In the year 1870 David Anderson made this article a part of his recollections of early days in Platte County:
"I have often been requested to write something of interest concerning the first and early settlement of our part of the Platte Valley: also about the progress and prosperity of some of the old settlers. I will state in brief that about all the pioneer settlers have undergone immense hardships and dire tribulation, having braved all manner of dangers and endured untold suffering and privations. For many long years we were compelled to freight from Omaha and the Missouri River all groceries, provisions, etc., with ox teams, as but few horses were then in the country; in fact, a horse was a rare thing to be seen and a prize to be possessed of. Corn was also very high and horseflesh too much of a luxury to indulge in. For several years after our first settlement the nearest flouring mill was at Fort Calhoun, eighty miles away; and a trip with oxen in midwinter was tedious indeed. Frequently the journey was delayed until the last sack of flour in the whole settlement was consumed and often our people lived for days and weeks on parched corn and salt. In the winter of 1857 some of our Columbus neighbors sallied forth on snow shoes and drawing handsleds, made the trip to Omaha for a fresh supply of provisions. This party followed the meanderings of Platte River as their only guide and landmark to pilot them on their journey. The snow on the level was about three feet deep. On their return they stayed over night with a family at North Bend who were entirely out of food; but these good Samaritans divided their small supply most cheerfully with this suffering family and finally reached Columbus again in safety. I believe your fellow townsman and old citizen, Mr. Hashberger, also performed this journey on snow shoes, besides drawing his fuel that winter on handsleds from off the "tow heads" and islands of Platte River. The reader will remember this was at a period before the existence of any human habitation between old
230 PAST AND PRESENT OF PLATTE COUNTY
Fort Kearney and the base of the Rocky Mountains along the south trail of the Platte, consequently the great tide of immigration to Colorado that lined the Military Road in after years had not then made its welcome appearance and the dim thoroughfares of that day were seldom trodden. In those times our people were considered neighbors fifty miles apart and would come together that distance from east and west to attend a little social gathering or a big dance; and on all such occasions a general good feeling prevailed and all met on a common equality for the purpose of fun and amusement. Some time during the winter of 1861 I recollect seeing quite an unusual outfit passing my place. It was a large prairie schooner with a very small jackass and huge ox attached. The driver was an Irishman who talked the German and French languages fluently. It seems he started from the mountains with a large yoke of cattle and a jack hitched behind. On the way one ox died. Then it was the "mother of invention" induced our hero to unite the surviving ox and ass together.
"I will now proceed to relate something about one of the oldest and oddest settlers in this section; Pat Murray came to Platte County seventeen years ago. His stock in trade consisted of an old blind horse and $40. Pat today is reputed to be worth $30,000 -- all made and saved since his debut in Nebraska. He has farmed, raised stock, dabbled in Government contracts and had a lively trade with the Pawnee Indians -- anything to turn an honest penny has been Pat's motto. The fruits of his marriage, however, are not as yet perceptible to the naked eye and it is thought by many that a legal heir will never bless the portals of his household. Yet he looks around and takes in and provides a good home for homeless and orphan children. Murray's farm is a model well worthy of imitation; the dwelling and outbuildings are commodious and well arranged and the arrangements for stock are complete in all their departments. In the summer of 1863 a roving band of hostile Sioux swooped down upon Murray's camp near the reservation where his laborers were engaged making hay. They at first feigned friendship and begged for victuals, which were freely given them, but they soon got possession of the weapons in the camp and began an indiscriminate slaughter of the whole party killing Adam Smith, Murray's brother-in-law, and the hired man. Mrs. Murray, who was there cooking for the party, beat off the Indians with a pitchfork, but received five arrows in different parts of her body. She was thought by the red devils to be dead but crawled over the prairie all night and was picked up next day insensi-
PAST AND PRESENT OF PLATTE COUNTY 231
ble. The Indians, after their bloody work was accomplished, got away with six large valuable mules belonging to Murray. Pat, like most frontiersmen, has met with many reverses and drawbacks, but nothing daunted, has persevered and by industry and strict economy has accumulated a competence. Twenty years ago he worked by the month on a farm near Paoli, Chester County, Pennsylvania, near the birthplace of the writer.
