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History of Western Nebraska and Its People



   The territory of Lyons, Taylor and Monroe counties later erected into Cheyenne county and the "Beavais Terres" to the north, was included in the district represented by V. Krummer, of Columbus, in 1866, or the last territory legislature. This district included all of western Nebraska. The representative district was limited in 1873, to all territory west of Hastings and Grand Island, while the eastern boundary of the senatorial district was Norfolk, Columbus and Seward. Guy C. Barton of North Platte, was senator in 1873 and in 1875. He was the Pioneer ranchman of Nebraska, west of North Platte.
    Platte, Colfax, Butler, Merrick, Hall, Buffalo, Lincoln, Dawson, Howard, Sherman, Valley, Greeley, Boon, Antelope, and Cheyenne counties, were by the Act of March 3,1872, included in this senatorial district. The representative district comprises Lincoln, Dawson, Buffalo, Sherman, Valley, Franklin, and Cheyenne counties. Prior to that the man to represent this district was Wells Brewer in 1869-1870. Cheyenne county has never had a state official except in the house and senate.
    The time set by law for convening court in Cheyenne county was the third Monday of June, each year. The law at the time required a petition of two hundred of whom ten must be "taxable inhabitants," to organize a county. Sioux county, then unorganized, was attached to Cheyenne for administrative, judicial and taxation purposes.
    G.H. Jewett, of Sidney was state senator in 1879; G. W. Heist, of Sidney, in 1883; D.Carrigan, of Sidney, was representative in 1881; V. Bierbauer, in 1883; J. M. Adams in

History of Western Nebraska and Its People


1885, and George C. Lingenfelter in 1893. All were from Sidney. In 1913, Lewis Brott, or Sextrop, Cheyenne county, was elected and was followed by William L. Bates, of lodgepole. Bates served two terms in 1917 and 1918, and was then elected regent of the State University in 1920. He had removed to Kimball county before being elected to this office.
   Robert Oberfelder was appointed State Fish Commissioner by Governor A.H. Holcomb about 1896. He served for six years, proving an efficient and conscientious official. His wide information as to streams and lakes of western Nebraska, enabled the planting of the right kind of fish in the right place. That trout now abound in many western streams is due to his initiation.
   In 1876, there was but one bank in the Panhandle of Nebraska. It was located at Sidney. A private bank, the first in this part of the state, was established by Raynolds and Wallace and was called the "Cheyenne County Bank." A. H. Raynolds was from Canton, Ohio, and was a relation of President McKinley. William Wallace was for years connected with the Omaha National Bank, and a figure of prominence in the financial world. After establishing and operating their bank for a time Raynolds and Wallace sold to Saxton Brothers, who were also from Ohio, and also related to McKinley. That bank continued to operate and was known as the Exchange Bank. It went to the wall in latter financial depressions, and the assets were taken over by Morgan and Johnson, who ran it for a number of years. About 1889, Mr. Morgan shot himself and the bank became financially embarrassed. The county treasurer, Adam, Ickes, had county funds in it and he went broke trying to make good the county losses, turning over all his private funds and property in an effort to save his bondsmen.
   The American Bank which had just been established, took over what was left of the wrecked Exchange Bank and J. J. McIntosh, president of the American Bank, was made receiver of the Exchange. Edwin M. Mancourt, of Terre Haute, Indiana, a proficient banker, established the Merchants Bank. He was more conservative than had been his predecessors in Sidney's banking circles. After a few years he liquidated and went east,being a large banker in Detroit, Michigan today, and also vice-president of the consolidated coal companies. The third bank in Sidney was established by Milton Ahrends, but it was later merged with the First National Bank.
   The fourth bank was called the Sidney State Bank. After operating two years it was taken over and merged with the American Bank, the present officers of the latter institution being: J. C. McNish president; M.C. Dinnery, G.E. Taylor and G. R. Buckner, vice-presidents; E.D. McAllister, cashier; J.L. McCarthy, assistant cashier. When this bank was organized, A. S. Raymond, now of Raymond Brothers & Clarke, wholesale grocers of Lincoln and Scottsbluff, was president; J.J. McIntosh, vice-president; and George E. Taylor, the present active vice-president was then cashier. S. H. Burnham, now of the First National Bank, of Lincoln, succeeded Raymond as president and he was succeeded by J.J. McIntosh, July 4, 1894. Mr. Mc Nish became president in 1918. The present capital and surplus amounts to $145,000.
   The First National Bank came into existence in 1902. It has a capital and surplus of $75,800, and its present officers are: W. B. Swartzlander, president; A. K. Greenlee, vice-president; Leslie Neubauer, cashier; Charles L. Mann and Lena L. Jensen, assistant cashiers. The men who were influential in its organization were B. A. Jones, J. W. Harper, Charles Callihan, Milton Ahrends, A.K. Greenlee, C. D. Essig, Daniel Bergman, M. H. Tobin and A. Pease. The original capital was $25,000.
   For fifteen years the two banks stood the test of Sidney's growth in commercial importance. Wheat then began to be a factor of Cheyenne county, and bank accounts, credits and deposits began to swell. The Nebraska State Bank was organized in 1917; with P. M. Wooldbridgre, president; and M. L. Wooldbridge, cashier. It has grown steadily and is firmly established. In 1920, the officers were: F.M. Wooldridge, president; F.D. Wooldridge and J. A. Simones, vice-presidents; M. L. Wooldridge, cashier; and Helen Wooldridge and C. E. Wooldridge, assistant cashiers. The bank has a capital and surplus of $54,670. The Liberty State Bank came into existence in 1910, with F. N. Slawson, president; H.R. Fuller, vice-president; R. A. Barlow, cashier; and Marius Christenson, assistant cashier. It has prospered since organization and today has a capital and surplus of $33,000. The oldest bank in Cheyenne county, outside of Sidney, was established at Lodgepole in 1889, and was called the First State Bank it


