Recorded data relating to the education of the pioneer boys and girls of Platte County do not make a satisfactory showing, when one is desirous of being thorough and comprehensive on the subject of the schools. The first intelligence in this relation is the minute of a public meeting, held in the American Hotel, March 5, 1860, at which John Rickly, Michael Weaver and George W. Stevens were elected as members of the school board. However, it is highly probable that before this interesting event, means and measures were devised and adopted, whereby the few children then in the village, were put through a course of learning "readin', writin' and 'rithmetic;" the same being paid for by subscription to a fund by the heads of families benefited. That was the customary rule in all new settlements, when children were few in numbers and legal facilities were wanting, in the way of organization and means to build schoolhouses. It may also be taken for granted that some ardent advocate of the virtue of educating the youth gave up a room in his humble home, where the modest and unassuming schoolma'am held forth, and a little brood of pioneers gathered around her and learned "the rudiments."
Howbeit, a step was taken in the right direction, when a school board was selected, and it may be determined that the organization of school district No. 1 was there and then consummated. In the month of October following, a census of the children in the county was taken, which developed a showing of 46 males and 20 females, of which total number 35 were east of the meridianal line and 31 west of it. The "Company House" or "Town Hall," constructed of logs and roofed with grass, the first structure erected in the town, was donated to the school board by the Columbus Company on December 10, 1860, and in this crude log cabin, then standing on the block now occupied by the brewery, in the southeast part of Columbus, the children foregathered for the first time in a public school and imbibed wisdom for future use, from that primitive and pioneer pedagogue,
PAST AND PRESENT OF PLATTE COUNTY 147
George W. Stevens. The progeny of the Ricklys, Weavers, Wolfels and Ernsts formed the initial class of pupils; the absence of such names in the list as Becker, Stillman, Guter, Browner and Reinke being plausibly accounted for by reason of the fact that their owners had been too busy in founding the future metropolis of Platte County to recognize their duty as citizens in founding families; in other words, they were bachelors, who, by their later conversion to the precept that "'tis not well for man to live alone," enabled the community to recoup its losses and in a measure increased the number of school children in the following decade.
The old grass covered company house retained the dignity of an educational institution but a short time, for on the 23d of March, 1861, the property was sold to Charles A. Speice for $20.25, and at a later date converted into stove wood. The first school order drawn in the county was made payable to G. W. Stevens for teaching. Mr. Stevens' bill against the county was $67.45, which was his stipend for sixty-seven days' service. In the fall of 1861 the school year was opened by pupils and teachers assembling in the first schoolhouse built for the purpose in Platte County. This was a one-story frame structure, which stood about two blocks east of the courthouse, on Tenth Street. George W. Stevens was the first teacher. The building was afterwards used as a hospital for the Seventh Iowa Cavalry, then as court room and city hall. In 1871 it was purchased by the society of Latter Day Saints, who in the summer of 1887, while under the ministrations of Elder G. W. Galley, enlarged and remodeled it.
Fortunately, the names of children who attended this school in the years 1867, 1868 and 1869 are preserved in a little record book kept by the teachers. On the fly leaf of the record is the following inscription, written in a beautiful Spencerian hand: "A list of pupils who attended the district school in District No. 1, in the Town of Columbus, Platte County, State of Nebraska, during the term commencing December 10. 1867, and closing April 1, 1868. and the number of days they respectively attended the same. Joel Warner, teacher." The names follow:
Bettie Weaver, Mary J. Weaver, Louis W. Weaver, Rosena C. Rickly, Albert Rickly, Augusta Rickly, Orlando C. Shannon, Virginia Shannon, Luella Shannon, Francis L. Barnum, Helen Barnum, George Barnum, Josephine Bremer, Anna Paulina Bremer, Mary A. C. Wolfel, Frank Oscar Wolfel, Mary Jane Brown, Carrie Brown, Thomas C. Brown, Kitty Mullen, Damon Litle, Ralph Litle, Oscar Baker, Lizzie Baker, George Thrush, Frank Hayward, Alonzo Mil-
148PAST AND PRESENT OF PLATTE COUNTY
ler, Horace H. Hudson, Isabella Brindley, Sarah Rice, Hiram Rice, Jacob Ernst, Thomas Regan, Mollie Hartman, Charles Brindley, Mary Mullen, Julia Schadd, Charles C. Draper, J. Freddie Speice, Mary Falkenbach, Henry Gerrard, Nellie Warren, Sarah Barnum, Samuel J. E. Galley, Mary Draper, Erastus Freston, George Erb, Henry Platte Baker, John Henry Barrow, John James Galley, Henry Falkenbach, Allen M. Wheeler, Mary Ellen Goodwin, Levi Kimball, Louisa Rickly, Willie Rickly, Hiram Brindley, Nellie Farren, Martha Alice Barrow, Charles Kimball, Jennie L. Weaver, Willie Ernst, Margaret Anna Goodwin.