"All the late settlers and newcomers into Nebraska take courage and not be discouraged, drouth, grasshopper raids, etc., to the contrary notwithstanding."
IMPRESSIONS OF COLUMBUS AFTER TWENTY YEARS ABSENCE
One Platte, under date of September 1, 1881, after an absence of twenty years, revisited the scene of his former friends as a pioneer of the great West, and wrote as follows:
"This flourishing and prosperous little city of 2,500 inhabitants, named after the capital city of Ohio and destined somewhat to rival it as a railroad center, is situated on the north bank of the Loup River, four or five miles above its confluence with the Platte, on a high and level plateau, and already makes quite an imposing appearance as you approach it from the east. Although this valley was originally a treeless plain, the town is well shaded with cottonwood, elm, box elder and other trees. The surrounding country is also putting on the appearance of a wooded country, as nearly every farmer has planted groves of timber, some of which are now quite large and look like our original Ohio forests. * * * This part of the great West has made wonderful progress since my visit twenty years-ago. At that time the farms between Columbus and Omaha could be counted on the fingers! now the farms are continuous all the way -- a distance of ninety-five miles -- and extend north and south indefinitely. In spite of the very unpropitious season the corn crop is going to be good. Some fields will run seventy-five to eighty bushes to the acre. Wheat has not turned out as well as usual -- perhaps not more than a half crop will be garnered this year. Potatoes are of an excellent quality but not of good quantity, owing to the extremely dry season. * * *
"Columbus now has four railroads entering here -- Union Pacific, which passes through from Omaha to San Francisco; the Burlington & Missouri, connecting Columbus and Lincoln; and two branches of the Union Pacific, one running from this place to Madison north
232PAST AND PRESENT OF PLATTE COUNTY
some fifty miles, and the other up the Loup Valley to Albion. All the stations along these lines seem to be flourishing. The country north of here is very undulating in character and is interspersed with numerous small streams, having many charming little valleys. Land can be purchased anywhere within ten miles of a station at $4 to $10 per acre. As yet cattle raising is the most productive business. Pasturage is abundant and of good quality; hay for winter feeding can be made from the wild prairie grass. The meadow lands are generally situated in the valleys and depressions in the midst, although much hay is cut on the uplands. It is all native grass and nutritious.
"I find all the pioneers of twenty years ago well fixed on large farms in the country, or at the head of flourishing businesses in the city. They came here without capital and grew up with the country, and the result is they have attained to position and wealth, many having come from the older states with a combined capital not exceeding $3,000, who today are worth from $10,000 to $30,000 each. There are quite a number of Columbus boys here who are prominent in business and in official stations and all doing well. You meet Ohio people everywhere, and, as in. affairs of the nation, they are generally found at the top of the heap."
COLUMBUS AND PLATTE COUNTY THEN AND NOW
Francis J. Echols has long been a resident and is one of the leading business men of Columbus. Some impulse led him to prepare the following article in 1912, which is a good word picture of Platte County and its seat of government as they appear today:
"In the spring of 1856 a colony of men arrived from Columbus, Ohio, and settled in what is now the southeastern part of this city. The colony consisted of J. P. Becker, Charles A. Speice, Frank Becher, Vincent Kummer, John Wolfel and Jacob Lewis. Upon their arrival they found the nucleus of another town called Cleveland, just west of the Meridian road. Soon after the arrival of the Columbus colony the Cleveland inhabitants left and the Village of Cleveland died in its infancy.
"The first hotel was the American. Soon after its construction it was moved to the corner of Tenth and Olive. Here it was veneered and is being conducted at present under the name of the Pacific. Another hotel was built about a quarter of a mile east of Stevens Lake. It was moved to the location where the Meridian Hotel now stands and was known as the Hammond House. The first and only
PAST AND PRESENT OF PLATTE COUNTY 233
doctor Columbus had for a number of years was Dr. C. B. Stillman, who located here in 1857. In 1860 the Western Union Telegraph Company established an office at this point; that was the first important event in the city.
