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History of Western Nebraska and Its People



    The story of the church in Cheyenne county is a romance of life in this section of the country. For the first few years after the building of the railroad, there were no towns and Sidney was small. The lack of permanent settlers made church activities of necessity supported almost entirely by outside contributions, and there were not many of these from 1869 to 1975. The "Panic of '73" and the difficulties of obtaining funds are still clearly remembered by the oldest settlers.
   It was about 1876 or 1877 that signs of a larger and permanent town became noticeable in Sidney. Elder T. B. Lemon of the Methodist Episcopal church brought a fearless minister of rather erratic tendencies into what was then considered the wilderness of sin of Cheyenne county and in the language of the time, "turned him loose." There was a man in Sidney at the time, a former judge, who said that if a church was established in the town he would move out. The minister heard of the remark and accepted the challenge. He began his work among the lowly and unfortunate but he was so earnest that people went to hear him. He gained in popularity, and within two years had raised funds among the people to buy a building in the, wildest district. The house which was a dance hall-to that date, was renovated and remodeled, and the first Methodist church was established by 1879. By this work this abode of sin and crime, became consecrated ground. As he had promised, the judge left Sidney after the church was founded and went to the Black Hills; later he became a changed man and a pillar of the Methodist church in the home he adopted. Rev. Turner was minister in, 1881. A little later Leslie. Stevens filled the pulpit. Stevens later, after service as county superintendent, went to China where he died.

Methodist Church, Sidney

   The beautiful new Methodist church of today, is built upon the identical spot where the fearless minister established his congregation forty-two years ago. The old building was torn down in 1884, and a larger one erected. L. D. Livingston, later of Pumpkin creek, was one of the men who helped in the building. A parsonage was built in 1889, and, in 1907, the church was remodeled. It served well until the congregation outgrew the building and members desired a newer and larger home. In 1918, the new edifice was built at an approximate cost of seventy thousand dollars and was dedicated April 13, 1919, by Bishop Matt S. Hughes. It is one of the finest church buildings in the Panhandle and in 1921, there are over three hundred members, while the Sunday School has an enrollment of over four hundred. Reverend T. Porter Bennett, the present pastor, is a man of unusual vitality and progressive spirit, and his usefulness is emphasized by a large growth in the membership.
   The Episcopalian church was the second established in Cheyenne county and Sidney. Reverend William Page Chase came here in 1879, and held services regularly from September,to May, 1880. After he left there were only occasional services held by missionaries of the Episcopal church. On May 2, 1880 Bishop Clarkson confirmed seven persons and then visited Sidney occasionally, holding services until 1884. Reverend John H. Babcock of North Platte, held services in March, 1886. Bishop Worthington, accompanied by Reverend Babcock made one visit in April, 1886, and baptized four children whose parents were members of the church. The Bishop organized a mission by the name of "Christ Mission," and appointed the following officers: Colonel E. W. Stone, warden; Andrew Haskell, treasurer; Fred H. DeCostro, clerk and Lieutenant Daniel Carnman, superintendent of the Sunday School. Colonel Stone was also, made lay reader. At this time eighteen persons partook of the Holy Communion and it was estimated that twenty families were connected with the church. Sixty dollars a month was pledged for a minister and the Masonic Order volunteered the use of its hall for church purposes. A church guild was organized with Mrs. Fred E.H. Ebstein, president; Mrs. Douglas, treasurer and, Mrs. Morgan, secretary At the request

