Location, Natural Features, Etc. | Water Powers|
Means of Communication | County Schools
Political Organization | Early History
Albion: Present Condition | Schools | Churches | Societies|
The Press | Hotels | Business | Biographical Sketches
St. Edward: Local Institutions|
Biographical Sketches: Beaver Precinct
Cedar Rapids: Biographical Sketches
Biographical Sketches: Cedar Precinct
Plum Creek Precinct | Boone Precinct
List of Illustrations in Boone County Chapter
Boone County Names Index
BOONE County is in the fifth tier west of the Missouri and the third north of the Platte. Its boundaries, as defined by statute, are as follows: "Commencing at the southwest corner of Township 18 north, of Range 8 west; thence east along the northern boundary of the Pawnee Reservation to a point where the dividing line between Ranges 4 and 5 intersects the same; thence north to the northeast corner of Township 22 north, of Range 5 west; thence west to the northwest corner of Township 22 north, of Range 8 west, thence south to place of beginning."
The county has an area of 634 square miles, or 437,760 acres. Of this, nearly half was chosen by the Burlington & Missouri Railroad as part of the vast grant which it received from the Government. About twelve thousand acres fell to the Union Pacific in its twenty-mile belt of territory through the State. The remainder, except what has been taken up by actual settlers, is still in the hands of the General Government, and is subject to the homestead, pre-emption and timber acts. Over one hundred thousand acres of such land now lies vacant, waiting for occupation. For some years, the Burlington & Missouri lands were withheld from the market, owing to a difficulty with the county which will be explained in the county history; and the result was a severe set-back to the growth of the country. Lately, however, the lands have been offered at extremely low rates, and every inducement extended to actual settlers who would buy. The best of these lands can be had at prices ranging from $1 to $5 per acre, and on credits of from one to ten years. The beneficial effects of this action on the part of the company may be seen in the rapid settlements of the few past years.
Boone County is unexcelled in natural advantages for agricultural pursuits. It is situated in the midst of an agricultural district--on the south, Nance County and the Loup Valley; on the west, Greeley County, with the Cedar and North Loup; on the east, Madison and Platte, with Shell Creek and the "Garden Valley" of the Elkhorn; on the north, Antelope, with a continuation of the same winding stream. Boone itself abounds in fertile valleys. Beaver Creek flows across the entire county in a southeasterly direction, giving forty miles of valley, varying from one to three miles in width. Fox Creek flows ten miles across the southwest corner of the county. Cedar River, farther east, flows in a similar direction for a distance of twenty miles In the northeast, Cedar Creek flows twelve miles, and Plum Creek waters twenty miles of the western and southern portions of the county. Besides these, Timber, Rae, Pleasant Valley, Voorhes, Garner, O'Neill and Bogus Creeks, with numerous branches, intersect and water the country lying between the larger parallel water-courses. Fully 40 per cent of the land in Boone County is valleys and bottoms, the fertility of which cannot be excelled. The soil is loose and porous, and absorbs and retains moisture readily. There is just sufficient sand to make it respond readily, and luxuriant vegetation invariably follows careful cultivation. The uplands lie in long sweeping divides between the valleys, and are very fertile, being, for wheat-raising, preferred by many to the valley lands. With the exception of two townships, the entire surface of the county is tillable. In the northwest, the soil becomes too sandy for cultivation, although the grass, which grows there in abundance, is valuable for pasturing purposes. Everywhere throughout the county wild grass grows in abundance, yielding on the bottoms from one to three tons per acre. Tame grass, so far as it has been tried, has yielded abundantly. Grain-raising is the chief occupation of the farmers, and the prosperity which has attended it proves beyond dispute that the country is not unsuited to it Wheat yields on an average from ten to twenty bushels per acre; corn, from twenty to seventy-five; oats, from twenty to eighty; and other grains in proportion. The facilities for stock-raising which exist in the abundance of water and wild grass have not been overlooked, and already blooded horses and cattle have been introduced and large sheep ranches opened in the county. It has long been believed that this country was unfitted for fruit-raising, but actual experiment has shown that all the varieties suited to this climate can be readily produced. Over five hundred fruit trees are now in thrifty condition in the county, and grapes yield abundantly. Artificial groves are necessary to protect fruit from the sweeping winds, but these are already springing up in every direction. The natural timber supply is not abundant. A few varieties of forest trees are found in the county, and small numbers skirt the streams, but the dependence of the people for wood must soon fall on timber of their own raising.