"Travel over the Loup had been by ferry until 1865, when a pontoon bridge was built over this river. In 1872 the first bridge was built over the Platte River. The main line of the Union Pacific was run through here in 1866.
"The first and only hanging in this county occurred in 1867. A mob broke into the jail, secured its victim, who had murdered a fellow worker in cold blood, and hung him to a cottonwood tree. They left his body there until life was extinct, then buried it beneath the ice in the Loup River.
"In 1879 bonds to the amount of $100,000 were voted to be given to the Atchison & Nebraska Railway Company. This enabled the company to build a branch of their road from Lincoln to Columbus.
"The biggest celebration in the history of the town took place in 1892, when the four hundredth anniversary of the discovery of America by Christopher Columbus was honored. School children from over the entire county came to Columbus to celebrate. The exercises were held in the Second Ward school building, it being the high school at that time.
"The location of our city is very easy to remember, inasmuch as it is the center of the United States. The climate may be spoken of as salutary. In manufacturing interests we rank fairly well. We have two roller mills which manufacture excellent grades of flour; a large planing mill which keeps about fifteen men employed the entire year; a large brewing establishment; a brick factory, whose daily capacity is 20,000 brick. We have a gas plant with seven and a half miles of pipeage; a power house which furnishes electricity every hour of the day; the largest elevator in the state with the exception of the metropolis and the capital cities; three weekly newspapers, two printed in English and the other in German. Columbus has four banks, whose deposits aggregate over $1,500,000; three savings associations whose assets are over $600,000. On the business streets we have five drug stores; six grocery stores; two five-and-ten-cent stores; three candy factories; three photograph galleries; four meat markets; two gun shops; four tailor shops; five bakeries; five restaurants; five hotels; two cold storage; a creamery and dairy depot and many other kinds of business enterprises. Columbus has five dentists, eleven attorneys and fifteen doctors. In the way of amusements we have
234PAST AND PRESENT OF PLATTE COUNTY
three moving picture theaters running every night, two of which are also giving vaudeville acts in connection with the pictures; a race track; and in the summer a series of the Nebraska Baseball League.
"This is the county seat of Platte County. We have a library of about three thousand volumes; a $40,000 Young Men's Christian Association building and a $65,000 Government building. Columbus is the home of six Protestant churches, besides a Catholic church, school and hospital. The Catholic institutions are valued at $250,000. We have four brick school buildings, with a corps of twenty-eight teachers.
"Now, summing these few facts together, you must agree with me that there are few cities of 5,000 inhabitants in the United States that rank with Columbus, Nebraska."
The following statement of the number and character of the improvements in Columbus, completed in the spring of 1870, appeared in the Platte Journal, May 25, 1870: A large drug store opposite the courthouse nearly ready for occupation, which our German physician, Doctor Hoehen, intends to fill with drugs, medicines, etc. Near by this is a well-built, two-story residence, owned by Henry Wellman; also a two-story business house not yet completed, by William McAllister; and a two-story restaurant owned by Nicholas Blazer. West of these is the Farmers Home, a hotel kept by our German friend, John Bush, a substantial two-story building; on the same street is McAvoy's two-story business house, not occupied at present, on the first floor a large store room, on the second a very good sized hall. Directly opposite are the dwelling of John Kelly and the carpenter shop of Charles Hughes; south of the courthouse, A. J. Arnold's jewelry store and photograph gallery -- a very neat and a very substantial two-story house. Nearly opposite this is the large two-story agricultural warehouse of F. G. Becher & Company. East of the courthouse is a large two-story residence owned by H. N. Lathrop; south of Mr. Lathrop's dwelling, Davis & Brewer are building for Mr. Coolidge a neat, two-story residence, which promises to be one of the best houses in the country. It is an old-fashioned frame (no balloon), regularly braced sills of 6x8 posts, six inches square, cellar walled with brick.
