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NE History & Record of Pioneer Days
Vol I, no 3-4 (part 2)


Nebraska History and Record of Pioneer Days

Stories Of Early Nemaha County Settlers


    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 shop.
    Aspinwall at that time was a town of about five hundred people. The town site was owned by a company, General James W. Denver, Louie Neal, and Rumback and Ballard being members. During 1864 there was a good deal of trouble over titles. The town was on a boom. One of the best stores was run by Ed Weisenreder, who had as many as seven clerks. He not only sold goods, but he bought grain and was quite a shipper. Aspinwall had the best steamboat landing on the river. An eddy cut into the bank and made deep water right up to the wharf. There was a big trade from inland.
    Other business men at that time, as I remember, were J. S. Minick, general store; Burl Hoover, general store;. J. W. Thurman, general store; J. W. Worthing, wagon maker; J. W. Mitchell, hotel; Dr. Baker, physician; and there were three or four saloons. One saloon was run by Adolph Herman and another by George McGathney. There was also a distillery near town.
    Henry Hart, a homesteader, took charge of the lands belonging to Ben Holladay, of Denver. General Denver had a large amount of land near Aspinwall, and the Denver estate still has it. Rumback was Denver's father-in- law.
    In the matter of shipping Aspinwall overshadowed Brownville and Nemaha. Much trade came from over in Pawnee. I have seen in town sacks of corn piled the length of three blocks. and three sacks high.
    A railroad finally went down the other side of the river and crippled Aspinwall, and the Atchison and Nebraska came up the Nemaha to the south and took off a lot more trade. There was much agitation for a road running down the river to Aspinwall, but it came to Nemaha, which was only four miles away, and that was the finish of Aspinwall. Some of the buildings were moved to Nemaha, and many were torn down or moved out onto farms. There are only two houses on the site of the boom town now. The Denver estate and Dr. Gandy now own the town site.
    There were In the early days several attempts to run newspapers at Aspinwall. Dr. Holladay moved the Nebraska Herald down from Nemaha about 1860, and others tried it.
    Aspinwall was not a Sunday school sort of a town. Even at its most prosperous time it never built a church. The saloons furnished the excitement. Sometimes there were efforts to divert trade to other nearby towns. San Francisco started up right in sight, and Hillsdale was only a small distance away. St. Deroin was eight miles South and Nemaha was in plain view four miles north. It was a great time to boom new towns, in the sixties.
    Once in about 1867 we went to Rulo by way of Arago. I was ten years old, and I thought Arago was a fine big town. Rulo was quite a shipping point, and there were a good many Indians around there.
    Father continued in business at Aspinwall until the town died, in the seventies. Then he moved to Kansas City.
    In 1875. when I was eighteen, I married Martha Tidrow, daughter of a storekeeper. I had quite a time getting the license. When I went to Brownville after it the county Judge, Dr. McComas, looked me over and told me I was in the wrong place. Said I was too young to get married. That worried me. but I talked politics with the judge and told him politics at Aspinwall was all his way, so he concluded I was all right to get a license.
    I worked in the store three years and then took up the real estate business in which I have continued to the present time. John L. Carson had bought the Holladay land and I took charge of it
    About 1888 I moved up to Nemaha. It was a poor town then, not. so good as it in now. There were three saloons, but legitimate trade was light. There were no decent sidewalks. I came up here because of the schools, as I had two boys.
    In the old days the liquor element was mighty strong in Aspinwall. Dr. J. N. McCasland of Pawnee came down here to organize a Good Templars lodge, and they threatened to throw him in the river. When I moved to Nemaha the fight against the saloons was going on . I foolishly believed in the saloon system at that time. On the streets I had argued that, inasmuch as we were only getting ten cents a bushel for corn, if the country went dry we wouldn't get anything for it. But I got tired of liquor domination and helped to put it out of Nemaha after all. At that time the school district was $4,000 in debt. Without saloons it has built a good school building and has money in the treasury.
    At Aspinwall, before the town died. I was on the school board. Weisenreder and another older man, Jerry Marlatt, were the other members. One day a young fellow came along and applied for the school. The two old members did not take to him because he was so young, but, I liked him, and talked them into the notion of hiring him. The new teacher and I became great friends and have kept up that friendship ever since. His name is John H. Morehead, recently governor of Nebraska.
    Morehead taught school in town a few months and boarded at Weisenreder's. It was noticed that one of the Weisenreder girls was his favorite. Next he taught a term out in the country and then came to town and married Miss Weisenreder. The parents of the Weisenreder girls were Catholics and objected to taking Protestants into the family. But the girls did not want to be Catholics. and they had their way when it came to marrying.
    Weisenreder had made money and went out of the store business

