He was a member of the Senate in the last Territorial Legislature and also of the first State Legislature. In the fall of 1870, he was again elected to the State Senate by a large majority.
In a letter which was written in 1871 by his twin brother to relatives, it is interesting to note and compare the differences in the customs and attitude of the men who helped make the history and the laws of their state then and of the men who serve their state now. The letter reads:
"Lawson is at Lincoln, the state capital. Expect he will be at home when they get through with the governor's trial and auditor, etc. Both houses are at work without pay, as their forty days have been up two or three weeks."
He lived to see his children filling worthy places, and helping to carry on the interests of the state, which he had served and loved so much.
His son, George L. Sheldon, was a member of the senate and later in 1906 was elected Governor of the state.
His son-in-law, Bucephelus Wolph, was for many years a trustee of Deane College and was one of its first graduates. Mr. Wolph's father was the first Judge of Probate of Case county. In the legislative session of 1882, he was known as one of the "watchdogs of the treasury,"
Mr. Sheldon's children and many of his grandchildren have finished their education in the State University.
Lawson Sheldon's death occurred on February 17, 1905. With his going passed a man who had dared the dangers and endured the hardships of pioneer life in the Great American Desert, who had plowed and planted upon these plains, and who was one of the first to build and consecrate its human homes.
"He had kept Faith. He had finished his course."
HISTORY OF SCHOOL DISTRICT NO. 80
Frank M. Massie Tells of Early School Life in Cass County--Some Walked Five Miles
By G. H. GILMORE
One of the problems of the pioneers was the organization of school districts and two outstanding features were always to be considered: The expense of operation and the distance from the home to the school house. The first districts were very large and most of the children in the district had to walk several miles.
In 1865 my father, John Gilmore, located near the center of section 26 in Mount Pleasant precinct. This land and all of what is new District No, 80 was in District No, 16 a sub-district of Mount Pleasant, Frank M. Massie who made his home with his step-father, John Gilmore, recalls his experience while attending school in District No. 16:
"We had no school where dad lived
in 1864, so I went and lived with a Mr. Finny on a stony hill in the timber east of Dr. Dillman's, which would be a mile north of Nehawka. I did the chores for my board, carried water up the hill to a mule and it seemed miles away and he drank about a barrel of water each time. The weather was very cold.
The school house was located on the south east corner of the Henry Schomaker farm. (The south east corner of section 1 in Nehawka precinct and later located half a mile due south on the John Schwartz farm.) The school house was made of rough cottonwood boards (up and down.)
I had to pass through Dr. Dillman's yard on the way to school. His house stood near the road just south of the branch. One morning I stopped to get warm. They had fish for breakfast. They had gone to the creek near the house, cut a hole in the ice and when the fish came to the hole they threw them out with a small net.
Our teacher was Steve Davie. Some of the children who attended the school were George, Billy, Charley and Mollie McReynolds; John, Frank and Sue Bates; Charley McClure, Ed and Bill Carrol, Henry Heebner and the Dillman children.
The distance some children had to walk to the school in district No. 16 was five miles. In 1867, John Gilmore organized a subscription school which was held in his ranch house. Miss Jane Cook was employed as the teacher. Her home was near the Cascade mill southeast of Weeping Water. She made her home with the Gilmores while teaching and received one dollar a month from each of the pupils. She taught a two-months term. Her pupils were Richard Gilmore, Ben Coon, Mary Gilmore, Frank Massie, Emma Gilmore and Sylvester Cox. This was the first school taught within the present boundary of district No. 80. Eliza Jane Cook was united in marriage with Allen Canada, April 1, 1868, and died the same year in their home, a dugout, in the bluff south of the Cascade mill.
The settlement on the prairie and along the Weeping Water increased and on March 20, 1868, a new sub-district, No. 38, Mount Pleasant, Cass county, Nebraska, was organized at the home of Henry Stoll. The boundaries of this new district included most of what is now district No. 80. The boudary (sic) lines starting at the Pleasant View school house extended two and n half miles east, south to the Weeping Water up the stream two and a half miles, then north to the point of beginning."
The writer's first school was district No. 38, the "Heebner School." The distance was three miles and he had to walk six miles a day to learn the alphabet. One mile of the roadway ws (sic) a furrow through the prairie that was to he followed, that the way to the school house might not be lost. Some within district No. 38 had to walk four miles which was a task for children. John Gilmore wished to organize a new district which would place the school center nearer the homes of those in the precinct. To organize a new district, the consent of one-third of the voters of the districts from which the land was taken to form the new districts must appear on a petition.