History of Western Nebraska and Its People


of the Bishop, Mr. Babcock took charge May 26, 1886, and more than four hundred dollars was raised for church funds at a bazaar held at the Post Theatre in June of that year. A lot was donated by J. Thorn Clarkson and two more adjoining were purchased for three hundred and fifty dollars. Bishop Worthington gave three hundred dollars and the Guild the other fifty for the purchase price. These lots were deeded to the Cathedral Chapter of the Diocese of Nebraska in trust for the use of the church.
   During the fall of 1886, a small building fund was raised. F. M. Ellis of Omaha, drew plans for a church building and Thomas W. Walsh in November was awarded a contract for putting in a foundation. The corner stone was laid by the Masonic Order and Bishop Worthington, on November 23, 1886. A. Pease built the church which was completed and consecrated July 28, 1889. Reverend Callaghan McCarthy succeeded Mr. Babcock and Reverend Thomas W. Barry, chaplain of the United States army at Sidney Post, and Reverend Robert G. Osborn followed in turn. In 1920, Reverend Henry Ives has charge and is Dean of western Nebraska, including Kimball and Scottsbluff. He is faithful and unfailing in his stewardship of the trust which has been well rewarded with the results in church work. Right Reverend A. R. Graves and. Bishop George A. Beacher, were contemporaneous with this period, men of vast influence and service to the church.
   The Presbyterian church was established in this section at a later day. Today the work of this denomination is in the capable hands of Reverend Samuel Light. The church is growing and is representative of Sidney and Cheyenne county.
   Reverend L. L. Holmes, of, the Christian church is building substantial foundations of his denomination and his church is one of the newer ones that has had a fine growth in Sidney, as well as the county.
   The Catholic church usually a pioneer, was among the first to become established in Sidney. Father Conway used to come here from North Platte, and occasionally a priest from Cheyenne came both before and after 1880. Father Conway had the rectory built in 1883 and Vallie Williams says that there was a small frame church built here a few years carrier, about 1880. Father M. J. Barrett was the first resident priest, coming to Sidney in 1883. The parish then included Paxton and Ogallala, and later was made to include Oshkosh, Lisco, Bridgeport; Scottsbluff,, and Dalton. Reverend Waldron was put in charge of the parish in 1888, being followed by Reverend St. Lawrence in 1891, Reverend J. R. McGrath in 1893; Reverend J. F. McCarthy in 1895, Reverend J. J. Flood in 1899, who died and was buried in Sidney Catholic cemetery in 1902, Rev. J. P. DeVane was placed in charge after the death of Father Flood and was succeeded by Reverend T. D. Sullivan in 1904; Reverend James Dobson in 1907, who remained until 1912. That year the Diocese of Omaha was divided and the Diocese of Kearney created with James M. Duffie, of Cheyenne, Wyoming, as Bishop. Father Dobson left for the cast and his first assistant, Reverend Campman was in charge until June, 1913, when Father Anton Link, the present efficient priest was placed in charge, and Chappel, Lodgepole, Kimball and Angora were added to the parish.
   In August, 1912, the new stone church was commenced, the corner stone laid in October following, and it was completed and dedicated November 18, 1914. That year the old parish house was wrecked and a new modern parsonage erected. The church cost about thirty-five thousand dollars which was quite an undertaking for the members of the church.
   In 1915, a small frame school house was built and school began January 10, 1916. The beginning of the academy was undertaken reluctantly but the building was soon crowded. Five sisters of the Ursuline Community, of Louisville, Kentucky, arrived in December, 1915, to take charge of the school and by the spring of 1916, it was necessary to enlarge the school. The first part of the academy cost twenty-five thousand dollars, and, in 1920 it was enlarged by an addition costing a hundred thousand dollars. This was dedicated January 7, 1921. Fifteen sisters are now members of the teaching force of the school and there is an attendance of a hundred and seventy-five day scholars and a hundred and twenty-five boarders who live at a distance.
   Sidney has two Lutheran churches. The English Evangelical Lutheran, presided over by Reverend Kahl, who also has Gurley charge of Reverend Karl Fenske, and the Trinity Lutheran church, is under the guidance of E. Borgmeyer and is called Southeast Trinity.
   The Methodist Episcopal church at Lodgepole recently dedicated a new church building, Bishop Homer C. Stuntz, officiating, assisted by District Superintendent Dr. M. E. Gilbert and Reverend Henry F. Martens who was appointed to this charge in 1918. The consecration ceremonies occurred in December, 1920. This church was established in the Union Pacific depot January 1, 1893. A stone church was dedicated


