NEGenWeb Project - Arthur County
Who's Who in Nebraska, 1940
Carl C. Crouse
RTHUR COUNTY came into existence as a geographical unit in 1887 when the Nebraska legislature divided that section of the state into counties. Arthur County, named in honor of President Arthur, was a strip of sandhill country, twenty-four miles north and south and thirty miles east and west and contained an area of 721 square miles.
With the exception of Arthur County, which did not have the population of 200 required by law, all the counties set aside at that time organized within a comparatively short time. At first this county remained under the jurisdiction of Logan County; but in 1889, when McPherson County organized we came under its watchful care.
The census of 1890 gave Arthur County a population of 91, and as there seemed to be no indication of further growth, a petition was presented to the commissioners of McPherson County asking that an election be held for the purpose of uniting the two counties. Some of the people of Arthur County refused to sign the petition but the question was voted on at the regular fall election in 1891. The record and traditions as to how the county voted are rather confusing and contradictory, but the only known record shows a 2 to 1 vote against the union. The commissioners of McPherson County, on the strength of this election, declared the two counties one, even though the statutes made no provision for the annexation of an unorganized county by an organized one. Thus after a short and uneventful life Arthur County lost its name and place among the sovreign counties of the state.
When the Kinkaiders began coming fifteen years later, they knew nothing of Arthur County except that the name appeared on a few old maps. The older settlers all supposed the annexation legal and it had been so recognized by both the state and the national government.
But there came a time when McPherson County was as glad to be rid of her adopted Arthur, as Arthur was happy to achieve an independent existence. Shortly after the Kinkaiders came in, an attempt was made to move the county seat from Tryon to Flats, a point near the center of the combined counties, and it nearly carried.
In 1913, success attended efforts to have the forest reserve opened for settlement. This region covered about one-half the present Arthur County and Tryon saw clearly that the increased population to the west would be the means of her losing the county seat fight. As early as March 31, 1911, public agitation for the organization had begun in Arthur County. In 1913 the state legislature passed an act especially recognizing the county's right to organize. Thus after nearly twenty-five years, Arthur County came back to the map of Nebraska.
On June 21, 1913 the three county commissioners, J. R. Hawkins, Fred A. Heath and Osburn J. Marshall, with County Clerk George H. Cullinan, all of whom had been appointed by Governor Morehead for the purpose, met and organized. This date can therefore be rightfully considered the birthday of Arthur County, Nebraska's youngest organized county. The one duty of these appointed officials was to call an election to choose a full slate of county officers and to decide upon a location for a county seat. Cradled in a great wave of enthusiasm and with the blessing of most of the people of McPherson County, Arthur County came back with a bang. A few reactionary individuals started court proceedings to have the whole thing declared void and illegal, but all they accomplished was a slight delay.
In the spring of 1914, hundreds of new Kinkaiders moved into Arthur County's forest reserve. The geographical center of the county, in the reserve, had been chosen for the county seat at the election previously mentioned and with the coming of the new settlers and the close of the court proceedings, the village of Arthur sprang into full being. The courthouse, several residences, business houses, schools and churches were established that year. There has been a slow but steady growth since. In 1930 the population of the village was 142 and now it is well over the 200 mark.
Initial expenses were heavy and a bonded debt of $25,000 was incurred during the first few years. The last payment on this debt was made on July 1, 1939 and a substantial cash balance is in the hands of the treasurer. All through the depression Arthur County met every obligation with cash payments.
Topographically, Arthur County is spoken of as a sandhill county. To a certain extent this is true. Rough, choppy hills of well grassed sandy soil are found in all sections of the county and are perhaps one of the outstanding features. John Bratt, the early cow baron in this section of the country, in his "Trails of Yesterday" mentioned that the part of Arthur County in which he was interested more than 60 years ago, was known as the Lake Country and he mentions some of the lakes by names which they still retain. Extending into every part of the county these lakes are bordered by wonderful hay meadows, some of them
producing hundreds of stacks of good bay. There are also many so-called dry valleys with slopes running to the south. The land in these valleys and slopes is very fertile and produces crops of corn, rye, potatoes and other crops, as well as a good grade of upland hay. Perhaps one-third of our area consists of these good valleys and slopes.