According to the Assessor's returns for 1881, there are over 37,000 acres of improved land in the county. Of these, 18,818 were sown with wheat; 3,406 with oats; 1,760 with barley; and 454 with flax. There were 11,885 acres planted with corn, and 500 acres on which tame grass was raised.
In the line of stock-raising, the figures give a like indication of the prosperous condition of the county. There were 2,140 horses; 3,706 cattle; 3,808 hogs, and 4,278 sheep in the county in 1881. The total valuation of property in the county, as assessed, was $592,571, of which $211,114 was on personal property. The estimated value of property in the county is estimated at $1,500,000. The financial condition of the county does not make so good a showing, the bonded indebtedness being $89,000, and the floating indebtedness $1,000. Of a necessity, taxes are rather high at present, but the continued prosperity of the past years has placed the people where they are easily able to lift the burden which has thus settled upon them. The estimated expenses of the county for the year 1882 are $28,190.
The population, which the census of 1880 gave at 4,595, and which is now probably 6,000, is composed largely of settlers who have come from Illinois, Wisconsin, Minnesota, and the Northern States further east. Only a small per cent is foreign. Thrift, sobriety and intelligence are characteristics of the people, and schools, churches and the other attendants of civilization have followed rapidly in the wake of business prosperity. Cheap lands, good neighbors and quick returns are the advantages which Boone County offers to those seeking homes.
No better water-powers can be found than are furnished by many of the streams in the county. Especially does the Beaver excel in advantages for milling. The channel is narrow and the banks high, thus making damming an easy and inexpensive job. Added to this, the current is very swift, and it has been estimated that a large mill can be operated on every two or three miles of its channel throughout the county. These advantages have not been entirely overlooked, and three large mills are in active operation in the county. In 1875, Sackett & Crouch erected their mill at Albion, on the Beaver, and Hannaman & Tollman erected one at Waterville (since changed to St. Edward), also on the Beaver. Since then, a large mill has been erected at Cedar Rapids, on the Cedar, by the Cedar Rapids Improvement Company. Fuller description of each of these important enterprises will be found in the business sketches of the different towns at which they are located.
Boone County has been in existence some years before the railroad reached its borders, and its traffic was accomplished entirely by wagon. In order to facilitate this means of shipping, active measures were early taken to establish roads and build bridges. In 1872, a contract was made by the Commissioners for five bridges, and within a year, five more were erected. Roads were laid out in all portions of the county. In 1876, in the settlement with the Burlington & Missouri road, a contract was made with Adam Smith to make a graded road from Albion to the Union Pacific at Silver Creek. This was completed and bridges built over the streams and over the Loup River, and the road was much used by the farmers until the railroad came into the county. Since the bridge over the Loup was washed out by a freshet, the road has been almost entirely abandoned.
In August, 1879, an election was called by the Commissioners to vote $33,000 bonds to the Omaha, Niobrara & Black Hills Railroad. The bonds were voted by the people with but little opposition, and the work of building the road from Columbus was begun. The entrance of the cars into Albion was the occasion of great rejoicing. An immense crowd gathered when the track-layers reached the town limits. The first spike was driven by John Peters, amid the cheers of the spectators. On Wednesday, June 29, 1880, the cars arrived, and in the evening, a large procession, headed by the band, marched to the train. Here the numbers were augmented by the full force of the railroad employes, and together they returned to the Commercial Hotel. After a grand banquet, speeches were made by Messrs. Peters, Connelly, Wilkinson, Kearny, Tiffany, Atwood and others of the citizens, and were responded to by employes of the road. These exercises were followed by a dance, which lasted till the "wee sma' hours," and thus the railroad was ushered in. Its value to this country has been great, and especially so to Boone County; for not only does it give the county a ready market for its own products, but, by terminating at Albion, makes it the market for all the vast regions north and west. How long this may continue cannot be foretold, but there is no immediate prospect of an extension of the road.
