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NE History & Record of Pioneer Days
Vol I, no 3-4 (part 2)
My father was Manson J. Woodward,
and my mother's maiden name was Fannie D. Abel. They lived
at Concord. Massachusetts, where father was a carriage and
coach trimmer. They came to Galena, Ill., then to Des Moines
and finally to Aspinwall in 1864, when I was seven years
old. A relative had come there first, and my parents talked
it over and decided to come. Father opened up a harness
when the town declined, and later went to California. I
think he lost most of his wealth in unfortunate
WHEN A. M. MEDLEY CAME WEST
I came to Peru in 1855. when I was seven years old. My parents were Alfred and Mary Medley. We came from Crawford county, Ill., stopped one year in Atchison county, Mo., and then came here.
Father was a blacksmith. When he came here he opened a shop and also bought an interest in the ferry and put in a better boat. He took a preemption claim two miles south of town, where he raised sod corn and buckwheat.
In those early days we went to mill out on Camp Creek. where a Mormon by the name of Jimmison was the miller. The mill ground so slow that people had to wait a long time for a grist.
Jim Dewey worked for father in the shop. Dewey later went back east and stayed. In a year or so father started a store down on the flat, where the town then was. It was called the 0. K. Store. He sold calico, groceries, whisky and other stuff. The post office was up where the town now is.
Father went out among the Indians trading and then went to St. Joe and bought a stock of goods, after which he disappeared. The goods came, but he never was heard of again.
My brother Frank was four years older than I was and was a big help in everything. Mother sold the farm and came to town and finally sold the store stock at a sale. This was in 1859. We went to Missouri for a season and then came back. I commenced boating on the ferry and worked at it thirteen years. One season I whacked bulls across the plains to Fort Kearny and Fort Sedgwick, in 1863. I saw the stuff burning at Plum Creek after the fight there. Brother Frank had gone into the army in the First Nebraska and went down to Fort Donelson with Thayer. Once when I was on the plains he was with the soldiers there, but I did not see him. After the war was over he came back here and lives here yet.
In the succeeding years, after my ferry work, I farmed a little, handled grain, was steamboat freight agent, ran a wood yard and did a lot of things. While doing some government work on the river I dislocated my knee, and it has made me lame ever since.
I married Lydia Smith, and we have four sons and one daughter, all alive. Frank is at Havelock. George is foreman of the machine department at Havelock, and Richard is here at Peru. Our daughter, Rainey May Medley, is a teacher at Dorchester. Mother died in 1900.
There are no people here now who were here when we came in 1855. These who came in 1856 were Rev. Mr. Hall, Rev. Mr. Horn, Tate, Swan. Combs, Hedde, Simpson, Edwards and others. In 1857 came Dan Cole. Dustin, Carter, Steitz, Redfern, Lash, Daily and a good many others.
I will let you have for the Historical Society a flatiron and a steel-yard that my folks brought from New England to Illinois before I was born. Also an Indian ax which my son found here on the Peru town site.
DANIEL C. COLE AND PERU
I was born in Fulton county, N. Y., near Amsterdam, July 19, 1836. My father died when I was a young boy. Mother conducted a farm. In 1854 we moved to Fon du Lac county. Wisconsin. It was new out there then, and times were hard. There was very little money. I had learned to be a carpenter, along with the farm work.
A Wisconsin man named Bristol had traded for a piece of land in Nebraska, and his brother-in-law drove out to see it. Five of us young fellows took the trip with him, and we crossed the river at Brownville on June 3, 1858. We were in a covered wagon, though we mostly walked across Iowa.
I had brought my carpenter tools, and had $2.50 in cash when I got to Nemaha county. There was very little work here. Sometimes I got 75 cents a day for work, and paid 50 cents a day for board. In those times we all had ague. In getting work at my trade I walked up and down the country from Plattsmouth to Rulo. Land was cheap but I never took any. Few of the first settlers who settled on land stayed with it.
Brownville was the principal town on the river and got the inland trade. It was a steamboat town, and had a steam ferry, also the John L. Carson bank and the U. S. Land office. It was a better town than Omaha. I was at Omaha when there was only one hotel and at lot of saloons. Brownville had two or three saloons.
At the same time Nebraska City was a flourishing place. A great deal of outfitting was done there. Majors, Waddell & Co., were government freighters, and I have seen 2,000 cattle and 200 wagons there at one time.
In the winter of 1858-9 I taught school in the Fairview district west of Brownville, and boarded around. It was a log schoolhouse about 14x16. I had about 20 pupils, and got $15 a month.