when the town declined, and later went to California. I think he lost most of his wealth in unfortunate speculations.
    We had two boys and one girl. Both boys are at Kansas city. Charles M. is on the board of trade and Leslie a druggist. Marie is now attending school at Kansas City. My wife died in 1910.
    I am loaning you some old pictures. One is of Ben Neal, part Indian, who first owned the land where Aspinwall was built. Another is of John S. Minick, who was very prominent in eastern Nebraska fifty years ago. Also pictures of Mr. and Mrs. Weisenreder taken in 1869, and Mrs. John L. Carson, taken in 1875.

    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.
    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

Nebraska History and Record of Pioneer Days


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 railroad.
    So that is how I happened to have a talk with John Brown. It was his last visit north. Soon afterward he was killed at Harper's ferry. When I saw him at Kennedy's he and his runaway slaves had just finished eating a breakfast which Mrs. Kennedy had got for them.
    Squire Kennedy was a Missourian. but he came away from there because he was an abolitionist. He died here a good many years ago. His son, George, lives in the neighborhood now. The old Kennedy farm was later lived on by Judge McInnich, a brother-in-law of Kennedy's.
    S. F. Nuckolls built the first store here at Peru. It burned down just before it was finished. That was in 1856 or 1857. The fire caused Nuckolls to change his plans and go to Nebraska City. The store was down on the bottom at the steamboat landing. There was a lot of bottom land here then. The river has since cut it away. Between here and Nebraska City the river swallowed two or three thousand acres. Now the river has gone over the other way. It has a mortgage on the land on both sides.
    I kept on carpentering. I was married in 1860 to Elizabeth A. Swan, whose folks had come to this county from Peru, Ill., in 1867. We have ten children living. Three others died in infancy. We have twelve great-grandchildren.
    In 1864 I was appointed postmaster, and also sold goods. There was one other store, and perhaps forty houses. There were two towns here. Mount Vernon was up on the hill where the cemetery is now. The post office was there, but I changed it to Peru, and started the store on what is now main street. The building was 16x24, and I built on a room 10 x 16 and lived there.
    The Independent Order of Good Templars was organized here before I came in 1856, by John W. Hall and W. S. Horn, two Methodist ministers. It was started out on Honey Creek, south of here. I joined it soon after I came. Hall and Horn started a church here, too.
    I have belonged to the Masonic lodge since 1867. I joined here at Peru. R. W. Furnas instituted the lodge, and it was No. 14. 1 was worshipful master ten or eleven times.
    The Methodists established a school here in 1866. Hiram Burch was a minister here and his brother-in-law, John McKenzie, was at the head of a school at Pawnee City. He wanted to move to Peru and establish a Methodist school. So they got a charter from the legislature (Eleventh Legislative Assembly, 1866) for the Peru Seminary and College. The Methodist conference appointed the trustees. The people subscribed $10,000. Dr. John F. Neal gave 72 acres of land. Burch, McKenzie and William Daily also gave land. McKenzie came here in 1866 and opened the school in a shack in town that had formerly been a saloon. In the fall they had a college building ready. The failure of the school at Oreapolis helped to turn attention here.
    A. B. Fuller, of Cass county, who had once operated a normal school in Illinois, and William Dally, were members of the House of Representatives of the second legislature, which convened May 16, 1867. Daily and Tom Majors had a good deal of a pull. They wanted a state institution, and when they could get nothing else Fuller suggested a normal school. I guess they didn't know what a normal school was but they took the chance. The state gave $3,000 for starting the school and 20 sections of saline land, which has all since been sold. Seventy-two acres and the unfinished building of the Peru Seminary and College were given to the normal school. Brownville had a much better school and a building that cost $20,000, and would have been glad to get the normal school, but Majors and Daily were on the ground and secured the plum for Peru.
    I was one of those who subscribed for the original building. I agreed to give $300, when I was not worth $250. I was a member of the board of the Methodist school, and a member of the state board for eight years following. Our incidental expenses for one term were $16. George E. Howard and Miss Morehead were the first graduates, in 1870. Howard, I think, worked his way through.
    From that small start our Normal school grew up. The plant has cost now probably $800,000. It still owns sixty acres of the original donation for a site.
    Early preachers in the conference here were T. B. Lemon, John M. Chivington, and D. R. Slaughter, father of Brad Slaughter.
    (Mr. Cole, although in his eighty-second year, still lives in Peru, in a house he built over forty years ago. He retains his faculties, and is physically active. He goes out in the country two or three miles to superintend the cultivation of his farm.)