History of Western Nebraska and Its People

has a capital and surplus of $32,200. The present officers are: W. G. Milton, president; J. W. Rogers, vice-president and W. J. Chase, cashier.
   The Cheyenne County Bank, of Lodgepole, was organized in 1915. It has a capital and surplus of $31,540, and the officials are as follows: Ray Isenberger, president; Fred Lehmkuhl, vice-president; F. H. Wolf, cashier and W. J. Barrett, assistant cashier.
   Potter has two banks, the Potter State Bank being established in 1911. It has a capital and surplus of $31,500. J.A. Woten is president; C.W. Johnson and P. Jensen, vice-presidents and Thomas Cowger, cashier. A small bank organized in 1907 was the antecedent of this strong organization.
   The Citizens State Bank, began business in 1917. It has a capital and surplus of $18,000, with the following officers: G. A. Roberts, president; Clarence Johnson, vice-president; R.A. Babcock, cashier and D.F. Enevoldsen, assistant cashier.
   Dalton has two banks, both established in 1908. The Dalton State Bank has $33,800 capital and surplus, with W. J. Ewing, president; H. A. Fecht, vice-president; J. L. Willis, cashier and R. Buchanan, assistant cashier.
   The Farmers State Bank has a capital and surplus of $27,640 and the following officers: J.H. Foster, president; P. T. Higgins, vice- president; and Leslie C. Opper, cashier.
   The Gurley State Bank, which began business in 1915, has a capital and surplus of $32,480. C.F. Wyerts is president; A. F. Leclair, vice-president; and S.P. Johnson, cashier.
    The Farmers State Bank of Gurley began business in 1917, has a capital and surplus. of $18,500 and the following officers: S.J.Hanson, president; and C.W. Smith, vice-president.
   The Farmers State Bank of Sunol, was organized in 1914, and has a capital and surplus of $24,930, and the following officers:J.W. Rogers, president; W.G. Nielson, vice-president and G.W. Barlow, cashier.
    The Hunstman State Bank, six miles north of Sidney began business in 1919, and now has a surplus of $4,500 and a capital of $10,000. Its officers are: W.A. Sparks, president; J.A. Chaon, vice president, and W.E. Cunningham cashier.
   This concludes the list of financial institutions past and present of Cheyenne county and shows a remarkable history. The first flush of the gold years, the bonanza cattle days, the lean years of the droughts, and now the agricultural years of plenty. The great wide wheat fields with their wealth of grain in this county, is reflected in the volume of business shown in the fourteen banks. The only discordant note in the financial history of Cheyenne county in a quarter of a century has been the attempts of the older banks to keep new ones out. The new banks were needed by the growth of business in Sidney and the surrounding country.
   The Farmers State Bank of Sunol was robbed July 28, 1916 at noon. The robbery was supposedly planned by R.G. Lukins and Frank Connell, the former acting as lookout while Connell took the money. He locked C.W. Smith, the cashier in the vault and started away with the loot, but two men were in the road. He shot through the windshield and killed them both. Others headed him off, and he ran his car into a corn field. Lukins was arrested in the town and Connell was captured in the willows near Tobin's ranch. He confessed, and both men were sent to the penitentiary.
   Two other concerns handle money in the county though they are not bankers. Oberfelder Brothers handle hundred of thousands of dollars annually, discounting warrants. Dr. Eichner discounts farm paper and other obligations in large ammounts.