Joel Warner remained as teacher until April 1, 1868, when Louisa Weaver took up the "birch rod," figuratively speaking. In addition to the names already given, Miss Weaver had under her charge as pupils, the following:
Dora Taylor, Douglas Brown, Thomas Bolans, James Bolans, Michael Bolans, Cassius Draper, Samuel Freston, Edward Freston, Charles Lathrop, Henry Lathrop, Samuel Rickly, Samuel Taylor, Anna Amelia Galley, Maria Litle, Mary Macmany, Charles Compton, Willie G. Hills,, John Lawrence, Robert Lawrence, Elenora Clinger, Mary J. Clinger, Rhoda Ann Chapin, Eva Coffee, Hannah Galley, Mary Long, Edward Lawrence, Claudy Coffee, Mary Regan.
Mr. Warner was pastor of the Methodist Episcopal Church, and from the fact that he devoted part of his time to teaching gives rise to the suspicion that his parishioners at the time were too few in number to be able to pay him a salary commensurate with his needs. This probably accounts for Rev. Samuel Goodale's appearance in the school in 1869 as instructor. He for many years was pastor of the Episcopal Church. He began his labors as a teacher in the Columbus public school, January 3, 1869, and remained in that position until April 2d. Under him were the following pupils, in addition to those before mentioned:
Harry Coolidge, Joseph Coolidge, Frank Darling, Ellen Farren, Josie Goodale, Charles Rickly, Austina Warren, Louisa Anderson, George Clinger, William Clinger, James Barrow, Samuel Irwin, Lossie Lawrence, Rudolph Kummer, Electa Smith, Daniel Smith, David Smith, Lulu Hudson.
For the rest of the school year Clara Bresee was the teacher, under whom appeared the following new pupils:
Maria Sutton, Ralph Sutton, Sallie Hudson, Katie Carruth, Ida Carruth, Elmer Carruth, Josephine Speice, Nancy Hare, John Smith, Irene Sloss, Charlie Buss, Nicholas Buss, Eliza Waller, Willis Wal-
PAST AND PRESENT OF PLATTE COUNTY 149
ler, Bennie Warren, Nettie Beebe, Allen Beebe, Charles Miller, Adolph Martin, Ellen Fairel, Thomas Hare, Martha Barrow, Otie Baker, Minnie Douglas, Joseph Douglas, George Houser, Arthur Douglas, Thomas Bolden, Johnnie Becher, Charles Hiller, Gussie Speice, Samuel Curry, Laura Anderson, Michael Bolden.
SUPERINTENDENT SPEICE'S ANNUAL REPORT
Under the good management and administrations of men who had the welfare of the community at heart, several school districts had been established in various parts of the county, schoolhouses erected and instructors employed to teach the constantly increasing number of children seeking knowledge. By this time the one-story frame building erected for school purposes had ceased to meet the requirements and demands of the county seat, so that in 1868 a better, more commodious and modern structure was built and occupied the following year. Charles A. Speice was elected county superintendent in 1867 and in 1869, H. M. Lathrop, who was elected to succeed him, failed to qualify, so that Speice held over until the vacancy was filled by the appointment of Rev. James B. Chase.
The report of Charles A. Speice, county superintendent of schools for 1871, follows:
There are twenty-one districts in the county, having an aggregate of 744 school children of school age (515 last year). The smallest district, No. 19, has 10 pupils; the largest, No. 1, has 117. The two Columbus districts have together 165. District No. 11 paid out the most money for books and apparatus during the year. There is one adobe schoolhouse, two log and twelve frame houses. The total value of schoolhouses and sites is $8,614.91. Schools not visited during the year by the directors were Nos. 2, 7, 17, 19, 20 and 21. The county superintendent made seven visits during the year.
Twenty-five teachers were employed -- 15 male, 10 female. Total wages -- male, $2,030.65; female, $1,078.25. The total resources for the year were $10,851.30, district No. 1 having the highest - $2,339.95, and districts 17,18,19 and 20, the lowest - each $15.74.
When it is considered that the county had only been in existence a little over one decade, the showing of the county superintendent was a very good one. In a way the facts and figures indicated a steady and substantial growth in population and prosperity. The two Columbus districts contained 165 children of school age and, as before stated, provision had been made to meet the demand for better accom-
150PAST AND PRESENT OF PLATTE COUNTY
modations for them. To this end a new school building was erected in 1868. To generalize on the years preceding Superintendent Speice's report, beginning in 1861, the enumeration of children in the county for that year was 154 and the school fund consisted of the munificent sum of $157.34; in 1862 there were 159 children reported and the fund was $374.23; in 1863, 169 children and school fund, $459.47; in 1864, 167 children, and the fund, $385.36; in 1865, 198 children and the school fund, $821.80. This appears to have been a prosperous year in all respects as far as school matters are concerned. In 1866 there were 207 children and $731.37 in the school fund. In 1867 the number of children had very gratifyingly increased to 267. The Journal had the following to say of the new school building:
"Another monument of progress was this day made public property. Our new schoolhouse, the finest structure in the Platte Valley, was dedicated to educational purposes. The Hon. C. A. Speice and Judge Whaley, school directors, made very appropriate addresses, responded to by their efficient teacher, the Rev. Joel Warner, the Methodist pastor of Columbus, to whom we shall give a passing notice. He is one of the many in the clerical profession from whose approach the feathered tribe manifest no disposition to run away, since he eats no bread (or chicken) that he does not diligently labor for, attending to his duties as teacher of the public school, devoting his evenings to lessons in penmanship, and giving private lessons at the home of one of our merchants. This, with pastoral duties on the alternate Sabbath evenings, furnishes a steady round of application and labor truly commendable. We are not addicted to flattering the clergy, but shall not keep back our meed of praise, when young men from the East like Rev. Joel Warner, struggle onward and upward to measure their capacities with our growing state. An incident occurred at the opening of the new schoolhouse that we think too good to lose:
"When the school directors entered the building, consternation and curiosity was depicted on the features of the scholars. 'Are they going to have a lawsuit in here?' said one of the scholars to his mate. 'No,' was the response; 'they haven't got their books.' The directors are legal gentlemen and stand at the head of their profession in Platte County.
