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recorded, including Mr. L. Hahn, who is one of the directors of the bank. Others received forged notes as high as $1000.00; some from as far away as Michigan City, as well as Columbus and Lincoln received these. Some people paid for insurance but this money was never forwarded to the insurance companies. The whole scheme has been in progress for about fifteen years. Mr. M. Holland was appointed by the depositors as their lawyer, but they had little hope of getting their money back.
   The County Attorney said the prisoners would be brought to trial in ten days. Many citizens are very indignant that the county sheriff is allowing the two prisoners to be locked in the same room. Their relatives are allowed to visit them which is also causing consternation.

   Feb. 14, 1902

   Sheriff West came to Bellwood and arrested George Gould. He was placed in the "Ladies Jail" in the Court House with his two brothers A. H. and R. C. Gould. George had been clerking at the bank for some time and is charged with receiving deposits when he knew the bank was insolvent. Also, he is said to have aided A. H. in the forging of notes and in all legal transactions connected with the bank. George asserts he is innocent, but the county attorney says he was a prominent factor in all the dealings that led to the closing of the bank.
   A. H. and R. C. were-arraigned in county court and remained in county jail in default of bail. George succeeded in posting bond at his hearing on Feb. 24.
   A gentleman from Kansas City, Mo., a close friend of the Goulds, was also a victim of the fraud. He is asking if there is any move to confiscate the Gould home, farm, or properties.
   At LaPorte, Indiana, the collapse of the bank at Bellwood comes as a crushing blow. A. H. Gould prevailed upon many persons to make investments which are said to total nearly $75,000 and may exceed $100,000. The Goulds own realty in this county and the attorneys are not confident that the property can be turned in as assets. In Michigan City, Ind., A. H. Gould succeeded in acquiring about $60,000 of investment money.

Feb. 21, 1902

   Amos H. Gould, whose forgeries are estimated from $60,000 to a possible $250,000, pleaded guilty in the District Court, and threw himself upon the mercy of the court. He asked for sympathy for his wife and two children. Judge Sorenberger sentenced A. H. Gould to eight years in the Lincoln pen. Hisses were heard throughout the court room on such a short sentence. The prisoner was happy and returned to his room with a smile on his face.
   The victims of the fraud say that if Sorenberger ever came up for a second term as District Judge, he would not get ten votes from here. A current estimate of the money embezzeled is $300,000 to $350,000.

March 7, 1902

   The hearing of George Gould, charged with being an accomplice of A. H. Gould in the forgeries of notes and mortgages was concluded in county court when George was held for the District Court under $2000 bond. He did not post the bond so was lodged in jail. Attorney Hastings of David City contends that the evidence does not connect George with the crimes of his brother, A. H. Gould, and for this reason he should not be bound over.

Oil Well

   March 5, 1942 A Press representative visited the Peter Nicolas farm one mile southeast of Bellwood, the first of the week. An unusual amount of activity was found by preparations for drilling a well for oil or natural gas. The well will be put down one-fourth mile east of the residence.
   Williams & Turner, Kansas oil drillers of many years experience have the Nicolas farm and drilling operations will start in the near future. It is planned to sink a well to the 4000 foot level. Two surveys have been made in the Bellwood vicinity and prospects for oil and gas justify the effort.
   Mr. Nicolas and Mr. Kittrell of Lincoln have 14,000 acres




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of land in oil leases, extending one mile south, two west, five miles east and some distance north of the Nicolas farm. A local company is planned if the first well justifies further prospecting. Mr. Nicolas stated that his interest of possibility of oil in Bellwood vicinity started 12 years ago, on a report from an independent geologist, who gave the opinion that oil deposits did exist here. It is hoped that the faith of Nicolas and Kittrell will be justified in final results.
   The Bellwood Syndicate Limited, stockholders elected Pete Nicolas, Secretary-Treasurer of the organization, Charles Turner, Joe Nicolas and R. C. Wilson, a board of directors to handle the affairs of the Syndicate. Financial affairs to be handled by Cooperative Bank of Bellwood.
   In April, 1943, they started drilling again and resuming a 24-hour day schedule of work. Drilling will be completed on the first well of its 12,000 acre block of leases in North Butler County. They will be working on three 8-hour shifts. Jim Moyer and Lloy Kamenske have been assisting with the drilling.
   On October 22, 1943, there was considerable excitement in Bellwood, when word reached the public that oil had been struck. The drillers had broke through a rock formation at 1503 feet and struck pay in Hunton sand and immediately oil and water started rising in the shaft at 1000 feet. Drilling was discontinued until Mr. Turner could go to Wichita and return with head control equipment to be used in case of pressure in the hole becoming great enough to cause a gusher. Mr. Nicolas stated that samples of oil have been analyzed and show high gravity oil with a paraffin base. While I believe we have an oil producing well that will prove profitable, we do not wish to appear too optimistic. I would rather underestimate the outcome than be disappointed later.
   A driller and control head equipment arrived and drillers began to sink a pipe to remove water resting on top of the oil discovered on October 22nd.
   Work continued until January 14, 1944 when at a depth of 1705 feet, operations were shut down.