History of Western Nebraska and Its People

the following year with Reverend Dr. Shank, the editor of the Omaha Christian Advocate, as master of ceremonies. It took nearly ten years to pay off the debt and mortgage on the building. J. R. Young, Fred Lehmkuhl, Lewis A. Ganson, Charles N. Coates and John F. Ganson were the members of the building committee of the old stone church. The building committee of the new church were R. 0. Bond, H. L. Lucke, F. H. Wolf, B. J. Watson, W. T. Hafer, and Pred Lehmkuhl. The last named, served on both building committees. The corner stone of the new building was laid July 2, 1920, by Grand Master Joseph B. Fradenburg, of the Masonic order of Nebraska. The edifice cost thirty-five thousand dollars. Reverend A. W. Amsbury held the first quarterly conference here January 21, 1893, and the constitution of the church was drafted by J. F. Ganson and Charles N. Coates.
   Gurley has a live Methodist Episcopal organization and church with Reverend Coffman in charge. Potter has three churches, and as has been usual in this county, the Methodist church was pioneer, and is most active. Reverend Chas. O. Troy is pastor.
   Trinity Lutheran and Catholic churches each are here provided.
Although not a church organization, the Women's Christian Temperance Union is associated with its work in many particulars. The organization has been in existence in Cheyenne county for many years. The local institution at Potter is particularly virile, and has done much excellent work. Mrs. A. J. Woten is the present executive head and is ably directing it for civic and communal good.
   In addition to the churches mentioned and those in the interior of the county rural districts, a tribute should be paid to the congregations that Assembled in sod houses, log huts and dug outs in the days when the grangers were spreading over the western prairies and before churches were built. Services and Sunday schools were held in every neighborhood and volunteer laymen were everywhere doing their part in religious work.
   Shortly after the reelection of judge Francis G. Hamer as district judge of the enormous district then comprising the greater portion of the western end of the state, a complimentary banquet was tendered him at the old Railroad eating house at Sidney on December 14, 1887. The mere mention of the time and the place would prove that in modern parlance, "some time" was had by all those who were fortunate enough to be present. A roster of those who were present will serve to awaken many memories and it will also serve as a pretty complete directory of those who took a prominent part in the local and district governmental affairs of the large territory then embraced in Cheyenne county. Naturally there were not very many resident lawyers in that vicinity at that date, so in this list will be found the mention of numerous other attorneys who used to journey to Sidney when court was in, session there. Surviving members of this list have assured the compiler that this occasion was one that had not been forgotten in the thirty-three years since it took place, and that they had experienced no social occasion that could come up to this one.
   Those recorded as being present were: Hon. Geo. W. Heist, toastmaster; F. G. Hamer, guest of honor; General H. A. Morrow; Major J. J. McIntosh; Attorneys J. J. Halligan, E. M. Day, of Ogallala; judge Lacey, of Cheyenne; J. E. Alexander; J. W. Bartholemew, of Grand Island; J. W. Brewster, Court Reporter; J. M. Adams, Register of United States Land Office; C. B. Blakeley, Receiver of United States Land Office; Major George Laing, C. D Esseg, Judge J. J. Neubauer; City Councilman M. T. Tobin, C., Trognitz, Joseph Oberfelder; County judge A. Pease, Postmaster A. J. Brennan, L . B. Cary, County Clerk elect, P. L. Smith, County Commissioner, W. P. Miles, judge Shuman, judge J. W. Norvell, W. C. Reilley, Thos. Kane, City Marshal; judge W. S. Beall; Henry St. Rayner; E. O. Lee; J. F. Wellington, of the Democrat, and J. C. Bush of the Telegram.
   The Bar of Cheyenne county has been represented by men of ability and sound judgment since the courts were established. The first lawyers to practice in Sidney and Cheyenne county were Messrs. Heist, Bierbower, Kane and Norval. Many other lawyers have been mentioned on other pages of this history where their many activities in the interests of the county have been recounted.
   The present members of the Cheyenne County Bar are: W. P. Miles, the oldest member and dean; H. E. Gapen, J. L. McIntosh, Joseph Oberfelder, A. Warren, Paul Martin, C. S. Radcliffe, W. H. Hodgkin, Thomas Powell and J. L. Tewell. Many hard and difficult cases have been fought,won and lost in the county by the well know lawyers and at all times their integrity and

History of Western Nebraska and Its People


high standards have been maintained. As a rule, the community now is not involved extensively in litigation.
   In the early days there were few physicians in Cheyenne county, but with the gradual settlement, doctors came into this wild, newly settled country and here became established to aid and succor the people. The first physician was Dr. Boggs, who served a large part of the county around Sidney. He was followed by Dr. J.G. Ivy in the fall of 1878. The first dentists in this section were the Urmy brothers. With the passing years well known professional men have opened offices and today the medical fraternity is well represented by the following: Doctors Mantor, Eichner, Roche, Taylor, Simons, Schwartzlander, regular physicians: Doctors Donahoe, Pettibone, Webster and Witham, dentists; Dr. Montgomery, optician and Dr. Barger, osteopath. Dr. A.J. James is the physician at Potter.