About the middle of January, 1859, I was boarding at Squire Kennedy's. I woke up early in the morning, and hearing a stir in front of the house, I dressed and went out. There was a covered wagon with six mules hitched to it. Squire Kennedy was out there talking with it tall man with long whiskers. Kennedy introduced us. The man was John Brown. He had seventeen young negroes in the wagon and was heading for Iowa. He had arrived before daylight, after a
night drive. On the way to Kennedy's he had lost his way
and stopped at the wrong house at about two o'clock. When he
made himself known, the man of the house said: "I guess it
is Kennedy's you want. We are on the other side. We are
Tennesseeans." The man,. whose name was Skeen, directed
Brown how to get back to the road to Kennedy's. Brown was a
little worried at having made his errand known to
southerners, but nothing came of it. Skeen minded his own
business and never said a word. All through the county it
was well known that Kennedy was active in the underground
DR. JETUS RIGGS CONKLING
Dr. Jetus Riggs Conkling, one of the old residents of Omaha, died of apoplexy last March, at Dunedin, Florida, where he had gone to spend the winter. Dr. Conkling was born in Tompkins county, N. Y., October 5, 1835, came to Illinois with his parents when he was a lad, worked on his father's farm, attended Salem academy, near Kenosha, Wisconsin, taught school, and graduated from Rush Medical college in 1859. He joined a wagon train bound for Pike's Peak that year, but stopped at Omaha. After a short time he went to Tekamah, and in the fall of 1859 was elected clerk, and the next year became treasurer of Burt county. In 1863 he was post surgeon at Fort Kearny, and a couple of years later, returned to Omaha.
JOHN Q GOSS
JOHN Q. GOSS PASSES ON
FIRST U. P. MILEAGE BOOK
When the Union Pacific Railroad Company issued its first mileage tickets, No. 1 was bought by a Nebraska man, who did not use up all the mileage. The son of the original purchaser has that ticket. He lives at Auburn, and he has so far warded off all efforts by the company to gain possession of the interesting souvenir.
JOHN BRATT, NORTH PLATTE PIONEER
John Bratt, pioneer, and one of the most widely known men in western Nebraska, died at his home in North Platte June 15, in his 76th year. He was born at Leek, England, August 9, 1842, and came to America in 1865. The next year he invested all he had in a cargo of goods, consigned to New Orleans from New York, but which was lost by shipwreck in the Gulf of Mexico. In 1866 he came to Nebraska City, and went on, as a bullwhacker, to Fort Phil. Kearny where he engaged in furnishing supplies for the post and in suttling. In 1869 he entered the cattle business and settled at a point four miles south-east of North Platte, south of the river. His wife was a daughter of John Burke, also a Platte valley pioneer. He was a prominent Mason, an enthusiastic member of the State Historical Society and contributed valuable articles to its museum.
MRS. ADA BUCK MARTIN
Mrs. Ada Buck Martin died at her home in Denver on June 1, 1918, and was buried at Indianola, Red Willow county. Her father, Royal Buck, established the first colony in that county in 1872. A full account of that enterprise will be printed in volume XIX of the publications of the Historical Society which will be published soon.
THE OAK GROVE MONUMENT
The monument bears this Inscription chiseled in the stone:
Monument Erected On
The Oregon Trail By
Nuckolls County, Neb.
In Memory of Those
Who Were Killed And
Those Who Escaped at
The Oak Grove Ranch
In The Indian Raid
Aug. 7, 1864.
In presenting the monument on
behalf of the State Historical Society, Mr. Sheldon
FIRST RAILROAD EXCURSION TO NEBRASKA
Fifty-two years ago a booklet was printed to record the experiences and proceedings of an excursion party that came from the east to inspect the Union Pacific railroad, then building through Nebraska. Copies of that booklet are very rare, but one has just been added to the Historical Society library.
The party, consisting of a hundred guests and the entertainers, started out from Jersey City on the 15th of October, 1866. The account says that they went west to Chicago in three "Silver Palace" cars and a superb director's car, and it is recorded as a remarkable fact that they went through to Chicago without change. At Chicago they were joined by others, so that the excursion party numbered one hundred and fifty, and two brass bands. Five directors of the Union Pacific company, one government director and three government commissioners were along; also Grenville M. Dodge, chief engineer, and Silas Seymour, consulting engineer of the road. J. Carbutt was official photographer and Mr. Hein assistant. The music was fur-
nished by the Great Western Light Guard Band of Chicago
and Rosenblatt's Band, of St. Joseph.
geese, each $1.25 to $1.50; sage hens, 50 to 65¢;
snipe, each 25 to 30¢."
An overland trip to western
Nebraska in an automobile with Amos H. Haile proved
instructive in the matter of a general knowledge of the
country traversed. We made inquiry in relation to historical
material available in each of the localities visited and
interviewed a. few of the early settlers.