Thieves In The Night

   Bellwood Co-operative Bank was caught in a series of robberies on Aug. 29, 1951.
   Burglars entered the bank by prying open the east door with a two-inch bar.
   Using an electric drill they opened the vault door and tripped the lock. They ransacked all the safe deposit boxes, taking $1,000.00 in cash, between $20,000.00 and $25,000.00 in bonds, several hundred dollars in travelers checks, car titles, deeds, abstracts, and insurance policies.
   This is the second time in a year the Co-op has been broken into. On Jan. 6, entrance was gained into the building but the burglars did not get into the vault. Only a small amount of change was taken that time.
   Sheriff Meysenburg reported that it looked like work of professionals.

Plane Accident

-Peoples Banner, September 21, 1950

   Five men walked away from a totally wrecked four passenger Navion airplane after it crashed a short distance west of Marietta, Thursday, September 14.
   Pilot and owner, James Ryan, and another Omaha man, Don Milich, had landed in a field west of Marietta to have a visit with the Rev. Daniel Cooper, a friend of Ryan's. That evening before flying back to Omaha, Ryan asked Father Cooper and two other men to take a ride. In attempting a take-off from a short field with a high line to be cleared, the pilot could not gain enough altitude so he dove under the

electric wires, crossed the highway and crashed into a plum thicket and a telephone pole. The pole was sheared off and thrown into the field. The plane was dismantled Friday morning and trucked back to Omaha.

Sad Drowning

Bellwood Gazette, June 15, 1900

   About 6 o'clock yesterday afternoon the citizens of our little burg were thrown into a state of excitement by the announcement that Miss Rosa Hudson, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Melvin Hudson and Miss Merle Bressler, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. M. Bressler, who live on the river road north of Bellwood, were missing and as they went in the direction of the Platte River, it was feared by the parents of the young girls that they must have become victims to its treacherous waters. As near as we can learn concerning their drowning, is that along in the afternoon Rosa and Merle started from Mr. and Mrs. Bressler's residence, where Rosa was visiting with Merle, to go to a pond north of the Bressler residence to wade in its waters. Before leaving Mrs. Bressler told them not to go to the river, to which they replied that they would not, but it seems that after they reached the pond they forgot a mother's advice. A searching party was soon formed who found the missing girls' shoes, stocking and some clothing near the pond, but no sign of the girls as the search was continued, along about dark the dead body of Rosa was found about three quarters of a mile down the river from the pond. The body was washed onto a sand bar and part of her clothing was fastened to some willows. An effort was made to restore life but to no avail. The search for Merle was kept up all night, but the body was not found until this morning, when it was found some distance from where Rosa was discovered. The sad accident is a terrible blow on the parents and relatives of the two girls and in their bereavement they have the sympathy of this entire community. Rosa was but 14 years of age and Merle one year older. They were loved by a host of their young friends, who can scarcely believe that their lives have been wiped out in such a manner and so suddenly, but in the bloom of life we are in death. Funeral will be held tomorrow afternoon at three p.m. at the M. E. Church.

Death By Drowning

   July 24, 1933 A tragic accident occured at the sand pit about 3 1/2 miles northwest of Bellwood shortly after 9 o'clock Monday evening July 24, when Learthea Higginbothan, a 17-year-old Bellwood boy, met an untimely death. While wading in the sand pit he accidently stepped over the edge of a sudden drop-off and sank in water nearly 15 feet deep. Being unable to swim more than a few strokes, he was rendered helpless by the shock and failed to rise to the surface. He had been working and living at the home of Mrs. Adolph Yanike for several years. He had accompanied Walter Yanike and R. P. Ross and son Bob to the sand pit, and others going for a swim. Mr. Yanike had left the water and was on the bank dressing, having warned Learthea not to wade too far out. Mr. Ross and Bob were swimming some distance away. Bob saw Learthea go down, and calling to the others, he at once swam to the spot and in diving clutched Learthea's wrist, but was unable to raise him. Mr. Yanike and Mr. Ross exerted every effort for a few minutes to bring the boy to the surface, and then summoned aid. A number of men hurried to the spot to assist, but it was nearly two hours later before the body was brought to the surface by Tom Murphy, a young man from Springfield, Ill., temporarily employed on the Clyde Ellis


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   A first-aid squad of Columbus firemen had been summoned and in cooperation with Dr. J. M. McNally of Bellwood worked for more than 1 1/2 hours in futile effort to resuscitate the lad, ceasing only when it was clearly evident that life was extinct.
   Learthea was born at Bellwood Dec. 4, 1916, and the second son of Mr. and Mrs. Clarence Higginbotham. He is survived by his parents, one sister and five brothers. He was well liked by all and always did his part in helping his mother in efforts to maintain the home and give her children an education. The funeral services were held at 2:30 o'clock Wednesday afternoon at the Bellwood M. E. Church by the pastor, Rev. J. C. Street. Paul Challstrom, Lester Fey, Lloy Kamenske, James Powers and L. Rohrich were the pallbearers. Burial was in the Bellwood cemetery. The sympathy of the entire community is extended to the family.

