor.
In 1858, the Fort Calhoun flouring mills were erected by Z. Vanier & Brother, and in 1861, they passed into the hands of Hon. Elam Clark & Co., the present proprietors. These mills soon became widely celebrated, and during the days of freighting across the plains they manufactured thousands of sacks of flour for shipment to Colorado and Utah. Many of the early settlers came a distance of seventy-five to one hundred miles to these mills.
On the O. & N. road, has about 400 inhabitants, several stores, two Churches, a good school house, etc. The old Fort Calhoun steam
flouring mills, which gained such wide notoriety in the early days of the Territory, are still running to their full capacity.
Situated in the middle western portion of the County, on a fine piece of table land commanding a splendid view of the Elkhorn and Platte Valleys, was settled in the summer of 1854, by a company from Quincy, Illinois, called the "Nebraska Colonization Company," of which Jonathan Smith was President, and Rev. W. W. Keep, Secretary, and including as members, J. W. Richardson, J. C. Barnard, O. C. Barnard, H. Metz, John Evans, J. Armor, James A. Bell, and others.
Before the close of the year many additional settlers had flocked to the town and surrounding country. The first stock of goods at Fontenelle was opened early in 1855, by Wm. H. Davis, who also kept the first hotel in a double log house, called the "Fontenelle House."
The first child born in the town was Mattie Francis, daughter of Samuel Francis, October 2, 1855. A few hours later, on the same night, a daughter was born to Mr. and Mrs. Wm. H. Davis, and named Fontenelle. In May, 1856, Rev. Reuben Gaylord, organized a Congregational Church, with about twenty-five members, and Rev. Thomas Waller as pastor. A Sabbath School was organized at the same time. The new Church was presented with a handsome communion service by the First Congregational Church of Quincy, Illinois. In 1856 a college was erected under the auspices of the Congregationalist Church, and was a flourishing institution for a number of years, Professor Burt being the first teacher. The first saw mill was brought in by Thos. Gibson in 1856, and run by Samuel and Silas Francis. The first marriage was that of Henry Whitter to Miss Emily Strickland, in the fall of 1866. Miss Strickland taught the first school the winter previous. On the evening of the 15th of July, 1855, a Mr. and Mrs. Porter, and a young man named Demaree, came up from Bell Creek, where they had been breaking prairie, and encamped on Sam Francis' lake, a mile north of Fontenelle, intending to go up into the settlement, on Sunday morning. As they were about to leave camp on Sunday, a party of Indians rode
out of the willows and approached Porter's wagon. One of them snatched Demaree's hat off his head and was riding away with it, when the owner called to him to stop, or he would shoot him, picking up his rifle as he spoke. The Indian turned, saw this demonstration on the part of Demaree, called out "Pawnee!" and shot him instantly, the ball passing through Porter also, killing both men. The Indians then rode off, leaving Mrs. Porter alone with the dead. This double murder caused the greatest excitement in Fontenelle, all the settlers in the neighborhood flocking thither for safety, and it was many months before they considered themselves safe from assault and massacre by the Indians.
Fontenelle is now a village of some 150 inhabitants. It contains a Church, school house, blacksmith and wagon shop, and a large general merchandise store. The adjoining country is well settled and fertile.
On the Missouri River, was laid out in the fall of 1854, by Dr. John Glover, Gen. J. B. Robinson, Potter C. Sullivan, E. P. Stout, Wm. Clancy and others. It was incorporated by an Act of the Legislature, in March, 1865. During the summer of 1855, thirty frame and log houses were built in the town. Dr. A. Phinney opened the first store, and Chas. Seltz the second. P. C. Sullivan was the first postmaster. Judge Jesse T. Davis located there in the fall of 1855. The first child born in DeSota, and probably the first in the County, was John Critz, in June, 1855. The first marriage was that of Thomas M. Carter to Miss Sullivan. In 1856 the Kennard Brothers established themselves in the mercantile business here, and the Bank of DeSota entered upon a career of brilliant, but short lived prosperity, with Samuel Hall as president, and Geo. E. Scott, cashier. In the same year the Waubeek Bank was established, and the following spring the Corn Exchange Bank opened for business.
Rev. Jacob Adriance, of the Methodist Church, was the first regular minister. In 1857, the town had fifteen or twenty business houses, and between six and seven hundred inhabitants, and prosperity was the order of the day, until the Pike's Peak excitement broke out in 1859, when it was almost entirely deserted.
DeSota which at one time boasted several hundred inhabitants is now a mere village of half a dozen houses.
HAYES, KENNARD, MILLS, WASHINGTON, AMHERST, MEADS, NERO and ADVANCE, are Postoffices in the County.
Was "claimed" in September, 1854, by P. G. Cooper, and two others, and in the spring of 1855, it was laid out as a city, and named in honor of the Acting Governor, T. B. Cuming. For a while it grew very rapidly, but the financial crash of 1857, gave it a check from which it never recovered, and it was soon afterwards abandoned entirely. Among the first settlers were Jacob Pate, Lorenzo Pate, J. Zimmerman, J. Gall, E. Pilcher, P. G. Cooper, J. S. Stewart, L. M. Kline, T. C. Hungate, and O. W. Thomas. In 1857, it had fifty-three dwellings, several business houses, and a weekly newspaper.
MURDERS.--In April, 1856, one Isaiah Peterson jumped the claim of a Mr. Coon, near Ft. Calhoun, and built a house upon it in an out-of-the-way place. Mr. Coon went to see him, and was there found dead soon afterward, with a bullet through his heart.
In 1858, a man named Blackwood, living near DeSota, was arrested for cutting a man named Lamb, with an axe. He broke jail and returned to his house, where he barricaded himself, and Wm. Frazier, Deputy Sheriff, in endeavoring to arrest him, shot him dead. Frazier was tried and acquitted.
In 1859, Henry Seevers, while under the influence of liquor, stabbed a man named Povie in a saloon at DeSota, killing him. Seevers was arrested, but the Grand Jury failing to find an indictment against him, he was released.
In 1861, Hiram Frazier, a boy thirteen years old, shot a German who had said the boy stole a whip, the man dying within a few hours from the effects of the wound. The boy was sentenced to be hanged, but the Governor commuted the sentence to imprisonment for life. He was subsequently pardoned.
In the winter of 1869-70, one McAuley, a clerk at the Quimby House, at Blair, was killed by John Jones, head cook of the hotel. McAuley was running away from Jones, when the latter threw a butcher's cleaver at him, which severed the main artery of the arm,
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