"The schoolhouse is a model of neatness and architectural taste. Its dimensions are 50 by 36 feet, the main room being 14 feet high, This room is furnished with seats and desks of the latest styles from the house of Sherwood & Co., of Chicago. The recitation and ante-
PAST AND PRESENT OF PLATTE COUNTY 151
rooms are spacious and convenient. The building is surmounted with an observatory, commanding a beautiful view east, south and west, as far as the eye can reach. Looking to the east and south we have the Platte River, with its islands of cottonwood, box elder, ash and cedar; to the west the Loup Fork presents itself, with its ever shifting sand bars and zigzag course, spotted with its islands of timber, and by straining the vision a little more to the southwest, a dark blue line presents itself some thirty miles distant, groves of timber on the Blue River, and a sea of grass land meets your eye.
"The cost of the building we learn from the contractors, Becker & Speice, will be $4,000. The plastering was done by W. T. Callaway, and the painting by David Anderson, of our county."
Children of school age kept steadily increasing, so that the demand for more school room space could not be ignored. To meet the emergency, another building was erected in 1874 and occupied in the fall of that year. Of this new schoolhouse, the Journal of current issue had the following to say:
"The new schoolhouse in district No. 1 is nearly completed and will be turned over to the school board some time next week. This structure is an ornament to the city, a credit to the district and a memorial to the school board, under whose management it has been erected -- H. J. Hudson, moderator; H. P. Coolidge, treasurer, and C. A. Speice, director. It is located on a square of ground in the eastern part of the city, near the Catholic Church, and south of the railroad track. Unlike most public buildings, there seems to have been no poor material or poor workmanship in its construction. The Cavis brothers, Charles H. and George, were the contractors, beginning their work about the 1st of August last. The building is 47 by 57 feet and two stories high, the walls of brick. There are ten apartments, besides hall and basement. The ante rooms are 9 by 12 feet, the library and recitation rooms 15 by 16 feet each and the two school rooms 25 by 44 feet. The hall is provided with ample geometrical stairways for entrance to the upper story, and the basement contains two Ruby furnaces in place all ready for heating the building, excepting the adjustment of the registers.
"It is the intention of the school board to open the fall and winter terms in the new building on the first day of September next. Charles L. Hill, of this place, one of the successful teachers last winter, has been engaged as principal and the present condition of affairs in district No. 1 is indeed promising."
In 1878, a school building was erected in the Third Ward -- a
152PAST AND PRESENT OF PLATTE COUNTY
frame structure, with four rooms, having a seating capacity of 175. A few years later the school board purchased lots 7, 8 and 9, block 15, in Gerrard's addition, to which the building was moved, placed upon a brick foundation and supplied with modern conveniences for teachers and pupils. This was replaced in 1912 by a handsome modern brick structure, with the name Third Ward School, carved in stone over the main entrance. This building stands on Sixteenth Street, in the west part of the city.
The high school building is on the corner of Sixteeth and Murray streets and was erected in 1885. In a more recent year a large addition was attached and a general remodeling took place.
At the northeast corner of Fifteenth and Jefferson streets is the Highland Park schoolhouse, which has been standing there many years. When first erected, it was outside of the corporation, about two and a half miles north of town. It long has been under the jurisdiction of the Columbus school board and plans have been made for a new building to be erected in the spring of 1915 at a cost of $15,000, so that today within the corporate limits of Columbus, and under the jurisdiction of its school board, are four brick school buildings and one frame.
The indebtedness of the city on account of educational affairs amounts to $21,500. The school property is valued at $102,500; school sites, $37,000. The school year consists of nine months; the average monthly wage, for male instructors (3), $133; female, $67; amount of compensation for male instructors in 1914, $3,810; female, $1,919. Total enrollment for the year mentioned, 1,215, which was almost equally divided between the sexes. Present members of the board: President, Shell Clark; vice president, Carl Kramer; secretary, John Ratterman; treasurer, Walter Boettcher; L. F. Phillips, Frank Rudat, Albert Plagemann.