History of Western Nebraska and Its People




   There has been no agency employed that is entitled to more credit for the development and advancement of Cheyenne county from its organization than, its newspapers. During the first years of the county's history there was not a newspaper published within its boundaries. The Sidney Telegraph clearly has the field in priority of journalism, in Cheyenne county and the Nebraska Panhandle. It was first issued in May, 1873, in stile being more like a pamphlet than the news sheet of today. It had four pages with four columns to the page. L. Connell was the publisher at its initiation. It was then bought by Joseph B. Gossage in the autumn of 1874, and the next year George C. Darrow became a partner in the ownership. The Telegraph was then published under the firm name of Joseph B. Gossage & Company. In 1878, a rival newspaper appeared, the Plaindealer, which was started by W. H. Michael. In 1881, this paper was sold to A. C. Drake who consolidated it with the Telegraph which he then owned. This gave the Telegraph-Plaindealer a clear field for some time. J. C. Bush bought it, and then Charles Callahan was the controlling spirit of the Telegraph for a number of years, "Plaindealer" being dropped from the name. For a long time now, H. E. Gapen has been the able editor. He is a good politician as well as an efficient newspaper man and the combination has led to the Telegraph taking the leading place in the local newspaper world. Mr. Gapen has served as county attorney five times and was later county judge.
   The files of the old Telegraph have contributed materially to the history of the county as herein recorded. J.F. Wellington ran the Sidney Democrat for a period about 1886-1887, but owing to a change of administration it ceased to exist.
   The Sidney Journal came into existence in 1888. It was supported by some politicians who were dissatisfied because the Telegraph sold space to the Democrats. They declared that the Telegraph, which was then managed by Charles C. Callahan, "had sold its birthright for a mess of pottage." The new paper won official patronage during 1890-1891, but its owner sold out. That paper was not successful and its publication ceased. The farmers rise in political prominence in 1890, brought new interest and a paper was started by L. C. Stockwell, but it too faded away in the hard years of 1894 and 1895.
   The Sidney Enterprise began its fourth year as a newspaper January 6, 1921. Its publishers, Perry and Caroline Coler, came from Kansas. They have a well equipped plant and publish an up-to-date paper. Mrs. Coler is a writer of prose and poetry. She has been known for many fine poems; the Sidney Woman's Club has accepted some of her work and the Choral Society has set some of her poems, to music. Sidney with its population of over three thousand is thus well served with newspapers.
   Honorable Charles H. Randall, now a member, of Congress from southern California, started the Western Nebraska Observer, at Antelopeville, now Kimball, in 1885. The paper is now known as the Kimball Observer, and was the second newspaper to appear, in the Panhandle and Cheyenne county outside of Sidney, for a number of years. Randall later published the "Centropolis World" which became "The World," then "The Early Day." It was consolidated by C. L. Burgess, with "The Advocate," and is now the Banner County News, issued at Harrisburg, Nebraska. In 1884 the Lodgepole Express was established. It was a small affair, started with donations and insufficient capital, and more than a quarter, of a century ago passed into the efficient hands of James C. Wolfe. The town plat had been filed July 10, 1884, shortly before the Express was started. James Wolfe was a pioneer of this region as he homesteaded north of Lodgepole in 1885, and is familiar with all the trials and hardships of life here at an early day, also the failures and discouragement's of the drought years. He published the Express for more than twenty-five years, and only recently sold it to Claude E. Grisham, the present efficient owner and editor. Mr. Grisham was formerly of Scottsbluff, a member of the staff of the Star Herald and later on the Re publican. In 1920, Lodgepole had a population of five hundred.
    The Potter Review was started in 1912, although prior to that date, years ago, there was a newspaper published there from about 1888 to 1891, called the Press. The first paper had quite a patronage at the time of final proof of claims for homeseekers but after that discontinued publication. When wheat became


