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Kansas Collection Books

Andreas' History of the State of Nebraska
Produced by Diana Busing.

Part 10


Edgar, the third town in size in Clay County, is situated in the southeastern part of the county on the St. Joe & Western Railroad. The country surrounding the town is a fine, fertile, gently rolling prairie, better in quality of soil than any other section of the county and is in an excellent state of cultivation. The town is regularly built and numbers many nice residences and substantial business houses, and contains a population of about 800 people.

The land embraced in the town site originally was the property of Henry Gipe, who took the same as a pre-emption, to which he obtained title by the Nebraska Land and Town Site Company furnishing him money for that purpose. After Gipe had perfected the title in himself, he deeded half of the quarter-section to the company, upon which the town was laid out and surveyed by A. R. Butolph, in May, 1873. The railroad was completed to this point in July of the previous year.

A post office call Edgar was established in June, 1872, and was kept by A. J. Ritterbush in a log cabin which stood on his claim just outside of the afterward surveyed limits of the town. Here Ritterbush also kept a small store of general goods. The first house on the site was a sod house erected by Gipe, when he took his pre-emption, and the railroad station and section-house were built in the summer of 1872. Thus far favorable auspices preceded the location of the town and the excellence of the surrounding country all bade fair for its progress. During the summer of 1873, the country was rapidly taken up by permanent settlers, and during the year several business houses were opened in the town. The first of these was a general store opened by S. T. Caldwell, about the time the town was laid out, and a month later, A. J. Ritterbush established a store in town consisting also of general merchandise.

During the month of August, Rev. F. A. Penny built a dwelling, followed soon after by a storeroom by C. E. Green, in which he put a stock of general merchandise, and a similar store was opened in the month of September by J. G. Glazier, followed by a drug store belonging to T. A. Hendricks, in the month of October and a lumber yard belonging to Weed & Son.

During the winter of 1873-74, W. Richhart opened a harness-shop, but did not continue the business along at this place. In the early spring of 1874, J. Carlin and W. F. Whitmore built a blacksmith shop which was operated by James Cranz, Edgar's first cunning worker in iron. Very soon after this, A. Sherwood also built a blacksmith shop and carried on that trade.

Cyrus Stayner established a furniture store during that spring and W. F. Whitmore a livery barn, while later in the summer A. B. Canfield began business, handling general goods.

In the fall of the year, E. E. Howard began business, dealing in hardware. S. J. Whitten established a lumber yard, J. D. Beck erected the third blacksmith shop and George Weisen opened a flour, feed and exchange store. Several residences were erected during this time, one by S. J. Whitten, one by A. Sherwood and one by W. F. Whitmore. At the end of 1874, two years from the time the place started, it contained only about seventy-five population, although there had been several business houses established. This, however, was due to the fact that nearly all of those engaged in business in the town resided on their claims in the country. A lull in the progress of the town followed the grasshopper plague, but in 1876 and following, the growth became very rapid, and, in the short period of about five years has sprung from a little town to the flourishing place it now is, with four dry goods and shoe stores, three drug, one boot and shoe, three grocery, one millinery, two harness and saddlery, one furniture, two jewelry, two general and two hardware stores, three churches, three hotels, one bank, two wagon and carriage shops, two lumber and coal yards and two implement establishments, etc. The town is made up of a more than ordinary class of enterprising men and is a place of general activity and business prosperity.


Edgar was incorporated as a town on the 15th of March, 1875, and John Glazier, Andrew Sherwood, S. J. Whitten, Henry Gipe and E. E. Howard were appointed the first Board of Trustees. Since then the following persons have been elected to office under the village government for the various years up to the present:

1876--Trustees, S. J. Whitten, J. H. Brown, J. G. Prosser, E. E. Howard and J. P. Hawkins: Chairman, S. J. Whitten; Clerk, A. B. Canfield; Treasurer, G. M. Murdock; Marshal, J. P. Hawkins.

1877--Trustees, E. E. Howard, J. H. Brown, J. G. Glazier, W. Ovelman, O. Crossman; Chairman, J. G. Glazier, Clerk, A. B. Canfield; Treasurer, G. M. Murdock, Marshal, Henry Gipe.