In the forepart of this chapter, the report of Superintendent Speice shows there were 21 school districts in the county in 1871. Quite a number have been formed since that time. Districts Nos. 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29 were organized in 1872; Nos. 30, 31, 32 in 1873; districts 33, 34, 35, 36, 37 in 1874, and since that time the remaining districts came into existence. As soon as possible schoolhouses were built in the various districts after they were organized, and teachers employed to preside over them. At this time every
VIEWS IN COLUMBUS: Schools & YMCA
PAST AND PRESENT OF PLATTE COUNTY 153
township has schools according to its needs and as the years go by the character of the buildings and curriculum is improving.
For his last report, Fred S. Lecron, county superintendent of schools, made the following report to the state superintendent of public instruction for the year 1913:
Platte County has 6,708 children of school age, 122 well qualified teachers and 255 school officers, who, as a whole, are always interested in securing the best of teachers and equipment for the benefit of the boys and girls in their respective districts.
The professional spirit of the teaching force of the county is all that could be desired. The annual institute and county teachers' meetings are always well attended, which gives ample proof that such teachers are wide awake and desirous of new ideas and better methods of instruction.
Three county associations are held during the school year in which papers on timely school topics are read and discussed with enthusiasm. Teachers derive much benefit from these meetings in the discussion of the various features of the program.
According to a long established custom the annual institute is held during the third week of June in the assembly room of the Columbus high school. Three instructors are usually employed who are thoroughly in touch with the general conditions of school affairs in Nebraska, and especially as to the rural school and its problems. All instruction must be practical and applicable to the majority of our schools.
No trouble is experienced in teachers not attending the annual institute, as it is only necessary to make the announcement in order to assure that all teachers will be present.
The grade in professional interest is earned, not given. Each teacher receives 1 per cent credit for each day of institute and teachers' meetings attended. The reading circle work of the county is fairly satisfactory. Noticeable results are obtained in actual school work by those teachers who do the reading circle work in a thorough and systematic manner.
During the past two years ten new modern schoolhouses have been built in the city and rural districts of Platte County. In the building of each of these ten schoolhouses a practical architect was employed to draw the plans and superintend the construction. These schools are modern in every respect and the pride of the community. Although Platte County is making rapid strides in the erection of new school
154PAST AND PRESENT OF PLATTE COUNTY
homes for the boys and girls, we still have several school buildings that are far from being sanitary in light, heat and ventilation.
About 50 per cent of the rural schools of Platte County are equipped with a system of heating and ventilating. The first plant of this kind was installed over four years ago. In no instance have teachers, pupils or patrons complained as to any defects in these systems, but all are enthusiastic as to practical and hygienic results being obtained.
The Nebraska course of study is doing much for the uniformity of work in the rural schools of Platte County. It is a worthy guide to the experienced teacher and indispensable to the teacher who is teaching her first term. Platte County schools are in much better condition as to grades and progress in class work, since an effort has been made to comply with the work outlined as near as conditions will permit. A much used course of study is found on the desk of each teacher in the county.
Eighth grade examinations are conducted by the different high school principals of the six town schools of the county, thus making it quite convenient for all pupils wishing to take the examinations. All papers are corrected by the county superintendent and only those who are worthy in every respect are permitted to pass into the work of the high school.
The school affairs of the county as a whole are quite satisfactory. The cooperation of the teachers, patrons and school boards make the work along all lines pleasant and profitable.
THE COLUMBUS GOLDEN AGE
The first newspaper published in Platte County was the Columbus Golden Age (nicknamed Golden Sausage), printed by C. C. Strawn, on a Washington hand press. The forms were put up on a cottonwood slab from John Rickly's sawmill nearby. The paper was a six-column folio and published every Thursday. It was the only paper printed between Omaha and Fort Kearney at that time. The rates of advertising were for one column one year, quarterly in advance, $350; one-half column, $200; one-quarter column, $100; locals, 20 cents a line. Notices of births, deaths and marriages, $1 each. The editor promised his readers the latest and most reliable news from all parts of the world. He said his paper would devote itself especially to local and territorial interests, and give a fair and candid view of the great questions before the people. Its columns would be open for the discussion of all important questions of public interest. He claimed his paper to be a lively little sheet, having a large circulation. In addition to conducting the paper, the editor of the Age advertised himself as an attorney-at-law, insurance agent and lightning rod dealer.
Among those who advertised in the first issue of the Age were L. M. Cook, blacksmithing; American Hotel, C. H. and C. Whaley, proprietors; Becker & Wolfel, dealers in groceries and dry goods; H. J. Hudson, groceries, ice cream, justice of the peace; Jacob Ernst, blacksmithing; Stillman & Garwood, druggists, physicians and surgeons; J. H. Roberts, coffin maker; Moses Welch & Company, blacksmithing; Francis A. Hoffman, dry goods, groceries and hardware; L. M. Beebe and Guy C. Barnum, meat market; Kummer & Galley, dry goods, clothing, boots and shoes; Barns & Co., lumberyard; John Rickly, exchange store, merchandise, saw logs, lumber and town lots; Gerrard & Taylor, attorneys and real estate; J. E. Kelley, attorney
156PAST AND PRESENT OF PLATTE COUNTY
at law; Williams & Speice, solicitors in chancery. F. G. Becher and J. P. Becker gave notice to the public that a pontoon bridge had been put across the Loup River, thus doing away with the ferry boat; no delay on account of sand bars and high winds. Charles Bremer, proprietor of the Cross Keys Brewery, was an advertiser in the Age.