    Immediately upon the entrance of the United States into the World War, Cheyenne county organized for practical cooperation, determined to help the government in every way. The prominent business men and bankers of the different towns formed a county council of defense. The different bond drives were organized and successfully carried out and all went over to the top. The people in every community assembled in their halls, churches and school rooms and the interest manifested by them was remarkable. The complete list of the men who served in the army and navy. from Cheyenne county has been sent to National Headquarters but the First National Bank of Sidney compiled as complete a list as it is possible to obtain at this time, which is as follows: Anderson, Royal; Andrews, Glenn M.; Anderson, Emery Evert; Aldrich, J.; Armstrong, Raymond William; Anderson, Emil; Anderson, Edward Christian; Ahlm, Sexton David V. Bangert, Harry Fred; Brott, John L Peter; Bassett, Kenneth; Blackwell, Wesley; Bryan, Lloyd McKinley; Bartholamew, Leo A.; Bentley, Charlton B.; Bolm, William A.; Burkland, Edgar; Borquist, Carl August; Baumbach, Herman R.; Brachtenbach, John; Bennett, Geo. Elmer; Baker, George; Baker, Harry B.; Bixby, Harry L.; Bates, Glen; Bennett, John Wesley; Baliff, Lee M.; Cook, Funston; Costello, John; Collins, John Era; Coons, John Willet; Carey, George Howard; Cheeney, Walter Aney; Coder, Ralph; Clark, Robert Glenwood; Christensen, Andrew; Closman, Ebson John; Couch Asa Thomas; Coates, Roy; Caldwell, Fred; Couch, James Clarence; Copeman, Andrew C.; Cook, Simmons W.; Cushing, Fred A.; Clinton, Ray Lawrence; Chambers, Allen; Chambers, Guy; Clark, Carl; Cook, Delbert; Davis, James;




Davis Walter F.; Daniel, Lee Marion; Durnell, Lennie; Dedrick, Russell Franklin; Dedrick, Guy Clayton; DiMarks, Joe; Dowing, Oliver Holden; Doofe, Henry; Dunbar, Charles T.; Denny, Alva H.; Durnell, Roy Forest; Durnell, Earl; Evens, William; Edner, Alfred; Ellis, David; Ehmke, Herman; Farr, Charles; Fenske, Oscar E.; Fuller, James Hubert; Francis, Clarence; Fine, Samuel; Flora, Floyd F.; Fine, Joseph; Greenlee, Albert David; Gould, Ernest P.; Grabill, Isaac Elmer Jr.; Grant, Lawrence C.; Gould, Henry; Gould, William;