In June, 1873, Mr. Gilmore rode a pony from house to house in the adjoining districts, circulating a petition for the consent of one-third of the
voters to release land for a new district. All the settlers heartily supported the proposed new district. From the school records we have the following regarding the organization of District No. 80:
"District 80, New School District.'' Order to Organize. To John Gilmore, Esq.:
This is to notify you of the foundation of School District No. 80, of Cass county, consisting of and embracing sections 21, 22, 23, 26, 27, 28, 33, 34 and 35, all in Township 11, Range 12, Cass county, Nebraska.
The first meeting for the election of a director, moderator and treasurer of said district will be held on Saturday, the 2nd day of July, 1873, at the home of Charles Philpot, Esq., at 2 o'clock p. m.
You are hereby directed to notify every quaillified (sic) voter of said district, either personally, or by leaving a wirtten (sic) notice at his or her place of residence, of the time and place of holding said meeting, at least five days before the day above mentioned. You endorse on this notice a return, showing each notification with the date or dates thereof, and deliver the same to the chairman of said meeting.
Dated the 28th day of June, A. D., 1873.
U. W. Wise,
Sup't. Pub. Instruction, Case County, Nebraska,
This notice was delivered to John Gilmore in person, the date above. U. W. W
The above district is formed on a written petition signed by one-third of the legal voters of each of the districts 21, 38 and 40, affected by the change."
After the organization of Dist. No. 80, the question of a new school house arose and its location was also considered. The meeting was held at the home of John Gilmore and bonds were voted for school house. The records of this meeting;
July 30, A. D. 1873. "A special meeting of School Dist. No. 80 of Cass county, Nebraska, was called to order and proceeded to vote for bonds to the amount of One Thousand Dollars for a building fund to build a school house in said district. Bond carried by a unanimous vote. Carried by a vote that the district raise one hundred dollars by tax for teacher's wages.
Carried by a vote that the district raise thirty dollars for a contingent fund. H. B. Blanchard, Director. John H. Young, Moderator. John Gilmore, Treasurer."
At the above meeting it was voted to loacte (sic) the school house as near the center of the district as possible. This placed it in the northeast corner of the west 80 of the southwest quarter of section 27, a half mile south and a quarter of a mile east of Pleasant View school house.
H. B. Blanchard offered his services to dispose of the bonds, the board consented and the bonds were turned over to him. One morning, very early, he started southward on foot and walked to Pawnee City where he found a party who purchased the bonds for a friend in New York.
The frame building with a door in the east and three windows on each side was constructed by Dan and George Johnson of Weeping Water, assisted by Mike Clark, from near Stove
The school house was surrounded by prairie with trails leading to the different homes. Cattle grazed about the school and an occasional prairie fire caused the pupils to lose interest in their problems.
Miss Jennie Fuller was the first teacher, frail, blue eyed and very gentle with the children. The credit marks were made with a blue pencil if the children were good and a black pencil if they were discourteous. Homer Herrington came the first day wearing a silk hat which he had brought from Michigan. He was eight years of age. Later in life he was well known along the Pacific coast as an expert rifle shot.
In 1872 a colony from England settled on the land to the north of the school house, located on sections 21 and 22. The families were those of Thomas Goodier, John Young, Henry Hall, William Stopforth and George S. Wilstencroft. With these families came W. W. Drummond who spent his time following a small herd of cattle. It was learned that he was a graduate of Oxford college and Rugby school of England. He was employed as teacher for a meager wage and boarded around among the families in the district. He later became superintendent of the schools in Plattsmouth.
Edgar Young, son of John Young, herded cattle about the school house and created some confusion by racing his pony and causing it to buck and perform tricks for the amusement of the children in the school house. When he grew to manhood he became superintendent of the St. Joe & Grand Island Railroad.
Fuel for the large stove was always ear corn. Water was carried from Ed McGaw's spring a mile to the west. The two lads carrying the bucket of water woud (sic) occasionally trip and spill the water when about to the school necessitating a return to the spring and chase another frog. When the bucket of water had been delivered and placed on a box at the edge of the rostrom (sic), many hands went up over the school room and in unison asked, 'Teacher, may I pass the water." The teacher selected the one to "pass the water" and with the bucket of water from McGaw's spring and a dipper, the "passer" stopped at each desk and served copious quantity to those thirsting after water and knowledge at the same time.
A star route, carrying mail from Weeping Water by Eight Mile Grove, passed near the school house.
The attendance during the winter reached as high as fifty with usually ten hired men or adults in the classes.