Near the Congregational Church is a residence built by Michael Welch. Nearly in the midst of these business and dwelling houses is the courthouse, a substantial brick, two stories high, containing within its walls the county offices and the jail, which last is partly unoccupied.
Near the depot on the south side of the track, Turner & Hulst have a neat little office, opposite which and fronting the railroad track are Becker's large new store, Turner's printing office and the office
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of F. G. Becher & Co. Next to Becker's store is a business house and beyond that a substantial dwelling occupied by J. G. Higgins. On the street south of Becker's is a neat cottage, owned by Mr. Brown, one of the worthy members of the great brotherhood of Browns.
North of the railroad track the citizens have not been idle. First on the list is: Bakery and confectionery of Ruegge Brothers & Co., a very neat looking establishment every way and kept by the cleverest of men. East of this is a small house belonging to Major North and occupied as a barber shop and news depot. North of the Clother Hotel is the store of Eben Pierce. Near here is the residence of John Compton and east of it, that of A. J. Stevens. The new postoffice, owned by Compton, is a credit to the city, as is likewise the store of the Bonesteel Brothers.
Lastly we come to the Stevens Addition. Within the past six weeks the following named gentlemen have built residences in this part of the city: Mr. Brewer, Mr. McGinnis, Mr. Collingsworth, Cornelius Having and Mr. Millen. It is estimated that twenty-five more cottages will be erected in the above addition by the first of September.
In May, 1871, M. K. Turner, of the Journal, visited the farm of Guy C. Barnum, about a mile south of Columbus, between the Loup and Platte. At the time Mr. Barnum had a farm of upwards of five hundred acres, and was one of the live stockmen in this section of the state. Mr. Turner published a glowing article relating to his visit to the "Big Ranch" and ends up with the following:
"On our way back to town Mr. Barnum told us that before the years the Union Pacific Railroad was built, during the season of emigration, there was not a day passed that the 'bottom' near the Loup was not literally full of 'prairie schooners,' herds of cattle, besides men, women and children; that often trains of wagons one hundred to two hundred in number would be staying for the night, to be succeeded the next night by still other trains; that there was once a train of handcarts passed this way, also one man trundling a wheelbarrow from Omaha to San Francisco; all sorts of people from every land under the heavens going to California, Oregon, Utah and Colorado in all sorts of conveyances. The iron horse in the distance reminded us that the former days had passed away -- a trip across the continent being now made in ten days from San Francisco, speeding over the land and over the sea thousands of miles to Liverpool, London and Paris.
"On a short drive into the country with a friend on the 4th we
PAST AND PRESENT OF PLATTE COUNTY 237
passed the farms of Pat Murray, Henry Kelly, J. W. Early and Robert Pinson. Mr. Murray, we should judge from his vast possessions, must be an extensive farmer and stockraiser. The crops of wheat, corn and oats on his farm were looking well, especially the corn.
"The oats, wheat and corn on the farm of Mr. Kelly were splendid -- the oats and wheat superior to any other we have seen in Nebraska. Passing up the valley of Lost Creek from Mr. Kelly's we came to the farm of J. W. Early, where we believe we saw the best field of corn met with on our drive. Southwest of Lost Creek Schoolhouse is the farm of Robert Pinson, on which was very noticeable an excellent field of corn growing on bluff lands on the divide between Lost Creek and Shell Creek. This field of corn very nearly compared in quality with J. W. Early's.
"Not far from this bluff farm stands on high ground the Lost Creek Schoolhouse, a neat and substantial building and certainly a credit to the people of that district who erected it. At this point we met one hundred and fifty or two hundred of the citizens of Lost Creek celebrating our nation's anniversary."