1878--Trustees, A. B. Canfield, A. Curtis, J. G. Glazier, J. F. Evans, S. J. Whitten; Chairman, A. B. Canfield; Clerk, J. Converse; Treasurer, I. V. Howard.

1879--Trustees, A. B. Canfield, L. Porter, S. J. Whitten, M. S. Edgington, J. H. Brown; Chairman, L. Porter; Clerk, C. H. Treat; Treasurer, M. S. Edgington; Marshal, W. Shelton; Attorney, M. S. Edgington. At the next meeting of the Board of Trustees, the appointment of Clerk was reconsidered and A. H. Jones was appointed Clerk and Marshal.

1880--Trustees, J. G. Prosser, J. H. Brown, J. G. Glazier, S. J. Whitten, E. E. Howard; Chairman, J. G. Prosser; Clerk, A. B. Canfield; Treasurer, S. J. Whitten; Marshal, J. R. Pond.

1881--Trustees--E. E. Howard, O. A. Avery, J. G. Glazier, S. J. Whitten, J. G. Prosser; Chairman, J. G. Prosser; Clerk, C. H. Treat; Treasurer, S. J. Whitten; Attorney, S. A. Searle; Marshal, J. Downer.

1882--Trustees, H. F. Grant, J. G. Glazier, C. F. Barrington, J. H. Brown, J. D. Whitten; Chairman, H. F. Grant; Clerk, C. H. Treat; Treasurer, J. H. Brown; Attorney, M. S. Edgington; Marshal, H. E. Wells.


The beginning of the intellectual training of the youth of Edgar dates from the fall and winter of 1873, when Mrs. Julia Pond was employed to teach the village school, which was kept in a small frame building, erected by M. Wagner, near where the present schoolhouse stands. The house was 24x30 feet in size, a single room, and cost $3,000, and was afterward sold to M. J. Hull for $150, and is the same building in which the post office is now kept by Mr. Hull. This house continued in use for school purposes about seven years, but at length grew inadequate for the increased proportions of pupilage. A new building was erected in the summer of 1880, and is a large two-story T-shaped house of fine architecture and elegantly finished with belfry, bell, etc., and comfortably seated with patent seats and desks and suitably furnished with all needful apparatus for illustrations, etc. The building when completed cost $4,300 and the furniture about $900, making the total cost $5,200.

The school register shows and enrollment of 250 pupils and an average attendance of about 200. The school was graded in September, 1881, and embraces the primary, intermediate and grammar school departments. Besides the common branches ordinarily taught in village schools, are included the higher branches of geometry, physiology, philosophy, physical geography, botany and rhetoric. The schools are in excellent condition, under charge of H. K. Wolf, Principal, Miss Mary Warren, teacher of the intermediate, and Miss Mary Gray, teacher of the primary department.


The earliest public services by the professors of Christianity in Edgar were held by the Methodists in the railroad section-house in the summer of 1873, conducted by Rev. F. E. Penny. Prior to this, meetings were held in the country districts in private residences, and a congregation was already organized when the place of meeting was made at Edgar. After holding services for a few Sundays in the section-house, the congregation moved to the depot. This was in the spring of 1874. The depot was used as a church house until the fall of 1874, when the congregation began to occupy the Presbyterian Church. They have at present a membership of seventy in full standing, and are under charge of C. A. Lewis. Included in this charge are points located at Bethel, Montgomery, Heasley, Klingerman and Star Schoolhouses, at which services are held, the whole circuit having 160 members.