Early settlers who came here sixty years ago or a little later, grew corn on their valley land and tried to collect several cattle. Homesteads were 160 acres in size. Owing to low prices and other difficulties of that pioneer era, they did not, generally speaking, remain longer than the time required by law in order to obtain patents to their land. Frequently they sold their holdings for a mere song; perhaps a team and wagon, a few cows or horses, etc. In this way much of the best land of the county passed into the hands of larger outfits. That population of 91 in 1890 increased not one from that time until the influx of the Kinkaiders. People were constantly moving in and then away after five years. Not only on the county records but in all the hay valleys, evidence of the former population and their cultivation can be found. Also the mounds marking the sites of the settlers soddies still can be located although they are now covered with hay and mowed every year. Arthur County slept on with nothing to indicate it would ever become a land of permanent homes and schools.
Only in the northeast corner, in the lake country loved by John Bratt and Buffalo Bill, was there any permanent development on a community basis. Here two rural schools, still being used, were established forty-five or more years ago. Here Lena, the first and only postoffice for many years in the county, was established about fifty years ago. A Fourth of July celebration was held here as early as 1895 with more than one hundred Pioneers present. Today death and removal have practically eliminated the pre-Kinkaid population. Their numbers, now including those of part pre-Kinkaid descent, would be approximately one-half of that ninety-one.
The real settlement and development of this county took place with the passage of the Kinkaid law in 1904 and it was not until about two years later that the possibilities to be found here became known to the world at large. The available land was all taken under the provisions of that act which gave the settler 640 acres. This allowed each settler enough land to enable him to look forward to having forty or fifty head of cattle, which with his crops of corn, rye, vegetables, alfalfa hay, poultry and hogs would bring him a good living.
At this time schools were established in every community and at the time of the settlement of the forest reserve in 1914, that territory was also organized into school districts. A square township is often a school district and altogether we have twenty-seven schools in our twenty townships.
Thus education is a real problem to many parents living here, but the school system is in good condition financially.
The county high school was born along with the county organization, but for several years attendance was very small. It has gradually grown through the years and now is about sixty. Graduating classes are usually about a dozen in size but in 1938 eighteen were graduated.
Union Sunday school and church missionaries began to come here in the nineties and from that early time to the present this county has always been interested in work of the church. Several churches both in and out of the county are looking after the spiritual needs of the community.
Many of the Kinkaiders were young single persons and in some cases marriage effected the consolidation of separate units of land. Consolidations through purchase by the Kinkaiders who stayed and by other people who moved in, has reduced the number of Arthur County families to less than three hundred, with a present population of about thirteen hundred. There are several large ranching units in the county. The estate of the late Ed P. Mayers, who homesteaded a one hundred sixty acre tract over fifty years ago, laid the foundation of a vast ranching empire extending into other counties and states. The holdings now consist of one hundred sections of land in this county and here the ranch headquarters still remain. Other large ranches extend into this county and some have their headquarters here. But the greater part of this area is still controlled by the resident land owners and ranchers. These smaller ranches with from one section or less, up to several sections are the strength and hope of a golden future for Arthur County. A little farming, a bunch of Hereford cattle, some milk cows, hogs and turkeys together with plenty of hay is the picture of the average ranch.
Our people are generally prosperous and are facing the future with a confidence born of the knowledge that one doesn't have a complete failure in the sandhills. In most cases active ranch operations have passed from the hands of the original owners to the younger generation.
Sixty years ago buffalo, deer and, antelope were to be found in the valleys. Lakes are still covered with ducks and prairie chickens are still found here. The pheasant is making a name for himself and the howl of the coyote is still heard in the night.
Gradually we have learned the ways of hills and valleys. More emphasis is placed on the stock cow and milk pail. The original methods of farmIng have given way to the present system that aims to keep the soil covered as much of the time as possible and to keep the cattle always off the fields.
Thus we have passed through sixty years of development since the first white settlers moved in.