History of Western Nebraska and Its People

Griffith, Ferl; Green, Albert; Heinzman, Paul; Harper, John W.; Hargens, William; Hajeck, Alonis; Hatcher, Grover; Herbert, Francis James; Heise, Paul; Henrickson, William August; Harmsen, August; Hite, Guy Victor; Hutchinson, Carl Henry; Hahler, Frank; Henke, Peter; Hopkins, Oliver Lee; Hornby, Paul D.; Hink, Otto P.; Haiston, Frank E.; Hedges, Allen; Hulslander, C.A.; Johnson Henry Iven; Johnson, Oscar N.; Judd, Soloman; Johnson, Ralph Palmer; Jones, Henry C.; Jones, Hugh T.; Jackson, Glenn; Johnson, Albert; Kluck, Rudolph; Kucera, Joseph T.; Kottwitz, Henry Chas.; Konlroulis, Mike; Knudson, Knud Olaf; Greuger, Elmer Jay; Kelley, Emerson W.; King, F.A.; Kucera, James; Kretz, Winfield; Larson, Charles A.; Loval, William Carl; Lingwall, John Albert; Ledbetter, Carl; Lampros, Alex; Lorimore, Kenneth Claire; Langhram, James Arthur; Lauritsen, William; Lindberg, Oscar R.R.; Lund, Leonard F.; Lewis, David G.; Livoni, Max; Ledbetter, Frank; McGrane, James M.; McDaniel, James Willis; McKinney, Fred Alvin; McMillan, Clyde Harold: McKean, Elroy; McFadden, John; Mills, R.C.; Meier, Marhew; Mauero, Angelo; Mahlke, Ernest; Martin, Llewellyn; Mead, George Wesley; Moore, Sidney Allen; Marvin, Ernest; Mickley, William; Mariotte, Lewis; Marson, Clarence Lewis; Miller, Lawrence William; Martin, Paul L.; Miller, Don Leo; Mann, C.L.; Mohatt, James; Milett, C.P.; Melroes, Harry; Mitchell, James; Mikkelson, Bert; Neilson, Christian Emil; Neil, Fred Lee; Neilson, Jens; Otten, Oakley; Osborne, Jess; Oberfelder, Irving T.; Pavlat, Frank; Pappis, George; Peetz, John; Price, Milo Earl; Pindell, Isaac Lee; Panabaker, Earling F.; Parks, John Clayton; Perry, Clarence Harvey; Parks, Charles Fred; Pierce, Wm. E.; Perry, Charles; Robinson, Henry Andrew; Roberts, Russell C.; Raddatz, Alfred John; Russell, Verne Wesley; Runge, Frederick; Runge, Edward; Reisdorff, Jake; Ruttner, Edward; Roche, R.E.; Spearow, Herschel; Spearow, Lynn; Simodynes, Joseph; Sauer, Hughlen O.; Schimpy, Frederick C.; Shoemaker, Edward Joseph; Stikal, Joe J.; Straight, Albert Peter; Sullivan, John Lawrence; Semoian, Naazov; Sparks, Harry; Stratta, James; Shea, Thomas Lawrence; Schroeder, Frank Rudolph; Stowell, David; Schwartz, Harry Benjamine; Schroeder, Sidney Albert; Straight, Walter F.; Spitler, Roy C.; Swanson, Lynn Theodore; Slawson, Hugh; Studt, Fred; Schwartz, Francis; Troidl, Michael; Tewell James Leonard; Tompsett, Thomas V.; Vacik, Jerry C.; Vaughn, Fred W.; Venturelli, Antionio; Walsh, William, Stephen; Wilburn, John Ernest; Wills, Pearl; Wright, Charles Thomas; Wise, Earl; Willis, Grover Cleveland; Wilson, Alva Williams; Wooldridge, Clark; White, Arthur C.; Willis, Wm.; Wright, Elmer; Wright, Clarence; Wright, Milton; Wallace, Gerald; Wallace, Cyril; Witters, John.
    The Legion of Honor was organized at Sidney by the returned soldiers, also at Lodgepole and Potter. The Sidney organization has about a third of the returned veterans of Cheyenne county on its rolls. The organization at Potter was established in January 1921, that at Lodgepole was earlier. Attorney Martin was the head of the Legion in Sidney last year and the present officers are: Morley Pearson, commander; I.L. Pindell, vice commander; Frank Schroeder, financier; Roy Greenlee, Adjutant and Charles Marsh, Sergeant at arms.
    Soon after the outbreak of hostilities of the World War a chapter of the American Red Cross was established in Cheyenne County and did valiant service throughout the war, and is now engaged in splendid work of relief at home. Mrs. C.W. West was head of the Sidney organization and proved an excellent executive. Leon Fine, the retiring treasurer of the Sidney Red Cross Society turned over to successor ten-thousand, two hundred and seventy-five dollars, which testifies to the growth and stability of the organization at the present time.
    In all the history of the Panhandle, Cheyenne county and Sidney will hold their places in the progress and development of the section. From Sidney has radiated that civilization and progressive spirit that has changed the Panhandle from a wilderness to the home of a rich farming community, today a wide reach of land that is rich and fertile. The start was made by the building of the Union Pacific railroad; the building of the Burlington has given Cheyenne county a strategic position, as it has also Sidney, which will become a distributing center for the two lines of railroad. Though Cheyenne county is much reduced in size from the "old Cheyenne" county, it has retained rich land of great fertility. A large portion of the county is suitable for cultivation. There is little waste land and only a small part is rough. Cheyenne bids well to become one of the richest counties in the Panhandle.

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Contributed by Sandy Smith

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