The next congregation organized was the Presbyterian, which took place July 1, 1875, with seven members, by the Revs. Nelson Robinson, of Omaha, and J. H. Reynard and A. M. Dixon, of Edgar, the meeting being held in the old schoolhouse. Religious services had been held by the people of this faith as early as February, 1875, when they were preached to by the Rev. Mr. Robinson in the same house. Rev. Mr. Dixon was called to the charge upon its organization, and remained pastor about five years, giving it up in July, 1880, and was immediately succeeded by the Rev. Edward Middleton. For about a year and a half the congregation met in the schoolhouse until the completion of the church edifice, in the spring of 1877, which was dedicated to spiritual and religious uses by Rev. Mr. Kerr, then Presbyterian missionary for this synod. The house is a frame, 30x40 feet in size, with cupola and bell, and cost, when completed, $2,600. At present, the congregation numbers sixty members, under charge of A. B. Byram, and the church receives liberal attention and support. A Sunday school was established in the early part of the year 1877, with twenty-five members, and Samuel Pomeroy was chosen Superintendent. The school now has eighty members under the superintendence of Rev. A. B. Byram, who began his services as pastor of the church in July, 1881. There is also a small library belonging to the school comprising about thirty volumes.

The Baptist was the next, and, up to this time, the last congregation organized in the town, and this took place in the school building on June 27, 1874, by the Rev. J. W. Eller, who preached for the congregation about three months, after which they were without any pastor or services nearly three years, and the whole thing had become disorganized. A re-organization was made on January 28, 1877, by Rev. J. N. Webb; this time they had eleven members, and Rev. W. S. Higgins was called to the pastorate and remained about one year and was followed by Rev. J. W. Carson, whose services continued about two years; then for a period of one year the church was without a pastor, after which Rev. W. H. Wilson, the present minister, accepted the call. The first services were held in the schoolhouse. After this, for about two years, in the Presbyterian Church, and again, for about the same length of time, in the Methodist Church. Work began upon the church building in October, 1881, and, by the month of November, the house was ready for worship, and was dedicated December 15, 1881, by Rev. W. R. Connelly. The church house is a neat frame edifice, with belfry, and is supplied with a large bell, and is also well seated and furnished, carpeted, etc., and is also constructed with a baptistry.

The Sunday school was organized December 22, 1881, and Dr. E. T. Cassell was elected Superintendent. The fist Sunday, there were 114 scholars in attendance, and on the second, 130, and at present the school averages about 100 scholars.


The earliest attempt to publish a newspaper at Edgar wad made in November, 1875, by F. M. Comstock, and, after running for a short time, the concern passes into the hands of W. J. Waite, Comstock leaving the country. After dragging out a precarious existence for about one year, the paper was forced to succumb to the inevitable hard times with the proprietor. The material was mortgaged to secure indebtedness, and was held by the mortgagers after the failure of the project, until some one willfully, and with malice aforethought, broke into the office one night and the apparatus was carried away; and thus ended in calumny that which started out presuming to be a public benefactor, looking to the public good.

Another journal soon after found existence under the name of the Edgar Leader, which was established in 1877 by H. A. Day and C. E. Keith, who continued its publication about one year, when it also yielded to the pressure common to such enterprises--lack of funds--and was transferred to S. T. Caldwell and E. E. Howard to discharge indebtedness, and the editors sought pasture elsewhere. The material was sold to M. J. Hull, May, 1879, with which he began the publication of the Edgar Review at that date. This live sheet started out a five-column quarto in size, but was recently changed to an eight-column folio. Is Republican in politics, and has a circulation of 400 copies, and, at the present time bears evidences of prolonged existence and is a source of profit to its owner, as well as a valuable educator of the public mind.


The Edgar Post Office was established in June, 1872, before there was anything of a town or even any attempts made to start one, and was kept by Andrew J. Ritterbush in a log cabin which he had built on his claim, and which stood just outside of where the line of the town site afterward was surveyed. Soon after the town site was located, W. A. Gunn received the appointment of Postmaster, and the office was brought into the town and was kept in S. T. Caldwell's storeroom, where it remained about three years, when it was removed to a small building which Gunn erected specially for a post office, and stood just across the street from Caldwell's store. After holding the position of Postmaster for about three years, Mr. Gunn retired and was succeeded, in February, 1876, by W. J. Waite, the office being kept in the room in which Gunn left it. Waite's term of office was somewhat brief, having held it only about nine months, when, owing to some discrepancies in his financial accounts with the post office department, in which his bondsman was called upon to make up the deficit, amounting to a large sum, he was expelled from the office and the appointment given to M. J. Hull, in September, 1876, who took charge of the office on the 12th day of October of the same year. With Mr. Hull's incumbency, a change was made in the location of the office, being held in a small frame building belonging to Cyrus Stayner, which is now used as a barber shop. Shortly following, Hull purchased Caldwell's old storeroom, in which he kept the office, but which he subsequently moved back, and it is now used as the Edgar Review printing office. About two years since, Mr. Hull purchased the old schoolhouse, which he moved on to the place on which the printing office had formerly stood, and the office was brought into that building, in which is also kept a jewelry and stationery and notion store.