    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.


Picture or sketch

(handwritten note on page: "See C 1633")

    Another old pioneer who has passed on is Judge John Q. Goss, of Bellevue. who at the age of 91 died on March 20 of this year. Judge Goss was born in Somersetshire, England, March 8, 1827. came to America in 1844 and settled in Ohio, where he taught school for nine years, in the meantime reading law. He was admitted to the bar at Mansfield, Ohio, in 1857. In the spring of 1859 he came to Nebraska and located at Bellevue. He represented the counties of Burt, Washington and Sarpy in the Council of the seventh Legislative Assembly and held various county offices. He was quartermaster of the territorial militia, in 1862, enlisted in the Second Nebraska Cavalry October 15, 1862, and April 24, 1863, was appointed regimental commissary with the rank of first lieutenant. He was master of Nebraska, Masonic lodge No. 1 in 1862-4, was a member of the grand lodge of Knights of Pythias when it organized in Nebraska, and was the organizer of the first Pythian lodge in Missouri. His wife and one daughter, Mrs. Emma Thompson, of Washington, D. C., survive him.

    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, 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 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.


Nebraska History and Record of Pioneer Days

Nebraska in 1864-1867

Time of the Sioux Indian War and Building of Union Pacific

    On June 14 there was an important celebration in Nuckolls county near the town of Oak, the occasion being the unveiling of the monument commemorating the Indian fight at Oak Grove station.
    Oak Grove was one of the stations on the old California trail, and was attacked by Sioux and Cheyenne Indians on the 7th of August, 1864. On the same day all of the stations between Fort Laramie and the Big Blue were raided and most of them burned.
    At Oak Grove station people and the travelers taking refuge there put up a spirited fight and drove the savages off. Two of the whites, J. H. Butler and M. C. Kelley, were killed. There was no way of knowing the losses among the Indians.
    An exciting incident on that day was the attempt of the stage coach from the east to reach safety at Oak Grove. There were ten passengers, and the driver was Robert Emery. with John Gilbert, another driver, on the box. They were intercepted by the Indians two miles east of Oak Grove and turned back. There was a running fight for several miles, but the appearance of a large wagon train saved the fugitives. The coach was hit many times by bullets and arrows, but none of the passengers were injured.
    At the recent celebration John Gilbert was present, also J. M. Comstock and Mrs. James Dudley (Ella Butler), who were with the party that took refuge in the station building during the fight. At that time Ella Butler was a little girl, and along with other noncombatants crouched behind a barricade of boxes and barrels during the siege. Comstock was old enough to do his share of the shooting and believes that he accounted for two of the Indians.
    The celebration was under the direction of the D. A. R., of Superior, and was attended by a good crowd of people. The monument is in a box elder grove, and is surrounded by an iron fence. It is on the location of the old stage station, and also on the spot where the first meeting was held to organize Nuckolls county. The county commissioners appropriated the money to pay for the monument, and their names appear at its base.
  The program of the celebration was as follows:
     Invocation - Rev. A. C. Bates.
     America - M. E. choir and assemblage.
     Unveiling of the monument - Miss Katherine Fullmer.
     Flag salute - Superior Chapter D. A. R.
     Presentation of the monument on behalf of the State
  Historical Society - A. E. Sheldon.
     Acceptance of the monument - Mrs. Harry Nelson.
     Music, solo - Miss Sylvia Acher.
     A Tribute to the Pioneers - Mrs. W. S. Young.
     Reminiscences - old settlers.
     Address - Charles H. Epperson.