History of Western Nebraska and Its People

the great agricultural crop in Cheyenne county there was a desire for a local paper for news around Potter and the Review was established. For a time it suspended but was revived. The present editor, H. Stevens, also owns the paper. The town plat of Potter was filed May 14, 1885, and today Potter has a population of over five hundred inhabitants. About 1913, J.W. and L.C. Thomas started the Dalton Herald. The original name is changed, the first owners gone. Tom Laley succeeded the Thomases. The locality is now served by the Dalton Delegate published by Don Fey Ermand. The paper was first established in 1914, and has a good circulation, being in fact the successor to the Herald. Dalton itself came into existence with the building of the Burlington railroad in 1901, and the town plat was filed April 4, 1906, and today Dalton has a population of three hundred and fifty people. This completes the roster of the newspapers of Cheyenne county which is well served by the newsy, well edited papers.




   The first fraternal organization in Cheyenne county was created by the Masons December 26, 1877. It was the Frank Welsh Lodge No. 75, A.F.& A.M. The charter was granted June 25, 1879, with the following men as charter members:
John A. Carley, Master
George W. Russell, Senior Warden
Julius Neubauer, Junior Warden
[In alphabetical order]
Dennis Carrigan
Henry Crohurst
A.C. Drake
Edward. S. Ebbs
John Glickauf
John W. Griffin
Norman F. Hazen
Robert G. Howard
Albert G. Persinger
Alfred Johnson
Robert S. Oberfelder
Henry Snyder
Peter Smith

   Only three of these original members were still alive in 1920; Messrs. Carrigan, Oberfelder and Persinger. The officers of the lodge at the present time are: Frank M. Wooldridge, Master; George Brewer, Senior Warden; John W. Johnson, Junior Warden; Leslie Neubauer, secretary and Leon Fine, treasurer.
   In 1908, the building at the corner of Rose street, now Center avenue, and Third street, was erected by the Masonic order and used for all meetings. The lodge is now contemplating the erection of a fine new temple to take the place of the first building. There are sixty Shriners in Sidney and they have a Shrine Club organized which has arranged social events that are attractive, pleasant and instructive.
   Following the organization of the Masonic lodge, an Order of Eastern Star came into existence and has had a consistent growth with the Masonic body and in 1920, was an active organization, with the following officers:

Mrs. Olive Agnew, Worthy Matron
Leon Fine, Worthy Patron
Mrs. C. P. Grant, Associate Matron
Mrs. Grace Simondynes, Conductress
Mrs. D. Saxon, Associate Conductress
Miss Esther Devine, secretary
Mrs. Julia Mann, treasurer
Mrs. Grace E. King Ada
Mrs. A. E. Ahrends, Ruth
Mrs. C. C. Jones, Esther
Miss Katheryn Greenlee, Martha
Mrs. J. J. McIntosh, Electa
Mrs. James Worden, chaplain
Mrs. C. L. Mann, organist;
Mrs. Anna Osborn, warden
Mrs. A. J. Jorgenson, marshal
Herman Schroeder, sentinel.

   The Modern Woodmen of America organized in Sidney in 1887, with twenty-two members. The lodge now has a hundred and six members. The Oberfelder brothers were active in establishing the Modern Woodmen in Cheyenne county and Joseph Oberfelder was state consul in 1917. The Woodmen have had a consistent growth from the start and are one of the strong organizations in the county today. The present officers are: Joseph Oberfelder, vice-consul V. F. Kucero, adviser; F. D. Wooldridge, banker F. M. Wooldridge clerk C. M. Wright, 0. R. Owens and Hugh D. Moore, trustees.