Over seventeen columns of advertising appeared in the first issue, about one-half from Omaha. The fourth issue contained the farewell address of Doctor Adonis, who bade adieu to Columbus and departed for Utah. J. M. Carothers then became the local editor. Among the items of news that appeared subsequently in the Age were the following:
"Some of our enthusiastic young men have formed themselves into a phrenological club. They will examine anything from a bump on a log to a mosquito blister, from a political sore head to that of a Pawnee brave, or an Omaha editor. Brothers J. E. Kelley, C. C. Strawn and L. Gerrard are the shining lights.
"A meeting will be held at the house of Patrick Lynch, of Shell Creek, tomorrow evening, for the purpose of raising funds to build a schoolhouse.
"Reverend Maxfield will preach at the town hall next Sabbath at 11 o'clock A. M., and at 7 o'clock in the evening.
"Rev. Mr. Erlach will say mass at the usual hours in the Catholic Church.
"Elder Hudson of the Latter Day Saints Church will hold services at McAllister's schoolhouse at 2 o'clock P. M. next Sabbath."
Issue of July 12, 1866: "Gen. John M. Thayer and Thomas W. Tipton were elected United States senators on yesterday by the Nebraska Legislature. Both are radical republicans. O. T. B. Williams and Hon. E. W. Arnold were in the Legislature from Platte County.
"The tide of emigration, checked for a season by the disturbing influences of the war, is again pouring over the western bank of the Missouri.
"The Johnson Democratic Club meets every Saturday evening.
"The Johnson Lager Beer Destroying Angels hold a six hours' session every Saturday evening.
"Our enterprising townsman, Frank G. Becher, is burning the first kiln of brick in Platte County at the bluffs, north of Columbus." This brickyard was located east of where W. T. Ernst now lives.
"On Saturday, July 29, 1866, Bishop Clarkson will hold Episcopal services in the town hall."
PAST AND PRESENT OF PLATTE COUNTY 157
Issue of July 12, 1866, contains the more important passages of Governor Butler's message to the Legislature. September 6, 1866, contains nearly three columns of an address delivered before the Johnson Democratic Club, by H. J. Hudson. The editor, although not agreeing with all the sentiments expressed in the address, commended it very highly.
Notwithstanding the Golden Age had weathered the storm that usually overtakes pioneer newspapers, the editor was compelled to make an assignment at the end of three months' publication. The assignees were Charles H. Whaley, John Rickly, J. P. Becker and V. Kummer. The paper was sold at public auction, September 18, 1866, to the highest bidder, W. B. Dale being the lucky purchaser, for the sum of $275. The last issue appeared September 13, 1866.
Shortly after the collapse of the Golden Age, in the fall of 1866, O. T. B. Williams established the Platte Journal, which remained under that title for about a year, or until it went into the hands of M. K. Turner & Co., which was in 1870. The first number of the Journal appeared a six-column folio, and before the expiration of the year, the name had been changed to the Columbus Journal. In the Platte Journal, of date May 11, 1870, the earliest issue of any newspaper published in Platte County, on file, the editor, M. K. Turner, made his bow to the reading people of the community in the following salutatory:
"We have two objects before us as publishers: First to conduct a good local, independent newspaper; second, to make money thereby. By a newspaper, we mean a paper that will answer the question. 'What's the news?'
"Seeking information from all quarters, we shall especially open our columns to news from communities and sections where our paper circulates most -- Madison, Stanton, Merrick, Polk, Butler, Dodge, Colfax and Platte counties.
"Gentlemen, you have answered scores of letters touching a settlement in your neighborhood, etc.; after this, write one good letter answering all such questions, send it to us and we will publish it gratis -- thereby saving you considerable trouble and expense.
"By independence we mean the opportunity of saying what we think on any subject which we choose to write upon without feeling under any obligation whatever to do our thinking at second hand or to conciliate any one by going out of the line of truth and fair dealing.
158PAST AND PRESENT OF PLATTE COUNTY
It is too common for partisan politicians to wage indecent war against their foes, but the day is dawning when fair minded men, honest, capable men, will be the ruling politicians. Honest men and honest measures! that secure these fair criticisms; free expression of opinion, and action not constrained by party whips.
"By a local paper we mean one devoted to local interests particularly, though not exclusively. Columbus is and will continue to be the business center of as fine a farming and grazing country as human eyes ever beheld, and which in a few years will be thickly dotted with residences, groves, orchards and fields of grain. Every other business rests upon the farming interests and to that interest we purpose devoting a great deal more time and space than is usually given. We shall keep a carefully corrected price list of the chief articles bought or sold by farmers and a faithful price list of building material that those contemplating settlement here may rely upon as correct. We shall do all in our power to encourage emigration by honestly presenting the advantages of our section of the state. In the conduct of the Platte Journal we cannot hope to please all, but we do expect to further every laudable interest of the community and in so doing we confidently bespeak your support."