The Odd Fellows fraternity was instituted at Edgar in March, 1880, as Edgar Lodge, No. 80. The meeting preliminary to its establishment was held in S. B. Montgomery's lumber office, with eight persons present, and from this meeting application was made to the Grand Lodge for a charter, which was granted March 2, 1880, and the organization was effected on March 9, 1880, in the Masonic Hall, by A. A. McCoy, who was appointed Special District Deputy to institute this lodge, numbering at that time fourteen charter members, and D. M. Hamilton was chosen Noble Grand; James Hazlett, Vice Grand; S. B. Montgomery, Secretary, and J. L. Bradley, Treasurer. The lodge has grown steadily since its inception and now has a membership of thirty-two, having lost only two members by withdrawals. Meetings are held in Howard's Hall, and the society is supplied with all the necessary paraphernalia for the performance of its ceremonies, and financially is in good condition, having on hand a surplus of $80 of a relief fund. The present officers are A. Knacker, Noble Grand; J. N. Johnson, Vice Grand; D. M. Hamilton, Secretary; W. Deffinbaugh, Permanent Secretary; S. B. Montgomery, Treasurer.

Edgar Lodge, No. 67, of the Masonic Brotherhood, was established under a dispensation on February 28, 1877. The first meetings were held in Harvison's Hall, and the officers elected were M. J. Hull, Worshipful Master; E. E. Howard, Senior Warden; C. H. Kitridge, Junior Warden; J. G. Glazier, Treasurer; S. J. Whitten, Secretary. A charter was granted to the lodge June 20, 1877, and the organization under that authority was effected, August 4, 1877, by George Lininger, Grand Master, the order numbering twenty-seven charter members, and at the present time has forty-seven members. Meetings are held in Whitten's Hall, under the following officers: S. J. Whitten, Worshipful Master; G. M. Murdock, Senior Warden; S. A. Searle, Junior Warden; C. H. Treat, Secretary; J. G. Glazier, Treasurer; O. B. Canfield, Senior Deacon; Henry Dalton, Junior Deacon; P. G. Hayes, Tiler. The lodge is in fine working order and possesses a very excellent wardrobe and a complete outfit of jewels.

Edgar Chapter, No. 22, of Royal Arch Masons, became established at the town of Edgar, on June 30, 1881, in the Masonic Hall. The organization was perfected by electing M. J. Hull, High Priest; S. T. Caldwell, King; S. Johnston, Scribe; E. E. Howard, Captain of the Host; J. P. Nelson, Principal Sojourner; S. J. Whitten, Royal Arch Captain; W. Ong, Grand Master of the First Veil; J. Van Valin, Grand Master of the Second Veil, and R. Hollingsworth, Grand Master of the Third Veil. The society operated under a dispensation for about seven months, and, on the 7th of February, 1882, became chartered by the Grand Chapter, having fourteen charter members. The institution of the Chapter was conducted by Grand High Priest E. P. Davidson, of Tecumseh, Neb., and the following officers were duly elected and installed: M. J. Hull, High Priest; G. M. Murdock, King; J. R. Kidd, Scribe; E. E. Howard, Captain of the Host; S. J. Whitten, Royal Arch Captain; S. A. Searle, Grand Master of the Third Veil; J. G. Glazier, Grand Master of the Second Veil; J. G. Prosser, Grand Master of the First Veil; G. W. Barnes, Sentinel. The society is supplied with a fine set of jewels and other furnishings. Meetings are held in the Masonic Hall on the second and fourth Mondays of each month.