While all the children in Dist. 80 were from farm homes many of the young men when nearing maturity were imbued with the idea of stepping from between the plow handles and entering a business or professional career.
Dr. Bradford Murphy spent his boyhood days in Dist. No. 80 and here was inspired to achieve something in life. He graduated from the University of Nebraska and from the Nebraska College of Medicine and was then appointed as superintendent of the Bemis Taylor Child Guidance Clinic at Colorado Springs and has lately been transferred to the Child Guidance Clinic at Wilkes Barre, Pa. He is today the outstanding authority on why children become wayward and also the best method of correcting this waywardness.
He holds in deep reverence Dist. No. :80.
The following are the doctors who spent much of their early life in Diet. 80: Dr. Edward Lewis, Calif.; Dr. Lafayette Blanchard, Ore.; Dr. T. M. Gilmore, Union, Ore.; Dr. Charles H. Hush, Lincoln; Dr. Will Alton, San Diego, Calif.; Dr. G. H. Gilmore, Murray and Dr. Humphrey Murphey, dentist, Calif. James Giberson and John E. Gilmore are the known lawyers who were in the country school. Many able school teachers have laid the foundation for their career in Dist. No. 80.
The Gilmore school house as it was known in the early days established a voting place for Mt. Pleasant precinct. Writing schools, spelling schools, exhibitions and debates made it a community center. There were no churches near by and Sunday School and many church services were conducted in the .school house. Many times slowly driven wagons coming from all directions across the rolling hills have centered at the frame school house on the prairie to attend the funeral services of a departed neighbor.
It was in 1885 that this school house was moved to the present site of Pleasant View and in 1901, was sold and a new school house erected. This was destroyed by fire in 1926 and the the (sic) present beautiful, substantial, well arranged building was erected. One mile east from the Pleasant View school stands the old frame school building used as a machine shed and carved on the walls are the initials and names of those who attended School District No 80 sixty-five years ago.
PIONEER RECALLS AVOCA AS WHEAT FIELD
Mrs. Henry Wulf Watched Husband Harvest Wheat From Land Now "Main Street" of Avoca
Mrs. Henry Wulf has watched her husband cut wheat from land that is now the town of Avoca. She recalls the year the railroad paid $1.00 per bushel for wheat on the right-of-way when corn was being used for fuel in the community.
Shs (sic) is probably as familiar with the history of Avoca as any person living and shared in the boom period of the town when it was believed the Missouri Pacific shops might be located in its center.
Cecilia Buck came from Germany in 1872 at the age of 11 with her parents. They settled first at Plattsmouth and lived in Cass county most of the time until her marriage to Henry WuIf, November 14, 1878.
The couple lived the first two years on a farm about three miles northeast of the present site of Avoca. They then moved to the farm which later became the town. The land was rented from Amos Tefft, who lived three miles further east and had the post office - one drawer in a bureau in the family home. Mail was brought by team from Plattsmouth to Weeping Water, then to the Tefft home,
Mr. Wolf broke the sod and planted wheat on the Avoca land. Nebraska
City was the closest trading center for grain and larger
materials, although they took produce, eggs and butter to
INTERESTING HISTORICAL ARTICLES CLIPPED FROM PIONEER NEWSPAPERS
By G. H. GILMORE
As the early settlers trailed westward to their new homes, not far in the rear of the advanced columns came the printing press and the alert editor. Many interesting historical sketches are found in these pioneer newspapers, discolored by age. The present social and political turmoil so graphically told in the daily papers today, will some day become history.
In the newspapers of the early 60's much agitation and confusion prevailed on the question, "'What Will We do With the Negro if He is Liberated?" In '49 and '50 many columns were devoted to gold seekers and gold in the Rocky Mountains.
The foresight at the capitol building has been to preserve a copy of every paper published in the state of Nebraska which is being carried out with an index to each volume.
Many interesting historical sketches of Cass county are found in the Platte Valley Herald, Nebraska Herald and the Cass County Sentinel, all of which were published at Plattsmouth. We herewith submit some of these sketches with comments:
UNION POST OFFICE
Platte Valley Herald, Dec. 21, 1861.
-- "A new post office called "Union," has been established in the county on the road from Plattsmouth to Nebraska City, and John E. Beaty appointed postmaster. It will be opened for business next week."
"We have heretofore neglected to state that the "Three Groves" post office has been removed from John F. Buck's to W. W. Wiley's."