M. K. Turner had taken a trip through the country on horseback and in his issue of the Journal of date August 7, 1871, had in part the following to say of whom and what he had seen on his trip:
"The first house I stopped at was Maj. Frank North's new dwelling about a half mile west of town. I did not find the major at home -- he is prospecting up the Loup. The major has here about one hundred acres of land and his windows command as pretty a view as perhaps is found in the valley -- the Union Pacific bridge across the Loup, heavy timber to the west, the Town of Columbus to the east, and the sky-grazing bluffs to the north. I believe that it has been only about six weeks since the major began his improvements, and now he has a very neat story and a half house, a good barn, a stable and other substantial improvements, all of the best style.
"On my way to Columbus from George W. Stevens, I found Mr. Muller gathering in a good crop of oats off of George Francis Train's eighty acres.
"I called at Joseph Tiffany's, but my good-humored friend was not at home.
"Col. George W. Stevens is one of the old settlers, having resided where he now is for thirteen or fourteen years. He owns 160 acres of land, part of it heavily timbered. He has a beautiful site for a residence, having ten years ago, like a wise man, planted trees. He
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has some cottonwood trees which were planted then that are now one and a half feet in diameter and at least twenty feet high. He thinks that the box elder makes the best shade tree. He has been successful with all manner of small fruits, strawberries, blackberries, raspberries, currants, gooseberries, grapes, etc.
"Knowing that Pat Murray was not at home, I did not go out of the line of my day's march to take notes of one of the very best farms in Platte County. I didn't find James Warren at his house, but I learned from J. B. Senecal that he has 160 acres of very good land, with a goodly number of trees of his own planting to adorn it. I found an aged couple, Isaac Blizzard and his wife, living on Mr. Warren's farm.
"I had not traveled far when I beheld in the distance the portly form of Senecal among his threshers. Accompanying him to the house, I learned a great many facts which I think would be encouraging to many who may read this hastily written sketch. Mr. Senecal was born in France, raised in Canada, and has resided in the United States fifteen years, ten of them in Nebraska. He owns 320 acres of land and has made all the improvements on the site of his present dwelling within the last three years. At the beginning of the rebellion the rebels burned him out at St. Joseph, Missouri. Coming to Nebraska, he had a yoke of oxen, three heifers, an old wagon, $60 in money and a family of eight persons. He worked with Pat Murray at 5O cents a day and chopped wood for Mr. Rickly at 75 cents a cord.
"After taking dinner with Mr. Senecal, I started for Jacob Ernst's. On the way I passed L. M. Cook's and Jack Wells' farms. Mr. Ernst lives three miles due north of Columbus and owns here 160 acres of excellent land. He has been here but three years and has everything in good shape. In his cottonwood grove north of the dwelling, he has trees fifteen feet high and four inches in diameter, which were planted on the 5th of May, 1869, and were then a quarter of an inch thick and cut down within four inches of the ground. He claims that when cottonwood trees grow close together it is not necessary to trim them, as they do this for themselves in their own time.
"James Hallows lives a short distance east of Ernst, owning eighty acres of land, all under cultivation, and has his farm in excellent condition.
"George W. Brown owns 640 acres of most excellent land. He has resided here since the spring of 1869 and his farm bids fair to be one of the best in the county."
PAST AND PRESENT OF PLATTE COUNTY 239
On the 11th of November, 1871, a called meeting was held in Columbus, attended by many of the citizens of the surrounding country, for the purpose of organizing a Farmers Club. Guy C. Barnum was placed in the chair, but declining the honor, gave way to Jacob M. Troth. A. J. Stevens was elected secretary and treasurer and M. K. Turner, corresponding secretary. Then the following persons signed their names as members: Guy C. Barnum, M. K. Turner, George W. Stevens, J. B. Senecal, Jacob Lewis, Jacob M. Troth, T. A. Pinkney, S. L. Holman, Morrice Keller, Jacob Ernst and A. J. Stevens. A committee was then appointed to draft constitution and by-laws for the government of the club, and it was determined that the discussions of the club be restricted to agricultural interests.