The Journal made its first appearance as a six column folio, neatly printed, and had a fair measure of support from subscribers and business men. On its first page were the following cards:
Speice & North, Andrew H. Adams, Higgins & Conroy, A. Miller, attorneys at law; J. O. Shannon, justice of the peace; S. A. Bonesteel, C. B. Stillman, B. B. Kelley, physicians; Crandall & Griggs, millinery; Smith and Henderson, Jerome McGinnis, painters; James Hannan, boots and shoes; Bernard Bubach, merchant tailor; A. J. Arnold, jeweler; Dan Faucett, harness; L. M Cook, William Hoefelman, blacksmiths; Lewis Phillips, boots and shoes.
On the second page were the cards of Gerrard & Taylor, attorneys and real-estate agents; Mrs. Arthur, millinery; John M. Bowman, billiard hall; Davis & Brewer, carpenters; Andrew J. Stevens, real-estate agent and banker; Turner & Hulst, lumber; C. B. Stillman had a half column drug ad. and the dry goods house of Will B. Dale occupied a whole column in advertising its advantages. At the time Dale was mayor of the city.
The third page had a few locals, also an advertisement of the Clother House, C. D. and George W. Clother, proprietors; E. A. Gerrard & Co., dealers in horses, cattle, etc.; Pawnees goods, Indian curios, buffalo robes, etc., by L. W. Platte, alias Keatsco-toose; Eben
PAST AND PRESENT OF PLATTE COUNTY 159
Pierce, dealer in staple and fancy dry goods; H. P. Coolidge, hardware and cutlery; J. P. Becker, wholesale and retail dealer in groceries, grain, flour and agricultural implements, also proprietor of the Shell Creek Flouring Mill; W. C. Sutton, the Cheap Store, north side railroad track; H. Compton & Co., wholesale and retail grocers, boots and shoes; The Home Insurance Company, by Gerrard & Taylor, agents; bakery and confectionery, Ruegg Brothers & Co., who advertised that they also kept in connection with the above business, a coffee saloon and well assorted stock of the best tobaccos and cigars, opposite the U. P. depot, near the Clother House; Columbus Meat Market, by S. J. Marmoy.
On the fourth page were comments on various topics and two columns of advertising taken up by Will B. Dale, dry goods, clothing, etc.; the new store of Bonesteel Brothers; Exchange Store of J. Rickly; advertisement of the Omaha Republican; liquor house of Adler & Heller; the American House, corner Seventh & Washington avenue, C. Whaley, proprietor; J. B. Beebe, ranch cattle.
M. K. Turner died in 1902, after which a stock company was organized and purchased the paper and plant from the estate, Fred H. Abbott holding the position of editor and manager. Mr. Abbott was succeeded by R. G. Strother, who conducted the business until the plant was sold to A. J. Mason and M. S. Binney, this firm was succeeded by Mason Bros., who sold to a stock company, and the paper was edited until October, 1914, by F. R. Galbraith. In October Mr. Thomas Curran, of York, Neb., purchased Mr. Galbraith's interest and was elected president of the present Journal Publishing Company, the other officers of the company are R. L. Dickinson, vice president; M. G. Fallon, secretary; C. N. McElfresh and David Thomas, directors. Mr. Fallon is the managing editor.
Frank B. Burgess started the Columbus Republican in May, 1875. This was an eight-column folio, which attained a good local circulation and the paper continued successfully for over a year, when, in 1877, Burgess sold the office to Calmer McCune, who removed it to David City and there started the David City Republican.
The first number of the Columbus Gazette was published March 1, 1881, by William Burgess, editor and proprietor. Emerson J.
160PAST AND PRESENT OF PLATTE COUNTY
Potts, who operated a well paying book and job office, started the publication of a six-column paper in 1879, called the Independent. This office was purchased by the Burgess family, who issued therefrom the Columbus Gazette, when the Independent lost its identity. The Gazette was republican in its political bias and maintained a decided position in favor of the cause of temperance, woman's suffrage, Indian civilization, progressive education and salutary reform. Mr. Burgess remained in control of the Gazette until 1882, when he went to California after establishing the Genoa Leader.
PLATTE COUNTY DEMOCRAT
The first number of the Platte County Democrat made its appearance in Columbus on the 19th day of August, 1897. The Democrat was a six-column quarto, published every Thursday by B. P. Duffy & Son. The subscription price was $1, payable in advance. "Democratic at all times and under all circumstances," appeared as the motto. In his salutatory the editor stated that he did not issue the Democrat because of there being a shortage of newspapers in Platte County. He said he had no apology to offer for issuing a democratic newspaper, as none was required. He believed that the time had come for the publication of such a paper, and hoped that he would be able to conduct the editorial columns in such a manner that all would recognize it as democratic at all times and under all circumstances. The editorials of the Democrat were bold and aggressive. The Democrat was removed to Humphrey, Platte County, the first issue appearing from that place on the 17th day of March, 1898. From February 10, 1898, George Duffy was the manager of the Democrat, B. P. Duffy still remaining the editor. In January, 1901, the paper was sold to Herbes Brothers, of Humphrey. The new editors changed the name to the Leader.