COLE, LEON MINOR: County Clerk; b Strang, Neb Sept 5, 1903; s of D D Cole-Anna M Eck; ed Arthur HS; m Ruth E Wilson Aug 27, 1927 North Platte; d Shirley Ann, Beverly Bea; 1909-23 homesteaded in Arthur Co with father under Kinkaid act; 1923-29 assoc editor Arthur Co Enterprise; 1929- co clk, clk of dist court in Arthur Co; 1936- mbr dist sch bd; IOOF; Rep; hobby, collecting Indian relics; res Arthur.
CROUSE, CARL CHRISTOPHER: Publisher; b Traer, Kas Jan 20, 1886; s of Jesse W Crouse-Lena Christopher, ed Parkersburg Ia HS; Emanuel Missionary Coll, Berrien Co Mich; m Aura Wemple June 13, 1910 Ogallala; s Phillip Jesse, Carl Andrew, Robert Judson; d Eva May (Mrs R L Sizer), Josephine Ellen; 1907 homesteaded in Arthur Co, under Kinkaid law; 1911-14 estab newspaper in Arthur Co; 1936- owner publisher Arthur Co Enterprise, offcl paper; 1911-31 P M at Calora; past mbr sch bd; NPA: Arthur Comml Club; Arthur Co Hist Soc; res Calore.
CULLINAN, HARRY HUBERT: Stockman & Rancher; b Los Angeles, Cal July 12, 1888; s of Joseph F Cullinan-Catherine A Pelroy; ed Sioux City Ia HS; m Florence Viola Heldt Apr 10, 1914 North Platte; s Marvin Victor (dec), Joseph Edward, Robert Lee; d Dorothy May, Helen Lenore, Catherine Mildred, Mary Ann; 1907-12 teleg opr for C&NW RR: 1912- homesteaded in Arthur Co under Kinkaid law, now owner opr 2000 A ranch in Sunnyside Valley, runs approximately 200 head; 1921- P M Bucktail; 1919- engaged in sale of comml iodine to stock growers & introduced use of potassium iodine on ranches to avoid dependence upon commercially iodized feeds; Natl Assn of P Ms; Meth Ch: Dem; hobby, polities; res Bucktall.
DOLPH, EDWARD GARDINER: Stockman & Rancher; b Corning, Ia May 20, 1876; s of Edward Morton Dolph-Rosa Anna Pike; ed Boone Co; m Theresia Christine Hoffman Nov 8, 1904 Sedalia Mo (dec); 1883 came to Boone Co with father, foreman of ranch; 1889-98 lived in Sedalia Mo with parents; 1898-1904 worked for Santa Fe RR in Tex; 1904-09 in groc bus with father, Sedalia Mo; 1909-11 opr coal mine, Pella Ia; 1911-18 farmed near Elgin; 1914- homesteader in Arthur Co, owner & opr 2000 A ranch, running 100 head of stock under E Bar D brand; 1936- P M Carmen; 1915- owner opr gen store, Carmen; 1920-24 Arthur Co commr, past mbr dist sch bd; IOOF; during World War Arthur Co Food Administrator; Bapt Ch; Rep; hobby, hunting; res Carmen.
GOSLIN, JAMES RUSSELL: Auctioneer, b Springview, Neb Mar 28, 1892; s of Charles Goslin-Martha Roberts; ed near Springview: m Julia V Hurlburt Nov 17, 1916 Arthur; d Phyllis Jean; 1913-16 homesteaded in Arthur Co under Kinkaid law; 1916-34 owner opr ranch 1300 A; 1923- auctioneer Arthur Co; 1929- in real est & ins bus; past mbr sch bd; stockholder in Arthur Co-op Bank; IOOF 312; Meth Ch; Rep; hobbies, hunting, fishing; res Arthur.