Deryl Smith Is Victim
Of Drowning In River

- Butler County Press, June 8, 1952

   Search continues day and night for the body of Deryl Smith, 31, Columbus, who drowned Sunday when attempting to wade the Platte river some distance west of the Burlington bridge.
   Butler County authorities have assisted those of Platte County in conducting the search, as well as the firemen from Columbus, Bellwood, and David City, and countless other volunteers from Platte and Butler Counties.
   The only witness to the drowning was the man's father, Fay Smith of Bellwood, who was a considerable distance away.
   Deryl apparently stepped into a hole or deep part, possible quick sand. He was unable to swim.
   Although practically overcome by anxiety, the father rushed to get help. Later he was able to point out to searchers, the approximate spot where his son went down. However, a thorough check of that and the surrounding area downstream has been fruitless. The Columbus fire department's portable light plant has been used during the night search.
   Smith was married and the father of one son. He was the only child of Mr. and Mrs. Fay Smith, and had lived in Bellwood most of his life. He was a veteran of World War II.

Fatal Hunting Accident

- Butler County Press, Nov. 8, 1923

   Wesley Claud McGaffin, son of Mr. and Mrs. W. H. McGaffin of Bellwood, was fatally hurt in an accident while hunting Saturday morning Nov. 3. He died in the David City Hospital on Tuesday, Nov. 6, at 11: 25 a.m.
   Wesley, in company with a boy friend, Loran Randolph, was hunting ducks about two miles northeast of Bellwood. The boys were creeping along to get good position, Wesley ahead of Loran, when Loran's gun accidently discharged, the load striking Wesley in the right leg, in the thigh, penetrating the thigh. The wounded boy, after receiving first aid attention, was taken to the David City Hospital. He died Tuesday morning, Nov. 6, at 11:25 o'clock from shock and loss of blood. The accident occured about 9 o'clock Saturday morning.
   Funeral services will be held in the Bellwood Methodist

Church Friday afternoon, Nov. 9, at 2:30 o'clock. The services will be conducted by the pastor of the Methodist Church, Rev. H. I. Case.
   Wesley was in his 15th year. He was born in Bellwood in March 1909. He was a member of the Methodist Sunday School and of the Methodist Church congregation. He was a manly boy of many excellent qualities of character and had many friends. Warm sympathy of the community is felt for the bereaved parents and other relatives.

Yanike Elevator Fire

- Butler County Press, Sept. 30, 1941

   Fire originating in the top of the old Yanike elevator at Bellwood on Friday afternoon caused some damage by fire and water, although the blaze was subdued before any great loss occured. The David City fire department responded to call for assistance, bu the Bellwood department had the blaze under control before the arrival of the truck.

Large Cottonwood Trees
Are Cut Down

- The Peoples Banner, April 6, 1950

   "Timber", the warning word of the woodsmen, as a large tree takes its final bow, and come crashing down, echoed in the Bellwood vicinity last week as several giant cottonwood trees were sawed down.
   These giants, probably the largest in Butler County, planted by the late J. D. Bell in 1877, towered over 120 feet into the sky as a memorial to a tree planter of the pioneer days.
   According to J. D. Bell of Bellwood, son of the early-day tree planter, the trees along the south edge of his town were cut down as a safety measure. Due to the height and age of the cottonwoods, plus Nebraska winds, it was feared that nearby buildings would be demolished should the trees be blown down.
   The trees were cut and removed by Chas. Hill, house mover and owner of a saw mill. Mr. Hill says that he will secure from the logs enough lumber to rebuild a barn on his farm nine miles north of David City which was destroyed by fire last year.
   Mr. Hill also said that he would secure from a forty-foot log some much needed timbers 10 x 14 and forty feet long. These big timbers are hard to find and one of them costs $125.00," Mr. Hill said.
   Base diameter of the largest tree cut measured 72 inches. The largest log cut from the trees was 52 inches in diameter and measured 16 feet long.
   Mr. Bell said from the five miles of trees planted by his father on the section of land, now where the Village of Bellwood stands, approximately 700,000 feet of lumber have been cut.
   When Mr. Bell was asked if his father farmed when he came to the Bellwood vicinity in 1872 he replied, "No, he just planted trees; he loved them." Mr. Bell has written a history of the Bellwood trees, which was used by a national organization in their magazine.


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