The present prospects are that Boone will soon have another road crossing its boundaries. Surveys have been made by both the Burlington & Missouri and by the Union Pacific up the Cedar Valley, and in the near future, in all probability, cars will be seen crossing the country through that fertile region.
During the eleven years of official existence, Boone County has made rapid strides in the line of establishing and maintaining public schools. Already two new school districts have been created since the last report of the County Superintendent, and new houses are being erected. In the year 1881, five new schools were established, and in that year the county paid out for school expenses $11,994. The report of the Superintendent for that year, closing in April, gives the number of school districts at 42. In these there were 38 schoolhouses, 19 being frame buildings and 19 sod. The total value of the houses was, including the sites, $6,045.80. The total number of teachers engaged was 46--33 female and 13 male. The total amount of wages paid to teachers was $4,041.33, of which the female portion received $2,811.33. The total number of children of school age in the county was 1,422. The average attendance was 709. The total number of days taught was 3,165. The total value of school property was $6,147.25, and the school indebtedness of the county, $14,562.89.
The early settlers of Boone County had not lived in the county long before they became anxious to get the machinery of law and order into operation, and the act of the Legislature providing for the organization of Boone County was speedily taken advantage of. July 28, 1871, is the date of the first sign of corporate existence, for on that day John Hammond, Harvey Maricle and S. P. Bollman were sworn in as Commissioners by I. N. Taylor, Judge of Probate for Platte County. On the 26th day of August following, they met at Harvey Maricle's house and decided upon the first Tuesday in January, 1872, as the day on which the first election should be held, and Elias Atwood, Sr., Edward Dwyer and M. E. Stevens were appointed Judges of Election; A. W. Dyer and Sylvester Kinney, Clerks. At the third meeting of the board, which was held at John Hammond's house, a county seat was chosen, and, by a two-thirds vote, was located on Section 22, Township 20 north, of Range 6 west, Mr. Maricle dissenting. No definite part of the section was designated, but it was left to be determined afterward where the exact location should be. It was also ordered that the election should be held at the county seat. When January came around, the election took place. The voting took place at the Frontier House, then the only one in the town, and resulted in the choice of S. P. Bollman for Probate Judge; Sylvester Kinney, County Clerk; T. H. Bowman, County Treasurer; Need Myers, Sheriff; William Evans, Coroner; S. P. Bollman, Superintendent; A. Crites, T. T. Wilkinson and Ed. Dwyer, County Commissioners. During this first year of county existence, much difference of opinion arose as to the proper place for the county seat, and the maneuvering which preceded and followed the election, held on the 8th of October, 1872, to settle the question, gives a good insight into the native shrewdness which was characteristic of the early settlers in this section. The struggle was between Albion and Boone, then only post offices, with a decided majority in favor of the former. Loran Clark, who owned the site of Albion, did not feel enough confidence in the strength of the party, however, to go to the expense of platting his town without some guaranty of its becoming the county seat. He therefore drew up a plat on paper and placed it before the people, agreeing that if they should choose his site for the county seat, that he would then survey and record as provided by law.
When the election took place, it was found, by a canvass of the ballots, that Albion had sixty-seven votes, against twenty-one for Boone and another point. The Albion people were happy. Their sense of calm security was soon disturbed, however, for the Boone people, seeing that, legally, no such town as Albion was in existence, immediately had their town surveyed and named it Albion. But "the biter was bit," for, while the proprietors of the new town were chuckling in their sleeves at the new turn of affairs, Loran Clark was on his way to Lincoln. Soon the august power of the Legislature was brought to bear on the question, and Albion was finally determined to be where the traveler now finds it. This incident leads the centennial historian of his county to remark: "It has been said there is nothing in a name; but that must mean under some circumstances, and perhaps it may be true in regard to some names, but our citizens familiar with the location of our county seat will always think there is something in a name, and particularly the name Albion."