The Beaty log house was located 80 rods west of East Union Cemetery in Liberty precinct, which cemetery is located at the northeast corner of the eighty acres once owned by John E. Beaty. Three Groves Post office was established at the home of John F. Buck near the east line of the southwest quarter of section three in Liberty precinct and named from the three groves of natural timber located at Buck's, Bird's and Ruel Davis's. Mrs. Asch's home east of Highway 75, was the home of her father, Dr. Wiley.
Platte Valley Herald, Plattsmouth, Nebr., Dec. 21, 1861.--An advertisement from the Post Office Department, Washington, soliciting bids for carrying mail on the following star routes:
"14002. From Omaha City, by Bellevue, Oreopolis, Plattsmouth, Rock Bluffs, Lewiston, Three Groves, Wyoming, Nebraska City, Otoe City, Minersville, Mount Vernon (Peru), Brownville, Nemaha City, Aspinwall, St. Stephens, Winnebago, Rulo, Nohart and White Cloud to Highland, Kans., 131 miles and back, three times a week.
14006. From Rock Bluffs, by Kanosha to Wyoming, 15 miles and back, once a week.
Leave Rock Bluffs Saturday at 6
A. M. Arrive at Wyoming at 12 M. Leave Wyoming Saturday at 2 P. M. Arrive at Rock Bluffs by 8 P. M.
14007. From Plattsmouth, by Glendale, to Plattford, 25 miles and back.
Leave Plattsmouth Saturday at 4 A. M. Arrive at Plattford by 12 M. Leave Plattford Saturday at 1 P. M. Arrive at Plattsmouth by 9 P. M."
(Note--Glendale was located east of the present town of Cedar Creek and Plattford was across the Platte river in Sarpy county west of Cedar Creek.)
"14008. From Kanosha, by Buchannan and Plum Hollow, to Sidney, 19 Miles and back, three times a week.
14009. From Three Groves, by Mount Pleasant to Weeping Water and back, once a week.
Leave Three Groves Saturday at 6 A. M. Arrive at Weeping Water by 12 1W. Leave Weeping Water Saturday at 2 P. M. Arrive at Three Groves by 3 p. M.
1410. From Wyoming by Avoca, to Salt Creek, 45 miles, and back, once a week (Saturday).
14029. From Sioux City, Ia., Cottonwood Springs, Nebr., to Denver, 660 miles and back, once a week. Leave Sioux City Monday at 6 A. M. Arrive at Denver on the 15th day at 6 P. M."
Fifteen days to complete the journey to Denver, which could be made today by airplane in three hours.
The Sentinel was started in Rock Bluffs in 1859 and was here for one year when it was moved to Plattsmouth. In this issue we find:
Cass County Sentinel, Plattsmouth, Nebr., October 2, 1862 -- The qualified electors of Cass county met in union mass convention at Rock Bluffs. Considering the inclemency of the weather the attendance was large and a most harmonious feeling prevalied (sic). Wm. D. Gage was acting chairman and J. N. Wise, secretary, had charge of the meeting. R. O. Hoback was nominated to represent the county in the legislature." (He was later elected.)
An advertisement: "Dr. G. H. Black (recently from Ohio,) Physician of 20 years practice -- "appears on the first page and beneath it:
"Dr. Henry Bradford, physician and surgeon, Rock Bluffs, Nebraska, having moved to Rock Bluffs, solicits a share of the public patronage."
Dr. Bradford had, eleven years previous, in 1855, located in Nebraska City and served in the first legislature from Pierce, now Otoe county, as councilman. He was elected mayor of Nebraska City several times and started the first drug store in Nebraska City. He was also editor of the Nebraska City News, which he disposed of to J. Sterling Morton.
Dr. W. S. Latta was also located in Rock Bluffs at this time, one of the leading steamboat towns in the territory.
Charles Graves of Rock Bluffs who fired the "Rock Bluffs Rockets, to the Plattsmouth Weekly Journal of February 24, 1885, says: "There is a great deal of sickness in our neighborhood and Dr. Reynolds is very busy and doing good work attending the sick. On the sick list we have David Young and family, James Walston, W. W. Graves, one child at J. G. Chandler's two children at A. J. Graves and one child at S. L. Furlong's."
Eastern Nebraskans are looking forward to the revival of Missouri River navigation for commercial purposes.
The interesting items of news to the pioneer was the arrival of steamboats; they brought friends, mail and supplies.