The next meeting of the club was arranged to be held at the courthouse on November 25th. At the meeting called for the 25th the club lost its identity, as originally intended, merging themselves into the Platte County Agricultural Society, the officers of which were selected as follows: President, Jacob M. Troth; vice president, Guy C. Barnum; treasurer, A. J. Stevens; recording secretary, S. L. Holman; corresponding secretary, M. K. Turner; board of directors, T. A. Pinkney, J. B. Senecal, E. A. Gerrard, H. J. Hudson and N. Millet. The session was one of great interest and the discussions of the society were confined to the reports of committees appointed at the previous meeting. J. B. Senecal read an interesting paper on "Stockraising"; Dr. T. A. Pinkney on "Markets"; Guy C. Barnum's subject was "Fences."
The Journal of date December 31, 1873, contained an article from an Omaha correspondent, who, in writing on the 22d, said in part
"Competition in the grain trade is making things 'red hot' in Columbus. The New York, Chicago and St. Louis markets are represented here by wide-awake, active buyers, who have the honor to do business on the 'live and let the farmer live' principle and the nerve to put up to the last living cent for wheat. The result is, it is worth from 82 to 85 cents, and farmers are attracted here from a distance of seventy-five miles north and south, seventy-four of whom were registered at the hotels last night, who had come too far with their wheat to return the same day, many of them living from sixty to eighty miles away. It is estimated that from 175 to 200 wagonloans of grain are coming in daily.
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"The city is naturally reaping an immense harvest of business, chiefly from the liberality and enterprise of the firms engaged in buying and shipping wheat. Each individual business house here thoroughly appreciates the situation and is taking advantage of the opportunity to extend its influence and trade. Columbus is one of the best towns in the West, possessing strong elements of permanent prosperity in a central position, on the world's thoroughfare, the greatest railroad of the age, surrounded by a large area of the rarest soil cultivated far in advance of her own growth; vast, though as yet unimproved, water power furnished by the Loup Fork, which here has a rapid fall of from ten to fourteen feet; and a greater than these -- is the vim of her business men. Her future must develop great wealth and prosperity. Evidences that the city is now traveling rapidly along the successful highway are apparent in a large elevator and four grain warehouses built this year, taxed to their fullest capacity in handling this season's harvest; in the handsome school structure, costing $15,000; eleven new business houses, some of them brick; thirty substantial dwellings and fifteen or twenty other buildings erected the past summer. Platte County has a population of 8,000, and the city draws its trade from Colfax, Butler, Polk, Howard, Boone, Antelope, Greeley, Madison, Stanton, Pierce, Merrick, York and Hamilton counties, and when a substantial bridge is built across the Loup Fork, a large increase of the present trade from the South and West must surely follow. Columbus is in the heart of an agricultural portion of the state, and the country immediately surrounding it is well watered by five streams, affording excellent water power and is in every way the best adapted for cultivation, as well as the largest area tributary to any one city in the state. A gentleman, coming directly from Columbus to Omaha, made the assertion that Columbus is doing more business than Denver, Colorado -- a city claiming 30,000 inhabitants. Looking at the long line of coming and going farm wagons, the merchants and their clerks busy from early morn until 11 o'clock at night; considering the fifteen or twenty carloads of wheat daily shipped from here, and the overflowing hotels, your correspondent thinks the assertion safe, and further doubts if another city in the state outside of Omaha is doing over two-thirds the business of Columbus. Yet business does not so fully engross the people but that they find time to cultivate elevating and refining institutions of social life; churches, Sunday schools, beneficial and social societies all flourish here. Your correspondent attended the Methodist Episcopal Sunday School and found a most
PAST AND PRESENT OF PLATTE COUNTY 241
interesting and intelligent collection of children, with a noticeably large attendance of young ladies and gentlemen. He also attended an open meeting of the Sons of Temperance and came away with an exalted opinion of the intellectual status of the society. Interesting rival papers, supported by the ladies and gentlemen of the lodge, edited for this occasion by a Miss Dalzelle for the ladies, and by E. A. Gerrard on the part of the gentlemen, were read. The editorial ability displayed by both is worthy a more extended field. This lodge is in a flourishing condition and is doing a work that will be of benefit through all generations of its future.