The first house kept in the town for the accommodation of the traveling public was a sort of boarding establishment run by Charles McGowan, and this, however scant its accommodations were compared with the demand, must be regarded the first hotel in Edgar. In the summer of 1875, J. W. Gunn erected a small frame house which he used as a hotel until the spring of 1878, at which time it came into the possession of F. Weidman, who was soon after this succeeded by J. W. Wilkerson. During Wilkerson's ownership of this house, he erected a large two-story hotel along-side of it, and, in the fall of 1880, disposes of both houses to James Cutler, in whose possession they remained one year, when he, in turn, sold out to the present owner and proprietor, C. G. Hayes. During the spring of 1882, the old hotel was moved back, and on its former location a large addition was built to the main house. The Edgar House was built in August, 1877, by C. F. Barrington and W. C. Ovleman. Several additions were afterward made to it, and, in 1881, the name was changed and called the Sherman House. During September of 1877, another hotel was built by C. Sirini and christened by the singular name of "Try Our House."

With these three instances ends the establishment of hotels, all of which are now in successful operation.


The first monetary institution established at Edgar was a bank started by C. P. Packer and J. W. Kernohen. After running the institution about two years, it was sold out and removed to Fairfield, the original owners becoming interested in the Grand Island Banking Company, located in the city of Grand Island.

The Edgar Bank was established by J. B. Dinsmore, E. E. Howard, I. V. Howard and L. R. Grimes, as the firm of Dinsmore, Howard & Co., in September, 1879. In 1880, Grimes retired from the institution. The firm are engaged in a general banking, exchange and collection business, and have a capital of $25,000, and an average of deposits of $30,000.


DAVID F. ANDERSON, physician and surgeon, Edgar, was born in Darlington, Beaver Co., Penn., June 5, 1845. Was educated at Monmouth College, Ill., and during 1872 and 1873 practiced medicine under Dr. Robinson, at Mount Pleasant, Iowa; and then attended the College of Physicians and Surgeons, at Keokuk, Iowa, graduating in 1874, after which he practiced in Fulton and Texarcana, Ark. He came to Edgar in May, 1879, and at once opened an office for the practice of his profession. The Doctor is a member of the Nebraska State Medical Society and the Republican Valley Medical Society.

O. A. AVERY, dealer in grain and live stock, was born in Corinth, Vt., February 10, 1837, and, at eighteen years of age removed to Boston, Mass., where he was for three years employed in a mineral water manufactory. He enlisted, October 22, 1858, in the Fifth United States Cavalry, serving for five years, and, on June 25, 1863, re-enlisted in the Third Rhode Island Cavalry, and was commissioned First Lieutenant, and promoted to Captain March 24, 1864. Was mustered out January 26, 1866; subsequently was for a year engaged in a grist-mill at Corinth, afterward carrying on a fruit farm in Union County, Ill., until he came to Nebraska. In January, 1870, he homesteaded and timber-claimed 320 acres in Sheridan Precinct, Clay County, and resided on the same for nearly six years, farming and improving his property. He came to Edgar in 1876, and was employed in various capacities until he engaged in this business in February, 1880. He is also engaged in farming and breeding stock. While residing in Sheridan Precinct, he held the office of Justice of the Peace for two years, and was for several years a member of the School Board. He was elected a Trustee of Edgar in April, 1881. Mr. Avery was married, at New Orleans, May 25, 1866, to Rosa L. Hoffman, a native of Georgia. They have five children--Carrie, Clarence, George, Robert and one infant son.

REV. ALBERT B. BYRAM, pastor of the First Presbyterian Church, Edgar, was born in Darke County, Ohio, October 31, 1843, and raised on a farm in Iowa. He was educated at the State University of Iowa City, graduating in 1874, and afterward at the Northwestern Theological Seminary, at Chicago, graduating there in 1877. He was licensed to preach, by the Chicago Presbytery, in the spring of 1876, and in April, 1877, took charge of the Presbyterian Church at Greenville, Ill., remaining there until he came to Nebraska in June, 1880, at which time he took charge of the First Presbyterian Church at Fremont, remaining there for a year. He came to Edgar, in July, 1881, and entered upon his present duties. He is a very able speaker, and popular with his congregation. Mr. Byram was married at West Liberty, Iowa, in July, 1873, to Mary E. Dawson, a native of Pennsylvania. They have two children--Elbert W. and Ethel.