History of Western Nebraska and Its People


   Valiant Lodge No. 98, Knights of Pythias, was organized May 19, 1888, by the Grand Chancellor, O.L. Green of Kearney, with the following charter members:
[In alphabetical order]
W.F. Bassett
J.C. Bush
P.R. Borquist
J.A. Carley
L.B. Cary
T.B. Dawson
Morris Davis
J.Z. Denton
Dr. C. H. Fields
H.E. Gapin
Zig Gutfriend George W. Heist
C. S. Ickes
George W. Jenner
H.S. Kelter
E.O. Lee
J.J. McIntosh
J.W. Meyers
J. Neubauer J.W. Norval
Robert S. Oberfelder
J.E. Van Olinda
W. C. Reilly
Robert Shuman
T. St. Rayner
J.T. Theolecke
M.L. Tobin J.F,. Trinnier,
J.W. Vanderhoof
J.F. Wellington
R.J. Wallace

   The knights of Pythias has been a strong organization from the first with most of the prominent men among its members; many of the charter members are still alive and are today active in its councils.

    Sidney Lodge No. 196, Ancient Order of United Workmen was started in 1891, with thirty five members and the following officers:

Joseph Oberfelder, past master workman
George F. Blanchard, master workman
Charles Peterson, foreman
James R. Williams, overseer
Albert Armstrong, secretary
The officers in 1920 were:
Carl Muller, master workman
Everett Foster, foreman
John Daugherty, overseer
Herman Schoeder, treasurer
Joseph Oberfelder, financial secretary
Everett Foster, A.S. Ayle and W.J. Shoemaker, trustees.

   Today the Woodmen have a hundred and seventy-six members in Sidney.

   The Independent Order of Odd Fellows was established by the activities of Joseph Oberfelder, Joseph Taylor and J.G. Tate, (not of Portland, Oregon). Joseph Oberfelder has been a member of the State Finance Committee of the Odd Fellows since 1908. The present officers of the Sidney Lodge No. 91 are:

Oscar Hatcher, noble grand
J.C. Hatcher, vice grand
C.S. Chambers, past grand
Mr. Jones, secretary
C.M. Wright, treasurer
N.W. Olson, O.M. Harris and C.P. Chambers, trustees
Charles Couch is district deputy grand master

   The Odd Fellows is a very live organization living up to the tradition for charity for which it is noted. Naturally the Daughters of Rebecca are as active and have the usual social affairs in which the brother Odd Fellows participate, especially the popular suppers.

    The Degree of Honor has two lodge organizations in Sidney. Degree of Honor No. 122 is headed by Mrs. Anna Minshall as chief of honor; the other officers for 1921 are:

Goldie Sweet, lady of honor
Catherine Reiners, chief of ceremonies
Margaret Roth, usher
Minnie Leege, associate usher
Mayme Davis, treasurer
Ella Williams, recording financier
Lizzie Burkhardt, inside watch
V. Kucera, outside watch

    Dora Lodge, Degree of Honor is headed by Mrs. Herman Schroeder, as chief of honor.

    The Macabees are also represented in Sidney.

    The Knights of Columbus are active in Sidney as large classes are regularly initiated and the Catholic ladies serve fine banquets in St. Patrick's auditorium at such times.

     In Sidney the Sidney Community Association looks after all public enterprises and new industries and has a remarkable record for the good done for the city. President Buckner and Secretary Keppler have for the past year set an example of proficiency which the new officers say they are going to excel for the up building of the community. The following men are to make the attempt:

M. Dimery, president
E.L. Uptagrove, vice president
Leon Fine, treasurer
The following men are on the board of directors:
C.W. Hornaday
W.P. Miles
Frank Whitelock
W.H. Hodkin
W.E. Swartzlander
G.R. Buckner

    Sidney has an active gun club organized on January 9, 1920, which is booked for ten contests in 1921 with Fort Lupton, Greeley, Longmont, Pueblo, Wray, Yuma, Colorado Springs, Denver and Douglas, Wyoming. Scottsbluff or Alliance may be taken for the one vacant date on the schedule.

    All of the fraternal organizations of Cheyenne County have taken an active part in public and municipal affairs and the members are always on the lookout to assist in the development of the county and their own communities which shows the true western and progressive spirit. Twenty-two nights out of each month are lodge nights in Sidney.

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Contributed by Sandy Smith

© 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001 for NEGenWeb Project by Sandy Smith, Ted & Carole Miller