HARTMAN, FRED CHRISTIAN: County Judge, Stockman; b Saxony, Germany Feb 28, 1880; s of Frederick Hartman-Katherine Gearhart; ed Buffalo Co; m Alice Hyatt Jan 9, 1900 Broken Bow; s Ralph Herbert, Howard Albert; d Leila Vienna (Mrs Summers); 1880 came to Dodge Co from Germany when 7 weeks old; 1883-96 with parents homesteaded in Buffalo Co; 1896-1900 worked on ranches in Neb; 1901-05 farmed Buffalo Co; 1906-13 farmed in Custer Co; 1913-14 in restaurant bus, Merna; 1914-37 homesteaded in Arthur Co under Kinkaid act; 1937- co judge, still retains int in ranch of 1240 A, leases 1290 A, runs 170 head of cattle; MWA; AOUW; road overseer Custer Co; sch bd; assessor; mbr allotment coin soil conservation program; dir Fed Land Bank, Arthur Co Assn; Bapt Ch; Dem; hobby, aiding public welfare; res Arthur.
HAYTHORN, WALTER P: Stockman & Rancher; b Ogallala, Neb Aug 3, 1894; s of Harry Haythorn-Emma Gilpin; ed Ogallala HS; Grand Island Bus Coll; m Hazel Menter Aug 16, 1914 Sioux City; s Waldo Paul; father came to Neb 1888, worked as trail boss driving beef herds from Tex to Ogallala; homesteaded in Arthur Co, ranch now consists of 50,000 A, approximately 3500 head under 4 brand; Neb Stockgrowers Assn; AF&AM 159; Episc Ch; Rep; hobbies, flying & hunting; res Arthur.
HEATH, FRED ARTHUR: Stockman; b Platt Co, Ill June 30, 1862; s of Frederick Heath-Flavilla Whitford; ed Platt Co; m Bertha Borden Jan 2, 1890 Kenesaw; s Loren Alonzo, Lloyd Henry; 1884-87 farmed near Lowell; 1888-93 homesteaded, farmed Hayes Co; 1898-1906 farmed in Harlan Co, opr Neb Farmer Experimental Farm; 1906-09 pur, opr ranch near Naponee; 1909-34 homesteaded in Arthur Co under Kinkaid act, developed ranch of 1300 A; 1913-15 apptd first Arthur Co commr by Neb gov; past mbr sch bd; 1934- ret; pres Arthur Co Hist Soc; Neb Stockgrowers Assn; Bapt Ch; Dem;, hobby, pump irrigation; res Arthur.
HUFFMAN, IRA E: Rancher & Stockman; b Union Co, Ia June 28, 1882; s of Edmund Huffman-Emma K Bachtell; ed Arthur Co; m Florence Melissa VanMeter Nov 12, 1913 Fairfield; s Marvin Merle; d Emma Margaret (Mrs R D Melvin), Henrietta, Mae; 1887-94 lived in Box Butte Co; 1894- father homesteaded in Arthur Co; aided father in developing ranch now consisting of 15,000 A running 1,200 head of cattle; past mbr sch bd; Neb Stockgrowers Assn, IOOF 312; Episc Ch; hobby, travel; res Lena.
LANE, DAVID ALBERT: Rancher & Stockman;; b Doniphan Co, Kas Mar 2, 1868; s of Robert B Lane-Mary Jane Baker; ed Pottawatomie Co Kas; m Mary D Theman Dec 23, 1892 Corning Mo; s Louie Robert. William Franklin, David Oral, Charles Theman; d Anna Pearl (Mrs W R Quick); 1985-88 farmed in Nodaway Co Mo; 1888-95 farmed near Corning Mo; 1895-1904 farmed near Falls City; 1964-17 homesteaded in Hayes Co; 1917- farmer & stock raiser on 3000 A ranch in Arthur Co, past mbr sch bd; 10 years Arthur Co commr; Rep; hobbies, hunting, fishing; res Lewellen.
MONHART, JOSEPH: Stockman; b Libushin, Bohemia July 26, 1892; s of Frank H Monhart-Barbara ___; ed Wayne Kas HS; m Winnie Stafford June 26, 1916 North Platte; s Billie Joe; d Barbara Elizabeth (Mrs Boyd Nielson), Bonnie (Mrs Boyd Eberspecher), Lucille, Frances; 1903 came to US with parents; 1914- homesteader in Arthur Co, owner-opr ranch running stock under Lazy JN brand; 1935- Arthur Co treas; IOOF; MWA; Bapt Ch; Dem; hobby, music; res Arthur.