Inscription on 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.

J. H. Butler     M. C. Kelley

John Barratt   L. Ostrander
N. Ostrander   Tobias Castor
Geo. A. Hunt   Sarah Comstock
Mary Comstock   H. J. Comstock
J. M. Comstock   Mrs. F. Butler
Ella Butler   Samuel Morrill
Etta Courtwrlght
Co. Com.: P. Cronin
Chas. Malsbury   E. M. Wright

Mr. Sheldon's Address

    In presenting the monument on behalf of the State Historical Society, Mr. Sheldon said:
    "Mine is a brief message here this afternoon. Monuments are made to mark heroic deeds and great achievements. This monument meets both demands. It marks tile deeds of heroic Nebraska men and women who met a savage foe with high courage, resourceful minds and unflinching fortitude. It marks a resting place upon it great national highway which united the Mississippi valley to the land beyond the mountains and made the Pacific coast a part of the United States of America.
    "The Nebraska State Historical Society welcomes the spirit which gives visible form to the memories of these mighty achievements and these heroic deeds. The first historical monument raised in Nebraska was by the Nebraska State Historical Society on May 25, 1905, upon the high bluff which faces Fremont across the Platte river. Upon that bluff fifty years before General John M. Thayer met the Pawnee chief, Petalesharu, in his great council lodge in the midst of his people who occupied those heights with their village. General Thayer survived fifty years of frontier fortune, of Civil War service, and of a subsequent career in the highest places within the gift of this commonwealth to share in the dedication of this monument a half century later.
    "The movement to mark the Oregon Trail across Nebraska was largely the work of the Daughters of the American Revolution. The legislature of 1911 voted $2.000 for this purpose. This was supplemented by many local gifts and a chain of Oregon Trail monuments now stretches at intervals from Lanham, where the trail crosses the Nebraska line, to a point near Henry where Nebraska and Wyoming meet.
    "Two years ago this summer I drove along this trail from Fort Kearny to Fort Laramie, placing upon photographic glass and upon motion picture film historical persons and places upon the route and these granite monuments which now mark at intervals the great Oregon highway.
    "There yet remains much more to be done before the. worthy deeds and achievements upon Nebraska soil are fitly witnessed in these memorial monuments.
    "The one we unveil this afternoon marks a site worthy of recognition. Here on August 7, 1864, a little handful of pioneer men and women held the log fort against an outnumbering enemy. Here also the first civil government of Nuckolls county was instituted and the first election held which made this a civil unit in our state. The fight for life and property and for the blessings of free political institutions went hand in hand across this continent.
    "This monument we owe to the patriotic spirit of the Daughters of the American Revolution, to the organized energy of Mr. George D. Follmer and others of this community, and to the county government of Nuckolls county which so fittingly gave the money for the marking of this memorial stone.
    "In the name of the Nebraska State Historical Society I present this monument to the community which has built it to be preserved, visited and remembered throughout all the coming years. May the memories which cluster about this monument be an inspiration in the lives of those who shall live after us on these plains through all the millenniums of time."