"Looking over the records kept in the Union Pacific Railroad Company's office, we find that during the winter of 1872, 133 carloads of wheat were shipped east; 1873 has more than quadrupled that number, 596 carloads having been shipped to this date, of which 136 have gone forward since the 1st day of December, and seventeen today.
"Over sixty thousand acres of land have been bought and located in this vicinity by an additional population of about six hundred families. We will next year add to that their appropriation to the increasing productions of the older settlers. And when we consider that the country is amply sufficient to bear this rate of increase, it is not too much to expect that Columbus will yet export more wheat than the whole state can at the present time. A machine shop and carriage factory have been added to the business of this city this year. A fire company has been organized; a good engine obtained and a large brick engine house built. The Platte County courthouse is a substantial structure. Around it is a handsome park, enclosed with a neat and ornamental fence. The ground on which the city stands is high and dry and muddy streets are unknown.
"One of the most important things of the city is a good flouring mill and a dozen could be profitably employed. Wheat enough for a thousand burrs is waiting for capital to control it.
"In the dry goods business are Bonesteel Brothers, Schram Brothers; grocery, Henry Brothers and Friedline, L. Cockburn, Marshall Smith; W. H. Heidelberger, clothing; M. T. Kinney, manufacturer of and dealer in boots and shoes; Daniel Faucett, harness and saddlery; Arnold & Polley, wholesale and retail jeweler; F. Brodfeuhrer, jeweler; Gerrard & Reed, bankers; H. P. Coolidge, hardware and agricultural implements; Dr. T. A. Pinkney, druggist; Orlando Rose, contractor and builder of brick and stone work; M. Weaver, furniture; J. S. McAllister, dentist; John E. Godfred, butcher, pork packer and dealer in livestock; S. L. Barrett built a good business
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house, in which he opened an eating and refreshment house; Turner & Hulst erected an elevator, with a capacity for handling 2,000 bushels of grain per day; J. C. Morrissey, grain, dry goods and groceries; J. P. Becker, dealer in grain, is also a contractor, a bridge builder and merchant miller; Gross Brothers, groceries; attorneys, Speice & North, Nelson Millet & Son, A. Miller; Samuel C. Smith, real estate and land agent, handled 33,000 acres of land, all sold and located by him this year; W. A. Doggett, sewing machines; hotel, Hammond House, Clother House; the Platte Journal, by M. K. Turner & Co."
MARCH 31, 1875. COLUMBUS AS A POINT FOR OUTFITTING AND DEPARTURE FOR BLACK HILLS
We send forth to the world this announcement calling attention to our town as a suitable point for outfitting and departure:
1. From Columbus to the South Fork of the Cheyenne River, where the "Hills" begin and near to which the present discoveries have been made, the: distance is 330 miles on an air line. This air line is almost coincident with the Valley of the Loup and some of its main branches. This valley therefore indicates the true line of transportation. It would furnish for 200 miles a smooth roadbed, pure water, abundant pasturage, fuel and permanent ranches. From Columbus on the Union Pacific Railroad, near the mouth of the Loup, the valley is already settled for 130 miles and the settlers are in commercial and other correspondence with this prosperous point.
2. From a known point in the latest Government survey, where the stream indicates its far-out extension, the true line crosses the Niobrara at or near the mouth of Pine Creek, distant about seventy-five miles. But intermediate between these points are not only a northerly branch of the Loup, but the Water Snake River, so that no whole day's journey would be without a good camping ground and point for a permanent range.
From the Niobrara, the short line, we cross White Earth River within thirty-five miles and next the South Fork of the Cheyenne about the same distance. But the tributaries of these rivers, as, for instance, Labone Creek on the south and Earth Lodge on the north, which enter White Earth exactly opposite and from opposite directions, are in true line to the mines. From White Earth the route would be across the Bad Lands, but the distance is only twenty to thirty miles in places. Besides the short line here indicated, there are others that are known to be practicable. There is already a traveled
PAST AND PRESENT OF PLATTE COUNTY 243
wagon road from Columbus through Oakdale and O'Neil City on the Upper Elkhorn to the pine lands of the Niobrara. But enough is known of the short line to warrant this announcement that the great highway of transportation to the Black Hills will be the Loup Valley.