The Cass County Sentinel published in Rock Bluffs in 1859, the March issue, according to "Our Own History." by Martha E. Turner, gives a very interesting item regarding the navagability (sic) of the Platte River:
"The steamer Florida, the first boat of the season, made a trip up the Platte river a few days since to test its navigability. She expected of course, according to reports, to find that stream utterly impractable (sic) for the passage of steamboats but was pleasantly disappointed at the great depth of the water and the feasibility of the channel. It is the opinion of the officers that the Platte is not only capable of carrying small steamers, but will become one of the foremost streams on the continent for all ordinary uses for navigation. The greatest difficulty, they say, is the rapidity of the current, faster even than the Missouri, necessarily causing slow upward progress with all boats of small motive power. But this objection will be overcome by strong machinery in the boats running on this river. Its waters are comparatively clear and in this respect greatly superior to the Missouri and the lower Mississippi rivers. We venture the opinion that two years hence the Platte river will bear upon its bosom trade equal to that of the Missouri above this place."
The sixth Territorial Legislature in 1860 asked congress for a grant of 20,000 acres of land in the Platte valley to John A. Latta of Plattsmouth on condition that he run a serviceable steamboat from the mouth of the Platte up to Fort Kearney, do his own dredging and have same completed by October 1, 1861. This project did not materalize (sic).
Nebraska Herald, Plattsmouth, May 24, 1865--"Two men arrived in town one day last week from Denver, who had made the voyage down the Platte river in a flat boat. We have not seen their log book, and consequently can give no particulars.
April 26, 1865--"River News. Boats are doing a good business this season. The water is at an excellent stage and boatmen are reaping the benefit of it. Since our last issue the steamers J. H. Lacy, Mary E. Forsyth, Bert Albe, Jennie Lewis, Denver, Colorado and Montana have stopped at our levee and discharged a goodly amount of freight for the business men of this place."Plattsmouth Herald, 1867--
April 24. "Steamer Davis Watts, for Fort Benton, is lying at our landing considerably disabled. She will transfer her passengers and freight and return to St. Louis for repairs.
War Eagle came up last night and discharged some freight.
May 20. The steamer, Nick Wall, which sank near Wyoming a few weeks ago is to be raised. Bell boat Submarine No. 14 is engaged in the work.
The steam ferry "Uncle Ned," makes regular trips, and comes to Nebraska shores loaded nearly every time. The population of Nebraska must be increasing at the rate of approximately 500 souls per day. Come on, we have room for all of you and to spare.
Plattsmouth Herald, May 20, 1869:
"The Emily LaBarge took 4000 sacks of corn for Captain Palmer, at this city, last Sunday. She is a new
boat on her first trip up the Missouri river. We did not learn who had command of her."
"The Lacy and War Eagle passed down yesterday and St. Joe went up."
Plattsmouth Herald, May 20, 1869:
"Messrs W. S. Latta and J. A. Latta have now gotten their mill on Rock Creek in running order, and turning out some of the best flour in the state. They have a new mill house, new machinery and everything in order for making the best flour in the state-and they make it-we have tried it and know. Get "Rock Creek Mills XXX Family Flour," and you are sure of a good article. They grind for toll or give thirty pounds of flour and bran for a bushel of wheat."
The upright section of the steel flume and a small part of the foundation of this old mill can still be seen west of the Dr. Latta Stone House near Rock Bluffs.
Nebraska Herald, May 12, 1870.--"R. Chilson, four miles northeast of Weeping Water on the head of Cedar Creek, will herd cattle during the coming summer at thirty cents a head per month for the season and furnish salt. All cattle must be distinctly branded or he will not be responsible for losses.
"A bill is extended to the state of Nebraska the privilege of granting lands for the establishment of an agricultural college, was called up in the senate on the 3rd by Senator Thayer and passed."
Yankee meeting a stranger asked: "Where do you hail from?"
"Naw Whare. Let me ask you a question, "Where do you rain from?"
Drive your cattle upon the ice if you want cowslips in the winter.
A man in Maine snores so loud he has to sleep in the next street to prevent waking himself .
A country paper speaks of a man who died without the aid of physician. Such instances are very rare.
"The notorius (sic) horse thief, Scroggins, has been released for want of evidence. Look to your stables and revolvers."
"A man by the name of Flannery, who was shot in the gambling hall in Nebraska City, died of his wounds at The Syracuse House, Saturday evening."
Cass County Sentinel, Oct. 2, 1862:
"Notice-Whereas my Husband, Isreal A. Hale, when a boy of twenty, I took him in a dirty, ragged thing, sick without home or friends, furnishing clothes, spending money and a home. After working early and late to get him mended; clean and clothed, he has gone to live with his pa and ma. I forbid anybody harboring or trusting him on my account, for I will pay no more debts of his contracting.--Aeilne Hale."
© 2002 for the NEGenWeb Project by Pam Rietsch, Ted & Carole Miller