Friday, September 24, 1897, appeared in Columbus the first issue of The Leader, a republican paper, with William M. Hutt as editor and proprietor. It was a five-column quarto, subscription price $1 in advance. The editor said his paper would speak for itself -- must stand or fall on its merits. The Leader suspended publication with the second number.
PAST AND PRESENT OF PLATTE COUNTY 161
THE COLUMBUS DEMOCRAT
The Columbus Democrat was established as The Era in February, 1874, by W. N. Hensley, editor and proprietor. The paper was continued until November, 1880. For a few months there was no publication, but on April 9, 1881, the first number of The Democrat appeared, under the management of A. D. and J. K. Coffroth, with the former in editorial control. The Democrat was a seven-column folio, with the partisan leanings its name indicates. On account of increasing patronage, the paper was enlarged, and the name changed to
THE COLUMBUS TELEGRAM.
The Telegram remained under the control of the Coffroths for some years. About the year 1899 Edgar Howard secured control of the Telegram and in 1901 the Telegram Company was incorporated under the laws of Nebraska. The authorized and issued capital stock amounts to $10,500, in shares of $100 each, fully paid. All of this stock is owned by Edgar Howard, Helen, Mary, Findley and Elizabeth Howard, Will Gregorius, Zela Loomis and Lloyd Swain. In a notice heading the first column on the editorial page, the statement is made that "Lloyd Swain, Zela Loomis and Edgar Howard, and none other, are the writers responsible for all unsigned or unaccredited editorial, or local opinion expressed in the columns of this paper." Zela H. Loomis, vice president; Lloyd Swain, secretary-treasurer; Edgar Howard, editor.
The Telegram is a twelve-page, six-column paper, issued every Friday. The editor is brainy, fearless and a ready writer, and in the Telegram he has been giving the people of Columbus and a wide area of country, local and foreign news, neatly and beautifully printed. In 1913 the Telegram moved into a new modern, two-story brick home, in which was installed a linotype, news and job presses, and all the necessary material required by the twentieth century newspaper.
THE NEBRASKA BIENE
On May 15, 1914, the Nebraska Biene (Nebraska Bee) enjoyed its twenty-first anniversary under the above name, and its thirty-sixth as the only German paper in Columbus and Platte County, under its original name of "The Columbus Wochenblatt" (Columbus Weekly).
162PAST AND PRESENT OF PLATTE COUNTY
For this occasion it published the following statement under its editorial:
With this number the Nebraska Biene celebrates its twenty-first birthday and anniversary of its weekly appearance. As is seen on its front page, the old annual number of the ex-Columbus Wochenblatt is No. 36, the new annual number of the Nebraska Biene is No. 21. So it is the oldest of all the Columbus papers of today, and may justly be called one of the old settlers.
Thirty-six years ago, an educated young German-Pole, Mr. Robert Lange, who is now a mine speculator in a Western State, founded and established the Columbus Wochenblatt. This first paper consisted of three pages of patent print, which were shipped in, a fourth page of whatever news he could gather together from the locality and the four directions of the hemisphere, which was also printed by another paper. These papers he then addressed himself, and mailed them to his subscribers. Mr. Emil Pohl, at that time in partnership with Mr. Gerhard Schutte in the implement business on Thirteenth Street, where the Columbus Mercantile Company stands today, who had been elected the year before to the position which he filled admirably throughout his lifetime -- as leader of the newly founded Columbus Maennerchor -- a German Singing Society -- assisted in the editing of the Wochenblatt and frequently wrote political editorials, although a stern republican himself, while the Wochenblatt was supposed to be a democratic paper.
Platte County could already be called a German county, but the German paper did not bring its founder riches, so he sold it to Doctor Schoulau, an old doctor and newspaper man, who struggled along with it until his death in August, 1890. He now rests in peace in the Columbus Cemetery, while his family moved to Omaha.
After the death of Doctor Schoulau, Maj. J. N. Kilian bought the paper and changed its name with the first issue of the year 1893 to the present name, Nebraska Biene, and made it a strictly republican paper. He was a fiery young attorney, but his vehemence and dash in changing the political character of the paper in a German democratic community was a hindrance to the development of the German press. However, upon going to the Philippines as captain of Company K, of the First Nebraska Militia Regiment, in the spring of 1898, Mr. Kilian sold the paper to his assistant agent, J. H. Johannes.
Mr. Johannes immediately restored the paper to the democratic ranks, and as he was a bright young fellow, brought up among German friends on Shell Creek, he understood their wants better than any
PAST AND PRESENT OF PLATTE COUNTY 163
of his predecessors and gained a large circle of subscribers. An early death on February 12, 1908, unfortunately called him from a successful career.