    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-

Nebraska History and Record of Pioneer Days


nished by the Great Western Light Guard Band of Chicago and Rosenblatt's Band, of St. Joseph.
    The party included men from every northern state, among them a considerable number of senators and congressmen. It is noted that Rutherford D. Hayes, of Ohio, was with the excursion. Ten years later he was elected president of the United States. The Earl of Airlie, of Scotland, Marquis Chambrun, of France, and M. Odilion Barrot, secretary of the French legation at Washington, gave the excursion an international flavor.
    At Chicago the party divided, some to go by rail across Illinois and Missouri to St. Joseph and then up the river by steamboats to Omaha, the others to go across Iowa to Council Bluffs. The account of the trip across to St. Joseph is very glowing. It tells that the railroad. had been so splendidly improved and rebuilt that at times "the flying train smoothly made its thirty miles an hour!"
    The excursionists left St. Joseph Friday night on the two steamboats Denver and Colorado, which had been sumptuously furnished for the occasion. The profusion of food, as shown by the bill of fare, was almost a crime. The boats did set a very swift pace up the river, being obliged to tie up part of each night. They arrived at Omaha Monday morning.
    In the meantime the other party left Chicago on the 20th of October in sleeping cars and arrived at Denison, Iowa, the western terminus of the Northwestern. There they boarded stages and went seventy miles to Council Bluffs. They reached there Sunday night and Monday morning crossed over and took up their quarters on the steamboat Elkhorn, in lieu of a hotel.
    The two parties joined at Omaha and were shown the town in early Omaha fashion. Speeches were made by Mayor Lorin Miller, Governor Alvin Saunders, the vice president of the board of trade and other citizens. Responses were made by C. T. Sherman, of Ohio, and J. W. Patterson of New Hampshire. The guests were loaded in carriages and taken to see the new shops, roundhouses and other railroad works. The compiler of the booklet here takes the opportunity to give a history of the railroad venture and its progress up to the time - much interesting and valuable data.
    Monday evening there was a grand ball at the Herndon House, after which the excursionists retired to their steamboat quarters to rest up for the trip across Nebraska the next day.
    The united party left Omaha on a special train consisting of the "sumptuous director's car," five coaches, and the "Lincoln" car, which the road had purchased. Governor Saunders, Senators Thayer and Tipton and local construction officials joined the party from Omaha. B. F. Bunker and N. A. Gesner, were in charge of the special train.
    The story describes the trip, gives technical measurements of bridges across the Papillion and Elkhorn and glows over the fine soil and crops, until "the valley of the Platte burst unheralded upen the sight." The statement is made that the Platte valley is fertile to a little way beyond Columbus.
    The train reached Columbus at nightfall, and the excursionists unloaded and went a quarter of a mile where tents had been set up for a camp. A freight train had ran out the day before with the tents, mattresses from the steamboats and provisions for the party. Supper was eaten in a big dining tent which bad been set up for the occasion. After supper the entertainment consisted of a big Indian war dance, a large party of Pawnee having been brought down from up on the Loup. The account of the war dance goes into minute detail. After the excursionists had retired to their tents some gay members arranged with the Indians to make a mock attack on the camp. This they did at two o'clock and kept up the noise until five. In the morning, after the tents had been struck and the tired visitors had boarded the cars, the Indians engaged in a sham battle.
    On Wednesday the train ran to Platte City, as it was called - the construction camp at the end of Brady's Island, two hundred and seventy miles from Omaha. The bridge was not completed across the North Platte at that time, and the rails were just being laid from Brady Island to the bridge.
    The train reached Platte City at night, and the tents were again pitched. After breakfast the next morning there were many speeches by the Nebraska officials and by eastern gentlemen. Resolutions were adopted praising Omaha and Nebraska and congratulating the officials of the road and everybody else.
    The day was spent in watching the laying of track, and in various performances. During the day a newspaper was printed on the special train, type, press and printers having been loaned by the Omaha Republican. The book gives two sample pages of the newspaper, which was called the Railway Pioneer. Besides much foolery the paper gave market reports from the east and from London, received by wire, gave the local prices of game, and printed some genuine news of the excursion. Game prices quoted for Platte City were, "Buffalo meat, per pound, 15¢; elk meat, 12¢ to 15¢; antelope, 16 to 18¢; prairie chickens, per pair, 50 to 60¢; wild ducks, pair, 75¢ to $1.00; wild