3. Columbus is at that significant angle of the Union Pacific Railroad (which bears rapidly south from this point), which indicates the place for refitting the cars for the Northwestern and from which it would be a matter of economy for miners to take their own conveyances-either a pony to ride and another to pack provisions and implements for each man, or a team and wagon for every eight or ten men.
4. At Columbus all kinds of outfitting goods are on hand at prices as low as at any point on the Missouri River. Columbus is a town of 1,500 inhabitants and every branch of trade is conducted by able men. Clothing, boots, shoes, blankets, buffalo robes, flour, meat, groceries, guns, ammunition, arms, picks, shovels, horses, mules, harness, saddles, bridles, oxen yokes, chairs, tents, banks of deposit, and last but not least, pack ponies that are used to the business.
5. There are resident at Columbus and vicinity a number of experienced explorers, scouts and old miners, who already know the country and can make their way through the plains and mountains without losing their reckoning or their patience and pluck. Among these is Captain North, who accompanied General Custer though the Black Hills and will act as chief guide, and another who has a permanent and complete map and guide book will be prepared.
It is announced that on or about the 10th day of May, Providence and Uncle Sam permitting, an expedition will leave Columbus for the Black Hills under the guidance of Capt. Luther J. North and his associates. Neither the club nor the leader of the expedition assumes any definite responsibility about the amount of gold in the hills, but they affirm upon the personal knowledge of Captain North that there is gold and they reasonably hope to find it in paying quantity. But the club does hereby vouch for the advantages of Columbus as the outfitting point and the Loup Valley as the line of travel and for the capability, honor and fidelity of the guide.
Captain North will charge the small sum of $2 to each person enrolling in the expedition, except members of the club, who have otherwise contributed to the general enterprise.
By order of the executive committee of the Black Hills Mining Club of Columbus.
I. N. TAYLOR, Secretary, Columbus.
244PAST AND PRESENT OF PLATTE COUNTY
FIRST PLATTE COUNTY FAIR
The Platte Journal of August 4, 1875, states: "We have made arrangements with Fred Gottschalk for a place to hold the first Platte County Fair. It is within a mile of the city limits, has on it a race course, one of the best in the state, and is in every way a very suitable place for the purpose. Now that the time is appointed and the grounds provided, let every man who has stock, grain, farming implements, mechanical productions, etc., see to it that the first Platte County fair is a good one and the beginning of a long series. If we set ourselves diligently to work this can be accomplished."
PLATTE COUNTY FAIR
A meeting held September 4, 1875, organized by electing J. G. Routson chairman and J. J. Rickly secretary. M. K. Turner stated the object of the meeting. A committee of five was appointed to draft constitution and by-laws and report on the same on the second day of the fair. J. M. Troth, Guy C. Barnum, Jacob Ernst, E. T. Graham and M. Maher were appointed a committee. M. K. Turner made a motion that "we form an organization by electing a temporary president, secretary, treasurer and committee of arrangements to consist of five members, to act as such committee and officers during the fair and until a permanent organization is effected." J. E. North was elected president; M. K. Turner, secretary; and G. W. Hulst, treasurer. C. E. Morse, E. A. Gerrard, J. M. Kelly, Fred Gottschalk and J. M. Lawson, committee on arrangements. Lawson made a motion that three men be added and G. A. Speice, G. W. Clother and L. C. LaBarre were added to the committee.
It was "Resolved, that this association as organized today issue 1,000 tickets to be of one dollar in value, the same to be placed in the hands of the finance-committee to be sold for the benefit of the association, said ticket entitling the holder to all the privileges of membership, the admittance of himself and wife and minor members of his family to the fairs of 1875 and 1876, and to enter one article for premium in each class."
A motion was made that the officers of the association and all others interested meet at the courthouse in Columbus, Saturday, September 11, 1875, at 1 o'clock.
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