His successor was Henry Wilken, who bought the paper merely as a business investment, and trusted its management to Mr. Otto Kinder, an able newspaper man, now in Omaha. Mr. Wilken sold the paper to E. A. Harms, who likewise left the editorial management to Mr. Kinder, and to his foreman, Mr. Jos. Tagwerker. Under this regime, the printshop was moved from the old wooden building on Twelfth Street, south of the Union Pacific track, to the brick building of Eleventh Street which is its present home. This building he bought and rebuilt, also installing a press and other machinery, making the paper independent.
On January 11, 1913, the Nebraska Biene was sold to its present owner, Mr. Leopold Jaeggi, an old resident of Columbus, who had come here from the City of Berne, Switzerland, in 1873, and who has been a resident here since then, being for twenty years a partner in the real estate firm of Gus. Becher & Co., and Becher, Jaeggi & Co., now known as Becher, Hockenberger & Chambers. Having received a good education in the oldest republic on the globe, Mr. Jaeggi edits the paper himself. Following his own convictions and respecting the differing political creeds of his readers, Mr. Jaeggi has followed his predecessor in issuing a politically independent paper -- the aim being to tell the news -- at all times to stand for truth and right, and to champion the cause of the German speaking citizen in America.
This paper was established by R. B. Thompson in 1897, who remained at its head until 1899, when he sold his interests to Miss Ella Sharpnack. In December, 1901, the paper went into the hands of C. E. Wagner. The plant was totally destroyed by fire on the 31st day of October, 1903, but was rehabilitated by Wagner, who continued as editor and proprietor until April, 1914, when he sold to Mrs. Anna Roberts. The new management only lasted a few months and then, on October 19, 1914, Ray P. Burch came into possession of the Statesman. He enlarged the paper to a five-column quarto, installed a power press, new body display type and is giving the Creston people a very creditable little weekly.
164PAST AND PRESENT OF PLATTE COUNTY
The first copy of the Looking Glass was issued as a five-column folio, April 11, 1889, at Monroe, by E. A. Gerrard as editor and proprietor. The subscription price is $1 per year, payable in advance. It is now issued as a six-column folio, and is recognized as tile official organ of the prohibition party of the state. In his salutatory the editor stated that the name of his paper was suggested by the Looking Glass Creek, a small stream that flows near the town. He said he hoped to make the columns reflect so truthfully and pleasantly Monroe matters and surroundings that all might read his title clear to the name.
The Monroe Republican was established Friday, June 1, 1894, by R. G. Strother, and edited and published by him in the Village of Monroe, located in the western part of Platte County. The paper is a six-column quarto, subscription $1 per year, payable in advance. The first issue was a six-column folio on a small Army press, which has since given place to one of the latest pattern. Type, presses and general appearance of the paper have kept pace with the rapid growth and development of the town. He now has ample job rooms, where all kinds of plain and fancy job work is neatly done. It is republican in politics, and is fast winning its way to public favor. Its circulation is increasing, and has proved a successful newspaper venture.
PLATTE CENTER SIGNAL
The Signal was established a quarter of a century ago as the Argus, by Warwick Sanders, who strenuously sought to place the venture on a sound financial foundation, probably without any great measure of encouragement, as he soon gave way to one Bradford. Then came F. H. Gilmore, who changed the name to the Platte Center Signal. Within three years J. A. Moakler's name was placed at the head of the editorial column, and in 1896 Christian Gruenther, the present owner, bought the plant, and changed the Signal to a six-column quarto, as it is today.
THE HUMPHREY DEMOCRAT
James Robison founded the Independent* in 1884 and the office was first located on the site of Doctor Cauley's office building. The
--*Later merged with the Democrat.
PAST AND PRESENT OF PLATTE COUNTY 165
paper has had several proprietors, as follows: J. W. Fuchs, 1888; D. F. Dickenson, 1890; S. E. Crans, 1890; H. R. Ellsworth, February 24, 1893; John P. Walker, July 7, 1893; Charles O'Hara, April, 1895; Charles H. Swallow, September 20, 1895; F. J. Pratt, 1903-11. J. A. Zavadil conducted the destinies of the paper during the years 1911 and 1912, while Mr. Pratt served as state oil inspector, and on October 1, 1913, Zavadil and S. Karthaus bought the property and are publishing one of the brightest little papers in Platte County.
THE LINDSAY POST
Before the advent of the Post two newspapers had come into existence in Lindsay and vanished from the field in due time. The Sentinel was established in the '80s by Charles Field, who remained in charge two or three years. George Camp followed in the management and shortly thereafter suspended publication. The next venture was the Lindsay Times, published by a man named Kranz. The Times lasted a year. Then came the Post, in 1896, by W. E. Moore. The latter was succeeded by John Hassman, and he in turn by Peter Johnson, H. A. Backhaus, A. W. Hagaman, F. A. Gerrard, John Foley, E. R. Teft, W. A. Nutt, J. A. Zavadil, of the Humphrey Democrat, and Mr. Buck, of Newman Grove.
Return to the IndexContinue to next page
Use your Browser's Back button to return to the previous page.
© 1997, 1998 Ted & Carole Miller
and 2002 for the NEGenWeb Project