PIERSON, MRS MAUDE ARVESTA: Druggist; b Concordia, Kas Nov 29, 1888; d of Milton Maddox- Lucinda Bell; ed Concordia Kas HS; m E R Pierson Feb 1, 1905 Overton; s Robert Loree; d Gladys Marie (Mrs E N Shaw); 1902-03 tchr near Concordia Kas; 1903-04 tchr near Sumner; 1914 moved to Arthur Co; 1929 with husband in oprn drug store until his death 1934, owner since; 1914-27 taught five terms in Arthur Co schools intermittently; 1927-29 tchr Arthur; Bapt Ch; Rep; hobby. travel; res Arthur.
REICHENBERG, WILLIAM FREDERICK: Rancher & Stockman; b Hanover, Germany Nov. 10, 1860; s of Heinrich Reichenberg-Wilhelmina Stolze; ed Hanover Germany; m Mina Shwerdtfeyer Nov 14, 1885 Hanover Germany (dec); s William, Paul, Carl, Frederick, August, Henry, George, John; d Marie (Mrs Charles Englebreck); 1874-93 cabinet maker, Hanover Germany; 1893-1909 settled in Parkersburg Ia, carp; 1908- owner opr ranch in Arthur Co, also carp; 1917-18 Arthur Co commissioner; Bapt Ch; Rep; hobbies, reading, walking; res Arthur.
REYNOLDS, MARSHALL BERNARD: Attorney; b St Johns, Mich May 15, 1888; s of H W Reynolds- Nancy D Newman; ed St Johns Mich; Omaha U, 1921-25; m Bernice E Miles Aug 23, 1916 Omaha; d Marion Bernice; 1910-25 in hotel & restaurant work, Omaha; 1925 adm to bar; 1925-35 prac law, Omaha; 1935- in abstracting bus, Arthur Co also co atty; old age assistance dir, Arthur Co; secy Arthur Co fair bd; registrar of vital
statistics, 1928 candidate for state legislature; Neb St Bar Assn; MWA; AF&AM; Meth Ch; Rep; hobby, child welfare; res & off Arthur.
SHAHEEN, MIKE: Merchant; b Arab, Syria July 25, 1876; s of Joseph Shaheen-Helen Lemon; ed Syria; m Mabel David, May 1907 Arab Syria; s Toy James, George, Kenneth; d Gladys Anna, Madelia, Marguerite, Julia, Martha, Eva, Helen; 1895-1900 traveling mcht in Ill, Ia, Neb; 1900-06 estab & oprd gen mdse store in O'Neill; 1906-10 visited Syria; 1910-13 owner gen store in Ray Springs; 1914- owner gen store, Arthur; IOOF; Greek Orthodox Ch; Rep; hobby, walking; res Arthur.
SIMON, LOYAL FAIRMAN: County Superintendent of Schools; b Hamilton, Ill June 8, 1902; s of William Simon-Allie Symmonds; ed Arthur HS; CSTC, BA 1930; m Myrtle Hagler Dec 28, 1934 Alliance; d Marian Jean; 1931-38 tchr Arthur HS; 1933-34 asstd father on ranch in Arthur Co; 1934- co supt of schs; Arthur Co Hist Soc; hobbies, fishing, hunting; res Arthur.
SIMON, WILLIAM: Rancher Stockman; b Hancock Co, Ill Aug 9, 1872; s of Henry Simon-Eva Wyman; ed Hancock Co Ill; m Allie Symmonds Oct 5, 1898 Hamilton Ill; s Loyal Fairman, George Lynn, Alva William (dec); d Lita Mary (Mrs W E Wilson), Edna Hazel (Mrs Lloyd Heath); 1895-1904 farmed in Hancock Co Ill; 1904-06 farmed in Clarke Co Mo; 1906-14 farmed in Kearney Co; 1914- homesteader in Arthur Co; owner opr ranch, 97 brand; sch bd; 14 yrs pct assessor; Melrose P M 17 years; IOOF; Bapt Ch: Dem; hobbies, hunting, fishing; res Arthur.
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