geese, each $1.25 to $1.50; sage hens, 50 to 65¢; snipe, each 25 to 30¢."
    The Railway Pioneer records the eastern newspapers that had representatives on the excursion as follows : New York Tribune, Chicago Tribune, Chicago Republican, New York Observer, Chicago Times, Springfield. Ill., State Journal, Philadelphia Enquirer, Cincinnati Gazette, Cincinnati Commercial, Cleveland Herald, Waltham (Mass.) Sentinel, Council Bluffs Nonpareil, Council Bluffs Bugle, Omaha Republican, Omaha Herald and G. F. Allen for the National Intelligencer.
    On Friday the party started back to Omaha, after having organized a mock municipal government for the excursion camp. In the election which was held the mayor conferred full suffrage on the ladies.
    On arrival at Omaha the tired travelers went back to their steamboat quarters and Saturday took stages for Denison, and proceeded thence by rail to Chicago, where they spent. several days before scattering to their homes


    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.
    At Doniphan I visited the brick yard, where the ash heap was discovered twenty feet under the soil some years ago. The present excavation is not being carried deep enough to reveal new light, but the man in charge will keep it close watch for any interesting feature.
    We visited our president, Mr. S. C. Bassett, at his home near Gibbon.
    At the site of Fort McPherson we paused long enough to take some photographs and get some measurements. We gathered a number of interesting relics from the site of the old fort at the entrance to Cottonwood Canyon, and viewed the outline of the ruins, where once stood the McDonald trading post. At North Platte we interviewed Mr. Charles McDonald, who came to Cottonwood Springs from Pawnee county in 1859 and established the famous McDonald Ranch. Dick Darling, a relation of John Experience Estabrook, of Omaha, had begun the erection of the storehouse. Mr. McDonald bought it from him. He completed it and other buildings of the trading post, which he conducted until 1872.
    The first building for Fort McPherson was erected in October, 1863. The buildings were mostly one story log structures with sod roofs, but some of the officers' quarters were a story and a half with shingle roofs.
    Mr. Burke, father of Peter Burke, who now lives on the site of Fort McPherson had formerly lived twenty-six miles southeast of Tecumseh, Nebraska. He started to Pike's Peak in 1862 with his family. He stopped at the place where Fort McPherson was being built and helped to get out logs for the houses. It is strewn with relics, and the stump of the old cedar flagstaff set by Eugene Ware in 1863 is said to be still in existence. The spot where the flagstaff stood is marked by a marble slab.
    I suggested that a suitable sign should be painted and placed near the site of the fort on the main road, which passes this spot. Mr. Peter Burke has agreed to gather a collection of relics from the site for the Historical Society. John Burke, an older brother, lives in North Platte.
    We met a number of interesting historical characters who still bear an active part of the world's work, but we failed to locate any ancient Indian habitat worthy of being explored on the trip.

Curator Historical Society Museum.


    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 History and Record of Pioneer Days


First Real Estate Agents' Union Prices

    Dr. John M. McKenzie died at his home in California, May 19, 1918. He is remembered by the early pioneers as a Methodist preacher and all earnest promoter of education. In the sixties he helped to establish an academy at Pawnee City. The fact that the new institution was to be under the Christian church did not lessen his zeal. When the hard times of the then border county caused the new academy to lapse and die, McKenzie transferred the idea to Peru. and through his work the Methodist academy was established there, to be soon merged into a state normal school.
    Dr. McKenzie was the second state superintendent of Nebraska, wrote most of our school laws, promoted the organization of the state teachers and left his impress on every branch of education in Nebraska. In his later days he sought a milder climate, but he never lost his interest in the state where he had done so much work. The newspaper at the old school town fittingly says: "He and Mrs. McKenzie witnessed the crowning glory of their lives, the semicentennial celebration held at Peru last summer."

    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.

    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, 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.

    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.

    "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.

    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.
    After graduating she taught successfully in the schools of Syracuse, Harvard and York. The family moved to Oakdale. Cal., in 1888. Here Mary proved an able assistant to her father in the Seminary and Normal school, which was afterwards merged into the Oakdale high school. She taught several terms at Langworth and in the Oakdale grammar school. In the fall of '98 she accepted a position in the Excelsior school near Byron. Here she met her future husband, H. T. Keyser. They were married at Oakdale, September 26, 1900, and lived together happily for nearly eighteen years.

    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.


    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.
    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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