From that time, the meetings of the board were held regularly at the hotel until the court house was erected, and the Clerk, who lived about four miles from town, came up to attend the deliberations, carrying his books under his arm and his seal in his pocket The next transaction of the Commissioners was the contract with H. T. Clark for bridges, which was made November 8, 1872. This leads us to the consideration of what Rev. Mr. Bollman has designated as the bridge era of Boone history. The contract was for five "straining beam" bridges, which were to be put up in the county for $6,000, which sum was to be paid in warrants. In addition to this, it was stipulated that the work on the bridges should be done by men appointed by the Commissioners. When the work actually began, instead of giving it to the Boone County men, Mr. Clark proceeded to build the bridges with his own help.
The board remonstrated, and finally rescinded the contract on their part, and proceeded to make a new contract with Boyd, of Omaha, for five bridges, to be put in at the same price. Mr. Clark, not at all discouraged, proceeded to put in his bridges, and for a time the county was flooded with them. They became so plenty that there were two across the Beaver near the town, side by side, and one of the Commissioners was afterward heard to lament that he "didn't have one put across the ravine between his house and barn." A spring freshet relieved the county of all of Boyd's and two of Clark's structures, however, and they were seen floating from the mud-sills on which they had been placed, and sailing down the streams like ships. Boyd was then engaged to replace his bridges upon piling, and nearly as much money was again expended as the bridges cost originally. In the meantime, Clark had sued for his $6,000, and the county contested his claim. The question was settled by the opinion of M. B. Hoxie, Attorney for the Third District of Nebraska, who advised the county that the contract was valid, and that it would be compelled to pay the debt.
"As a result," says Rev. Mr. Bollman, in his Centennnial History, "of bridge contracts and expenditures, we have seven bridges at various points on the Beaver, one on the Bogus, and one on the Cedar, and a bonded indebtedness for these improvements of $25,000."
Another of those unpleasant occurrences which have injured the county financially and produced much dissension was what may be properly termed the Burlington & Missouri war. Shortly after settlement in the county, in 1871, the Secretary of the Interior withdrew from the gross amount of land to be pre-empted and homesteaded every odd section and fraction of section of public domain in Boone County, in order that the Burlington & Missouri road might select lands to fill a bonus made to them by the Government of the United States. This transaction had the effect to withdraw about half of the lands of the county from the market, to separate settlements, and to drive away many looking for locations, and the feelings of the people were much aroused over the matter. As soon as the lands were patented to the road by the Government, they were assessed and taxes levied. Probably the Assessors were influenced by the popular feeling, and a general determination was expressed to make the most of a bad thing, and get in taxes what they lost in land. The road took no notice of the taxes until in 1874, when the Treasurer offered the lands for sale. An injunction was obtained by the road, and thus began an expensive litigation, which was continued until a settlement was reached in 1877. This was finally effected through the agency of Adam Smith, whose name figures prominently in the history of Boone County. Mr. Smith, who had contracted with the railroad company for 60,000 acres of land in the county on the condition that he should obtain a release from the taxes which had accrued, then began his negotiations with the Commissioners. His first proposition was that if they would release the road he would open a big farm, bring out a colony and introduce blooded horses and cattle into the county; and he finally, in addition to that, agreed to construct a graded wagon road from Albion to the Union Pacific Railroad at Silver Creek.
The Commissioners were getting tired of the continued struggle with the company, and, despairing of ever being able to collect anything by law, concluded to accept the propositions of Mr. Smith, and, for the purpose, went to Lincoln, engaged a lawyer who would not fight, and allowed the company to carry its point on the tax question. By this means, about $80,000 were lost, and the loss fell heavily on the county, which had been depending on this money to pay up the many outstanding claims against it.
Mr. Smith's improvements were made in what is now known as Cedar Rapids, and his road was constructed as agreed. It was used at first., but the bridge over the Loup was washed out in 1879, and the railroad coming in 1880 rendered it of no farther value.
Nothing was done by the county toward building a court house until 1874. In December, 1873, and May, 1874, elections were held to vote bonds to build one, but both times the project was defeated Finally, in July, 1874, the Board of Commissioners ordered one built, and advertised for bids. W. J. Nelson was the lowest bidder, and got the job of erecting a building 20x32 feet for $1,200. Nothing farther has been done in the line of county buildings, except to add a vault to the court house.