O. B. CANFIELD, physician and surgeon, Edgar, was born in Perrysburg, Ohio, December 11, 1855, and resided in Illinois, with his parents, accompanying his father, A. B. Canfield, to Edgar, Neb., in 1875, and during the winter of 1876 and 1877, he took a course of lectures at Rush Medical College, Chicago; also attended Kentucky School of Medicine, at Louisville, graduating there June 25, 1877, after which he began the practice of his profession at this place. The doctor has been a member of the State Medical Society for over two years.

M. S. DOUGHERTY, manufacturer of and dealer in harnesses.

WILLIAM R. FULLER, musical merchandise, jewelry, etc., Edgar, was born at Fort Ann, Washington Co., N. Y., in 1845, and some years later moved to Dowagiac, Mich., where he resided with his father and assisted him in carpenter work. He enlisted August 6, 1862, in the Nineteenth Michigan Infantry, serving for three years. After the war he attended the State Normal School, at Whitewater, Wis., for a year, after which he taught school for some years. He came to Nebraska, April 2, 1870, homesteaded 160 acres in Sherman Precinct, Nuckolls County, and resided on the same for ten years, during which period he farmed and also taught school. He came to Edgar in January, 1880, and engaged in this business in company with D. E. Hughes, and in September, 1881, he bought out his partner, since which time he has conducted the business alone. He was elected Justice of the Peace in November, 1881. Mr. F. was married in Beatrice, Neb., in November, 1872, to Flora Follett, a native of Pennsylvania. They have four children--Carl R., Lottie, Loren A. and one infant daughter.

CORYDON F. GLAZIER, of the firm Glazier Bros., dealers in pumps, implements, etc., Edgar, was born in Bennington County, Vt., in 1852, removing with parents to Putnam County, Ill., in 1855; was reared on a farm. He came to Nebraska, in 1870; was for two years engaged in dealing in live stock at Ashland, and came to Edgar in 1872, and was for five years in mercantile business in company with John G., his brother. On his arrival here he also engaged in the Halladay wind-mill business, and in 1880 he admitted his brother, D. E. Glazier, as a partner. Mr. G. is also engaged in farming and stock-raising. He was married at Edgar, in December, 1875, to Libby Canfield. They have one son--Fremont.

JOHN G. GLAZIER, merchant, was born in Jamaica County, Vt., August 30, 1847, and, eight years later, removed with his father to Putnam County, Ill., where he was reared on a farm. In 1862, he went to Peru, Ill., and entered the employ of Lininger Bros., general merchants, as clerk. He came in that capacity with the firm to Ashland, Neb., in 1869, remaining in their employ there for three and a half years. In August, 1873, he came to Edgar, and at once engaged in general merchandise business in company with his brother, George F. Glazier, under the style of Glazier Bros. They dissolved in 1878, and, one year later, John F. closed out the entire business. Was one of the organizers of the Grand Island Banking Company in January, 1880, and was elected Vice President. He managed the company's business at this place for about a year, then sold out his interest in the concern. In August, 1881, he again engaged in mercantile business, and has continued since. He has also for some time, been engaged in the cultivation of trees, etc. Mr. G. has been a member of the school board for some years, and has, at various times, filled the office of Treasurer of that body. He was elected a Trustee of the town, in April, 1882. Mr. Glazier was married at Ashland, Neb., in 1870, to Luella E. Pratt, a native of New York. They have four children--John L., Jessie L., William C. and Harry M.

CHARLES G. HAYES, proprietor Commercial Hotel, was born in Ottawa, La Salle Co., Ill., November 16, 1849, and was reared on a farm. He came to Nebraska in 1867, and was for ten years employed in farming in Cass County. He came to Edgar in the fall of 1877, and at once engaged in the livery business, which he has carried on since. On April 25, 1880, he purchased the Commercial Hotel, since which time he has added many improvements. He has now a good house and accommodation for forty guests. He was married, in Ashland, Neb., March 7, 1872, to Martha J. Pratt, a native of New York. They have two children--Stella M. and Lulu.

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