E. E. BLACKMAN,
AN OLD STATION AGENT
One of the interesting pioneers of Nebraska is E. M. Searle, Sr., of Ogallala. While yet a mere boy he went to the war from Indiana. As a telegraph messenger at the front he learned telegraphy. After the war he worked a year for an Indiana railroad. Then the lure of the new Pacific railroad brought him west. He sought at job at Omaha, but was advised to go out along the railroad line. He was offered one of the advance stations in Wyoming, but declined when he found the former agent had been killed in an Indian raid. He went to North Platte, which was then the end of the line of road, and was assigned to Alkali, thirty-one miles west, where the station was a tent. He saw the road build on past toward the Pacific, and after about twenty years' service as agent at Alkali, later named Paxton, he was transferred to Ogallala, where he had taken a homestead. He has long since given up railroad work, but has remained active as a builder, of western Nebraska.
NEBRASKA'S FIRST EDUCATOR
HON. HERBERT P. SHUMWAY
Herbert P. Shumway, well known citizen of Nebraska, died at a Lincoln hospital, June 30, after an illness of several months. The body, accompanied by Mrs. Shumway, a brother and sister, and other relatives, was taken to Lyons, Neb., for burial.
He was born in Caledonia, Minn., in 1856. [Soon after coming to Nebraska he engaged in the lumber business at Lyons and Wakefield. Nebraska.]* In 1880, he engaged in the lumber business at Lyons and Wakefield. In 1901 to 1904, he was associated with others in the building of a line of railroad in Mexico. He was a member of the state senate of Nebraska in 1901 and again in 1913 and 1915.
* [typeset error - sic]
Senator Shumway was a member of the Masons, Shriners, Elks, Odd Fellows, Modern Woodmen, United Workmen, Eastern Star and Sons of Veterans and was on the staff of Governors Crounse, Mickey and Sheldon.
He was a candidate for lieutenant governor on the republican ticket at the last election, but went down with the rest of the ticket in the democratic landslide. He had filed for the republican nomination for the same office this year.
TALES OF STRONG MEN AND WOMEN
The study of Nebraska history, as well its the history of the United States, should be encouraged. This state has been developed upon the same principles of freedom and equality and democracy as the entire nation. The people should know these things.
A. E. Sheldon, secretary of the state historical society, has launched the first issue of a magazine destined to bring home to the people of Nebraska those cardinal rights for which the early settlers fought. He calls the publication, to be issued monthly, "Nebraska History and Record of Pioneer Days." To the pioneer, it brings a memory of days which they call "the best of all;" to the younger Nebraskans it brings a message of sturdy growth of a democratic commonwealth and inspiring tales of strong man and women. - Lincoln Daily Star.
WILLIAM B. LEE, PIONEER
William B. Lee, who died at the home of his daughter at Douglas, Wyoming, July 1, was the last of the band of pioneers who came to Fremont, Nebraska, in 1856. Mr. Lee had resided at Fremont for sixty-two years, and his body was brought back to the old home for burial. Mr. Lee was a native of Ireland. and came to America when a young man. He was 85 years old at the time of his death. Two daughters, Mrs. John Flynn and Mrs. A. R. Merritt, of Douglas, Wyoming, and two sons, Ed. of Brownlee, Neb., and Frank, of Oregon, are the close surviving relatives.
The Nebraska State Historical Society with headquarters at Lincoln began the publishing of a monthly, "The Nebraska History and Record of Pioneer Days." The magazine is ably edited by Addison E. Sheldon and a staff of the Nebraska State Historical Society. The subscription price is $2.00 per year. Every school and library in the country should become subscribers, as to enable the pupils and readers to become more familiar with pioneer Nebraska - Clarkson Press.
A RED WILLOW PIONEER
John Longnecker writes us from Indianola wishing to become a member of the Historical Society and receive its publications. He came to Red Willow county November 20, 1871, which is getting back near the beginnings of white settlements in that part of the state.
INTERESTING EARLY HISTORY
"Nebraska, History and Record of Pioneer Days" is the title of a new monthly publication by the State Historical Society. The first issue was sent out last week. The editor is Addison E. Sheldon, the very competent secretary of the Society, and many very interesting bits of early history of the State are published. The subscription price is $2.00 per your. All sustaining members of the Nebraska Slate Historical Society will receive "Nebraska History" without further payment. - Albion News.
MARY L. McKENZIE KEYSER
Mrs. Mary Keyser, wife of Herbert T. Keyser, of Byron, Cal., and daughter of the late J. M. McKenzie of Stockton, Cal., died at the Damerin hospital in Stockton, June 3, 1918, after an illness of six days, only a short time after the death of her illustrious father.