In August, 1879, $33, 000 bonds were voted to the Omaha, Niobrara & Black Hills Railroad, and in October, 1879, $20,000 bonds were issued to pay the outstanding warrants.
The present officers of the county are: John Peters, Clerk; S. P. Bollman, Treasurer; W. B. Daniels, Sheriff; F. B. Tiffany, Judge; A. A. Cressman, Superintendent; T. N. Skinner, Surveyor; W. S. Anderson, Robert Cummings and A. Young, Commissioners.
"About five years and three months ago," said the Rev. Mr. Bollman, in his Centennial sketch, "in the spring of 1871, the first white men visited Boone County with a view to permanent residence. Previous to this time, no white man, except Government Surveyors, adventurers, explorers, or daring trappers had ever trod the flowery landscape of these delightful valleys, or paused in admiration on our extensive table-lands, at the almost boundless prospect. In all these beautiful regions, the various bands of roving Indians and the native wild animals were the only occupants, and the only sounds were the notes of birds, the war-whoop of the savage or the answering howl of the wolf to his mate. For here unscathed the fox and wild cat alike made their dens while herds of deer, elk and antelope unmolested fed upon the luxuriant grasses of these extensive plains." But a change came over the spirit of the dream of these prairie regions, and the irresistible tide of Western emigration soon penetrated the fertile valley of the Beaver, and the dwellings of civilization began to appear in this section of the "Great American Desert." The first company who ever passed up the valley with a view of locating consisted of six men--S. D. Avery, Ralph Vorhees, Robert Hare, James Hare, and two others, who never located, and whose names have been forgotten.
It had been organized at Columbus by Sam Smith, who, some years before, had gone through the valley in pursuit of a band of Indians and some stolen horses. The men enjoyed the beautiful prospects and were fully convinced of the value of the land, but were quite as certain that civilization would never penetrate the region, and returned to Columbus. The prospects for the early settler were not flattering. On the south was the Pawnee Reservation, and on the north the roving bands of Sioux. Boone itself, the center, was a stamping-ground for both tribes and the scene of many depredations committed upon each other.
After some searching in other sections, Mr. Avery concluded that he would again try his fortunes on the Beaver, and soon a second party, consisting of himself, John Hammond, the two Hares, William Prescott and one other, who did not remain, arrived at the center of the county, where Albion is now located. This company had also been organized at Columbus, and consisted of twelve members, part of whom were to come up and pre-empt the land and the others were to bear the expense. Avery pre-empted one of the quarters of the present town section. The other three were taken in the names of John Stauffer, Robert Kummel and Rev. Henry Wilson, of Columbus. The others who had come up in the party located east of and adjoining the town. This party then returned and still no actual settlement had been made. The 13th of April, 1871, marks the arrival of the first actual settlers. The party consisted of fourteen men from Columbus, as follows: S. D. Avery, Albert Dresser, N. G. Myers, W. H. Stout, W. H. Prescott, John Hammond, Thomas Smith, Julius Day, Charles Bassett, John McGould, Bobert Hare, a Mr. Walkup and the "two Missourians." The two latter were never known by any other name and soon returned from a country which they declared would never settle up. The day following, another solitary individual wandered into the county, following the trail of the first party as he supposed. After a night on the prairie and a return to the "Pawnee House" for a new start, Ed Dwyer succeeded in reaching the camp of the fourteen men near Albion, and has since been one of the active men of the county. On the same day on which he arrived, work was begun on a dug-out.
Of the different views held by the members of the party as to the proper method of construction, the unpropitious circumstances which attended the "raising," and the blizzard which greeted the early settlers, a good account is found in the essay read by Mr. Dwyer at an anniversary, in 1878:
"Next day, all our united efforts were centered in building a sod-house on the claim taken by Need Myers. The location was on the bank of the Beaver about east of the present town of Albion. The confusion at the building of the tower of Babel wasn't a circumstance as compared with the different views each had as to how the thing should be done. There wasn't a man in the outfit that had ever seen a sod-house built before, and, as usual in such cases, each and every one of us firmly believed that we knew just how the thing should be done. There was one thing we all did agree on, and that was that in laying the sod the hair side should be laid uppermost. Well, we crowded things that day and got the wall up five feet, and when we came back to renew our labors next morning, we found a portion of the wall had got tired and was gently reclining flat on the ground. Although every one present knew some one else was to blame for it, yet we went at it again, and that night, after bracing it up with poles and tipping the breaking plows against it, we retired within the walls for the night, happy once more. You observe we had no roof on the institution, and some time in the night a terrible northwest zephyr bore down on us. The air was black with flying dirt; everything movable was carried away; we had to tie our hats on with long prairie grass and handkerchiefs. Our wagon cover was found about three months afterward in the Beaver, somewhere near where Mr. Stevens now lives. That storm continued in all its fury for three days and nights, and that little party were compelled to shin it across the Beaver on a fallen log, taking refuge in the wood cañon back of the present location of Sackett & Crouch's mill. But that party was a happy one. They soon built a long shed, army style, covered it with brush and prairie grass, and, after they had got things ship-shape, the principal part of their time was employed in frying flap-jacks, singing songs and dilating on the future prospects of Boone County. The howling storm didn't interfere with our appetites in the least. We had a large fallen tree in front of our "dog tent," which served for a back-log; wood was plenty, and, although the wind howled over our heads, it couldn't reach us, and almost any time in the night some hungry individual would be up running that frying-pan. When at last the storm had quieted down, the rest of the party went to work and finished the sod-house, and your essayist left on a reconnoitering trip down the valley."
This was the first house in the county, and the hardy band of pioneers all lived together in the little room (14x18 feet) about two weeks. At the end of that time, S. D. Avery and John Hammond went to Columbus for lumber, and soon returned with six teams and loads. On the road, a bridge was constructed across the Beaver, about two miles above St. Edward, which was the first in the county. Work was immediately begun on a frame building, and in May it was completed. It was located in the center of Section 22, being the first frame building and the second building of any kind in the county. It has experienced many changes since that early period. At first, it was a hotel, known as the "Frontier House," then a store building and finally a residence, and is now used as such by Mr. Avery. Elections have been held in it, the County Commissioners have used it for court house, and people have gathered there to attend divine worship when Rev. Mr. Bollman was their pastor. The next frame house erected was a little one by Mrs. Rice, since Mrs. Loran Clark, who came early in 1871, and took the quarter which had been pre-empted by Rev. Mr. Wilson.
Here it was that the first school was held and was taught by Miss Sarah Rice, in 1872, when six or eight scholars attended and $20 per month was considered ample compensation. At this time many other buildings were being erected in all parts of the county. Of the original company who came together, Dresser had located just across the creek north of town. The Hares stopped a mile east of town, where they now live. Stout took his land on the west side adjoining the town site, and Smith located next to him. In June, S. P. Bollman and his son Calvin arrived from Virginia and took a claim two and a half miles northwest of town. Rev. Mr. Bollman had been a minister for many years and often held religious services in various places in the county. After building her house, Mrs. Rice had returned to Columbus, and was there married to Loran Clark, who came into Boone in the fall of the year.
In May of 1871, Elias Atwood and son, Theodore Tilson and William Comstock located three miles west of town. A little later, Joe Green, Albert McIntyre, Charles Downs and C. M. Selby located in what is known as Milwaukee Valley. In June, George Crites and Mark Mattison located. Alex. and Ralph Voorhees stopped at Voorhees Valley, four miles east of town. Ed. Dwyer settled near St. Edward. The first men on the Cedar were the Robinsons, an old man and four sons, who located at Dayton. In the spring of 1872, Messrs. W. H. Randall, Barnes, Garrett and Van Camp pushed ten miles farther up the Beaver and located. In the same spring, the Roe brothers settled in Roe Valley. Others settled occasionally, but no very rapid immigration took place. The winter of 1871 was not intended to encourage the settlers much, as it was one of the most severe ever experienced in this section. The snow piled in so deep that communication with the outside world was next to impossible. It required a week for all the force the settlers could muster to shovel a road from Albion to Boone, a distance of six miles. For many this was the first experience with the "blizzard." The effects of one are thus described by Mr. Dwyer: "When I succeeded in digging out from under my blankets that eventful morning, I had the pleasure of hunting for my boots through about three feet of snow that had found its way into my dug-out. So, after taking a general survey of the premises, I concluded to vacate and went up to Baldwin's dug-out, an institution 9x10; there, too, I found snow over everything. In that single room I found Mr. and Mrs. Baldwin and their two small children, a bed, a cooking stove, two or three trunks, some other household furniture and a large span of horses. And for two or three days and nights we all camped in that dug-out about as close as sardines in a box. Mr. and Mrs. Baldwin and family occupied the bed, and your essayist put in the nights stretched on a couple of trunks. Mrs. Baldwin had only arrived in the country a day or two before, and I remember that the piercing cold and her children's sufferings caused her to shed tears. Our friend Farrell was also snowed under, and when I called round to see him all that was visible of his little dug-out was the chimney. When I peered down that avenue and asked him if he didn't know he was snowed under, his answer was: "No, I have just been reading one of I. N. Taylor's immigration pamphlets and learn that it never snows in Nebraska."