Mary L. McKenzie wits born in Fayette, Iowa, April 21, 1860. When two years of age she came with her parents to Nebraska, where
she grew to womanhood, graduating with honor from the
Peru State Normal school in July, 1883.
SOME PIONEERS OF RICHARDSON COUNTY
In the spring of 1866 four or five families came from Grundy county, Ills., taking six weeks to make the trip. They crossed the river at Rulo and settled in Richardson county. One was the Sinclair family, - Jamie and Jane, and five children. Two more children came later to fill the household.
The Scotch are hardy people. Jane Sinclair celebrated her 90th birthday at Falls City on the 27th of June, 1918, and was able to tell the assembled friends that all her children were alive and flourishing. and all living within a hundred miles of where the family settled fifty-two years ago.
The coming of this Grundy county party to Nebraska was of course because somebody else that they knew had settled in the land ahead of them. The Grants, another Scotch family, had led the way, and located on the edge of the "half-breed" tract northeast of Falls City. The others came into the same neighborhood.
That locality where they settled represented to a remarkable degree the different nationalities that were pouring into the new state. There were in that one school district: two Scotch families, Grant and Sinclair; two French, Benwire and Mousau; two Welch, Jones and Roberts; two Germans, Frey and Vogelein; two Irish, Harrison and Lawrence; one Pennsylvania Dutch, Fierbaugh: and one Southerner, Abbott, who had with him a former slave, "Nigger Bill" and there were two families from England, - Wilkes and Burch.
But the Germans were coming into the neighborhood, and they soon bought out all the others. That precinct, Jefferson, has been solidly German for many years. The Illinois people scattered over Richardson and Pawnee counties. Jane Sinclair, and Bridget Pattison, of Table Rock, are the only ones now living of the heads of families who crossed the Missouri with that wagon train in 1866.
A. K. Lawrence was one of the first to go. His wife, Julia, died last April, at the age of 83, leaving many children and grandchildren in Johnson and Lancaster counties. W. P. Pattison lived to celebrate his golden wedding with his good wife, and passed away at Table Rock four or five years ago, at a ripe old age, and leaving behind many descendants. J. D. Harrison and his wife both died about ten years ago, leaving many children and grandchildren at Grand Island and in Lincoln. Of the other old folks in that pioneer party, - Billy Randall and wife, Ben Butler and wife, - they have been gone on their last journey these many years.
And the other people of the old school district: Wilkes and Burch, "Cash" Roberts and Bill Jones, Geo. A. Abbott and his good wife, Eli Fierbaugh and the others - even "Nigger Bill"; they are all gone. The two French families drifted away. The children of that neighborhood populated many other parts of Nebraska. The Germans remained in Jefferson precinct, and their children of 1866 and the few years following, now own the land.
F. A. HARRISON
STORY OF HOW THE REAL ESTATERS ORGANIZED
The book of proceedings of the Nebraska State Board of Real Estate Agents and the correspondence of the organization have come into the hands of the Historical Society. The board was organized in May, 1870. D. H. Wheeler, of Plattsmouth, presided at the meeting. The officers elected were: president, J. F. Kinney, Nebraska City; vice president, D. H. Wheeler, Plattsmouth; secretary, W. H. Hoover, Brownville; treasurer, E. S. Seymour, Omaha; committee on arbitration, B. M. Davenport, W. W. Wardell, Nebraska City, and R. C. Lett, Brownville; committee on membership, A. P. Cogswell, Brownville; I. B. Compton, Lincoln.
The members were assessed five dollars apiece to cover incidental expenses. The prime object of the organization was to establish a uniform scale of fees or commissions. The scale adopted was $5 for a sale not exceeding $100; on sales not exceeding $1,000, 5 per cent; 3 percent on the next $1,000 and 2 1/2 per cent on succeeding amounts - not much difference from the scale now in effect among real estate agents.
In addition to the members noted as officers, there were A. P. Cogswell, Brownville; H. N. Cornell, Nebraska City; B. F. Lushbaugh, Omaha; William J. Austin, Brownville; Smith & Cunningham, Falls City; Central Land Company, Omaha; Andrew J. Stevens, Columbus; Moses H. Sydenham, Kearney; A. J. Poppleton, Omaha. The record indicates that only one meeting was held after the organization.
So far as known this is the first organization of land talkers and first fixing of price for their services in Nebraska.
SARPY COUNTY REUNION
Two years ago, on a week's notice, fifty territorial pioneers of Sarpy county got together at Papillion for a picnic. One member came home from California to attend the gathering. Many similar meetings could be held. It takes very little effort to get the old settlers together.
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