The summer that followed was also one of misfortune for the settlers, for their crops were entirely destroyed by the grasshoppers. In the spring of 1872, the first post office was established in the county and was known as the Hammond Post Office. The first Postmaster was Albert Dresser, and the mail was carried by Michael Welch, on horseback. No bag was necessary, as his pockets were capacious enough for all matter that the week brought to the county. In August, 1873, the office was moved and the name changed to the Albion office. W. H. Gamadge was Postmaster for two years, and was succeeded by Hiram Rice, the present officer. This year also marks the birth of the first child in the county--Clara Boone Mattison. Her name has a patriotic ring to it and shows that at least one family had confidence that Boone would yet be a name to be proud of. In the spring of the year, Elias Atwood, Sr., lost a child--the first death in the county. The winter of 1872-73 developed nothing new in the history of the county, until April of 1873, when one of the worst storms known here occurred. Rev. Mr. Bollman thus describes it:
"On Easter Sunday of 1873, there began with heavy rain, accompanied with thunder and lightning, a storm which continued for three days. Shortly after nightfall on the day it commenced, it changed to snow, and, for forty-eight hours, the fall of snow, driven by a fierce northwest wind, was so thick that most of the time a person could not see ten feet from them. Persons could not, in some instances, find their own barns; some were lost and narrowly escaped perishing from exposure. Much stock in the country perished in barns, the snow penetrating and filling them entirely; stock and portions of herds were driven miles before the storm and many perished. The snow packed so firmly and drifted to such an extent that ravines and considerable streams were effectually bridged by it, and loaded teams were driven over them on the drifted snow."
The summer of 1874 again brought the dreaded grasshopper, and again crops of all kinds were devastated. A great many who were able sacrificed everything and left, but the vast majority, who would have been glad to do the same, were unable to. Aid was received and distributed, and the people lived through; 1875 fully repaired them, for the yield of everything was abundant and since that time the growth of the country has been gradual but permanent.
Situated as it was between the Pawnees and the Sioux, Boone has not escaped some Indian scares, although fortunately nothing more serious ever occurred. In 1871, the Pawnee agent sent up word that a band of Sioux were coming and were committing depredations. All the settlers gathered at the Frontier House, except Elias Atwood and his son, who had just arrived and were camping in their wagon. The reason that Mr. Atwood gave for not joining was that if he was killed, he wanted to be killed at home. No Sioux ever appeared, and, after a day or two, the company disbanded. In 1873, a party of Sioux did actually visit the settlement and stole some horses. A company, headed by Albert McIntyre, followed and came in sight of the Indians, but there were too many of them and the horses were never recovered. The next year, 1874, another scare was gotten up among the people north of town by the report of a couple of boys, who had an arrow which they claimed had been shot at them. A few families gathered at Mr. Boardman's house and prepared for defense. S. P. Bollman, believing there was nothing in it, remained at home. In the morning, Calvin Bollman rode over to visit the camp, and, on approaching, gave the war-whoop, which caused much consternation. No Indians ever appeared, and after that no real fright was ever felt, although the Indian tribes often met in conflict, and much thieving was done among them.